Week 4 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you make a decision on players you are on the fence about.
When the season started you would have never expected Cedric Benson to be the most consistent Fantasy option for the Packers. But through three weeks, Benson has been more reliable than Aaron Rodgers , Greg Jennings , Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley .
In the past two games against Chicago and Seattle, Benson has 11 Fantasy points in each outing. And he should remain productive this week against the Saints. He might even have his best game of the season.
|Alfred Morris||at TB|
|Stevan Ridley||at BUF|
|Chris Johnson||at HOU|
|Darren Sproles||at GB|
|Steven Jackson||vs. SEA|
That's been the case for every running back to face New Orleans this year. Alfred Morris had 21 Fantasy points in Week 1, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both reached double digits in points in Week 2 and Jamaal Charles went off in Week 3 for 288 total yards (233 rushing) and a touchdown. Benson isn't going to approach Charles' stats, and he might not even duplicate what Morris did. But a third game in a row with double digits in Fantasy points is almost a given, especially if he continues to see the same amount of work. He had 24 touches against the Bears and 21 touches against the Seahawks.
Green Bay should come out angry in this game after what happened Monday night at Seattle with the controversial Hail Mary loss, and the Packers should punish this New Orleans defense in a variety of ways. Benson, as he has done the past two weeks, will have a significant role, which should make him a quality option for Fantasy owners.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Michael Bush , RB, Bears||16||12||83||10|
|Ben Roethlisberger , QB, Steelers||20||39||38||1|
|Joe Flacco , QB, Ravens||21||31||20||3|
|Andre Brown , RB, Giants||12||24||71||2|
|Shonn Greene , RB, Jets||8||4||45||43|
|Steven Jackson , RB, Rams||9||2||28||57|
|Vincent Jackson , WR, Buccaneers||7||2||69||86|
|Michael Vick , QB, Eagles||24||5||84||28|
|Philip Rivers , QB, Chargers||23||2||71||33|
|Brandon LaFell , WR, Panthers||10||2||61||73|
|Matt Schaub , QB, Texans||16||33||22||2|
|Larry Fitzgerald , WR, Cardinals||9||17||84||8|
|Wes Welker , WR, Patriots||8||14||82||12|
(vs. OAK): Manning had his best stat line
with the Broncos in Week 3 against the Texans with 330 passing yards and
two touchdowns, but there are still concerns with his arm strength,
especially after throwing 52 times. But he has a favorable matchup
against the Raiders and their depleted secondary, which just allowed 384
passing yards and four touchdowns to
last week. If the Raiders can't pressure Manning
he should be able to pick on converted safety
and the inexperienced
Philip Rivers (at KC): There's some concern with Rivers after getting two Fantasy points against the Falcons last week, and he now has two games with 15 Fantasy points or less to start the season. But there's a chance for him to rebound this week against the Chiefs, who have allowed at least two passing touchdowns to all three opposing quarterbacks they've faced in Matt Ryan , Ryan Fitzpatrick and Drew Brees . Rivers also has six touchdowns and three interceptions in his past four trips to Kansas City with at least 268 passing yards in all four outings.
Joe Flacco (vs. CLE): The Browns have played two games without cornerback Joe Haden the past two weeks and given up a combined 526 passing yards, six touchdowns and one interception against Andy Dalton and Fitzpatrick. Haden is still suspended for this game, and Flacco should continue to roll. He has at least 23 Fantasy points in two of his past three games, both at home, and he has at least two touchdowns in three of his past four meetings with the Browns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. NE): Fitzpatrick's shining moment last season was against the Patriots at home when he passed for 369 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a comeback victory. He averaged 19 Fantasy points in two games against New England in 2011, and he's off to a great start this year with at least 19 Fantasy points in all three outings against the Jets, Chiefs and Browns. Another positive for Fitzpatrick is he's been sacked only once, and the Patriots were just abused by Flacco last week.
