Fantasy Football Player Rankings Through Week 4
By Guest Writer John Belaska:
It seems like only yesterday we were studying for our drafts, ranking our players in our heads, and coming up with schemes to make sure our line-ups were unstoppable. A quarter of the way through the season you might be finding out your pre-season predictions was a bit off or maybe they were right on target. Either way, with four games completed here is fanspeak.com’s top five rankings for quarterback, runningbacks, and wide receivers going forward.
5. Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles)
Michael Vick dropped off a bit this week. Last week he was number three on the list, but the third best quarter cannot have a game where he does not score. It still is not the time to give up on him yet. One bad outing never means the end of a season. Vick is still on pace for a 4000 yard passing season with over 900 yards on the ground. This weekend Philly travels to New York to play the Giants who have been terrible so far. As long as his health does not make a turn for the worse, he will have a field day against the Giants’ run defense which ranks 27th in the league.
4. Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
It is time to give Philip Rivers credit. Statistically speaking, he has been the third best fantasy quarterback so far. Maybe it is because Aaron Rodgers had a bye week last week, but the fact remains. Rivers has thrown for 1199 yards and 11 touchdown passes to only two interceptions. He should be able to put up a decent stat line this weekend against the Oakland Raiders. If Rivers is still available on the waiver wire pick him up regardless of who your quarterback is. Even if you have Peyton Manning, at least no one else will have the comeback player of the year.
3. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
Is it fair to drop a person down the list because they had a bye week? It is when the player previously ranked third has a field day. The extra rest should benefit Rodgers this weekend against the Lions. Look for him to have a big game against a poor passing defense. One more note to all those outraged Packers fans: Brees and Rodgers will be dancing between the two and three spots all season long so get used to it.
2. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
Drew Brees is on fire. He was the top fantasy quarterback for both week three and week four. There is absolutely no reason for him to not finish as a top three quarterback and even less reason to have him behind Aaron Rodgers at this point in the season. Brees owners are always rewarded with 300 yard passing games and at least one touchdown. Last weekend he tore up the Dolphins who came into the Superdome undefeated. At some points, it did not even look like there was a defense on the field. Obviously, it was not a just terrible outing by the Dolphins which brought about the team’s first loss, but a masterful performance by one the of the league’s premier passers. This will not change this week in Chicago. Look for the Brees to Graham marriage to pay off again and again week five and beyond.
1. Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
Is there anyone who can stop Manning and the Broncos? At this point, the answer is a definitive no. He has been the most consistent fantasy force so far and will be all season long. Peyton leads the league with 1470 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and still has not thrown an interception. This weekend, Denver travels to the Jerrydome to face the Cowboys. Do not be surprised when Peyton embarrasses the 27th ranked passing defense. This could be one of the performances where he throws for five or even six touchdowns. Expect Peyton Manning to put up the most fantasy points by any player in week five.
Honorable Mention: Matt Ryan (ATL), Andrew Luck (IND), Matthew Stafford (DET)
5. Matt Forte (Chicago Bears)
Matt Forte did not move up or down the list this weekend, but if he continues playing the way he is he will start to jump. Forte is the type of threat fantasy owners love. He can run the ball well and his hands are amazing. He is still tied with Jamaal Charles for the most receptions by a runningback and with 480 total yards and three touchdowns; Forte is once again showing he is a stud. This weekend, the Saints are marching into the Soldier Field. Forte is bound to have a good game on the ground against a defense that is in the bottom half of the league against the run, but expect less from him as a receiver against the Saints good pass protection.
4. Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks)
Marshawn Lynch is starting to look like a boom or bust type player. When he is on, he is really on; when he is off, he is off. This is not really what you want to see out of your top draft pick, but he should start to become more consistent as the season progresses. Lynch gets to keep his position because of his four touchdowns. If he can continue to find the endzone, he will keep fantasy owners happy and there should be some happy Lynch owners this weekend against Indy.
3. LeSean McCoy (Phildephia Eagles)
Last week I said LeSean McCoy’s top overall runningback ranking was his to lose. Well, he lost it. It seems as if defenses are starting to wise up to the Chip Kelly magic. This does not bode well for Shady. McCoy still leads the league in yards, but it is concerning that he has not scored in the past two games. However, do not think he does not have a chance at reclaiming the top runningback spot. This weekend the Eagles fly to New York to take on the Giants who have been playing like toddlers recently. McCoy very well could post the best number of any runningback this weekend. As long as he scores in this outing, he will definitely be considered for the top spot next week.
2. Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)
Jamaal Charles is flourishing under Andy Reid. He has the most even stats of any runningback with 289 rushing yards to 213 receiving yards and four total touchdowns, two rushing and two receiving. He is still tied with Forte for most receptions, but this will not be the case forever. Eventually Charles will break away and lead all backs in that particular stat category. Jamaal Charles is a top three back barring some horrible slow down in his production. However, this weekend is a bit concerning. The Chiefs are playing the Titans which have been pretty stout against the run and the pass. Aside from this, Jamaal Charles is a bit banged up and is listed as questionable.
1. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)
One game was all it took for Adrian Peterson to take back his crown. The superstar back put up 140 rushing yards and two scores this weekend. Peterson has the second most rushing yards behind LeSean McCoy, and is tied with Jimmy Graham and Wes Welker for the most touchdowns. However, his chances of maintaining this position next week are slim. The Vikings have a bye and McCoy is going up against a very poor defense. However, if McCoy busts this weekend Peterson will stay here.
Honorable Mention: Reggie Bush (DET), DeMarco Murray (DAL), Arian Foster (HOU)
5. Wes Welker (Denver Broncos)
Last year Wes Welker ended the season with six touchdowns. A quarter of the way through the 2013 season he has already matched that number. The Broncos’ slot man is currently tied for the most touchdowns with Adrian Peterson and Jimmy Graham. We all knew he was going to be good, but nobody would have imagined that his name would be mentioned with last year’s rushing champ. His only knock is having only 266 receiving yards. A lot of people drafted him as a second wide receiver and those people are being greatly rewarded. This weekend Welker will have a huge game against the Cowboys and probably make up some of those yards he is missing.
4. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)
What is the deal here? Calvin Johnson is a stud, why is he moving down a spot? Fantasy owners are just not seeing the same type of production they saw last year out of Johnson. He currently is sitting at 312 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Those stats are not bad by any means, but there are a lot of players with better totals. Still, have faith in Johnson. He will prove to be a big time asset down the line. His unique combination of size and speed will be great for fantasy owners when defenses are banged up in the second half of the season. This weekend the Lions are playing Green Bay. Calvin Johnson owners will want to watch the weather on this. Green Bay has a poor passing defense which could mean big things for the Lions star receiver, but if it is too cold to throw the ball Johnson might once against play second fiddle to Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. It is also important to note Calvin is listed as questionable, but if he is on the field he is in your starting line-up.
3. Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons)
Last week Julio Jones was the top ranked wide receiver. This past weekend he lost a step as the constant double coverage proved too much to put up good numbers. Instead Matt Ryan turned to Tony Gonzalez to do the Falcons’ pass catching work. Jones is still the top receiver in both yards with 481 and receptions with 33. However, his two touchdowns are the lowest of any player on this list. The New York Jets could prove to be a tougher match up than most would expect. The Jets may not have the best offense, but they get it done on the defensive side of the ball and are currently ranked 8th against the pass.
2. Victor Cruz (New York Giants)
Maybe complaining a bit about not getting the wide receivers involved in the week three loss got him a few more touches in week four. No matter what happened Victor Cruz came out with a fire under him last weekend. Previously, he was not even mentioned as top receiver due to the Giants poor performances. If Eli keeps getting him the ball he will stay up on this list. There is no doubt about Cruz’s talent; only about the talent around him. If the Giants can pull it together this weekend, Victor Cruz will bring his fantasy owners a victory against the 31st ranked Philadelphia pass defense.
1. Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos)
Statically, Demaryius Thomas has not pulled away from the crowd. He get the top spot this week due to his potential going forward. Thomas is second in the league with 29 receptions and has 393 receiving yards and four scores. However, his numbers will keep getting better each week. More importantly, he has not had a bad game yet. He has been consistent. Consistency wins fantasy games. There is nothing better than knowing what to expect from your players before the games even happens. This weekend Thomas will have a huge game against the Dallas Cowboys. Do not be surprised if he has best performance of any wide receiver for week five.
Honorable Mention: Dez Bryant (DAL), A.J. Green (CIN), Antonio Brown (PIT)