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August 26, 2008

Fantasy Football Week 4 WR Rankings

1. Brandon Marshall (DEN) – He has quickly gone from the suspended guy everyone avoided in their fantasy draft to the premier fantasy WR that everyone dreads seeing on their opponents roster. In 2 games Marshall already has 321 receiving yards and 2 TD’s, and the scary part is that week 4 is his best match up to date. If Kansas City CB Patrick Surtain is not back from a shoulder injury, Marshall will have the luxury of facing a rookie CB on Sunday. A healthy Surtain would be no match for Marshall, much less an inexperienced rookie. Just to add a little gas to the fire, Marshall had 16 catches for 200 yards and 2 TD’s against the Chiefs in 2 games last season, and that secondary was better than this one. He is as close to a lock this week as you will find in fantasy football.

2. Terrell Owens (DAL) – It only makes sense that the one week we tab Owens as the most reliable fantasy WR, he goes out and has maybe the worst game of his career. Oh well, it happens to the best of them, but you can count on T.O. to rebound in week 4. He will face arch rival Washington this week, the team in which he dominated with a career best game last season. In his only start against the Redskins in 2007, Owens caught 8 passes for 173 yards and 4 TD’s. While you can’t expect that kind of production this time around, Owens should bounce back nicely in week 4.

3. Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – He continues to light it up with back to back 100 yard receiving efforts. Fitzgerald should be targeted early and often against week 4 opponent the New York Jets. The Jets have allowed 5 receiving TD’s so far this season. He is a must start.

4. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (CIN) – When this guy comes out of a slump, he does it right!
Houshmandzadeh had a monster week 3 against a tough Giants secondary hauling in 12 passes for 146 yards and a score. He is very likely to keep the momentum rolling into week 4’s favorable match up against the Browns. He has at least 1 TD grab in his last 4 games against Cleveland and caught 3 TD passes in 2 games against them last season.

5. Greg Jennings (GB) – He has still yet to find the end zone this season, but it is only a matter of time, especially when you consider that he is averaging 124 yards receiving per game this season. Jennings will face a good, but struggling Tampa Bay pass defense in week 4. The Bucs secondary has allowed 5 receiving TD’s through their first 3 games. Jennings should be great once again, and that elusive TD is a strong possibility in week 4.

6. Anquan Boldin (ARI) – The other half of the dynamic duo may not be getting the same number of touches as Larry Fitzgerald, but he is certainly making the most of what he gets. Boldin found the end zone in week 3 for the 4th time in just 2 weeks. Week 4 should be another strong effort for the red zone target as he will face the Jets who have allowed 5 passing TD’s in 3 games this season.

7. Santana Moss (WAS) – Moss is starting to make believers out of us. He has now found the end zone for 3 consecutive weeks while posting solid reception and yardage totals to boot. Even more promising, the 2 best games of his ’07 campaign both came against week 4’s opponent, the Dallas Cowboys. Moss went over 100 receiving yards and scored a TD in each of his 2 contests against them. He should be in your starting fantasy line up for week 4.

8. Lee Evans (BUF) – He isn’t the most reliable fantasy WR, but a week 4 match up with St. Louis is too good to pass up. The Rams have arguably the worst pass defense in the NFL and have allowed 7 TD’s through the air already this season. Evans is a must start in week 4.

9. Steve Smith (CAR) – While Smith hasn’t been all that great against the Falcons in recent memory, this is not the same Atlanta secondary that held him in check last season. We expect Smith to follow up his average week 3 performance with much better results in week 4.

10. Andre Johnson (HOU) – After a strong week 1 performance, Johnson was shut down by the Titans Cortland Finnegan in week 3. Johnson will match up against Jacksonville in week 4, and he is much too talented to falter 2 weeks in a row. He typically plays well against the Jags, and we expect him to rebound with a solid fantasy effort.

11. DeSean Jackson (PHI) – If Brian Westbrook is limited this week or does not play at all; Jackson should become the primary playmaker in the Eagles offense. The week 4 match up against the Bears didn’t look so great a couple of weeks ago, but after the Chicago secondary got toasted for over 400 yards through the air last week, things are looking up for the talented rookie wide out. Chicago will likely have difficulty matching up against Jackson, especially if they play him one on one. He has big potential for week 4, but keep in mind that he is still a rookie.

