Fantasy Football Week 4: Top Plays at Every Position

Eric Mack@@EricMackFantasyFantasy Football Lead WriterSeptember 27, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 4: Top Plays at Every Position

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    Rob Gronkowski is a must-start in fantasy if he plays Sunday night, but that status is still up in the air.
    Rob Gronkowski is a must-start in fantasy if he plays Sunday night, but that status is still up in the air.Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

    We are already at the quarter pole of the NFL season, and we dip into the bye weeks in Week 4. The Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers are out of play, which means Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones won't make appearances this week.

    You have to replace those guys—along with DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Jermichael Finley and Mason Crosby—in your fantasy lineups. We have just the resource for you to pick through the options: the top plays at every position.

    As an added bonus this week, we analyze three options at each position that are tremendous values in short-term salary-cap fantasy games. For this exercise, we use the salary pricing at to provide readers with the bargain players. And, best of all, Bleacher Report readers can play in an exclusive free game right here!

    So, click through this slideshow and join me in some rewarding fantasy action.

Quarterbacks: Andrew Luck Will Join the Fantasy Elite This Week

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    Quarterbacks have carried the days in the early going of fantasy football 2013, and some of your struggling options are due for a breakthrough. Colin Kaepernick already posted two touchdowns on Thursday night, and the likes of Andrew Luck, Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III have better days ahead, starting this week.


    Jaguars matchup will bring good Luck

    Russell Wilson rediscovered his 2012 magic against Jacksonville, so we should expect the Colts' Andrew Luck to do the same. Sure, the Colts are more of a running team under offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but no team is more of a running team than the Seahawks. All Seattle did last week was have Wilson throw for four touchdowns.

    Luck is going to finally give you elite fantasy numbers, along with Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and emerging tight end Coby Fleener.


    Bad quarterbacks face the bad matchups

    This is a convenient week, because most of the tough defenses against quarterbacks are facing the low-end quarterbacks. It should make for some ugly games, but at least they will come from where we expect them: Matt Cassel vs. Pittsburgh, Brian Hoyer vs. Cincinnati, Jake Locker vs. the New York Jets, EJ Manuel vs. Baltimore, Matt Schaub vs. Seattle and Sam Bradford vs. San Francisco (which was already played on Thursday night).


    Week 4 sleepers

    Andy Dalton hasn't posted elite starting quarterback numbers, but this week's matchup against the Browns can bring them out of him. Sure, the Browns have a better defense than we are giving them credit for, but that is mostly because of what they do against the run. With the running game a bit less effective, we should see Dalton pass for 250 yards and three touchdowns.

    He is among the quarterbacks we like significantly more than the consensus this week:

    1. Andrew Luck
    2. Tom Brady
    3. Russell Wilson
    4. Andy Dalton
    5. Joe Flacco


    Week 4 duds

    The Chargers have been the worst team against fantasy quarterbacks to date, so you should start Tony Romo. You should temper expectations, though. The Chargers have given up a lot on the ground to quarterbacks, namely Jake Locker last week, and that is not something in Romo's game.

    Here are the quarterbacks we like less than the consensus:

    1. Tony Romo
    2. Michael Vick
    3. Sam Bradford (already played Thursday night)
    4. Terrelle Pryor (concussion)
    5. EJ Manuel


    Three bargains

    Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers ($13,650)

    The Vikings defense made Brian Hoyer look like Bernie Kosar last week, so expect Big Ben and his returning weapons to have their best day yet. Heath Miller (knee) is healthy, and Le'Veon Bell (foot) should make his official NFL debut. This can mean 325 yards and three touchdowns for a quarterback listed at a nice discount.


    Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens ($10,800)

    If you like a bargain, go with Flacco against a Bills defense that is in the bottom 10 of fantasy against opposing quarterbacks. Even rookie Geno Smith had a big day against the Bills. Flacco is one of the cheapest options on the board, and his matchup and the questionable health of his running backs should put the game in his hands.


    Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals ($12,800)

    For the reasons stated above, Dalton is a nice buy at his price in salary-cap games this week. The Bengals are going to blow the Browns out with Dalton finding A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu and his two tight ends for plenty of fantasy points.


