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NFC South Player Analysis
Matt Wilson, FantasySharks.com, Staff Writer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Pittsburgh Steelers)

QB Mike Glennon: The second-year pro will make his first 2014 start in place of the injured Josh McCown (sprained thumb). Last season, Glennon started 13 games, averaging 200.6 passing yards, 1.5 touchdown passes and 0.7 interceptions per outing. The strong-armed passer had great chemistry with Vincent Jackson. Although Glennon is not a recommended play against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that ranks close to average in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position, he is worth monitoring. ( 191 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 7 yds rush )

QB Josh McCown: McCown (sprained thumb - throwing hand) is expected to miss several games.

QB Mike Kafka: ( 10 yds pass )

RB Doug Martin: UPDATE 9/27/14: Martin (knee) took part in a full Friday practice, and he is listed as PROBABLE for Week 4. Martin is expected to start and receive the bulk of the touches, but Bobby Rainey is still in the backfield mix. The Pittsburgh Steelers defense allowed more than 160 rushing yards in two contests this season. Consider Martin a mid-to-low-range fantasy RB2 this week. ( 70 yds rush; 3 catches for 25 yds )

RB Bobby Rainey: If you overlook the three lost fumbles in two games, the shifty-quick Rainey played solidly overall in Doug Martin's absence. Martin (knee), however, is expected to start in Week 4 and receive the bulk of the touches. Rainey likely will retain at least a share of the third-down duties. The Buccaneers will be playing from behind with garbage-time production a possibility, so he has some upside as a flex option. ( 54 yds rush; 3 catches for 26 yds )

WR Vincent Jackson: With strong-armed Mike Glennon under center, there is some hope for the struggling Vincent Jackson (wrist). The two had some great chemistry last season. If you need a flex option, you could do worse than Jackson. UPDATE 9/27/14: Jackson (wrist) took part in full practices all week, and he is listed as PROBABLE for Week 4. ( 4 catches for 64 yds )

WR Mike Evans: Although the rookie first-rounder has shown some occasional flashes, Evans hasn't topped five catches or 52 receiving yards in a game so far this season. On top of that, new starting quarterback Mike Glennon is expected to lean heavily on Vincent Jackson. Consider Evans a middling fantasy WR5 this week. ( 4 catches for 46 yds )

WR Louis Murphy: ( 1 catch for 9 yds )

WR Solomon Patton: ( 1 catch for 2 yds )

WR Russell Shepard: ( )

TE Brandon Myers: Myers' best outing of the season - six catches for 41 yards - happened back in Week 1. Although the Pittsburgh Steelers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to enemy tight ends, the pedestrian Myers is not a trusted option. ( 6 catches for 54 yds )

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Heading into late Wednesday morning, the Week 4 status of Seferian-Jenkins (foot) was unknown. He has missed two straight games. ( 1 catch for 11 yds )

TE Luke Stocker: ( 1 catch for 8 yds )

PK Patrick Murray: Do you really want to start a guy who kicks for a struggling offense that hasn't score more than 17 points in a game this season? ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Consider the Buccaneers a weak play. The Tampa Bay defense cobbled together a decent fantasy outing last week thanks to scoring a touchdown off a recovered fumble. On the season, the Buccaneers have averaged just 1.33 sacks and 1.67 takeaways per game. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has given up just 2.0 sacks per outing and turned the ball over just 1.33 times per contest. ( 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



New Orleans Saints (vs Dallas Cowboys)

QB Drew Brees: Even though Brees' passing numbers have been merely good and not fantastic, he remains a must-start for a Sunday night clash with a dismal Dallas Cowboys secondary that has surrendered 250.3 passing yards and 2.0 touchdown passes per game. ( 352 yds pass with 3 TDs and 1 Int; 2 yds rush )

RB Mark Ingram: Ingram (broken hand) has been ruled OUT for Week 4. He is expected to miss at least two more weeks.

RB Pierre Thomas: New Orleans' top pass-catching back has been stuck on three receptions per game for the last two weeks, which obviously is a disappointment for fantasy owners. The Dallas Cowboys defense also has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but you should roll with him as a flex option or fantasy RB2. Last season, Thomas racked up 111 combo yards and two touchdowns against Dallas. ( 35 yds rush; 5 catches for 38 yds )

RB Khiry Robinson: Although he topped Pierre Thomas in carries last week by a count of 18 to eight, Thomas ended up with a goal-line carry that resulted in a touchdown. However, Robinson is expected to operate as the Saints' primary early-down runner until Mark Ingram (broken hand) returns. Unlike Ingram, Robinson rarely is targeted in the passing game, which makes him touchdown dependent. The Dallas Cowboys defense has yielded the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Consider him a low-end flex option. ( 35 yds rush; 3 catches for 17 yds )

RB Travaris Cadet: ( 23 yds rush; 1 catch for 6 yds )

