Week 4 Revelations

Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Week 4 Revelations
Brett Favre: AP
N.Y. Jets 56, Arizona 35
  • Can you believe it? A handful of Brett Favre's Jet teammates were actually shocked to learn the three-time MVP had never thrown six TDs in any game while with the Packers -- as if Favre was truly immortal during his time in Green Bay. Well, if those new-schoolers had ever perused the NFL Records Book ... they would have learned that only a select few QBs have tossed six scores in a game (Tom Brady being the last prior to Sunday) and only five have accomplished the all-time record of 7 TDs (Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, Y.A. Tittle, George Blanda and Joe Kapp). So, what to make of Favre's career day and NFL-high 12 TD passes on the season? Could he really hit the hallowed 30 mark this season, at 39 years old? Could he possibly eclipse the 4,200-yard mark? It may be too early to call (yes, I know it's a copout) ... but Favre has definitely solidified his standing as a Tier II QB in fantasyland -- one worthy of starting every week or trading for right away. I wish I could say the same for Laveranues Coles -- even with his three TDs and 105 receiving yards. But I remain a Doubting Thomas.

    On the flip side, we have the Cardinals, a gut-wrenching, stomach-churning team to watch in real-world football but a highly dependable source of fantasy amusement. Yes, Kurt Warner threw some passes (turned interceptions) that defied logic. And yes, Edgerrin James broke character to score two easy rushing touchdowns. But at the end of the day, Warner still had his typical monster numbers (472 passing yards, 2 TDs), Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin (18 catches, 242 yards and 1 TD) were their usual Hall of Fame-caliber selves and rookie tailback Tim Hightower vultured yet another short-yardage TD from Edge. Throw in Steve Breaston's nine-catch, 122-yard output as the third receiver ... and it's easy to see why the Cardinals are the best garbage-time team in the league. (Note: Here's hoping Boldin is doing well after that nasty helmet-to-helmet collision in the fourth quarter).

  • Kansas City 33, Denver 19
  • Even when the Broncos post pedestrian numbers (like Sunday), they still manage to get top billing in Fantasy Revelations. Credit for today's appearance, of course, goes to the Denver defense, which surrendered 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Kansas City tailback Larry Johnson -- as part of a humbling road defeat. After two successive weeks of fantasy goodness (319 yards, 3 TDs), be on the lookout for moronic L.J. owners wanting to "Sell High" on the Penn State product. Also, be on the lookout for smart L.J. lovers (like me) moving heaven and earth to acquire a premium talent -- even if it's at the top of his market price.

    As for the Broncos offense, starring Jay Cutler (361 passing yards, 1 TD), Brandon Marshall (7 catches, 77 yards, 1 spectacular TD) and Eddie Royal (104 receiving yards), the 19-point output may end up being the team's season-low. If that's the case, better stock up on secondary performers like Michael Pittman (81 total yards), Selvin Young (45 yards), tight end Tony Scheffler, receiver Brandon Stokley (7 catches, 80 yards) and especially kicker Matt Prater, who nailed four field goals Sunday -- including a 56-yarder.

  • San Diego 28, Oakland 18
  • No, LaDainian Tomlinson does not run for 100 yards and two scores every time against the Raiders -- it only seems like it. With memories of last year's 214-yard, 4-TD outing against the Silver and Black still fresh in his mind, LT rescued the Chargers from a 1-3 start with two fourth-quarter touchdowns -- keying a 25-point Chargers surge to clinch the victory (and perhaps signal the death knell in Lane Kiffin's tenure as Oakland coach). But LT also got a little help from a friend, Antonio Gates, who resembled the AG of old with a 5-catch, 58-yard, 1-TD day. (Take note, fantasy owners who've been burned by Vernon Davis!)

  • The Raiders' fantasy day can be summed up in three players: QB JaMarcus Russell (277 yards, 1 TD), RB Michael Bush (128 total yards) and TE Zach Miller (95 yards, 1 TD). If, for some strange reason, Bush can be had on your waiver wire, I say open up your blind-bidding checkbook or get that mouse-click-index-finger limbered up ... because getting Bush this week should be an absolute top priority -- with or without the Darren McFadden handcuff.

  • New Orleans 31, San Francisco 17
  • Man! Do I feel stupid for hailing this one as the Fantasy Game Of The Week on Friday. The Saints, even with Drew Brees' rock-solid numbers (363 yards, 3 TDs), looked slow and unresponsive at times -- thanks to middling performances from Reggie Bush (38 total yards) and WR David Patten (one catch). Yes, Lance Moore hauled in seven catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns and Robert Meachem fly-patterned his way to 99 receiving yards (off two catches); but will they be performing at a high level in two weeks, after Marques Colston (thumb surgery) returns to the lineup? In a PPR league, I say maybe. In a standard-scoring league, I say, No way!

