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Fantasy Football Week 4: Studs Are Duds

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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

By Jesse Carrajat
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WFAN Disclaimer: The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private ones of the writer and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of WFAN or CBS at large…This being said, the author has advised the editorial staff (which is comprised solely of the author) to advise all readers to engage their sarcasm switch immediately prior to the consumption of this column. Seriously though.

2010: Avg. Draft Position 2010: Fantasy Rank (ppr)
1.  Chris Johnson, RB, TEN 1 16
2.  Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN 2 5
3.  Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAX 3 127
4.  Ray Rice, RB, BAL 4 79
5.  Frank Gore, RB, SF 5 9
6.  Andre Johnson, WR, HOU 6 41
7.  Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB 7 11
8.  Michael Turner, RB, ATL 8 99
9.  Drew Brees, QB, NO 9 15
10.  Stephen Jackson, RB, STL 10 57

You may have stared at the above graph and quietly asked your computer monitor, “What the hell is going on this year in fantasy football?” you are not alone. Ok, well you may be alone in the “relationship” sense of the term, but for fantasy football purposes, you are just one of many fantasy owners who are nervously wondering if or when their supposed first round stud will cease to be a fantasy dud. Entering week four of NFL action, just two of the top-ten 2010 draft picks are ranked in the top-ten in fantasy production, while five of the top picks aren’t even in the top 40 in overall production.

Meanwhile, players like Adrian Foster, Austin Collie, and Michael Vick have raised our expectations of undrafted players, waiver-wire additions, and the rehabilitative efficiency of the American Penal System. Despite the fact that players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, and Stephen Jackson are all averaging less than 14 points-per-game, fantasy owners continue to stubbornly start their top investment based on face-value and past glory alone. However, now that bye-weeks are here, injuries have appeared, and the defensive juggernauts are clear, it’s time to seek alternative options to ensure your 2010 fantasy playoff birth.
Week Four: Workin’ the Wire

Byes: Dallas, Kansas City, Minnesota, Tampa Bay

104466665 Fantasy Football Week 4: Studs Are Duds

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Most added Running backs:

#1.Benjarvus Green Ellis, NE: The owner of sport’s most unnecessary acronym-nickname, BJGE broke out in week three, rushing a team-high 16 times for 98 yds and a TD. This year, the Patriots RB depth chart has changed more than Rihanna’s hairstyle: captain Kevin Faulk is out for the year, veteran Laurence Maroney signed with Denver, and fragile Freddy Taylor is listed as day-to-day with the least-manliest injury known to man: achy toesies. If Freddy Mercury can’t go on Sunday, BJZQR^TGE will start by default, but temper your expectations for the long-term: no Patriot RB has rushed for 1,000 yards in a season since Corey Dillon did it in 2004. Add em’/Start em’.

#2. Kenneth Darby, STL: If it were three minutes ago and you were to randomly ask me, “Who is Kenneth Darby?”, I would have told you that he is the son of Winfield Darby, former Prime Minister of Great Britain. I would have said that because I had absolutely no idea, and the name sounds British to my ethnocentric ears. But now, after looking up his career statistics, I can tell you that in the limited opportunities he has gotten in three NFL seasons, he is averaging a respectable 4.5 yards-per-carry and is an effective pass-catching running back. Rams starting running back Stephen Jackson is listed as doubtful with a groin injury, and if he can’t go, Sir Darby is next in line to start. After hearing Rams QB Sam Bradford rave about the fourth-year RB, The Wire can comfortably predict that should Jackson be sidelined on Sunday, Darby has injury-contingent sleeper written all over him, and should at least be added by Stephen Jackson owners, or as a general bye-week replacement. Add em’/Injury-contingent Start em’ (ICS)

#3. Peyton Hillis, CLE: Hillis is currently owned in 92% of CBS leagues, so odds are you can’t still pick him up. If you can, do it. After tearing up the leagues #1 rush defense last week for 144 yards and 2 TDs, and with fellow RB Jerome Harrison banged up, Hillbilly Hillis is a fantasy lock against the Bengals in week four. Add em’/Start em’

#7. Laurence Maroney, DEN: Laurence of Maronia (don’t bother, I already patented that nickname) is the township bicycle of fantasy football: every owner at some point or another has had their ride with the veteran back. After four NFL seasons of overhype and underproduction, most fantasy owners are hesitant to trust the once lauded back out of Minnesota. However, the fact of the matter remains that Maroney is a 25 year-old, former first-round draft pick with very little wear and tear on his chassis. Maroney was drastically underutilized in New England’s running back-by-committee scheme, averaging only 145 attempts per season. Normal Denver starter Knowshon Moreno is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game, and although Maroney has only been with Denver for two weeks, Coach Josh McDaniels has made it clear that should Moreno be sidelined, Laurence of Maronia will get the bulk of the work. Add em’/ICS