12. Dwayne Bowe (KC) – In spite of playing in one of NFL’s poorest offenses, Bowe continues to put up consistent and solid fantasy totals. There is no doubt that he would be a top 5 WR if he were in almost any other offense. Bowe will face off against division rival the Denver Broncos in week 4. Bowe had mixed results in 2 games against Denver last season, but the match up looks promising this week. Denver is allowing an NFL worst 315 passing yards per game, and they have also allowed 6 receiving TD’s in just 3 games.

13. Donald Driver (GB) – He hasn’t torched opposing defenses so far this season, but he is putting up solid numbers on a weekly basis, and he could break out any week. Driver has been one of the most targeted WR’s in the NFL and seems to have a nice rapport with QB Aaron Rodgers. He should be targeted early and often in week 4 against a Buccaneer pass defense that has already given up 5 receiving TD’s this season.

14. Chris Chambers (SD) – When you consider that he only has 6 catches on the season, you would have to figure him to be a pretty risky fantasy option for week 4, and you would be right. The good news is that out of those 6 catches, 4 of them have gone for TD’s. Chambers now has 6 TD’s in his last 4 games going back to last season. Even better, his week 4 opponent, Oakland, ranks near the bottom of the NFL in pass defense. As long as he continues to find pay dirt. You should continue to start him.

15. Jerricho Cotchery (NYJ) – He was great in TD and yardage leagues in week 1, worthless in any format in week 2, and solid in points per reception leagues in week 3. Week 4 should be the week he finally puts together a complete game. He will face an Arizona pass defense that has been fairly stingy to this point, but they did give up 2 passing TD’s last week. Cotchery is targeted way too often to continue putting up inconsistent fantasy totals.

16. Braylon Edwards (CLE) – Like everyone else, we are getting tired of making excuses for him. If he doesn’t get it going this week, fantasy owners could be in for a long and painful season with Edwards. The week 4 match up is ripe for the picking and Edwards needs to step up and prove why he was a preseason top 5 fantasy WR. Edwards torched the Bengals last season, scoring 2 TD’s in each of their 2 meetings last season. The time is now. Check injury report: shoulder (full practice on Friday)

17. Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson (CIN) – It’s likely now or never for #85 this season as Johnson has struggled mightily through the first 3 weeks. The match up is right, his shoulder is getting better, and his track record against the Browns is spectacular. If he doesn’t return to form in week 4, he probably isn’t going to. In a week where good receiver match ups are hard to come by, Johnson is worth one last shot.

18. Roddy White (ATL) – As we expected, White played lights out in week 3. He will have a tougher go of it against the Panthers in week 4, but he is starting to build some nice chemistry with rookie signal caller Matt Ryan, and we like his chances. White had 13 catches for 184 yards and a TD in 2 games against Carolina last season. He should get more than enough attention this week to provide fantasy owners with a strong performance.

19. Laveranues Coles (NYJ) – Things are starting to look up for Coles in the Jets offense as he has improved on his totals each week. The longer he has to get acclimated with Brett Favre, the better he should be. Week 4 should provide a favorable match up for Coles against Arizona. Check injury report: thigh (limited practice on Friday)

20. Hines Ward (PIT) – While week 3 was pretty forgettable for Ward and fantasy owners alike, the circumstances of the game were not favorable to his efforts. He has a very tough week 4 match up against division rival Baltimore, but he should bounce back as Ben Roethlisberger’s go to guy in the red zone.

21. Isaac Bruce (SF) – After getting shut out in week 1, a huge yardage effort in week 2, and a TD saving week 3, Bruce doesn’t look like he is going to be the most predictable fantasy WR. The good news is that he will be back in his element in week 4. Bruce has always been a great indoor player, so even though week 4’s match up is on the road at New Orleans, he should feel right at home in the Superdome. If this game turns into an air battle, and it very well could, Bruce should benefit greatly. The Saints rank near the bottom of the NFL in pass defense. He is a mystery, but week 4 bodes well for him.

