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Fantasy football is a cruel sport. I find it to be very exciting, but it usually ends with me screaming at the television set because my player didn’t get the ball four plays in a row inside the opponent’s five yard line. It’s funny because most of us think that our player should be the one getting the ball in all situations. I heard a story on ESPN that Maurice Jones-Drew played in a league last year and scored a touchdown in week 16 that lost him the championship because his opponent owned MJD. You think he wished he didn’t get the ball in that situation? Probably not, but I thought it was a funny story.
Anyways it is week four, which mean the bye weeks start. Philadelphia, Carolina, Arizona and Atlanta are the first teams on a break and you will need to find cheap points on the waiver wire or through trades to fill in your rosters. Two pieces of advice that I have are always drop your kicker if he is on a bye week and the same goes for almost all defenses. They aren’t worth keeping and you can always find decent replacements on the waiver wire. And with that, here are my starts and sits for week four.
Palmer gets an easy matchup this weekend when he takes on the Browns who have yet to record an interception. Look for Palmer to have a nice game while limiting his mistakes. Of course, Benson will get his share of points because the Browns run defense is very suspect, but I think you can expect around 250 yards and 2 touchdowns from Palmer.
Eli Manning finds himself in my column for the second week in a row, and why shouldn’t he be? Last week he faced a weak Tampa Bay defense and put up two touchdowns and 161 yards. This week he faces an equally bad Kansas City Chiefs team. Look for him to have another touchdown filled day and his future schedule is full of easy matchups, (vs. OAK, @ NO, vs. ARI) so enjoy the ride.
Other Mentions: David Garrard (vs. TEN), Shaun Hill (vs. STL), Jason Campbell (vs. TB)
Flacco has been on of the top QBs this season, but we have to temper our expectations for this week as he faces a much better New England pass defense than we originally thought. The NE secondary has shut down basically every receiver thrown their way and Baltimore’s combo of Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton isn’t exactly tops in the league. I am starting Flacco in a league where McNabb is hurt and on a bye week and I am not feeling too great about it.
Don’t be fooled by Favre’s 4th quarter comeback last Sunday. There aren’t going to be many games where he puts up 300+ yards because this team is run first and run often. I know he will want to torch the Green Bay Packers defense through the air, but that defense is better than most and the way the Vikings will win is by pounding the ball with Adrian Peterson. Favre might get a touchdown, but I can see him making one of those “impossible Brett Favre throws” and getting picked off a couple times.
Other Mentions: Trent Edwards (@ MIA), Kyle Orton (vs. DAL), Matt Cassell (vs. NYG)
Ladies and Gentlemen, Julius Jones has returned to fantasy relevance. Jones has had two very nice games so far and is facing a Colts defense that cannot stop the run when Bob Sanders isn’t playing. (Apparently no one told the Cardinals this) They have let up 4.3 yards per carry and the only way the Seahawks are going to give themselves a chance is if they can keep the Colts offense off the field much like the Dolphins did two weeks ago. How do they do that? Feed Jones the ball often.
The second “what the eff” moment in a row. Yes I am recommending that you start Cedric Benson and if this was 2007 you would probably call for my resignation as greatest fantasy sports mind in the world. Not going to happen. It’s 2009 and Jones and Benson are playing like everyday fantasy stars. Benson has been one of the more consistent RBs this season and faces a very bad Browns defense. He also is one of those rare situations where he doesn’t share carries with anyone. (imagine that!) Start him with confidence.
Other Mentions: Tashard Choice (vs. DEN), Ronnie Brown (vs. BUF), Clinton Portis (vs. TB)
There is a lot of hype around Coffee this week. He looked good in the preseason and now has the starting job for a couple weeks as Frank Gore nurses a foot injury. We have already seen what Fred Jackson and Darren Sproles have done after taking over the starting job for a couple weeks. So, why not Coffee? Well I’m not ready to put him in the same company as Sproles or Jackson yet because he hasn’t played one NFL game in his career. Not one. So before you go starting him in all your leagues let’s see him play in real NFL action first. Is he worth a pickup? Of course! But immediate starter? I think not.
