Fantasy Football Insider - Week 4
by Tim Heaney
on September 27, 2008 @ 21:10:41
KFFL's Fantasy Football Insider for Week 4 is here. Each week, KFFL dishes the dirt from our network of insiders with every NFL team. Along the way, juicy tidbits will emerge to help determine your fantasy football team's lineup for the given week. Here are some of the key fantasy football tidbits that came across our desk for the upcoming week....
- The latest on Philadelphia Eagles back Brian Westbrook (ankle): Our source said he has a "10 percent" chance of playing this week. He's a game-time decision.
- Eagles back Correll Buckhalter won't see a ton of work if Westy can't go - probably around a dozen carries. They'll probably attack more downfield given the Bears' strong run D, and the team will mix in Lorenzo Booker, especially on passing plays that would normally be run for Westbrook.
- Baltimore Ravens back Willis McGahee (eye) is also a game-time decision. If he plays, he shouldn't see more than 15 carries, with Le'Ron McClain seeing the bulk of the rest. Ray Rice will pick up the scraps much like last week.
- Sans McGahee, Rice would split with McClain.
- For the Carolina Panthers, Jonathan Stewart will see more carries than DeAngelo Williams, but Williams will still start, and it will be close to an even split.
- The Chicago Bears are becoming more enamored with Matt Forte's receiving ability each week. He was close to catching two touchdown passes last week - he dropped one, and the other was broken up on an excellent defensive play.
- Green Bay Packers back Ryan Grant is close to full strength and should see an increased workload compared to those from his first three games.
- If Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (hamstring) can go this week, look for something along the lines of a 19-11 touch split with Chester Taylor (foot).
- The Vikings unveiled packages in which they pair Peterson and Taylor in a split backfield. Most of these plays involved passes to Taylor. They won't run these plays frequently, though; they're mainly designed for trickery situations.
- An update on Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (toe): If he doesn't look healthy, Michael Bush should see 20-plus touches. If he's strong, they'll run the rook "into the ground" because of their Week 5 bye.
- Raiders back Justin Fargas (groin) will probably be able to return after their bye and could regain his job if he is healthy. The coaching staff loves him because he runs hard and is the team's best blocking back.
- San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner believed that LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) needed to be on the field late in the game because the Week 3 contest wasn't in the bag yet. LT obviously isn't 100 percent; he hasn't shown comfort yet with his cuts.
- Chargers bruiser Jacob Hester hasn't done much to spell LT because they view him as a situational, short-yardage back.
- St. Louis Rams back Steven Jackson (groin) should see 20-24 touches if healthy. The Rams worked in Brian Leonard and Travis Minor in practice, though, and Jackson seeing a full workload could be wishful thinking for fantasy owners.
- With Washington Redskins offensive tackle Stephon Heyer (shoulder) likely to miss Week 4, Jon Jansen is expected to start in his place. This should open up the rushing playbook a bit more for as long as Heyer is out; the 'Skins have avoided running to the right side because Heyer was a liability in the ground game.
- For those who actually own the Chicago Bears' Rashied Davis, expect him to see less playing time this week; the Bears may look to get Marty Booker more work.
- Slow-starting Cincinnati Bengals wideout Chad Ocho Cinco has been affected more by excessive coverage than his bum shoulder. He's returning to playing shape after his offseason ankle injury limited his conditioning exercises. We could soon see the long-awaited eruption of Mt. Ocho Cinco....
- Sticking with Bengals receivers, Chris Henry will return from suspension in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys, but we're hearing that head coach Marvin Lewis isn't in a rush to put him back in the lineup.
- Dallas Cowboys wideout Patrick Crayton has not lived up to his mid-round fantasy draft status because he hasn't been open. The organization doesn't feel he is slacking. Much of it comes from quarterback Tony Romo making his reads quicker this year. Crayton should retain his No. 2 position on the depth chart.
- Matt Jones should still be at the summit of the Jacksonville Jaguars' pecking order even when Jerry Porter (hamstring) and Troy Williamson (thigh) return. Jones, Dennis Northcutt and Mike Walker will be the top three. The team will try to fit in one of walking wounded after that because they'll be limited.
- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees reportedly "loooooooovvveees" wideout Lance Moore, who had seven catches last week. Moore should be heavily involved in the Saints' base offense, serving as a reliable underneath wideout.
- The Philadelphia Eagles pecking order will be a bit of a mess when Kevin Curtis (sports hernia) returns, which could be next week. The team likes Hank Baskett's size, and they don't want to consistently field a small wideout corps.
- If San Francisco 49ers wideout Bryant Johnson (hamstring) can't go, preseason fantasy sleeper Josh Morgan would be the one to benefit from his absence. Morgan had been halted by a staph infection, which had caused him to lose 15 pounds; he has gained some of it back.
Around the league
- Our source doesn't expect the Cincinnati Bengals to ditch head coach Marvin Lewis before his contract expires in 2010.
- We were reminded that the Denver Broncos technically haven't given up a sack this year; the infamous Ed Hochuli fumble call in Week 2 against the San Diego Chargers is the only stat in that column, but that had nothing to do with O-line protection.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive line has improved through numerous injuries. When starting guard Chris Naeole (knee) and center Brad Meester (biceps) return, their backups will have gained valuable experience and will bolster the team's depth.
- The Houston Texans have had the Jags' number lately, and head coach Jack Del Rio has called Week 4 a must-win.
- Despite the lengthy secondary infirmary reports around the league (ahem, Green Bay), trade winds have not blown in the direction of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard. The Eagles like their trio of Sheppard, Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, so it would take a monumentally favorable offer to prompt them to deal the two-time Pro Bowler.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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