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Week 4 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Andre Johnson or any other top-tier players.

I'm starting Fitzpatrick over ...
Michael Vick, PHI vs. SF
Matt Schaub, HOU vs. PIT
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT at HOU
Matt Ryan, ATL at SEA
Tony Romo, DAL vs. DET

Sometimes you have to wonder what an unknown or unproven player has to do to fully earn respect from Fantasy owners. When is the sample size actually big enough?

Through three games, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the No. 4 quarterback in standard Fantasy leagues. He is averaging 27 Fantasy points in starts against Kansas City, Oakland and New England, and his stats have been impressive with an average of 280 passing yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

Fitzpatrick now has 16 games as the starter for the Bills. His stat line is 3,841 yards, 32 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, 279 rushing yards and five fumbles, which comes out to 328 Fantasy points in a standard league. By comparison, Philip Rivers had 329 Fantasy points last year as the No. 5 overall quarterback, and Drew Brees had 327.

But in looking at his start percentage, Fantasy owners are reluctant to use him. He is being started in just over 50 percent of leagues heading into Week 4.

This week, Fitzpatrick should have another solid performance. The Bengals have posted decent stats in pass defense, but they've faced some poor pass offenses in Cleveland, Denver and San Francisco. Colt McCoy and Kyle Orton each threw two touchdown passes against Cincinnati, but the Bengals have yet to allow more than 215 passing yards in a game.

That will change this week with the way Fitzpatrick, a former Bengal from 2007-08, is playing. Last year at Cincinnati, Fitzpatrick had 316 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions and 11 rushing yards. He is capable of another game like that on Sunday.

Fantasy owners are already starting Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson in the majority of leagues, and David Nelson and Scott Chandler are also proving to be weekly starters. Fitzpatrick is the main reason for their success, and Fantasy owners should start him in all leagues. He's done enough to earn your respect as must-start option.

Full Disclosure from Week 3
Start of the Week
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers 22 16 65
Recommended starts that made us look good
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers 11 26 89
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills 21 22 49
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills 11 21 80
Recommended starts that made us look bad
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers 20 15 70
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons 20 14 65
Kevin Kolb, QB, Cardinals 19 13 39
Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers 9 4 55
Mike Tolbert, RB, Chargers 12 3 68
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals 10 2 66
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots 12 1 75
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers 14 1 96
Nate Burleson, WR, Lions 9 1 51
Evan Moore, TE, Browns 10 1 12
Recommended sits that made us look good
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage
Josh Freeman, QB, Bucs 17 12 36
Sam Bradford, QB, Rams 16 10 12
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals 10 6 62
Thomas Jones, RB, Chiefs 8 3 21
Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos 8 3 52
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams 9 2 17
Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts 8 2 70
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins 8 1 30
Dallas Clark, TE, Colts 9 1 35
Recommended sits that made us look bad
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage
Eli Manning, QB, Giants 16 34 17
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears 16 21 17
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts 6 14 18
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs 7 12 73
Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions 9 11 20
Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders 5 11 8

Quarterback

Start 'Em

Week 4 sleeper QBs
Jay Cutler, CHI vs. CAR
Mark Sanchez, NYJ at BAL
Kevin Kolb, ARI vs. NYG

