Young guns are rising and old stalwarts are falling — such is life in the NFL. Our job as fantasy football players is to capitalize on these trends and be the first to do so before all the other dummies in our leagues notice anything is going on.
We have some risers this week that will see an increase in fantasy production due to injury of their teammates, some that are benefitting from the system they play in, while others have simply been playing their asses off. Here are your week 4 fantasy football risers and fallers:
Donald Brown, RB, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers were the subject of a lot of criticism when the signed Brown in the offseason as they already had a great starter in Ryan Matthews and a multi-dimensional backup in Danny Woodhead, but it appears as if they knew what they were doing. With Matthews recovering from a knee injury for the next few weeks and Woodhead being lost for the season, Brown will be the workhorse against the Chargers’ next three opponents: the Jaguars, Jets and Raiders.
Rookie Quarterbacks: Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars and Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
The age of Bortles and Bridgewater is upon us. With Henne finally getting the boot to the bench in Jacksonville, Bortles looked strong in his first regular season game as an NFL quarterback. Bridgewater entered Sunday’s game in New Orleans after Matt Cassel went out with an injury. He didn’t look nearly as strong as Bortles, but moving forward, Bridgewater is likely to have the greater fantasy impact. Keep in mind that 1) Minnesota’s running game is basically non existent for the rest of the season which means they’ll have to rely on the passing attack and 2) fantasy football values running quarterbacks which Bridgewater can do. While Blakey B may clearly be the better NFL quarterback, fantasy favors Teddy B. Lets get those nicknames to stick, all right, guys?
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Bradshaw has looked fantastic to start the season with 88 total yards per game, six yards per carry, and three touchdowns. You knew he was going to get a lot of action in the passing game, but he’s starting to see more rushing attempts too as Trent Richardson continues to be Trent Richardson. After only three rushing attempts in week 1, Bradshaw had 13 in week 2 and nine in week 3.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Matthews had a great week three: eight reception, 59 yards, and two touchdowns. While it’s hard to know if Matthews production will continue or if week 2 will prove to just be an outlier, he has a couple things going for him: 1) No offense has scored more points this season than the Eagles. You know they’ll spread the ball around which means more opportunities for players like Matthews. 2) Riley Cooper hasn’t done anything this year. It seems clear his stock is falling simultaneously with Matthews ascension.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Blaming Romo’s slow start on his back injury would be the easiest thing to do, but his stock is falling faster for a different reason. A reason which is actually good news for Cowboy fans: a commitment to the run game. This is something Cowboy fans have been screaming about for years and it’s finally happening. Romo won’t be producing like you hoped he would this year, not only because of his age and injury, but because the Cowboys simply won’t be throwing the ball as much.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
See: Tony Romo. Witten is another big name guy who’s a victim of Dallas’ reliance on the run game so far this year. They have been a much more run-heavy, clock controlling offense than in years past. Perhaps the lack of talent on defense was the match that lit the fire. After all, if you can control the clock with a solid run game, you minimize the chances your defense has to blow the game for you.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
The touchdown catch Colston had in week 3 bailed his owners out, but by and large, Colston has been a bust so far this year, totaling only 25 receiving yards in the past two weeks. Brees has been spreading the ball out even more this year, lessening the reliance on his top target for years. I might hold on to him for one more week and see how he performs against a lackluster Cowboys defense, but if he stinks it up again, it might be time to shop him.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
This is Larry Fitzgerald’s first three weeks of the season: one catch for 22 yards, six catches for 51 yards, and three catches for 31 yards. Not the type of production we’ve come to expect from Fitzy. Arizona’s other wideouts have been performing much better in spite of a fluid quarterback situation, leading me to the conclusion that age and mileage might be too much for Fitzgerald to overcome anymore.