Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 4: vs. Washington, FP.com rank: 18, My rank: 11)
The Washington Redskins have allowed 1,000 passing yards in just three games. The only team that has allowed more yards through the air is the Buccaneers. I loved Freeman this preseason. He hasn’t returned any of that love so far. But if he’s going to, this is a prime matchup for it to happen.
Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions, Week 4: vs. Minnesota, FP.com rank: 10, My rank: 13)
He’s going to play and the strength of the Minnesota defense is up front while the pass defense seems to be middle of the pack. But given the injury and his slow start to 2012, I want to see him put a nice game together before starting him.
Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints, Week 4: @ Green Bay, FP.com rank: 33, My rank: 20)
Thomas had over 1000 total yards and six touchdowns last year. This year he has a few more touches than Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles. He’s also averaging 8.5 yards per touch. These are all things I like about Pierre Thomas.
Mikel LeShoure (Detroit Lions, Week 4: vs. Minnesota, FP.com rank: 18, My rank: 23)
LeShoure got 30 touches in week 3 and rushed for 100 yards and a score on 26 carries. That’s the kind of workload you’re looking for in a fantasy back. But the problem is that he did it against a Titans run defense that is giving up an average of 140 rushing yards per game. This week he faces a Minnesota defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this year. And not just against weak competition. They shut down Frank Gore last week, dominated a weak Donald Brown in week 2 (Brown averaged less than three yards per carry), and didn’t let MJD beat them in week 1.
Stevan Ridley (New England Patriots, Week 4: @ Buffalo, FP.com rank: 17, My rank: 24)
Danny Woodhead played 47 snaps compared to just 25 for Ridley in Week 3. Not sure how you can trust Ridley given that odd usage even though its decent matchup against the Bills..
Malcolm Floyd (San Diego Chargers, Week 4: @ Kansas City, FP.com rank: 26, My rank: 19)
The Kansas City defense has allowed the highest adjusted yards gained per pass attempt this season, which means they’re susceptible to the big pass play. Malcolm Floyd’s targets have been over 15 yards 47.8% of the time which is the seventh highest percentage in the league. Big play receiver against a defense that allows big plays sounds like a start to me.
Torrey Smith (Baltimore Ravens, Week 4: vs. Cleveland, FP.com rank: 21, My rank: 18)
I hate these Thursday games because this article doesn’t run until Friday each week. But if you looked at our staff rankings when they came out late Wednesday night, you would have seen I had Smith at 18 which is above that top 20 cut line of startable WRs in ten team standard leagues while his average FantasyPros.com rank was below that cut line.
Miles Austin (Dallas Cowboys, Week 4: vs. Chicago, FP.com rank: 20, My rank: 23)
The Bears defense is really good. They allow the third lowest adjusted yards gained per pass attempt in the league. They’ve allowed the third lowest quarterback rating in the league. And in this particular matchup they could be even tougher. They lead the league in sacks and the Cowboys offensive line is less than stellar. That pass rush could throw the Cowboys offense completely out of whack and make for rough days for Romo, Dez and Miles.
Brent Celek (Philadelphia Eagles, Week 4: vs. Giants, FP.com rank: 11, My rank: 9)
Celek has the best yards per route run of any tight end so far this year. The Eagles-Giants game could easily turn into a shootout. And shootouts mean more pass routes being run.
Jermichael Finley (Green Bay Packers, Week 4: vs. New Orleans, FP.com rank: 8, My rank: 11)
Same paragraph I wrote in this space last week:
Average Depth of Target (aDOT) can help us identify boom-or-bust pass catchers. The basic idea is that the catch rate on deep passes is lower than the catch rate on short passes. So the higher your aDOT is, the lower your catch rate is likely to be. Fewer catches but more potential for big plays creates a very volatile situation from week-to-week. Volatility isn’t the best quality in a fantasy player. Jermichael Finley had the highest aDOT among tight ends last year.
Accountability for Week 3
QB Start: Matt Cassel – Bad Call. Jamaal Charles stole all the fantasy points.
QB Sit: Peyton Manning – Bad Call. Ten quarterbacks topped 20 fantasy points in week 3 and Peyton was one of them.
RB Start: Andre Brown – Great call. Tied with MJD for 2nd highest fantasy total for RBs.
RB Sit: Ryan Mathews – Good call. Mathews got 15 touches but was unable to do much with them.
WR Start: Torrey Smith – Great call. Smith finished as the second best WR for the week and was the only WR to catch two touchdowns. Well, Golden Tate “caught” two but......
WR Sit: Brandon Lloyd – Good call. 25 WRs scored more points than Lloyd last week. He had a nice game with 100 yards receiving, but he didn’t find the end zone.
TE Start: Dennis Pitta – Good call. Pitta was one of only eight TEs to score double digit fantasy points last week.
TE Sit: Jermichael Finley – Good call. Finley was OK, but 13 TEs had a better week.
6/8 good calls.
Written by Brett Talley exclusively for thefantasyfix.com. If you have any further questions about this particular topic, feel free to ask him on Twitter (@TheRealTAL) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.