Fantasy Football Winners and Losers, Week 4: The Wide Receivers

Alex SandersonCorrespondent IIIOctober 4, 2011

Fantasy Football Winners and Losers, Week 4: The Wide Receivers

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    Week 4 of the fantasy NFL season answered a lot of questions for owners. The performances of several wide receivers will have a lasting effect on the rest of their season.

    This season has seen a lot of inconsistency from the likes of quarterbacks, receivers and running backs. The stock of players has been fluctuating more than ever and it's important to evaluate players on a weekly basis.

    Coming out of Week 4, a lot of wide receivers have a different outlook than they did heading into it. Whether it be because of an injury or a particular performance, the following receivers stand out after Week 4 due to a significant change.

Andre Johnson, HOU

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    While signs are pointing to Andre Johnson not suffering a long-term injury in Week 4, it would be a surprise if he doesn't miss at least a couple weeks with his hamstring issue.

    Johnson is one of the best players in the NFL but hasn't been able to stay completely healthy over the last couple of seasons. The resurgent Texans will miss their star wideout, as they lack another consistent receiver.

    Fantasy owners may have to be prepared to replace Johnson in their lineups in the short term. He was undoubtedly drafted as their first or second rounder, making this injury a rough blow.

Hakeem Nicks, NYG

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    After a solid performance in Week 1 of this season, Hakeem Nicks fell off the map a little bit in Weeks 2 and 3. His season is now fully underway after Week 4, however.

    Nicks went off for 10 catches and 162 yards as well as the game-winning touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Eli Manning appears to have his game back and Nicks is entrenched again as a weekly WR1.

    The talented receiver has been limited by injuries in the early going, but looked 100 percent on Sunday. Any buy-low period that he may have had is now long gone.

Brandon Marshall, MIA

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    The fantasy stock on Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall is not looking good in the near future, and that's not just because he continues to drop pass after pass.

    Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4. Early signs are that he will be ready to play in Week 6 after the team's bye, but it's unknown if he will be 100 percent.

    Marshall is not going to be a fantasy option at least the next two weeks due to the bye in Week 5 and then a brutal matchup against the Jets in Week 6. The Jets are coming off a week where they limited Baltimore Ravens' No. 1 wideout Anquan Boldin to just one catch.

Marques Colston, NO

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    New Orleans Saints No. 1 wideout Marques Colston returned to action in a limited role in Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The good thing was that he didn't receive a setback in the game and should be fully ready to go from here on out.

    If Colston can repeat what fellow receiver Lance Moore did this season, he's going to have a very strong Week 5. Moore was limited with an injury in Week 2 but then came back to torch the Texans the following week.

    The Saints passing attack involves a lot of different weapons, but Colston has always been the most consistent target of quarterback Drew Brees. Look for him to quickly re-establish himself as a top-20 wideout in the next few weeks.

Mario Manningham, NYG

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    As good a week as Nicks had, fellow wideout Mario Manningham's was just as bad. Hyped as an emerging fantasy stud this year, Manningham has done little to live up to it.

    Manningham was replaced last week in two-receiver sets by Victor Cruz, who has severely outperformed him this year. He's going to have to work hard to get back in the good graces of Eli Manning after struggling with his routes against the Cardinals.

    The big problem here is that Cruz has been playing very well. The talent that Manningham possesses is hard to ignore, but he may have already lost his chance to become an elite receiver this season.

Julio Jones, ATL

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    Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones has yet to catch a touchdown in the NFL. That stat is a fluke, however, as he has been making strides on a weekly basis.

    He caught 11 passes for 127 yards against Seattle on Sunday, and you would think the touchdowns would have to be coming shortly. His fantasy potential is sky high for this year and beyond.

    After a slow start for Matt Ryan and the passing game, Atlanta has kicked it into high gear of late. The Falcons are now looking more like the juggernaut offense that they were expected to be this year.