NFL Week 4 Sunday Recap
Well what a crazy Sunday it has been. Great chance your team had a ton of fantasy points. A couple sleepers came almost out of no where and a couple studs disappeared. Spoiler alert: Andre Johnson owners may have two ‘bye-weeks’ this year. Let’s try and make sense of this seemingly dizzy to understand day.
Bears 34 – Panthers 29
Game Studs: Matt Forte, Cam Newton
Absolutely brilliant day from Matt Forte. Over 200 yards on the ground silences the critics who said the Bears can’t run the ball. O and he added 4 catches for 23 yards with a huge TD on the ground. I’ll say this, Matt Forte owners could possibly have the steal of the year and he is an absolute must start match-up proof stud. He was the only one worth starting on the Bears and it showed. Cutler looked pedestrian, again, against a lackluster Carolina defense. Tough to start Cutler unless you are in a really deep league.
How about Cam ‘won’t do *crap’ Newton. Another 30+ fantasy day. Guys, get him in your line up, I’m buying at his current price. He only had 400+ yards in the air and 70+ on the ground. Another surprise was DeAngelo Williams who basically doubled his yearly stats on the first drive. Finally he is starting to pay off for his off season contract. Not a great day, but his 82 rushing yards were best on the team and he was the back of choice as he out carried Steward 10 to 8. Breakout game could be ahead, definitely a buy low scenario. And some guy named ‘the real’ Steve Smith had 8 catches for 181 yards without a TD. Keep starting Smith as Brandon Lafell looked awful dropping passes in the numbers and no ability to break tackles. Final note on this game, Greg Olson is still a solid TE1 option as he posted a respectable 5-50-1 scoring line. Not a ton of upside, but the consistency is there.
Bengals 23 – Bills 20
Game Studs: Andy Dalton, Fred Jackson
No more undefeated teams in the AFC, and props to the Bills for their solid start, but they really under performed this one. Andy Dalton and AJ Green really have great chemistry with both posting solid lines. A couple of concerns with Dalton so I’m still not buying on him. Dalton is inaccurate, it’s a fact. He was 18-36 with 2 INT’s and could have had a couple more easily. Von Miller gave Dalton hell all day. Jermaine Gresham posted a decent game (40-70-1) proving he is worthy of a look if you need help at the TE position. So I’m buying Green/Gresham and selling on Dalton. Benson had a great day yards wise but really need to see him start to hit pay dirt; can’t complain about a 100+ game on the ground though. Benson is a decent low-end RB2 high-end flex play but no real upside, yet.
Bill’s looked fantastic at making the Bengals defense look great. The seemingly top offense in the AFC through three weeks looked dumb-founded by the pass rush of the Bengals. Fitzpatrick was unable to find the end zone (no INT’s either) and only Fred Jackson produced quality numbers. Jackson found the end zone, but was unable to eclipse 100 total yards (66 on the ground 32 in the air). This game was a definite reality check for Bill’s owners but don’t be too concerned. Bengals defense looked fantastic against the pass the first three weeks against lesser opponents. Perhaps they are for real. Hard to run when you can’t threaten with the pass. I’m still starting Jackson, Fitzpatrick, and Stevie Johnson on a weekly basis. And finally, Chandler doesn’t score a TD. He is only worthy of a start in deep leagues.
Titans 31 – Browns 13
Game Studs: Matt Hasselbeck
It’s official, the Titan’s are for real. If I told you the Titan’s could put up 31 points and Chris Johnson accounted for none of them you would call me crazy. Titan’s didn’t even look stellar by any stretch. Hasselbeck was 10/20 with 220 yards 3 TD’s and an INT. Time to reiterate the obvious, Titan’s are a legit contender with Hasselbeck at QB. He isn’t a great start on any given week, but he doesn’t hurt the value of those around him. Going into this game it was an awful match-up for Nate Washington, and it showed. The new no. 1 at Tennessee hauled in 2 grabs for 62 yards. CJ2K has arrived and he had his breakout game. Before today he didn’t have 100 total yards and he finally was able to break (barely) 100 yds on the ground against a respectable Browns defense. No Titan’s receiver had over 2 catches. Consider it a product of only 10 completions. Jared Cook was the only worth mentioning name with a TD, he is still a decent low end TE1.
