It’s Week 4 of the NFL Season and the Cafe’s Start & Sit is back for more! Week 3 saw Peyton Manning back at the top of the weekly stat sheets, and as a result he claims the Cafe’s top starter spot going into Week 4. The human bowling ball, Maurice Jones-Drew, led the way for the running backs with 119 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Santana Moss finally announced his presence with 10 catches for 178 yards and a score, but it wasn’t enough for the Redskins to avoid handing the Lions their first win since 2007. Week 4 provides fans with numerous intriguing games including a matchup of AFC heavyweights in Baltimore-New England, two teams trying to stay undefeated in New Orleans-New York, and of course, Fav-ruh’s return to Green Bay.
Two quick notes for this week’s article: For the first time this year four teams are off on bye weeks (Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Philadelphia). Also, this week I will be adding a bonus “Start” recommendation for the QBs, RBs, and WRs. And as always, a big thank you to all our rankers and other contributors!
In 2009, we’re ranking all the players we expect could see a significant amount of game action each week. We factor in a player’s overall ability, his weekly matchup, and the current status of his health. The result is one Start/Sit number, based on a scale of 100, and we’ll use each member’s ratings to find an average for each player. The higher a guy is on our list, the better you should feel starting him.
|3||Carson Palmer||CIN||at CLE||83.40|
|T-3||Eli Manning||NYG||at KC||83.40|
|5||Aaron Rodgers||GB||at MIN||83.00|
|8||Philip Rivers||SD||at PIT||81.20|
|11||Joe Flacco||BAL||at NE||75.80|
|12||Tony Romo||DAL||at DEN||74.84|
|15||Mark Sanchez||NYJ||at NO||68.40|
|18||Trent Edwards||BUF||at MIA||67.60|
|19||Kerry Collins||TEN||at JAC||65.40|
|22||Matthew Stafford||DET||at CHI||58.60|
|24||JaMarcus Russell||OAK||at HOU||56.40|
|26||Josh Johnson||TB||at WAS||53.80|
|27||Seneca Wallace||SEA||at IND||52.00|
|28||Kyle Boller||STL||at SF||38.30|
|30||Matt Hasselbeck||SEA||at IND||25.55|
|31||Marc Bulger||STL||at SF||22.80|
|T-32||Josh Freeman||TB||at WAS||11.00|
|T-32||Byron Leftwich||TB||at WAS||11.00|
Start: Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals. Since that dismal first game against the Denver Broncos, Carson Palmer has thrown four touchdowns and just two interceptions in his last two games, including an impressive game winning touchdown drive last week against the Steelers. This week Palmer gets a Cleveland defense that is allowing over 30 points per game.
Start: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears. Not unlike Palmer, Jay Cutler bounced back well from a terrible Week 1 performance, with five touchdowns and only 1 interceptions in Week 2 and 3. Cutler has made viable receivers of Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, and Johnny Knox. This week the Bears welcome the Lions to Soldier Field. Detroit got their first win last week, but they still gave up over 300 yards and two touchdowns to the struggling Redskins passing attack.
Sit: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions. Stafford took a step forward last week against the Skins (although he had some accuracy issues), but he’s still a rookie, and he still will make rookie mistakes. This week Stafford leaves the friendly (if somewhat empty) confines of Ford Field to play the Bears in Chicago. Don’t rush to get him into your starting lineup just yet.
|2||Brandon Jacobs||NYG||at KC||86.00|
|3||Chris Johnson||TEN||at JAC||85.80|
|6||Cedric Benson||CIN||at CLE||80.00|
|T-7||Darren McFadden||OAK||at HOU||79.60|
|T-10||Steven Jackson||STL||at SF||76.40|
|12||Ahmad Bradshaw||NYG||at KC||72.80|
|15||Willis McGahee||BAL||at NE||71.00|
|17||Thomas Jones||NYJ||at NO||70.60|
|18||Michael Bush||OAK||at HOU||70.40|
|19||Fred Jackson||BUF||at MIA||69.40|
|20||Ray Rice||BAL||at NE||69.00|
|T-20||Leon Washington||NYJ||at NO||69.00|
|23||Ryan Grant||GB||at MIN||67.00|
|25||Marshawn Lynch||BUF||at MIA||66.40|
|27||Darren Sproles||SD||at PIT||65.40|
|28||Julius Jones||SEA||at IND||64.95|
|29||LenDale White||TEN||at JAC||64.60|
|30||Tashard Choice||DAL||at DEN||64.40|
|32||Derrick Ward||TB||at WAS||63.40|
|33||Cadillac Williams||TB||at WAS||61.74|
|38||LeRon McClain||BAL||at NE||55.00|
|39||Marion Barber||DAL||at DEN||53.66|
|41||Justin Forsett||SEA||at IND||52.60|
|45||Maurice Morris||DET||at CHI||42.60|
|47||Kevin Smith||DET||at CHI||40.61|
|50||Edgerrin James||SEA||at IND||34.20|
|54||Earnest Graham||TB||at WAS||29.40|
|55||Michael Bennett||SD||at PIT||28.20|
|56||LaDanian Tomlinson||SD||at PIT||28.05|
|58||Felix Jones||DAL||at DEN||23.40|
|62||Aaron Brown||DET||at CHI||16.80|
|63||Bernard Scott||CIN||at CLE||15.62|
|64||Samkon Gado||STL||at SF||11.00|
|65||Brandon Jackson||GB||at MIN||10.00|
|T-68||Shonn Greene||NYJ||at NO||7.00|
Start: Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins. Chad Pennington is out for the season, meaning the already run-oriented Dolphins will be looking even more to the wildcat to carry their offense. That’s good news for Mr. Wildcat himself, Ronnie Brown. As long as the Dolphins remain in the game, the offense is going to run through Brown. The Dolphins have a solid matchup this week in the Buffalo Bills (18th in rushing yards allowed, four rushing TDs allowed).