Cam Newton (at CHI): Newton had his first bad game in the NFL last week against Jacksonville with 16 Fantasy points, but that game was played in a monsoon. He will bounce back this week against the Bears. Chicago has allowed three passing touchdowns in each of their past two games against Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, and while Newton is nowhere close to those two quarterbacks, he could have similar Fantasy production. Start him with confidence this week.
Ben Roethlisberger (at HOU): Roethlisberger has struggled this season with turnovers, but he's on the verge of playing like the elite quarterback he showed last season. He has at least 30 pass attempts in each game with at least 280 passing yards. And since the Steelers are struggling to run the ball right now, look for Roethlisberger to have to throw this week against the Texans for the Steelers to win. The Texans allowed 28 Fantasy points against Brees last week, which is the first legitimate quarterback they have faced, and standout pass rusher Mario Williams (knee) is also hurt. Roethlisberger should be able to reach at least 20 Fantasy points in this matchup, and our partner Accuscore has Roethlisberger projected as the No. 5 overall quarterback this week.
Tony Romo (vs. DET): The Lions pass defense has yet to be tested with matchups against Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Minnesota to start the season, and Dallas won't be at full strength with Miles Austin (hamstring) out. Still, Romo should finish as a starting Fantasy option this week since this game could be a shootout. Romo got through Week 3 against the Redskins despite the rib injury, and he gets a full week of practice in Week 4 to get on the same page as center Phil Costa and reserve receivers Kevin Ogletree and Laurent Robinson. Trust Romo this week to get the job done.
Eli Manning (at ARI): Manning was the biggest surprise in Week 3 when he finished with 34 Fantasy points in a standard league at Philadelphia. Granted, most of his production came on long pass plays to Victor Cruz and Brandon Jacobs, but he now has six touchdowns and one interception in his past two outings and has a favorable matchup this week. The Cardinals have allowed six touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in three games, and in Manning's last trip to Arizona in 2008 he had 240 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. This should be a safe week to trust him as a starter.
Rex Grossman (at STL): It's one thing when Grossman gets turnover prone and the Redskins win. It's another thing when he gets turnover happy and they lose, which happened Monday night at Dallas. Grossman now has five turnovers in three games, and if he keeps this up he might get benched. But once again, Grossman has a favorable matchup at the Rams, who have allowed at least two passing touchdowns in each game against Michael Vick, Manning and Joe Flacco. We hope Grossman can return to his positive stats, and he's still worth using as a No. 1 option this week.

Sit 'Em

Matt Ryan (at SEA): Ryan was solid in his last trip to Seattle last season when he had 174 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. But including that game, Ryan has struggled in his past five games on the road. He's averaging 251 passing yards a game over that span, but he has just seven touchdowns with nine turnovers (six interceptions and three fumbles). His offensive line is a mess right now since he's been sacked 13 times, and the Seahawks have only allowed two passing touchdowns on the season against Roethlisberger and Kevin Kolb. Ryan has a lot to prove right now following a sluggish start.
Matt Hasselbeck (at CLE): The Browns haven't exactly faced the best passing attacks in the NFL with matchups against Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Miami, but they are allowing just 155 passing yards per game with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Hasselbeck has been great to start the season, but losing Kenny Britt (knee) will hurt his production. Go back to viewing Hasselbeck as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback for this week and see how he does with a difficult matchup and without his best receiver.
Colt McCoy (at TEN): The Titans, surprisingly, are No. 2 in pass defense heading into Week 4, allowing just 172 yards per game. They also have limited opposing quarterbacks to just 10 Fantasy points a game. Now, they have only faced Luke McCown, Flacco and Kyle Orton to start the season, but McCoy can still be held to minimal stats in this matchup. His best game this season is 19 Fantasy points against the Bengals, and he should be around 15 Fantasy points this week.
Joe Flacco (vs. NYJ): Go back to Week 1 last year when Flacco faced the Jets, and that's what you can expect this week. He had 248 passing yards, one interception and a lost fumble. This game should be low-scoring with the way these two defenses play, and the Raiders showed last week the Jets vulnerability on defense is against the run. Look for the Ravens to lean on Ray Rice in this matchup, and Flacco should be considered just a No. 2 Fantasy option this week.
Josh Freeman (vs. IND): This should be the LeGarrette Blount show this week since the Colts have struggled against the run, and the Bucs want to get him going. Freeman's Fantasy points are headed in the wrong direction from 16 to 14 to 12 through three weeks, and after nearly a 5-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio last year, he's at 1-to-2 this season. He will get better, but right now he's just a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback in the majority of leagues.

