Week 4 of the fantasy football season creeps slowly closer, which means it's time to set that lineup once more.
Since the dawn of fantasy, the question that has been gnawing at the souls of those who play has been "Who's going off this week?" Not just the touchdown vultures (we're looking at you, Peyton Hillis); these are the guys who earn their point totals the old fashioned way: big plays.These 20 players are the most likely candidates to have positively epic games.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Murphy's a good, old-fashioned burner. He's one of the fastest receivers in the NFL, and through three games, he's paid big dividends. 6 catches for 96 yards in Week 2, and 5 grabs for 119 yards in Week 3 mean Murphy makes the most of his touches.
Who's the Matchup: Houston's defense is ranked 31st against the pass, and has been victimized by opposing wideouts of all shapes, sizes, races and religions. Even with Bruce Gradkowski's average arm, the Raiders will look to throw the ball a bunch in this one.
The Final Verdict: He'll get his looks, and has the hands and speed to make good things happen when he does. He'll easily get to 90 yards on 5 catches.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Clark is arguably the most versatile receiver in Indianapolis' arsenal. He faced double teams most of last week's game, but still caught 5 balls for 44 yards.
Who's The Matchup: That would be the simply horrendous Jacksonville defense. Denver had enough manpower to double team Clark all game long. The Jags have the warm bodies to do that, but they don't have the talent to actually cover him.
The Final Verdict: Clark might not get a ton of looks, as the Colts' receivers will be open most of the day. But expect him to make the most of what he gets. 6 catches, 95 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: It's a good thing Fitzgerald is one of the NFL's most talented receivers, because with Derek Anderson throwing him the ball, he wouldn't sniff this list if he wasn't. He's got the wingspan to get poorly thrown balls, the speed to catch up to overthrown ones, and the size and strength to make big plays.
Who's The Matchup: The Cardinals face San Diego in Week 4, and while their pass defense is solid, Ftiz should manage to catch a few big yardage passes thrown his way, since it's all Anderson's got in his arsenal.
The Final Verdict: It might not be pretty, but expect Fitz to get you 90 yards on 7 catches, while watching 5 or 6 balls sail well right or left of him.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Calvin Johnson has the skill set of a top 5 NFL receiver. He's been plagued by inconsistent quarterback play and incessant double teams, but always seems to manage to break a play or two per game.
Who's The Matchup: The Green Bay Packers do Johnson no favors, with their deep secondary capable of locking him down. Even so, expect Shaun Hill to throw to him almost every time he drops back, meaning Johnson can't help but break a play or two.
The Final Verdict: 8 catches for 90 yards. Most of that will come on a 45-yard pass early in the game.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: There hasn't been a lot that's gone right for the 49ers through three weeks, but one of the bright spots has been Gore. He's the only consistent producer on offense, and with the number of carries he gets per game, he's capable of breaking of a couple of 20 or 30 yard runs.
Who's the Matchup: Atlanta ranks squarely in the middle of the pack in run defense, but San Fran is going to try and establish the run early this week, meaning lots of carries for the big man.
The Final Verdict: We're going a little conservative here and saying 98 yards on 20 carries. He can easily perform better, though.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: All you need to see to know McCoy is fully capable of going off are his Week 2 stats. 16 carries, 120 yards. He's got big play potential written all over him.
Who's The Matchup: The Redskins have stunk against the pass, which might hurt McCoy's carry totals a bit. But we've already seen he can do more with less, so don't be surprised to see a big run or two help boost his numbers.
The Final Verdict: 12 carries, 99 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: We've seen Mendenhall bust big runs twice in three games this year, so we know he's capable of them. He's a fast, strong runner, who seems to thrive against decent defenses, and with Charlie Batch at quarterback, the Steelers will run early and often in this one.
Who's the Matchup: The Ravens aren't a great matchup, but we saw that their defense isn't invincible anymore last week.
The Final Verdict: Mendenhall should finish with 105 yards on 15 carries, and break a couple of 20-25 yard runs for good measure.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: White has the height, vertical leap, speed and hands to make him a fantastic downfield target, and the Falcons love to feed him the ball on a regular basis.
Who's the Matchup: San Francisco's defense hit the ground stumbling in 2010, and are still trying to regroup. Look for White and quarterback Matt Ryan to exploit that all day long.
The Final Verdict: Ryan and White should hook up on a long pass early, and then settle in for a strong game. 8 catches, 105 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Jennings hasn't had the kind of success we'd expect from him through three weeks, but he's also faced a couple of strong defenses who keyed on him in Buffalo and Chicago. He's got the speed and hands to make big plays all game long, and he'll rewards you in this week's favorable matchup.
