Stevie J, Cutler lead Week 4 fantasy flops

BY foxsports • October 3, 2011

In last week’s video submissions for, I issued a strong advisory statement (think Jim Cantore battening down the hatches in anticipation of a storm) on Ryan Fitzpatrick. I pounded a desk (breaking a bone or two, I think) and claimed that Cincinnati would pull off the home upset while limiting Fitzpatrick in the passing game. I’m not “peacocking,” as Sunday’s included a number of missed calls. Fitzpatrick passed for 199 yards (20-of-34) with a sack and five rushing yards.

Top target Stevie Johnson yielded a smallish total of four receptions for 58 yards on six targets in Sunday’s road loss to the Bengals. Alas, Johnson’s three-game scoring streak fell to the wayside. He’s averaged six receptions and 78.5 receiving yards per game through four games.

It appeared to be a glorious opportunity for Jay Cutler in Chicago, and you probably did a mini-celebration if you saw the final score of Sunday’s tilt against the Panthers without perusing the scoring log. Cutler completed just nine passes for 102 yards and an interception (one sack) in Sunday’s win. He’s played well historically against the Lions (nine touchdowns against one interception), but this isn’t the team you grew up mocking.

Johnny Knox started Sunday’s game against Chicago and failed to make a dent in the box score. Knox caught three passes for 48 yards and was targeted only four times. He’s averaging three receptions and 59.3 yards per game.

Nobody expected Jahvid Best to dominate the Dallas defensive front, but the huge early deficit all but took the running game out of the picture. Best carried the ball 11 times for 47 yards and contributed little to the passing game in the massive comeback effort (two receptions for 23 yards). He averaged 98.8 total yards per game through the first quarter of the season.

Nate Burleson was a non-factor for the second straight week. Burleson started the season with 12 receptions for 153 yards in his first two games. He produced four receptions for 28 yards against the Vikings and Cowboys combined (two receptions for 16 yards in Week 4). Burleson was targeted four times.

The Cowboys were unable to rely on the ground game and opened the door for one of the more dramatic comebacks in recent memory. Felix Jones gained 57 rushing yards on 16 carries (3.6 yards per carry) while offering support in PPR leagues with five receptions for 19 yards. However, Jones’ smallish rushing effort cannot be understated, and his decision to step out of bounds in the final seconds left a nation confused.

Give the Texans credit. The defensive front bruised and battered Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, limiting him to 206 yards with one interception (another returned for a touchdown was wiped out because of a penalty) and five sacks. Roethlisberger appeared on crutches after the game, and the Steelers await word as to whether he sustained a broken foot in the loss.

Hines Ward was limited to one reception on four targets in Sunday’s loss to the Texans and was nearly broken in half while running a middle route. The veteran receiver has generated just 13 receptions for 136 yards through the first quarter of the season.

The Texans ran over the Pittsburgh front with Arian Foster. If you didn’t see the Texans-Steelers tilt, I’ll summarize the first drive. Houston opened the game with a 19-play, 83-yard drive that culminated with a touchdown pass from Matt Schaub to Owen Daniels. Schaub attempted eight passing attempts on that drive (five completions). He finished the game with 138 passing yards and that lone touchdown strike. Looking ahead, Houston fans and fantasy owners anxiously await further news about the health status of Andre Johnson.

Kevin Walter’s return to the field in Week 3 was a surprise for the Houston offense. As such, he popped onto the radar as a low-end injury replacement on Sunday against the Pittsburgh secondary. Walter finished the game with zero receptions and was targeted just once. He dropped the ball.

Peyton Hillis returned to the field after missing Week 3 because of strep throat and was bottled up by the Tennessee defense. The Madden hero was the focus of a breaking story about his illness and the protracted contract battle on Sunday morning. He went out and generated just 46 rushing yards on 10 carries and was silenced in the passing game (five receptions for 23 yards).

Nate Washington ascended to the top spot in Tennessee following Kenny Britt’s injury and drew a tough individual matchup against Joe Haden. Washington was targeted only four times in the Titans’ resounding win despite Haden’s departure because of an injury. Washington finished the game with two receptions for 62 yards.