Bust alert: Matt Schaub (vs. PIT): It's hard to bench Schaub in any matchup, especially with his performance last week at New Orleans with 30 Fantasy points. The Steelers also have done well in pass defense the past two weeks against Seattle and Indianapolis, but that was against Tarvaris Jackson and the combination of Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter. But I still look at Schaub as a low-end starting option at best this week. The Steelers, as usual, will put plenty of pressure on Schaub, and in his last matchup against Pittsburgh in 2008 he had just 14 Fantasy points. He should be slightly better this time around, but you might consider another starting option if you have someone else on your bench with a better matchup.

Running back

Start 'Em

Week 4 sleeper RBs
Darren Sproles, NO at JAC
Kendall Hunter, SF at PHI
Alfonso Smith, ARI vs. NYG
Brandon Jacobs, NYG at ARI
Michael Bush, OAK vs. NE

Steven Jackson (vs. WAS): Jackson has been one of the bigger disappointments this season following his quad injury in Week 1, which forced him to miss Week 2, and then he was limited to just four carries in Week 3. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said the Rams will increase Jackson's workload this week, and that will be the best thing for their offense. The Redskins have allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in all three games this season against Ahmad Bradshaw in Week 1, Beanie Wells in Week 2 and Felix Jones in Week 3. Look for Jackson to make it four in a row.
Tim Hightower (at STL): Despite the potential for a decreased workload with the emergence of rookie Roy Helu, Hightower just continues to produce. He has double digits in Fantasy points in all three games, and he has a favorable matchup this week. The Rams have allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in all three games this season against LeSean McCoy in Week 1, Brandon Jacobs in Week 2 and Rice in Week 3. Hightower also has a long history against the Rams from his days with the Cardinals with at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in each of his past five meetings.
James Starks (vs. DEN): Ryan Grant looked like he was ready to reclaim his role as the best Fantasy running back for the Packers after his performance last week at Chicago, but he is expected to sit this week following a bruised kidney. There is a chance he could still play, but look for Starks to get the majority of touches. He struggled last week against the Bears with minus-2 Fantasy points, but he should thrive this week against the Broncos. Grant's absence should open the door for Starks to have a big game.
Cedric Benson (vs. BUF): Benson was expected to start a three-game suspension in Week 4, but the NFL has allowed him to play this week against the Bills. That's a good thing given his performance against Buffalo last year at home. Benson had 25 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 22 yards and a fumble against the Bills last season. The Bengals will likely lean on Benson this week to help rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and also keep Buffalo's high-powered offense off the field. He should be considered a solid No. 2 Fantasy option this week.
Joseph Addai (at TB): With Peyton Manning (neck) out, the Colts are becoming a running team, and Addai has done a nice job the past two weeks. He is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season, and last week he had 17 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. The Bucs have allowed at least seven Fantasy points to three running backs this season in Jahvid Best in Week 1 and Peterson and Toby Gerhart in Week 2. Addai should be able to at least reach that total since he has nine Fantasy points in each of the past two weeks. Consider him a solid flex option or No. 2 Fantasy running back in this matchup.