Christian Ponder (at DET): Ponder has done an excellent job the past two games against the Colts and 49ers with five touchdowns over that span. He has yet to throw an interception, and he gets an added weapon this week with Jerome Simpson return from suspension to go with Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph . The Lions have allowed at least 21 Fantasy points each of the past two weeks against Alex Smith and Jake Locker and still don't have an interception in three games. Ponder had 115 passing yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions against the Lions in Detroit last season, but he looks like a different quarterback to start 2012.
|Carson Palmer||(at DEN)||He has at least 18 Fantasy points each week and should be in a shootout with Manning.|
|Andy Dalton||(at JAC)||His 58 Fantasy points the past two weeks are hard to ignore. So is the play of A.J. Green .|
|Josh Freeman||(vs. WAS)||The Redskins have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.|
(vs. NYG): Vick again got pummeled by the
Cardinals in Week 3, and Comcast Sports Net in Philadelphia reports he
was hit 20 times. He had his worst game of the season with six Fantasy
points, and he now has nine turnovers (six interceptions and three
fumbles) and nine sacks through three games. This comes at a bad time
against the Giants, who just held
to nine Fantasy points and should be able to pressure Vick all game. In
his past two games against the Giants at home, Vick has one rushing
touchdown and combined for 434 passing yards, no passing touchdowns and
Tony Romo (vs. CHI): Romo has been mediocre the past two games against Seattle and Tampa Bay with a combined 19 Fantasy points, and he's been let down by his offensive line and too many dropped passes. He has a tough matchup this week against the Bears, who have limited Andrew Luck , Aaron Rodgers and Sam Bradford to an average of 227 passing yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions. We'd like to see the Romo from Week 1, who lit up the Giants for 307 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but he's looking shaky right now coming into this game.
Alex Smith (at NYJ): The Jets don't have Darrelle Revis (knee) any more this season, but Smith still might not post enough production to be a starting Fantasy quarterback this week. He attempted a season-high 35 passes in Week 3 at the Vikings but had his worst outing with 12 Fantasy points in a 49ers loss. San Francisco likely will be more conservative in this matchup, and Smith should be limited. He's a No. 2 Fantasy passer in standard leagues this week.
Jake Locker (at HOU): You would think this is a good time to use Locker. He's coming off a career game against the Lions with 378 passing yards and two touchdowns, and the Texans just allowed 25 Fantasy points against Manning. But we're expecting a reversal of those performances this week. The Texans defense should be able to contain Locker and the Titans, and prior to facing the Lions he combined for 24 Fantasy points in two games against the Patriots and Chargers. Locker will become a viable Fantasy option as the season goes on, but he should remain in a reserve role against Houston.
Jay Cutler (at DAL): We're buying the Cowboys secondary, and this defense should be able to harass Cutler into a rough outing. Dallas hasn't allowed more than 215 passing yards in three games against Eli Manning , Russell Wilson and Josh Freeman with three touchdowns and one interception over that span. In Week 3, Freeman completed just 10 of 28 passes, and Cutler is also coming off another sub-par game against the Rams with just six Fantasy points. He now has only 10 Fantasy points in his past two games and until he starts playing on a high level he should not be started in most formats.
It's hard to bench Newton in most leagues, but you might consider it
based on his recent play. He has two games with 14 Fantasy points or
less against Tampa Bay and the Giants, and his only positive outing was
against the lowly Saints defense when he got 27 points. The key for
Newton against New Orleans was he ran the ball with success since that's
the lone game where he had double digits in carries with 13 for 71
yards. We'll see how he does against the Falcons, but it's time to give
Atlanta some credit in pass defense. The Falcons have shut down
and Rivers the past two games, holding them to a
combined 414 passing yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.
Newton is clearly a different style of quarterback to Manning and
Rivers, but the Falcons might be able to contain him just as the Giants
and Bucs have already done this year.
(at KC): We're going to stand behind Mathews
even with his poor game against the Falcons in Week 3 with five Fantasy
points. He struggled with a lost fumble and only had 10 carries, but he
averaged 4.4 yards a carry and had five catches for 32 yards, which is
something to build on. In four career games against the Chiefs, Mathews
has at least a touchdown or 100 total yards in three of them with three
total touchdowns over that span.
