Fantasy Football's Biggest Winners and Losers After NFL Week 4

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystSeptember 30, 2012

Fantasy Football's Biggest Winners and Losers After NFL Week 4

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    We've reached Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season, which means the first quarter of this year's fantasy football campaign will be in the books with the conclusion of this week's games.

    As is the case in every week in the NFL, there were some performances that everyone saw coming and more than a few that no one anticipated.

    Seriously, who is Brandon Bolden?

    So, from stinkers to studs, here's a look at some of fantasy football's biggest winners and losers from Week 4.

Winner: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

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    For a while on Sunday, it appeared that the Mayan Apocalypse might be arriving early, as the Buffalo Bills raced to a 21-7 lead over the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady seemed on his way to a very un-Brady-like day throwing the football.

    Whatever head coach Bill Belichick said to the team at halftime must have worked, because the New England offense went absolutely crazy in the second half, and Brady finished the day with 340 passing yards and three touchdown strikes in a 52-28 Patriots win.

    Fist pump indeed.

Loser: Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets

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    In all honesty, unless you are a diehard New York Jets fan or related to quarterback Mark Sanchez, I can't think of a viable reason why you would have dared to start him in a fantasy league against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

    However, if for some reason you did, then you have my sympathies.

    The fourth-year pro was beyond abysmal in New York's blowout loss, completing less than half his passes for 103 yards and an interception.

    That Tebow timer just keeps on ticking.

Winner: Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots

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    It wasn't just Tom Brady who blew up in the second half of the New England Patriots game against the Buffalo Bills, as not one, but two Patriots tailbacks eclipsed the century mark during their offensive explosion.

    The bigger surprise of the two had to be rookie Brandon Bolden, who came out of nowhere to gain 137 yards on 16 carries, with one touchdown on the ground.

    Someone's going to be very popular on the waiver wire this week.

Loser: Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens

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    Let's hop into the way-back machine and visit the distant past that was Thursday night's win by the Baltimore Ravens over the Cleveland Browns.

    Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta has been off to a hot start in 2012, and after ranking well within the top 10 players at his position, Pitta was no doubt in many fantasy lineups in Week 4.

    The third-year pro responded with a big fat doughnut, notching zero catches on the night.

    Don't feel bad; he burned me, too.

Winner: Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

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    After a slow start to the 2011 season, it appeared that veteran running back Michael Turner could be seeing his role decrease with the Atlanta Falcons, as the ninth-year pro was on the field for fewer snaps than backup Jacquizz Rodgers in their Week 3 win over San Diego.

    It was Turner's time to shine in Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers, however, as he topped 100 yards rushing for the first time in 2012 and reeled in a 61-yard touchdown catch.

Loser: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    It wasn't all sunshine and puppies from a fantasy perspective for the Atlanta Falcons in their win over Carolina.

    The Panthers defense apparently made it a point of emphasis to take wide receiver Julio Jones out of the game, and they accomplished that feat, limiting the second-year pro to a single catch for 30 yards.

Winner: Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    The problem with keying on Julio Jones defensively is that it means wide receiver Roddy White will likely spend most of the afternoon in single coverage.

    Um, oops.

    The eighth-year pro absolutely eviscerated the Carolina defense on Sunday, hauling in eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

    That's a clean 36 fantasy points in leagues that award a point for receptions.

Loser: Fantasy Owners of Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

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    After stinking up the joint through the first three weeks of the season, I can just about guarantee you that any fantasy owner with a choice had Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson glued to the bench Sunday, especially in an unfavorable matchup against the Houston Texans.

    So, of course, the fifth-year veteran proceeded to gain more yardage on Sunday than he had all season, rushing for 141 yards on 25 carries.

    I hate fantasy football.

Winner: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

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    It's back to the Carolina vs. Atlanta game, which was the fantasy football bonanza of the early games in Week 4.

    Panthers quarterback Cam Newton may not have been able to lead his team to victory Sunday, but at least he gave his fantasy owners something to smile about.

    The second-year pro threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns while adding over 80 yards and a score on the ground as well, finally providing appropriate production to users who drafted him early.

Loser: Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

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    After topping 100 rushing yards last week, fantasy owners of Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden hoped that the dark days were behind them and their first-round running back had finally gotten his season on track.

    However, it was back off the rails in Sunday's blowout loss to the Denver Broncos, as the fifth-year pro managed only 34 yards on 13 carries before the Raiders got way behind and were forced to abandon the run.

Winner: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

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    There were a number of huge fantasy performances from passers in Week 4's late games, as Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins had a career day and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers both topped 300 yards and threw three touchdown passes in victories for the Broncos and Pack.

    However, the day's biggest game under center belonged to Drew Brees, who threw for a gaudy 446 yards and three touchdowns.

    Not that it did any good. The Saints lost by a point and fell to 0-4.

Loser: Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints

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    Given the statistical explosion posted by Brees against the Green Bay Packers Sunday one would think that there would have been enough touches to go around for running back Pierre Thomas to have a decent statistical outing.

    One would be wrong.

    Apparently Thomas woke up Sunday and decided to show everyone his best Chris Johnson impression, as the sixth-year pro managed all of 12 yards on 11 touches.

Winner: Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins

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    Speaking of statistical explosions.

    If I told you that a wide receiver would reel in 12 passes for over 250 yards and a touchdown in today's game between the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals you would have nodded, smiled, and then plugged Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald into your lineups.

    Unfortunately it was Miami wideout Brian Hartline that posted those incredible numbers, most likely from the bench in the vast majority of fantasy football leagues.