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Four Quarters: Plenty of empty scores in Week 4

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed.

No, this is not the Ballad of Jed Clampett. It's the story of Jed Collins.

Up until Week 4 you knew nothing of Collins, who entered the NFL out of Washington State as an undrafted free agent in 2008. Collins has made stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Arizona, Cleveland, Tennessee and now New Orleans.

But up until Week 1 of this season he never appeared in an NFL game, and up until Sunday he never recorded an offensive stat in an NFL game until the Saints called his number at the goal line in the first quarter against Jacksonville. And wouldn't you know ol' Jed cashed in with his first career score.

However, instead of serenades and congrats on a career achievement, Collins' name was mostly cursed throughout the Fantasy realm as he stole points from the myriad of offensive stars on the Saints.

Sunday brought what seemed to be an unusual amount of marginal Fantasy options stealing much-needed touchdowns from players who usually make a difference on a weekly basis.

Check out the list of unusual suspects that hit pay dirt Week 4. There was Collins (owned zero percent of leagues), Stevan Ridley (started 1 percent of leagues), Lex Hilliard (owned zero percent), Josh Morgan (owned 1 percent), James Jones (started 1 percent), Devin Aromashodu (owned zero percent), Ben Obomanu (owned zero percent), Damian Williams (owned 1 percent), Michael Jenkins (started 3 percent), Jared Cook (started 3 percent), Clay Harbor (owned zero percent), Jake Ballard (owned zero percent), Craig Stevens (owned zero percent), Jacksonville's Zach Miller (owned 1 percent) and Daniel Fells (owned 1 percent).

And the worst part of all -- all these guys now have more touchdowns in 2011 than Titans running back Chris Johnson, who was a consensus first-round draft pick in Fantasy. Sigh.

First Quarter -- Surprises of the Week

We knew Aaron Rodgers was good, but six touchdowns and 53 Fantasy points was totally unexpected ... Tarvaris Jackson ended up as a Top 5 Fantasy scoring quarterback (27 points) in Week 4. He had all of 33 Fantasy points through his first three games with Seattle ... 49ers quarterback Alex Smith matched Tom Brady in Fantasy points (21) and the most impressive part was that he did it against the vaunted Eagles secondary ... Browns quarterback Colt McCoy attempted as many passes (61) Sunday against Tennessee as his ownership percentage in CBSSports.com leagues ... Beanie Wells' three-touchdown performance now gives him more Fantasy points on the season than Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, and that includes one less game due to injury ... I don't think anybody would have guessed that Matt Forte would be the first running back in 2011 to eclipse 200 rushing yards in a game. His previous high for a game was 166, which also came against Carolina last season. ... It was surprising that Frank Gore had his breakout performance of the season on Sunday, considering he was hobbled and being pushed for reps by Kendall Hunter ... Eric Decker's second two-touchdown performance through four weeks now puts him as a Top 10 Fantasy wide receiver and gives him 12 more Fantasy points than Roddy White, who was a consensus Top 3 Fantasy wide receiver coming into the year ... Darrius Heyward-Bey and Laurent Robinson both broke double-digit Fantasy points in Week 4 thanks to 100-yard performances ... Ryan Succop broke out with five field goals Sunday against the Vikings after opening the year 2 for 5 on field goals.

Second Quarter -- Duds of the Week

We didn't expect a stellar performance from Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez against the Ravens, but minus-4 Fantasy points is just brutal ... Knowshon Moreno has been active the last two weeks despite dealing with a lingering hamstring injury, but he has just two carries for 4 yards in those games, while Willis McGahee has paced the rushing attack. Clearly, Moreno is not the Denver back to start in Fantasy right now ... Redskins starting running back Tim Hightower went up against Rams, who came into Sunday allowing 25 Fantasy points per week to running backs, which was fourth highest in NFL. Sadly, Hightower got outproduced by both of his backups -- Ryan Torain and Roy Helu ... After all the talk about how Adrian Peterson was underutilized in Week 3 against the Lions we thought he would run wild against the Chiefs, who were allowing 29 Fantasy points per week to running backs, which was second highest in NFL. Sadly, Peterson totaled eight Fantasy points and averaged 3.5 yards per carry ... Devery Henderson laid a goose egg Week 4 as he was targeted one time against Jacksonville ... Ravens rookie Torrey Smith was a huge letdown after his breakout outing in Week 3. He produced one catch for 1 yard ... The Giants welcomed back Mario Manningham from injury in Week 4 and he drew a favorable matchup against the Cardinals. But he produced just one catch for 10 yards and ended the game in the doghouse as Victor Cruz replaced him in two-receiver sets opposite Hakeem Nicks ... Jacoby Ford also had a disappointing return from injury as he faced the worst pass defense in the league in New England. Ford produced no catches on two targets ... Fantasy owners finally began to trust Bills tight end Scott Chandler (started 45 percent), and he rewarded that confidence with no Fantasy points in Week 4 against a team allowing tight ends to average 11 points per week, which was tied for fifth highest in the NFL ... Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski couldn't take advantage of a Raiders secondary that was missing starting safety Michael Huff, as he produced one catch for 15 yards ... Randy McMichael entered Week 4 as everyone's favorite tight end sleeper as he replaced Antonio Gates and was going up against the worst team vs. tight ends, but the Dolphins bottled up McMichael for 25 yards on three catches.