The Browns looked flat on their feet the entire game. This stat is not a joke, Colt McCoy through the ball 61 times. You are not going to win a game with 61 attempts (he actually completed 40 of them). His 40 completions awarded him another 300+ game in his arsenal but a lot of his yards came in garbage time. Even though he had 40 completions no player had over 6 completions with Ben Watson having his loan TD. It could have been anyone, Brown’s offense is pretty tough to predict and justify a starting spot for anyone. Hillis looked slow, not that anyone is saying he’s lightning fast either. He had a boring 10 rushes for 46 yards and 5 catches for 23 yards. If you started Hillis in a PPR league it wasn’t awful. If you have Hillis I would make sure to grab Monterio Hardesty off the waiver-wire. He could easily replicate Peyton Hillis week by week and has less of an injury risk. One of the better hand-cuffs in the league.
Lions 34 – Cowboys 30
Game Studs: Calvin Johnson, Tony Romo.
Oops. If you benched Romo you are paying for it. Hurt or not, he out performed every prediction with flying colors. It doesn’t seem to matter Miles Austin is out as both Jason Witten and Dez Bryant posted good numbers. Bryant may have only reeled in 3 catches, but two of them are TD’s so I’ll take it. Did I mention how great Romo looked? Start him until he can’t physically throw a football anymore. Not even going to talk about Felix Jones, he looked average. Keep starting him at flex.
Lions, oh my. Calvin Johnson had another 2 TD game. Seriously, this guy could score if Revis cloned himself and they doubled him up. Megatron is the best WR in the nfl. Stafford looked shaky and young. He made questionable calls and it feels like only time until he has another major injury. At some point you have to sell high, but if he makes it through the entire season you could win your league quite easily. Those of you with the Stafford-Megatron combo are loving it. Looks like Jahvid Best still can’t replicate his only good game of his career (week 1 of last year). If there is a great name on the waiver wire I’d look that way. Brandon Pettigrew looks good for 6-60 every week. If you have a bad TE you may want to pick him up.
Chiefs 22 – Vikings 17
Game Studs: Ryan Succop?
It’s sad when the strongest performer in a game is the kicker. He punched in 5 field goals from decent lengths. Matt Cassel found the end zone, some how. He looks average on a team who needs someone to step up. Clearly Cassel is on the outs in KC if they win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes (did you see how upset he was on the sidelines with the coaching staff?). Dwayne Bowe is finally paying off his value. 5 catches for 100+ yds and the lone TD for KC. He is officially a borderline must-start on a weekly basis. There were no KC running backs worth mentioning, they were all ineffective against Jared Allen and the Vikings.
McNabb, where you been man? He actually looked like an NFL quarterback. While he was only 18-30 with just over 200 yds (2 TDs-1 INT), he managed the game well and kept his team in the game. Looks like we can start some Vikings not named Peterson from now on. Speaking of Peterson, he was held under 100 total yds. Sadly neither Harvin or Shiancoe found the end zone. I’m still starting both but don’t expect a TD every week. If I had to pick one, I’d start Harvin over Shiancoe.
Reskins 17 – Rams 10
Game Studs: N/A
Well here is an easy game to review. Neither of these teams wanted to win this game. Rams just can’t do anything on offense and the Redskins don’t know how to finish the game. Grossman tries really hard to ‘share’ the ball to opposing defenses. The Rams decided to accept his help on two occasions. Grossman looked bad against a very favorable match-up. Officially downgrading all Redskins until further notice. Ryan Torain took over as the ‘best’ running back in Redskins, but that means nothing. His appearance means if you can pick up Torain on waiver-wire do so and trade him away immediately. Santana Moss probably the only receiver worth owning had his game saved with a great looking touchdown. Other then that he was hardly involved and when he was the passes were miss timed.
