With the first 4 weeks of the NFL season behind us, fantasy owners are starting to have a pretty clear picture of whether they've got a good team, an OK team, or an "I can't wait til next year" team. The promising news for those who fall into the latter 2 categories is that there's still time for moves to be made. If you've followed this "knee-jerk" column for the past few weeks (Season opener
, Week 1
, Week 2
, Week 3
,) it's clear that the writing has shifted from a bit rash and outlandish to being more serious. Well, that's because fantasy football is a very serious matter, and I know that now. You're just a couple of smart clicks away from having a stellar time this season. Click unwisely, and you're headed straight towards a Winter characterized by crippling depression and regret. OK, no pressure, but let's begin.
Brian Hartline put up 31 fantasy points and he wasn't even on anybody's team
Tannehill has found a friend, and you need to put in a claim on the waiver wire immediately. Hartline has adequate speed, is a good route runner and a possession receiver. More important for my upcoming comparison, he's white, just like last year's sleeper, Jordy Nelson. So let's call him this year's white wideout sleeper and see what happens. Think im focusing on the wrong aspect of him as a player? Probably! Just go with it, and don't be offended. And remember, white guys are on the same waiver wire as everybody else, so make sure you put in a claim for Hartline first and foremost.
Start The Red Rifle
Andy Dalton was a late-round pick for many, but he has scored more points than Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, Matt Stafford and Eli Manning. More importantly, he's been consistent ever since Week 2, throwing for 8 TDs against 3 INTs over the last 3 games. Being that he was a late-round pick, it's very likely his fantasy owner's have a higher-touted QB on their roster. It's time to have enough faith to start Dalton every week, red hair and all. His next 3 games have him going up against Miami, Cleveland, and a Pittsburgh team that hasn't done much to stop the pass.
Battle's the man in San Diego
Who saw that coming? Me. I did. I did until I was convinced that starting Battle last Sunday was a ridiculous move (when people yell fantasy advice at you at tailgates it can often be very convincing. Also, beer was involved.) I dropped Battle and his eventual 19 fantasy points, started somebody who scored 0 points instead (I don't want to talk about it,) and am now waiting to see if Battle will fall to me on the waiver wire.
If one thing is clear in San Diego it's that Ryan Mathews will always be kind of injured. The amazing part is his injuries always vary. He's seen injuries to his collarbone, leg, foot, and upper right forearm (probably.) This past week, he took a backseat to Battle for no apparent reason. The Chargers' next game is against the Saints, the worst team against the run in the NFL, which is saying a lot, because I was at that Jets 49ers game, and that's something else I'd rather not talk about. Sundays can be difficult.
Andre Roberts might could be your man in Arizona
The Cardinals have been playing well, and naturally we've all been looking for a way to exploit their success for our own fantasy gain. We knew that their surprising start was mainly attributed to their defense, but have been waiting patiently for their offense to take a more defined shape. Andre Roberts' 118 yards and 2 TDs against the Dolphins may have added some clarity as to where the points will come from in Arizona. Kevin Kolb seemed to have been using Roberts as a security blanket on Sunday, dumping the ball off to him as a check down when the defense dropped back into zone. This worked very well because Roberts is fast as hell. More surprisingly, however, is that Roberts was also able to go over the top of defenses and haul in the long ball. He did so well, he even earned a hug from Larry FItzgerald, who looks like he's been holding in that hug for 20 years. You did it, little man.
The most vertical man in the NFL could be yours!
Jerome Simpson returned to the Vikings' lineup on Sunday to rave reviews. While he caught just 4 passes for 55 yards, he drew a number of pass interference penalties. At 3-1, it's safe to say the Vikings aren't merely coherent this season, but a formidable threat on any given Sunday. Just as it played out this past week in Detroit, defenses will key in on Percy Harvin, challenging Jerome Simpson to make a play or two, and I'd bet on him every time. He may just have a few catches per game, but his chances of catching a long ball or being targeted in the endzone are very high. Further, he's got a quarterback in Christian Ponder who likes to extend plays with his legs. Think about what an asset this is for a receiver who primarily runs deep routes. With the aforementioned Hartline, Battle and Roberts getting all the attention on the waiver wire this week, Simpson could be a steal, even if he just sits on your bench until his name is called.
For more knee-jerk fantasy advice that will either lead you astray, to the promised land, or somewhere in-between, follow me on Twitter.