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Sit 'Em

Ben Tate (vs. PIT): The return of Arian Foster (hamstring) along with the matchup means it's time to put Tate back on the bench. He was amazing through three games with Foster out or limited, rushing 66 times for 301 yards and a touchdown and catching five passes for 40 yards. But Foster should get the majority of carries this week, and the Steelers are still solid in run defense. As for Foster, he should be viewed as a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option.
Shonn Greene (at BAL): Greene struggled last week at Oakland with 15 carries for 59 yards, which was his third game in a row averaging fewer than 4.0 yards per carry. It was encouraging to see him catch seven passes for 47 yards, but you're not starting Greene for his receiving prowess. This week, Greene should struggle against the Ravens, especially if center Nick Mangold (ankle) remains out. The Ravens have already shut down Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson this season, and they should be able to contain Greene.
Thomas Jones (vs. MIN): The Vikings run defense was terrible to start the season against the Chargers and Bucs, but they played much better in Week 3 against Detroit with the return of defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who was suspended for the first two games. Best was held to 12 carries for 14 yards and needed 74 yards receiving to save his production. Jones, as expected, struggled last week at the Chargers with 14 carries for 31 yards. He shouldn't do much better this week and is not worth using in the majority of leagues.
DeAngelo Williams (at CHI): The Bears run defense has been average at best this season, allowing more than 90 rushing yards to Michael Turner and Grant, with Grant and Darren Sproles also reaching double digits in Fantasy points. But Williams would be lucky to get five Fantasy points in a standard league with the way he's played so far this season. In fact, Williams has combined for just eight Fantasy points in three games. He continues to share playing time with Jonathan Stewart, but Stewart has proven to be the better receiver and also has played near the goal line. Williams is not worth starting in the majority of formats and is playing like a huge bust.
Willis McGahee (at GB): I called McGahee a sleeper prior to the season, and through three games he looks the part with double digits in Fantasy points each of the past two weeks while Knowshon Moreno has dealt with a hamstring injury. Moreno is getting closer to 100 percent, but McGahee will remain the best Fantasy option for the Broncos. This week, however, the Broncos face a tough opponent in the Packers, who are No. 1 in run defense. Green Bay has yet to allow a running back to score this season in matchups against the Saints, Panthers and Bears, and they should be able to contain McGahee.

Bust alert: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at OAK): I'm hesitant to sit Green-Ellis because all it takes is one rushing touchdown for him to be successful. But Fantasy owners saw last week what could happen to Green-Ellis as the year goes on. He had 10 carries for 18 yards and was outplayed by rookie Stevan Ridley, who had seven carries for 44 yards. With Danny Woodhead also in the mix, it could be trouble for Green-Ellis going forward. The Raiders run defense is average at best, but they did limit the Broncos in Week 1 and the Jets last week in terms of their production on the ground. If you need to start Green-Ellis this week then do so with the hope he finds the end zone. But if he doesn't score a touchdown then his production will be minimal.

Wide receiver

Start 'Em

Week 4 sleeper WRs
Mike Thomas, JAC vs. NO
Eric Decker, DEN at GB
David Nelson, BUF at CIN
Johnny Knox, CHI vs. CAR
Julio Jones, ATL at SEA

Santonio Holmes (at BAL): Holmes is coming off a miserable game against the Raiders with one catch for 19 yards on two targets, but history suggests Holmes is about to go off. Holmes has a touchdown in each of his past five games against the Ravens, and he owned Baltimore when he was with the Steelers. In those five games, Holmes had 21 catches for 340 yards. We'll see if this streak continues, but the Jets will likely be throwing a lot in this matchup, meaning more than just two targets for Holmes. He remains a No. 2 Fantasy option this week.
Reggie Wayne (at TB): Wayne and the entire Colts' receiving corps has struggled with Peyton Manning out, but this week Wayne has a chance to rebound. I would start him as a No. 2 receiver. The Bucs have already allowed six receivers to catch at least five passes, and last week Roddy White and Julio Jones combined for 15 catches for 255 yards. Wayne is no longer a must-start Fantasy option, but this week he should post quality stats to make him worth using in the majority of leagues.
Dez Bryant (vs. DET): The Lions have struggled with big receivers this season as Mike Williams of Tampa Bay, Dwayne Bowe and Michael Jenkins have combined for 18 catches, 239 yards and one touchdown in three games. Bryant has yet to have a big game since he hurt his quad in Week 1 against the Jets, but he's due. And he should see plenty of targets in this game with Austin out. Bryant should be considered a must-start Fantasy option in this matchup since it should be an aerial shootout.
Lance Moore (at JAC): There is a chance Marques Colston (collarbone) returns for this game, which could hurt Moore's production, but he's worth the risk based on how he played last week against Houston with nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. We had high expectations for Moore prior to the season, and he should be a great Fantasy option now that his groin is healthy. The Jaguars have allowed two receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and Moore should make it three. He's worth starting as a No. 2 receiver in this matchup.
Denarius Moore (vs. NE): I would consider Jason Campbell a sleeper this week in deeper leagues because the Patriots are a mess in their secondary. New England is last in pass defense and has allowed 23 passing plays of 20 yards or more, which leads the NFL. Enter Moore, who should be able to run past this defense at will. He has double digits in Fantasy points in each of the past two games against the Bills and Jets, and he could make it three games in a row this week. Moore is worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues and a No. 2 option in deeper formats.