It happened again. Tim Hightower entered Sunday’s matchup against the Rams with a tepid 3.5 yards per carry average. As a result, Mike Shanahan turned the page in the backfield, if only for a moment, and handed the ball to Ryan Torain. Torain logged 19 carries for 135 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run. He hadn’t touched the ball in the Redskins’ first three games.

The St. Louis offense was abysmal once again. The offensive line yielded seven sacks to the attacking Washington pass rush. The Rams netted 172 total yards. Sam Bradford did complete a touchdown pass to Steven Jackson, but this team was unable to rise up despite being given opportunity after opportunity to make a play down the stretch.

Jeremy Maclin posted respectable numbers with his seven receptions on 11 targets for 74 yards. Unfortunately, he lost a fumble in a critical situation and set another loss in motion. Maclin has averaged 8.3 receptions and 104.7 receiving yards in the Eagles’ past three games.

Give the Jaguars some credit. The Saints moved the ball up and down the field at will during Sunday’s matchup, but the Jaguars did not break following some early shortcomings. New Orleans amassed 503 net yards and forced multiple field goals from John Kasay and kept Drew Brees from rolling up monster numbers.

I’ll also “Dud” up Sean Payton for calling Jed Collins’ number at the one-yard line for the Saints’ first touchdown.

Jimmy Graham was the lone receiver to make an impression for New Orleans.

• Robert Meachem logged four receptions for 59 yards.

• Lance Moore posted five receptions for 50 yards.

• Marques Colston was limited to one reception for eight yards in his return to the field. Devery Henderson was not targeted a single time.

As expected, Kevin Kolb struggled against the New York pass rush and forced things downfield. Kolb completed 20-of-34 attempts for 237 yards with two turnovers while absorbing four sacks. He narrowly missed notching one touchdown pass when Larry Fitzgerald was marked out of bounds at the one-yard line (Beanie Wells punched it in on the ground). In his past two games, Kolb has averaged 244.5 passing yards with one touchdown and four turnovers with seven sacks. The team has yet to find a complement to Larry Fitzgerald in the passing game.

Mario Manningham returned to the field for New York in Sunday’s win over the Arizona, but played a minimal role alongside Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Manningham caught a single pass on five targets.

Alas, the Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski combination was shut down for a day. Gronkowski caught a single pass for 15 yards on five targets. Brady tried to give you another touchdown strike to the big man, but the Raiders defended Gronkowski well in the low post.

Chad Ochocinco caught two passes for 26 yards. This will be his last entry in these pieces.

The Packers put up a ridiculous number of points against the Broncos, and fantasy owners prematurely celebrated another big day from Jermichael Finley. Finley was targeted six times by Aaron Rodgers and finished the game with three receptions for 28 yards.

Brandon Marshall lost one in the San Diego sun that he won’t soon forget. There’s no excuse, as I believe that there’s usually a smiley sun in shades to represent Miami weather. Marshall had his chance to erase some of the demons associated with previous failures against the Chargers. He finished the game with five receptions for 52 yards on eight targets.

Reggie Bush logged a respectable 3.8 yards per carry (13 carries for 50 yards) in place of the injured Daniel Thomas. He failed to register much in the passing game with two receptions for 15 yards. Bush’s Week 1 output is a distant memory. Happy Bye week!

Following a strong Week 1 performance, Davone Bess has recorded three consecutive miserable outings. Bess achieved three receptions for 21 yards in Sunday’s loss to San Diego. He had some value entering the season in PPR leagues, but he’s fallen off to Bench and Waiver status quickly. Perhaps the Dolphins can find something to help the offense during the Bye week.

I’m not wasting my breath. You either watched the Sunday night game or you didn’t. If you didn’t, I’ll spare you the grizzly details and horrific accounts of the anemic offensive efforts (define “offensive” however you wish). Joe Flacco started well, but his night went to hell in a hurry (163 passing yards and two turnovers). Mark Sanchez completed one-third of his pass attempts for 113 yards with four turnovers, including a fumble and an interception returned for touchdowns.

I’ll give them credit. The defenses came to work with their lunch pails in tow.

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