    Regarding the inconsistent 49ers, let Sunday's clunker be a lesson to fantasy owners everywhere: Always discount a team's performance against the Lions (San Fran's Week 3 opponent) -- or, at the very least, never expect a results carryover (we're talking to you, J.T. O'Sullivan). Frank Gore looked OK, totaling 113 yards, but he was obviously saving himself for a 5-TD day against the Patriots next week ... while running the Single-Wing T -- as an homage to Ronnie Brown and the Dolphins.

  • Revelations, Book II
    Chris Johnson: Doug Benc/Getty Images
    Tennessee 30, Minnesota 17
  • I realize that cloning is illegal in the United States. But what other reason could possibly explain the existence of Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson and Titans rookie back Chris Johnson? The two don the same jersey number (28), possess similar builds (although AP is a little taller), stunningly quick feet, great explosion, comparable upper-body strength and an uncanny nose for the end zone. In Nashville, Peterson (101 total yards, 2 TDs) and Johnson combined for 176 total yards and 4 TDs, leaving some fantasy owners of both players to openly wonder, Wow! I have two top-five picks from '09 on my '08 team. How can I not make the playoffs? Needless to say, if you have Johnson riding the pine in your fantasy league (ignorance is bliss)... either start him from this point forward or trade the guy (Ryan Grant?) who stands between Johnson's destiny and your eventual fantasy happiness.

  • Washington 26, Dallas 24
  • The stars came out for this one -- except maybe Marion Barber (to which I predicted) -- but enough gloating. From Tony Romo (300 yards, 3 TDs), Terrell Owens (82 total yards, 1 TD) and Jason Witten (90 yards, 1 TD) to Jason Campbell (231 yards, 2 TDs), Clinton Portis (121 rushing yards) and Santana Moss (8 catches, 145 yards), there was enough fantasy juice to keep owners everywhere fat and happy. But now comes the Daddy Downer moment for 'Skins fans: Retribution for Sunday's upset win comes next week -- in the form of a blowout loss at Philadelphia. The Redskins, winners of three straight, are primed for a 34-3 blitzkrieg, courtesy of the blitz-happy Eagles defense. So unless you own Washington kicker Shaun Suisham, I would advise you to (severely) lower your expectations for Campbell, Portis, Moss and Chris Cooley in Week 5. And, oh yeah, don't say I didn't warn ya!

  • Jacksonville 30, Houston 27 (OT)
  • Strange but true: In Fanball.com leagues across the globe (we're talking thousands upon thousands of leagues), more owners wasted roster space on Lions QB Jon Kitna (83 percent) heading into Week 4 than Texans QB Matt Schaub (65 percent), leaving me to openly question the sanity -- and intellect -- of those who think Schaub was a flash in the pan in 2007. Shame on you! Well, after two horrible outings in two disturbing Houston losses, Schaub awoke from his slumber against the Jags, throwing for 307 yards and 3 TDs (with zero picks), while forcing a legion of so-called fantasy mavens to apologize for jumping ship so early. In the big picture, Houston's winless nightmare continues; but how about the contributions of RB Steve Slaton (116 total yards, 1 TD), TE Owen Daniels (7 catches, 87 yards) and WR Kevin Walter (8 catches, 76 yards, 2 TDs)? These supporting players are vital to Schaub's and the Texans' eventual success -- especially while Andre Johnson (only three catches on Sunday) struggles to regain his all-world form. As for the Jags ... there is no possible justification for signing Montell Owens this week. There is some justification for plucking Matt Jones (5 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD) from waivers. And there is total justification in lining up potential trade partners for Fred Taylor, who continues to sputter in the autumn days of a once-great career.

  • Carolina 24, Atlanta 9
  • I cannot believe I'm saying this, but the Panthers are more fantasy-friendly than the Saints -- at least without Marques Colston. From the balanced 1-2 running punch of Jonathan Stewart (52 rushing yards, 1 TD) and DeAngelo Williams (66 total yards) to the stretch-the-field receiving duo of Steve Smith (6 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD) and Muhsin Muhammad (8 catches, 147 yards, 1 TD), Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme (and his rebuilt elbow) finally has the best weapons in the NFC South. But the euphoria may be short-lived -- if either one of the Panthers' tackles (Jeff Otah and Jordan Gross) lose significant time to injury. If so, the Smith-Muhammad combo is likely to suffer more than Stewart-Williams. As for the road-weary, home-happy Falcons ... Michael Turner (55 total yards on Sunday) may be golden at the Georgia Dome (five TDs in two games), but he has approximate value to Ladell Betts -- when on the road. Yikes!