Third Quarter -- Injury Report

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson was in a lot of pain Sunday when he went down with an apparent hamstring injury. Fantasy owners need to start planning to have a healthier alternative available for Week 5 in case Johnson can't take the field against the Raiders ... Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is also questionable heading into Week 5 after suffering a foot injury Sunday ... Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne left the stadium Sunday sporting a sling after hurting his non-throwing shoulder against San Diego, and he remains optimistic he will return in Week 6 after his team's bye in Week 5 ... Patriots running back Danny Woodhead dinged up his ankle Sunday against the Raiders ... Texans running back Ben Tate couldn't finish the game in Week 4 due to a groin injury, but the team's concerns were eased a bit thanks to the re-emergence of Arian Foster, who was hobbled through the first three weeks with a hamstring injury ... Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall joined the walking wounded with a hamstring injury ... Vincent Jackson had a productive day for the Chargers in Week 4 before being hobbled by a leg injury. He has been declared day-to-day leading up to Week 5.

Fourth Quarter -- Early Look Ahead

It's the first week teams are off, so fire up those bye-week replacements. Baltimore, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Washington and Cleveland are all on byes in Week 5 ... At the beginning of the season you would have overlooked Philadelphia at Buffalo, but the Week 5 matchup now features two teams averaging 25.2 or more points per game ... New Orleans at Carolina could produce a lot of Fantasy points as well, as both teams rank in the Top 3 in total offense, averaging 440 yards or more per game. They are also both challenged defensively ... It could get ugly between Kansas City and Indianapolis in Week 5 as both teams rank in the bottom five in the league in scoring offense ... If Tampa Bay wins Monday as expected, then the Bucs/49ers showdown will be a surprising battle of 3-1 teams ... Last but not least, Week 5 brings us the latest installment of Jets coach Rex Ryan vs. Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Now that's just good drama.

Overtime -- Q and A

Should I add Sidney Rice and drop David Nelson? -- David Chuah (Facebook)

MH: Yes. Even though Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is better than Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, Rice is his team's top receiver and Nelson is considered his team's second-best receiver behind Steve Johnson. Also, Rice has enjoyed two productive games since returning from a shoulder injury, so I have no problems with adding him to a roster despite his injury-prone ways.

Who should I try to trade away: Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton ? Both players have same bye and I'm leaning toward Stafford because of injury concerns -- Maestro25 (Twitter)

MH: I wouldn't trade either player. There has to be someone else on your roster you could drop, a handcuff running back or low-end receiver, to clear a roster spot come Week 9 for a bye-week replacement at quarterback. I would keep both quarterbacks just based on the fact you mentioned -- Stafford is injury-prone. You never know what's going to happen. However, if you are really set on dealing one of your high-end quarterbacks, make sure to pull a 2-for-1 deal at least so you can get a quality backup not on a bye in Week 9. And the quarterback I would deal would be Stafford, but not because of his checkered past. I would keep Newton because he appears to be unfazed by competition and his ability to run the football sets him apart from Stafford.

Who has better value moving forward: Kendall Hunter or Stevan Ridley? -- Terry Anderson III (Twitter)

MH: I like Ridley. The guy is averaging 8.2 yards per carry and it might only be a matter of time before Patriots coach Bill Belchick realizes Ridley has the potential to be the every-down back he needs to take some pressure off the passing game. Ridley is proving that his stellar preseason doesn't appear to be a fluke. Hunter is going to need a long-term injury to Frank Gore to become a significant Fantasy option.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow us on Facebook. You can also follow Michael via Twitter @CBSHurc

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Player News
Smith: Bucs QB Josh McCown better, but not ready to throw
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:35 pm ET) Lovie Smith has reported that the thumb of Josh McCown is improving, but added that the Buccaneers quarterback is still not ready to throw, per the Tampa Tribune.

