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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
Chargers' McCoy: Philip Rivers had 'outstanding' practice Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:44 pm ET) Chargers coach Mike McCoy indicated that quarterback Philip Rivers (back, chest) "had an "oustanding day" in Thursday's practice, NFL.com reports.

"A ball did not hit the ground in all the throws he made today," McCoy added. "Philip was Philip, so he'll be ready to roll."

Rivers was a full participant in Thursday's practice after sitting out Tuesday and Wednesday. He should be ready to roll for Saturday's matchup with the 49ers.


Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald progresses to full practice Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:34 pm ET) Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (knee) was a full participant in Thursday's practice after being limited Wednesday, the team announced.

Fitzgerald has racked up 11 receptions in two games since his two-game absence but has managed just 64 yards and no touchdowns during that stretch. He's on track to resume his regular role in his team's Week 16 matchup with the Seahawks.


Cardinals' Kerwynn Williams limited Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:31 pm ET) Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams (knee) was limited in Thursday's practice, the team announced.

Williams has shared touches with Stepfan Taylor with Andre Ellington out for the season but has amassed 175 rushing yards on 34 carries over the last two weeks. If his knee issue keeps him out Sunday, Taylor and Marion Grice would likely handle most of the touches at the position.


Cardinals QB Drew Stanton (knee) limited in practice Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:27 pm ET) Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (knee) was a limited participant in practice Thursday, the team announced.

Stanton hurt the knee Sunday against the Rams and appeared destined to miss Week 16's matchup with the Seahawks, but coach Bruce Arians indicated Wednesday that Stanton could play this Sunday in a best-case scenario. Arians did say Wednesday that Ryan Lindley would start against the Seahawks, and he's still the favorite to line up under center, but Stanton's absence isn't a foregone conclusion at this point.


Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch doesn't practice Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:18 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (back) did not practice Thursday, the team announced.

Last week, Lynch was able to take part in practice in a limited fashion Thursday after taking his customary day off Wednesday. This week, he's looking at two DNPs heading into Friday. Lynch was listed as probable in Week 15 but could be facing a questionable tag (or worse) in Week 16. If Lynch isn't able to play Sunday, the Seahawks would likely expand the roles of Robert Turbin and Christine Michael.

Joining Lynch on the sidelines for Thursday's practice were tackle Russel Okung (chest), guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle), center Max Unger (knee/ankle), tight end Tony Moeaki (shoulder), wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring) and defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (ankle).


Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker good to go for Titans
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:11 pm ET) The Titans will have both Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker Week 16 against the Jaguars.

Both players came into the game listed as questionable. Wright is dealing with a hand injury. Walker has a knee issue. Both players will attempt to play through their injuries.

The team will also have Byron Stingily and Kamerion Wimbley. Both Stingily and Wimbley were listed as questionable. Daimion Stafford, who came into the contest listed as probable, will also be available. 


Titans list inactives for Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:07 pm ET) The Titans have listed QB Zach Mettenberger, DB Jemea Thomas, LB Zaviar Gooden, LB Dontay Moch, OT Terren Jones, OT Taylor Lewan and DL Mike Martin as inactive Week 16 against the Jaguars.

Both Mettenberger and Lewan were listed as doubtful heading into the contest. Neither was expected to take the field. Gooden was listed as questionable due to a hamstring injury. The other four players listed are healthy scratches. 


Jaguars' Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee active vs. Titans Week 16
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:02 pm ET) Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (foot) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (elbow) are active for Thursday night's Week 16 matchup with the Titans.

Bortles was listed as questionable to play on the team's final injury report but was reported to be starting earlier Thursday. Lee was listed as probable to play after catching four of his 10 targets for 14 yards in Week 15.

Players who were on the team's final Week 16 injury report who are also active include defensive end Ryan Davis (hip) and safety Josh Evans (foot), both of whom were questionable to suit up Thursday.


Jaguars list Week 16 inactives vs. Titans
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:01 pm ET) The Jaguars listed the following players as inactive for Thursday night's week 16 battle with the Titans: wide receiver Tommy Streeter (abdomen), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee), defensive end Andre Branch (groin), cornerbacks Teddy Williams and Jeremy Harris, safety Matt Daniels and guard Tyler Shatley.

Streeter and Miller were listed as questionable to play Thursday on the team's final injury report, while Branch was previously ruled out. The Jaguars have three quarterbacks active for the game, including first-stringer Blake Bortles (foot), who was listed as questionable to play.


You'll want to stick with Tre Mason
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:31 pm ET) In two games since blowing up for 164 total yards and three touchdowns, Rams running back Tre Mason has a total of 99 yards on 33 carries. Neither performance was good individually, and Week 15 against Arizona was especially bad. Subtract the fumble from his 33 yards, and he scored a grand total of one Fantasy point in standard CBSSports.com leagues.

So why would you consider using him in your championship game with the Rams hosting the Giants in Week 16? For one thing, the matchup is a night-and-day difference. You had to expect Mason to struggle against the Cardinals, who rank sixth against the run, allowing 90.4 yards per game, but would have guessed the Redskins, his Week 14 opponent, rank seventh? It's not a matter of teams choosing to beat them through the air either. They're one of 10 teams that have allowed less than 4 yards per carry.

The Giants, meanwhile, rank 30th against the run, allowing 135.1 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. It doesn't mean Mason is a lock for big numbers. The Redskins' Alfred Morris, who most would consider a superior running back, had just 49 yards on 14 carries against the Giants last week. But after splitting carries early on, Mason has become the clear workhorse of the Rams backfield. You don't sit a running back with that role when he has a favorable matchup, especially when he's performed as Mason has this season.

Jamey Eisenberg agrees, naming Mason the CBSSports.com Start of the Week for Week 16.


 
 
 
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