Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
2013 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Five up, five down for Week 4

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

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, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you make a decision on players you are on the fence about.

More injuries, more crazy finishes and more monster games from people not named Chris Johnson highlighted Week 3. Week 4 brings our first bye week of the season and while the loss of the Colts and Steelers shouldn't cripple your team, here are some suggestions to keep you on the winning track this week.

Get 'em active ...

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time all offseason as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe via iTunes

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (at KC)
Current own/start %: 94/68
I'd start him over: Michael Vick (vs. NYG), Eli Manning (at PHI), Tony Romo (vs. CHI)
Last week was one to forget for Philip Rivers, but a Week 4 trip to Kansas City should fix that. Through three games, the Chiefs have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for eight touchdowns, second most in the league. Every quarterback who has played the Chiefs in 2012 has thrown for multiple touchdowns, produced at least 22 Fantasy points and finished in the Top 12 at the position for the week. Rivers has been hot and cold this year, but this should be a hot week against a Chiefs team that he has an 83 percent consistency rate against in his last six games. He did not have a single passing score against the Chiefs in 2011, but he will have a couple this week as the Chiefs have really struggled with outside receivers and tight ends in 2012, allowing four scores a piece to those two positions. With Ryan Mathews fully ready to get in the mix this week look for San Diego to make an offensive statement, making Rivers a solid start again for your teams.

Other QBs with favorable matchups: Joe Flacco (vs. CLE), Peyton Manning (vs. OAK), Christian Ponder (at DET), Matt Schaub (vs. TEN), Carson Palmer (at DEN), Matthew Stafford/Shaun Hill (vs. MIN), Josh Freeman (vs. WAS)

Michael Turner, RB, Falcons (vs. CAR)
Current own/start %: 100/64
I'd start him over: Chris Johnson (at HOU), Trent Richardson (at BAL), Michael Bush (at DAL)
Nothing can help turn a running back from a crud to a stud faster than playing against a defense that either quits or just cannot stop the run. In Week 3, Michael Turner had a little bit of the Burner back as he ran for 80 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and a touchdown on only 14 carries against the Chargers. In the first half, he was held to a typical 15 yards on six carries, but as the game went on and the Chargers laid down, Turner capitalized with eight carries for 65 yards and a score in the second half. In fact, 57 of those yards and the score came on his four fourth quarter carries, which was the first time this year that he got some of the valuable garbage time production we count on from big running backs. In Week 4, Turner should feel like he is running in the fourth quarter for the entire game as the Panthers bring their 27th-ranked run defense (139.3 yards per game) to town. So far, five different running backs have produced at least 10 points against the Panthers this season and Turner averaged 107.5 yards and a touchdown per game against them last year. In 2012, Carolina is giving up 207 total yards and one touchdown per game to opposing runners while allowing 26 Fantasy points to the position each week, third most in the league. Even Mark Ingram got to 10 points against Carolina in Week 2 and last week Andre "The Giant" Brown pumped in 24 points. Look for the Falcons to use Turner to soften this defense and he should be able to find the end zone and hit at least 10 points for the third straight week. At that point, feel free to sell high on good ol' Ankle Weights.

Cedric Benson, RB, Packers (vs. NO)
Current own/start %: 98/54
I'd start him over: Steven Jackson (vs. SEA), Stevan Ridley (at BUF), Andre Brown (at PHI)
If we consider Carolina to be a generous run defense, then the Saints are looking to go down in history as the most philanthropic Fantasy run defense of all time. Through three games, the Saints are giving up a league high 32 points per game to opposing running backs. No running back group has produced fewer than 24 points, two individual rushers have topped the 21-point mark and they have allowed five different runners to score against them in just three games! The Saints have allowed a league-high six rushing touchdowns so far and all have come from running backs. No team is giving up more rushing yards per game than the 215 currently being allowed by the Saints, which is just astonishing. Seriously, 215 yards rushing per game allowed! That is not misprint and it becomes even more amazing when you consider that the second worst run defense in the league has given up almost 200 fewer rushing yards than the 645 allowed by the Saints over three games. Alfred Morris, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and of course Jamaal Charles (who just put up 288 total yards and a touchdown against New Orleans in Week 3) all have their highest Fantasy point totals of the year against the Saints. I don't know what other point to make other than if there ever was a week to start Cedric Benson, this is it. Keep in mind that last year James Starks only scored one rushing touchdown for the Packers and it came against this Saints team. Start Ced Ben and you should get his third straight double-digit performance.