Sit 'Em

Anquan Boldin (vs. NYJ): Boldin did a great job against the Jets in Week 1 last year with seven catches for 110 yards, but he's going to struggle this week against Darrelle Revis. It will help Boldin if Antonio Cromartie (ribs) is out, but Boldin hasn't scored in his past two games and should only be used as a No. 3 receiver this week. Hopefully he can produce against the Jets like he did last season, but we're not confident that will happen.
Sidney Rice (vs. ATL): Rice was fantastic in Week 3 against Arizona, which was his first game of the season after being out with a significant shoulder injury. But that game was against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, and Atlanta will present a much tougher challenge. The Falcons have done well against opposing wide receivers through three games with only Jeremy Maclin posting quality stats in Week 2. I would use Rice as a No. 3 wide receiver this week, but I'm still hesitant to call him a must-start option. Keep in mind this is still a receiver catching passes from Tarvaris Jackson, and the Falcons will focus on shutting him down.
Brandon Lloyd (at GB): It's surprising to see Green Bay at No. 31 in pass defense given their cornerbacks with Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams. The loss of safety Nick Collins (neck) hurts, but I'm buying that the Packers pass defense will turn things around. What I'm not buying is Lloyd as a starting Fantasy receiver in standard formats. He has an opportunity to play well this week, but he's not trustworthy and is getting outplayed by Eric Decker. I want Lloyd to prove himself first before considering him a starter in the majority of leagues.
Chad Ochocinco (at OAK): I had hope for Ochocinco last week going against the Bills with Aaron Hernandez (knee) out, and he let me down, dropping a 41-yard touchdown pass. You just cannot count on this guy right now, and if he's going to produce quality production then let it happen on your bench. He has just five catches for 87 yards on the season, and Tom Brady is only going to tolerate this type of play for so long. If Hernandez returns this week then it might be time to cut Ochocinco in the majority of leagues.
Mike Sims-Walker (vs. WAS): Sims-Walker struggled last week against Baltimore with three catches for 36 yards on six targets, and he's not playing at a level right now that is helpful for Fantasy owners. He has to prove himself first before Fantasy owners can even consider him a No. 3 option in the majority of leagues. The Redskins have allowed double digits in Fantasy points to two receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Larry Fitzgerald, but Sims-Walker is obviously nowhere close to their level.

Bust alert: Nate Washington (at CLE): Joe Haden has not reached Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha's status at the upper echelon of lock-down cornerbacks, but he has become an elite defender already and should be able to handle Washington. The Browns have only allowed one receiver to score this season, which was rookie A.J. Green in Week 1 on broken coverage when Haden was slow to leave the defensive huddle. Since then Haden has helped limit Reggie Wayne and Brandon Marshall to a combined 10 Fantasy points. Washington is now the No. 1 receiver for the Titans with Britt out, but he will struggle this week in his matchup with Haden.

Tight end

Start 'Em

Week 4 sleeper TEs
Randy McMichael, SD vs. MIA
Jermaine Gresham, CIN vs. BUF
Kyle Rudolph, MIN at KC

