Fantasy Football

Week 4 fantasy points allowed report

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John Halpin

John Halpin has been a fantasy contributor for since 2007. He has written and co-hosted webcasts about fantasy football for, and managed websites for the NHL, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Network. Listen to his "Fantasy 15 Podcast" on and follow him on Twitter.


Even after three weeks, our Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed tool can help you find good matchups. The numbers will make more sense as the season gets older, but we thought it was time to let these numbers give us some insight.

As always, please remember that the players listed are mostly meant to be borderline guys, who need reasons for you to play or bench them. You won’t see recommendations to start Calvin Johnson and Arian Foster, because you should always start Calvin Johnson and Arian Foster. Make sense? Good. Note: The fantasy points per game (FPPG) referenced below are from standard leagues.

Week 4 Byes: Colts, Steelers

Thursday game: Browns at Ravens


Stay away: Jay Cutler, Bears (at Cowboys)

The Cowboys have given up just 158 yards and 12.6 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, and though two of their three games have been against rookie Russell Wilson and the average Josh Freeman, they looked pretty good against Eli Manning. The Cowboys aren’t perfect, but their offseason upgrade at cornerback seems to have helped.


• Did you get all worked up about Jake Locker’s 378-yard performance against the Lions in Week 3? Well, that game was an unusually high-scoring affair, and this week Locker will face a stout Texans’ D that is allowing a 50 percent completion rate and just 11.8 FPPG (fifth in the league) against opposing quarterbacks. Don’t take a prime seat on Locker’s bandwagon yet.

Play, play, play: Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (vs. Redskins)

The depleted ‘Skins defense is allowing a sky-high 29.2 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, and has made Sam Bradford and Andy Dalton look like superstars over the last two weeks. Freeman has some decent offensive weapons around him, and should post strong numbers.


Joe Flacco has moved into regular QB1 territory, but against a Joe Haden-less Browns’ defense that is giving up 24.8 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, he’s a more solid start than usual.

Robert Griffin III is going to be in some shootouts this season thanks to his team’s terrible defense, and that’s good for fantasy owners. If you have any doubts about Griffin after his shaky passing day against the Bengals in Week 3, get rid of them and start him against the Bucs, who didn’t give up all of those 1,060 passing yards to Eli Manning in Week 2. You didn’t really need this note to tell you start RGIII, right?

Running Backs

Stay away: Steven Jackson, Rams (vs. Seahawks)

Jackson has been bothered by a groin injury, and head coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that his lead back could benefit from a week off. If Jackson plays in real life, you can certainly rest him for Sunday’s matchup with the ferocious Seahawks, who have allowed 39.7 rushing yards and 11.7 FPPG to opposing backs. Jackson isn’t a must-sit, but I’d be looking hard for better options if I owned him.


• Shonn Greene has looked terrible so far this season, with just 157 yards on 57 carries. You really want to start him against the 49ers, who are reprising last season’s league-best performance against opposing backs (8.9 FPPG)? I’m starting to think the Niners might never give up a rushing TD again.

Play, play, play: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals (at Jaguars)

Green-Ellis gets a friendly matchup against the 31st-ranked Jaguars’ defense (29.6 FPPG), which has had a tough time so far with the run-heavy Vikings and Texans. The Law Firm is a workhorse who has carried 56 times for 204 yards and two scores in the season’s first three weeks, and he should have a solid outing in Week 4.


Cedric Benson is a stereotypical tailback on a pass-first team, but that’s OK if you’re not expecting him to become Emmitt Smith. He’s carried 46 times for a 3.1 average so far, but this week’s opponent – the 0-3 Saints – have been getting trampled by opposing rushing attacks (34 FPPG vs. opposing RBs), and that’s not even counting the big runs against them by fleet signal callers Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton. Benson is generally a matchup fantasy play, and this is a terrific matchup.