WR Marques Colston: He has lacked consistency so far this season. In Week 1, Colston amassed a great 5-110-1 line, but he followed that up with a goose egg in Week 2. Despite hitting pay dirt for the first time this season in Week 3, Colston caught just two balls for 25 yards. The Dallas Cowboys defense has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers, but they haven't faced a passing attack as potent as the Saints. Last season, Colston dropped a 7-107-1 line on the Cowboys. Start him as a flex option. ( 6 catches for 68 yds )

WR Brandin Cooks: Although Cooks has scored just once (Week 1) and doesn't start regularly, the electric rookie has been New Orleans' second-most productive receiving option behind only Jimmy Graham. Even though the Dallas Cowboys defense has yielded the seventh-fewest fantasy points to the wide receiver position, Dallas has not faced a talent like Cooks. Start him as a fantasy WR3. ( 1 yd rush; 4 catches for 52 yds )

WR Kenny Stills: Although he continues to start over speedy rookie Brandin Cooks, Stills has been far less productive. In two games played, Stills hasn't caught more than four passes or amassed more than 38 receiving yards. Touchdown catches? None. Consider him a dice-roll fantasy WR4 or Bye-week replacement option. Although the Dallas Cowboys defense has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts, the Cowboys haven't faced a passing attack as prolific as the one directed by Drew Brees. ( 1 yd rush; 3 catches for 34 yds )

WR Robert Meachem: ( 1 catch for 21 yds )

WR Joseph Morgan: ( 1 catch for 5 yds )

WR Nick Toon: ( 1 catch for 2 yds )

TE Jimmy Graham: Drew Brees' favorite target is a must-start as always. The Dallas Cowboys defense has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to enemy tight ends. If Brees chooses to feed the ball to Graham, he could exceed our projections with a monster outing. ( 9 catches for 114 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ben Watson: ( 2 catches for 16 yds )

TE Josh Hill: ( 1 catch for 15 yds )

PK Shayne Graham: Graham looks like a strong play in what should be a high-scoring contest. ( 3 XPs, 1 FG )

Def New Orleans Saints: Consider the Saints a weak play. The New Orleans defense absolutely smothered the Dallas Cowboys defense when the two teams clashed at the Superdome last season. However, the teams are squaring off at AT&T Stadium in Dallas this time, and the 2014 version of the Saints defense has played poorly. On the season, New Orleans has amassed just four sacks and one recovered fumble. The Dallas offense has allowed 2.33 sacks per game and committed 2.33 turnovers per contest. ( 2 sacks )



Atlanta Falcons (vs Minnesota Vikings)

QB Matt Ryan: He should have very few problems carving up a suspect Minnesota Vikings defense that has allowed 225.3 passing yards and 1.0 touchdown passes per game. Ryan currently ranks fourth (tie) in the NFL in scoring strikes and second in passing yards. ( 331 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 6 yds rush )

QB T.J. Yates: ( 26 yds pass )

RB Steven Jackson: Jackson leads Atlanta's four-headed committee backfield in combo touches (13 per game) by a wide margin, and he finally scored last week. However, Jackson hasn't rushed for more than 54 yards in a contest and rarely catches passes nowadays (just two receptions), which is why his fantasy scoring is touchdown dependent. Consider Jackson a risky flex option against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has surrendered 110 rushing yards per game and two rushing scores on the season. ( 57 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 19 yds )

RB Jacquizz Rodgers: He is currently locked in as Steven Jackson's backup and has averaged just six combo touches and 22 total yards per game. Rodgers lacks fantasy starter appeal. ( 26 yds rush; 3 catches for 20 yds )

RB Antone Smith: Smith (hamstring) scored a touchdown in each of Atlanta's two home contests, but he didn't touch the ball during the team's only road game so far this season. Overall, Smith has averaged just three combo touches per game and offers only desperation fantasy appeal. ( 6 yds rush; 1 catch for 16 yds )

RB Devonta Freeman: The rookie failed to impress against a pitiful Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense last week, toting the rock 11 times for just 12 yards and catching one pass for seven yards. Freeman remains buried on the Falcons depth chart and lacks fantasy relevance. ( 3 yds rush; 1 catch for 9 yds )

WR Julio Jones: The Falcons most productive receiver is a must-play as usual. Jones currently ranks third (tie) in the NFL in receptions (23) and first in receiving yards (365). ( 1 yd rush; 11 catches for 133 yds and 1 TD )

WR Roddy White: UPDATE 9/27/14: The must-start White (hamstring) took part in a full Friday practice. He is listed as PROBABLE for Week 4. ( 1 yd rush; 6 catches for 65 yds )

WR Harry Douglas: UPDATE 9/27/14: Douglas (foot) took part in full practices on Wednesday and Thursday. However, he was limited in Friday practice, which explains why he is listed as QUESTIONABLE for Week 4. We'll update his status Sunday morning. If Douglas is healthy enough to suit up, he has flex value in deeper leagues thanks to playing in the Falcons' high-volume passing attack. ( 5 catches for 48 yds )

WR Devin Hester: ( 1 yd rush; 1 catch for 20 yds )

WR Eric Weems: ( 1 catch for 12 yds )