Michael Turner (vs. CAR): We're down on Turner this year, but he deserves credit with double digits in Fantasy points in his past two games, including 14 carries for 80 yards and a touchdown at San Diego last week. This week he faces a Panthers team that has allowed five running backs ( Doug Martin , Pierre Thomas , Darren Sproles , Mark Ingram and Andre Brown ) to reach double digits in Fantasy points already this year, and Turner has six touchdowns in his past four games against Carolina, with at least 12 Fantasy points in three of them.
Mikel Leshoure (vs. MIN): Welcome to the NFL. In his first career professional game, Leshoure had 26 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 34 yards at the Titans. He kept Kevin Smith on the bench, and he looks like the real deal. The Vikings have actually allowed the fewest Fantasy points to opposing running backs, but that shouldn't matter here. With Matthew Stafford (leg) banged up, the Lions could rely on Leshoure, making him worth using as a starter in most formats.
Stevan Ridley (at BUF): Fantasy owners are somewhat concerned about Ridley after he had fewer carries than Danny Woodhead in Week 3 at Baltimore and lost a goal-line touchdown to Brandon Bolden . His Fantasy production has also decreased from 20 points in Week 1 at the Titans to nine points in Week 2 against the Cardinals to three points against the Ravens. But his lack of work (13 carries) against Baltimore was by design so he should be more involved in Week 4 against the Bills, who have allowed two rushing touchdowns on the season to Shonn Greene and Trent Richardson . Look for Ridley to have a rebound game this week.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at JAC): Green-Ellis is off to a good start with the Bengals with either a touchdown or 100 total yards in each of the first three games, although he did lose his first career fumble in 590 touches in Week 3 against the Redskins. He should have the chance for another big outing against the Jaguars, who have allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs in three games. All four running backs who have double digits in carries against Jacksonville ( Adrian Peterson , Ben Tate , Arian Foster and Donald Brown ) have either a touchdown or 100 total yards.
|Ben Tate||(vs. TEN)||He had double digits in Fantasy points in both meetings with the Titans last year.|
|Lance Ball||(vs. OAK)||Willis McGahee (ribs) should play, but Ball could still play a role against the Raiders.|
|Jonathan Stewart||(at ATL)||The one game the Panthers won this year was with Stewart active. He can be a flex.|
|Ryan Williams||(vs. MIA)||He's worth using as a flex option with Beanie Wells (toe) out.|
|Andre Brown||(at PHI)||Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) should return, but Brown should still get enough touches.|
(vs. SEA): Jackson is off to a rough start
this year and things don't look to improve much in the near future. He
has combined for 15 Fantasy points through three games, including a
dismal two-point effort in Week 3 against the Bears while playing
through a groin injury. He faces the Seahawks this week and Seattle has
and Benson to a
combined 89 rushing yards on 29 carries. No running back has gained more
than 45 yards against the Seahawks, and Jackson could again be limited
behind a struggling offensive line.
DeAngelo Williams (at ATL): Williams had a huge game against the Falcons last year with 14 Fantasy points in one meeting. He also had a miserable game with four Fantasy points in another. And thats' the risk you run with Williams because he could be great or disappear. He's a risky option even in deeper leagues and Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is expected to return for this matchup, cutting into his carries. In Williams' lone road game this year he had six carries for minus-1 yard at Tampa Bay, and he could struggle this week.
Shonn Greene (vs. SF): Greene had 15 Fantasy points in Week 1 against Buffalo. He's combined or six Fantasy points in the next two games against the Steelers and Dolphins. The 49ers are amazing in run defense, and Greene should be overmatched. He also could lose touches to Bilal Powell , and he's a risk in all formats. Marshawn Lynch is the only running back to run for 100 yards against the 49ers in the past 25 games. San Francisco also allowed only three touchdowns to opposing running backs in the past 20 games.
