Fantasy Football Week 4: Risky Players Worth Starting

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 15: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears passes against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on September 15, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Fantasy owners have a hard time taking risks early in the season, but Jay Cutler is one of the risky players who is worth a start in Week 4.

These players have the potential to carry a team, or they can have very little impact in a fantasy league.

Injuries make Roddy White and Ray Rice risky starts right now, but the players on this list don't have injuries holding them back. If you have any banged-up players, don't hesitate to take a risk on a player with a lot of potential.

Here are a few players who are worth a start this weekend.


Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears throws during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 22, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

There is no denying that Jay Cutler has one of the best arms in the NFL. He has a lot of talent around him this year, and he is really putting it all together. 

The 30-year-old has 693 yards and six touchdowns through three games. However, he also has three interceptions. His tendency to throw interceptions has always made fantasy stay away from him, but this looks like a good matchup for Cutler.

Pittsburgh is now 0-3, but it still has the fourth-best pass defense. Cutler picked the defense apart and made some incredible throws.

In Week 4 Chicago will go to Detroit to take on the Lions indoors, which can only help Cutler. The Lions rank in the bottom of the league in pass defense, but they are tied for the third-most interceptions. Their ability to pick off passes makes Cutler an extremely risky pick. 

Cutler averaged just over 200 yards and did not throw an interception against the Lions last season. Now he has had a full season to work with Brandon Marshall. The two are arguably the top duo in the league, but receiver Alshon Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett are both good targets as well. Jeffery had 76 yards in the finale against Detroit last season, while Bennett wasn't with the team in 2012.

The Bears are 3-0 because of Cutler's ability to move the football. Give him a start because of this matchup.


Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 22:  Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs for a touchdown during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Paul Brown Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cincinnati has two running backs that it likes to use: BenJarvus Green-Ellis in short-yardage situations, and Giovani Bernard to speed up the offense. Bernard is a risky pick because no fantasy owner knows if the speedster will get enough touches to make an impact.

The way that Bernard has played the last two weeks has earned him plenty of playing time. In Week 2 he torched the Pittsburgh Steelers for 65 total yards and two touchdowns. On Sunday against the Green Bay Packers he gave the offense a boost, finishing with 14 touches for 99 yards and a score.

Against the Packers, the rookie had a 31-yard reception and a 17-yard run, so there is plenty of explosiveness in the running back.

If Week 3 was any indication of how Bernard would be used, fantasy owners should insert him into their lineup. The rookie had the same number of carries as Green-Ellis, and he made the most of his opportunities.

The Cleveland Browns have a promising defense. The defensive line can get to the quarterback, so Bernard will play an important role against them this weekend. He will give quarterback Andy Dalton a quick option when the Browns pressure the passer.

Bernard's versatility has given the Bengals a boost every time he touches the ball. 


Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Wide receiver Eddie Royal #11 of the San Diego Chargers catches a six-yard touchdown in front of cornerback Brice McCain #21 of the Houston Texans in the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on September 9, 2013 in San Diego,
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Fantasy owners have a hard time believing in Eddie Royal. He doesn't have the greatest track record, but his performance in the first few weeks has him as the No. 1 fantasy receiver.

The 27-year-old hasn't done much in terms of yardage this season, as he has only 148 yards on the season and has topped 35 yards only once. However, he leads the league with five touchdown catches.

San Diego will host Dallas in Week 4, and the Cowboys rank 22nd against the pass. They are tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns allowed, so there's a good chance that Royal can find the end zone at some point on Sunday.

Starting a player for touchdowns rather than yards is a dangerous game to play. Quarterback Philip Rivers has shown the ability to put up points without turning the ball over this season. He has eight touchdowns to only one interception.

Rivers and Royal have become a good duo. Royal has two games with multiple touchdowns, so giving him a start while he is still on a hot streak would be wise. 


*All stats are courtesy of