Fantasy Football: 6 Last-Minute Roster Moves You Should Make for NFL Week 4
Fantasy football can be a full-time activity—especially in deep leagues.
With so many moving parts and so many players to keep track of, one little mistake can deep-six even the most dedicated owners who forgot to make a last-minute move to maximize their scoring.
With so many injuries and the uncertainty of the replacement refs, 2012 has been interesting for both "real" football and for fantasy. As things settle down in Week 4 and beyond, it's becoming clearer who's getting snaps and opportunities and who isn't.
So before you sit down to watch the games in Week 4, consider making these last-minute roster moves.
Take Matt Forte out of Your Lineup
According to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, both Forte and Earl Bennett are questionable for Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, normally, that would be a decision that one could put off until Jay Glazer lets everyone know what's up on Sunday morning, but with the Bears playing on Monday night, the other running backs on everyone's roster will probably already be spent.
Unless your other running back options are DeMarco Murray and Michael Bush, make sure to sit Forte now.
Put Mikel Leshoure into Your Starting Lineup
The Detroit Lions look absolutely committed to the run game (for better or worse) in 2012, and Mikel Leshoure is going to be the bell cow for them. Kevin Smith is already giving his concession speech.
But Leshoure is dinged up, and owners may have sat him down in their early-week roster moves. Listed as questionable on the injury report, those same owners may be reticent to put him back into their lineups.
Just do it.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, one of the better beat guys in the business, has been banging the drum that he expects Leshoure to go. Jim Schwartz is from the "Bill Belichick School of Injury Management," and Leshoure's injury may be much less serious than the Lions are letting on.
Keep a close eye on this one Sunday morning as official news trickles out, but Leshoure should play and should be effective against the Vikings' middle-of-the-pack rushing defense.
Sit Hakeem Nicks and Keep an Eye on Him Moving Forward
Hakeem Nicks is probably a must-start for most owners when healthy, but he is officially out this week against the Philadelphia Eagles and didn't even make the trip.
Perhaps more importantly, owners must make sure they are monitoring injury reports on Nicks moving forward. This knee injury has lagged on longer than most (especially the New York Giants) should feel comfortable with.
The more periodic swelling Nicks undergoes, the more potential there is for minor procedures that could keep him out or slow him down when he plays.
If words like "scope" or "drain" start being thrown around, make long-term plans for a new fantasy starter.
Start Denarius Moore at WR3/Flex
Normally, it wouldn't be advisable to start a guy with only eight catches through three weeks, but Moore is heating up following some early-season injuries, and it could be time for him to light up a Denver Broncos team that hasn't lived up to its expectations on defense.
Through three weeks, the Oakland Raiders have failed to register a 100-yard receiver, but Moore has a solid chance this week against the team that has given up 100 yards to one—Roddy White—and 70-plus yards to a few more.
Moore isn't on the level of those guys, but given solid targets, his production should be worthy of a starting spot unless you've got much better options.
Add Christian Ponder
Christian Ponder is only owned in 15.6 percent of ESPN leagues, even though he is second in the NFL in completion percentage (70.1) and fifth in passer rating (104.9). His fantasy numbers are down, however, but that has much to do with Jerome Simpson's absence.
Simpson is back from his suspension and looks to add a vertical element to an offense that desperately needs one. While he isn't a household name, expect Simpson to put up solid numbers and benefit from teams stacking the box against Adrian Peterson.
With Simpson back, Ponder's overall numbers should continue to increase. Maybe he never takes as many shots down the field as his owners might like, but buy low here if you've got guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mark Sanchez or Matt Cassel on your roster.
You might not have that chance after Ponder has his chance against the Detroit Lions' porous pass defense.
Cut Peyton Hillis
Peyton Hillis was a niche pick in many fantasy circles before the draft, and for good reason.
With Jamaal Charles coming off a serious injury, many assumed he may need some time (even a year) to get rolling again. Instead, Charles has put up solid numbers and is a top-10 fantasy back already.
Moreover, the Chiefs look completely uninterested in using Hillis, who is owned in 84.1 percent of all ESPN leagues. There are even 7.2 leagues starting him this week even though he is doubtful to play with an ankle injury.
There are better options out there. See if Andre Brown is owned in your league yet. Try Dexter McCluster (who is dealing with his own injuries), who has dual designation in many leagues. Take a flier on someone like Lamar Miller, who is earning more and more carries in Miami.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff alongside other great writers at "The Go Route."