Fantasy Football: Week 4 Plug-And-Play Sleepers and Reaches
You've probably had a few late nights when you can't sleep, and you start flipping through channels on the television when you come across one of those infomercials that always manages to suck you in. The one that always gets me is the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie.
The Rotisserie really is an ingenious product. You place whatever it is you're cooking into the machine, close the lid, and then you do what? Come on, say it with me: "Set it, and forget it!"
This "Set it and forget it" mentality invades the fantasy football world as well. Owners often set their lineups and fail to change them week to week. Hey, I get it. Sometimes you want to run the same lineup week after week. Other times you have more important things to do.
But Week 3 was the last time that don't have to pay weekly attention to your lineup because bye weeks start in Week 4.
So with that in mind, let's take a look at some sleepers and reaches that we can use in Week 4 to either fill a hole left by Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, or that might be a better play than other well-established names.
Chad Henne, MIA: After failing to break the 200-yard plateau in the first two weeks, Henne threw for 363 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on Sunday night against the vaunted Jets secondary.
In Week 4, Henne faces off against a struggling New England Patriots secondary ranked 25th in passing defense, and giving up over two touchdowns per game in the first three weeks of the season.
Bruce Gradkowski, OAK: Gradkowski was highlighted in this column last week, and turned in a solid performance throwing for 255 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
In Week 4, Gradkowski will feast on a Houston Texans defense that is ranked dead last in passing defense giving up 369 yards per game, along with two touchdowns per game. Gradkowski is quickly becoming a solid stopgap at quarterback as he has a great connection with both of his wide receivers, Derrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy.
Sam Bradford, STL: Welcome to the big leagues, kid. Over the first three games of his NFL career, Bradford has averaged 218 yards, 1.5 touchdowns, and 1.6 interceptions. Bradford plays under control, and the NFL game is not too fast for him to make good decisions.
The Seattle Seahawks come to St. Louis in Week 4, and bring with them their 30th-ranked passing defense giving up 316 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per week.
Peyton Hillis, CLE: Hillis probably doesn't qualify as a sleeper any longer after roughing up the Baltimore Ravens defense for 144 yards and a touchdown. But he might be a guy that you're debating putting in your lineup over more "studly" options like DeAngelo Williams.
The Cincinnati Bengals defense is giving 4.5 yards per carry to opposing rushers so far this year. The way that the Cleveland offensive line has been man handling opposing defenses, Hillis should find his way to 80 yards, and maybe the end zone, quite easily.
John Kuhn, GB: Kuhn is fullback come running back lately following the season-ending injury to RB Ryan Grant. Kuhn is a big bodied runner that shows just enough agility to keep defenders guessing. In Week 3 against the Chicago Bears, Kuhn received one fewer carry, six, than did RB Brandon Jackson, yet produced 19 more yards on those carries.
Week 4's matchup against the NFL's worst rush defense of the Detroit Lions should provide ample opportunities for both Kuhn and Jackson to put up solid numbers. Once Aaron Rodgers has had his way with the Lions secondary, it will be time for Kuhn & Co. to finish off the game.
Justin Forsett, SEA: Forsett is slowly becoming "the guy" in the Seahawks backfield, receiving all but one of the team's rushing attempts in Week 3. While Forsett is not putting up a stellar per carry average, he is getting the opportunities to make big plays.
Forsett's opponent in Week 4 is the 25th worst rushing defense in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are giving up 133 yards of offense every week on the ground, a majority of which should go Forsett's way this week.
Louis Murphy, OAK: Murphy has proven to have a great rapport with QB Gradkowski, and should continue his breakout year in Week 4 against an atrocious Texans secondary.
Much has been made this week of WR Heyward-Bey's increased targets over the last two weeks, but what should be noted is that while Heyward-Bey is receiving one target per game more than Murphy, Heyward-Bey is only converting 38 percent of his targets, while Murphy is converting 65 percent of targets. Meaning simply more production on fewer opportunities.
Lance Moore, NO: Moore announced last week that he is an important part of the New Orleans Saints passing attack posting six receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Carolina Panthers defense is only giving up 212 yards per week to wide receivers, however they have not yet faced an offense as complete as the Saints. You shouldn't expect a repeat of Week 3 numbers from Moore, but he is clearly a viable option in points per receptions leagues, at least until the return of RB Reggie Bush.
Mark Clayton, STL: Clayton didn't post spectacular numbers in Week 3, but got the job done with five catches for 85 yards. While not spectacular, Clayton is the Rams' leading wide receiver and has an opportunity for a big game against one of the NFL's worst passing defenses in the Seattle Seahawks.
Through three weeks, Clayton is a top-25 wide receiver, but might still be stuck on your bench in favor of bigger names that have yet to produce, such as Calvin Johnson. This is a week you might want to give Clayton a shot if you have under-performing receivers, or studs on a bye.
Aaron Hernandez, NE: Hernandez' role is only going to increase each week in the Patriots passing attack with the loss of RB Kevin Faulk. Hernandez is a physically gifted receiver and clearly has earned QB Tom Brady's trust.
In Week 3, TE Dustin Keller abused the Miami Dolphins to the tune of six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. While Hernandez may not post numbers as gaudy, he will be involved in the passing game, and is a great bye-week filler for owners of TEs Jason Witten and Visanthe Shiancoe.
John Carlson, SEA: Carlson appears to be one of QB Matt Hasselbeck's favorite targets thus far. In Week 3, Carlson was targeted nine times, catching five balls for 61 yards and a touchdown. Carlson is not a flashy player or a big name, but a solid start nonetheless.
Zach Miller (OAK)
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