Start: Glen Coffee, San Francisco 49ers. Coffee is suddenly popping up all over fantasy players’ radars, as he prepares to make his first start after Frank Gore’s injury. Coffee was not particularly effective last week in relief of Gore, (he averaged just over two yards per carry), but he was given the ball 25 times. The Niners are going to run the ball early and often against a weak St. Louis defense this week, so Coffee will have ample opportunities to put up fantasy points. He could be a solid fill-in starter for Frank Gore owners, or teams struggling with bye weeks.
Sit: Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins. Portis still has not gotten on track this season. He is battling lingering injuries to his calf and ankles. The Redskins’ offensive line is not opening holes, and his coach seems to be more and more inclined to throw the ball. At this point, Portis is a bench-until-further-notice fantasy player.
|3||Calvin Johnson||DET||at CHI||89.20|
|4||Chad Ochocinco||CIN||at CLE||85.40|
|5||Greg Jennings||GB||at MIN||84.40|
|7||Terrell Owens||BUF||at MIA||83.60|
|9||Vincent Jackson||SD||at PIT||78.40|
|10||Steve Smith||NYG||at KC||77.40|
|15||Lee Evans||BUF||at MIA||73.00|
|16||Mario Manningham||NYG||at KC||72.20|
|18||Jerricho Cotchery||NYJ||at NO||71.20|
|20||Justin Gage||TEN||at JAC||70.40|
|23||Donald Driver||GB||at MIN||68.60|
|25||Roy Williams||DAL||at DEN||68.40|
|26||Derrick Mason||BAL||at NE||68.00|
|28||Nate Washington||TEN||at JAC||67.62|
|T-31||Nate Burleson||SEA||at IND||65.60|
|34||T.J. Houshmandzadeh||SEA||at IND||64.80|
|T-34||Antwaan Randle El||WAS||TB||64.80|
|37||Laveranues Coles||CIN||at CLE||64.20|
|38||Mark Clayton||BAL||at NE||63.60|
|39||Patrick Crayton||DAL||at DEN||61.60|
|T-41||Chansi Stucky||NYJ||at NO||61.20|
|44||Kenny Britt||TEN||at JAC||60.40|
|48||Donnie Avery||STL||at SF||57.00|
|49||Louis Murphy||OAK||at HOU||56.80|
|T-49||Michael Clayton||TB||at WAS||56.80|
|53||Darrius Heyward-Bey||OAK||at HOU||54.40|
|55||Chris Henry||CIN||at CLE||53.40|
|57||Keenan Burton||STL||at SF||51.00|
|60||Antonio Bryant||TB||at WAS||49.78|
|61||Bryant Johnson||DET||at CHI||49.60|
|62||Chris Chambers||SD||at PIT||46.40|
|63||Johnnie Lee Higgins||OAK||at HOU||45.40|
|66||Miles Austin||DAL||at DEN||42.00|
|68||Deion Branch||SEA||at IND||40.00|
|72||Andre Caldwell||CIN||at CLE||36.00|
|74||Kelley Washington||BAL||at NE||31.00|
|76||James Jones||GB||at MIN||29.20|
|77||Josh Reed||BUF||at MIA||29.00|
|81||David Clowney||NYJ||at NO||27.80|
|82||Maurice Stovall||TB||at WAS||22.80|
|83||Domenik Hixon||NYG||at KC||20.66|
|84||Malcom Floyd||SD||at PIT||19.40|
|85||Hakeem Nicks||NYG||at KC||16.80|
|88||Dennis Northcutt||DET||at CHI||12.60|
Start: Steve Smith, New York Giants. The “other” Steve Smith is certainly making a name for himself, filling Plaxico Burres’ shoes and more. Smith has six, ten, and seven catches in his first three games of the season, and has scored in two straight games. Smith and the Giants should find more smooth sledding this week against a struggling Kansas City defense.
