Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings: Flex Options Set for Breakout Performances

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 26, 2013

INDIANAOPLIS, IN - DECEMBER 30: Coby Fleener #80 of the Indianapolis Colts spikes the ball after scoring against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Texans 28-16.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Week 4 of the 2013 NFL regular season is officially upon us, and fantasy football owners are scrambling for last-minute adjustments. Surprisingly, it's not the skill players who have taken fantasy leagues by storm this year, but instead it's the quarterbacks.

The question is, which flex options will step up and break out in Week 4?

It's easy to find the big names, and even as some have struggled early, faith remains that they will rebound. The true task in fantasy football is digging deep and finding under-the-radar players worth trusting.

Here's who you should place your trust in for Week 4.

 

Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAOPLIS, IN - DECEMBER 30: Coby Fleener #80 of the Indianapolis Colts scores a touchdown against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

Position: Tight End

Experience: 2nd Season

2013 Season Statistics

3 GP; 7 REC, 89 YDS, 1 TD

 

Coby Fleener was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft for a multitude of reasons. He was teammates with quarterback Andrew Luck at Stanford University, he's a 6'6" and 247-pound goliath and he's a strong blocker.

During Week 4, expect Fleener to take his first step toward stardom as a receiver.

The Indianapolis Colts lost tight end Dwayne Allen for the season due to a hip injury, per The Indianapolis StarFleener caught four passes for 69 yards and a touchdown during his first game without Allen but was shut down by the San Francisco 49ers' elite linebacker corps during Week 3.

With a Week 4 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, look for Fleener to bounce back in a major way.

Fleener caught 17 touchdown passes from Luck during the duo's final two seasons at Stanford. According to ESPN, Fleener has been targeted on 83.3 percent of his red-zone routes through three weeks of the 2013 NFL regular season, displaying that the trust is still intact.

Expect the number of routes in the red zone that Fleener runs to increase from here on out, with his first major performance coming against the Jaguars. Keep in mind, Jacksonville allowed the Seattle Seahawks tight ends to tally 112 yards and two scores in Week 3.

Big things are on the way for Fleener.

 

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 15: Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Chicago Bears runs and stiff arms Jamarca Sanford #33 of the Minnesota Vikings during the first half on September 15, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

Opponent: Detroit Lions

Position: Wide Receiver

Experience: 2nd Season

2013 Season Statistics

3 GP; 13 REC, 104 YDS, 0 TD

 

When it comes to fantasy football, it's all but sacrilegious to place your success in the hands of a backup Chicago Bears wide receiver. Brandon Marshall is an absolute stud, but the Bears haven't had a reliable No. 2 in quite some time.

After watching two Washington Redskins receivers top 70 yards against the Detroit Lions in Week 3, however, there's reason to be intrigued by Alshon Jeffery.

Jeffery had a standout performance of his own, catching seven passes for 51 yards against a very strong Pittsburgh Steelers secondary. He hasn't found the end zone and needs to break into the open field, but in point-per-reception leagues, Jeffery is a gem.

There is no safe way to use a backup Bears wideout, but Jeffery caught at least five passes in two of his three appearances. Tasked with facing a Lions defense that is known to gamble and will be focused on Marshall, Jeffery has legitimate upside.

He has big-play ability and short-route prowess, and in Week 4, Jeffery will break out.

 

Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Jacquizz Rodgers #32 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes against the St. Louis Rams at Georgia Dome on September 15, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Opponent: New England Patriots

Position: Running Back

Experience: 3rd Season

2013 Season Statistics

3 GP; 31 ATT, 102 YDS; 7 REC, 38 YDS

 

According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN, Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson will not play during Week 4. With Jackson absent, the Falcons will turn to Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling to step up, just as they did during Week 3.

While Snelling may have been impressive, it was Rodgers who proved to be the go-to player on the ground.

This is good news for fantasy owners who believe in Rodgers' short-term impact, as Atlanta is preparing to face a dreadful New England Patriots run defense. Rodgers should be able to move the ball well behind a vaunted Falcons passing attack.

After rushing for 86 yards on 18 carries against a tough Miami Dolphins front seven, picking up yardage against the Patriots is a realistic goal.

Rodgers may be small in stature, but just like Darren Sproles, he's difficult to bring down and dangerous in the open field. With six receptions over his past two games, that makes Rodgers a valuable player in point-per-reception leagues, as well as standard formats.

The true focus here is on what Rodgers can do on the ground, and that's what separates him from Snelling. Snelling is no slouch and had a better fantasy performance in Week 3, but he also carried the ball seven fewer times than Rodgers.

Keep an eye on this situation until Sunday, but expect Rodgers to start and shine against the Patriots.