Week 4: Sleepers of the Week
If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match-up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week. Most of the players that will be listed are on fantasy rosters, but not normally starters.
Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars in week four. Dalton is coming off a good game in Washington in which he threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception against the Redskins. Dalton has now thrown for 645 yards and six touchdowns over the past two games after turning in a bad performance in week one. The second year quarterback has another solid matchup this week against a Jacksonville Jaguars secondary that allowed more than 300 passing yards and two touchdowns to Andrew Luck and the Colts in week three. Fantasy owners can start the former TCU quarterback this week and can expect at least 200 passing yards and one touchdown.
Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals take on the Miami Dolphins in week four. Kolb is coming off an excellent game against his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in which he completed 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive win. The sixth year quarterback out of Houston has likely locked up the Cardinals starting job for the near future with his performances over the last two games, and should be able to have another good game this week against the Dolphins. Kolb was finally able to get Larry Fitzgerald involved in the offense last week, and the superstar wide receiver will have another stellar game against a Dolphins secondary that does not have the quality players to handle his skills. The Dolphins have been stellar in stopping the run so far this season, making it likely that the Arizona offense will need to throw the ball to score points this week. Kolb is owned in only about 18 percent of fantasy leagues, but if you are looking for a sneaky play at quarterback this week, Kolb is a good addition. Fantasy owners can start Kevin Kolb this week and can expect at least 225 passing yards and a touchdown.
Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings travel to Detroit to take on the Lions in week four. Ponder is coming off a great game against the San Francisco 49ers in which he threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding 33 rushing yards and another touchdown on the ground. The second year quarterback is averaging just under 240 passing yards per game on the season, and has totalled five touchdowns in the past two games. Ponder should continue to excel this week against a Detroit Lions secondary that allowed Jake Locker to throw for 378 yards and two touchdowns in a week three shootout. Ponder has developed excellent chemistry with Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph, and should only continue to grow as the season progresses. Ponder is owned in only 38 percent of fantasy leagues, but that number will jump this week following back to back impressive games. Fantasy owners can start the young quarterback this week and can expect at least 225 yards and a touchdown.
Andre Brown and the New York Giants travel to Philadelphia for a tough division matchup with the Eagles in week four. Brown got the start for an injured Ahmad Bradshaw in week three, and delivered a great performance, rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding three receptions for 17 yards. Browns' big game will lead to more playing time, even once Bradshaw returns from his injury. Bradshaw has been medically cleared to practice this week, making it likely that he will return this Sunday night, but his role in the offense is still to be determined. At least for this week, the Giants may look to work him back into the offense slowly, and ride the hot hand of Brown. Fantasy owners who have to decide between the two should lean toward starting Brown, despite the presence of Bradshaw. Fantasy owners can start Andre Brown this week and can expect at least 75 total yards and a touchdown.
Mikel Leshoure and the Detroit Lions return home to face the Minnesota Vikings in week four. I advocated starting the young running back in his first NFL game last week in this column, and he came through with 100 rushing yards and a touchdown, while also catching four passes for 34 yards in a loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Lions trusted Leshoure to handle the ball 30 times in his first game, and he should continue to dominate touches out of the Lions backfield for as long as he can stay healthy. If the Lions are going to give the former Illinois running back close to 20 touches per game, he will make for a good start in all fantasy leagues. Fantasy owners can start Mikel Leshoure as a RB 2 of Flex play this week and can expect at least 85 total yards and a touchdown against the Vikings.