Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football: Week 4 Tuesday Takeaways

We're a quarter of the way through the NFL season and some things are beginning more clear. It's clear that the Green Bay Packers are the elite team in the league and they have all the makings of a dynasty. It also looks like defense are still way behind offenses when it comes to execution.

The offensive numbers being put up each week have been staggering. In fact, there are six(!) quarterbacks currently on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record of 5,084 (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers (pictured), Philip Rivers and Tony Romo).

Every Tuesday The Source takes a look back at the weekend (and Monday night) that was in the NFL. Here are The Source's takeaways from week four.

1) Mr. Rodgers officially joined Mr. Brady in the MVP candidate neighborhood.

2) Okay, it's official, the Minnesota Vikings are officially in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. It's to imagine things getting much worse for the 0-4 purple, but it will when rookie Christian Ponder gets thrown to the wolves. Sidenote on #SuckForLuck: the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins are worse than the Vikings.

3) After a terrible week one, Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount is gaining steam and looks like the fantasy player I thought he'd be. In the last three games he's rushed for 279 yards and 3 touchdowns. While his performance has improved, look for him to take a step back this weekend when he faces a San Francisco defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher since November 2009 (the Niners held Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy to 18 yards rushing in week 3).

4) So much for thinking San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews had a strangle hold on the Chargers featured running back spot. After a two touchdown performance in week 3, Mathews split time with Mike Tolbert again in week 4 and Tolbert vultured a one-yard TD. Good luck figuring this one out each week. The good news for Mathews owners, he's still healthy.

5) The Houston Texans got RB Arian Foster back at just the right time. The Texans will be without superstar WR Andre Johnson for at least 2-3 weeks with a hamstring injury he sustained in week 3's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Look for Foster to get a healthy dose of carries with Johnson out and look for QB Matt Schuab's production to drop as well.

5) How is Jerome Simpson still on the field? If you're a faithful reader than you know I have an unhealthy fixation on the Cincinnati Bengals WR2. I think anyone who lines up opposite rookie WR A.J. Green has value, Green is a superstar in the making. With that said, I want to know how Simpson, who caught 3 passes for 26 yards Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, hasn't been arrested for his role in a sting where police found 8.5 pounds of marijuana at his house. I know we must wait for the process to work its way through, but geez, quit leaving us Bengals-WR2-loving-fantasy-owners in a lurch. Until this Simpson case (I know, not very original) gets resolved, avoid playing him and WR Andre Caldwell. Right now they are stealing each others targets.

6) Last week I proclaimed Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo 'Captain Comeback' - a name I ripped from former QB and current Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh. Now I need to rip it away from Romo and give it to Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman. In his three seasons as a starter, Freeman has eight fourth quarter comebacks, including two already this year (week 2 @ MIN, week 4 vs. INDY).

7) I need to apologize to San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore. Last week, I suggested rookie RB Kendall Hunter should start getting more touches because he had looked more versatile than Gore. Gore responded by ripping off 127 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's come-from-behind win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Gore's performance was even more impressive when you consider he rushed just 15 times and was playing on a gimpy ankle. Keep Gore in your starting line-up and Hunter on your bench, at least for now.

8) If you reached and overdrafted Washington Redskins RB Tim Hightower, you're probably cursing Mike Shanahan right about now. But let's be honest, Washington's backfield shuffle was bound to happen - we're talking about Shanahan here. During the preseason all signs pointed to Hightower being the guy in the Skins' run-first offense. For a couple of weeks that looked to be the case, until Ryan Torain came back. Now Torain, who had 19 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, looks like the best runner in Washington. Hightower and rookie RB Roy Helu each carried the ball eight times, gaining 24 and 35 yards respectively. Good luck trying to figure out Shanahan's backfield rotation from week-to-week. But if last Sunday is any indication, Torain will be the lead back in Washington going forward.

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