Start: Devin Hester, Chicago Bears. I admit, I was skeptical that Hester would be able to seamlessly convert to wide receiver, having limited experience at the position, even at the college level. But with at least four catches per game, and two touchdowns already, Hester has proven that his speed and playmaking ability really does transfer to a full-time receiver position. Hester has a great chance to continue his solid season against the Lions at home.
Sit: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seattle Seahawks. I guess he’s okay in PPR leagues, with his fourteen catches, but Whoseyourmomma has only 145 yards and zero scores through three games. His ceiling is low with Seneca Wallace at quarterback. To make matters worse, the Colts are 10th in the league in passing defense, and have allowed only one passing touchdown this year.
|2||Jason Witten||DAL||at DEN||89.20|
|4||Antonio Gates||SD||at PIT||84.60|
|7||John Carlson||SEA||at IND||79.40|
|8||Dustin Keller||NYJ||at NO||76.60|
|10||Zach Miller||OAK||at HOU||76.40|
|11||Kellen Winslow||TB||at WAS||74.00|
|12||Kevin Boss||NYG||at KC||73.20|
|14||Todd Heap||BAL||at NE||66.80|
|21||Donald Lee||GB||at MIN||57.20|
|22||Brandon Pettigrew||DET||at CHI||57.12|
|23||Daniel Coats||CIN||at CLE||56.60|
|25||Randy McMichael||STL||at SF||54.60|
|26||Derek Fine||BUF||at MIA||53.20|
|27||Martellus Bennett||DAL||at DEN||49.00|
|28||Jermichael Finley||GB||at MIN||46.00|
|30||Bo Scaife||TEN||at JAC||39.60|
|31||Alge Crumpler||TEN||at JAC||33.80|
Start: Dustin Keller, New York Jets. Keller had a slightly disappointing week in the Jets win over the Titans. He is still an explosive downfield threat however, and I could easily see the Saints-Jets game this weekend turning into a shootout. Drew Brees and the Saints will put up some points, so the Jets are going to have to go the air to keep up. Gregg Williams has done a good job with the Saints’ defense, but I think Keller makes a good start this week against New Orleans.
Sit: Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings. With just six catches on the year so far, Shiancoe has been one of the few disappointments this year in Minnesota. There’s always a chance Favre could find him for a short touchdown in any given week, but in general he does not seem to have as high a priority in the Vikings’ offense as he had last year.
|2||Rob Bironas||TEN||at JAC||85.40|
|3||Mason Crosby||GB||at MIN||84.40|
|5||Lawrence Tynes||NYG||at KC||84.00|
|8||Nick Folk||DAL||at DEN||81.20|
|9||Shayne Graham||CIN||at CLE||79.80|
|T-10||Nate Kaeding||SD||at PIT||79.40|
|18||Rian Lindell||BUF||at MIA||71.20|
|19||Jay Feely||NYJ||at NO||69.80|
|21||Sebastian Janikowski||OAK||at HOU||68.60|
|22||Jason Hanson||DET||at CHI||67.00|
|T-23||Josh Brown||STL||at SF||66.60|
|25||Steven Hauschka||BAL||at NE||66.20|
|26||Olindo Mare||SEA||at IND||64.00|
|27||Mike Nugent||TB||at WAS||63.40|
Start: Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants. The top of the kicker rankings are fairly similar each week, but sometimes one kicker stands out because of a particularly good matchup. Tynes against the Chiefs is one such matchup.
Sit: Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers has given Reed at least two field goal opportunities in each of his first three games, but Reed is having trouble converting. He’s already missed three kicks this season. If your league deducts points for misses, he’s probably not worth starting.
Start: Minnesota Vikings. The Green Bay Packers have had trouble protecting the quarterback this season, giving up a league-high 12 sacks in three games. This is music to the ears of pass rushers like Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and E.J. Henderson of the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikes make a good defensive start at home.
Sit: Denver Broncos. The Broncos are 3-0, in large part to their defense. Then again, they have not played the toughest of competition so far (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oakland). This week, they host a Cowboys’ offense that should get Marion Barber back from injury. At home they may not be a terrible start, but if you picked them up to start against Oakland last week, you may want to take another look around, as there are several better options this week.
Nick Hopkins is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Nick in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of terpfan.
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