  • Quick-Hitting Revelations
    Ryan Grant: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
  • Tampa Bay 30, Green Bay 21: Instead of singing the praises of RB Earnest Graham (114 total yards, 1 TD) or WR Greg Jennings (109 yards, 2 TDs) from Sunday, I will simply repeat a question posed to me by SI.com's Cory McCartney: What can I get for Ryan Grant? Cory, it'll soon be Week 5 -- meaning prospective owners still might ignore Grant's 16-yard day against the Bucs or his 90 yards combined since Week 2 -- and focus on his second-round predraft value. But right here, right now, given the one-dimensional Pack's inability to find points beyond Jennings ... you have two choices: 1) Wait-out Grant's struggles -- even if this malaise carries into Week 10, or 2) Target two midlevel performers -- like Philadelphia WR Reggie Brown and Cincinnati RB Chris Perry -- as part of a 1-for-2 trade.

  • Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 12: Congratulations, Jamal Lewis (94 total yards, 1 TD), you were the only principal player from the Battle of Ohio to validate your starting slot in fantasy leagues. Everybody else -- a who's-who list that includes Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, Chris Perry, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- I can no longer endorse any of you as a week-in, week-out starter. Hmmm ... think ESPN is already regretting the Browns' three appearances on Monday Night Football this season? Ouch!

  • Buffalo 31, St. Louis 14: Through four games, the sad-sack Rams have scored just 43 points, putting them on track for 172 on the season ... which HAS to be some sort of modern-day record. As bad that sounds, can you imagine how bleak things would be without Steven Jackson (188 total yards, 1 TD on Sunday)? Maybe St. Louis coach Scott Linehan will bench Jackson, in yet another fruitless move to save his job (see Marc Bulger). Either way, S-Jax should never ride your fantasy bench (if healthy, of course) after the Week 5 bye.

  • Chicago 24, Philadelphia 20: If you had the foresight to start Bears QB Kyle Orton (199 yards passing, 3 TDs), you were rewarded with the game of Orton's pro life. If you had the foresight to grab Eagles RB Correll Buckhalter off waivers -- not to mention starting him for the injured Brian Westbrook -- you should be thrilled with his 90 total yards and 1 TD (and let's face it, he could've easily had two scores). But if you had the gumption to start Eagles WR Hank Baskett (1 catch, 10 yards) over Jets WR Laveranues Coles (105 yards, 3 TDs) in the flex spot ... well, then I guess your luck just ran out. Ha!

  • How'd We Do?

    The other day, I offered specific predictions for Week 4 -- some pure gold and others that flopped worse than The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, the short-lived skitapalooza that featured the original Brady Nine ("Oliver" doesn't count), except for Eve Plumb. Here's a rundown of things so far:

    QB Locks For 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs
    1. Carson Palmer (late scratch -- no penalty)
    2. Derek Anderson (138 yards, 1 TD -- wayyyyy off!)
    3. Drew Brees (363 yards, 3 TDs -- correct!)
    4. J.T. O'Sullivan (257 yards, 1 TD -- incorrect)
    5. Tony Romo (300 yards, 3 TDs -- correct!)
    6. Ben Roethlisberger (to be determined on Monday)

    RB Locks For 120 Yards and/or 2 TDs
    1. Clinton Portis (135 total yards -- correct!)
    2. LaDainian Tomlinson (115 total yards, 2 TDs -- correct!)
    3. Steven Jackson (188 total yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
    4. Chris Johnson (75 total yards, 2 TDs -- correct!)
    5. Thomas Jones (69 total yards -- incorrect)
    6. Frank Gore (113 total yards, 0 TDs -- incorrect)
    7. Reggie Bush (38 total yards -- wayyyyy off!)
    8. Jonathan Stewart (52 total yards, 1 TD -- incorrect)
    9. Maurice Jones-Drew (49 total yards -- incorrect)

    I Cannot Leave Without Saying ...

    If you're operating a winless fantasy team, one that's already in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs (Weeks 14-16), the time has come to explore any and all trades with other teams. Oh sure, you can afford to be a little stubborn if eight teams qualify for the postseason. But, for the most part, it's time to put on your Creative Trading Hat and cultivate a 2-for-1 swap (Calvin Johnson? Clinton Portis?), a 3-for-1 swap (Adrian Peterson? Joseph Addai? Ronnie Brown?) or groundbreaking 4-for-1 swap (Marion Barber? Brian Westbrook? Brandon Marshall in PPRs?).

    Have A Link, Comment or Question For Us?
    SI Apps
    We've Got Apps Too
    Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.