I don't know if Week 4 will go down quite as memorably as Week 3 did (and who remembers specific weeks of a season?) but we do know this: REAL REFS! And they made some mistakes, what a surprise. But the overall feeling was that this group was confident and knew the rules, even if they blew a few calls.
Let's all just be grateful that the Seahawks got that win and that will be the last memory of REPLACEMENTS 2012!
There were some big performances in Week 4, some injuries, and just some really bad performances. They weren't even all done by the Raiders! Here is a break down of the biggest impacts, whether good or bad:
If you watched Hard Knocks, you saw a lot of no-name wide receivers trying to make the team so that they could be professional no-name receivers. I don't remember seeing Hartline or Davone Bess get a single line though and that sucks because I'd like to get to know a guy that has 253 yards in a single game against the Cardinals on a more personal level. Hartline had 12 catches on 19 targets and now has 455 yards on the year. I admit that I fully expected 455 to be a total that someone on the Dolphins would lead them with for the entire year and Hartline is almost halfway to a thousand.
Bess had 123 yards and sits at 297 himself.
The Dolphins offense isn't all that bad, it turns out, and they draw the Bengals and Rams before a bye week. You have to ride the hot hand with Hartline, but don't get too sad if he doesn't top 200 again right away. He could be a solid WR2 or Flex this year and maybe more.
Jennings saved fantasy owners by making his only catch, for nine yards, a touchdown. He left with a groin injury and that's going to have to be monitored closely. So... monitor Jennings groin... closely.
Jordy Nelson had 93 yards and a touchdown in his absence.
While White had a huge game on twelve targets, with eight catches for 169 yards and two scores, Jones finished with only one 30 yard catch on eight targets. The Falcons said that Jones was hampered by the hand injury that kept him on the injury report this week, but either way owners were left in want. The injury will have to be monitored this week, but the veteran White gains a big lead on the sophomore that many expected to surpass him this season. That's not happened so far. White has been his classic self with 413 yards through four games. The Atlanta offense faces the questionable Redskins defense in Week 5, making White a great WR1 play.
Now somebody give Julio a hand.
Brandon LaFell against the Falcons (REMEMBER BRANDON LAFELL?)
The 2012 preseason sleeper had zero catches on three targets, giving him one catch and 27 yards in his last two games. He's bordering on a return trip to the waiver wire.
The top tight end in the league had been relatively quiet (relative to his record-breaking 2011 season) but had a season-high 104 yards and a touchdown on five catches in Week 4. He was always a longshot to repeat his 1,300 yard season but he's still an elite option in fantasy.
So is Wes Welker, who added nine more catches and 129 yards, giving him 380 on the year. They face Denver in Week 5, a team that has been suspect against the pass when facing anyone but the Raiders.
It's got to be disappointing when your quarterback throws four touchdown passes, but his top receiver catches only two of ten targets for 23 yards and is kept out of the end zone. Johnson has stayed alive in fantasy this year by catching a touchdown in each of the first three games, but he has yet to top 61 yards in a game. Stevie is a flex play until further notice. Unless your league is really deep. Like... someone is starting Mark Sanchez deep.
The same week that teammate Chad Greenway called him "the best player in the NFL," Harvin promptly responded with 22 yards receiving and 12 yards rushing against a usually suspect Lions defense. Things weren't really good for any Vikings receiver with Christian Ponder throwing for only 111 years, and sleeper tight end Kyle Rudolph finished with eight yards. Maybe they can get it going against the Titans next week.
Calvin Johnson against the Vikings (MEGA-AWWW)
The actual best player in the NFL (or at least wide receiver/skill player) Johnson was held in check for five catches and 54 yards on 12 targets. Johnson had come into the game with 1,140 yards over his last seven but Minnesota managed to contain him and the rest of the Lions offense. Will other teams take notice? When has that ever mattered?
Still, Johnson owners have to account for a BYE this week. BYE is the only team that's ever consistently shut Johnson down.