And the Rams. What can I say about the Rams. It’s clear Sam Bradford is missing something very important, a no. 1 receiver. It’s hard to get the ball to anyone without a serious threat. Mike Sims-Walker is a solid player but doesn’t have an ability to take the top off the defense. Even with Amendola back I’m selling on Bradford and the Ram’s receiver’s in all formats. Also, Jackson still looks bothered by his leg. Don’t sell on him yet, but another bad week and we could be seeing a running back by community setting which benefits no one.
49ers 24 – Eagles 23
Game Studs: Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Michael Vick
Yup. Alex Smith appears on the ‘stud’ list. Seeing a flaw with this system. Or maybe not. Smith had one of his best pro days and he did it by spreading the ball out. Eight receivers had at least one catch and six had at least two. A page straight out of the New England team manual. Frank Gore didn’t start the game at running back but he sure finished it. In a game where he was supposed to be limited he managed 139 total yards and looked fast. Gore owners should still handcuff him with Kendall Hunter as he is another huge injury risk. But I’m buying if anyone is selling. Gotta love someone who can break 125+ on the ground hurt, can’t wait to see him 100%.
Dream team, dream team, where art thou dream team? O I know, in last place in the NFC East with a 1-3 record. It’s hard to blame Vick for this loss but he really went into hibernation in the 2nd half. He failed to get his team in the end zone after putting his team up early. The Eagles need to do a better job of setting up the pass with the run. LeSean McCoy had 9 runs for 18 yards, what? McCoy’s day wasn’t all bad, he had a goal line ‘catch’ for a TD which gave him fantasy value, but at the rate the Eagles are going they are going to give McCoy more runs. He only has 3 stud performances out of 4. Not bad. It’s hard to say who had a better day at WR for the Eagles (Jackson or Maclin) both have a legit argument for the title but it doesn’t matter in the end. Jackson had more yards but Maclin had better catches and TD that got called back. Start both with confidence every week.
Saints 23 – Jaguars 10
Game Studs: Jimmy Graham
The Jaguars seem to have given up on the year. Blaine Gabbert might be a good quarterback down the road but he should be a developmental project. Having him as the QB removes all value from Mike Thomas and Mercedes Lewis. Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t post great fantasy numbers but he looked good from a game perspective. 11 carries for 84 yards would look a lot better with a touchdown but as an MJD owner you have to be happy he is still performing in this offense. I’m selling on all Jag’s except MJD.
Well the Saint’s came marching in and the Saint’s did exactly what they had to do to win. Clearly the weakness in the Jaguars is their LB core and Jimmy Graham exploited it all day long. His stat line was extremely attractive (10-132-1). Could have a new super star in the making there. Try and buy if you can. Has Darren Sproles become the no. 1 back in New Orleans? It seems like it. He only had seven carries but he made every one of them count. He clearly doesn’t need 20 touches a game to be effective. He had 131 totals yards and added a touch down through the air. Absolute PPR stud. If you have the luxury of picking a Saints RB every week I’d roll with Sproles who should get looks in the red zone.
Texans 17 – Steelers 10
Game Studs: Arian Foster
Arian Foster finally looked like a first rounder and it’s about time. Ben Tate is simply licking his chops waiting for his chances but if Foster plays at this level every game he should carry at least 90% of the work load. Foster had 30 attempts for 155 yards and a TD. Now, expecting 30 touches every game is naive but between 23-25 should be a safe bet. Get him in your line-up. Other then Foster, the Texans were drained when Andre Johnson left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. It looks bad. He fell after a catch, untouched, and he looked like he was really uncomfortable. Hamstrings are tricky and I’d expect him to miss 1-2 weeks to let his hammy heal. The Texans can’t afford to lose him. Fantasy owners will have to downgrade their Texans not named Arian Foster if he is out for any significant time. I’m not buying Jacoby Jones or Kevin Walter as a serious threat. Schaub finished 14-21 for 138 yards and a touchdown to Owen Daniels.
