Fantasy Football Insider - Week 4

by Bryce McRae and Tim Heaney on October 2, 2009 @ 20:42:49 PDT


Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.


  • In Week 3 the Green Bay Packers did a better job of moving the pocket and allowing Aaron Rodgers more time to make plays. Expect more of the same this week, even though they'll probably incorporate some shorter routes. Remember: They've been very successful with deep balls anyway this year, and the Minnesota Vikings' safety tandem can be exploited.
  • Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
    Rodgers needs protection
    The Seattle Seahawks' Seneca Wallace should open up his game a bit more this week, after the team had told him to play it safe in his first start replacing Matt Hasselbeck (rib). He's more of an on-the-run type of player, and he may have been pressing last week when they wanted him to stay in the pocket more.
  • It probably won't be a week-to-week thing for the Cleveland Browns' Derek Anderson and his hold on the starting job, but he might not have more than three weeks if he doesn't perform well. The team could go back to Brady Quinn. If both quarterbacks flop, they might be forced to try out Brett Ratliff.
  • How will the Miami Dolphins do with Chad Henne behind center? Well, Henne has a stronger arm but a longer release than Chad Pennington (shoulder). The second-year QB also likes to check down and tends to throw mostly to his right.
  • Could we see a re-enactment of 2003 with the St. Louis Rams quarterbacks? Marc Bulger (shoulder) took over for Kurt Warner that year; will Kyle Boller be able to enact a little revenge for Warner? Boller fits the offense they are running, but his scrambling ability should help out a line still trying to figure out their pass blocking. If he has a good week, St. Louis probably won't be in a hurry to get Bulger back.
  • To those holding out hope that Jeff Garcia will be taking snaps for the Oakland Raiders: His recent scathing radio commentary of the team probably eliminates that possibility.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers viewed the Byron Leftwich era as an experiment. If they had started hot with him under center, they would've kept him in there. Now, it's the younger guys' turns.
  • There's no specific Bucs lash for Josh Johnson, but he would have to be pathetic for several weeks for them to consider bringing Josh Freeman in. The rook should see anywhere from five to seven starts this year.