TE Levine Toilolo: Toilolo has averaged just 3.67 targets, 2.33 receptions and 19 receiving yards per game, and he has caught one scoring pass. The second-year pro remains a touchdown-dependent low-end fantasy TE2. ( 2 catches for 19 yds )

TE Bear Pascoe: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

PK Matt Bryant: Bryant is a solid play against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has allowed an average of 7.33 points per game to enemy kickers. ( 3 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons defense lit it up last week against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense that clearly wasn't mentally or emotionally ready to play football. Can Atlanta rack up some big fantasy points versus an Adrian Peterson-less Minnesota Vikings offense with mobile rookie Teddy Bridgewater starting at quarterback? With turnover machine Matt Cassel (foot) out of the mix, it doesn't look like it. Consider the Falcons a weak play. ( 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



Carolina Panthers (vs Baltimore Ravens)

QB Cam Newton: Newton (ribs, ankle) re-aggravated his injuries during that tough Sunday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which explains why he toted the rock a career-low two times in that contest. The Panthers triggerman is tentatively expected to suit up for Week 4, but fantasy owners should keep an eye on Newton's status leading up to game time. The Baltimore Ravens defense has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, so this is a tough matchup for what likely will be a less-than-100-percent Newton. ( 218 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 36 yds rush )

QB Derek Anderson: ( 6 yds pass )

RB DeAngelo Williams: Williams (thigh) tentatively is expected to return after sitting out two games. Since Jonathan Stewart (sprained knee) and Mike Tolbert (hairline leg fracture) will both miss Week 4, Williams is expected to receive the bulk of the Carolina backfield touches. However, he draws a tough matchup against a Baltimore Ravens defense that has given up just 89.7 rushing yards per contest and two rushing touchdowns. Thanks to his workload, you should consider him a fantasy RB3 with upside. UPDATE 9/27/14: Williams (thigh) took part in a full Friday practice. He is listed as PROBABLE. ( 46 yds rush; 1 catch for 20 yds )

RB Fozzy Whittaker: Jonathan Stewart (sprained knee) and Mike Tolbert (hairline leg fracture) will both miss Week 4. Assuming Whittaker (thigh) is healthy enough to play, he is expected to back up starter DeAngelo Williams. However, Whittaker, who has just 28 career carries under his belt, lacks fantasy appeal. UPDATE 9/27/14: Whittaker (thigh) missed Friday practice. He is listed as DOUBTFUL. ( 11 yds rush; 2 catches for 16 yds )

RB Darrin Reaves: Jonathan Stewart (sprained knee) and Mike Tolbert (hairline leg fracture) will both miss Week 4. If Fozzy Whittaker (quad) is unable to suit up, Reaves, who is an undrafted free agent, likely would back up starter DeAngelo Williams. However, Reaves shouldn't be on your fantasy radar. ( 7 yds rush; 1 catch for 3 yds )

RB Jonathan Stewart: Stewart (sprained knee) has been ruled OUT for Week 4. He is expected to miss at least the next four weeks.

RB Mike Tolbert: Tolbert (hairline leg fracture) has been placed on short-term Injured Reserve. He isn't expected to return until after Week 12 at the earliest.

WR Kelvin Benjamin: Coming off his first 100-yard game and his second outing with a touchdown grab, Benjamin deserves a start as a flex option or fantasy WR3 versus a Baltimore Ravens defense that has yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to the wideout position. ( 1 yd rush; 6 catches for 84 yds and 1 TD )

WR Jerricho Cotchery: Although he continues to start opposite of rookie Kelvin Benjamin, Cotchery (thigh) is just a mediocre third option in the Carolina passing attack behind Benjamin and Greg Olsen. If you're desperate for a Bye-week flex option, Cotchery's matchup is favorable against a Baltimore Ravens defense that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points to enemy receivers. UPDATE 9/27/14: Cotchery (thigh) took part in a full Friday practice. He is listed as PROBABLE. ( 4 catches for 40 yds )

WR Jason Avant: ( 3 catches for 31 yds )

WR Brenton Bersin: ( 1 catch for 8 yds )

WR Philly Brown: ( 2 yds rush; 1 catch for 3 yds )

TE Greg Olsen: The top option in the Carolina passing attack is a must-start, but Olsen draws a tough matchup versus a Baltimore Ravens defense that has surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. ( 6 catches for 65 yds )

TE Ed Dickson: ( 1 catch for 7 yds )

PK Graham Gano: Although the Baltimore Ravens defense has ceded an average of 8.0 points per game to enemy kickers, this is a tough road matchup for Gano and the struggling Panthers offense. He could disappoint. ( 2 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Carolina Panthers: It was a complete shock to watch what was considered an elite defense collapse during the second half of Carolina's surprising home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Is the absence of Greg Hardy (NFL exempt list) really that big of a deal? Can the Panthers rebound? They probably will play better, but this road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens offense is not a great one. On the season, the efficient Ravens have allowed just three sacks and have committed only three turnovers. ( 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



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