Week 4 Upgrades/Downgradesby David Dodds and Clayton Gray, Exclusive to
With the way the Cowboys defense is playing right now, they are going to be in shootouts. Bledsoe has a good group of WRs and is capable of a multi-TD game against any opponent.
Brees looks excellent with Antonio Gates on the field. He had two TDs and only three incompletions against the Giants.
The performance against the Saints was a big relief to all Culpepper owners. Still, the schedule is a bit rocky until the Packers come to town in week seven.
Manning is maturing quickly and playing like, well, a Manning. While his team was blown out Sunday night, he made good reads most of the game and finished with 352 yards and a pair of TDs. One thing is certain: it's hard for defenses to cover Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber on the same play. With his receiving corps, Manning is becoming a quality start against soft defenses.
This isnít a huge upgrade, but with Kurt Warner hurt and the 49ers on tap in week four, McCown could be an emergency starter if youíre in need.
In a game where he was supposed to be hobbled, Vick was quite good against the Bills. Up next are tasty matchups against Minnesota, a Patriots secondary that is reeling, and the battered Saints.
The TD machine is here again. Alexander is a threat for multiple TDs each week.
While we still are not excited about Brownís propensity for injury (and the schedule is a bit treacherous), Travis Henry is out four weeks due to league suspension. If he can stay upright (well, not that upright), Brown should have a solid October.
Brown needed a big week to quiet the Ricky Williams talk and he got it. Continued solid production will keep the rookie's job safe.
James is the offense right now. Opposing defenses are gearing against the pass, and the Colts are thus far content to grind out wins by running the ball and playing great defense.
Dallas has no legitimate backup RB, so despite the preseason talk of limiting his carries, Jones is on pace for 453 touches. Unless he breaks down (certainly possible with that high number of touches) Jones is a workhorse back.
Yes, Jones played very well with another 100+ yard day, but the key stat out of Chicago was the zero carries for Cedric Benson. Enough said.
McGahee is getting almost no help from the Buffalo passing game, but he responded huge to the challenge from HC Mike Mularkey. Another plus is that the rest of schedule (while not excellent) looks decent.
Moore was given the start and responded with a 100-yard outing. For the majority of NFL, that would make him the entrenched starter, but with Mike Tice calling the shots, Moore may be a fumble away from the pine. Still, he is easily the most successful back in Minnesota this season.
He can't get higher than number one, but what an amazing showing that was Sunday night. The great news is that the team is throwing to him again after avoiding him for the first two games.
With Donovan McNabb ailing look for more check downs to the dangerous Westbrook. He looks better than he ever has and could be motivated by his current contract situation.
He is piling up yardage in bundles and added another 100+yard outing in week three. It seems like no one can stop Williams, and he should be huge again in week four against the Lions.
We're concerned about the hamstring, so use a bit of caution here. However, the San Francisco defense can't stop anyone, so the offense will need to throw to put points on the board. With Eric Johnson gone for the year, the SF wide receivers should see even more action.
While we are far from thrilled about the QB situation, three of the next four games look nice for the Arizona WRs.
Burress really seems to have found another level to his game in New York. Burress is on pace for 80 catches, 1000+ yards, and 10 TDs, and those numbers could easily improve as he and Eli Manning become more comfortable together.
Chambers is putting up solid stats despite an overall shaky Miami offense. If Ronnie Brown can string together some solid outings, Chambers should excel in the redzone.
Curtis has performed well in limited time, and the Isaac Bruce injury could be the opening he needs.
It looks like Ferguson is up to the challenge. Injuries to Javon Walker and now Bubba Franks skyrocket his value.
Three of the next four games look nice for the Arizona WRs.
Givens will lack week-to-week consistency, but he remains a viable fantasy option if youíre in a pinch. One plus for him is that the recent rash of injuries in the Patriots secondary could force Troy Brown back to the defense.
While we would like him better if the Seahawks passed a little more around the goal line, there is no denying that Jackson is officially among the best in the game now.
He is better than Tyrone Calico right now.
Lewis has emerged as the clear #2 WR and is getting a lot more looks as the Eagles rely heavily upon their passing game.
The San Francisco defense can't stop anyone, so the offense will need to throw to put points up on the board. With Eric Johnson gone for the year, Lloyd is the clear #1 reciving target for the team.
McCardell is the clear #1 WR in San Diego and should excel in week four against an ailing New England secondary.
As the only receiving threat in Carolina, Smith should be blanketed by opposing defenses. However, it doesnít seem to be slowing him down a bit as he turned in another huge game against the Dolphins.
This is a lukewarm upgrade. Daunte Culpepper looked to Taylor early, but we arenít thrilled that he finished the day with only three catches.
He is making huge plays for the Steelers despite being the teamís only real threat in the passing game. Ward simply finds a way to get open, and Roethlisberger simply finds a way to get him the ball.
Williams had five catches week three and seems to becoming a bigger part of the offense.
By mid-season, Williamson should be the top fantasy WR on the team. He is getting more involved each game, and week three was his best performance yet. Without question, he is their home run hitter.
In week three, he had 100 yards receiving after having no catches the week before. He should be a big factor the rest of the way. Get him now while you can.
Another solid week. It looks like heíll be a decent contributor each week for the remainder of the season.
The Dolphins do not have a legitimate WR #2 so McMichael and Chris Chambers get all the targets. Notice that McMichael is on pace for 16 TDs this season.
He looks like he is on a mission and is definitely in great shape.
Teams are trying to take away Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook. This means Smith is being covered by linebackers. He will win that battle every time.
