Week 4 NFL Fantasy Scouting Report (cont.)
1. RB Tashard Choice, Bills -- The questionable health of Fred Jackson (knee) and C.J. Spiller (shoulder) make Choice a decent pick-up, but the likelihood is his run will be a brief one, if it's a run at all. Both Jackson and Spiller might play, which would relegate Choice to being merely bench insurance.
2. D/ST Arizona Cardinals -- They have been one of the biggest surprises of the season and they get to tee off against Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins with a banged-up Reggie Bush. This is a great week to start a defense that is playing great and was off the radar on draft day.
3. RB Daniel Thomas, Dolphins -- Like Choice, Thomas might not quite get the touches his owners hoped. Bush might play, and rookie Lamar Miller is a factor. The good news is Thomas is a goal-line back regardless. The bad news is the Cardinals D/ST is a tough matchup that might not render a goal-line score.
4. RB Bilal Powell, Jets -- Shonn Greene is off to an awful start, which is more a function of the opposing defenses he has faced than his own incompetence. Powell is gaining steam as the backup, but don't dare start him against the 49ers run defense, which is still the toughest in the NFL going forward. Adding to the Powell rise is the fact the other backup RB for the Jets, Joe McKnight, is making a move to cornerback to help overcome the loss of Darrelle Revis.
5. TE Heath Miller, Steelers -- His three-week touchdown streak makes him an intriguing sleeper, but this bye week isn't a time to go pick him up. Backup tight ends in fantasy are dime a dozen. Frankly, it's a waste of a useful roster spot.
6. WR Andrew Hawkins, Bengals -- One is an accident; two is a trend; three makes a man. Hawkins might not be a breakout on the level of Victor Cruz 2011, but he sure looks like it through three weeks. Consider him a viable starter, for now, particularly with A.J. Green drawing so much coverage over the top.
7. QB Christian Ponder, Vikings -- Not only has Ponder held up against some solid opponents, namely the 49ers in Week 3, but he is also getting the suspended Simpson back this week. With Adrian Peterson drawing eight-man boxes, Percy Harvin drawing the targets and tight end Kyle Rudolph keeping safeties honest, Simpson can be an impact field stretcher. Ponder has some weapons to help him be productive in the right matchups.
8. WR Ramses Barden, Giants -- The surprise knee swelling of Hakeem Nicks can keep Barden a candidate to play in deeper leagues. Eventually, Nicks is going to relegate Barden to an afterthought, though.
9. D/ST Atlanta Falcons -- They were very impressive against the Chargers, but it should be a bit tougher in a division game against Cam Newton and company. The Falcons are a fringe defense best used when the matchup is right. Week 4 shouldn't qualify.
10. K Lawrence Tynes, Giants -- The Giants are a productive offense moving the ball for him, but Eli Manning and company are a bit too productive (ie, scoring touchdowns instead of field goals).
1. RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals -- That DFR (designated for return) IR was surprising and is helping Ryan Williams owners do back flips. It is going to be at least Week 12 before Wells can return. By then, about half of your fantasy league won't be competing for free-agent pickups. That is reason enough to drop Wells in any league. Williams can run away with the job, too. LaRod Stephens-Howling is a handcuff waiver claim now, too.
2. RB Roy Helu, Redskins -- Well, either Helu was more injured than anyone let on, or the Redskins were really sour on him and it wasn't just a Mike Shanahan smoke-screen. Helu's keep value is down to nil as well now, too.
3. RB David Wilson, Giants -- You don't draft a talent like this in Round 1, get a Week 1 fumble and forget about him. He will eventually work his way ahead of Week 3 surprise Brown -- and maybe even starter Ahmad Bradshaw -- but owners will have to show some patience. The payoff should be worth it in the end.
4. WR Stephen Hill, Jets -- The rookie has been quiet since Week 1 and is banged up right now. He is a justified cut, but he will also make an impact in fantasy when the Jets schedule finally softens up.
5. RB Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers -- With Rashard Mendenhall (knee) expected to return to the starting role in Week 5, Dwyer and Isaac Redman have likely blown their big chance at being impact fantasy performers.
6. D/ST Detroit Lions -- That was a big, fat egg they laid at Tennessee last week, so it is not surprising to see this defense on the most-dropped list. They are going to eventually wind back up on the most-added list, though. A good, streaming defense.
7. RB Kevin Smith, Lions -- The arrival of Mikel Leshoure has relegated Smith into a nobody. A potential second-half return of Jahvid Best (post-concussion syndrome) can make it worse. Smith is not worth owning.
8. TE Coby Fleener, Colts -- His Week 3 shutout made him an easy cut going into his bye week. Future bye weeks is going to make him a solid addition down the road. Those targets are going to come back in a pass-happy Andrew Luck-led offense.
9. D/ST Pittsburgh Steelers -- There is no good reason this defense should have been cut. They are going to be a must-start defense after the Week 4 bye. Pick them up immediately.
10. WR Austin Collie, Colts -- Well, a concussion didn't end his season, but a knee injury has. Consider Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton very intriguing sleepers during the bye season. Even LaVon Brazill might emerge, so watch that in Week 5.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his Scouting Report on Friday and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).
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