Week Four is the week where we start to see a little separation in most fantasy leagues. If you’re 4-0—keep it up! If you’re 0-4, this may just not be your year, but you have to keep trying for the good of your league.
Week Four in the NFL saw the return of LaDainian Tomlinson, though he didn’t show up much on the stats. We saw another unbeaten go down as the New Orleans Saints topped the New York Jets.
Are the Denver Broncos for real or are the Dallas Cowboys just that bad? More importantly, should you be worried about all the Cowboys on your fantasy team? Let’s take a look at the fantasy action from Week Four.
Chicago Bears 48 vs. Detroit Lions 24
All week long, just about every fantasy football analyst told you to play Jay Cutler this week. Well, Cutler had a good fantasy performance—three total TDs and 141 yards passing. I don’t think he met the expectations given for this matchup, especially passing for under 150 yards, but you can’t complain about three touchdowns.
The guy who DID have his huge coming out party was Matt Forte. For all you Forte owners out there, he took all your frustrations out on the Detroit Lions, putting up 121 yards rushing with a score. I know you’re hoping for more games like that, but keep in mind, he was facing the Lions.
Still, it could be just the spark he needed. Forte’s counterpart, Kevin Smith, got his owners two touchdowns, but only 30 yards rushing. It seems like you’re going to have to take the good with the bad with Smith this year. He’s the team’s feature back and he’s going to get all the touches, but he may struggle to rack up the yards.
Plus, the Lions are probably going to be playing catchup all year. It wasn’t a bad day for the Lions’ passing game, though. Matthew Stafford just missed 300 yards passing and added a TD, while Calvin Johnson posted 133 yards receiving. No TDs for Megatron, but be patient because he’s still getting the yards. The touchdowns are coming for CJ.
Cincinnati Bengals 23 @ Cleveland Browns 20
I’ll start with two big disappointing performances in this game. Cedric Benson, a guy who many people thought would carry over his success from last week for a huge game this week, only posted 74 yards rushing and didn’t score against the Cleveland Browns.
Sometimes you just never know the way the game is going to be played out, but don’t be discouraged about keeping Benson in your lineup. The other disappointment was the disappearance of Braylon Edwards—zero catches, zero yards. It looks as though Edwards is headed towards a season like last year.
Chad Ochocinco only had three catches for 24 yards, but two of those catches were in the end zone. More importantly, Ochocinco had 11 targets. The throws are going to him, but he just wasn’t able to haul them in today. Ochocinco and Edwards seem to be going in opposite directions.
Jerome Harrison went over the century mark. Look for this guy to continue to get the bulk of the workload for the time being.
Indianapolis Colts 34 vs. Seattle Seahawks 17
Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, both in reality and in fantasy football. That may be the most obvious statement I’ve ever written. Manning threw for 353 yards with two touchdowns.
His leading receiver today was Dallas Clark, who put up eight catches for 80 yards. Manning seems to switch off between Clark and Reggie Wayne, but both are reaping the benefits as the two primary targets of the All-Pro QB. Watch out for Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. These two are emerging as big-play threats each game.
Donald Brown found the end zone today. We’re all just waiting for him to run past Joseph Addai. Seneca Wallace had his second straight quality fantasy game. He wasn’t good enough to get his team the win, but if you were forced to play him today, he did alright for you. Wallace finished with 257 yards passing with a touchdown.
More significantly, T.J. Houshmandzadeh had 103 receiving yards. For those of you who have Housh and were patient to keep him in your lineup, or on your team for that matter, could be on the verge of getting nice numbers from him in the future. The QB situation here in the future weeks remains to be seen, though.
New York Giants 27 @ Kansas City Chiefs 16
We’re all getting used to the new combo of Eli Manning to Steve Smith. No, the New York Giants didn’t make a trade with the Carolina Panthers. The NFL has to make room for two stud Steve Smiths in the league. Smith caught two TDs from Manning and finished with 143 yards. He has clearly beaten out Mario Manningham as the Giants’ top receiver.
Manningham had one catch for 43 yards today. Brandon Jacobs had 92 yards rushing, but couldn’t get in the end zone. It’s not all Jacobs’ fault, as defenses are stacking the box still, forcing Manning to throw it. Jacobs should put up better numbers once defenses start to guard against the pass more.
Matt Cassel threw for two touchdowns, but only 127 yards. Dwayne Bowe only had one catch for 11 yards. Bowe only had four targets on top of that. Bowe is the only worthwhile fantasy option on the Kansas City Chiefs, but Bowe still may not be 100 percent.