Running backs

  • Dallas Cowboys RB Marion Barber III
    Barber-Choice: potentially even split
    Expect the Dallas Cowboys to split touches almost evenly between the returning Marion Barber III (quadriceps) and Tashard Choice, with Barber receiving slightly more. MB3 will still see goal line reps, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Choice for several series in their entirety.
  • Attacks on Brandon Jacobs' upright running style have swelled. The New York Giants behemoth has been running with a chip on his shoulder in practice. FOX broadcasters last week said Jacobs tiptoes to the hole and doesn't hit it with enough power. Our Giants scribe says the gaps haven't been as big for Jacobs as they used to be; he's an obvious focus for opposing defenses.
  • Does Matt Forte have a top gear? Our Chicago Bears muse is skeptical. Forte's upright style is disconcerting. Could he be the next Anthony Thomas?
  • LaDainian Tomlinson (ankle) returns to the San Diego Chargers' starting lineup, but he'll probably only see about 15 carries or so. Darren Sproles could either return to his changeup role or play an entire series, depending on game conditions.
  • Good news for owners of the Cincinnati Bengals' Cedric Benson - the Cleveland Browns have had a 100-yard Bengals back trample them in seven of their last nine meetings.
  • His great matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' run D and probability of playing notwithstanding, Clinton Portis' (calf) tank may have the gas light coming on. Of course, the Washington Redskins haven't had possession much this year, but Washington may be giving deeper looks to Anthony Alridge and Marcus Mason later on in the year. Ladell Betts, the current third-down employee, may be phased out as the season grinds along.
  • With Frank Gore (ankle) out, Glen Coffee should see between 17 and 22 carries, depending on how the game goes. Michael Robinson might see a few carries, too, but this is the Coffee Show for now. If the 49ers are winning, Coffee could get up around 25 totes.
  • The New Orleans Saints' Pierre Thomas should see the bulk of the work this week, though the 'Aints might prefer the hot hand approach after their Week 5 bye. Thomas should even see some work around the goal line instead of the 235-pound Lynell Hamilton in that respect.
  • Even if the Detroit Lions' Kevin Smith (shoulder) plays this week, Smith might not be healthy enough to handle his usual heavy workload. Look for something close to a 50-40-10 split between Smith, Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown.
  • Green Bay Packers RB Ryan Grant
    Grant in his tomb already?
    If you hadn't noticed already, this isn't the same Ryan Grant. The Green Bay Packers carrier doesn't have the same juice that propelled him to fantasy studhood in '07. He isn't hitting as many cutback runs and hasn't come nearly as close to the abundance of runs of 20-plus yards he rattled off that year. He looks like an average real-life and fantasy starter, at best. The line hasn't helped, but he hasn't helped himself much, either.
  • We shouldn't expect the Denver Broncos to move away from their extremely successful Correll Buckhalter-Knowshon Moreno tandem. Buckhalter has shockingly been the big-play option, and he may limit Moreno's value as a result; he probably won't be a 25-carry back.
  • The Buffalo Bills will ease Marshawn Lynch back into action, with a 60-40 work percentage split in favor of Fred Jackson this week. The split will eventually be 60-40 in favor of Lynch.
  • With Willie Parker (toe) listed as doubtful for Week 4, we'll see Mewelde Moore and Rashard Mendenhall take most of the snaps, with Moore likely the better fantasy option. Mendenhall still doesn't know the entire playbook yet. Pittsburgh has speculated that Mendenhall slacked off a bit after his long run in Week 2, leading to his current doghouse placement. He'll have to work hard to leave it.
  • Expect the Seattle Seahawks to take a page from the Miami Dolphins playbook and grind the ball on the ground often against the Indianapolis Colts this week. Julius Jones owners can smile.
  • A 30-carry performance combined from Cadillac Williams (knee) and Earnest Graham (hamstring) should be in the cards for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4.
  • Don't make too much of Darren McFadden's three-fumble foibles last week. The Oakland Raiders' contention was that most of his numerous fumbles at the University of Arkansas came on kickoff returns and as quarterback in the Razorback formation. Though the Week 3 terrible trio happened on routine carries, McFadden's fumble inside the 10 came out on a solid strip play.
  • If the Cleveland Browns don't play Jamal Lewis (hamstring), expect to see a lot of Jerome Harrison for the second straight week. Given 20 carries for the backs, Harrison likely would see 16 with James Davis picking up the other four.
  • With Chad Henne taking over at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, expect Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to have a lot of passes thrown their way.
  • The hot hand should continue in the New England Patriots' backfield. Over 20 carries, Fred Taylor likely would receive eight to 10 with Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney splitting the rest. You might see a sprinkling of Kevin Faulk in there, too.
  • The New York Jets' Shonn Greene will need to improve his blocking and catching if he wants to take part in their sharing of carries.

