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Week 4 First Impressions
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Tennessee's Chris Johnson was finally a factor rushing for 141 yards but his team lost by 24. Ditto for Ryan Fitzpatrick who threw for more yards than Tom Brady (350 vs. 340) and lost by the same margin. And Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill stunned Arizona's secondary for 431 yards and not only wasn't the league's leading passer, but didn't win the game.

Let's just say it was an unusual week in the NFL.

Carolina at Atlanta

Ironically, Michael Turner has played much better since his arrest two weeks ago. Over the last two games, Turner has rushed for 187 yards on 27 attempts. Prior to that Turner had just 74 yards on 28 carries. Sunday he came down with a 60-yard touchdown catch, which put Atlanta ahead 24-14.

This was a week Julio Jones will want to forget. He didn't make his first (and only) catch of the game until halfway through the fourth quarter. Since Week 1 when Jones exploded for 108 yards and two touchdowns, Jones has only 10 catches for 111 receiving yards.

With Jones and Tony Gonzalez struggling, the Falcons needed a monster effort out of Roddy White ... and they got it. White anchored Atlanta's attack with eight catches including a massive 59-yard grab with the game on the line late in the fourth period. His two touchdowns on Sunday give him 48 receiving scores for his career.

Cam Newton has been getting heat all week after his ugly outing versus the Giants (including a cartoon that featured him wearing a "Hello Kitty" outfit) but I don't think he'll have too many critics after this performance. Newton seemed to have excellent chemistry with his receivers on Sunday, completing 15- of-24 passes for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran for a season- high 86 yards on only nine carries.

Greg Olsen is quickly becoming Newton's favorite target. After essentially ignoring him in Weeks 1 and 2, Newton and Olsen have connected on 13 passes for 187 yards over the last two weeks. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, he's a matchup nightmare for smaller cornerbacks and safeties who are forced to cover him. Look for the Panthers to continue to expose teams with Olsen's size advantage as the season wears on.

New England at Buffalo

The Bills were ahead 21-7 with 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter. They lost by 24.

Sunday was a tale of two halves for Tom Brady. During the first two quarters, Brady struggled to find his rhythm, completing just 10-of-18 passes for 141 yards. After halftime, he looked like Geno Smith against Baylor, torching the Bills secondary for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Brady has quietly thrown for almost 1,000 yards passing over his last three games.

The New England rushing attack was spectacular on Sunday. They finished the afternoon with 247 yards on 40 attempts.

No-name rookie Brandon Bolden ripped through Buffalo's defense for his first- ever 100-yard game, racking up 137 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Where does Belichick keep finding these guys?

After going on hiatus in Week 3, Stevan Ridley bounced back Sunday with 106 yards and his third career rushing touchdown. Ridley is averaging 84.8 yards per game on the ground this season.

Even Brady ran for a touchdown on Sunday (no one said it was pretty). That's when you know the Patriots are having a good week.

"Wes Welker's done!" fantasy owners weeped after Welker began Week 2 on the bench. Well, so much for that theory. Welker led the Pats in receiving yards again in Week 4, this time hauling in nine catches for 129 yards.

Is there a more bipolar player in fantasy than Ryan Fitzpatrick? How about this stat line: four touchdowns and four interceptions for 350 passing yards. Fitzpatrick was also sacked three times and fumbled it once, though the Bills were able to recover it.

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller weren't much help in their returns from injury. The two combined for just 62 yards on 21 carries. Both players lost a fumble.

Minnesota at Detroit

Adrian Peterson looks fearless cutting side-to-side and he's getting tough yards after contact, which tells me his knee is close to 100 percent.

The Lions have been forced into dinking and dunking the ball this season. Defenses are playing soft coverages and not letting Matthew Stafford beat them with a big play.

Mikel Leshoure was hit in the backfield often Sunday. Minnesota's rush defense is top notch.

Detroit's special teams have allowed four return touchdowns in the last two games.

Tennessee at Houston

Chris Johnson owners, rejoice! Tennessee's offensive line finally opened some big holes for the back to run through so his tentativeness couldn't hurt him in Week 4.

Houston's defense was starting to look like it would be better in real life than in fantasy after scoring zero touchdowns in the first three weeks, but Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson each took a pick for six against Matt Hasselbeck.

The conservative Texans are killing Andre Johnson's fantasy value. They ran it 29 times with Arian Foster (24 carries) and Ben Tate (5 carries) and 14 of Matt Schaub's 20 completions went to a back or a tight end.

