NFL Studs and Duds for Week 4

Wes StueveContributor IIIOctober 1, 2012

NFL Studs and Duds for Week 4

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    Fantasy football is the driving force of many of our NFL Sundays. Sure, we care about our own teams and other games, but man, do we root for the players we own.

    In Week 4, we saw several players come up short and others come up big. Per the usual, a couple guys no one expected to do anything put up team-carrying performances.

    On the other end of the spectrum, of course, were a few huge names contributing almost nothing, costing many owners their games.

    Which players helped and hurt you the most in Week 4?

Stud: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

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    Once again, Cam Newton's running ability made him a dominant fantasy player. Newton was fairly successful through the air, completing 15 of 24 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, but his 86 yards and touchdown on the ground were crucial.

    After a terrible performance in Week 3, Newton rebounded, putting up the type of numbers he is capable of. He likely carried many teams with his huge game.

Dud: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    Julio Jones showed his explosiveness, gaining 30 yards on one play. Unfortunately, that was his only catch in the game.

    Jones produced just four points in a points-per-reception league, so he didn't exactly live up to his elite status. In fact, Jones had a bad week at any position, much less as a team's No. 1 wide receiver.

Stud: Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins

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    Raise your hand if you called Brian Hartline catching 12 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown. Oh, you didn't? That's because no one in their right mind would have predicted that one.

    Hartline absolutely dominated against the Cardinals, though few probably benefited from it because, honestly, how many people start Brian Hartline in fantasy football?

    If you did start Hartline, though, he had a simply incredible week.

Dud: Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

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    With just 34 rushing yards and one reception, Darren McFadden had a truly dreadful performance. Fantasy owners expecting a big game got almost nothing.

    McFadden is expected to produce more than 10 points and ideally at least 20. He didn't come anywhere near that against the Broncos. 

Stud: 49ers D/ST

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    The 49ers forced four turnovers and didn't allow a point. So yeah, this was one of those games in which a defense was a huge fantasy contributor.

    It doesn't happen often, but defenses do occasionally put up huge points. San Francisco is certainly one of the more likely defenses to do that, and it did this week. 

Dud: Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

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    Steve Smith had three catches for 52 yards against a beat-up Atlanta secondary. After three previous good weeks, Smith's performance here was a huge letdown. 

    The speedy wideout did gain 10 yards on a run, but he was still underwhelming. There's nothing worthy of a No. 1 wideout here.

Stud: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

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    Typical Drew Brees, throwing for over 400 yards with three touchdowns. That's why he's still one of the best fantasy players around, even as New Orleans goes through its disaster season.

    It's hard for a quarterback to be much better than Brees was. He could have thrown more touchdowns, but he was otherwise fantastic.

Dud: Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers

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    With two catches for 28 yards, Vernon Davis contributed almost nothing in fantasy. From a low-level starting tight end, that's a disappointing performance. From Davis, it's devastating.

    The blame here doesn't really fall on Davis, as San Francisco completed just 12 passes, but owners don't really care about that. He didn't produce, and that's the bottom line in fantasy football.

Stud: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

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    It's about time Tom Brady came around to his old self. His 340 passing yards and four combined touchdowns made for a dominant performance.

    Brady lit up the Buffalo defense, leading New England to 52 points. This is Brady's first really big performance of the year, and it could be a sign that he's back.

Dud: Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets

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    It's hard to imagine a much less exciting performance than four catches for 29 yards. Santonio Holmes struggled to do much as the Jets were stomped by San Francisco.

    Other than an an excellent Week 3 performance, Holmes has struggled in 2012. In Holmes' defense, he did suffer an injury, which clearly sidetracked his game.

Stud: Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    Roddy White's eight catches, 169 yards and two touchdowns made him a top fantasy performer. Whether in a points-per-reception league or not, that's a terrific game.

    The Panthers seemingly had no answer for White, as he racked up the points. With Julio Jones producing almost nothing, White stepped up and dominated.

Dud: Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers

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    One catch for nine yards (albeit for a touchdown). Against the Saints, Greg Jennings continued a disappointing season in which he has just 78 total yards.

    Despite his previous struggles, owners were hoping Jennings would bust out of his funk. That hasn't happened yet, and it may be time to consider benching the star wideout.

Stud: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

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    Just as people were beginning to question how good of a fantasy start Peyton Manning was, he busted out with a huge performance. Manning proved that he is still a great quarterback to have leading your team.

    His 338 yards and three touchdowns made Manning one of Week 4's best quarterbacks. The Denver quarterback has been a bit inconsistent thus far, but he's a smart start moving forward.

Dud: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Going up against what had been a terrible Cincinnati run defense, Maurice Jones-Drew was expected to put up huge fantasy numbers. Instead, he had 80 yards through the air and ground combined.

    If Jones-Drew hadn't dominated the Colts, he wouldn't have had nearly as high of expectations. Coming off that huge game, though, his performance against the Bengals is truly disappointing.

Stud: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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    Aaron Rodgers hadn't been himself in 2012, but he bounced back with a great Week 4 performance. For the first time this year, Rodgers threw more than two touchdowns.

    Against the Saints, Rodgers threw one interception but otherwise passed at will. It's hard to say whether this was a sign that Rodgers is back or was just New Orleans being awful, however.

Dud: Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams

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    Steven Jackson has been horrible in 2012, but his Week 4 performance was a letdown nonetheless. Totals of 67 yards and no touchdowns simply won't get the job done.

    Jackson was part of a winning effort for the Rams but didn't seem to contribute much. Either way, his fantasy production was awful.

Stud: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

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    Matt Ryan tore apart Carolina's secondary, throwing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. Even with Julio Jones contributing almost nothing, Ryan put up huge numbers.

    Thus far in 2012, Ryan has been an elite fantasy quarterback, and that continued in Week 4. He's a smart start at this point, and it takes an elite quarterback to put him on the bench.

Dud: Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

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    With three catches for 56 yards, Andre Johnson didn't do much to help out his fantasy owners. As a high draft pick, Johnson is expected to perform much better than this.

    Matt Schaub had a decent game, but Johnson did nothing to help. This wasn't a truly terrible performance, but it had little fantasy value and wasn't exactly worthy of Johnson's reputation.

Stud: Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals

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    Arizona's No. 2 wideout far outperformed its star in Larry Fitzgerald. Andre Roberts' six catches, 118 yards and two touchdowns were huge in propelling the Cardinals to a victory.

    In all likelihood, not many people started Roberts, but if someone did, he or she got huge points from a surprising position. Honestly, unexpected production is the best type.

Dud: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    In 2012, Doug Martin has been a borderline worthless fantasy player, and that continued in Week 4. Martin's 33 rushing yards and two receptions simply isn't valuable.

    Many drafted Martin early, hoping for second running back production. He hasn't come close to that, and owners should be looking at other options.