Fantasy Ins and Outs: Week 4

Here’s who I like and who I don’t like for Week 4:

Quarterbacks

IN: Jay Cutler, Bears
Now I know this is a weird selection because the Bears offensive line is having major issues once again protecting their quarterback this season and the running game has been nonexistent (Cutler was actually Chicago’s leading rusher last week with 11 yards). But the Bears’ pivot should be in your lineup this week. Cutler can still throw the football, he can still put up some yardage and the Bears are playing the Panthers, who are hardly a force on D.  He’s in line to have his biggest game of the season.

OUT: Tony Romo, Cowboys
You have to give credit where credit is due — Romo put in a valiant performance against the Redskins (sore ribs and all) but he fought accuracy and velocity issues throughout the night (along with an overexcited center). Romo’s injuries will be an issue again Sunday when the Cowboys take on a very good and physical Lions team. Detroit has allowed just two passing touchdowns this season, so Romo might do better for you on the bench.

Running Backs

IN: Tim Hightower, Redskins
To say Hightower has undergone a transformation in Washington is an understatement. The former Cardinal has gone over 100 yards rushing or scored a touchdown in every game this season and that’s bound to continue this week against the Rams. St. Louis has been horrible against the run, allowing the most rushing yards this season and the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Hightower should have a very productive Sunday.

OUT: Arian Foster, Texans
Foster has played just one half this whole season (Week 2 against Miami) and has totaled only 33 yards. Last year’s leading rusher has been struggling with a hamstring injury, but he’ll be back in Houston’s lineup (and starting) in Week 4. That’s the good news. The bad? The Texans are facing the Steelers, who have been frustrating opposing running backs for years. Ben Tate will still get plenty of touches for the Texans, further hurting Foster’s fantasy value. I know it’s hard to bench a top pick, but you might want to wait a week before putting Foster back into your starting rotation.

Wide Receivers

IN: Denarius Moore, Raiders
Can you say juicy matchup?  The Raiders are taking on the Patriots and their league-worst pass defense (377 yards per game) in Week 4. Moore has been very effective in the two games he’s played this year, averaging 16 fantasy points (146 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, 59 yards in Week 2 with a touchdown). This game should be a shootout, so be confident rolling with the rookie on Sunday.

OUT: Brandon Marshall, Dolphins
Last week, Browns cornerback Joe Haden shadowed Marshall for the entire game and the results were not favorable for the wideout: four catches for just 43 yards. Is this the blueprint for controlling Marshall? Expect the Chargers to employ a similar strategy at home on Sunday and stifle Miami’s less than impressive offense. The Dolphins continue to have major issues putting points on the board, and I still don’t trust Chad Henne enough to play Marshall.

Tight Ends

IN: Dustin Keller, Jets
There are some differing opinions on Keller’s worth this week, but I think it’s safe to use him. The tight end has become Mark Sanchez’s security blanket — he has at least five catches in every game this season (good for PPR leagues) and already has two touchdowns. Keller can be utilized at the line of scrimmage and also in the middle of the field — he just has to keep an eye out for Baltimore’s big linebackers this week. The Ravens aren’t a great matchup for Keller and the Jets, but I still think he gets his yards (and hopefully a touchdown).

OUT: Fred Davis, Redskins
Davis was expected to be a huge factor last week against the Cowboys, but the results weren’t impressive (one catch, 23 yards). Worse news for Davis owners: Chris Cooley is starting to get healthy (he actually had more yards than Davis did in Week 3) and it might only be a matter of time before he reclaims his starting role. Even though the Rams defense has been horrible this season, they have been effective against tight ends (77 yards and no touchdowns in three games).

Kickers

IN: Shaun Suisham, Steelers
Suisham had a slow start to the season with just one successful field goal in the first two games, but he came up big in Week 3 against the Colts, hitting three field goals and two extra points. Have both Suisham and Pittsburgh’s offense finally turned the corner?  This game between the Steelers and Texans has the potential to be a shootout, so Suisham will get plenty of opportunities to put points on the board.

OUT: Matt Bryant, Falcons
The Falcons offense has taken a major step back this year, but it’s way too early to panic. Bryant is ranked just 25th among kickers primarily because he has only four attempts in the first three weeks (although he is a perfect 4-for-4). I expect Atlanta’s offense to score more touchdowns than field goals this week against Seattle, a team that’s surprisingly averaging just eight fantasy points to kickers this year. There are better options out there this week.

Defenses

IN: Saints
Yes, the Saints are giving up 29 points per game, but that’s not too bad since they’ve played some high-powered offenses like the Packers and Texans this year. This week they get a reprieve in rookie Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars, a major mismatch in favor of the Saints. Who knows how well Jacksonville will move the ball, but we know Drew Brees and company won’t have any problems in that department. The Jags could be trailing for most of the game and the Saints could force them into making a lot of mistakes.

OUT: Jets
This is a hard defense to sit, but you have to admit that this Jets D isn’t the same Jets D of years past. In Week 3 Oakland ran wild on New York (a Rex Ryan era record 234 yards) and made scoring touchdowns look very easy. The Ravens know Ryan and they sure know how to run the football (see Rice, Ray), which is a bad combination for the Jets. Despite what happened when these teams combined for just 19 points in last year’s meeting, I have a feeling this game will be more about offense and less about defense.

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