Week 4 Fantasy Football Projections: Under-the-Radar Players Primed for Big Days

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor ISeptember 23, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 22:   Drayton Florence #29 of the Carolina Panthers goes after David Wilson #22 of the New York Giants during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's never too early to start planning ahead. 

No matter how you did in Week 3, there's nothing wrong with taking an early look ahead to Week 4. Scouting out next week's slate of games can help you find waiver-wire gems before everyone else and put you in position for the win. 

Anything to get ahead. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at some under-the-radar players who are primed for big performances in Week 4. 


Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass during warm ups before the game against the Chicago Bears on September 22, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Gett
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

So Brian Hoyer just threw for 321 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. 

That has me feeling a little bit like Larry David

On the one hand, Hoyer threw 54 times, completing just 55.6 percent of his throws for 5.9 yards per attempt and three interceptions. So it's not like he surgically cut through the Vikes secondary.

But on the other, he threw for 321 yards and three scores. He completed several big plays, often had receivers wide open and even with the three picks, finished with 18 points in standard fantasy leagues. 

Against this Vikings defense, Jay Cutler also threw for 292 and three scores, while Matthew Stafford tallied 357 and two. 

It's been an uneven start for Ben Roethlisberger, and he very easily could have been dropped in your leagueor perhaps more accurately, you might have tossed him to the bottom of your bench and forgotten about him. 

His four turnovers from Sunday night certainly won't help you feel any better, but over 400 yards on nearly 10.0 yards per attempt against a terrific Chicago Bears defense is nothing to ignore. 

Against the colander that is the Vikings secondary, though, Big Ben—desperately needing a winwill pile up top-10 numbers.

Prediction: 23-of-35, 323 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int


David Wilson, RB, New York Giants

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 22:   David Wilson #22 of the New York Giants flips after a touchown that was called back during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by S
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Giants offense currently resembles what you might call a dumpster fire. 

In the first two weeks, the unit was the epitome of one-dimensional, drawing up a passing play for 95 of their 128 (74.2 percent) total plays. The result was a big ball of terribleness—seven interceptions, four sacks and two losses. 

Things got even worse on Sunday. The Giants drew up a slightly better ratio of pass-to-run plays (34-to-16), but Eli Manning was sacked seven times, threw one (yay, just one!) interception and tallied 119 yards. And this happened:

Something needs to change in New York, and David Wilson needs more touches. 

Now, Wilson hasn't been much better. He turned in one of the worst fantasy football performances of all time in Week 1 and compiled just 56 yards on 18 carries in the two weeks since. 

Although you have probably already gone through a painful breakup with Wilson and vowed to never trust him again, it's time to give him one more chance. There are several reasons to like him for Week 4.

For one, the Giants are playing the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been terrific this season but have given up a healthy 5.6 yards per attempt on the ground. Also, even though Wilson tallied just 39 yards on Sunday, he had 31 yards and a touchdown taken away on penalties. He's still incredibly explosive and talented, and he still has a hold on the lion's share of carries—11 to Brandon Jacobs' three and Da'Rel Scott's one on Sunday.

I understand it's hard to trust Wilson or anyone on the Giants right now. But the galvanizing RB is slowly beginning to show glimpses of why you drafted him, and this is the perfect time for him to finally break through. 

Prediction: 22 Carries, 130 Yards, 2 TD


Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Wide receiver Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions looks on against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

While the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears both boast very formidable defenses, they both also like to air it out on offense, and as such, this Week 4 battle could easily turn into a high-scoring shootout. 

That will obviously benefit Calvin Johnson and either Reggie Bush or Joique Bell, but don't overlook Nate Burleson. 

The veteran wideout is sort of the ultimate "meh" option. He's in his 11th year, has topped 1,000 yards in a season just once, doesn't really do anything flashy and is owned in just over 4.0 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. 

But he's as reliable as they come, and after racking up six catches for 116 yards against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, he now has 19 receptions on 23 targets for 239 yards through three contests this season.

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 22:  Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions is tackled by David Amerson #39 of the Washington Redskins after catching a pass from Matthew Stafford #9 (not pictured) in the first quarter during a game at FedExField on September 22,
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

That puts him on a pace for 101 catches and 1,274 yards. 

Burleson is clearly a favorite target of Stafford, who is playing very well right now, and he will continue to thrive at home next Sunday.

Prediction: 7 Catches, 95 Yards, 1 TD