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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 4

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Matt Ryan vs. SF

Ryan is off to a solid start this season, ranking 10th among quarterbacks
in standard scoring league and has an impressive 5-to-1
touchdown-to-interception ratio. Ryan should continue to have success
this week against a 49ers pass defense that has been downright
disappointing. The 49ers rank 29th in fantasy points allowed to
quarterbacks having already surrendered a league-high seven
touchdown passes. Look for Ryan to continue his solid start and
put up quality starter numbers in this matchup.

Chad Henne vs. NE

Heene did very little in his first two weeks of action but exploded on
Sunday night throwing for 363 yards and two touchdowns in a loss
against the Jets. Henne has his second straight favorable matchup
against a Patriots defense that ranks 27th in fantasy points allowed
to quarterbacks with more than 270 passing yards allowed per
game and a league-high seven touchdowns. The Patriots have been
much better against the run, giving up about 107 yards a game to
running backs, so the Dolphins might be in another game in which
to move the ball they are forced to throw. Look for Henne to have
some success in the air against a weak Patriots secondary.

Jeremy Maclin vs. WAS

Maclin is off to a blazing start having scored at least one touchdown
in every game this season, and the hot start figures to continue
this week. Maclin is matched up against a Redskins pass
defense ranked last in the NFL in points allowed to wide receivers
and last in the NFL in receptions allowed. Maclin might not get into
the endzone for a fourth straight week, but he could have season
highs in catches and yardage, which should be good enough to
make fantasy owners happy with his performance once again.

Louis Murphy vs. HOU

Murphy has become the top target in the Raiders passing game
having been targeted 16 times in the last two weeks and rewarding
his owners with 11 catches for more than 200 yards and a touchdown.
Murphy is ranks 21st in scoring among receivers in standard
scoring leagues, but this should rise dramatically this week against
a Texans secondary that has given up the most yards to receivers in
the NFL and that is tied with the Redskins for allowing the most
fantasy points to wide receivers. The Texans allow just over 57
rushing yards a game to running backs, so expect Bruce
Gradkowski to throw a lot and for Murphy to have another productive
fantasy week.

Jeff Reed vs. BAL

After a tough first week in which Reed missed two kicks, Reed has
made five kicks without a miss in his last two weeks and leads the
league with eight field goals made. Reed should get a lot of
chances on Sunday to improve on his league-leading total against a
Ravens defense that has surrendered a league-low two touchdowns
but a league-high nine made field goals. Points and yardage should
come at a premium in this contest, so Reed could be the leading
fantasy scorer for the Steelers on Sunday.


Joe Flacco vs. PIT

Flacco has been more miss than hit this season as he has committed
six turnovers in his first three games but is coming off a threetouchdown
performance in a victory over the Browns. This week
Flacco faces perhaps his toughest matchup in a Steelers defense
giving up the second fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and a
league-low one touchdown pass allowed. Flacco has struggled in
his toughest matchups this season, so the numbers suggest that
this will be another disappointing week for Flacco.

Ahmad Bradshaw vs. CHI

Bradshaw is clearly the top running back for the Giants having gotten
at least 15 carries in every game this season. Despite his fumble
problems, Bradshaw has been consistent as he hasn't rushed for
less than 76 yards in any game. This could change Sunday against
a Bears defense that allows only about 35 yards a game to running
backs on a little more than two yards per carry. The Bears defense
has been susceptible to the pass, and we expect Eli Manning to try
and pass the Giants to victory. This should be Bradshaw's least
productive game to date.

Steve Smith vs. NO

The original Steve Smith has struggled mightily this season with
only five targets last week and just 88 yards in his last two games.
Smith is not helped by the fact that rookie Jimmy Clausen will make
his second start this week against a Saints defense that ranks second
in the NFL in fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers.
The Saints have given up just 18 catches to wide receivers (fewest
in the NFL). Smith was frustrated with his role last week, and fantasy
owners will probably be frustrated with the lack of production
from Smith this week.

Marcedes Lewis vs. IND

While Lewis doesn't come to mind as a top fantasy tight end, he
ranks sixth among tight ends in standard scoring leagues. Lewis
would seem to be a good option this week against the Colts, as the
Jaguars will probably fall behind and need to pass. However, the
Colts have yet to allow a single fantasy point in standard scoring
leagues to a tight end all season. The Colts have allowed just seven
catches for 28 yards to the position in three games. While some of
the Jaguars passing options may be good plays this week, Lewis
doesn't figure to be one of them.

John Carlson vs. STL

Carlson has been solid the last two weeks, catching 10 passes for
109 yards and a touchdown while being targeted 19 times. Carlson
figures to be a low-end starter for most of the season but may not
be the best play this week against the Rams. The Rams have been
excellent in their pass defense against tight ends, surrendering just
3.3 points per game to the tight-end position (third best in the
league) -- partly because they have so much difficulty covering wide
receivers. Don't be surprised if Matt Hasselbeck takes more shots
down field this week and Carlson's production is a little off.