McCown has likely lost his starting job to Mike Glennon, who engineered a stirring comeback Sunday to beat host Pittsburgh. McCown averaged just 140 yards passing while throwing for two touchdowns and four interceptions in his three starts this season, though he did guide the team to two victories.


Marvin Jones tweaks ankle, does not practice
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:33 pm ET) Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones sat out of practice Wednesday due to an ankle issue.

Jones has missed the first four weeks of the season due to a foot injury. The two issues are not related. Jones was able to practice last week, but the team was on a bye. 


Report: Donnie Avery will not practice Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery is not expected to practice Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Avery is dealing with a strained abductor. His status for Week 5 is unclear at the moment. Avery has 14 receptions for 156 yards. 


Cardinals giving WR Jalen Saunders a chance
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:21 pm ET) Wide receiver Jalen Saunders was not out of a job long. Two days after his release from the Jets, he has been signed to the practice squad by the Cardinals.

The rookie has yet to catch a pass in the NFL, but did serve a short stint as a punt returner with the Jets. He averaged 4.3 yards in his six returns.


Bounce-back week for Brandin Cooks?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:17 pm ET) Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks continued his up-and-down rookie season with just five catches for 31 yards Week 4 at Dallas, but the good news is he was on the field more than ever, playing 82 percent of the team's snaps. He just got lost in the shuffle in the team's futile attempt to come back from an early deficit.

He has the right matchup for a bounce-back performance Week 5 against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are tied for 28th against the pass (with the Saints, incidentally), and have allowed the most Fantasy points to wide receivers this season. They were burned big by the Steelers' Antonio Brown, who had seven catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns last week, and the Falcons' Julio Jones, who had nine catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns the week before.

Of course, Cooks could end up taking a back seat to tight end Jimmy Graham in this one, but it's shaping up to be a big game for quarterback Drew Brees. And a big game for him means multiple touchdown passes.

Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Cooks outside their top 24 wide receivers for this week, but I wouldn't be opposed to using him as a flex option.


Malcom Floyd dealing with an illness Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:14 pm ET) Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd missed practice Wednesday due to an illness.

The issue doesn't seem to be all that serious. As long as Floyd is able to return to practice Thursday or Friday, he should be good to play against the Jets Week 5. 


Cardinals QB Carson Palmer set to see specialist for shoulder
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:09 pm ET) Bruce Arians has completed his about-face from earlier Wednesday, when he announced that the shoulder of Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was getting better.

Palmer has actually regressed in his rehab, per arizonasports.com. His shoulder has become such an issue that he is seeking a second opinion. Palmer was excused from Wednesday practice to see a specialist.


Bradley: Ace Sanders expected to make 2014 debut Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:03 pm ET) Gus Bradley has announced that Jaguars wide receiver Ace Sanders, who is coming off a four-game suspension, will likely suit up Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Sanders is coming off a 2013 season in which he contributed 51 catches for 484 yards.


What now for Marques Colston?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:00 pm ET) My case against Saints wide receiver Marques Colston last week was in part a response to his reduced production but even more a response to his reduced playing time. He played only about 60 percent of the team's snaps in Weeks 2 and 3 after playing 85 percent in Week 1.

Of course, then he goes and plays a season-high 87 percent Week 4 at Dallas. True, his production was still lacking -- he didn't find the end zone and only gained 50 yards on his five catches -- but his 11 targets were the third-most he's gotten in the last two seasons. Clearly, the Saints still have plans for him.

The Saints also have an especially favorable matchup in Week 5, hosting a Buccaneers team that has allowed the fourth-most yards through the air, averaging 272.5 per game. Even better, they've allowed the most Fantasy points to wide receivers this season, getting burned by Antonio Brown and Julio Jones the last two weeks.

So yeah, Colston is a worthy start in Fantasy, all things considered. But Jamey Eisenberg's and Dave Richard's ranking of him this week -- both have him outside the top 24 at wide receiver -- reveals a general lack of trust. Colston has been a regular enough part of the Saints offense over the years that you don't want to sell him short, but you shouldn't be too eager to start him either.


Saints OT Terron Armstead ready to roll again after concussion
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) Saints tackle Terron Armstead has declared that he has cleared concussion protocol. He should be ready to roll for the Sunday game against Tampa Bay.

Armstead left the Week 4 battle against the Cowboys with the issue. He has started all four games this season.


 
 
 
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