It's week four of the Fantasy Football season and it's gone just as all the experts have projected. Aaron Rogers is 22nd in total fantasy points for QBs and Tom Brady is 14th. They are who we thought they were, right? Sit down, kick back, and grab a cold one while your neighborhood Big Cat Country Fantasy Football Expert guides you through the storm in Fantasy Football Start Em'/Sit Em' for week 4.
This isn't "Fantasy Football for Dummies" though. If you have a top 8-10 player at a position you should probably play them every week, unless they're injured. After the jump dig into the facts and analyze my opinions on who to start or sit this week three in NFL Fantasy Football.
Note-Included some Jaguar/Cincy-specific fantasy info in this article this week due to getting the wisdom teeth removed this week :( Rough weekend.
Philip Rivers QB (vs. KC): This season a good rule of thumb would be simply to follow the Chiefs. Whatever QB they're facing is essentially a guaranteed start, as the match-up is to appealing to pass up. The Chiefs defense is currently ranked 2nd worst in the NFL in points to fantasy QBs. No matter how he looked last week against Atlanta remember, this is a division game. Rivers has always played well when it mattered and he has six touchdowns and three interceptions in his past four games at Kansas City. Expect at least two TDs and 250 yards.
Michael Turner RB (vs. CAR): I'll be open and honest and let you know that I just don't like Turner as a running back, but frankly the Panthers D is just that atrocious. They are currently allowing 207 total yards and 1 touchdown per game to opposing RBs on the ground and air. For the past season and a half Turner has definitely done one thing well, and that's feast on bad defenses. Against this 27th-ranked run defense so far Doug Martin, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Andre Brown have all had at least 10 points. That's five guys in three games!!! Play the man.
Maurice Jones Drew (vs. CINN): That's Mr. MJD to you aka Mr. Homerun, this week. If anyone saw the Ravens/Cincy game earlier this season you'd likely know that this Bengals D will have an extremely long season verses the run. This Bengals D has given up the 5th most fantasy points to opposing RBs verses Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, and Alfred Morris. MJD is coming off a week in which he ran for 177 yards with 16 yards receiving. This is the perfect mix of destiny, right? Just don't forget that Rashad Jennings is probable for the game and will likely eat into some of Jones-Drews' carries. Play him with confidence still.
Andrew Hawkins WR (vs. JAX): Hawkins seems to be a porr man's Victor Cruz this season coming from the depths of the waiver wire to a top 15 fantasy WR. While up and down in the targets he will get Hawkins is set to see plenty of work against this Jaguars secondary that will likely have their best corner Cox guarding AJ Green all game. With Hawkings in the slot verses William Middleton, a safety, or LB it should be a long day in Duval County. Against a Jaguars D that just allowed rookie QB Andrew Luck to throw for 313 yards and 2TDs while allowing 2 of the 3 QBs they've faced multiple TDs I just don't see Dalton having a bad day. That bodes well for the speedy slot WR.
Kyle Rudolph TE (vs. DET): Kyle Rudolph has been frankly a TD machine this season. With Jerome Simpson out he has solidified himself as the redzone target on this team. He also receives the second most targets on the squad, behind Harvin. 13 receptions for 138 yards and 3 TDs in his last 2 games is to good a stat line to ignore for a guy likely on your waiver wire. They're facing a Lions D who just allowed Jake Locker 378 passing yards and 2 TDs. And throw in the fact that the Lions are surrendering the second most fantasy points to opposing TEs on the season and you've got a favorable situation.
Dallas D (vs. CHI): Defenses are consistently keying in on covering Marshall, taking away the Bears only true offensive threat. After shutting down Vincent Jackson last week I see the Cowboys looking to do the same to Marshall. With Cutler running for his life most of the game I just don't see the Bears doing anything on offense. Cutler is great for panicking and giving up a few sacks and Dez Bryant just may get you some fluke points on a punt return. Chicago has given up the 10th most fantasy points to team defenses this season even having played against Indianapolis and St. Louis. Play them confidently against this weak o-line and receiving corps.
Tony Romo QB (vs. CHI): The Jekyll and Hyde season of Romo continues as he faces a tough test in the Bears defense, who've only given up three passing touchdowns in three games. One of those TDs was on a fake field goal to the Packers. Confident yet? He has not made me confident enough with his shaky season start to play him verses the best defense in points allowed to fantasy QBs. Look to the wire, if no better options.
Doug Martin RB (vs. WAS): The first rounder from Boise has played pretty well through the first three weeks, averaging ten and a half fantasy points per week. Yet earlier this week Greg Schiano stated he wants to get LeGarrette Blount a little more involved in the running game aka the dreaded Time Share. The Redskins are ranked 9th in rushing defense also, which doesn't bode well for Martin either.
Ryan Williams RB (vs. MIA): It seems that everyone is start crazy for Williams but I'm not sold on this matchup. I think everyone sorta forgot that the Dolphins are only giving up 61 rushing yards per game this year. He finally had a decent showing against the Eagles last week and Beane Wells will be out for at least a month and a half, but that does not make this a great matchup. While Miami may have given up the 11th most fantasy points to RBs this season they're actually a top ten rushing D in real life. Remember- They've played the Houston Texans while allowing 79 yards to Foster (who scored two TDs from less than 10 yards out), The Jets, and Oakland. The only game that they have given up over 5 fantasy points to a RB is against the Texans. Seek elsewhere for this week.