    Week 4 Quarterbacks Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankQuarterbacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Peyton ManningDenvs. Phi10
    2Drew BreesNOvs. Mia20
    3Andrew LuckIndat Jac 9+6
    4Matt RyanAtlvs. NE5+1
    5Tom BradyNEat Atl 8+3
    6Robert GriffinWasat Oak60
    7Russell WilsonSeaat Hou 11+4
    8Matthew StaffordDetvs. Chi7-1
    9Tony RomoDalat SD3-6
    10Colin Kaepernick SFat StL 100
    11Philip RiversSDvs. Dal12+1
    12Michael VickPhiat Den4-8
    13Andy DaltonCinat Cle 17+4
    14Jay CutlerChiat Det 13-1
    15Alex SmithKCvs. NYG 16+1
    16Ben RoethlisbergerPitat Min14-2
    17Joe Flacco Balat Buf 20+3
    18Matt SchaubHouvs. Sea24+6
    19Eli ManningNYGat KC190
    20Carson PalmerAriat TB22+2
    21Sam BradfordStLvs. SF18-3
    22Ryan Tannehill Miaat NO21-1
    23 Terrelle PryorOakvs. Was15-8
    24Mike Glennon TBvs. Ari31+7
    25Geno SmithNYJat Ten250
    26EJ ManuelBufvs. Bal 23-3
    27Blaine Gabbert Jacvs. Ind34+7
    28Jake LockerTenvs. NYJ 27-1
    29Brian Hoyer Clevs. Cin 26-3
    30Matt CasselMinvs. Pit35+5

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Running Backs: Stick with Your Studs Like Arian Foster and Frank Gore (See!)

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    We finally got the elite numbers we expected out of Frank Gore on Thursday night, as he abused a Rams run defense that has allowed the most points to running backs in fantasy this season. Now we get to see if the putrid Steelers running game can show some life with rookie Le'Veon Bell against the fourth-worst team in fantasy against running backs, Minnesota.


    Both the Ravens, evermore

    The Bills made Bilal Powell look like Curtis Martin last week, so the Ravens' running back tandem of Ray Rice (hip) and Bernard Pierce should both be active, assuming Rice plays. He has practiced this week, and NFL insider Albert Breer reports the injury isn't more than a matter of pain tolerance. Judging by Rice's durability over his career, he can handle the pain.


    Foster: American for start every week

    There have been some Twitter questions flowing into my stream about sitting Arian Foster because the Seahawks run defense is tough. Yes, it is, but no, you don't. The Texans are still a run-first team, and Foster is their No. 1 weapon.

    Keep him active through thick and thin, as long as he is healthy. He is going to get into the end zone, and he is better than your alternatives, guaranteed. You drafted Foster to carry you this season. He cannot do that on your bench.


    Week 4 sleepers

    The Broncos running backs have been a constant headache, but we still see Knowshon Moreno as the only one to trust. Ronnie Hillman scored last week in garbage time, while Montee Ball fumbled again. Moreno is going to be the back who gets all of the important carries for the Broncos, and we have a feeling Chip Kelly's uptempo style is going to be the first that can keep up with Peyton Manning's arsenal.

    Moreno is among the backs we like more than the consensus this week:

    1. Frank Gore (already played Thursday night)
    2. Arian Foster
    3. Ray Rice
    4. Bernard Pierce
    5. Knowshon Moreno


    Week 4 duds

    Reggie Bush (knee) is not 100 percent, Joique Bell has shared time with him even when Bush was healthy, and the Bears run defense is a lot better than anyone thinks—they have been fifth best in fantasy to date. You have to start Bush if he plays, particularly in point-per-reception formats, but you should temper expectations in this matchup.

