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Fantasy Football Week 4 Preview: Sleepers, Busts, and More

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders points to the guy who is the reason for any Oakland success: Himself.
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders points to the guy who is the reason for any Oakland success: Himself.

Come down with a bit of a sickness today, so I'm trying to run through this as quickly as possible. Running quickly through things, sort of like what Chris Johnson used to do.

No time to be funny.

The Five Sleepers

5. Denarius Moore

The Raiders face the leagues worst total defense and worst pass defense; the New England Patriots. So far every Patriots game has been a shootout, and even with Jason Campbell at the helm, I don't expect much different from Oakland. He threw for 323 yards and 2 TDs against Buffalo in week two and 146 of those yards went to Moore. He followed that performance with just 34 yards against the Jets, but he could be a solid WR3/Flex play this week and a decent WR2 in a pinch.

4. Stevan Ridley

While Tom Brady could put up (should put up) 400 yards on the Raiders, the Patriots will still get their run game on and the Raiders are allowing a league-worst 5.8 yards per carry. Number one running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is 2nd in the league in rushing TDs since the start of 2010, but he's going for just 3.6 yards per carry, compared to the 5.9 yards per carry so far for the rookie. Eventually the Patriots could begin the transition from BJGE to SR, and it could start to take hold as soon as this week.

Much more after the jump...

3. Kyle Orton

The Broncos passing game has gotten progressively worse each week of the 2011 season, but things could open up for Orton and the offense against the 31st ranked pass defense of Green Bay. Add into the fact that the Broncos should be down early and often, the Broncos could pass it 40-50 times on Sunday. Upgrades for Eric Decker and Brandon Lloyd as well.

2. Mike Thomas

I put Thomas on this list last week and he scored a touchdown plus 55 yards. I'll put him right back on it against a shaky New Orleans pass defense. Like the Broncos, the Jags should be down early in this game and while Blaine Gabbert will probably fail more than he'll succeed, Thomas only needs a couple of successes to be a fantasy winner on the day. He is the target on over 40% of passes as the Jags have nowhere else to go except Marcedes Lewis. Solid WR3 and a WR2 in a pinch.

1. Roy Helu

Deep sleeper here if you're really willing to take a chance. Nothing wrong with Tim Hightower, but the Redskins face the leagues worst rush defense in St. Louis. Helu had 74 yards on 10 carries in week 2, showing he's got the ability to impress when given the opportunity. The Redskins are committed to getting Helu more involved into the offense and they could run the ball 30-40 times against the Rams in a victory.

The Five that Struggle

5. Knowshon Moreno/Willis McGahee

Forget just the fact that they are in a ball-share or that Moreno is recovering from a hamstring injury. The Vikings are the #4 rush defense in the league and allow just 3.1 yards per carry. The ground game in Denver has had a really tough time getting off the ground as it is.

4. Colt McCoy

If you're dealing with a QB injury or a matchup you hate, don't turn to McCoy. I like the kid, but the Titans are #2 in pass defense and I think those numbers are legit. Same goes for Browns wide receivers.

3. Fred Jackson

Surprising, I know. Also surprising: the Bengals allow 2.9 yards per carry. So far they've shut down Peyton Hillis and Frank Gore. Is Jackson going to be the third victim?

2. Dez Bryant

If he even plays that is. The Lions have only allowed two passing touchdowns in three games and just 188 yards per game. They'll be in Tony Romo's face all day long and blanketing whichever Cowboys wide receivers they do put out there. I like Jason Witten more than anyone else on the Cowboys offense, including Felix Jones.

1. Michael Turner

I'm sure on paper it seems like a good matchup, but the Seahawks rush defense is legit. Meanwhile the Falcons offensive line stinks and as a team they have 1 offensive touchdown in 2 road games. You probably can't bench Turner, but if you have the option to, you may want to turn to someone else. When healthy, this is a top rush defense allowing 3.1 yards per carry.

The High Five

5. Adrian Peterson

A matchup against the Chiefs for the league's top back? Yes please, thank you, may I have another?

4. Darren McFadden

The Patriots have a decent rush defense and this could be a shootout, but I'm not counting out McFadden until he proves me wrong. He has so far exceeded expectations when he was drafted 4th overall. It's getting close to neck and neck between McFadden and AP for the title of best back in the NFL.

3. Tom Brady

Because why not? Oakland's pass defense isn't special. Tom Brady is probably going to challenge every franchise record he holds this season and maybe some NFL records too.

2. Hakeem Nicks

He says he will play Sunday. He draws the bad pass defense of Arizona. Victor Cruz might be added in every league he wasn't added in last week with a chance to top 100 yards again too.

1. Cedric Benson

Bold prediction: the Bengals beat the Bills on Sunday. It's probably Benson's last game before a suspension of 1-3 games. He'll go out with a bang against a Bills defense that allows 4.7 yards per carry.

Follow me on twitter @casetines and this week I will be watching all the games at the bar because I've also started blogging for the Seahawks blog Field Gulls, so if you do enjoy my writing, please go check my stuff out there too.

More notes:

  • Don't be fooled by the Steelers #1 pass defense. I'm sure its good, but they have faced Tarvaris Jackson, Kerry Collins, and Curtis Painter in two of their three games. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson should be just fine.
  • So far Tennessee and Cleveland are ranked 2nd and 3rd in the league in pass defense. The Titans are also eighth in rush defense, but it could be a nice day for Chris Johnson on the Browns. Finally?
  • Also, why don't we start pumping up the Titans as AFC South winners? Their defense is legit, they're 1-2, the Colts are out of it, and the Texans have never been here before. Matt Hasselbeck is one of the better veterans in the league and so far they are doing it without a productive Chris Johnson. The loss of Kenny Britt sucks, but it's not the end of the world.
  • If you are looking for upsets, always look at interesting home teams: The Seahawks at home against the Falcons. The Falcons have struggled terribly on the road and travel to the loudest stadium in the NFL. The Rams look for their first win against a 2-1 Redskins team that had a really bad looking offense on Monday night. Also playing on a short week.
  • The Un-Game of the Week or the "Suck for Luck" game of the week is Minnesota at Kansas City. Something I did this week was drop Detroits defense in a team defense league and add Minnesota. The numbers just work out too much in my favor as the Chiefs have turned the ball over so much this season and that's all I really look for on a team defense: Turnovers. The Vikings also have a good rush defense which means Cassel will have to do a lot of passing and I think that works in my favor. I think the Vikings win here: 17-7.
  • I traded Stevie Johnson and Tony Gonzalez for Jason Witten and Johnny Knox in a non-PPR league. I'm the top team in the league, but if you've built your team right you will have the advantage of trading from a position of strength. Johnson is my #3 WR and we start 2 WR and a flex, but I wanted an upgrade of Gonzalez after I was the last person in the fourteen team league to take a tight end. Don't just sit idly by because you are in first place. Other teams will make trades and waiver acquisitions and pass you by. The same thing happens in the NFL every offseason when even a Super Bowl team can think they're "All Good!" but then the teams around them get better. Do what you've got to do to get better too.