Chris Johnson (at HOU): Johnson is again looking like a bust for the season, and it's time to bench him in all leagues. Some of the running backs who have outperformed Johnson this year include Jorvorskie Lane , Daryl Richardson and Curtis Brinkley since Johnson has just eight Fantasy points on the season. He has a difficult matchup against the Texans, who have yet to allow a rushing touchdown against Reggie Bush , Maurice Jones-Drew and Willis McGahee . Johnson averaged 6.5 Fantasy points in two games against Houston last year, and he has now gone seven games in a row without rushing for 100 yards or scoring a touchdown. He has a lot to prove before Fantasy owners can consider starting him again.
Mark Ingram (at GB): Ingram had the chance for a big game against the Chiefs in Week 3 at home, but he finished with five carries for 11 yards. He now has two games this season with six carries or less and just one Fantasy point. There's always the chance Ingram gets a goal-line touchdown, but if the Packers go ahead in this matchup as expected you'll likely see more of Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas and little of Ingram. His first NFL game was against the Packers last year, and he had 13 carries for 40 yards. That would be considered a good game for Ingram these days.
Bust alert: Reggie Bush (at ARI): It looks like Bush is going to try and play this week despite sustaining a knee injury in Week 3 against the Jets. If he is at less than 100 percent that will limit his production against a tough run defense. The Cardinals have yet to allow a touchdown to a running back this year, including matchups against Lynch, Ridley and LeSean McCoy . Arizona hasn't allowed 100 rushing yards to an opposing running back in its past 11 games, including McCoy twice, Lynch twice, Frank Gore twice and Murray. This is a good week to leave Bush on the bench, especially with the uncertainty of his knee and the late start at 4:05 p.m. ET. The last thing you want is to count on Bush and have him ruled inactive because his knee injury flared up.
(vs. WAS): We expected Jackson to struggle
in Week 3 against Dallas because of Cowboys cornerback
. This week, Jackson should be able to run free against a
weak Redskins secondary. Already this season the Redskins have allowed
at least six catches, 120 receiving yards and a touchdown to three
total, the Redskins have given up six touchdowns to opposing receivers
and Jackson remains heavily involved with 27 targets on the season.
Greg Jennings (vs. NO): The Packers have been a colossal disappointment this season with Rodgers, Nelson and Jennings all underperforming. Look for an offensive explosion this week against the Saints and start all three with confidence. The good news for Jennings is he played in Week 3 at Seattle after missing Week 2 against Chicago with a groin injury, and he nearly scored a touchdown, which was called back when he stepped out of bounds. He has 19 targets in his two games, and he's due for a big performance. Look for it to come this week as the Packers should shine.
Brandon Lloyd (at BUF): Fantasy owners in PPR leagues are happy with Lloyd, who has 22 catches for 237 yards in three games. But owners in standard formats are disappointed since he has yet to score. But Lloyd is building toward a big game. He had nine catches for 109 yards at Baltimore in Week 3 and he leads the Patriots with 33 targets on the season. Buffalo has already allowed four receivers ( Stephen Hill , Jeremy Kerley , Dwayne Bowe and Travis Benjamin ) to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and we like Lloyd and Wes Welker to perform well in this matchup.
Denarius Moore (at DEN): The Texans showed in Week 3 that receivers can make plays downfield against the Broncos when Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter each scored on touchdowns from 50-plus yards. Getting downfield is what Moore does best and he could be heavily involved this week with Darrius Heyward-Bey (neck) banged up. Moore scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 3 against the Steelers and has 18 targets through two games. The Broncos have already allowed four receivers ( Mike Wallace , Roddy White , Walter and Johnson) to reach double digits in Fantasy points through three games.
