Another week bites the dust in the NFL. Week 3 was as surprising as the previous two weeks, especially for running backs. We saw Peyton Hillis rumbled for 144 yards against the stout Raven’s run defense. Darren McFadden continued his dominance in Oakland (he’s now 3rd in the league among running backs for yardage) and Adrian Peterson destroyed the Lions single-handedly. Disappoints were abundant too as Ray Rice got injured and the Carolina duo of Williams/Stewart continued to have problems producing. The bottom line is the top 1 and 2 picks (Peterson and Johnson) continue to improve while it’s a crap shoot for the rest of the running back crew.
Week 4 is the first of our bye weeks and now begins the make or break for a lot of teams. Kansas City, Dallas, Minnesota, and Tampa are on the bye this week. Owners of Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Marion Barber/Felix Jones, and Cadillac Williams will need to search for new options. Lucky for you folks I’ll include a few choices in my sleepers’ column below for you. Also at no additional charge I’ll throw in five keepers that you might want to trade or sit but you shouldn’t.
The week 4 2010 fantasy football keepers and sleepers are as follows:
1) Maurice Jones-Drew – What a sad state of events in Jacksonville. But all is not lost because I believe David Garrard has gotten the message when the Jags went out and claimed Trent Edwards. Edwards is Mr. Checkdown but he is also capable of stepping in and doing no worse than Garrard has been doing. That being said I think Garrard’s best game of the season will be played against the Indianapolis Colts. Now I’m not saying they are going to win but I’m saying the passing game won’t be horrible and this should allow MJD some wiggle room to FINALLY break off a big play against a very shaky run defense. We will see the mighty mite break a 100 yards and get 2 TDs. Welcome back to fantasy relevance MJD, we missed you.
2) Ryan Mathews – Ok this is the 4th time I have had Mathews on my list of keepers and this time I absolutely mean it. Mathews is going off big time with a multi-TD effort and 97 yards. Arizona sucks and this game should get out of hand quickly leading San Diego to run the ball in the second half. This is the game us Mathew’s owners have been waiting for.
3) Justin Forsett – He has been less than spectacular this season but the lowly Rams come to town. I think Seattle will move the ball through the air but I do think they will have red zone trouble and this is where I see Forsett getting the bulk of his yards and touch downs. 2 TDs and about 75 yards. Nothing crazy but he’ll win your weekly match as a flex player.
4) Cedric Benson – The Bengal’s aerial game is a mess right now and Benson had a decent game last week. This week they face the mighty 0-3 Cleveland Browns. Benson has yet to show his full potential this season after a breakout season last year. After Palmer and the dynamic duo grab a few TDs then the ground game will open up and Benson will be getting the bulk of the carries.
5) Pierre Thomas – Drew Brees is not the bee’s knees… Or rather he has a knee injury. This will not stop him from blowing away the Panthers but around the 3rd quarter I bet we see a big shift to the running game and some in-game rest for the Super Bowl MVP. This is where Thomas will take over, sure the other RBs (Ivory and others) will get a few carries but Thomas will rack up the big yardage and a few TDs. The Panthers will never lead in this game and by the time it’s a blowout look for the coach to eat up the clock.
1) Kevin Smith – With Jahvid Best banged up with turf toe, Kevin Smith makes his 2010 debut with the Lions. Matthew Stafford is hurt and Hill is subpar. All this spells the need for the running game to produce. Smith doesn’t want to be forgotten and he’ll prove while he should stay fresh in people’s mind as he hits a soft Green Bay run defense. If you think Best will play you should know he was wearing an inflatable boot thing right after the game because of the pain. And also remember this injury is notoriously slow healing and crippling to cut type backs (McFadden).
2) Tim Hightower – Down two key wide receivers (Steve Breaston and Early Doucet) Derek Anderson will need a new WR to focus on… Why not Tim Hightower? Sure Beanie Wells will get his carries and they should split the load about 50/50 but Hightower gets the advantage by being the receiving threat of the two. In PPR leagues I’d start him at flex and reap the benefits. I’m guessing around 50 yards on the ground and 5-7 catches for about 60 yards and a TD. The Cardinals need something on offense and Hightower has done decent this year.
3) LaDainian Tomlinson – This is officially the last week that LT will be listed as a sleeper. He is not a sleeper in my book anymore as he has firmly grabbed the RB1 position and will not be the RB2 the rest of the season. Congrats on the people that drafted him and held the faith. This week the Jets are facing a barely NFL team, the Buffalo Bills. I see big things for LT this week, big enough to make you wonder why I had him on the sleeper list.
4) Kenneth Darby – Steven “acupuncture” Jackson is hurt. Don’t let the reports fool you. His hammy should take a while to heal and he should not play this week. The reality is he probably will play but again the reality is Kenneth Darby had a decent game in relief and he should get some looks. Best case is Jackson doesn’t play and he gets all the carries, worst case is Jackson plays and he gets half the carries.
5) Peyton Hillis – Jerome Harrison is banged up and has returned to practice. However ManGenius has liked what he’s seen from Hillis and doesn’t seem to trust Harrison with the ball. Cincy will run away with the game after the third but until then look for Cleveland to try and slow the game down. Hillis should get a ton of work and I’m thinking he’ll break off a big run.
We waited many months after the Super Bowl for the season to start and now we are in week 4… Time is flying and we need to savor our fantasy football because there is no telling what next year might bring. *Sigh. Well there you have it the 2010 fantasy football keepers and sleepers for week 4. Good luck and feel free to visit my seriously behind website www.babybluemonkey.com.