Wide Receivers

Stay away: Brandon LaFell, Panthers (at Falcons)

LaFell has posted a solid 10-182-1 line so far, and has received 18 targets from Cam Newton. Unfortunately, the Falcons have permitted just 14.2 FPPG to opposing wideouts, and are eighth in the league in pass defense. They’ve played against Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning in their last two games, so it’s not like we can chalk the numbers up to inept opponents. Look for the Falcons’ ballhawking DBs to give LaFell a hard time this week.


• I’ve been waiting for your breakout, Kenny Britt, but I’m not betting on it this week in Houston. The Texans are fourth against opposing wideouts with 14.7 FPPG allowed, and have permitted a low 50.5 percent completion rate. Yes, they played against Ryan Tannehill and Blaine Gabbert in the first two weeks of the season, but Jake Locker is probably in the same class of QBs right now. Look for Britt’s 2012 coming-out party in Week 5 against the Vikings.

Play, play, play: Mike Williams, Buccaneers (vs. Redskins)

The Redskins’ pass defense isn’t good. Actually, with 40.1 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers, 10 touchdowns permitted through the air in three games, and a ridiculous 9.1 yards per attempt against, it’s a train wreck. Williams is worth a look as a flex play against this mess of a unit, and Vincent Jackson is close to WR1 territory.


• I’d like to see the Giants’ pass defense have one more good game before really believing in them. Sure, their defensive backs are getting back to full health, but they did get lit up like a Big Blue pinball machine against the Cowboys and Bucs. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both solid WR2s for Sunday night’s matchup.

• Let’s just agree that the first team to 35 will win the Redskins-Bucs matchup. With Pierre Garcon’s status still uncertain, Leonard Hankerson is an interesting deep-league possibility. Hankerson caught a TD pass in Week 2, and was targeted seven times by RGIII in Week 3, catching four passes for 56 yards. The word “sleeper” is tough to use considering the plethora of available fantasy analysis, but Hankerson quialifies if you want to take a risk.

Tight Ends

Stay away: Jermichael Finley, Packers (vs. Saints)

By the numbers, it seems that the only thing the Saints have done right this season is stop opposing tight ends, giving up seven receptions for 95 yards and a total of 3.2 FPPG. Finley has been targeted 11 times by Aaron Rodgers in the past two games, which isn’t bad, but isn’t great either. Finley appears to be a borderline TE1 for Week 4, and can be benched if you’ve picked up guys like Martellus Bennett, Dennis Pitta or Kyle Rudolph since draft day.

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Jared Cook can be a boom-or-bust guy. He caught four passes for 77 yards in Week 3, but 61 of those yards were on a catch-and-run touchdown. The aforementioned Texans haven’t given up much to three mediocre opposing tight ends so far, allowing 5.0 FPPG on nine receptions, 90 yards and a score. Cook always seems promising, but he probably fits in that mediocre category, too.

Play, play, play: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (at Lions)

Jared Cook did catch that touchdown against the Lions last week, and Vernon Davis caught a pair the week before that. Sure, two games can skew the numbers in a three-week-old season, but the Lions have given up 14.2 FPPG to tight ends so far, ranking them 31st in the league. Rudolph has averaged six targets per game so far, with 13 receptions and three touchdowns. Christian Ponder has been throwing a lot of short passes, and he can’t throw every one to Percy Harvin, right?


• Sleeper alert! The Ravens have given up a subpar 16 catches and 243 yards (8.1 FPPG) to opposing tight ends, and that counts their Week 3 shutdown of Rob Gronkowski (two receptions, 21 yards). On Thursday, the Ravens host the Browns, who finally got athletic second-year TE Jordan Cameron involved in the offense against the Bills. Cameron was targeted seven times in Week 3, catching five passes for 45 yards. He’s a former college basketball player who pretty much wants to be Tony Gonzalez when he grows up, and last week was a good start.

Tagged: Falcons, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Titans, Rams, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Eagles, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Texans, Peyton Manning, Steven Jackson, Eli Manning, Vincent Jackson, Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Jermichael Finley, Jared Cook, Josh Freeman, Arian Foster, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon LaFell, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Kyle Rudolph, Leonard Hankerson, Robert Griffin III, Robert Griffin

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