San Diego at Kansas City

Those who thought Chargers running back Ryan Mathews would return to workhorse status after knocking the rust off from missing the entire exhibition season, will be disappointed to know that Jackie Battle not only started the game against Kansas City, but played well scoring twice. Still, the long-term answer is Mathews, so fantasy owners shouldn't panic

The Chiefs secondary had no answers for the Chargers passing game in the first half. That shouldn't be a surprise from a team which has yielded 99 points heading into the game. Kansas City found a pass rush in the second half which helped their secondary clamp down on Chargers receivers.

Jamaal Charles had another good game rushing and receiving, but two fumbles killed his momentum. Peyton Hillis' fantasy value sinks with every Charles run.

San Francisco at New York Jets

The 49ers didn't need much of a passing game, so didn't take advantage of the absence of Darrelle Revis. They ran the ball well, rushing for 245 yards and three scores.

The Jets offense is still non-existent from a fantasy point of view. They have scored 85 points this season, but "ground and pound" has yet to produce a 100- yard rusher and they have just one 100-yard receiving game this season.

There is no Jets player worthy of a starting spot in any fantasy lineup.

Seattle at St. Louis

The Rams had no answer for Marshawn Lynch even with an extra defender in the box. He's rushed for over 100 yards in eight of his last 13 games.

Russell Wilson was exposed as a rookie quarterback starting his fourth NFL game (17-of-25 for 160 yards and three interceptions).

Danny Amendola (6-55-1) remains the only reliable Rams receiver.

Miami at Arizona

Jovorskie Lane has stolen a short touchdown for the second consecutive week. Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas owners can't be happy.

Tannehill played a nearly flawless first half, going 15-of-21 for 219 yards, after throwing for just 196 yards last week and 219 in the first game. He finished with more than 400 yards passing. It's just another example of the ups and downs of playing a rookie in the NFL.

Brian Hartline posted his first-ever 200-yard game and even scored for the first time this season. He'll be inconsistent because of his rookie quarterback.

Kevin Kolb was ugly in the first half, but three second-half touchdown passes made him a solid fantasy play.

Even without Beanie Wells to share time in the backfield, Ryan Williams couldn't produce fantasy-worthy numbers.

Oakland at Denver

Peyton Manning is doing pretty well for a guy who supposedly can't throw anymore. Manning's TD/INT line aside from Week 2 at Atlanta: 7 TDs, 0 INTs.

And how about Willis McGahee, a 30-year-old running back with bruised ribs, rushing for his second 100-yard game in four weeks.

That's the third game in four tries where Darren McFadden has been under 3.0 ypc. He had a 64-yard run in Week 3; on his other 56 carries this season he has just 137 yards (2.4 ypc).

Cincinnati at Jacksonville

A.J. Green is simply an elite receiver. He's caught a touchdown in three consecutive games and totaled 3xx yards in just the last two weeks.

Andy Dalton's pretty good too. Three consecutive weeks with three touchdowns and a total of 890 passing yards.

MJD was MIA this week with 13 carries worth just 38 yards.

New Orleans at Green Bay

The Packers sure didn't get any help from the officials on Sunday. There were a number of questionable calls in this game. I thought these guys were supposed to be better than the replacements. Come on, Goodell!

After an underwhelming first three weeks, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers returned to their 2011 form on Sunday. The two combined for 765 passing yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception.

Marques Colston blew up for a game-high 153 yards on nine catches. I guess his foot is finally starting to feel better.

It wasn't glamorous (his longest run was only nine yeards), but Sunday was probably Cedric Benson's best performance in a Packers' uniform. He ran for a season-high 84 yards on 18 carries. If Green Bay can get that kind of steady production out of him on a weekly basis, I think they'll be pretty happy with their running game.

Jimmy Graham was solid (seven catches for 76 yards) but he still hasn't had that breakout game yet in 2012. At this point, I think it's time to accept that Graham isn't going to put up the kind of stat line he had last year when he exploded for 99 catches and 1,310 receiving yards. That was a once in a lifetime season and it's time for us to move on.

Washington at Tampa Bay

Robert Griffin III should have scored twice in the first half, but fumbled at the goal line in the first quarter. RG3 looks more and more like Cam Newton except in burgundy and gold.

Not even Mike Shanahan can ruin what rookie Alfred Morris is doing for the Redskins. He's averaging 16 fantasy points-per-week and has become a must- start running back.

LeGarrette Blount was more involved in the running game this week, including a red zone touchdown, which doesn't bode well for Doug Martin owners.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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