It's Week 4 of the NFL season meaning we've got data to review in order to help us to make more informed decisions in fantasy football. That doesn't mean there is ever unanimity if you ask the experts, and it doesn't mean that the numbers always lead to the correct answer. However history matters a bit, as does current levels of production, usage, matchups etc. This week we'll share our thoughts on some of the better Week 4 matchups out there as you try to continue building upon what was hopefully a solid start to the football season for your fantasy club (who are we kidding, there's no way anyone reading this has only one fantasy football team).
A WEEKLY FANTASY BATTLE
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WEEK 4 MATCHUPS
Jason Avant had a nice effort in Week 3 (five catches, 87 yards, a touchdown). He faces the Broncos in Week 4, a club he scored against in the last matchup.
It's been with other teams, but in seven of the last 10 games that Anquan Boldin has faced the Rams he's scored or gone for a touchdown.
Dwayne Bowe has to get the ball more. He has 100 fewer yards than Donnie Avery through three games and he's received only half as many targets as RB Jamaal Charles (18 to nine). Come on Andy Reid and Alex Smith. Emberassing.
Tom Brady has thrown for a score in 51-straight games, three behind Drew Brees' NFL record. Brady seems likely to get Rob Gronkowski back this week, and he's 3-0 with seven passing scores and an average of 292 passing yards against the Falcons.
Drew Brees is 8-0 in his last eight starts on Monday Night Football. In those eight games he's tossed 24 scores and thrown only five picks. He's also thrown for at least 300 yards in 8-straight overall, the 2nd longest streak ever. The Dolphins are surrendering an average of 263 passing yards through three games while permitting four passing scores. They've also picked the ball off five times.
Dez Bryant has scored in 5-straight games against AFC opponents, and in his past 11 games overall he has 1,080 yards and 12 touchdowns. Good luck stopping that beast Chargers.
It's sounding like Reggie Bush is going to play this week but do you know which RB leads the league in receiving yards? Yep, you guessed it, Joique Bell is the leader with 177 receiving yards. Only three backs have 100 rushing yards and 145 receiving yards, the two Lions' runners and Jamaal Charles. The Lions face a solid Bears' D in Week 4.
Sam Bradford leads the NFL in passing attempts as he's thrown the ball 141 times which is 20 more passes than Matthew Stafford and 19 more than Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. He faces a Niners' team this week that is without Aldon Smith and even if Patrick Willis plays he'll likely be limited. The last time Bradford faced the Niners ha had a 104.1 QB Rating as well.
Marques Colston has scored nine times in his last eight home games.
Jeff Cumberland faces a Titans defense that has allowed three scores to the tight end this season. The last time Cumberland faced the Titans he had a touchdown catch.
Jay Cutler has thrown for 12 scores and just one interception in eight career games against the Lions. This season the Lions have allowed only two passing scores in three games.
Andy Dalton has thrown for eight touchdowns and an average of 263 yards a game in four outings against the Browns. He's been even better of late with 2-straight games of 300 and three against them.
Larry Fitzgerald had two scores the last time he faces the Bucs.
Matt Forte, in 10 career meetings, averages 119.9 yards from scrimmage a game against the Lions. He's also scored eight times.
Arian Foster has one fewer yard from scrimmage (227) than Ahmad Bradshaw. Yikes. He also faces the Seahawks this week so don't expect a huge outburst.
Chris Givens caught 11 balls for 92 yards the last time he faced the Niners and I just got through noting how successful Bradford could be against a beat up Niners club.
Josh Gordon had 19 targets in Week 3 as he was all over the field. In his last game against the Bengals he caught three balls for 99 yards including a 71 yard touchdown reception. Heck, even Greg Little has had success against the Bengals with two scores in his last three games.
Frank Gore is angry. After running for 61 yards in the first quarter against the Colts he was barely used the rest of the game (he didn't even get to 85 rushing yards on the day). He told the coach he was angry, and when Mr. Gore is angry he's a very dangerous football player. Look for him to take it out on a Rams team that he has scored 13 times against on the ground in his last 12 battles. Don't forget that DeMarco Murray ran for 175 yards in Week 3 against the Rams.
A.J. Green has scored four times in four career games versus the Browns. He's also gone for at least 110 yards in two of those four outings.
Robert Griffin III has never thrown an interception in three games against AFC clubs. He faces a Raiders club this week that has allowed six passing scores but hasn't picked off a pass this season.
If you're looking for a waiver-wire add this week at tight end... Jermaine Gresham has scored three times in his last four games against the Browns.