    Here are the other backs we like less than the consensus below:

    1. Matt Forte
    2. Reggie Bush
    3. Maurice Jones-Drew
    4. Darren Sproles
    5. Lamar Miller


    Three bargains

    Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders ($12,450)

    He has a bad offense and a banged-up Terrelle Pryor (concussion), but the Redskins defense has been a sieve. Washington is third worst in fantasy against running backs, and "Run DMC" is going to have one of his rare elite weeks to the tune of 100 yards and two touchdowns. He will be a factor in the passing game, too.


    David Wilson, New York Giants ($7,400)

    This is a complete shot in the dark, but the downtrodden Giants need a spark, and Wilson is lightning in a bottle. That's some spark. Their bad offensive line and error-prone Eli Manning should force Kevin Gilbride to call more of Wilson's number against a good Chiefs defense.

    They should stay stubborn with this back, because after 10 carries for 11 yards, he can pop a 60-yard touchdown. It is time for the Giants to feed their one chance at respectability.


    Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots ($7,600)

    This one is definitely not about his recent production or matchup. It is more about how good Ridley can be and how much the Pats need their running game. Ridley will eventually bust some big runs and be a 100-yard, two-touchdown back. It happens this week in a Pats game that finally goes into the big numbers.


    Week 4 Running Backs Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankRunning BacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Jamaal CharlesKCvs. NYG2+1
    2Adrian PetersonMinvs. Pit1-1
    3LeSean McCoyPhiat Den30
    4Trent RichardsonIndat Jac10+6
    5Doug MartinTBvs. Ari50
    6Frank GoreSFat StL11+5
    7Alfred MorrisWasat Oak6-1
    8Matt ForteChiat Det4-4
    9Marshawn LynchSeaat Hou7-2
    10Arian FosterHouvs. Sea12+2
    11DeMarco MurrayDalat SD8-3
    12Ray RiceBalat Buf20+8
    13Chris JohnsonTenvs. NYJ130
    14Bernard PierceBalat Buf22+8
    15C.J. SpillerBufvs. Bal150
    16Darren McFaddenOakvs. Was9-7
    17Knowshon MorenoDenvs. Phi23+6
    18Reggie BushDetvs. Chi14-4
    19Bilal PowellNYJat Ten17-2
    20Maurice Jones-DrewJacvs. Ind16-4
    21Giovani BernardCinat Cle19-2
    22Darren SprolesNOvs. Mia18-4
    23Ryan MathewsSDvs. Dal27+4
    24Lamar MillerMiaat NO21-3
    25Stevan RidleyNEat Atl24-1
    26Le'Veon BellPitat Min34+8
    27Jacquizz RodgersAtlvs. NE32+5
    28BenJarvus Green-EllisCinat Cle36+8
    29Joique BellDetvs. Chi25-4
    30David WilsonNYGat KC26-4
    31Willis McGaheeClevs. Cin40+9
    32Daniel ThomasMiaat NO43+11
    33Daryl RichardsonStLvs. SF30-3
    34Fred JacksonBufvs. Bal28-6
    35Rashard MendenhallAriat TB33-2
    36Ronnie HillmanDenvs. Phi45+9
    37Brandon BoldenNEat Atl39+2
    38Pierre ThomasNOvs. Mia35-3
    39Ben TateHouvs. Sea37-2
    40LeGarrette BlountNEat Atl59+19
    41Isaiah PeadStLvs. SF42+1
    42Jason SnellingAtlvs. NE31-11
    43Montee BallDenvs. Phi41-2
    44Kendall HunterSFat StL61+17
    45Danny WoodheadSDvs. Dal38-7
    46Michael BushChiat Det50+4
    47Ronnie BrownSDvs. Dal69+22
    48Jordan TodmanJacvs. Ind64+16
    49Chris IvoryNYJat Ten46-3
    50Robert TurbinSeaat Hou58+8
    51Bryce BrownPhiat Den44-7
    52Marcel ReeceOakvs. Was47-5
    53Roy HeluWasat Oak62+9
    54Chris OgbonnayaClevs. Cin51-3
    55Jonathan DwyerPitat Min550
    56Felix JonesPitat Min49-7
    57Alfonso SmithAriat TB68+11
    58Andre EllingtonAriat TB48-10
    59Mark IngramNOvs. Mia53-6
    60Knile DavisKCvs. NYG75+15

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Wide Receivers: Don't Let Injury or Matchups Trick You into Sitting Your Studs

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    A shin injury sounds painful, because getting kicked there stinks. Ask any soccer player. They fold like a tent anytime it happens and act like someone severed their leg at the knee.