Other RBs with favorable matchups: Ryan Mathews (at KC), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at JAC), Mikel Leshoure (vs. MIN), Doug Martin (vs. WAS), Ben Tate (vs. TEN)

Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers (vs. WAS)
Current own/start %: 100/79
I'd start him over: Hakeem Nicks (at PHI), Kenny Britt (at HOU), Lance Moore (at GB)
This season is going to be up and down for Vincent Jackson, as he will have to take advantage of favorable matchups to be successful on the run heavy Buccaneers. He is averaging a very healthy nine targets per game, so he is getting the chances week in and week out. It really comes down to how efficient he can be with them. In Weeks 1 and 3, Jackson caught only five of his 17 targets for a grand total of 76 yards receiving. In Week 2 however, he had a favorable matchup with the injury depleted secondary of the Giants and caught five of his 10 targets for 128 yards and a touchdown. I am expecting a repeat of Week 2 against the Redskins, who have no pass rush due to devastating injuries and therefore have no pass defense. Through three weeks, the 'Skins have allowed a league high 10 passing touchdowns (and at least three in every week), a league high six scores to wide receivers and are giving up 350 yards passing per game. In three games this year, the opposing top target (in terms of target volume, where Jackson is the unquestioned leader in Tampa) has amassed 28 catches for 414 yards and two touchdowns. That is ridiculous and in each of the last two weeks the opposing No. 1 receiver has been Top 6 in terms of Fantasy points for the week. This is definitely a week to expect Jackson to moonwalk across the end zone, so get him in your lineups.

Other WRs and TEs with favorable matchups: Brandon Lloyd (at BUF), Wes Welker (at BUF), Percy Harvin (at DET), Steve Johnson (vs. NE), Torrey Smith (vs. CLE), Eric Decker (vs. OAK), Demaryius Thomas (vs. OAK), Anquan Boldin (vs. CLE), Denarius Moore (at DEN), Danny Amendola (vs. SEA), Sidney Rice (at STL), Andrew Hawkins (at JAX), Malcom Floyd (at KC), Santonio Holmes (vs. SF), Nate Washington (at HOU), Jerome Simpson (at DET), Owen Daniels (vs. TEN), Brandon Pettigrew (vs. MIN), Dennis Pitta (vs. CLE), Brent Celek (vs. NYG), Kyle Rudolph (at DET), Marcedes Lewis (vs. CIN)

Cardinals DST (vs. MIA)
Current own/start %: 78/59
I'd start them over: Green Bay (vs. NO), Chicago (at DAL), Philadelphia (vs. NYG)
Through three weeks there has been a desert swarm brewing in the Valley of the Sun and if you don't believe me, just ask Mike Vick. Last week, the Arizona defense held the explosive Eagles to just six points, forced three turnovers and sacked the Eagles quarterback five times. Over the last two weeks, the Eagles and Patriots have combined for just 24 points against the Cardinals, who have the top-ranked scoring defense in the NFL at just 13.3 points per game. The Cards are third with 12 sacks, tied for sixth with six takeaways, they already have a defensive touchdown and have given up a league-low two total touchdowns. Last week, the Cards scored 25 Fantasy points and have produced double figures in every game so far this year. This week, the Cardinals play host to a Miami team that produced 19 Fantasy points for the Texans in their only road game of the year. Making matters worse for the 'Fins is that they could very well be without Reggie Bush for the game. Opposing defenses have scored at least 14 points in two of three against the Dolphins and the Cards could hit the 20-point mark this week, making them a must start.

Ride the pine ...

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears (at DAL)
Current own/start %: 89/21
I'd rather start: Carson Palmer (at DEN), Joe Flacco (vs. CLE), Christian Ponder (at DET)
In his last two games, Jay Cutler has thrown for 309 yards and one touchdown with five interceptions, which is a far cry from the 333 yards with two scores and one interception he had in the season opener. Unfortunately for Cutler, things are not going to get any easier in Week 4 against what very well may be the best pass defense in the NFL. Sure, the Cowboys had a little hiccup in Week 2 at Seattle, but just ask Eli Manning and Josh Freeman how tough this pass defense is. So far, no quarterback has thrown for multiple touchdowns, reached 220 yards passing, hit 15 Fantasy points or even sniffed the Top 12 against this defense. The Cowboys are allowing just 5.9 yards per pass attempt, third best in the entire league. They are the only team that has not allowed a single touchdown to a wide receiver this year. When you consider that tight end Kellen Davis is not quite in the mold of Jimmy Graham, you see that this could be another tough day at the office for Cutler. There are so many better options you can utilize in Week 4. I would keep Cutler reserved to avoid another prime time horror show.

