Here we are, and it's already Week 4 and the end of September. Time stops for no one in the fantasy football world, regardless of whether you're winning or losing. This week marks the start of bye weeks in the NFL, and the depth of your squad becomes exponentially more important than in previous weeks.
Owners of Adrian Peterson, Miles Austin, and Tony Romo are most likely panicking unless they have the roster depth to fill in those holes with a solid contributor, while owners of Brett Favre, Percy Harvin, and Jamal Charles are likely relieved to have a week off from the crippling disappointment that has accompanied these players' early season struggles.
Week 4 is traditionally a crucial week. If you're sitting at 0-3 right now, you know that 0-4 could signal your teams early demise. If you're 1-2, a win this week could give you the momentum needed to propel your team on a nice little run through your division in the coming weeks. And if you're lucky enough to have a winning record or even be undefeated right now, a win this week gives you even more breathing room over your division rivals in the race for the playoffs.
And so, without further adieu, we present our Week 4 picks.....
1. Matt Ryan, ATL vs. SF: Matty Ice looked fantastic last week in the Falcons win over the Saints, and the 49ers defense is just plain terrible in pass coverage.
2. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA @ STL: Although I haven't seen much of the Seahawks, I know enough about the Rams anonymous defensive backfield to know that Hasselbeck should have a chance to put up some nice numbers. I wouldn't go benching anyone that's top six and active this week, but if you've got Favre or Romo and you need a spot start, I'd go with Hasselbeck.
1. Kyle Orton, DEN @ TEN: Orton has been one of the biggest surprises of this fantasy season so far, but he struggled to find the end zone last week, and with Knowshon Moreno hurt, teams are sure to focus on shutting down the Broncos' aerial attack. Tennessee's defense is one of the best in the league, so Orton will likely have a tough afternoon in Nashville.
2. Joe Flacco, BAL @ PIT: Flacco spends last week on out start list, then takes back his usual spot on the sit list. Pittsburgh's defense is on fire right now, I'd sit Flacco down for the week and find a better match-up on the waiver wire.
1. Arian Foster, HOU @ OAK: My then-undefeated opponent last week sat Foster for some crazy reason, and he lost. Going against one of the worst run defenses in football, you'd be certifiably insane if you bench Foster this week.
2. Joseph Addai, IND @ JAX: This pick may end up blowing up in my face, but I feel like Indy may score a lot of points in the first half against the Jags and spend the rest of the game pounding away with Addai. He should be good for a score or two in this match-up.
1. Michael Turner, ATL vs. SF: As bad as the Niner's defense has played this year, they've been solid against the run. Patrick Willis will be shadowing Turner all game, so the Falcons will probably abandon the run early when they realize just how bad San Fran's secondary truly is.
2. Ray Rice, BAL @ PIT: Again, going against the Steelers, who shut down Michael Turner and Chris Johnson so far this season, is stupid. Give the struggling Rice a week off this week and find a better match-up on your bench.
1. Johnny Knox, CHI @ NYG: The Giants defense has been freakin' awful this year, and although the Bears like to spread the ball around a lot, Knox has taken the lead as Jay Cutler's favorite target. Look for some monster numbers out of Knox in this one.
2. Braylon Edwards, NYJ @ BUF: With the emergence of Dustin Keller, I think the Bills may pay extra attention to the Jets tight end this week, opening up some single coverage opportunities for Braylon to take advantage of.
1. Steve Smith, CAR @ NO: The Panthers offense is one big convoluted mess. Stay away from anyone not named DeAngelo Williams in this system.
2. Terrell Owens, CIN @ CLE: T.O. and Carson Palmer aren't on the same page yet, and Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley continue to take targets away from Owens. Keep T.O. on the bench until he proves his worth the start.
1. Zach Miller, OAK vs. HOU: New starter Bruce Gradkowski loves throwing to the tight end, and Miller is a good one. Plus Houston's defense gives up loads of passing yards to opposing tight ends.
2. Ben Watson, CLE vs. CIN: I may be going out on a limb here, but if you own Jason Witten or Visanthe Shiancoe, you should grab Watson off the waiver wire and give him a start this week. He caught the ball really well in last week's loss to Baltimore.
1. Brent Celek, PHI vs. WSH: Michael Vick has established some nice chemistry with his receiving corps. Unfortunately for his owners, that has come at the expense of Celek.
2. Vernon Davis, SF @ ATL: I just don't trust anyone in the 49er's offense right now. If you can find a suitable replacement, I'd strongly consider benching Davis this week while the 'Niners work through some new offensive coordinator growing pains.
1. Mike Nugent, CIN @ CLE: The Nuge has been one of the most productive kickers so far this season and going against Cleveland should help him reach double-digit points yet again.
2. John Carney, NO vs. CAR: The Saints picked up Carney this week to step in for the struggling Garret Hartley. Going against the hapless Panthers in the Superdome should leave Carney with plenty of chances to score some points.
1. Sebastian Janikowski, OAK vs. HOU: 'Bastian missed three field goals last week, including the game winner. Coach Cable might just go for two every time the Raiders score this week.
2. Lawrence Tynes, NYG vs. CHI: The Giants just straight up stink right now and Chicago's defense held their own against a high powered Green Bay offense. Tynes won't get many opportunities in this one.
1. Cincinnati Bengals @ CLE: Sooner or later the Brown's debacle at quarterback is going to come back to bite them in the ass. Whether it's Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace, the Bengals' secondary should grab a few turnovers against this pedestrian passing attack.
2. Tennessee Titans vs. DEN: The Titans defense is the second surest fantasy start going right now, right behind the Steelers defense. Denver's offense is probably in for a long afternoon in this one.
1. San Francisco 49er's @ ATL: The most overrated defense in football goes up against the most underrated receiver (Roddy White).
2. Arizona Cardinals @ SD: If there's one thing fantasy owners can seemingly count on week in and week out so far this season, it's a 300-yard multiple touchdown performance by super jerk Phillip Rivers.