NFL FANTASY FOOTBALL: WEEK 4 TIPS

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One of the best, yet overlooked, stories the season has been the reemergence of Matt Hasselbeck as a fantasy option. For the sake of you readers, he’s certainly worthy of a pick-up in all formats, and is currently owned in only 22.8% of leagues as of posting this article. However, I wouldn’t expect him to be your week-in week-out starter at this point. Losing Kenny Britt for the season has to hurt his value, and he isn’t the most mobile quarterback in the world so don’t expect any bonus rushing yards to make up for that loss. However, he’s very smart, accurate, and still has a serviceably strong arm. These are all outstanding assets for a fantasy quarterback, especially when he isn’t spending nearly as much time running for his life and on his back as he did in has last few years in Seattle. Take a flyer on Hasselbeck and see where the next few weeks take him. Who knows, you may just have a matchup starter or some nice trade bait on your hands. Now, on to week 4.

Quarterback

BEST:   Philip Rivers, SD

-He didn’t capitalize on a fantastic matchup last week, and I’d bet my house that it doesn’t happen again. This week he faces the Dolphins who have taken a step backward defensively, especially against the pass. Through three weeks Miamiis giving up an average of 311 yards and 2.67 touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks. Sure, two of those matchups were the high-powered Patriots and Texans, but I don’t see any reason to think a quality quarterback like Rivers can’t reach at least those averages. Rivers has been a disappointment to owners so far this year, but that should all change in week 4. Look for Rivers to throw for around 350 yards and 3 scores. However, keep in mind that the Chargers have shown a strong propensity to run in the red zone this season, and that could cut into Rivers’ touchdown numbers. I still think he’ll be a beast this week, but itâ��™s something to keep an eye on going forward.

WORST:Â Ben Roethlisberger, PIT

-I trust the Texans defense, period. I haven’t been able to say that….well, for the entire existence of the Texans. They have a heck of a pass rush, and the secondary has been performing better than expected. Right nowHoustonis only giving up 226 yards per game, and is averaging an interception per game. Roethlisberger has shown a proclivity to throw picks so far this year, and I have a feeling that will continue this week. I think Roethlisberger will get a good number of yards, but will throw 2 picks, and that should hurt his fantasy production. If he hits a few big plays to Mike Wallace this could be a horrible prediction on my part, but I just have a feeling that his risk taking nature will bite him again in week 4.

Running Back

BEST:   Adrian Peterson, MIN

-Peterson is the best back in the league, the Chiefs have given up an average of 123 yards per game, and have allowed 5 rushing touchdowns already this season. You do the math. I think the Vikings will be planning on making up for their mistake of underutilizing AP in the second half againstDetroit, and will feed the hapless chiefs a very heavy dose of Peterson. I think AP will go off for at least 135 yards and 2 scores. If you have him, you’re starting him regardless of what I tell you, but expect big things from him this time around.

WORST:Â Jahvid Best, DET

-If you’re in a PPR league he probably won’t be the worst option this week, as he’s still catching quite a few balls. However, I think this Lions offensive line has shown that they can’t handle a team with a talented front 7. So far this year the Cowboys have been stout against the run, giving up only 61 yards per game, as well as only allowing 1 rushing touchdown this year. I don’t see the Lions’ line creating many holes for Best to run though, and he’s way too small to create his own holes. He’ll probably end up with only around 40 yards rushing this week with no touchdowns. Sure, he’ll also probably have 5 or 6 catches for around 60 yards, but that won’t be enough outside of PPR leagues to hope for high fantasy points this week.

Wide Receiver

BEST:   Calvin Johnson, DET

File this in the “no brainer” category. No matter who he’s playing this season he’s been dominant.   So far Johnson is averaging just under 20 points per game, mostly on the shoulders of his ridiculous touchdown numbers. The Cowboys have been fairly solid against the pass, but they haven’t faced an areal attack like the Lions possess yet this year. I think “America’s Team” (and I use that term sarcastically) will be in for a very rude awakening on Sunday.  Unless DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys find a way to knock Matthew Stafford out of this week’s game, and with how he got hit against the Vikings that’s a realistic possibility, Megatron will be a fantasy monster. Look for him to go over 100 yards, and hit his 4th straight week this year of 2 touchdowns.