The Patriots have surrendered just one rushing touchdown this year in three games and only 16 in their last 35 regular season games. McGahee gets all of his fantasy points solely on touchdowns so I don’t see how you can be confident starting him.
Other Mentions: Darren Sproles (@ PIT), Marshawn Lynch (@ MIA), Willie Parker (vs. SD)
The Titans have a great rush defense, but their pass defense is one of the best to play if you are a wide receiver. So far this season they have let up 45 catches for 632 yards and five touchdowns in just three games. Sims-Walker has emerged as the Jaguars’ top wide receiver and David Garrard should look his way early and often.
It looks like Walter will finally play his first game of the season and the 2008 breakout receiver will finally give the Texans a legit #2 WR. He lucks out because teammate Andre Johnson will have to deal with the coverage of Nnamdi Asomugha. So Walter should be able to give his owners some nice production. I actually think he outperforms Johnson in this game.
Other Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery (@ NO), Devin Hester (vs. DET), Braylon Edwards (vs. CIN)
Much like Flacco and McGahee, I don’t see Mason having much success against the Patriots this week. He will be matched up with Leigh Bodden and if you read my reaction to the Patriots’ week three game you will find out that I think very highly of Mr. Bodden. Mason is always a candidate to score a touchdown, but I think his yardage is way down, which makes him touchdown or bust this week.
The prototypical boom or bust receiver will face a good Denver defense this week. The Broncos have been especially tough on WRs this year limiting them to just 27 catches for 317 yards and no touchdowns in three games. Hopefully you have better options on your bench because Roy Williams faces a tough matchup with Champ Bailey and the Broncos.
Other Mentions: Antonio Bryant (@ WAS), Julian Edelman (vs. BAL), Lee Evans (@ MIA)
Finley has been getting looks in the red zone from QB Aaron Rodgers, which could mean a TD connection this weekend as the Vikings defense has let up three TDs in three games to tight ends this season.
I had a gut feeling that Fasano was going to break out last week and he responded with zero catches. So much for that call, but I am going to keep recommending him because his matchups are still good and I feel like he will eventually start getting looks. I mean last season he scored seven touchdowns! Maybe it was a fluke, but this week he plays against he Bills who have let up 23 catches (most in the NFL) for 246 yards (2nd most in the NFL) and four touchdowns (most in the NFL). Something has to give right? Right?
Other Mentions: Vernon Davis (vs. STL), Dustin Keller (@ NO), Daniel Graham (vs. DAL)
The Jets defense is one of the best in the league and very hard on Shockey. I think he hits a small road bump here during his comeback season.
No Matt Hasselbeck and he’s facing a Colts defense that has only let up seven catches for 44 yards to tight ends this season. I’ll pass.
Other Mentions: Zach Miller (@ HOU), Ben Watson (vs. BAL), Brandon Pettigrew (vs. CHI)
For those of you with the Eagles defense you should look here to fill the void for a week. The 49ers get to face a Rams offense that is starting Kyle Boller. Yep, you heard right. This is the same Kyle Boller who has 45 career interceptions compared to 47 touchdowns. He is also the same Kyle Boller who’s top receiver this week has amassed a total of one fantasy point this year. Yikes.
Cincinnati’s defense has emerged as one of the better fantasy plays this year. They are somewhat susceptible to the run, but with the Brown not having any great RBs the Bengals should be a nice play this week. Cleveland’s QB situation is chaotic and the Bengals should be able to force a couple turnovers.
The Jets have been great so far, but the Saints offense is too explosive for my liking. This is one of those situations where you probably are starting the Jets defense and are praying for a special teams touchdown to save your day.
The Broncos have benefitted from a cupcake schedule so far. Cincinnati turned out to be legit this year, but Cleveland and Oakland are pathetic teams. The Broncos will get their first real test against the Cowboys who have the best rushing offense in the league. I don’t trust them to stop Marion Barber and Tashard Choice behind that massive offensive line.
Tags: Anthony Fasano, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Derrick Mason, Eli Manning, Fantasy Radar, Glen Coffee, Jeremy Shockey, Jermichael Finley, Joe Flacco, John Carlson, Julius Jones, Kevin Walter, Mike Sims-Walker, Patriots, Roy Williams, Willis McGahee