22. Torry Holt (STL) – After a promising week 2, Holt once again fell victim to double teams and poor QB play in week 3. While week 4 against Buffalo doesn’t look to be a great match up for him, Holt is should find a way to get things going and typically plays better when the odds are against him. He will have a new QB at the helm in Trent Green, so that alone could jump start this offense, but don’t count on it. Holt is too talented to bench in a week where good WR’s will be hard to come by.

23. Antonio Bryant (TB) –. With Joey Galloway out of the line up in week 3, Bryant took full advantage with 10 grabs for 138 yards. It doesn’t look like Galloway will return this week, so Bryant should again benefit from his absence. Bryant should make for a solid week 4 starting option, but you should make sure that Galloway is going to be a scratch before you start him with confidence.

24. Eddie Royal (DEN) – He slipped off Jay Cutler’s radar in week 3, but a great week 4 match up against Kansas City looks promising for the talented rookie. Expect him to bounce back this week, but he will be a long shot in tough match ups down the stretch this season.

25. Santonio Holmes (PIT) – He continued his disappointing ’08 campaign with another poor effort in week 3. Week 4 will not be any easier for him against a very good Ravens pass defense. Holmes was great in 2 games against Baltimore last season, but that was with a fully healthy QB throwing him the ball, and the Ravens defense was mostly comprised of back ups after a plague of injuries at the time. Holmes is plenty capable with his home run speed, but you should keep expectations realistic under the circumstances.

26. Ike Hilliard (TB) – He has been solid through the first 3 games, and even has 2 TD receptions, including 1 last week against the Bears. Hilliard has been the most consistent weapon in the Tampa Bay offense so far, a role that should continue in week 4 against the Packers. He will also benefit if Joey Galloway is once again absent from the Bucs starting line up, which appears to be a good possibility.

27. Bryant Johnson (SF) – After a big week 2, Johnson was held to just 1 catch in a favorable match up against Detroit. It looks like it might be a roller coaster ride with Johnson this season, but he should be more consistent down the road. Week 4 looks promising for Johnson against New Orleans who’s pass defense ranks as one of the worst in the NFL. Johnson is nursing a hamstring injury, so monitor his health closely as Sunday approaches. Check injury report: hamstring (limited practice on Friday)

28. Vincent Jackson (SD) – After back to back 70+ yard games, Jackson looks like he might actually be a consistent fantasy option. If he can start pulling in the deep ball more frequently (which he sees almost every game, but rarely catches), he could have a huge game any week. Week 4’s match up could go either way; it really depends on which CB the Raiders use to cover Jackson. Our suspicion is that Oakland will rotate CB’s between Jackson and Chris Chambers. There are no guarantees with this guy, but he is due for a big game.

29. Matt Jones (JAX) – He isn’t putting up elite numbers, but with at least 5 catches in each of his first 3 games, Jones is proving to be a useful fantasy option. He will have his best match up of the season so far in week 4 against Houston. We like Jones’ chances for a solid game this week.

30. Chansi Stuckey (NYJ) – We continue to discount him, and he just keeps scoring TD’s. A week 4 match up against Arizona doesn’t look bad and Favre seems to favor him in the red zone. Stuckey probably won’t maintain this pace all season, but as long as he keeps putting it in the end zone, he is worth starting.

31. Justin Gage (TEN) – After missing week 3 with a groin injury, he looks like he will play in week 4. Gage will be matched up against a Vikings defense that is known for shutting down opposing running games, so the Titans will probably throw the ball early and often with Gage as the most likely beneficiary. The groin injury could still be an issue as this kind of injury can resurface, but if there are no set backs; this could be his week to shine.

32. Bernard Berrian (MIN) – It appears as though the Vikings QB switch is going to really benefit Berrian’s fantasy value. He had 79 receiving yards in week 3, his best stat line of the season. He should continue to progress throughout the season and will probably develop into a solid week to week fantasy option. Unfortunately, week 4 does not look all that great for him as he will likely be matched up against Titans shut down CB Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan has already shut down the likes of star WR’s Andre Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh this season. Berrian is a risky, but capable WR3 in week 4.

