Week 4 Sleepers: Paging Sam Bradford
The rookie quarterback led the Rams to just their second win in the team's last 29 games on Sunday, easily dispatching what looks like a good Redskins team by the score of 30-16. In that win, he completed 62 percent of his passes for 235 yards, one TD and one interception.
Through three games, Bradford is now averaging more yards per game than both Ryan and Flacco in their rookie seasons. Pretty good, right?
Bradford's prospects should get better and better as he gets more comfortable with the offense, and the string of bad defenses he'll see playing in the NFC West should help boost his numbers. He'll get one of those poor defenses in Week 4, when the Seahawks come to town.
Seattle has surrendered over 300 passing yards per game in their first three contests. With Steven Jackson at less than 100 percent thanks to a groin injury, Bradford has the potential to have his first big fantasy performance this week. I like him for about 280 yards and two TDs -- with possibly half of that going to emerging fantasy force Mark Clayton -- good enough to make Bradford a borderline starting quarterback for those dealing with bye weeks or injuries.
Bruce Gradkowski, QB, OAK
If you can't get your hands on Bradford, may I suggest another guy that can be found on most FA lists? Gradkowski had a solid 255-yard day in Arizona in what should have been an Oakland win. He's likely to get another start in Week 4, and that'll come against the easiest team to pass on in the league. Houston has allowed over 1,100 yards and six TDs in three games with no interceptions. Matchup play? You bet.
Ryan Torain, RB, WAS
Clinton Portis' time as a lead back looks like it's coming to an end, and though we thought Keiland Williams would be the big beneficiary, Ryan Torain went from the practice squad to the No. 2 role immediately on Sunday, rushing for 46 yards on seven carries to lead the team in rushing. He faces a tough Philadelphia squad in Week 4, but the Eagles are giving up over 120 yards per game on the ground this season. Torain deserves consideration as a flex play.
John Kuhn, RB, GB
Is it just me, or does Kuhn look like a much better runner than Brandon Jackson? He ran with force on Monday night, and the Packers seemed to rely on him later in the game. Jackson played poorly for the second straight week, and his disappointing job as the lead back has made the Green Bay running game a platoon at worst. Kuhn has a great matchup against the Lions in Week 4, and I'd definitely use him as a bye-week fill in.
Rashad Jennings, RB, JAC
Deep league owners looking for a lottery ticket pick on Sunday may want to think about grabbing Jennings. He's impressed so far, averaging over five yards per carry on 16 attempts and racking up 68 yards on six catches. Indianapolis could potentially have an insurmountable lead at halftime, and that could lead to Jennings racking up fantasy points in the second half against a soft defense.
Brian Hartline, WR, MIA
Much attention was paid to Brandon Marshall's arrival in South Beach, but his presence has also opened up other members of the passing game. Davone Bess has more catches and yards than Hartline (and likely garners more fantasy attention), but Hartline looks like a solid red-zone weapon, and he's scored one TD already this year. Both secondary receivers are usable against a poor New England secondary.
Deion Branch, WR, SEA
No. 1 receiver Mike Williams is shaken up heading into Week 4, and that should result in more playing time for Deon Butler and Golden Tate, as well as more looks for Branch, who scored a TD in the season opener and led Seattle receivers with five catches for 60 yards in Week 3. On Sunday, he'll be facing St. Louis, a team that's allowed big fantasy lines to Santana Moss, Louis Murphy and Steve Breaston.
Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
A week after picking up five receptions against a tough Pittsburgh defense, Kenny Britt hauled in two difficult receptions in tight coverage against the Giants, with one in the end zone. You definitely don't want to start a team's No. 1 receiver against Britt's Week 4 opponent Denver, but Britt isn't the Titans No. 1 receiver right now. The Broncos should shut down Nate Washington, leaving Britt to pick up another TD on Sunday.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN
The Bengals should have no problem scoring on Cleveland on Sunday, and Gresham figures to be a big part of the action. He led Cincinnati in receiving in Week 3, picking up 59 yards on four receptions in an easy Bengals win. If Cincinnati's Week 4 game goes as expected, it should mirror the Week 3 game -- lots of running the ball and short passing. That favors Gresham as a sleeper.
Cincinnati Bengals, TM, CIN
And if the Bengals game goes as expected, the defense should have about as much trouble with Cleveland as they had with Carolina last week. In that one, they forced four turnovers and held the Panthers offense to 267 net yards. As a result, the Bengals are your matchup defense of the week. Use them in Week 4, and consider hanging on to them when Tampa Bay comes to town in Week 5.