Eric Decker (vs. OAK): Decker had his first big game of the season in Week 3 against the Texans with eight catches for 136 yards on 11 targets. We expect a solid encore as he and Demaryius Thomas should have success against the Raiders secondary. Oakland has allowed four receivers ( Malcom Floyd , Brian Hartline , Wallace and Antonio Brown ) to reach double digits in Fantasy points in three games, and Decker had 10 Fantasy points in his previous meeting with the Raiders last year.
|Leonard Hankerson||(at TB)||He remains the best Washington receiver with Pierre Garcon (foot) banged up.|
|Andrew Hawkins||(at JAC)||He has double digits in Fantasy points each of the past two weeks.|
|Jerome Simpson||(at DET)||His suspension is over, and he could end up as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.|
|Jon Baldwin||(vs. SD)||Dexter McCluster (elbow) is banged up, and we hope his targets go to Baldwin.|
|Nate Burleson||(vs. MIN)||He matched Calvin Johnson with 12 targets last week and is still making plays.|
(at GB): I'm hesitant to sit any receivers in
this potential shootout between the Saints and Packers, but we've
noticed a trend with "Indoor Lance Moore." The majority of his
production comes at home since the Saints play in a dome, but outdoors
he struggles. He has just three touchdowns in his past 12 games
outdoors, and in his past five games outdoors he has combined for 16
catches for 176 yards and no touchdowns. The Packers have allowed just
three touchdowns to opposing receivers, which includes the Hail Mary
Dez Bryant (vs. CHI): At some point Bryant is going to get on track, but he has yet to score a touchdown this season with only 15 Fantasy points through three games against the Giants, Seahawks and Bucs. Miles Austin has been the go-to receiver for Romo, and Bryant has now gone 21 straight games without 100 receiving yards. The Bears have only allowed one receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points, which was Reggie Wayne in Week 1.
Brandon LaFell (at ATL): You're not going to bench Steve Smith this week, but you should keep LaFell reserved in most formats. The Falcons secondary has been dominant through three games, allowing just Thomas to score in Week 2. Atlanta has held Bowe, Decker and Malcom Floyd to just five Fantasy points each, and no receiver has gone over 85 yards. LaFell had two solid games to start the season with double digits in Fantasy points against Tampa Bay and New Orleans before being held to two points against the Giants. This could be another tough week for him based on the matchup.
Kenny Britt (at HOU): Britt is building toward a big game and he had six catches for 55 yards on 11 targets against the Lions in Week 3. He tweaked his ankle in that game and he will need to be 100 percent this week for his matchup with Houston's Johnathan Joseph . Last week, Joseph shadowed Thomas and held him to three catches for 34 yards. Joseph should be able to limit Britt's production, although Britt has double digits in Fantasy points in his past two meetings with the Texans. Still, at less than 100 percent with his ankle and probably with his surgically-repaired knee, we want to see Britt dominate a game before starting him in all formats.
Michael Crabtree (at NYJ): Crabtree is looking like an excellent option in PPR leagues but a No. 3 starter at best in standard formats. He really is just a possession receiver for the 49ers since he has 19 catches for 183 yards and no touchdowns in three games. He has at least six catches each week, but Crabtree has zero red-zone targets. Even without Revis we could still see Crabtree around six Fantasy points, which is his average for the season.
Marshall is going to see a lot of Carr this week, even if he lines up at
safety, and the Dallas Morning News reported that Carr shadowed
Jackson last week for 24 plays. Dallas also has quality defensive backs
to help on Marshall, and he's coming off two sub-par games against the
Packers and Rams with seven catches for 95 yards and no touchdowns on 16
targets. It's difficult to bench Marshall in most leagues, but the
Cowboys have already held
and Jackson to a combined 10 Fantasy points with no
receiver scoring on Dallas this year. Just keep your expectations in
(at DET): In the past two games the Lions have
allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends with two from
and one from
last week. Rudolph also has three touchdowns over that span, and he's
emerging as a No. 1 Fantasy tight end in all leagues. He has at least
six Fantasy points each week, and Ponder has targeted him 18 times. He
should continue to play well in this matchup.
Martellus Bennett (at PHI): Bennett has been one of the best surprises this season with 36 Fantasy points through three games. He has 23 targets on the season and is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, especially when Nicks is playing, which he should be this week. The Eagles have yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing tight end, but Bennett has scored each week. One streak will end, and we expect Bennett to keep rolling.