    Andre Johnson is figuratively lying on the ground writhing in pain over his shin injury, which is convenient because the Seahawks defense is on tap. That is a tough matchup for anyone.

    We kid, here. Johnson is not dogging it because of the difficultly of the matchup; we just don't see a bruised shin as a reason to miss such an important test this week. Keep Johnson active, even if he reportedly is a game-time decision. He told ESPN's Tania Ganguli he is going to play.


    Expect Moore fantasy points against Washington

    The Redskins have been the worst team in fantasy against wide receivers, and Denarius Moore has been hot of late. He had a bad training camp, according to Scott Bair of, but Terrelle Pryor has injected life into the Raiders offense and Moore. Consider him a solid start in all leagues, especially in this matchup, regardless of whether Pryor plays.


    Matchups to avoid

    The Seahawks and Steelers are the best two defenses in fantasy against wide receivers. We already said you cannot holster your big Johnson, but DeAndre Hopkins of Houston and the Vikings' Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerome Simpson are bad plays this week. Hopkins is only an option to you if Johnson sits, which we already said he won't.


    Week 4 sleepers

    Those early-season struggles with health should be subsiding by now. With that in mind, we advise you to start your banged-up stud receivers like Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring), Johnson (shin) and Roddy White (ankle). Yes, even White. He said it would take a month, and this is four weeks in.

    Here are the five receivers we like more than a handful of spots better than the consensus:

    1. Larry Fitzgerald
    2. Marques Colston
    3. Andre Johnson
    4. Josh Gordon
    5. Julian Edelman


    Week 4 duds

    The Eagles have been the third-worst team in fantasy against receivers, so there is no reason to sit any of your elite Broncos receivers. You just cannot be sure which one is going to be a superstar. It is most likely they are all good but not great on a weekly basis. There shouldn't be anyone left behind like Eric Decker was early, at least, though.

    The Broncos receivers pepper the players we like less than a handful of spots than the consensus:

    1. Wes Welker
    2. Victor Cruz
    3. Reggie Wayne
    4. Pierre Garcon
    5. Eric Decker


    Three bargains

    Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens ($10,800)

    Smith hasn't been a high-volume guy yet, but the Bills defense made Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill look like megastars last week. Smith should be good for 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns here, which makes him a great buy at this price.


    Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs ($9,050)

    Everyone hating on Bowe thus far because of Alex Smith's (lack of) arm strength are either going to love this writer or hate him if you follow this advice. The Giants secondary is not only banged up, it is terrible, too. If Donnie Avery can go over 140 yards with Smith slinging slants and stops, so can Bowe. Andy Reid knows how to get the ball to his top weapons, and rest assured Bowe is still that.


    Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders ($7,800)

    He likely needs Pryor to play in order to truly star, but Moore is a great value at this price no matter who plays quarterback. Like we said above, the Redskins secondary has been the worst in fantasy. Robert Griffin III is going to put up big points, so expect Moore to be a frequent target as the Raiders play catch-up.