Other QBs with tough matchups: Jake Locker (at HOU), Tony Romo (vs. CHI), Michael Vick (vs. NYG), Cam Newton (at ATL; I'm still starting him but he did have five interceptions in two games against them last year)

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans (at HOU)
Current own/start %: 100/59
I'd rather start: You, the reader (vs. ANY), Ben Tate (vs. TEN), Alfred Morris (at TB)
There are three teams in the NFL that have not allowed a rushing touchdown this year and the Texans are one of them. They also are the fifth-ranked run defense, allowing just 67.7 yards per game. I know what you are thinking. We would all do cartwheels if Johnson were to get to 67 yards rushing this week. While our expectations have only taken three weeks to evaporate, let me also let you know that no running back has even produced 70 yards on the ground against the Texans this year despite them facing Reggie Bush, Maurice Jones-Drew and Willis McGahee. Johnson has not seen 15 carries yet in a single game and has a grand total of 45 yards rushing on his 33 carries this year. Pretty sure 1.36 is much better as an ERA in baseball then it is a rushing average. In fact, the Titans enter Week 4 with the worst rushing offense in the NFL, picking up just 39 yards per game on a league-low 2.6 yards per carry. Johnson has been held under 20 yards rushing in two of his last four against the Texans and has not scored in three of his last four. In fact, over the last four games against the Texans -- and this includes one big game with 19 points -- Johnson is averaging just over seven Fantasy points per game. Given how good the Texans have been and how bad Johnson is, I would go ahead and keep him benched.

Trent Richardson, RB, Browns (at BAL)
Current own/start %: 100/86
I'd rather start: Doug Martin (vs. WAS), Michael Turner (vs. CAR), Mikel Leshoure (vs. MIN)
If I have learned anything from the first two real Thursday night games it is that on the short weeks, the team that is most physical will absolutely dominate the point of attack and therefore the game. It happened with Green Bay over the Bears and it was the same story in Week 3 when the Giants mauled the Panthers. Forgive me for expecting a third straight Thursday night beatdown in Week 4 when the lowly Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. No team in the NFL is more physical than the Ravens and I expect complete domination at the point of attack of what is sure to be an overmatched Cleveland team. Other than his big game in Week 2 against the Bengals, Richardson is averaging just 47 total yards per game and is picking up just 2.2 yards per carry. The real hope here is that Richardson can score for the third week in a row against a Baltimore team that has allowed at least one running back touchdown in every game this year. The flip side of that is that the Ravens are giving up just 3.3 yards per carry on the year, the fourth stingiest average in the league. If he scores, I think you are looking at 10-11 points max from T-Rich. If he does not find the end zone (and the Ravens are bound to keep someone from scoring), this could be a 4-5 point Fantasy killer. The upside is not high enough for me to take this risk if I can avoid it for Week 4, so I plan on sitting Richardson.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (vs. SEA)
Current own/start %: 100/44
I'd rather start: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at JAC), Ryan Mathews (at KC), Cedric Benson (vs. NO)
The Seahawks may have the best defense in the NFL this year, as we have seen them dismantle the Cowboys and Packers on offense over the last two weeks. The task will be much easier for the 'Hawks in Week 4 against the Rams, which is bad news for Steven Jackson. Jackson, who has battled a groin injury the last two weeks, has yet to run for 60 yards in a game this year and is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. The Seahawks enter Week 4 with the second-ranked run defense in the NFL, allowing just 58.7 yards per game on 3.1 yards per carry. No running back has even reached 50 yards on the ground against them and Seattle has surrendered only one touchdown, which is why the Seahawks have allowed the fifth-fewest points to running backs this year (9.7 per game). With his offensive line banged up, Jackson will not find many running lanes against the dominant front seven of the Seahawks. Jackson is averaging just 50 yards per game on the ground against Seattle in his last three games against them and could be right around that number again in Week 4. That is not good news for his Fantasy potential when you consider that Jackson has not scored a touchdown in six straight games and has just one score in his last 12 games. Let Jackson get healthy and have a good matchup before you count on him again, which means bench him against the Seahawks' tenacious defense.

Other RBs with tough matchups: Shonn Greene (vs. SF), Michael Bush (at DAL), Ryan Williams (vs. MIA), Reggie Bush/Daniel Thomas/Lamar Miller (at ARI), DeAngelo Williams (at ATL)

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys (vs. CHI)
Current own/start %: 100/49
I'd rather start: Martellus Bennett (at PHI), Owen Daniels (vs. TEN), Dennis Pitta (at CLE)
If I didn't know any better, I'd think that a lacerated spleen's biggest side effect was butter fingers. After all, since returning from the injury, the usually sure handed Witten has dropped at least five passes in two games. In those two games, Witten has seen 16 targets but has hauled in only six of them for 66 yards. That's a 37.5 percent catch rate and a four yards per target average for Witten, who entered 2012 with a career 70 percent catch rate and an 8.0 yards per target average. This week he will take on a Bears team that has been extremely tough on tight ends. The Bears have yet to allow a tight end touchdown (I am not counting Tom Crabtree's score on the fake field goal) this year and are giving up less than 50 yards per game to the position. Jermichael Finley, who destroyed the Bears in 2011, is the most Witten-like tight end that the Bears have faced this season and he was held to just 26 yards receiving on four catches. I think Witten will right the ship eventually, but with so many tight ends already producing I would not be playing him this week until he earns it.