New England Patriots 27 vs. Baltimore Ravens 21
While the New England Patriots’ offense still isn’t clicking to what we’ve all been expecting, Tom Brady did connect with Randy Moss for a score. Moss had 50 yards receiving on the day, while Brady had 258 yards passing. Wes Welker led the Pats in catches with six (48 yards). Slowly but surely, this offense may be warming up.
For the second straight game, Derrick Mason scored. He also added 88 yards. The old man keeps getting written off, but he is the leading receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. Willis McGahee came back down to Earth today—no touchdowns and only 11 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Ray Rice went over 100 yards rushing. Neither of these guys got in the end zone, but Rice won the Ravens’ running back internal battle today.
As projected during the preseason, you just never know what you’re gonna get out of this backfield.
Washington Redskins 16 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
Welcome back, Antonio Bryant. Bryant only had 44 yards receiving, but he did catch a touchdown. I’m not saying get this guy back in your lineup right now, but he will be the top passing option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers again very soon. Cadillac Williams put up decent total yardage—77 yards rushing and 22 yards receiving.
The Washington Redskins were supposed to run away with this game like the New York Giants did last week, but Washington’s offense just isn’t that strong. With that said, owners of Chris Cooley and Santana Moss were all treated to touchdowns from both players. Moss put 74 yards receiving, as well, but it was Cooley who got 10 targets.
Cooley remains the consistent option in this passing game, but Moss is always capable of putting up the random monster performances. Clinton Portis, who we weren’t even sure was going to play, just missed 100 yards rushing. A good performance for Portis, something his owners have been hoping for all season, but don’t be surprised if the injury bug hits him again soon.
Houston Texans 29 vs. Oakland Raiders 6
This game featured two running backs that really needed this game to get going. One of them succeeded, one of them failed miserably. Steve Slaton had 65 yards rushing, but he scored twice.
Darren McFadden was facing the worst rush defense in the league today and totaled negative three yards rushing. More surprising was that he only had six carries. The problem that’s always been surrounding McFadden is the terrible way that the Oakland Raiders use him.
Kind of a quiet day for Matt Schaub compared to his last two starts—224 yards and one touchdown. But the Raiders’ passing defense hasn’t been too bad this year. Let’s be realistic, Schaub isn’t going to explode every week, even with Andre Johnson to throw too. Johnson, by the way, had 66 yards receiving, but didn’t score for the second straight game.
Jacksonville Jaguars 37 vs. Tennessee Titans 17
One of today’s huge fantasy QBs was David Garrard. You don’t expect him to put up the numbers since Maurice Jones-Drew is supposed to be the focal point in this offense. Garrard put up 323 yards with three touchdowns.
In case you’ve missed the first three weeks, the Tennessee Titans’ pass defense is awful. Two of Garrard’s scores went to Mike Sims-Walker. MSW cemented himself today as the top receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While the Titans’ rushing D is still just as tough as last year’s, MJD was able to scamper in for a 9-yard touchdown. The yards definitely weren’t there for him, but you can expect MJD to always be a primary target when the Jaguars are in the red zone.
Nate Washington caught another touchdown for the Titans today. He’s given Kerry Collins a strong target in the passing game thus far. An emerging weapon in this passing game is Kenny Britt, who had over 100 yards receiving. I think there still may be some consistency issues with Britt, but he’s been good for Tennessee.
Little but of a disappointing day for Chris Johnson—only 83 yards rushing and no touchdowns.
New Orleans Saints 24 vs. New York Jets 10
Mark Sanchez finally had his welcome to the NFL game today. The New Orleans Saints picked off Sanchez three times and didn’t allow a passing TD. These things are bound to happen with a rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones got in the end zone, but only had 48 yards rushing. He was the feature back for the New York Jets, getting 13 carries to Leon Washington’s four.
Jerricho Cotchery remains the Jets’ primary receiver, as he finished the game with five catches for 71 yards. The Jets’ defense held Drew Brees to under 200 yards passing and no touchdowns. I guess it is possible to slow down this tremendous aerial attack.
Pierre Thomas had another strong game after coming back from his injury. Thomas had 86 yards on the ground with a score. Reggie Bush is not a critical weapon in this offense, at least right now, and therefore doesn’t really have any current fantasy value.
Miami Dolphins 38 vs. Buffalo Bills 10
No quarterback? No problem. The Miami Dolphins went back to what they do best today, the Wildcat offense, something only they seem to really know how to do well. Ronnie Brown had another monster game, scoring twice and totaling 115 yards rushing.
Keeping with the running game, Ricky Williams plowed in for a score and had 85 yards rushing. None of the Dolphins’ receivers are safe fantasy plays right now, but both Brown and Williams should see a ton of work for maybe the rest of the season.
Miami’s defense also picked off Trent Edwards three times. The Buffalo Bills’ offense is struggling big time. In his 2009 debut, Marshawn Lynch was quiet, which a lot of people expected. But, Fred Jackson only had 42 yards on the ground.
