NFL Week 4 Predictions: Projecting Best, Worst Sunday Performances
Week 4 of the 2013 NFL season brings us the beginning of bye season. As such, weekly rankings get shaken up from here until we say bye to the byes.
*These predictions are based on offensive skill players who are expected to start or garner a significant amount of game action. You wouldn't expect a fourth-string receiver to have a good game—those predictions are implied.
Best at Quarterback
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning is on pace for 6,096 passing yards and 64 passing touchdowns this season.
As unlikely as that is, he is playing at a godlike level. The addition of Wes Welker and emergence of tight end Julius Thomas have elevated this offense to near flawless levels. And he gets to play against the Eagles next.
Philadelphia boasted the fourth-worst passing defense heading into Week 4 to boot. No word on whether Manning actually licked his chops all week long.
Prediction: 375 passing yards, three touchdowns
Robert Griffin III, Washington
The 2013 season has gotten off to a terrible start for Washington and Robert Griffin III.
The second-year quarterback has seemed timid at times, rusty at others. He has saved his stat lines thanks to garbage time in two games—his performances improving as defenses softened.
This week, Griffin gets to face the Raiders. Oakland has actually done a decent defensive job despite the ravages that have befallen that roster. Playing against the Jaguars will do that.
Prediction: 325 passing yards, two touchdowns—five carries, 30 yards
Worst at Quarterback
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
His top receiver is gimpy, and he is going up against the best secondary in the NFL. The Seahawks are more vulnerable on the road without that 12th man to buoy them, but they will still be a vicious test for that Texans offense.
Prediction: 225 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers might have had it with Josh Freeman, but that doesn't mean rookie Mike Glennon is going to fare much better.
Prediction: 175 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
Best at Running Back
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Things haven't gone so smoothly for Adrian Peterson since he took his first carry of the season for a 78-yard touchdown.
The stud running back has averaged just 2.98 yards per carry since that inaugural scamper, a woefully low number for a guy who averaged 3.9 yards after contact per carry last season. He has scored two touchdowns since then as well, but he hasn't quite lived up to his No. 1-overall status over the past two-plus games.
That all changes this weekend when he squares off against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season. All Day is in for a nice game.
Prediction: 24 carries, 160 yards, two touchdowns—two receptions, 15 yards
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
He hasn't quite had a Supernova Sunday, but Jamaal Charles has been producing nicely thus far this season, especially in PPR leagues.
The Giants, meanwhile, are in shambles. They gave up two long touchdown runs to Knowshon Moreno just two weeks ago.
Charles is much better than Moreno.
Prediction: 21 carries, 120 yards, one touchdown—seven receptions, 55 yards
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Were it not for the Rams imploding on Thursday night, the Lions would currently allow the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. That is a rather curious statistic given that front four featuring Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, though the latter has dealt with injuries.
The Bears, meanwhile, have done a good job of getting Matt Forte the ball and finally living up to fantasy expectations this season—at least through three games.
He should have a nice weekend.
Prediction: 18 carries, 110 yards, one touchdown—five receptions, 45 yards
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
He was in the "worst" section at running back last week and somehow had a fine day, though that was mostly due to the easy touchdown he had from the one-yard line.
This week, Trent Richardson gets the lowly Jaguars and the backfield to himself, which should mean a huge game.
Prediction: 20 carries, 125 yards, one touchdown—three receptions, 25 yards
Worst at Running Back
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Yes, Chris Johnson had a 94-yard touchdown run against the Jets last season, but this is a whole new ballgame.
Tennessee's offensive line has improved, but Johnson will find tough sledding against Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Quinton Coples and the rest of that fearsome front.
Prediction: 15 carries, 45 yards—two receptions, 15 yards
Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Maurice Jones-Drew was a garbage-time hero against the Seahawks last week—the only reason he got any traction in an otherwise awful matchup.
The Texans should play a much more competitive game, thus forcing Seattle to actually play defense in the second half. That could spell trouble for Arian Foster, who hasn't quite lit up opposing defenses thus far this season.
He is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry, and he has only hit paydirt once in three games.
Prediction: 15 carries, 50 yards—three receptions, 20 yards
Best at Wide Receiver
Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
That thing you read about Peyton Manning in the first slide? It applies to just about every receiver in Denver.
Guessing which one is going to hit "bingo" is a bit of a soothsayer's game, but Philadelphia has given up a lot of yardage and touchdowns to second-choice opposing receivers. Demaryius Thomas remains the team's best receiver, but Wes Welker could be the biggest beneficiary of facing that sieve-like Philadelphia defense.
Washington's Leonard Hankerson, San Diego's Eddie Royal and Kansas City's Donnie Avery have combined for 311 yards and five touchdowns against the Eagles through the first three weeks.
Prediction: seven receptions, 145 yards, one touchdown
Pierre Garcon, Washington
It has been a good couple weeks for Pierre Garcon owners after his Week 1 dud. He didn't get into the end zone against Detroit last week, but he caught eight passes for the second straight game, getting to 23 on the year.
Prediction: six carries, 120 yards, one touchdown
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
With Miles Austin out this Sunday, Tony Romo is going to have to rely heavily on his top guys, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
Prediction: nine carries, 115 yards, one touchdown
Worst at Wide Receiver
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Freeman might have played his way out of a job, but Vincent Jackson might just miss him after this Sunday. It doesn't help that he has been dealing with an injury all week long.
Prediction: four receptions, 45 yards
Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings
Who would have thunk Greg Jennings would see a production when he signed with Minnesota? After all, Christian Ponder and Aaron Rodgers are interchangeable, right?
Jennings doesn't even get Ponder this week, as the third-year quarterback sits with an injury. Thankfully, the Vikings have Matt Cassel here to ruin his stat line.
Prediction: five receptions, 30 yards
Best at Tight End
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
We may as well put a pin in Graham here for every week, but this is a particularly good one for him.
The Dolphins haven't been very good against tight ends this season, though Tony Gonzalez didn't get much last week. That was more due to game-planning for Miami's pass rush than anything Miami did to stop him.
Graham is the game's best tight end until Rob Gronkowski gets healthy.
Prediction: seven receptions, 110 yards, one touchdown
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
As with Dez Bryant, Jason Witten is going to be integral to Tony Romo's weekend with Miles Austin out.
Prediction: seven receptions, 85 yards, one touchdown
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
This doesn't necessarily mean he will have a top-five day, but Heath Miller has sneaked back into fantasy relevance and has a good matchup against the Vikings this week.
Minnesota has given up the second-most fantasy points to tight ends thus far this season, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger relies on his tight ends a fair amount.
Prediction: six receptions, 75 yards, one touchdown
Worst at Tight End
Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
Don't be fooled by his Week 3 explosion—Scott Chandler has been here before.
Every time he has a big game, it seems like he disappears for weeks at a time. He has averaged 38.8 yards in the games after he has had 60-plus receiving yards. The Ravens have tightened up against tight ends since giving up that monstrous game to Julius Thomas.
Prediction: three receptions, 25 yards