    Week 4 Wide Receivers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankWide ReceiversTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Julio JonesAtlvs. NE4+3
    2Dez BryantDalat SD20
    3Calvin JohnsonDetvs. Chi1-2
    4A.J. GreenCinat Cle 6+2
    5Brandon MarshallChiat Det 50
    6Demaryius ThomasDenvs. Phi3-3
    7DeSean JacksonPhiat Den70
    8Larry FitzgeraldAriat TB14+6
    9Marques ColstonNOvs. Mia16+7
    10Andre JohnsonHouvs. Sea19+9
    11Josh GordonClevs. Cin 18+7
    12Torrey SmithBalat Buf 11-1
    13Wes WelkerDenvs. Phi8-5
    14Julian Edelman NEat Atl 23+9
    15Victor CruzNYGat KC10-5
    16Antonio BrownPitat Min13-3
    17Reggie WayneIndat Jac 12-5
    18Pierre GarconWasat Oak9-9
    19Roddy WhiteAtlvs. NE33+14
    20Hakeem NicksNYGat KC25+5
    21Steve JohnsonBufvs. Bal 22+1
    22Eric DeckerDenvs. Phi15-7
    23Mike WallaceMiaat NO21-2
    24Anquan BoldinSFat StL 20-4
    25Cecil ShortsJacvs. Ind26+1
    26T.Y. HiltonIndat Jac 27+1
    27Dwayne BoweKCvs. NYG 24-3
    28Santonio HolmesNYJat Ten41+13
    29Vincent JacksonTBvs. Ari17-12
    30Eddie RoyalSDvs. Dal34+4
    31Sidney RiceSeaat Hou 49+18
    32 Denarius MooreOakvs. Was35+3
    33Tavon AustinStLvs. SF31-2
    34 DeAndre HopkinsHouvs. Sea32-2
    35Miles AustinDalat SD37+2
    36Donnie AveryKCvs. NYG 50+14
    37Greg JenningsMinvs. Pit43+6
    38Brian HartlineMiaat NO28-10
    39Emmanuel SandersPitat Min36-3
    40Mike WilliamsTBvs. Ari30-10
    41 Kenbrell Thompkins NEat Atl 29-12
    42Vincent BrownSDvs. Dal53+11
    43Kendall WrightTenvs. NYJ 48+5
    44Golden TateSeaat Hou 40-4
    45Kenny BrittTenvs. NYJ 60+15
    46Mohamed Sanu Cinat Cle 56+10
    47Jason Avant Phiat Den69+22
    48Lance MooreNOvs. Mia54+6
    49Stephen HillNYJat Ten44-5
    50Marlon BrownBalat Buf 42-8
    51Andre RobertsAriat TB510
    52 Rueben RandleNYGat KC57+5
    53Chris GivensStLvs. SF38-15
    54 Alshon JefferyChiat Det 46-8
    55Nate WashingtonTenvs. NYJ 550
    56Michael FloydAriat TB39-17
    57Robert WoodsBufvs. Bal 63+6
    58Ryan Broyles Detvs. Chi45-13
    59Jeremy Kerley NYJat Ten79+20
    60Austin Pettis StLvs. SF68+8
    61Kenny StillsNOvs. Mia76+15
    62Harry DouglasAtlvs. NE64+2
    63Riley CooperPhiat Den73+10
    64Rod Streater Oakvs. Was52-12
    65Doug BaldwinSeaat Hou 61-4
    66Marvin JonesCinat Cle 93+27
    67 Darrius Heyward-BeyIndat Jac 62-5
    68Aaron Dobson NEat Atl 47-21
    69Jerome SimpsonMinvs. Pit72+3
    70Robert MeachemNOvs. Mia95+25
    71 Davone BessClevs. Cin 70-1
    72Santana MossWasat Oak59-13
    73Justin HunterTenvs. NYJ 82+9
    74Keenan AllenSDvs. Dal77+3
    75Greg LittleClevs. Cin 750

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Tight Ends: Starting Rob Gronkowski Requires a Leap of Faith

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    It has been believed that prime time at Atlanta would mark the long-awaited return of Rob Gronkowski (back, arm) for the New England Patriots and fantasy owners.

    Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is not optimistic, though.

    Gronk has been playing Bill Belichick-coy with the media, including The Boston Globe's Shalise Manza Young, and the Patriots are always secretive about injuries. It will be tough to trust Gronk to return Sunday night, although missing the plane trip to Atlanta on Saturday could make the decision academic for fantasy owners.

    If you hope to have him active, you will need to insure him with Pats backup tight end Zach Sudfeld or perhaps the Dolphins' Charles Clay, who plays Monday night at New Orleans.


    It's Miller time

    The Steelers have long waited for some good news amid their 0-3 start, and they get it with the return of Heath Miller from reconstructive knee surgery. The Steelers have relied heavily on Ben Roethlisberger in the early going, and Miller returned with 35 yards last week.

