Tacklin' Fantasy: Week 4 outlook

Tacklin' Fantasy: Week 4 outlook
September 25, 2013, 3:00 pm
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Start Frank Gore and Denarius Moore in Week 4. (AP)


Rob Gronkowski is averaging 6.9 receptions and 98.6 yards per game over his career -- he could be back to boost the Pats O in week 4. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Editor's note: Welcome to our weekly installment of "Tacklin' Fantasy," our recap of the news and trends you need to keep top of mind for fantasy dominance

49er to start: Frank Gore, RB
In Week 3, the St. Louis Rams gave up 175 rushing yards to the previous 3.46 yards-per-carry Demarco Murray. In the first quarter of Sunday's loss, Gore rushed the ball six times for 67 yards. He only carried the ball five times for 15 yards in the last three quarters of the game. With so many receiver and tight end issues, expect the 49ers to give the ball to Gore early, and more importantly often against the Rams.

[RELATED: Gore frustrated with losses, not role in 49ers offense]

Raider to start: Terrelle Pryor, QB
Not remembering much, including who hit you, is never a good sign, but if Terrelle Pryor can go (concussion), he should have a great game against the NFL’s 31st ranked defense in the Washington Redskins. The Redskins haven’t had a game this year in which the opposing quarterback hasn’t thrown for two passing touchdowns. Pryor will try to carry the positive momentum from the Week 3 loss into the Week 4 matchup. On the year, Pryor is 53-82 passing for 624 yards and four touchdowns, while running for 198 yards on 26 carries.

Raider to start: Denarius Moore, WR
The Oakland Raiders wide receiver had one of the best games of his young career, catching six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. He will try to carry the positive momentum from the Week 3 loss into the Week 4 matchup against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, and their 31st ranked defense, do not play wide receivers well. The Redskins rank last against No. 1 wide receivers and 27th against No. 2 wide receivers. Through three games Washington has given up 100 or more receiving yards to DeSean Jackson (Eagles), Randall Cobb (Packers), Calvin Johnson (Lions), and Nate Burleson (Lions) in addition to allowing Jordy Nelson to catch two touchdowns.

49er to sit: Vernon Davis, TE
Vernon Davis missed the Week 3 game with an injured hamstring, if he is able to play on Thursday night, the matchup against the Rams is far from ideal. Opposing tight ends are averaging 38.6 receiving yards with just 3.3 receptions a game against the Rams this year. Last year, in two games versus St. Louis, Davis had six receptions for 45 yards.

Raider to sit: Darren McFadden, RB
In the Monday night loss at Denver, Darren McFadden had nearly twice as many passing yards, (16) as rushing yards (nine). The Raiders’ run game is based off the zone-read option, and if Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor cannot play, running lanes should be harder to come by for McFadden.

[RELATED: QB uncertainty complicates Raiders Week 4 strategy]

NFL Trend: Saved by the (Le’Veon) Bell?
Coming off of a foot sprain, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will make his much anticipated debut this weekend against the Vikings. Pittsburgh desperately needs balance in their offense as they are currently ranked next to last in rushing yards per game at 51.7. In his place,  Felix Jones started, but rather ineffectively -- 71 yards on 17 carries. Now that Bell is healthy, he should receive the bulk of the carries. And If there was ever a team to make a debut against, it’s the Vikings. In three games, Minnesota has given up 84 rushing yards and 91.6 receiving yards per game to running backs.

NFL Trend: Patriots Return
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is averaging career lows in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and yards per game. Currently, Julian Edelman and undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins are Brady’s leading receivers. That should change this week as TE Rob Gronkowski is expected to return from an offseason of back and forearm surgeries. Over his career, Gronk is averaging 6.9 receptions and 98.6 yards per game. Slot receiver Danny Amendola (torn groin) , who had 10 receptions and 104 receiving yards in Week 1, is also slated to return after missing the previous two games.

Buy low candidate: David Wilson, RB, Giants
Chances are, if you have the Giants running back on your team, you’re beyond upset. Wilson's stat line through three games includes 25 rushes for 75 yards --  far from elite. Yes, the Giants are 0-3, but what they are currently doing (passing 39 times a game) has not been effective. Wilson is still seeing the most snaps at running back -- the Giants' alternatives are Da’rel Scott and (former 49er) Brandon Jacobs. The Giants play the Chiefs in Week 4, and Kansas City is giving up a league-worst 5.6 yards per carry.

Sell High: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Over the past two seasons, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown 35 interceptions and fumbled 24 times. Compare that with his eight touchdowns to one interception and no fumbles this year. Perhaps more importantly, Rivers has been sacked a mere five times (he was sacked 49 times last year). Rivers will likely not sustain this pace with the loss of his starting wide receivers:  Malcom Floyd to a neck injury and Danario Alexander a torn ACL. Pair that with the Chargers’ lackluster running game (3.9 yards per carry), and this might be the time to sell Rivers. The Chargers play the Cowboys and Raiders in the next two weeks, both of whom have a shot at exploiting the Chargers’ weak offensive line, transforming Rivers into his old turnover self. 

Star to sit: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
With his league-leading 27 receptions this year, Julio Jones and the Falcons play against the New England Patriots on Sunday night. Ranking sixth this year against the pass, the Patriots, and specifically cornerback Aqib Talib, have been dominant, forcing three interceptions while allowing just two touchdowns. Talib will mimic Jones throughout the entire game Sunday. The Patriots are giving up an average of 6.2 targets and 45.1 yards to opposing No. 1 wide receivers --  the best in the NFL.

No name player to start: Ryan Broyles, WR, Detroit Lions
Early Tuesday morning Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson was involved in a car crash, breaking his arm. With Burleson out as the number two wide receiver, Ryan Broyles will step in to the league's most pass-happy offense. Coming off ACL surgery in 2012, Broyles played in his first game in Week 3, catching three balls for 34 yards. Broyles could have a big game playing the slot with Calvin Johnson on the outside. The Lions play the Bears Week 4, who are giving up 294.3 passing yards per game, including 196 yards allowed up to WR Antonio Brown  in Week 3. 

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