Fantasy Football Week 4: Struggling Players Ready to Break out

Jared PorterCorrespondent IISeptember 24, 2013

Sep 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs with the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Packers 34-28. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

There are several high-profile fantasy football players that have struggled through the first three weeks of the season. Players like C.J. Spiller and Chris Johnson have virtually been non-factors, resulting in major headaches for their fantasy owners. 

But despite a slow start out of the gate, some of these players are due for breakout performances in Week 4, and shouldn't be dropped or traded just yet. 

These are four players that should remain in your starting fantasy lineup in Week 4. 

Note: All stats retrieved from


Maurice Jones-Drew, Running Back

Maurice Jones-Drew had a slow start in the first two weeks of the season with ankle and foot problems holding him back. In those first two weeks he carried the ball a combined 25 times for just 72 yards and zero touchdowns. 

Jones-Drew's performance in Week 3 against Seattle was slightly better with 19 carries, 43 yards and his first touchdown of the season, but he was lucky for taking advantage of a Seattle turnover at its own 5-yard line, which led to his lone touchdown. 

Despite Jones-Drews's faults, there is still an upside to having him in your fantasy lineup. With Jones-Drew another week healthier, look for him to take advantage of an Indianapolis defense that has given up 129 rushing yards per game. 

Week 4 fantasy points prediction: 15


Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback

After a monster performance in the opening week against Green Bay (30 fantasy points), Colin Kaepernick had two dismal games in a row with a combined two fumbles and four interceptions. 

Albeit, it's Colin Kaepernick.

Sitting Kaepernick in Week 4 would be ludicrous as he goes up against a St. Louis defense that has given up 288 passing yards per game this season. 

This is still the same Kaepernick from last year who stepped in for San Fransisco at QB in the middle of the season and threw for more than 1,800 yards and rushed for five touchdowns. 

Simply put, Kaepernick's performance the last two weeks was an anomaly, and it should not be a cause for concern (yet) for his season. 

Week 4 fantasy points prediction: 20


Chris Johnson, Running Back

Chris Johnson has performed so-so thus far in the season, but fantasy owners did not pick him up just to be an average running back. 

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Chris Johnson #28 of  the Tennessee Titans runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers at LP Field on September 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The explosive running back has shown in the past he can erupt in any given week for a breakout performance, but his lack of touchdowns this season (one in three games) has hindered him from contributing as expected to fantasy teams. 

With Johnson overdue for a breakout performance, look for him to get multiple red-zone attempts in Week 4 against a Jets defense that allowed 125 rushing yards to the Bills last Sunday.

Week 4 fantasy points prediction: 18 


C.J. Spiller, Running Back

C.J. Spiller has struggled this season with 43 rushing attempts for just 153 yards and zero touchdowns. To make things worse, Spiller exited the game in Week 2 against the New York Jets with a knee injury

Spiller had just one game this season in which he recorded double-digits in fantasy points, while his backup Fred Jackson has recorded double-digit fantasy points in all three weeks. 

Despite his knee injury and the assumed continual play of Jackson, ESPN analyst Eric Karabell believes Spiller still has big games to come, including Week 4 against Baltimore. 

Despite Baltimore giving up just 74.7 rushing yards per game this season, Spiller's speed and versatility will pose a great threat and could lead to one or two explosive, long-distance rushes. 

Week 4 fantasy points prediction: 14


With the NFL season still in its adolescence, these players have the opportunity to turn their seasons around and satisfy the desires of their fantasy owners. 

And though it may be difficult to keep struggling players in a fantasy lineup, a little more patience should be used for these players, especially as they still have a good chance of having a breakout performance in Week 4. 

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