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Week 4 of the season means our opinions of teams and players are starting to be based on 2013 evidence. There is a lot of football to play, and most of us hope some high draft picks pick it up (I’m talking to you C.J. Spiller). It also means the bye weeks are here and this week leaves us without the Panthers and Packers. At least two teams are likely playing backup quarterbacks this week and from now through week 12 owners will have to drop good players and juggle rosters. Week 1 and 2 darlings James Starks and Eddie Royal flamed out for different reasons in Week 3, and other players stepped up. Last week, I hit on Ryan Tannehill, Jason Snelling, Danny Woodhead (PPR special), and Nate Burleson. Royal and the TE selections were misses along with Alex Smith, who played good real football and bad fantasy football. Minnesota’s DST was serviceable. Relevant players out due to the bye are: Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jermichael Finley (also hurt), Cam Newton, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, and DeAngelo Williams.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT @ MIN) Roethlisberger threw for 406 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs on Sunday to finish with a decent fantasy line. He faces a Vikings defense that just allowed Brian Hoyer to pass for 3 TDs in Minnesota and Le’Veon Bell should return for Pittsburgh to create a viable rushing attack.
Alex Smith (NYG @ KC) I am doubling down on Smith this week who faces a Giants team in disarray at home. It seems doubtful that Andy Reid will allow Dwayne Bowe to be a decoy two weeks in a row with this matchup, so I will bet on 2 TDs from Smith with one going to Bowe.
Geno Smith & Jake Locker (NYJ @ TEN) Both these guys showed signs of life throwing and running the ball last week. These guys are for really deep leagues or 2 QB leagues at this point, but some nice moments for both of them in Week 3.
Isaiah Pead (SF @ STL) Pead should see the vast majority of the snaps if Daryl Richardson isn’t ready to go by Thursday night after aggravating his foot injury in the first play of Sunday’s game against Dallas. Neither he nor the Rams are great, but he should get the vast majority of snaps on all downs if Richardson is out and Pead saw 7 targets last week so if the Rams fall behind he will stay on the field.
Brandon Bolden (NE @ ATL) Bolden showed up in many of the same ways as the Patriots have recently deployed Shane Vereen and amassed 100 yards of offense on 8 touches.
PPR Special: Andre Ellington (ARI @ TB) Suggesting Ellington is a bet on the Cardinals being behind and Mendenhall being (or staying) banged up. Both of those things seem likely and the Clemson rookie is by far the Cards’ best pass catcher out of the backfield.
Week 5 PPR Preview: Mike Goodson (NYJ) Goodson comes off his four-game suspension next week and with Chris Ivory’s unfortunate Week 3 injury, he could step right in on 3rd downs for New York.
Mohammed Sanu (CIN @ CLE) A.J. Green will draw Cleveland’s Joe Haden who is a top-5 NFL cornerback. Green is excellent, but Dalton showed last week he wasn’t afraid to find Sanu who led the Bengals in receiving with 68 yards. If there were ever a week set up for him to produce again, this is it.
Nate Washington (NYJ @ TEN) The Jets are likely to stuff the box to stop Chris Johnson and Jake Locker seems to have a great connection with Washington. Washington had 131 yards on 8 catches in week 3 and I think Kenny Britt will be out the door in Tennessee. Washington is not a dependable long-term receiver, but he has gotten hot before and you could do worse with a flier this week.
Jason Avant (PHI @ DEN) If you’re Michael Vick, are you throwing more to Riley Cooper who cannot separate or the man with some of the best hands in the NFL? Avant is probably slower than Cooper at this point in his career, but he seems to find a little more room for himself. There is little doubt Philly will have plenty of chances to throw in this game due to Denver when Denver’s machine offense is combined with Philly’s fast break attack. This game could set a record for offensive drives in a single contest.
Aaron Dobson (NE @ ATL) It looks like Rob Gronkowski will return, while Danny Amendola likely won’t be ready to go against the Falcons. Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins both showed improvement against the Bucs. Brady’s ball distribution is anyone’s guess and Dobson is more likely to be owned than the other guys I mentioned, but I think he has a chance for a very nice game in a Georgia Dome shootout.
Coby Fleener (IND @ JAX) Greg Olsen and Jermichael Finley are out, so tight ends will be necessary adds. Fleener may be available coming off a dud in San Francisco. This week, the lone relevant Colts TE after Dwayne Allen’s injury faces a Jags’ defense that allowed multiple touchdowns to Zach Miller.
Jordan Reed (WAS @ OAK) Robert Griffin III had a nice thing going with Reed (5 rec., 50 yds.) before he left the game with a knee contusion. Knee contusion sounds better than ankle injury which is Fred Davis’ present affliction.
Kansas City Chiefs – The way this year is going, Eli will probably shred the Chiefs after KC shut down Chip Kelly’s offense after a short week of preparation. Just maybe common-sense will prevail and the play of the Chiefs DST continues to match the enthusiasm of the Arrowhead fans.