2011 Fantasy Football: Week 4 Game Previews & Predictions
Carolina at Chicago: Hate all the Panthers here, but I’ve said that before and they have gone off. I think Cam Newton struggles and Steve Smith too in the passing game and I’m not buying Jonathan Stewart yet and can’t understand why DeAngelo Williams seems to be in the doghouse. Matt Forte should go big here and Johnny Knox could have a breakout game.
Buffalo at Cincinnati: Ride your Bills, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson, and Stevie Johnson will all go off and I like David Nelson too. Play Cedric Benson too because he knows he’s on borrowed time before his suspension and should have a good day.
Tennessee at Cleveland: This is Chris Johnson’s week. Probably 160 yards and three scores to ease the worries of his owners. Matt Hasselbeck’s early success was mostly related to Kenny Britt and I see him fading without him. Nate Washington will step in, but not replace Britt. He gets the No. 1 label now in Tennessee, but he’s not worthy of it. The only Brown worth playing is Peyton Hillis and ignore the Monterio Hardesty worries, Hillis is still the guy.
Minnesota at Kansas City: I like Percy Harvin and Dexter McCluster here, even in smaller leagues. I think we see both get lots of touches running and receiving and both get in the end zone at least once. Donovan McNabb is playable here because he will finally hit that 300-yard, 2-touchdown day we used to expect from him, with at least one deep score to Harvin. Adrian Peterson will be a monster here.
Washington at St. Louis: You'd have to pay me to watch this one, and I see a 10-6 type game. Play your defenses, bench your offenses.
New Orleans at Jacksonville: Love the Saints here, but starting to hate having any of them other than Drew Brees, who will go off again, and Jimmie Graham. Marques Colston returns and Lance Moore has been a popular fantasy pickup this week, so add in recent waiver-wire find Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem and it is impossible to know where Brees will go with the ball. Odds are against more than two of those guys getting more than 10 points and it is impossible to know which ones will get the most balls from week-to-week, so I've stayed away from New Orleans receivers. Same goes for the running backs as Darren Sproles has been the best of the group for fantasy, but who can start a running back who may only get four carries in a game? So while I love the New Orleans offense most weeks, I can't recommend anyone but Brees and Graham. Jacksonville is much easier to peg, play Maurice Jones-Drew and that's it. Take a shot on Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis if you want, but probably better to wait until Blaine Gabbert has a few more games under his belt before doing that.
Pittsburgh at Houston: Buy low on Rashard Mendenhall, this should be the week he gets on track. Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace are obvious plays against Houston and I think a sleeper receiver is Hines Ward, whose probably been dropped in many leagues. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are obvious even against Pittsburgh's defense, but the deeper receivers like Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones, and James Casey won't do much here. If you have Arian Foster, you invested a lot and so you have to play him any week that he's ready to go and this looks like one. Ben Tate goes back on your bench.
San Francisco at Philadelphia: Eagles defense will finally pay off for those who took them early here because I can't think of a 49er I'd play. Frank Gore is gimpy, Kendall Hunter is a good risk in deeper leagues and Michael Crabtree too. I think Mike Vick plays, but either injury or a blowout are possible to send him to the bench early, so I don't expect a huge week out of him. LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson should both have some huge plays.
New York Giants at Arizona: This could be a game where Larry Fitzgerald has his biggest day since Kurt Warner left, I'm talking about 12 catches for 188 yards and two scores. I see a breakout game at home for Kevin Kolb and the offense. While another early-season injury has Beanie Wells owners worried, the good news is neither of his backups looked good so you are now sure that Beanie is the guy when healthy and hopefully he is this week. Eli Manning should have another big game here too as I see a shootout in the desert. Hakeem Nicks will have his best game so far as well.
Atlanta at Seattle: Matt Ryan will put up big numbers again and Roddy White should have a huge day too, but you knew that. I think this is a week to play Julio Jones as well. I fear that Michael Turner may be on the downslide and in deeper leagues give a look at backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who returns to the Northwest where he played at Oregon State and could sneak in a score. Good to see Sidney Rice have a nice debut and he should be in for another nice day at home. Marshawn Lynch will have his best day of the year for the Seahawks.
Miami at San Diego: Chargers win big here, so ride Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson and play Malcolm Floyd too if you need an underrated receiver. Ryan Mathews will continue to make Mike Tolbert irrelevant in fantasy, which is great for those who got Mathews late, but terrible news for those who took a flyer on Tolbert and thought his first few games would be a sign of things to come. Tolbert will get a touchdown this week, but not more than 30 total yards. Chad Henne will rack up yards as the Dolphins play from behind and Brandon Marshall is a good play here, but Daniel Thomas will struggle here and Reggie Bush could actually outscore him in fantasy. This should also be a rare good game from the Chargers defense.
New England at Oakland: Not buying the Raider hype, New England scores big here so play all your regular Pats and BenJarvis Green-Ellis will return to being the top New England running back. Darren McFadden is your only reliable Raider although Denarius Moore is a good play for deeper leagues.
Denver at Green Bay: Hard to trust any Broncos now. How long is the leash for Orton, how will John Fox divide the time between Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee when both are healthy, and just which receivers are healthy? Too much doubt for me to play any of them. The Packers will get big days from Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings as usual and I think James Starks becomes the top back again this week and should score in double digits.
New York Jets at Baltimore: This is going to be close, but not as low scoring as you might think with both teams getting in the mid-20s. Do not be tempted to play Torrey Smith if you picked him up this week and Joe Flacco will come back to earth with Ray Rice being the top fantasy player for the Ravens. Anquan Boldin is a solid play in 12-team leagues as guy who seems to have been somewhat forgotten. No idea what to expect from the Jets timeshare at running back so stay away and Mark Sanchez isn't playable in a 10-team league this week, but Dustin Keller will be one of the top five tight ends in fantasy this week and Plaxico Burress will also find the end zone.
Indianapolis at Tampa Bay: The revival of Joseph Addai was nice to see last week and he's a safe play if you are battling injuries at running back. There's panic for Dallas Clark owners, but he will have his best game of the year here so don't give up yet. Josh Freeman and LaGarrette Blount will be ready for the Monday night spotlight and Mike Williams will come through as well.
(September 24, 2011 – Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America)
Follow The Fantasy Fix on Twitter @thefantasyfix