You can just feel it coming. He already has two scores, and he is getting more involved each week. Get him now if heís available.
Lindell is second in the league with nine FGs (zero misses so far). As long as the Buffalo offense is unable to finish off drives, he will be an excellent option.
Rackers leads the league with ten FGs (zero misses so far). With no running game at all in Arizona, we see this FG trend to continue as the Cardinals are unable to complete drives.
The Bears have accumulated seven sacks and forced nine turnovers. Even better is their excellent schedule through week 11.
This defense is absolutely on fire with an eye-popping 16 takeaways in only three games.
The Colts have allowed only a single TD in three games and have accumulated 13 sacks.
The always tough Steelers have 14 sacks and forced eight turnovers in three games.
The Titans have 10 sacks already. If your league does not penalize for yards and points allowed, they are a good option.
Losman is playing as poorly as anyone in the league right now.
He will certainly finish higher than his current pace of 10.7 passing TDs, but it is apparent that Manning will not be the #1 fantasy QB at season's end. The NFL is a copy-cat league and the blueprint now exists on how to limit Manning. Simply rush three and drop 8 in coverage. This means Manning can throw underneath all day long (and he did that yesterday completing 19 of 23 for 228 yards). Teams only rushing 3 are also susceptible to running plays hence edgerrin James' fast start. Additionally the Colts have a legitimate defense this year so are not involved in the shootouts that existed the last three years.
His only downside is the assorted injuries. The sports hernia (officially an ďabdominal strainĒ) is something that could linger and affect him slightly for the remainder of the season.
He is officially OUT for the year with a torn rotator cuff. It doesn't get any worse than that.
The 49ers have a horrible schedule from now through week 11. Rattay will be counted on to compensate for the teamís bad defense, but he might not have the ability to excel.
The severity of Warnerís groin injury is not known at this time, but it looks like heíll miss week four.
As long as Marcel Shipp is healthy, it looks like Arrington will not sniff the starting job.
Mewelde Moore excelled against the Saints, so expect Bennett to remain on the sidelines.
Droughns has been OK to start the season, but there are rough waters ahead. Lee Suggs seems ready to return, and Chicago and Baltimore (after the bye) are tough defenses to run on.
The Packers are struggling mightily. The passing game has been serviceable, but the ground game really misses the two guards that were lost in free agency. Additionally, we expect Green Bay to be playing from behind in most games and that means more passing and less running.
Henry will be out with a four week suspension for violating the leagueís substance abuse policy.
Jones and the Lions offense is struggling as it is, but now they are in the midst of a tough stretch of games (Bucs and Ravens up next).
Martin is a warrior, but he is currently hobbled and has two more tough games before the schedule eases.
The Pittsburgh opponents after their bye are tough, and Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis will return. We're not off the bandwagon, but it looks like Parker will struggle a bit in the upcoming weeks.
A healthy Cadillac Williams gives Pittman more time to watch football.
We arenít excited about his turf toe. While Bruce has returned quickly from past injuries, Kevin Curtis looks ready to excel in the WR2 spot.
Brandon Jones is better right now.
The problem with Clayton is the same as the problem with Michael Pittman Ė Cadillac Williams is simply the focus of the offense right now.
Pennington has been lost for the season with a torn rotator cuff. Backup Jay Fiedler is also ailing with a shoulder injury. All hope for laveranues Coles rests on Brooks Bollinger being good. I would not hold your breath here.
J.P. Losman has to improve before starting Evans could be considered a good move.
Harrison has some good matchups on the horizon, but he is far from the performer that was expected of his draft status.
The first three weeks of the season have worn on the Saints. Horn is still an elite player, but this offense will have very bad outings at times this season.
Pennington is out. Backup Jay Fiedler is also out at least for week 4. Brooks Bollinger will get the start. we do not expect much success here.
J.P. Losman has to improve before starting Moulds could be considered a good move.
Heís going the wrong way.
We still like Stallworth as a big play threat, but the loss of Michael Lewis could be trouble. With Stallworth getting more time with the special teams it could come at the expense of fewer targets on offense. Devery Henderson is also seeing more looks in this offense and might win the #2 job before the season is over.
When the QB isnít throwing 40+ TDs, the #3 WR isnít very valuable.
The Colts passing game is almost nonexistent right now. Clark has only three catches for 18 yards this season.
He has only two catches thus far. While one went for a score, thatís not the kind of production that weíre looking for in a TE.
It looks like Aaron Shea will be active in week four, so that will eat into Heidenís numbers a bit.
If you are waiting on Johnson to get healthy, we hope youíre in a dynasty league. Johnson was placed on the injured reserve list and wonít be back on the field until next season.
Not only is Jolley little more than an afterthought in the Jets offense, his QB is Brooks Bollinger.
Akers simply needs to get healthy, and that means he needs to shut down for a while. It looks like Todd France will kick for the team at least in week four.
He seems to be in a funk and was out-kicked yesterday by a man with one hamstring.
The Packers offense is simply not providing him with enough scoring opportunities.
They simply can not play defense very well right now. And by "right now", we mean "this season".
The poor Buffalo offense (read: J.P. Losman) and the loss of Takeo Spikes hurts them a bit. This is still a good NFL defense, but they arenít able to take enough chances to be a dominant fantasy defense.
The Chargers are coming up on a brutal stretch over next five weeks where they play quality offenses. If your league deducts points for yards and points allowed, youíll want to avoid the San Diego defense.
This unit looked hapless against the Chargers on Sunday night.