104466429 Fantasy Football Week 4: Studs Are Duds

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Most Added Wide Receivers

#1. Lance Moore, NO: In 2008, with Saints running back Reggie Bush out due to injury, WR Lance Moore took full advantage of the opportunity. Although technically only “starting” in 6 games in 2008, Moore replaced Bush as their speedy underneath receiving option, catching 79 passes for 928 yards and 10 TD. However, after appearing in just 7 games in an injury plagued 2009 campaign, Moore all but fell off the fantasy radar, going undrafted in the majority of fantasy leagues. Then last week, with Reggie Bush, aka Hands-Down the Best Player in College Football in 2005, out with a fractured leg, Lance Moore exploded back into fantasy relevance, scoring 30 fantasy points, good for third amongst all receivers in week three. Although the Saints utilize more offensive personnel than a Comedy Central celebrity roast, with Bush out for at least four more weeks, you can expect Moore to continue to produce. However, like most Saints receivers, expect Moore to have a quiet week here and there. Add em’/Start em’

#3. Louis Murphy, OAK: Since Bruce Gradkowski took over the starting QB job for the Jokeland Raiders, speedy second-year WR Louis Murphy is averaging over 100 yards per game, translating into 18.5 fantasy points per game. In week four, the Raiders face the Houston Texans, who thus far have given up 761 yards of passing offense, good for worst in the league. All indicators point towards Murphy continuing to be Gradkowski’s number one target, so if Murphy is available, snag him for a reliable bye-week replacement, and possibly a season-long investment. Add em’/Start em’

#5. Braylon Edwards, NYJ: It’s been said that Braylon Edwards is a self-absorbed, lackadaisical, inconsistent, and irresponsible wide receiver and teammate……………Anyways, until WR Santonio Holmes comes back in week five: Add em’/Start em’

#7. Brian Hartline, MIA: Brian “the Hitman” Hartline has sneakily emerged as a legit fantasy sleeper entering week four. Last week against a Revis-less Jets defense, Hartline was second on the team with 11 targets, five of which he caught for a total of 84 yards. Several times throughout the game Hartline was targeted with deep bombs, and although he didn’t convert them, it reveals the Dolphins’ favorable outlook on the second year receiver who had 500 yards receiving during a limited rookie campaign in 09’. The one draw for Hartline is Miami’s play-calling: the Dolphins threw the ball 44 times in week three, compared to just 49 pass attempts in the first two games combined. Going forward, with Brandon Marshall getting double teamed on the other side of the field, the Hitman is definitely a fantasy WR to watch, but his production will be contingent on his offensive coordinator. Scout em’

The Injury Impact

Andre Johnson, WR, HOU: Questionable with sprained ankle. Missed practice on Thursday for second straight day.

Pierre Thomas, RB, NO: Questionable with sprained ankle. Missed practice on Thursday for second straight day.

You, The Reader: Questioning whether or not I meant to write the exact same thing twice.

Me, The Writer: Yes, yes I did.

Stephen Jackson, RB, STL: Doubtful with strained groin. Missed practice on Thursday for second straight day. Beneficiaries if out: RB Kenneth Darby and RB Chauncey Washington.

Jahvid Best, RB, DET: Questionable with turf toe. Missed practice on Thursday for second straight day. Beneficiaries if out: RB Maurice Morris and RB Kevin Smith.

Ray Rice, RB, BAL: Questionable with bruised right knee. Missed practice on Thursday for second straight day. Beneficiaries if out: RB Willis McGahee.

Ryan Mathews, RB, SD: Questionable with high ankle sprain. Beneficiaries if out: RB Mike Tolbert and RB Darren Sproles.

Jerome Harrison, RB, CLE: Questionable with thigh injury. Beneficiaries if out: RB Peyton Hillis.

Fred Taylor, RB, NE: Doubtful with achy wittle toesies. Beneficiaries: Flintstones Chewable Vitamins, LLC.- North-East sales division.

Here, Laugh at this Caption

90122901 Fantasy Football Week 4: Studs Are Duds

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

“You believe that, Mike? Tryin’ to fool old DM with this whole “releasing” me bit. BAHAHAHA. That’ll be the day, right Mike?………………Mike?”

Week Three “Un-Googleable Trivia” Question:

While in college, which former New York Jet wrote for his alma mater’s school paper under a secret alias?
As of the start of week four, the week three “Un-Googleable Trivia” question remains unanswered. Will the answer elude our readers for another week? Think you know the “Un-Googleable” answer, email it to JCarrajat@wfan.com: who knows what you might win…

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