33. Hank Baskett (PHI) – He isn’t your most reliable fantasy option for week 4, but he could very well turn out to be one of your best. Baskett now has 197 receiving yards and a TD through the first 3 weeks. Not bad for a guy who was expected to be buried deep on the Eagles depth chart. If the Eagles throw the ball as much as we think they will against the Bears on Sunday night, Baskett should put together another solid fantasy effort or better, but he is risky.

34. Brandon Lloyd (CHI) – Now that his role appears solidified as Kyle Orton’s go to target in the Bears passing game, Lloyd should continue to produce on a consistent level. Week 4 against a stingy Eagles pass defense looks iffy for him, but he should get plenty of looks, which gives him a good shot at another strong fantasy effort if healthy. Check injury report: hip (limited practice on Thursday)

35. Derrick Mason (BAL) – If you are looking for a few safe fantasy points every week, Mason is probably your guy. He may even throw in the occasional TD, but with rookie QB Joe Flacco running the show, Mason’s fantasy potential is fairly limited. He will face a strong Steelers pass defense in week 4. Mason did have 12 catches for 107 yards in 2 games against them last season.

36. Josh Reed (BUF) – He doesn’t have much in the way of fantasy value most weeks, but Reed could be a real sleeper in week 4. With Roscoe Parrish out this week and Lee Evans receiving most of the St. Louis secondary’s attention, Reed should have ample opportunity to make some plays. The match up against a horrible St. Louis pass defense doesn’t hurt either. The Rams have allowed 7 receiving TD’s in their first 3 games. The odds are in his favor, but he has to take advantage.

37. Robert Meachem (NO) – With Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey, and David Patten now all out with injuries, Meachem is the Saints most dangerous receiving threat behind Reggie Bush. The question is, will Drew Brees throw him the football enough to make him a viable fantasy candidate? It’s hard to say, but he has the more potential than any of the other New Orleans' wide outs.

38. Kevin Walter (HOU) – As often as he is targeted, you would expect more from him. Walter should continue to receive plenty of looks in week 4 against Jacksonville to take the heat off of Andre Johnson, but he is going to have to start taking advantage of his opportunities to have any real fantasy value. Check injury report: toe (full practice on Friday)

39. Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) – He has a nice week 4 match up against Atlanta, but now that Steve Smith has returned from suspension, Muhammad is merely an afterthought for Panthers QB Jake Delhomme.

40. Antwaan Randle El (WAS) – He is a versatile WR capable of solid production in week 4 against the Cowboys, but you shouldn’t expect more than a few fantasy points from him.

41. Lance Moore (NO) – He had a great week 3 hauling in 7 passes for 78 yards. Moore is not the most likely candidate for a big game in week 4, but the whole flying under the radar thing he has going on seems to work for him. He could be a sleeper this week.

42. Javon Walker (OAK) - He will face a Chargers pass defense that leads the NFL with 8 passing TD’s allowed. This bodes well, but it is probably a moot point with JaMarcus Russell throwing him the ball or should we say, attempting to throw him the ball.

43. Devery Henderson (NO) – He should get Drew Brees’ attention in the passing game this week, but he is far from reliable.

44. Patrick Crayton (DAL) – The always capable Crayton has been absent from the Cowboys offense for 2 straight weeks now. Don’t expect him to show up much in week 4 either.

45. Antonio Chatman (CIN) – Carson Palmer is starting to involve him in the passing game more, and the match up is right, but he is a risky week 4 option at best.

46. Justin McCareins (TEN) – The Titans will have to throw a lot in week 4 if they want to beat the Vikings. McCareins should benefit. Check injury report: groin (full practice Friday)

47. Miles Austin (DAL) – He stepped up big time in week 3, but chances are that he is little more than a one week wonder.

48. Sidney Rice (MIN) – He should be better with Gus Frerotte at the helm, but a bad knee and a worse match up limit him in week 4. Check injury report: knee (limited practice on Friday)
49. Donte’ Stallworth (CLE) – There is a good chance he will play in week 4, but we don’t know how much or if he will be healthy enough to provide any fantasy value. The match up is great, but you should probably hold off on him this week. Take the wait and see approach. Check injury report: quad (limited practice on Friday, doubtful for Sunday)

50. Donnie Avery (STL) – He will get the start this week and the capable rookie should benefit from the Rams QB change, but Avery is still a long shot for week 4.

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