WORST:Â Andre Johnson, HOU

-I’m very wary to do this, it’s always hard to count him out. He’s been beyond great this year, going over 90 yards in all three of his games and has scored twice. However, this week he faces a Steelers’ defense that has been very good against the pass, giving up only 164 yards per game, good for best in the league. What’s worse, is that the Steelers have been awful against the run when facing any team with a semblance of an offense (sorrySeattle, you don’t count). In week 1 the Ravens averaged 5.48 yards per rush, and in week 3 the struggling Colts averaged 4.61 yards per carry. With a very talented running back tandem manning the Texans backfield I expectHoustonto concentrate heavily on their ground game this week, which means Johnson will see fewer passes coming his way. I think he’ll end up with around 60 yards, and if he gets a touchdown consider yourself lucky.

Tight End

BEST:   Jermichael Finley, GB

-If last week inChicagotold you one thing, it’s that Finley is 100% after his knee injury last season. That’s a very scary proposition for opposing defenses. The Broncos have given up 5 passing touchdowns so far this season, and Finley is perhaps the toughest red zone matchup in all of football. It’s hard to predict who will be catching passes inside the 20s for the Packers, so yardage totals are tough to figure for Finley. However, I’m certain that he’ll find the end zone at least once, and he should have enough yards to warrant this status. Start Finley every week, but this week, he should be a massive difference maker.

WORST:Â Vernon Davis, SF

-I just don’t like what I’m seeing from San Francisco on offense. No running game, inaccurate quarterback, and a suspect offensive line. Davis is talented, for sure, and he had what many consider to be a breakout that will lead to bigger things this season in week 3. I’m more cautious than that, and I’m not ready to put him back up on a pedestal with the best of the best just yet. The Eagles should be angry this week after starting an unexpected 1-2, and I think the 49ers will take the brunt of that aggression. I don’t expect anything substantial this week from Davis, something along the lines of 35 yards and no scores.

Defense

BEST:    Atlanta Falcons

-They’ve been a fairly disappointing team this year, but this ranking is all about matchups. The Falcon’s Achilles heel is their pass defense, and call me crazy, but Tavaris Jackson and company don’t exactly strike fear in the hears of most defensive backfields. I wouldn’t recommend playing this defense terribly often, but I think they won’t give up too many points, get enough sacks, and a few turnovers. All of those elements add up to very nice spot start defense for week 4. Just don’t get all delirious because of their likely success in week 4 against a weak opponent and start them the next week against the Packers. Anybody who watched the playoffs last year knows why.

WORST (A):  Oakland Raiders

-An angry Tom Brady after a 4 touchdown week? Ouch.

WORST (B):Â San Francisco 49ers

-They’ve been one of the biggest surprise defenses in fantasy football this year, but I don’t think they’re worth playing this week. The Eagles just have so many weapons, and I don’t see the 49ers being able to stop them all. Let’s look at it this way: Say the 49ers concentrate on stopping Michael Vick, DeShaun Jackson, and the rest of Philly’s passing attack. Well, too bad, LeSean McCoy will gash you. Decide you want to contain Vick’s ability to run? The Eagles will nickel and dime you to death with their exceptional receivers. The Eagles will get their points this week, the only saving grace for the Niners is that they may be able to force some turnovers from Vick. I just wouldn’t count on it.

SLEEPER OF THE WEEK

-Jason Campbell, QB, OAK

The Patriots’ pass defense has been hideous this year. I’m talking epically bad. What’s more, Campbell has actually looked pretty solid this year, throwing for 584 yards and averaging a touchdown per game. Sure, these aren’t stellar fantasy numbers, but they’re definitely good enough to expect bigger things this week. The Pats are giving up an astounding 377 yards per game, as well as 2 passing touchdowns per contest to opposing quarterbacks. That means if Campbell even does AVERAGE in comparison to what the Patriots normally give up, he would likely be one of the highest scoring QBs in fantasy in week 4. If you’re having quarterback issues this year he should be a very nice start this week.

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