Despite only 10 points I am in no way worrying about the Steelers. Obviously Rashard Mendenhall doesn’t look like the work horse of before, but his TD looked promising and it was the lone bright point for the Steelers. Mike Wallace was on pace to surpass 100 yds and tie the record for most consecutive games with that many yards but he was silent in the second half, as was the entire Steelers passing game. If Big Ben doesn’t play next week (50/50 right now) downgrade all Steelers by a slim margin.
Giants 31 – Cardinals 27
Game Studs: Hakeem Nicks, Eli Manning, Beanie Wells
Boy o’ boy do we have drama. Victor Cruz decides he is down, puts the ball on ground, and the Cardinals scoop it up. If you haven’t seen the play look it up. Referee’s declared he went down like a returner in the end zone. I don’t think we were watching the same game as him. This led to a quick 29 yard TD catch by Nicks which is the only reason either Nicks or Manning are ‘studs’ for this game. Pure dumb luck. Bradshaw and Jacobs saw a 60/40 (respectively) split and Jacobs found the end zone. Both are solid plays with the potential for a big game any given Sunday.
The Cardinals can thank Beanie Wells for being in the game at all. He had a career esque game and hasn’t posted a game under 90 yds on the ground yet when he has played. Hamstring injury or not, he is a must start every week in all formats. There is no one to steal touches from him, I repeat, he is the feature back and his only downside is his long history of injuries. Ride the wave while it’s high in Arizona. Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald have great chemistry. To be fair, any decent QB could have great chemistry with Fitz, he is simply a mismatch for any secondary. Kolb is a high end QB2 match-up dependent but Fitz is a top 5 play always.
Falcons 30 – Seahawks 28
Game Studs: Michael Turner, Tarvaris Jackson
Apparently Tarvaris Jackson can play. He is still the widely inconsistent QB we have all come to know, but a 3-2 TD/INT ratio ain’t bad when you pad it with 319 passing yards. Having Sidney Rice back, and healthy, is a luxury most QB’s would love. Seven Seattle receivers had at least 3 catches. Color me surprised. Baldwin and Rice both posted great fantasy days with Rice catching a deep pass. I would start both regularly (Baldwin more of a flex guy).
The only true downside to Michael Turner is his lack of catches. He really has no part of the passing game, unlike most backs now a days. This downside can be overlooked if he keeps scoring (two in this game). Matt Ryan was a plus and boy does he love Julio Jones. Atlanta gave all their arms and legs for Jones, but he has looked well worth the investment. Julio hauled in 11 catches for 127 yards. He outed Roddy White who ‘only’ had 6 catches for 78 yards. Both Jones and White are top 20 receivers (White a top 10) and are must starts.
Packers 49 – Broncos 23
Game Studs: Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Orton
It’s unfair to put Orton in the same category as Rodgers as Rodgers has the fantasy game of the year. Four passing touches and two on the ground. O and he also had over 400 yards passing. First player in history to complete this monstrous accomplishment. He spread the ball around well, and made the Broncos look stupid. Exploiting a bad defense is a specialty of Rodgers and at this pace (averaging roughly 333 yards a game) he will have the greatest fantasy year ever (Cam Newton may have something to say about that). James Starks did well in the absence of Ryan Grant but we still don’t know who the feature back going forward is going to be. My hunch says Starks.
The fantasy community was banking on garbage time points for the Broncos and they really didn’t come. Denver only managed 6 points in the second half as Green Bay didn’t relax one bit. Orton posted an average day with 273 yards with 3 TD/3 INT. Surprise of the day for Denver was Willis McGahee who managed over 100 yards on the ground on only 15 attempts. Moreno was a no show with 4 yards on 2 attempts. Eric Decker showed he should be owned and started in all leagues. Two touchdowns and 56 yards in the air (on 5 grabs). Not a stellar day, but he has showed immense consistency in this offense. Brandon Lloyd had a decent day. He posted 8-136-0 which didn’t kill you if you had him in your line up.
