Of all the big performances turned in by wide receivers in Week 4, the most unlikely of them all no doubt happened in Sunday afternoon's matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, where Miami wideout Brian Hartline had the game of his life.
The fourth-year pro from Ohio State had a career day and then some in Miami's overtime loss, reeling in a ridiculous 12 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown.
Given that before Sunday's explosion the 25-year-old had made only 13 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown for the season. I think you can safely call Hartline's performance in Week 4 a "big game," and it of course begs the question of what fantasy owners should make of Hartline at this point.
First off, as gaudy as Hartline's stats were today it's important that fantasy owners not get too caught up in the hype generated by Hartline's performance. Granted, he had a monster of a game, but we need not look back no farther than Week 1 and Dallas wide receiver Kevin Ogletree to see an example of a player that put up huge numbers in a single game and hasn't sniffed them since.
However, there are a couple of important differences in the two situations that bear mentioning where Hartline's fantasy value is concerned.
First, unlike Ogletree Hartline is a starter, so the number of snaps, targets and opportunities for fantasy production that Hartline will see should remain fairly consistent, even if the Miami offense caps his fantasy upside somewhat.
Second, this isn't the only solid game that Hartline has had this year. Hartline reeled in nine passes for 111 yards two weeks ago against the Oakland Raiders, and that performance was enough for him to get scooped up in a lot of fantasy leagues that award a point for receptions.
If Brian Hartline is still floating around on your league's waiver wire though it's time to put in a claim, although it may be too late.
Sure, today may have been an aberration, but on a Miami team that will be playing from behind a lot Hartline is now averaging over six catches and 100 yards a game a quarter of the way through the NFL season.
That sort of production is worth a roster spot.