Greg Olsen (at CHI): Jermichael Finley may have scored three touchdowns against the Bears last week, but Chicago has already allowed three tight ends to catch at least five passes for 72 yards with Tony Gonzalez in Week 1, Jimmy Graham in Week 2 and Finley. Olsen is coming off his best game of the season last week against Jacksonville with seven catches for 57 yards and a touchdown, and you know he wants to perform well against his former team. Consider him a must-start option in all leagues.
Scott Chandler (at CIN): Chandler comes into this game riding a three-game scoring streak with four touchdowns over that span to start the season. He is not catching many passes with just four receptions for 26 yards the past two weeks against Oakland and New England, but he's becoming a red-zone star. The Bengals have already allowed three tight ends to reach at least nine Fantasy points against Benjamin Watson and Evan Moore in Week 1 and Vernon Davis last week. Look for Chandler to keep his touchdown streak alive for least one more scoring period.
Brandon Pettigrew (at DAL): We'll ride the hot hand with Pettigrew this week after his performance in Week 3 at Minnesota. Pettigrew had 11 catches for 112 yards on 13 targets. Hopefully that will continue this week against the Cowboys, who have allowed two touchdowns to tight ends in three games. Pettigrew faced the Cowboys last year and had eight catches for 75 yards.

Sit 'Em

Fred Davis (at STL): Last week at Dallas was the first time this season that Chris Cooley outplayed Davis with three more catches, two more targets and 18 more yards. We hope it's not a sign of things to come since Davis was tremendous for the first two games of the season, but it's worth noting. Also worth noting is how St. Louis has done against tight ends. Last year the Rams were among the best in the NFL against opposing tight ends, allowing just three touchdowns, and no tight end had more than eight Fantasy points in a game, including two matchups with Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow and Zach Miller when he was with the Raiders. The Redskins played in St. Louis also last year, and Cooley (five catches for 53 yards) and Fred Davis (two catches for 11 yards) were held in check. That could happen to Davis again this week.
Owen Daniels (vs. PIT): Daniels is coming off a terrific game against New Orleans and has touchdowns in consecutive outings. He is back as a No. 1 Fantasy tight end, but this will be a difficult matchup for him. The Steelers have allowed just three tight ends to score in the past 20 games, and some of the tight ends they have shut down over that span include Gonzalez (three Fantasy points), Winslow (two points), Dustin Keller (one point) and Dallas Clark (one point). Don't be surprised to see Daniels spending a few extra plays blocking in this matchup to help with the Steelers' pass rush, and he could be limited in his production. It's hard to bench Daniels, but just lower your expectations for him this week.
Evan Moore (vs. TEN): If Moore doesn't score then he's a real bore for Fantasy owners because he's not heavily involved in the passing game. He has just three catches for 35 yards in his past two games, and he's still playing behind Watson. Moore has proven to be a solid red-zone threat with two touchdowns in three games, but the Titans have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end all season. Tennessee also has given up just nine catches to tight ends for 126 yards, and Moore should be considered just a No. 2 Fantasy option this week.

Bust alert: Dustin Keller (at BAL): We've been promoting Keller for several weeks now, and he's gotten off to another hot start with at least eight Fantasy points in all three games. It's hard to bench him when he's playing at this level, but Fantasy owners should lower your expectations for Keller this week. The Ravens typically do a solid job defending tight ends and have allowed just three tight ends to score in the past 19 games, including matchups with Aaron Hernandez (six points), Rob Gronkowski (two points) and Gonzalez (three points). Keller also faced Baltimore during that stretch in Week 1 last year and had just two catches for 13 yards.

Defense/Special teams

Start 'Em

Week 4 sleeper DSTs
Vikings at KC
Bucs vs. IND
Falcons at SEA

Saints (at JAC): The Saints defense has not played well this year, but that has as much to do with who they have played compared to their performance. It's not easy starting out with Green Bay and Houston in two of their first three games, but they should be dominant this week against rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert making just his second start. It will help the Saints if Jonathan Vilma (knee) returns for this matchup, but the Saints DST should be a great starting option this week. And their schedule looks great over the next several weeks with matchups against Carolina, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis, so add the Saints DST for Week 4 and hold onto them based on their upcoming schedule.

