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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
Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:06 pm ET) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:48 pm ET) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:39 pm ET) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5:24 pm ET) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:04 pm ET) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:50 pm ET) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


Cowboys' Greg Hardy called 'woman beater' by teammate
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:19 pm ET) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy got into an altercation with teammate Davon Coleman during a voluntary offseason workout, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports

Hardy reportedly questioned Coleman's work ethic during a conditioning drill, which led Coleman to call Hardy a "woman beater."

Hardy was accused of domestic abuse and was found guilty by a North Carolina judge. On the subsequent appeal, prosecutors dropped charges against Hardy and the case was never presented in front of a jury. 

Hardy has been suspended by the NFL for 10 games due to what transpired in that case. According to FOX Sports, the confrontation between Hardy and Coleman remained verbal


Lions and Rob Sims' representation haven't spoken in 3 weeks
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) The Lions need a left guard and Rob Sims would be a solid option if the two sides can strike a deal for the veteran to return. 

However, talks have stalled between the Lions' front office and Sims' representation. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said it's been nearly a month since he's spoken to Sims' camp. 

"We've had some discussion with Rob," Mayhew said, via MLive.com. "I spoke to his agent probably about three weeks ago and we had an offer out to him. That's kind of where we are right now. We'll have to kind of wait and see what happens."

The Lions could still opt to draft a lineman early to fill the position, too. 

Sims, who entered the NFL in 2006, has been with the Lions for the past five seasons. 


Andre Ellington OK with Cardinals drafting another running back
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3:20 pm ET) If the Cardinals decide to draft a running back in one of the higher rounds, running back Andre Ellington would be OK with it. 

Ellington was a three-down back for Arizona last year that got plenty of touches in the running and passing games. But if the Cardinals use a high pick on a running back, that could cut into Ellington's touches. 

That's something that wouldn't bother Ellington. 

“It’s whatever will better our team,” Ellington told the team's website. “That’s most important. No one is going to hate any decisions. I’m sure those guys will make the best decisions to help the team. We’ll accept any guy who comes in.”

Another quality runner could help Ellington, who dealt with numerous injuries a year ago, in the long run. His season ended last December after undergoing hernia surgery. 


Dolphins haven't decided if they'll extend Ryan Tannehill's contract
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said the club has yet to decide if it will extend quarterback Ryan Tannehill, according to the Palm Beach Post

The Dolphins could decide to pick up Tannehill's fifth-year option and wait on an extension. The deadline for doing so is May 3. Doing that would cost the Dolphins $15 million for the 2016 season. 

Previously, NFL.com reported that the Dolphins were hopeful that they could strike a long-term deal with Tannehill before Week 1 of the 2015 season. 

In 2014, Tannehill threw for 4,045 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.


 
 
 
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