Some WRs and TEs with tough matchups: Brandon Marshall (at DAL), Hakeem Nicks (at PHI), Lance Moore (at GB), Kenny Britt (at HOU), Greg Olsen (at ATL), Jermaine Gresham (at JAC)

Good luck this week!

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @nathanzegura .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Lance Dunbar ready for offseason workouts
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:05 am ET) Cowboys running Lance Dunbar (knee) is expected to participate in the offseason program, which starts Monday, reports ESPN.

Dunbar injured his knee during the Thanksgiving Day game last year against Oakland. Dunbar will compete with Joseph Randle for the No. 2 running back job in Dallas this year behind DeMarco Murray.


Tony Romo ready for offseason workouts
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:01 am ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is expected to participate in the offseason program which starts Monday, reports ESPN.

Romo missed the final game of the 2013 season to undergo back surgery and is on target in his rehab program. Romo's availability is expected in most if not all of those activities.

Last summer, he missed several days of the offseason program as he recovered from surgery to remove a cyst from his back. But last December, Romo underwent a discectomy to repair a herniated disc after injuring his back in a Week 16 game at Washington.

Romo finished the 2013 season throwing for 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.


Chris Johnson says Jets will have QB competition
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:28 am ET) Newly signed running back Chris Johnson said last week that there will be a competition for the Jets' starting quarterback job between Michael Vick and Geno Smith in training camp this summer. According to Johnson, the battle will begin on even ground. 

"They didn't give me no indication," Johnson said when asked by ESPN Radio who had the inside track. "They said those two will battle it out in camp and may the best man win."

Vick is in his first season with the Jets after bottoming out with the Eagles last year. Smith is entering his second NFL season after starting 16 games for the Jets last year, throwing 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.


Cam Newton still in a boot after surgery
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:25 am ET) Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery a month after the procedure was announced. Newton remains in a walking boot but the team is still hopeful he'll be at 100 percent for the start of training camp, ProFootballTalk.com reports.

Newton is expected to miss all of the team's offseason workouts. He'll also have to play catch-up in connecting with his new receiving corps after the Panthers lost their top four wideouts this spring. 


Has the deadline for Terrelle Pryor arrived?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:22 am ET) The Raiders are expected to release quarterback Terrelle Pryor on Monday if they can't work out a trade for him, FOX Sports reports.

Pryor started nine games for the Raiders, racking up 1,798 yards on 57.4 percent passing with seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions while also rushing for 576 yards and two touchdowns.


Morris Claiborne starting camp with second team?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:12 am ET) Orlando Scandrick figures to have a starting job at cornerback ahead of Morris Claiborne when the Cowboys open training camp this summer, ESPN believes. Claiborne was benched in favor of Scandrick last season, proving that Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett isn't afraid to make a big roster decision. The Cowboys want Claiborne to prove his worth in camp this summer. 

Fisher: Bradford 'realistically' ahead of schedule
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:44 am ET) Rams coach Jeff Fisher figures quarterback Sam Bradford will at least throw during OTAs this spring, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Bradford is working his way back from a torn ACL. According to Fisher, saying Bradford is ahead of schedule isn't just lip service. 

"You're not gonna hear a head coach say he has a player on his team that's not ahead of schedule coming off an ACL. Everybody says they're all ahead of schedule. But he is realistically way ahead of schedule. He's working hard," Fisher said. 

Fisher predicts Bradford will be ready to go for the start of the season and even progress to the next step of his career, but the Rams are still sniffing around quarterbacks. The Post-Dispatch says "signs point" to the team drafting a quarterback in May, if only for precautionary reasons since Bradford has two years left on his current deal. 


Marcus Lattimore eager to start pro career
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/20/2014) 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is ready to start his proffesional career. After blowing out his knee in a gruesome injury in October of 2012 at South Carolina, Lattimore told The State on Sunday that his knee rehab is complete and that he's "ready to play."

Lattimore, who will attend the first day of the team's offseason workouts, will enter a crowded backfield with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James already backing up current starter Frank Gore. However, James has expressed his desire for a bigger role and could be dealt, opening the door for the No. 3 spot in the backfield.

"If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot," Lattimore said. "But I've just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I've got to show that."


Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


 
 
 
Rankings