    He will find the end zone against a Vikings defense that has been second worst in fantasy against tight ends to date, allowing a league-high six touchdowns. Jordan Cameron had three last week, Martellus Bennett had two in Week 2 and rookie Joseph Fauria had one in Week 1. Following the transitive property, that means Miller is going for four in Week 4 (half-kidding)!


    Ignore the matchup and keep "Gonzo" going

    Tony Gonzalez has gotten off to a disappointing start for fantasy owners, and he has to face a Patriots defense that has been No. 1 in fantasy against tight ends. But you don't sit this guy in prime time, particularly in a potential Tom Brady vs. Matt Ryan shootout.

    Roddy White (ankle) is not 100 percent, and Gonzo should be a factor in the red zone against a Pats secondary that hasn't faced even a decent quarterback yet. EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Josh Freeman are two rookies and a guy who has already been benched for a rookie. Yucky!


    Week 4 sleepers

    Joseph Fauria offers more than just trendy dance moves. After all, you have to get into the end zone to be able to dance in it. He has done that in the preseason and now the early going, which makes Brandon Pettigrew one of the biggest fantasy wastes of space.

    Fauria is among the tight ends we like significantly more than the consensus:

    1. Tony Gonzalez
    2. Owen Daniels
    3. Kyle Rudolph
    4. Joseph Fauria
    5. Zach Miller


    Week 4 duds

    The crazy numbers for tight ends slowed a week ago, save for Cameron's pending enshrinement in the Hall of Fame (another half-kidding joke). The early sleepers of Julius Thomas, Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook (who already played on Thursday night) are going to regress to decent but not great fantasy options.

    They are among the tight ends we like more than a couple of spots less than the masses:

    1. Julius Thomas
    2. Martellus Bennett
    3. Jared Cook (already stunk it up against the 49ers)
    4. Charles Clay
    5. Brandon Pettigrew


    Three bargains

    Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons ($8,700)

    His slow start puts him well under value, along with what appears to be the unfavorable matchup. Gonzo will show up in prime time as Ryan and Brady put on a Sunday night show in a game that will get loose. Gonzo is a must-have at this price.


    Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers ($7,350)

    The matchup and the Steelers' use of the tight end in Todd Haley's dink-and-dunk offense make Miller a great value if you are short on a few dollars to buy Gonzo. Miller is going to get some of the throws and scores that went to Antonio Brown in his huge Week 3 performance.


    Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts ($7,250)

    When Dwayne Allen (hip) went down for the season, Fleener was due to rise to the top 10 among fantasy tight ends. The first matchup sans Allen came against the tough 49ers defense, so Fleener's true value has been hidden for one week. It won't be hidden here. He gets in the end zone twice against the lowly Jags, who made Zach Miller a fantasy name again last week.


    Week 4 Tight Ends Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankTight EndsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Jimmy GrahamNOvs. Mia10
    2Jordan CameronClevs. Cin 4+2
    3Tony GonzalezAtlvs. NE6+3
    4Jason WittenDalat SD2-2
    5Antonio GatesSDvs. Dal50
    6Julius ThomasDenvs. Phi3-3
    7Owen DanielsHouvs. Sea11+4
    8Rob Gronkowski NEat Atl 7-1
    9Vernon DavisSFat StL 8-1
    10 Coby Fleener Indat Jac 12+2
    11Kyle RudolphMinvs. Pit16+5
    12 Martellus BennettChiat Det 9-3
    13Jared CookStLvs. SF10-3
    14Heath MillerPitat Min140
    15Brandon MyersNYGat KC13-2
    16Joseph Fauria Detvs. Chi33+17
    17Jermaine GreshamCinat Cle 18+1
    18Tyler Eifert Cinat Cle 20+2
    19Scott ChandlerBufvs. Bal 190
    20Charles ClayMiaat NO15-5
    21Zach MillerSeaat Hou 27+6
    22Brent Celek Phiat Den17-5
    23Rob Housler Ariat TB25+2
    24Kellen WinslowNYJat Ten240
    25Dallas ClarkBalat Buf 23-2
    26Brandon Pettigrew Detvs. Chi22-4
    27Fred DavisWasat Oak31+4
    28Zach Ertz Phiat Den29+1
    29 Marcedes LewisJacvs. Ind34+5
    30Anthony FasanoKCvs. NYG 28-2