Sit 'Em

Cowboys (vs. DET): The Cowboys DST has done a nice job the first three weeks of the season with three games with double digits in Fantasy points. Dallas has six turnovers and 13 sacks on the year. But this week the Cowboys are facing one of the best offenses in the NFL against the Lions, who have just two turnovers on the season with two Matthew Stafford interceptions. Now, Stafford was sacked five times last week against Minnesota, but you have to believe the Lions will work on keeping him from getting hit as much. This is just a good week to sit the Cowboys DST based on the matchup and how well the Lions are playing coming into this game.

Kicker

Start 'Em

Week 4 sleeper Ks
Nick Novak, SD vs. MIA
Connor Barth, TB vs. IND
Rob Bironas, TEN at CLE

Jason Hanson (at DAL): Hanson is 41, but he's having a great start to his 20th season, all with the Lions. He has eight field goals and 11 extra points without a miss, and he's already made two field goals from at least 50 yards. The Lions offense is clicking right now, and Hanson is reaping the benefits. He's facing a Cowboys defense that has allowed multiple field goals in two games this year, including three field goals against Graham Gano last week at home. Dallas allowed multiple field goals in five home games last year, and Hanson should continue his hot start with another solid performance this week.

Sit 'Em

Dan Carpenter (at SD): Carpenter is coming off his best game of the season with 10 Fantasy points at Cleveland, but he's already missed three field goals on the year and has just two extra points in the past two weeks. In his past five road games, Carpenter has missed five field goals, and the Chargers have allowed just four field goals in three games. The Dolphins offense is struggling right now, and Carpenter is just not trustworthy as a starting option. I'd rather start Nick Novak (vs. MIA), Rob Bironas (at CLE) and Connor Barth (vs. IND) over Carpenter.

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Report: Dolphins waiving Michael Egnew
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:58 pm ET) The Dolphins are on the verge of waiving tight end Michael Egnew, a league source has told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Egnew was a third-round pick in 2012.

He has played in just seven games over the past two years with seven catches for 69 yards and no touchdowns.


Donald Stephenson suspended for quarter of regular season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:44 pm ET) Chiefs offensive tackle Donald Stephenson has been suspended by the league for four games for violating its performance enhancing drug policy, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan has reported.

Stephenson started seven of 16 games in each of the last two seasons.


Report: Jets coaches surprised incentive lacking for Michael Vick
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:36 pm ET) Jets coaches have reportedly been taken aback at the resignation of quarterback Michael Vick to a backup role.

Coaches have "privately expressed disappointment that Vick didn't show more hell-bent on winning the starting job," according to Monday Morning Quarterback. Vick has stated his belief that the job has belonged to Geno Smith from the start. He has also not talked like a guy pushing for playing time.

"The last five years I spent in Philly, I had some great years and played in some great games and went through a lot," Vick said. "Now it's an opportunity for me to refresh myself and take a step back away from the game. I'm kind of relishing the moment I'm in right now. I am not required to have to do a lot. Preserving my body right now is very important to me."

Vick has completed 8 of 15 passes for 87 yards in the preseason. He has been outplayed by both Smith and Matt Simms, though he has the team's only touchdown pass.


Steve Williams could miss Friday session with leg issue
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Chargers cornerback Steve Williams might be sidelined from Friday practice. He sustained what appeared to be an upper right leg injury during individual drills. He was later seen icing it down.

Coach: Vontaze Burfict contract not a done deal
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:13 pm ET) The mystery surrounding the contract extension of Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been addressed by Marvin Lewis. Bottom line: Nobody has signed on the bottom line.

"As you know, we believe it here [when] the club and the player have signed off," Lewis said after Friday practice. "It's not signed off."

ESPN had reported Wednesday that the two sides had agreed to a four-year deal worth $20 million and that Burfict would receive $7.6 million in his first year.


Report: Neck injury will not end career of Delano Howell
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:04 pm ET) The neck injury to Colts safety Delano Howell is serious, but not career-threatening, per ESPN.

Howell met with doctors this week to discuss his future. He is set to meet with the team Friday to talk about a timetable for returning to action.

The injury does have the Colts considering veteran Mike Adams to play alongside LaRon Landry as a starting safety.


 
 
 
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