Patriots 31 – Raiders 19
Game Studs: Wes Welker, Tom Brady
Biggest thing to take from this game was Steven Ridely as the premiere back in New England. A change is in the air. The ‘Law Firm’ BenJarvus Green-Ellis had most of the touches but was unable to outproduce Ridely in yardage. Both had a touch down (Ridely’s much more impressive) but going forward I like Ridely to start stealing more and more touches. Pick him up, wait maybe one more week, and profit. Brady and Welker were great again, and show no sign of slowing up. Rob Gronkowski was silenced by the Raiders. One catch for 14 yards is awful. For now mark it down as an oddity. He is still the TE of choice in New England but with Hernandez back it’s a tight 1-2.
As for the Raiders, it was a bad performance fantasy wise. Darren McFadden was held to 75 yards on 14 touches against a defense which isn’t great against the run. The lone Oakland passing touchdown belonged to Denarius Moore. Without that touchdown he wasn’t getting many looks. Quiet expectations there for the time being. It should be noted Maryland product Darrius Heyward-Bey led the teach in receiving not Jacoby Ford who failed to even get one catch. Strange situation in Oakland WR wise. Hard to predict week to week who will lead the time.
Chargers 26 – Dolphins 16
Game Studs: N/A
Chad Henne left the game early for the Dolphins which gave Matt Moore the ball which is not a good sign. Hopefully Henne is full strength next week but we should know more by Thursday. If Moore is the QB it will be tough to recommend Brandon Marshall as anything more then a Flex play. Combined the two QB’s didn’t eclipse 200 yards. Lex Hilliard stole a touch down from Reggie Bush who saw almost all the action on the ground. He didn’t post great numbers but he is the RB to own in Miami for the time being. Rookie sensation Daniel Thomas still lurks.
Somehow Phillip Rivers eclipsed 300 yards (barely, 307) but the Chargers really didn’t need much from him. The game flow never really lead to Miami doing much of anything and all Rivers had to do was not give the ball away, which he did not. He ended up with one touch down hauled in by Vincent Jackson who still looks like an absolute stud. McMicheal was hurt in the game which is bad news for the Chargers. Kory Sperry stands to see more work if he can’t go but don’t expect much out of the 3rd year man out of Colorado State. Deeper leagues may want to pay attention to injury reports and respond accordingly.
Ravens 34 – Jets 17
Game Studs: Baltimore D/ST, Jets D/ST
Starting with Mark Sanchez, to put it blunt, he looked awful. He was inaccurate, and had no response to an injury ridden Ravens secondary. He finished 11 for 35 for 119 yards and an interception. All other Jets looked bad as a result of Sanchez who seems unable to pass with pressure. No Jet had over 37 total yards and no touch downs. On the positive side, the Jets defense actually looked better then the score indicated. Rex Ryan drew up some great blitzes and the defense made some great plays. Jets D/ST, as expected, is always a great start.
As was said about the Jets can be said about the Ravens. Joe Flacco only barely out produced Mark Sancehz as he was 10 for 31 for 163 yards and a pick. He looked early and often for his rookie receiver Torrey Smith but they were unable to connect on any of their deep attempts. The Ravens really need an upgrade at receiver. All words aside, I still like Lee Evans and Torrey Smith going forward. Anquan Boldin is going to draw all the attention from no. 1 CB’s and most teams are not as well equipped as the Jets. Ray Rice had 66 yards and a score from the three yard line which saved his day. Nothing to worry about here, no passing game leads to low production from your backs.
That’s all the analysis for today. Check back tomorrow for waiver pick-ups and the Monday night game analysis.
*A stud is any player with 20+ points in standard leagues
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