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Defense/Special Teams: Hail to the Chiefs! Kansas City (3-0) Has Ideal Matchup

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    This has shaped up to be a good week for the fantasy owners who like to stream defenses. The 3-0 Chiefs have played well in the early going, and they draw the most generous team in fantasy against opposing D/STs, the New York Giants. Thank you, Mr. Pick Six, Eli Manning!


    Best of the streaming D/STs

    The Ravens, Jets and Steelers—and perhaps even the Cardinals (versus rookie quarterback Mike Glennon), Bucs and Colts—are viable options to fantasy owners.


    Send them to the scrap heap

    With all of the streaming options available and the fact you should try to avoid sucking up two roster spots with D/STs, you should feel inclined to cut these defenses that shouldn't be active for you this week: New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants.


    Week 4 sleepers

    The Bucs have made a change at quarterback, so expect them to play a lot more conservatively with the rookie Glennon. It should help a good run defense and much-improved secondary, thanks to Darrelle Revis, to prove fantasy worthy against an error-prone quarterback like Carson Palmer.

    The Bucs are among the options we like a handful of spots better than the consensus:

    1. Houston Texans
    2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    3. New Orleans Saints
    4. Washington Redskins
    5. San Diego Chargers


    Week 4 duds

    The Bears made Ben Roethlisberger and a Steelers offense look like Terry Bradshaw and the '70s version of the Steelers. It shouldn't keep you from considering Chicago a starting D/ST, but it could be a mediocre week for it against the potent Lions offense.

    The Bears are among the units we like a few spots less than the masses:

    1. Chicago Bears
    2. Indianapolis Colts
    3. Minnesota Vikings
    4. New England Patriots
    5. Cleveland Browns


    Three bargains

    Kansas City Chiefs ($5,700)

    You might as well go with the top fantasy defense thus far against the team that has been the most generous against opposing D/STs. This is a middling price for a unit we rank as the best of Week 4.


    New York Jets ($5,000)

    It apparently is going to take some time for the Jets to earn true respect after last season's debacle. They rank as the second-to-last unit on the price list, but they are much better than that.


    Baltimore Ravens ($5,550)

    Some poor early-season performances have dragged this unit's price down. The struggling Bills figure to make the Ravens a nice value pick this week.


    Week 4 Defenses and Special Teams Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankDefenses and Special TeamsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Kansas City ChiefsKCvs. NYG 3+2
    2Cincinnati BengalsCinat Cle 20
    3Seattle SeahawksSeaat Hou 1-2
    4San Francisco 49ersSFat StL 7+3
    5Baltimore RavensBalat Buf 6+1
    6Denver BroncosDenvs. Phi5-1
    7Chicago BearsChiat Det 4-3
    8Houston TexansHouvs. Sea13+5
    9New York JetsNYJat Ten12+3
    10Pittsburgh SteelersPitat Min11+1
    11Arizona CardinalsAriat TB10-1
    12Tampa Bay BuccaneersTBvs. Ari17+5
    13Indianapolis ColtsIndat Jac 8-5
    14Minnesota VikingsMinvs. Pit9-5
    15New Orleans SaintsNOvs. Mia20+5
    16Dallas CowboysDalat SD15-1
    17Tennessee TitansTenvs. NYJ 16-1
    18St. Louis RamsStLvs. SF180
    19Washington RedskinsWasat Oak26+7
    20San Diego ChargersSDvs. Dal27+7
    21New England PatriotsNEat Atl 14-7
    22Atlanta FalconsAtlvs. NE220
    23Cleveland BrownsClevs. Cin 19-4
    24Miami DolphinsMiaat NO21-3
    25New York GiantsNYGat KC250
    26Oakland RaidersOakvs. Was28+2
    27Detroit LionsDetvs. Chi23-4
    28Jacksonville JaguarsJacvs. Ind30+2
    29Philadelphia EaglesPhiat Den290
    30Buffalo BillsBufvs. Bal 24-6

