Best/Worst Week 4 matchups
Why Colin Kaepernick, Jason Witten and others are strong starts
For the first time in NFL history, the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers are all 0-3 to start the season. This has caused many fans to abandon all hope for 2013, but what about the fantasy assets these teams had?
Giants quarterback Eli Manning leads the league with eight interceptions and was sacked six times on his first 10 drop-backs against the Panthers in a 38-0 defeat. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks caught zero passes.
During the sack-fest, did you notice running back David Wilson's 17-yard touchdown run that was wiped out by a penalty? That skill is the reason Wilson was a high draft pick and fantasy hopeful this season, but things have not worked out, as he still has more fumbles (two) than scores (zero). The Giants are dead last in rushing with 133 yards -- the fifth-worst start by an offense since 1950. It does not look likely that Wilson will produce much this season. Trade him if you can.
Washington's offense was efficient last season, but so far it's only been able to put up volume -- more about yards than touchdowns, as Alfred Morris owners can attest -- and that often comes from a big deficit. Robert Griffin III has thrown for 329, 320 and 326 yards, respectively, this season. Last week was just the third time he did not throw or rush for a touchdown.
Pierre Garcon is benefiting from the increase in pass attempts, but he continues to tell the media that Griffin is not fully healthy this year. Any day now, expect Griffin's passing yards to fall and his rushing yards to go up a little.
Pittsburgh's offensive struggles are well-documented this season, but you should grab running back Le'Veon Bell from the waiver wire, as he is expected to make his regular-season debut in London. The Steelers are dying for a running back to whom they can give the ball and not fear there will be a fumble. Tight end Heath Miller also could be a worthwhile addition as a backup tight end and perhaps a starter as he gets his groove back. After one game, he's averaging as many fantasy points per game as Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham.
What about the defense? The Steelers are the sixth team in NFL history to have zero takeaways through the first three games. As one of the popular fantasy defenses, that lack of big plays -- keep in mind the Steelers have only three sacks (tied with the Giants for the fewest) -- means a lack of fantasy points. Of the previous five defenses to have no takeaways in three games, they finished the season with an average of 21.8 takeaways. You may want to hang on this week for the Minnesota matchup (Christian Ponder has seven giveaways), but with a Week 5 bye, it'll be time to find your next defense.
Week 4 begins the bye weeks, with Green Bay and Carolina off. With that in mind, here are the best and worst fantasy matchups for Week 4.
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FANTASY FOOTBALL: WEEK 4
With two top quarterbacks on bye, Philip Rivers ranks among the more capable available fill-in options. Week 4 Rankings