Lynch’s return may have put the fire out for Jackson. Both Terrell Owens and Lee Evans had 60 yards receiving, but neither scored. Owners of both of these guys have to be frustrated, and it may not get better any time soon.
San Francisco 49ers 35 vs. St. Louis Rams 0
The game with the most complete domination was this one, and it gets credited to the San Francisco 49ers. Don’t look now, but the Niners have a firm grasp on the NFC West, and it’s because of their defense/special teams that scored three times. It was a HUGE fantasy day for that defensive unit.
Glen Coffee had over 100 yards of total offense for a decent first game filling in for Frank Gore. Owners of Coffee need to keep in mind that, while the Niners want to run first and foremost, Coffee is not Gore. Whether they like it or not, San Francisco may have to pass more than usual. That may not be such a bad thing, because Vernon Davis caught another touchdown today.
A guy who a lot of people wrote off has reemerged as a strong fantasy weapon in 2009. On the other hand, there really aren’t any viable weapons for the St. Louis Rams. As good as Steven Jackson is, even he is struggling because everybody around him is struggling.
Denver Broncos 17 vs. Dallas Cowboys 10
Brandon Marshall is back. Marshall had a tremendous 51-yard touchdown pass to help the Denver Broncos win today. Marshall finished with 91 yards on the day and seems to be building a nice rapport with Kyle Orton. Eddie Royal remains nonexistent in this offense. He very well may be a sophomore bust this year.
Knowshon Moreno was on a receiving end of a touchdown today and had 65 yards rushing. More importantly, Moreno recorded the vast majority of the carries. He is cementing himself as the Broncos’ top running back.
Tony Romo once again was held without a touchdown, further proving that the Broncos’ defense is legit. There weren’t any standout performances in the Dallas Cowboys’ passing game today.
Marion Barber punched in Big D’s lone touchdown of the game and evenly split the carries with Tashard Choice. With another week to rest, Barber should be back to 100 percent for a nice matchup next week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Pittsburgh Steelers 38 vs. San Diego Chargers 28
Tonight may be remembered as Rashard Mendenhall’s coming out party. Filling in for Willie Parker, Mendenhall posted 165 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The San Diego Chargers have a weak defense so far, so Mendenhall’s numbers may be a bit inflated, but what this does mean is that the Pittsburgh Steelers may try to go back to being a run-first offense again now.
Hines Ward is reclaiming his throne as the Steelers’ leading receiver, at least for now. Ward had eight catches for 113 yards, but Ward still doesn’t have a touchdown yet this year.
Tonight was the return of LaDainian Tomlinson, but he really couldn’t do anything against the Steelers. LT finished with just 15 yards rushing and missed an opportunity to score inside the five. It’s incredibly difficult to run on Pittsburgh, but LT just doesn’t look like the LT we all remember.
Antonio Gates had a huge night. He made up for not getting a touchdown through the first three games by scoring twice. Gates also totaled 124 yards receiving. Both QBs in this game had impressive games, and both are strong fantasy options.
Minnesota Vikings 30 vs. Green Bay Packers 23
Let’s get right to it and see how the QBs did tonight. Aaron Rodgers—384 yards passing, two TDs, one interception. Favre—271 yards passing, three touchdowns, no interceptions. Both of these guys helped your fantasy team, but just like in the real game, I think Favre gets the nod here.
Owners of Rodgers really need Chad Clifton to get back in the lineup. Jared Allen had an absolute field day tonight, making owners of the Minnesota Vikings’ defense happy.
Some formerly quiet members of the Vikings’ passing attack resurfaced tonight—Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe. While Shiancoe only had three catches for 18 yards, he scored a touchdown. He’s been disappointing up to this point, so all owners of him should be thanking their lucky stars for the TD.
Berrian added 75 yards receiving with his score. This could be the start of something big for Berrian, as he and Favre were clicking tonight.
Sidney Rice also hauled in 70 yards receiving with a touchdown. Since Rice got hurt last year, a lot of people have forgotten about him, but he’s a definite playmaker.
For the Pack Attack, Jermichael Finley posted 128 yards receiving with a touchdown. A big-time sleeper in the drafts this year, Finley finally cashed in on those predictions.
I’m starting to think there’s something really wrong with Greg Jennings. He only hauled in three catches for 31 yards. He got six targets tonight at least, but whether it’s his wrist or dealing with double coverage, something is off with him.
Neither running back went off in this game, but at least Adrian Peterson scored to go with his 55 yards rushing. The only vice with Peterson is his tendency to fumble, and he lost a costly one again tonight.
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*THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BRUNO BOY JIMBO JONES*