Jerome Simpson WR (vs. DET): It has been reported that Simpson was performing like a pro bowl receiver in camp. That's great. But he's been out for three weeks on suspension and there's no idea what sort of condition he's currently in. I would likely play the wait and see technique with Simpson before risking a starting spot. He is playing against a weak Lions secondary, but it's still a risky play for a guy we haven't seen play all year (other than camp/preseason).
Brandon Marshall WR (vs. DAL): The Same two words from the description of Vincient Jackson last week: Brandon Carr. Carr has been everything the Cowboys have hoped for and then some this season blanketing every WR faced. Cutler being Cutler, while the Dallas secondary being awesome is an exploding time bomb for your fantasy squad. The Cowboys D have already held Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Jackson to a combined 10 fantasy points this season. No receiver has scored on them also. Add this to the obvious Chicago offensive line struggles and this could be a recipe for disaster. It may be hard, but sit Marshall this week if you can.
Jermichael Finley TE (vs. NO): The one and only position New Orleans actually defends well? You guessed it...TE. They are the best defense against TEs and with Rodgers struggling so far this season, I think Finley is the one left out in the cold week. Rodgers will finally look like the top 5 QB we drafted him to be this week, but don't expect those points to show in Finley.
Laurent Robinson WR (vs. (CINN): The Jaguars' target leader has had an up and down season as however Gabbert plays so does Robinson. Per NFL.com the Jaguars receivers should have a no problem reviving the Jaguars' passing attack this week due to the Bengals' secondary being extremely banged up. Three cornerbacks are doubtful or out. Leon Hall (leg) is questionable, but he didn't practice all week and the Jaguars protection issues should be mitigated with the return of their injured O-linemen. This is the show up or shut up week for the Jags WRs. Robinson himself is probable after missing a few days of practice earlier this week due to a concussion.
Dwayne Bowe WR (vs. SD): (Not sure if the Chiefs will have another choice but to play Bowe. It seems their entire offense is on the injury report or banged up. Bowe is currently labeled as questionable with Steve Breston (knee) also questionable. Dexter McCluster, their starting slot WR is set to suit up, but also banged up after hyper-extending his elbow last week. Tight end Kevin Boss (concussion) is also out for the Chiefs. Bowe has only scored once in his last four games against the Chargers and is averaging just 36 yards per game against them in that time frame. That the Chargers are giving up the sixth fewest points per game to opposing WRs this year doesn't help his cause.
Stevan Ridley RB (vs. BUF): The last time the Pats stated something was the "defensive plan for that week" Wes Welker was getting less reps than Eldeman. I'm not stating that Ridley is in the Patriots doghouse currently, but I am stating maybe Aaron Hernandez's injury is impacting Stevan Ridley's carries. Maybe Woodhead is a better pass catcher and pass protector? Not sure why else a winning game plan would include Ridley having fewer carries than Danny Woodhead in and losing a goal-line touchdown to Brandon Bolden. It may or may not be a one week thing. This week should tell it all. Buyers beware.
Some Injuries To Note:
Steven Jackson RB (vs. SEA): Jackson is "Questionable" after being "very limited" in Friday's practice. Per NFL.com "although Jackson has apparently experienced no setbacks, it doesn't sound like he's made a ton of progress either after playing a noticeable less than full strength at Soldier Field in Week 3." Per coach Jeff Fisher, S-Jax's Week 4 status will "come down once again to how Jackson looks and feels in pre-game" warm-ups.
Rob Gronkowski TE (vs. BUF): Has been officially ruled "Questionable" this week but we know that Bill Belichick has always enjoyed playing with the injury report. Stay on top of the reports to see if he plays. Another thing to be aware of is since Aaron Hernandez went down in week two Gronk has been asked to block much more than previously. More blocking, a questionable tag applied late in the week, and coming off of a week he only received three targets does not spell good news for Gronk.
Hakeem Nicks WR (vs. PHI): From Rotoworld.com, "Nicks didn't even travel with the team to Philadelphia and has been downgraded each day of the week after experiencing swelling in his knee on Thursday. Nicks is now experiencing issues with his right foot and left knee. It's unwelcome news to the Giants and fantasy owners, and we can't fully expect him to suit up for Week 5 now. Ramses Barden will start in Nicks' place, but temper your expectations, as he isn't likely to come close to his Week 3 numbers. The Eagles sport the No. 3 ranked pass defense."
Reggie Bush RB (vs. ARZ): After missing the first few days of practice this week, Bush practiced in a limited basis on Wednesday and Thursday. Per those present during the media portion he was moving really well just wearing extra padding. He is officially listed as questionable with all signs pointing toward him playing against the Cardinals. Still be aware that you may want to grab Daniel Thomas just in case though. And bear in mind that Miami plays at 4:05. Also, Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is also set to miss this game bodes well for Bush's productivity if he does indeed play.
Pierre Garcon WR (vs. TB): The Redskins speedy No. 1 wideout is questionable after being the same last week. He has stated that his foot injury has been lingering and nagging for a lot longer than initially expected. Being limited in practice this week there's no reason to think this is the week Garcon will return. Even if he does, with speed being the main part of his game his effectiveness will probably minimal.
So who's in your lineup this week Big Cat Country?