Wide receivers

  • The Baltimore Ravens had big problems with the San Diego Chargers' Vincent Jackson in Week 2 (six receptions, 141 yards and one score). This week: the New England Patriots' Randy Moss, now off the injury report, should be in store for a big day.
  • The marquee fantasy football matchup this week: The Houston Texans' Andre Johnson against Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha usually stays on one side, meaning the Texans will attempt to get AJ involved anyway possible, like putting him in the slot, switching his side, putting him in the backfield with a moving start, etc. Asomugha has stifled the physical wideout in their most recent matchups.
  • Greg Jennings is maximizing his miniscule targets with three plays of 50-plus yards this year. It's a lot of boom or bust right now, but if they can protect Aaron Rodgers better as the season wears on, Jennings' targets may increase.
  • Even if the Kansas City Chiefs' Dwayne Bowe (hamstring) plays, which is highly in question, New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster has proven to be a snuffer of top wideouts this year.
  • Eddie Royal owners: Expect him to continue giving you headaches. They don't like to put a touch number on anyone in particular, meaning Josh McDaniels won't feel obliged to feed Royal - or Brandon Marshall, for that matter. It'll be based on opposing weaknesses. The Broncos may take more shots downfield against a Dallas Cowboys secondary that has given up some big plays this year.
  • The Dallas Cowboys haven't asked much of Roy Williams. It was surprising they didn't look his way more often against the small Carolina Panthers cornerbacks. He has been blocking well, but his chemistry with slinger Tony Romo is still a work in progress.
  • New York Giants pecking order: Steven Smith, Mario Manningham and a No. 3 rotation of Sinorice Moss and the returning Hakeem Nicks (foot). When Domenik Hixon (knee) returns (not this week), expect him to regain a starting role and bump Manningham to the No. 3 spot. Head coach Tom Coughlin is loyal to Hixon, and it may take some extenuating circumstances for Manningham to regain the No. 2 after Hixon returns.
  • We've talked about Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne's impact on the running backs; regarding the wideouts, he has a relationship with Ted Ginn Jr., though Henne tends to look to his right mainly when he throws. That would likely benefit Greg Camarillo or Davone Bess the most.
  • Denver Broncos WR Eddie Royal
    Could be a Royal pain for rest of '09
    The Cincinnati Bengals' Andre Caldwell is still No. 3 in pecking order despite tying for the team lead in receptions. The order: Chad Ochocinco, Laveranues Coles, Caldwell and Chris Henry.
  • We might have a Braylon Edwards sighting on the Cleveland Browns. Edwards and new starting quarterback Derek Anderson have a good rapport; in 2007, DA was the QB when Edwards broke out. Anderson also throws a better deep ball than deposed starter Brady Quinn and might actually attempt a long pass.
  • As he develops a bit more chemistry with quarterback Brett Favre, the Minnesota Vikings' Bernard Berrian is shaking off the rust. He started slowly last year, too. He may not see much this week, though, as the Vikings may be throwing underneath often against the Green Bay Packers' tough cornerbacks.
  • The Kansas City Chiefs moved away from the pass last week. You shouldn't give up on Bobby Wade as a fantasy player, though they may not pass much this week either. 
  • Is the light bulb brighter for the Texans' Jacoby Jones in his third NFL season? He has showed some explosiveness in the last two games despite his history of route-running gaffes. Expect Houston to keep him as the No. 3 wideout despite the return of Andre' Davis (concussion).
  • Another receiver Anderson has some chemistry with: Mohamed Massaquoi. The rookie receiver has a big body and gets down the field well. He'll need to get on the field first, though, before he can become a factor.
  • Mike Sims-Walker hasn't emerged as David Garrard's favorite receiver on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Still, he's one of two targets (Torry Holt being the other) that Garrard has confidence in. Holt catches everything thrown his way, but Sims-Walker can do more after the catch.
  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might not have great chemistry with Joey Galloway, but the wideout is also a bit slow coming out of his breaks. This could be why Galloway has yet to blossom in New England, a timing offense.
  • Yes, things are bad enough with the St. Louis Rams that Danny Amendola and Ruvell Martin likely will be the third and fourth receivers. The former is familiar with the terminology and the routes from his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. The latter needs to learn the new terminology and even the routes are different from what they ran with the Green Bay Packers.

Tight ends

  • The Miami Dolphins touch each of the skill positions this week - the ascension of Chad Henne at quarterback should benefit Anthony Fasano. Henne likes to focus on the right side of the field when he throws, which should help the tight end.
  • Opposing defenses are taking away the New York Jets' Dustin Keller, who has seen his targets drop from seven to five to four in the last two weeks.
  • Look for the Tennessee Titans to incorporate the returning Bo Scaife (knee) often this week.
  • The freshly inked Leonard Pope may become the Kansas City Chiefs' leading receiver at the position. Of course, what does that say?
  • Daniel Fells? The St. Louis Rams used more two-tight end sets after Laurent Robinson (fibula) went down. After Fells scored his touchdown, the team figured they'd see what he could do. He isn't supplanting Randy McMichael just yet, but the Rams aren't beholden to McMichael after this year and might want to see what they have in the younger Fells. Remember, though: They used the exact same play (flipped) to send Fells to the end zone twice.

Place kickers

  • The New Orleans Saints' Garrett Hartley returns from his suspension after this week. Will they part ways with John Carney? It's still up in the air, but Carney has been looking all of his 45 years, while Hartley has the stronger leg.

Defensive teams

  • Don't fret about the Chicago Bears D without linebacker Brian Urlacher (wrist). Whispers say he doesn't have elite talent anymore, and he doesn't have a leadership personality.

Individual defensive players

  • The New Orleans Saints have been using more 3-4, something they worked on during the offseason. For now, Jonathan Vilma is spewing the company line, possibly because they're winning, but he wasn't a huge fan of the scheme when with the New York Jets. Of course, his knee wasn't right then nor was his relationship with head coach Eric Mangini.

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.

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