The Chargers thought that Meachem was a good replacement for Vincent Jackson and so they paid him. However, he had never really done anything to prove he was a good replacement for Vincent Jackson and so I stayed away from him. He was held catchless for the second time in four games and has 92 yards on the season. Fellow disappointment Antonio Gates led the team with 59 yards, giving him 124 yards in three games and no touchdowns. They do get the terrible Saints next week.
In the same week that they lost Darrelle Revis for the season, the Jets may be losing their top receiver for awhile after Holmes hurt his foot on a non-contact injury. X-rays were negative but an MRI is forthcoming. I've seen a few bad-looking injuries lately that turn out not to be serious but the Jets shouldn't worry because they have that other guy on offense. You know.. that other guy? (This is a joke about how the Jets offense sucks.)
Demaryius Thomas against the Raiders (AGAINST THE RAIDERS)
Thomas had his second 100-yard game of the season, catching five of six targets for 103 yards. That gives him 325 yards on the year and well on-pace to go over 1,000 and a solid WR2. Another solid WR2 is the Broncos #2 WR, Eric Decker, who had 79 yards and a touchdown. They're both on pace for quad-digit yardage seasons and I know because I can times by four.
Andre Roberts against the Dolphins (WILL ANYONE EVER NOTICE ME?)
Roberts, a third round pick in 2010, has flown under the radar for the Cardinals but started all 16 games last year and has not even come close to losing his job to Michael Floyd. Especially not now, after catching six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins. He's worked his way towards deserving a bench spot and monitoring for further progress. He'd be a good fill-in for a BYE week or injury, the Cards draw the Rams, Bills, and Vikings next.
Floyd had 35 yards.
Because A.J. Green is like a pair of awesome jorts? Yeah, I'll go with that. Jorts had 117 more yards on Sunday, giving him 428 on the year. There aren't five better receivers in the NFL. He caught 65 passes last year and he's already got 27 in 2012.
Justin Blackmon against the Bengals (SOMETHING)
Because after 31 yards through three games, 48 yards in a single game is definitely, "SOMETHING."
Laurent Robinson, another disappointment, had 19 yards and that's definitely, "NOTHING." (Not technically, nothing.)
Two receivers I really like in fantasy are Colston and Dwayne Bowe. They don't always wow you but they're consistent. Colston had nine catches for 153 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets and that's pretty "wow." Lance Moore had more targets (15) but only seven catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns. Jimmy Graham was held to "only" 76 yards.
And he caught his only target, gaining 20 yards. He has missed a lot of time with a foot injury and this was early to expect him to just go off. He'd be a good buy-low if you can get him because he's far and away the best receiver that Robert Griffin III has.
Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson against the Redskins (ON AGAIN)
Williams and Jackson had some really nice plays against the Giants in Week 2 but sometimes this relationship is off again. It was on for Week 4, with Williams gaining 115 yards and Jackson chipping in for 100 and a touchdown. I think that Jackson is clearly the better of the two, but I think that his presence really helps Williams a lot. Jackson is a WR1 for me but Williams works his way into a WR3 or Flex on a nice matchup.
BYE in Week 5 is not a nice matchup.
Jeremy Maclin against the Giants (WHERE IS JEREMY MACLIN?)
That must be the question that Michael Vick is asking because he targeted Maclin three times and that ended in a single seven-yard catch. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson finished with six catches for 99 yards and a score. Right now, Jackson is the only play. Overall, I've always preferred Maclin, but whether it's because he's healthy or out of rhythm, it's not working right now.
Last week it was Ramses Barden so of course you played Domenik Hixon, right? The fill-ins for Hakeem Nicks are not going to be consistent (though I've always like Hixon and would consider starting him if he's starting again) so you have to realize that its Cruz (109 yards and a touchdown) and only Cruz that you can rely on. But Hixon shows something with 114 yards on six catches. Barden was targeted only four times.
Last week I said "Barden the Interruption", so that was fun for a minute.