Week 4: Player Upgrades
Player Upgrades is intended for fantasy football diehards. Each week when setting a lineup, a closer analysis is necessary to find out which players are destined for a great performance. Sometimes it is a favorable matchup or it can be as simple as an increased role due to an injury. Very few players are matchup-proof in this game. For every Aaron Rodgers or Ray Rice, there are a dozen players who could potentially be interchangable depending upon a number of factors.
This weekly article isolates your best options for a statistical breakout from Week 1 to Week 17. Let FFToolbox do the homework for you! Instead of scouring the waiver wire and opening up 20 tabs to compare and contrast players, let Player Upgrades be your guide. Each week, we will identify seven players (typically two QBs, two RBs, two WRs and one TE) that you should consider starting and we'll break each player down with some analysis.
Even though most who have Philip Rivers on their roster are starting him, consider this a recommendation to keep starting him in spite of his atrocious Week 3 performance (173 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT). The San Diego Chargers play divisional foe Kansas City in Week 4 and the Chiefs have allowed eight passing TDs already. Granted, Rivers struggled last week, but he went up against the Atlanta Falcons and they are a Top 10 fantasy defense. San Diego fell behind and were forced into a lot of obvious passing situations. Owners have to trust the matchups. The Chiefs have allowed 99 points through three games, the fifth-highest total in the NFL. This should be a high-scoring affair, which will keep the former first round pick out of N.C. State pass-happy and statistically strong.
Matt Schaub is the perfect sort of player for Player Upgrades to recommend. He's owned universally, yet he's likely riding the bench in most leagues as a high-end QB2. There's nothing wrong with benching Schaub most weeks, but after a very strong Week 3 game, he faces a very weak Tennessee Titans' pass defense which has allowed fantasy quarterbacks to score an average of 27.5 fantasy points per week. In addition, they've only forced one interception and have given up the third-most passing yards in the NFL. Houston really opened up the playbook last week, allowing Schaub to throw the ball downfield on a few occasions. In case you need a last bit of statistical evidence, the Titans have allowed a shocking league-worst 76.3 completion percentage, nearly seven points higher than the second-worst team.
Even though the Packers love to let the passes rip every week, when facing the league's worst fantasy defense against running backs expect Green Bay to lean on Cedric Benson more than usual. The Saints have allowed 505 rushing yards and five rushing TDs to RBs after three games. Benson has been a fringe RB2 in most leagues, but that's also counting his non-performance (nine carries for 18 yards) in Week 1 against San Francisco. He'll be able to find far more running lanes against New Orleans. Benson is going to see around 20 touches, which is plenty in an offense that still has a lot to prove after a 1-2 start.
Ryan Williams continues to fly under the radar, but rushing for 83 yards on 13 carries should have him on your fantasy radar in Week 4. The Miami Dolphins have been average at best at containing opposing backs and teammate RB Beanie Wells is currently listed as questionable with a turf toe injury. For an offensive line that struggles to open up big holes, the former Virginia Tech runner has an uncanny ability to make the first man miss and find daylight. Should the Cardinals find the goal-line, Williams is also tough enough to handle those carries as well. With the many injuries the Cardinals are dealing with at the position, the second-year back has a great opportunity to see at least 20 touches and offer some upside to PPR owners. Williams is also featured in FFToolbox's Week 4 Start 'Em article, so be sure to check out some additional analysis in that piece.
In spite of his questionable status heading into Tennessee's Week 4 matchup against the Houston Texans, Kenny Britt has a great opportunity to put up big fantasy numbers. Since the Titans are struggling to run the ball, they've only rushed 45 times -- the lowest total in the NFL. This means that QB Jake Locker is throwing the ball a ton. Britt is the team's No. 1 receiver and if Houston gets out to an early lead (which is likely), it means Britt will see a ton of targets. He already has 13 in only two games played. The important thing to remember here is that Britt should remind you of a guy like Dwayne Bowe: deceptive speed, huge frame, reliable hands, and a freakish athletic ability. Rather than think of Britt as an underachiever, try to remember he's been battling injuries and has the explosive potential to eclipse 100-yards and score at least one touchdown.