Although not universally true for all disappointing fantasy players, week 4 does feature a lot of interesting names in good matchups that should finally deliver. If they don’t, there’s probably going to be some interesting moves in your league’s trade market.
Aaron Rodgers is a prime example. Somewhat struggling against three heavy pass-rush defenses through the first three weeks, Rodgers has a great matchup against the slumping Saints to finally cash in on his first-round value. Marques Colston, Michael Vick, and Tom Brady also have more favorable matchups, and owners are desperately hoping for big fantasy days.
Even players in bad matchups need to show something before their values plummet into un-startable territory. Nick and I on the Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast have decided to just stop talking about Chris Johnson, but even a guy like Cam Newton on the road against the Falcons needs to show he can still put up fantasy points.
With the conclusion of this week it will mark a quarter of the way through the season. Don’t be afraid to cut loose if some of you guys don’t show you what they got.
Looking at last week’s picks, Mohamed Massaquoi got hurt early, and Jason Avant and Anquan Boldin (last Sunday) had pretty slow games. At least Dennis Pitta delivered, and if you put in Mikel Leshoure, you better be thanking me.
The benchers all had slow games, with Aaron Rodgers (thanks Sky!) and Greg Jennings both slumping against the tough Seahawks-D, Steven Jackson hurting and collapsing, and Marques Colston still struggling. Adrian Peterson had an OK game, but it was still pretty slow. Great week for those picks!
Here’s five guys not started in enough leagues and five guys started in too many leagues that should be benched, along with their % started in ESPN leagues and Yahoo leagues, respectively. And remember, these picks are not always suggestions for direct 1-for-1 swaps if you own players in both sections, but merely picks for guys not started enough and started too often.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo (8.6%, 14%) I was actually pretty surprised at how low Fitzpatrick’s percent-started numbers are, especially given that he’s shown he’s a solid fantasy-QB. Sure last year was somewhat of a disappointment, but he still had usable games and looks closer to 2010’s breakout year than 2011. With multiple TDs in each of the first three weeks, a running back core rife with injuries (both Spiller and Jackson are questionable), I see Fitzpatrick lighting up the box score trying to keep the Bills in the game against the Patriots. As I said on the podcast (and I face the same quandary in one of my leagues), I am starting Fitzpatrick over Tony Romo this week.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit (25.6%, 39%) After a breakout game last week, owners are a little slow on the upkeep putting Leshoure in the lineups. Sure the questionable tag is a little disconcerting, but I think he’s going to be fine and have a great encore today versus the Vikings. With Kevin Smith not even touching the ball last week, this is Leshoure’s backfield. A RB2 for me until further notice.
Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota (5.4%, 10%) On the flip side of the ball in the same game, I really like Christian Ponder this week. Even though it’s on the road, it’s still a dome environment where I see Ponder thriving. The Lions defense has shown some holes in that secondary, and Ponder’s speed should allow him to find his targets even if the Lions front four get into the pocket. Started in very few leagues, I think he could have a sneaky good fantasy day this week.
Ramses Barden, WR, New York Giants (6.3%, 13%) With Hakeem Nicks officially ruled out, I love Barden to have another big game Sunday Night against the Eagles. As I’ve said before, his size and reach reminds me a lot of the Eli Manning – Plaxico Burress connection. Insert Burress joke here. Both a downfield threat and an endzone target, I think he has a solid game for the second straight week filling in.
Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans (22.4%, 47%) As said above, Marques Colston is in show-me-what-ya-got territory, and even though I know he’s ailing with a foot injury, he needs a big week to stay fantasy relevant. I’m not 100% convinced he does, but either way the Saints are going to need their downfield weapons in what should be a shootout versus the Packers. I really like Lance Moore to be the primary downfield option and he’s shown he’s the Saints receiver to own thus far. Should be a great play this week.
Son Of A Bench:
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina (70.7%, 74%) As a North Carolinian and die-hard Panthers fan, this is a tough one. Cam looked absolutely atrocious last week against the Giants, and on the road in Atlanta, I think it’s going to be another tough week for me and fellow Panther fans. The Falcons defense has looked monstrous, holding the Chargers to only three points last week, and with what was supposed to be a contending division opponent coming into town, I expect them to swarm Cam and the Panthers offense. I know it’s tough benching a QB of his caliber, but I would go with another option.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas (59.5%, 55%) Same goes for Romo, who is a tough asset to bench, but against a tough Bears defense, I think today’s game is going to be a grinder. Romo hasn’t shown much since week 1, and he’s another guy that I want to see what he’s got before fully trusting him again. As said above, I’m going with Fitzpatrick this week.
Michael Bush/Matt Forte, RBs, Chicago (50.7%/39.6%, 48%/32%) I lumped the Bears backs together as a lot of owners have both, or are still keeping one or the other in their line-up despite a very hazy outlook for Monday Night Football. With the late kickoff, there’s obviously no other solid options if Forte is out, and even if it is just Bush, I’m not sold he has a good game anyway. The Cowboys have a pretty solid run-D and I’m not a big Bush believer as the feature back. And if you’re leaving him in, there’s a shot Forte plays and saps his value anyway. I’m benching both and going with clearer options in the Sunday games.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas (83.0%, 76%) As I keep saying ad-nauseum, this is a big week for Bryant to show fantasy owners something. It’s been a slow start for the talented wideout, and I think it continues through this week. The Bears give up the 11th least fantasy points to wideouts, and as stated above, I think this game is somewhat of a grinder and we don’t see many shots downfield. I’d bench Bryant for other options.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami (59.5%, 56%) Building upon a great season, Bush hurt his knee early last week, and while it looked like he was going to play all week, he is now reportedly a game-time decision. With a 4:05 kickoff and facing a very tough Cardinals defense, I think you have to go with other options. And it’s not like you can throw in his backup, because I see Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller splitting carries right down the middle if Bush is out. Go with a different option today.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone today in the show-me-what-ya-got week!