Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What We Learned from Week 4

Mike Shanahan is the new Bill Belichick: After a hot start for running back Tim Hightower, expectations were high for his matchup against the lowly Rams. Instead, Coach Shanahan pulled a Belichick and gave the bulk of the carries to Ryan Torain. What happened? Torain had 135 yards and a touchdown. Shanahan said that Hightower looked banged up in practice and proceeded to have Torain play the most. What we have learned is that Ryan Torain will now be the provider of countless headaches for fantasy owners.

Wes Welker is a monster: Tom Brady continues to hit Welker at a ridiculous rate this season. He targeted Welker 14 times this week resulting in 9 catches, 158 yards, and 1 touchdown. In PPR leagues, Welker is an absolute monster. In standard scoring? Well, he is still a monster.

Cam Newton should be owned in ALL leagues: Not only that, he should be started in many leagues. After his first two games, many thought Cam would cool down. On the contrary, he has lit up the scoreboard. And with two of his stellar games coming against the Bears and the Packers defense, Cam is the real thing. Rather than running the Panthers' offense through DeAngelo Williams or Jonathon Stewart, the team has given the reins to Cam Newton. He has thrown on average 41 times per game and there are no signs of that stopping. Unless you own Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, Cam is definitely a viable starting option.

Steve Smith really is back: Smith is second in the NFL in total yards and third in yards per catch. He is the clear favorite of Cam Newton and now has 150 yards in three of his four games. He is a must-start and is backing up owners who took a shot drafting him. Look out.

Julio Jones has already emerged: Jones was not expected to make an impact until later this season. Instead, he has become a key component of the Falcons offense. He was targeted 17 times this week, leading the NFL, and produced 11 catches for 127 yards. He will be a solid start for the remainder of the season and a great flex option. Don't buy the hype? Just check this out.

Eric Decker is not a one week wonder: Decker was a deep sleeper of mine and has already done more than expected. He has developed great chemistry with Kyle Orton and is 10th in the NFL with 36 targets. Decker should be monitored for the rest of the season as he could put up stats similar Santana Moss. With Denver constantly trailing, they will be forced to pass a lot, helping Decker's cause. But if Tim Tebow ever takes over, watch out for all Broncos receivers. They will all see a dip in production.

The game is changing and running back value is slipping: Quarterbacks and wider receivers are absolutely dominating the game as the league is clearly trending towards a pass heavy league. A successful running back game has turned into 80 yards and maybe a touchdown. You don't need a team with 3 solid running backs to win anymore, just running backs good enough to get by. It is the QB's and WR's that will dictate your overall success this season. And next season, I suspect we will see more quarterbacks than ever in the first round.

Chris Johnson isn't completely dead, just half dead: Finally, finally did he do something! After failing to eclipse 100 yards for the first three games combined, CJ2K finally broke the 100-yard mark in a game. And it was against the lowly Cleveland Browns. Johnson has thus far been a bust, but will turn the corner sooner or later. Don't give up on him yet, but keep a close eye on his production this season.

Aaron Rodgers should've been the first QB drafted in ALL leagues: For you who took Vick before Rodgers, and even number 1 overall, you made a mistake. While Vick can still win a league single-handedly, there is no reason Rodgers can't do the same. The only difference is that Vick is scarier to watch than Rodgers. A-Rodge had 6 touchdowns last game and has thrown for more than 297 yards in every start. Add to that his solid rushing potential, and you have the most consistent quarterback in the game. And while Vick deals with the risks of concussions and a broken hand all season, you have a much safer bet in Aaron Rodgers.

Tony Romo may blow real games, but he is still a top QB: Yes, Romo has choked away two games for his real-life Dallas Cowboys. But he is still putting up solid fantasy numbers and is worthy of a must-start. If he can cut down on his interceptions, he has potential to be a top-7 quarterback for the remainder of the season.

All players on the Colts are iffy at best: Yes, even Reggie Wayne has become a less than reliable option. When your quarterback completes 43 percent of passes, it is never a good sign for the wide receivers. While Wayne was expected to have a down year, no one saw this coming till the sad news of Peyton Manning's injury. Dallas Clark is hardly a viable option and Wayne is gradually losing value. I would be hesitant to start any Colts players right now.

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