Week 4: Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

By Michael J. Igyarto

Week 4 Fantasy football is upon us, and let’s hope the momentum keeps going our way. Week 3 was a productive one, as I was correct on numerous position players, and I hope the same happens this week. If you have any questions or lineup dilemmas, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, good luck in week 4.




Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning has been on and off so far in this young season, but he still has managed to inch towards top ten status. Last week, he faced a tough Houston Texans defense and still managed to throw for 330 yards and 2 touchdowns with zero turnovers. Now imagine what Manning will do against an Oakland Raiders defense that has allowed six touchdowns and 815 yards through three games. Look for a very big day out of Peyton Manning, I smell at least three touchdown, maybe more!

San Diego Chargers QB Phillip Rivers

Phillip Rivers is coming off what will probably end up as his worst fantasy performance in 2012. Last week, at home against the Atlanta Falcons, Rivers was picked off twice, failed to record a touchdown, and passed for a measly 173 yards. Now Rivers gets to go on the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs, whose pass defense is ranked 30th in the NFL. I know Rivers historically has not done well in Arrowhead Stadium, but he has to bounce back from the awful week 3 performance, right?

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder

 Now, I obviously don’t expect you to be in such a dire situation that you need to start Ponder, but if so, do it. The kid has quietly become a top 15 fantasy quarterback and nobody has seemed to notice. He is only owned in only 15% of leagues, and although it’s early, he is ahead of guys like Cam Newton, Mike Vick, and Aaron Rodgers in the rankings. He has yet to throw an interception this year, and managed to beat the San Francisco 49ers last week. The Detroit Lions defense is nowhere near that of the 49ers and I like the fact that suspended WR Jerome Simpson will be starting this week, giving Ponder another target he can rely on. Again, I understand if you don’t need Ponder this week, but consider him as a wire pickup if available. He’s being underrated at the moment.


Cincinnati Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis

This one is all about the match up against the Jacksonville Jaguars and their horrid rush defense. The Jaguars rush defense is ranked 31st in the league, and only the New Orleans Saints have given up more fantasy points to the running back position. The Bengals have become a passing team as of late, but Green-Ellis should still see a healthy dose on Sunday against the Jaguars.

 Arizona Cardinals RB Ryan Williams 

Well, we all saw the Beanie Wells injury coming, right? Williams came on strong last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, rushing for 83 yards on only 13 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per rush. The Miami Dolphins run defense is stronger that it’s pass defense, but Williams should still find some holes to squeeze through, and I suspect he finds the end zone on Sunday.


Oakland Raiders WR Denarius Moore

The Oakland Raiders are THIN right now at the WR position. I’m talking REAL THIN. Darrius Heyward-Bey took a vicious shot last weekend and is doubtful for the week 4 match up against the Denver Broncos. Rod Streater tweaked his neck in practice on Friday and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Keep going and you will see Jacoby Ford has been on the IR, and that leaves the Raiders with 3 measly WRs for Sunday battle against the Broncos, putting Moore as the #1 option for quarterback Carson Palmer. The Broncos pass defense has been suspect all season, and Moore should see at least ten targets in this game. Start ’em!

Denver Broncos WR Eric Decker

Since we are talking about the Broncos, let’s talk Eric Decker. Peyton Manning finally connected with Decker in week 3, giving him eight receptions for a whopping 136 yards. Yes, Decker has been shutout of the end zone through the first three weeks, but I think that all ends against a pass defense like the Raiders. Decker is an absolute must-start in PPR formats and should do his owners some good come this Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings WR Jerome Simpson

You remember this guy, right? Jerome Simpson was the Bengals WR who did the awesome front flip against the Arizona Cardinals for a touchdown last year. After serving a three-game suspension for abusing the leagues substance abuse policy, Simpson is eager to get on the field, and help the team who took a chance on him. Understandable, if you don’t want to put all your faith in Simpson in his first week back, but he is only owned in 6% of leagues, and I think number will change drastically after week 4. Pick him up if he’s out there and thank me later in the season.


Washington Redskins TE Fred Davis

Fred Davis has been a disappointment so far this season, but I can’t put all the blame on him. Last year, he had a scrambling Rex Grossman looking for him often, whereas this year he has an athletic rookie QB, Robert Griffin III, that looks to his feet before he looks for Davis. Week 3 was a big improvement though, as RG3 looked for his tight end quite often, connecting for 7 receptions and 90 yards. Look for the momentum to keep rolling into a week 4 match up against a generous Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense.

Buffalo Bills TE Scott Chandler

Scott Chandler won’t knock anyone off their feet with his numbers, but he remains an important part of the Bills offense. Chandler has only eight receptions through three games, but has recorded a touchdown in two of the three, and I think he makes it three out of four after this week’s match up against the New England Patriots. The Bills will most likely be playing from behind in this one, and if they get anywhere near the goal-line, look for Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to look Chandler’s way.



Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo

Can you honestly say you are starting Tony Romo this week with confidence? Tony was sacked four times last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and turned the ball over three times. Now he faces a Chicago Bears defense that ranks first against the pass, and should have no problem getting to Romo in this prime time match up. The Cowboys offense is averaging a measly 15.7 points per game through the first three weeks, and I find it hard to believe that will improve much after this game. Bears won’t keep Tony scoreless, but turnovers might ruin any chances at a productive Monday night.

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker

After a wild week 3 game against the Detroit Lions, Locker has caught the eye of fantasy players. He has thrown at least one touchdown in the past three games, but has turned the ball over four times. The Houston Texans defense is ranked 5th against the pass, and they will pressure and force Locker into some bad throws on Sunday. Also, everyone has given up on Titans RB Chris Johnson, but for some reason, my gut tells me he finally breaks out of his shell and takes some of the heat off his young quarterback.


New York Jets RB Shonn Greene

After a great week  1 performance against the Buffalo Bills, Greene’s production has dipped dramatically. He saw 27 carries against the Bills and recorded 94 yards with a touchdown. In week 2 and 3 combined, he saw 30 total carries for 63 rushing yards, and failed to reach the end zone. Now he faces the best rush defense in the NFL, in the San Francisco 49ers, who have not given up a rushing touchdown yet this season. Word on the street is Greene may now lose some carries to backups, Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell. Not a good sign for Greene owners, look for the poor production to continue, the 49ers defense is just too tough.

New York Giants RB Andre Brown 

Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury opened the floodgates for the little-known Brown, who has rushed for 184 yards on 33 carries, and three touchdowns. Bradshaw has been cleared and will play on Sunday versus the Philadelphia Eagles. I don’t expect Brown to be benched or anything of that nature, his yards per carry is something Tom Coughlin certainly can’t ignore. The head coach of the Giants has named Bradshaw the starter, but said definitely earned himself more touches. The match up isn’t great for Brown though, as the Eagles have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season, and I think Bradshaw wants to solidify his starting role. Pass.

St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson

Steven Jackson has been a full-blown bust so far this season. Sure, he has been hampered by a groin injury, but the fact that he hasn’t reached the end zone despite being the focal point of the Rams offense is not a good sign. Things won’t get any easier for Jackson, as he faces a stout Seattle Seahawks defense that ranks fourth in the NFL. Seahawks have yet to allow a 50-yard rusher, let alone a 100-yard rusher! Sunday will be another dreadful day for Jackson owners.


Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith

Steve Smith has yet to find the end zone in 2012, despite 296 receiving yards (3rd best in NFL). Panthers QB Cam Newton is clearly struggling, but he continues to look for Smith, targeting him 19 times through three games. The Atlanta Falcons pass defense is third best in the league, and they have only surrendered one touchdown through the air. I’m not putting a poor outing on Steve so much, but more on the fact that Cam Newton just isn’t himself right now, and I think the scoring drought continues for Smith.

Cincinnati Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins

Andrew Hawkins has been a popular waiver wire pickup this week. Two fifty-yard catches for touchdowns in the past two weeks, has caught the attention of fantasy players. I’m not biting though, Hawkins is simply a hit or miss guy. He has a measly 4 receptions in the past two games, and if he doesn’t hit the home run, you will be highly disappointed. Jacksonville Jaguars secondary isn’t that bad, and their pass defense is ranked 11th overall. Sorry Hawkins buyers, he’s not hitting any home runs this Sunday.


New York Giants TE Martellus Bennett

Three touchdowns in three games has shot Bennett right up the rankings. He is currently the third best fantasy tight end this season, ahead of players like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Quarterback Eli Manning has looked for Bennett often in the red zone and in goal-line situations, but the return of Ahmad Bradshaw may take some of those looks away. The Philadelphia Eagles have been fantastic at stopping the TE position, ranking 2nd only behind the New Orleans Saints believe it or not. Their linebackers are quick enough to keep up with Bennett and limit his success. He can’t score every week, and the run should should stop here.

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen

Olsen finally showed some value and production in week 3, catching seven balls for 98 yards, but failed to reach the end zone for the third consecutive week. The Panthers offensive unit, as a whole, are struggling. The offensive line has had problems protecting Cam Newton, and I suspect Cam will need his tight ends to block against the Atlanta Falcons if he wants time to throw the ball. Olsen will most likely be shutout of the end zone in this game as well, unless Cam finds him for a short dump off in a goal-line situation, but don’t bank on it.

Michael J. Igyarto is a featured columnist and fantasy football expert at Rant Sports

Follow Michael on twitter: @windycityiggy


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