Who's the Matchup: Detroit's secondary isn't good enough to contain Jennings like Chicago did last week, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be looking to feed him the ball early and often over the top.
The Final Verdict: Jennings should break out of his early season funk to the tune of 100 yards on 7 catches.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Gates is the best receiver in San Diego, and even though teams know where the ball is going, they seem powerless to stop the big, rangy tight end.
Who's the Matchup: Arizona's secondary has been powerless to stop even the most punchless of passing attacks; what hope could they possibly have against the Chargers?
The Final Verdict: 8 catches, 100 yards for Gates.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Johnson has battled an ankle sprain the past two weeks and might still miss this week's contest for the Texans. But indications are that the wideout will play through the pain, and even with the injury, Andre is still one of the league's most dangerous receivers.
Who's The Matchup: Nnamdi Asomugha and the Raiders host Houston this week. Johnson could see his numbers drop a bit from his usual lofty standards, but expect him to break a big gain or two either way.
The Final Verdict: If he plays, 7 catches for 100 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Forte's value comes not from his rushing, as he's an average runner at best. Instead, it's his unique combination of rushing and receiving that make him so tough to stop. He went off in Weeks 1 and 2, so he could easily do it again this week.
Who's the Matchup: The Giants' defense is terrible, and struggles to contain traditional running backs. What hope do they have against Forte's unique skills?
The Final Verdict: 60 yards rushing, 40 receiving, and an all around strong day from Matt Forte.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Marshall and quarterback Chad Henne finally got the kinks worked out of their connection on Sunday night, as Marshall broke the 100 yards receiving mark. Now that the first is out of the way, expect it to be a regular occurance with his skill set.
Who's the Matchup: New England's secondary hasn't looked very good this season, so expect Miami to throw to Marshall early and often.
The Final Verdict: 9 catches, 110 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Shocked to see Brandon Lloyd this high? Don't be. He's Denver's top deep threat through three weeks, and defenses and fantasy teams routinely forget all about him, meaning he's free to rack up yards.
Who's the Matchup: The Titans defense ranks third against opposing wideouts, but they'll have their hands full with Demaryius Thomas, Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal, once again leaving Lloyd to have a big game.
The Final Verdict: 7 catches, 110 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: With Pierre Garcon hurt and suffering from the dropsies, Collie has become Indy's best deep threat receiver. He's fast, has good hands, and gets yards after the catch.
Who's The Matchup: Jacksonville, whose defense has struggled to keep up with even the most mediocre offenses in the NFL. Imagine what the Colts will do to them in this one.
The Final Verdict: 6 catches, 110 yards. A big day from Collie in this one.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: McFadden has speed, strength, reliable hands, and is the go-to back in Oakland right now. He's broken the 100 yard barrier twice already this season, and nearly broke 150 yards in Week 2.
Who's the Matchup: The Houston Texans rank 12th against the run, but McFadden could get some yards receiving as well.
The Final Verdict: 80 rushing yards, 30 receiving yards. McFadden's balanced game will punish the Texans all day long.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Jackson has some of the best afterburners in football. He routinely smokes corners and safeties, and has the hands to make them pay. With Michael Vick dumping the ball to him over the top, Jackson has been a sensation through three weeks of the season.
Who's the Matchup: Jackson torches good and bad defenses alike, but the Redskins' pass defense is particularly horrendous.
The Final Verdict: 6 catches, 115 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Wayne may have lost a half step in the last year or two, but he makes up for it with his hands and crisp route running. Last week, with Champ Bailey putting the clamps on him, he still caught 4 passes for 65 yards.
Who's The Matchup: The Jaguars can't stop anyone in the Colts' offense, least of all the supremely talented and consistent Wayne.
The Final Verdict: 10 catches, 120 yards.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Boldin has gone off in two of the three weeks he's played this year. The Ravens love to throw him the ball, and Joe Flacco has the arm to get it to him over the top.
Who's the Matchup: Pittsburgh's defense is certainly formidable, but they lack the cover corners necessary to shut Boldin down.
The Final Verdict: 8 catches, 120 yards. Ride the hot hand till it cools off, and it shouldn't cool off this week.
Why He's a Big Play Candidate: Are you serious? Have you watched Johnson run the last three years? He's the best big play threat in the NFL, and he's the Titans' best offensive option by a mile and a half.
Who's the Matchup: Denver's defense has been surprisingly good against the run, but they've faced two teams without consistent run games, in Seattle and Indianapolis. Johnson is a decidedly different animal.
The Final Verdict: 25 carries, 140 yards. Johnson will blow up the Broncos' defense this week.