T.Y. Hilton has been really hit or miss through three weeks. Look for him to be a hit this week. Hilton caught four balls for 113 yards an a score in his last game against Jacksonville and the Jags have allowed five scores to wideouts this season.
Santonio Holmes went for more than 150 yards in Week. 3. In Week 4 he faces a Titans club that he's torched for 14 receptions, 224 yards and two scores in the last two matchups.
Chris Johnson has run for an average of 109.5 yards in his last two games against Jets. Johnson also has 69 carries this season, tied with Adrian Peterson for second in the NFL (Doug Martin 73). CJ2K isn’t catching passes, he has only two catches, and he's not scoring (zero touchdowns), but his heavy workload still makes him a viable starter.
Julio Jones has six scores in his last seven games against AFC opponents. Jones has 22 receptions for 364 yards and three scores in his last two home games (including the playoffs). Jones faces a Patriots club that has allowed only two scores to WRs this season while allowing the position the fourth fewest points in the league.
Maurice Jones-Drew was in the game in the 4th quarter last week when the Jags were being blown out by the Seahawks. Seems like he's healthy. The last time he faced the Colts he ran for 100 yards. In fact, he's done that the last four times he's faced them.
Andrew Luck leads AFC quarterbacks with seven rushing scores since the start of last season.
Marshawn Lynch has run for 85 yards in 23 of his last 28 games. He faces a Texans club that is allowing just 91 yards on the ground per week and one that has surrendered just one rushing score this season.
Peyton Manning leads the NFL with 12 scores. He hasn't thrown a single interception while averaging 381 passing yards a week. Meanwhile the Eagles are being lit up for 323 yards a week while allowing five scores over three games.
LeSean McCoy leads the NFL with 514 yards from scrimmage. Only one other player in football has 385 yards and that's DeMarco Murray at 402.
Darren McFadden has run for 100 yards or scored in all three games this season. Teammate Marcel Reese has scored in 2-straight games. The Raiders face the Redskins in Week 4, a club that is allowing the third most points to runners this season on a per game basis.
Denarius Moore has scored in three of his last four games. His victim this week is the 'Skins, a club that has allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers of any team in football while allowing WRs to also score five times.
Adrian Peterson had 129 yards from scrimmage an a score the last time he faced the Steelers. Through three weeks he's averaging 111 yards from scrimmage and 1.3 scores a game. The Steelers are a tough matchup this week, or are they? Through three weeks they've allowed the 11th most points to runners.
Bernard Pierce will get ample work in Week 4 though it looks like Ray Rice (hip) could play. The Ravens face a Bills team that is middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to runners, though they haven't allowed a rushing score yet. Pierce has scored in back-to-back games and the Bills are also beat up on D. It's gonna be a big day for Ravens' runners.
Bilal Powell broke out last week with 149 yards rushing. This week he faces the Titans who are middle of the road against the run allowing 101.7 yards and 0.67 rushing scores a contest.
In his last nine home games Matt Schaub has thrown for 16 scores and six interceptions. The Seahawks will present a tough test.
Cecil Shorts will have to catch passes from Blaine Gabbert, but he leads the NFL in targets this season and he's averaged 93 yards an a score in his last two games against the Colts.
Alex Smith over his last 28 starts is 22-5-1. He's also averaging 223 yards and 1.3 scores a game through three weeks.
Torrey Smith is 4th in the AFC with an average of 89.7 yards per game receiving. The touchdowns will come. He faces a Bills team that is giving up the 4th most points to WRs this year and they've allowed five scores to WRs through three games.
Julius Thomas and Wes Welker have both scored in 3-straight contests.
Michael Vick hasn't faced the Broncos since 2004. He's currently the #2 QB in fantasy behind P. Manning.
The Colts face the Jaguars this week, so look for Reggie Wayne to have a big day. He has 133 receptions and 1,856 yards against them in his career. Those are the two best marks of his career.
Mike Williams will be catching balls from a new signal caller this week but the last time he faced the Cardinals he caught four balls for 105 yards an a touchdown.
Russel Wilson faces the Texans this week, and in four games against the AFC he's thrown for 12 scores and one interception. He's also had a QB rating of at least 100 in all four games. Houston is currently the 11th stingiest D against the QB.
Danny Woodhead has racked up 15 receptions the past two weeks. If someone catches 7.5 passes a game for 16 contests they end up with 120 receptions. The Cowboys have allowed runners to catch 21 balls, the second highest mark in the league.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.
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