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Kickers: Ravens' Justin Tucker Is a 'Boot'-iful Play This Week

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    Fantasy owners are giving up on Justin Tucker, but that is a mistake right before he gets healthy against the Bills.
    Fantasy owners are giving up on Justin Tucker, but that is a mistake right before he gets healthy against the Bills.Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Phil Dawson and Greg Zuerlein both laid eggs on Thursday night, which makes them shaky fantasy options going forward. They were supposed to contend for the top spot at the position. Nope.

    Like always, kicker performance is tightly connected to the quarterbacks, and Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford are not setting the world on fire.


    Bills matchup comes Justin time

    Justin Tucker was a premium pick at the position like Dawson and Zuerlein above, but he stands a much better chance at a turnaround this week against the Bills, who are the second-worst team in fantasy against kickers. Tucker was dropped in many leagues, so pick him back up for this matchup.


    Starting 'Fins rookie would be dome decision

    Caleb Sturgis has been a pleasant surprise, along with the Dolphins' whole offense, and a Week 4 game in the Superdome looks favorable. Maybe. The Saints have been the No. 1 team against kickers, and Rob Ryan has turned their defensive fortunes around. Sturgis is a low-end play here, barely cracking the starting options in standard 12-team leagues.


    Week 4 sleepers

    Matt Bryant has gotten off to a slow start, but the Falcons offense figures to press the issue against the Pats secondary in a shootout on Sunday night. That should open things up for Bryant, who has been dropped in many leagues.

    Here are the kickers we like better than the consensus this week:

    1. Matt Bryant
    2. Blair Walsh
    3. Justin Tucker
    4. Phil Dawson (whoopsy!)
    5. Greg Zuerlein (whoopsy No. 2!)


    Week 4 duds

    Matt Prater faces the Eagles defense that has allowed the most points to kickers to date. You have to keep him active, though, even if he only kicks five extra points. The Broncos are too potent, especially at home against a bad defense.

    Prater leads the kickers we like less than the masses:

    1. Matt Prater
    2. Dan Bailey
    3. Garrett Hartley
    4. Sebastian Janikowski
    5. Alex Henery


    Three bargains

    Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens ($5,500)

    His slow start ends this week. He will be good for four field goals and a handful of extra points as the week's highest-scoring kicker.


    Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons ($5,400)

    His slow start has him as one of the cheapest kickers on the board. The Falcons vs. Pats game is going to light up the scoreboard on Sunday night, and Bryant will benefit to the tune of three field goals and three PATs.


    Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs ($5,500)

    The soaring Chiefs against the flailing Giants is a matchup made in heaven. Succop is a lot closer to the elite of kickers than most might think.


    Week 4 Kickers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankKickersTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Stephen GostkowskiNEat Atl 2+1
    2Matt PraterDenvs. Phi1-1
    3Matt BryantAtlvs. NE4+1
    4Blair WalshMinvs. Pit6+2
    5Dan BaileyDalat SD3-2
    6Justin TuckerBalat Buf 7+1
    7Garrett HartleyNOvs. Mia5-2
    8Phil DawsonSFat StL 9+1
    9Greg Zuerlein StLvs. SF10+1
    10Sebastian JanikowskiOakvs. Was8-2
    11Caleb Sturgis Miaat NO17+6
    12Nick Novak SDvs. Dal19+7
    13Alex Henery Phiat Den12-1
    14Robbie GouldChiat Det 13-1
    15Adam VinatieriIndat Jac 16+1
    16Ryan Succop KCvs. NYG 15-1
    17Randy BullockHouvs. Sea18+1
    18Mike NugentCinat Cle 23+5
    19Steven Hauschka Seaat Hou 11-8
    20David AkersDetvs. Chi14-6

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.


    Follow @EricMackFantasy


    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.