Owen Daniels (vs. TEN): Daniels scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 3 at Denver, and he should remain successful this week. The Titans have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year with five touchdowns given up to Aaron Hernandez , Rob Gronkowski and Dante Rosario (three). The worst tight end performance against the Titans was Brandon Pettigrew last week, and he still managed eight catches for 61 yards. Daniels also has at least seven Fantasy points in three of his past five games against Tennessee
|Brandon Myers||(at DEN)||Denver has already allowed three touchdowns to tight ends this year.|
|Scott Chandler||(vs. NE)||He scored against the Patriots last year at home and could do it again.|
|Jacob Tamme||(vs. OAK)||The Raiders have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends the past two weeks.|
(vs. CHI): This hasn't been a good season for
Witten so far. He suffered the lacerated spleen in the preseason and
dealt with three drops each of the past two games against Seattle and
Tampa Bay. He's still looking for his first touchdown, and the Bears
have yet to allow a true touchdown to a tight end this year. Green Bay's
Tom Crabtree scored against Chicago in Week 2, but that came off a fake
Jermaine Gresham (at JAC): The Jaguars have done a nice job being stingy with tight ends in limiting Rudolph, Daniels and Coby Fleener to a combined 10 Fantasy points. Gresham is coming off his best game of the season with five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins, but this could be a tough matchup for him. He had seven catches for 67 yards in his first two games against Baltimore and Cleveland and should struggle again this week.
Fred Davis (at TB): Davis finally showed signs of life in Week 3 against the Bengals with seven catches for 90 yards on seven targets, which were all season highs. We hope that continues, but the Bucs have done a nice job against tight ends this season. Bennett beat them up for 13 Fantasy points, but Tampa Bay held Greg Olsen and Witten to a combined five Fantasy points. Davis still has plenty of potential, but we're not ready to start him in most leagues this week.
Celek had one great game in Week 2 against Baltimore with eight catches
for 157 yards, but otherwise he's been somewhat quiet with nine Fantasy
points combined against Cleveland and Arizona. He has yet to score this
season and the Giants have yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing tight
end. Olsen just played well against the Giants with seven catches for 98
yards last week and Celek certainly has the talent to post that kind of
production. But he was held to eight catches for 69 yards in two games
against the Giants last year and has just one touchdown in his past four
meetings with the Giants.
Cardinals (vs. MIA): The Dolphins might be without Bush, and
four interceptions in three games. The Cardinals already have 12 sacks,
four fumble recoveries and two interceptions and have held Seattle, New
England and Philadelphia to a combined 40 points in three games with a
defensive touchdown. If you can still add the Cardinals DST they should
be good for two weeks because after facing the Dolphins they get the
Rams in Week 6.
Bills (vs. NE): After getting beat up by the Jets in Week 1, the Bills DST has rebounded the past two weeks against the Chiefs and Browns with 37 Fantasy points in a standard league. They have recorded nine sacks, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions and a defensive touchdown over that span while allowing just 31 points. This week, the Bills will be tested by Tom Brady , who can't be happy coming off a two-game losing streak. Brady also remembers his last trip to Buffalo when he had four interceptions. In his past four games against the Bills, Brady is averaging 279 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions, and he should make this game tough for the Bills DST.
|Lawrence Tynes||at PHI|
|Jay Feely||vs. MIA|
|Matt Bryant||vs. CAR|
(at DET): Walsh has done a nice job in his
rookie season with 34 Fantasy points through three games, including at
least one 50-yard field goal each week. He gets a favorable matchup this
week with the Lions, who have allowed at least nine Fantasy points
was the lone kicker not to get double digits in Fantasy points and we
expect the Vikings to have their share of scoring chances in this
matchup with the Lions.
Alex Henery (vs. NYG): The Eagles offensive woes have impacted Henery since he has only 17 Fantasy points through three games, and last week against the Cardinals was his first game with multiple field goals. The Giants have only allowed Connor Barth in Week 2 to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but otherwise they held Dan Bailey and Justin Medlock to a combined seven points. Henery averaged 7.5 Fantasy points in two games against the Giants last year, and we'd avoid starting him in most leagues until the Eagles offense gets back on track.