Week 4: Pickups of the Week
Bradford may be a rookie, but he sure isn't getting the "kid gloves" treatment from St. Louis. Who would have though that, after three weeks, the first overall pick in last spring's draft would have more passing attempts than Drew Brees? Bradford was thrown into the fire on day one and looks to be embracing the challenge. He's getting better with every game and seems confident and in control running this young Rams offense. With Stephen Jackson's status for week 4 up in the air, the Rams will need Bradford to take another big step forward against the Seahawks. Earl Thomas' last minute heroics aside, Seattle's secondary was pitiful last week. True, Bradford is no Philip Rivers yet, but you've got to like his chances against a team that just got torched for 455 passing yards.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
As I write this, Michael Vick sits unowned in almost two out of every five of MyFantasyLeague.com leagues. That's just criminal when you take into account that Vick is the starting QB for a potent and aggressive offense, is coming off back-to-back wins, has already produced seven touchdowns, owns a 110.2 passer rating and faces a Washington team this week that ranks 31st against the pass. Maybe people are a little gun shy because they don't trust Andy Reid; or maybe owners are just happy with the QBs they have. Whatever the rationale, if you're a Tony Romo or Brett Favre owner playing in the nearly 40 per cent of leagues where Vick is still available, you've just been given a glorious fantasy gift in advance of your week 4 bye.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
Every time I find myself recommending a Patriots running back, a little part of me dies. That being said, if Fred Taylor misses time there aren't many options left in New England. Green-Ellis showed us a little something, nearly passing the century mark and hitting pay dirt for a score against the Bills. It was, of course, just the Bills. For now, you can add Green-Ellis in deep leagues and keep him at the top of your mind in shallower formats in case Taylor's injury proves more serious than it looks.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
We recommended him after week one, with the belief that anything he could do to Tampa Bay, he'd be able to do to Kansas City. Sure enough, Hillis scored against the Chiefs while outperforming Jerome Harrison despite getting half as many carries. Clearly, he was becoming a decent spot play or reserve option in fantasy leagues, but he still didn't appear to be a real difference maker and, against the daunting Baltimore Ravens D, we saw him as nothing more than a week 3 afterthought. There's a definite lesson to be learned here: when you've got a clear-cut starter at RB, you roll with him no matter the opponent. With Harrison out, Hillis bulldozed his way to an amazing 144 yards against one of the league's stingiest defenses. Harrison should be back to full health shortly, but he's likely out of luck -- there's a new top dog in Cleveland.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
I got ripped in this feature's comments section last week for omitting Demaryius Thomas. Let's delve into the numbers a bit, shall we?
Thomas: two catches for 43 yards and a fumble.
Jabar Gaffney: 12 catches for 140 yards.
Brandon Lloyd: 6 grabs, 169 yards and a touchdown.
Yes, Thomas has worlds of potential. Yes, he bears consideration in dynasty leagues, but right now there are just better options available in the Denver passing attack. One week, it's Eddie Royal; the next, it's Gaffney. Only Brandon Lloyd is getting steady targets and making big plays on a consistent basis. Fantasy owners are sometimes too quick to anoint high profile rookies over proven veterans, but most NFL coaches don't suffer the same affliction. Right or wrong, Josh McDaniel is rolling with the athletic Brandon Lloyd and Lloyd's taken advantage by developing a winning chemistry with QB Kyle Orton. Thomas will almost certainly be a star one day -- he just needs time to develop. Lloyd's time is right now.