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What Did We Learn - Week 4

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Greg Olsen has become a reliable tight end option. They say that a tight end is a young quarterback’s best friend. In the case of Cam Newton, I’d argue that Steve Smith should be his best friend. But after Smith, it appears that Olsen is next in line. Against Atlanta on Sunday, he posted six catches on a team-high seven targets for 89 yards and a score. Through four weeks, he now has 20 catches for 256 yards and a touchdown, and has worked the middle of the field well, finding space to operate as Newton’s security blanket. He’s providing nice value for those that missed out on the Gronkowskis and Grahams of the fantasy world, and should continue to do so against Seattle next week.

Chris Johnson didn’t look awful. I still don’t know what to make of Johnson. On Sunday, he rushed 25 times for 141 yards. That kind of production is what fantasy players were hoping for when he was drafted in the first round back in August. But I fear that his inconsistency will continue throughout the season. Add to it the fact that he can’t help but call out his offensive line, even when he has a good day, and I feel like his success will be short-lived, as the big guys up front hang him out to dry a la Paul Crewe in “The Longest Yard.” I’m not actively shopping him, but mainly because I have no idea what he’d actually be worth.

It might be time to roster Tim Tebow. I know. Even I hate myself for saying it. But after what happened on Sunday, we’re in for a week full of Tebow talk. And according to traditional scoring (awarding four points per passing TD), Tim Tebow produced the 11th-most points per start once he got the starting job in Denver. He put up 170 points in just 11 starts, meaning more than 15 points per game. That was better than Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and cough Mark Sanchez. Sanchez has looked awful the past three weeks, and coach Rex Ryan is looking like he might be getting desperate. Who better to pin his hopes to than Tebow? And if he can be productive, why not ride the wave? Ugh, I’m sorry.

You shouldn’t be shopping Robert Griffin III. I received an email last week asking if an owner should be shopping Griffin III. The short answer is 'no.' He isn’t just a good quarterback, he’s also a rushing threat, especially in the red zone. On Sunday, he posted a ho-hum 323 yards passing. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but he ran for one, adding 43 yards on the ground. If he can put up those kinds of numbers on an “off” day, what happens when he’s having a “good” day? Basically, unless you have Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees and you can trade Griffin III for a back or receiver, you shouldn’t be dealing him.

Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden give New England a scary rushing attack. It used to be that we knew the Patriots would drop back and throw the ball 50 times and that was it. But now they’ve learned to run the ball, too. We already knew about Ridley. He’d been running well for the Patriots since Week 1, and he added 22 rushes for 106 yards and a pair of scores on Sunday. But to me, the story was Bolden, an undrafted free agent that put up 137 yards and a score on 16 rushes. He makes for an interesting pickup, although I doubt the Patriots will end up doing much of a timeshare with Ridley running so well. Still, he’s a capable back on an explosive offense that will be up a lot and need to run down the clock. Considering this is was his breakout game, it’s not surprising to see that fleaflicker.com places his ownership percentage around 1 percent of leagues.

Marshawn Lynch is a Top 5 running back. The consensus top three backs in the preseason were Ray Rice, Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy, in some order. A healthy Adrian Peterson is in the discussion, as is Maurice Jones-Drew. But you’d be wrong not to consider Lynch. Due to a checkered past and his frequent off-field issues, he always makes for a bit of a gamble, but when he’s on the field, you can’t argue with the production. He posted 118 yards and a score on 20 carries against St. Louis on Sunday. In four games, he’s run the ball 92 times for 423 yards and two scores. He’s averaging 4.6 yards a carry on a team that basically has no other options. He’s as consistent as they come, and we need to start thinking about him with the league’s best.

Brian Hartline? Seriously?! Apparently, yes. Rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, has found a reliable pass catcher on what was thought to be a poor offense. But Reggie Bush has been good, and Tannehill hasn’t looked bad either. Hartline may be the one-eyed man in the land of the blind, but he’s still the top receiver on a team that might be down a bit. He caught 12 passes on a ridiculous 19 targets for a more ridiculous 253 yards and a score. That was his best game of the season, but why can’t he put up eight catches and 100 yards at Cincinnati next week? Fleaflicker.com has Hartline available in approximately 86 percent of leagues.

Peyton Manning looked good. Now let’s pump the brakes. After all, the Oakland Raiders look incompetent right now. Oakland has been rough against the run, and even worse against the pass. Manning exploited that porous defense and had an incredible day, with 338 passing yards and three touchdowns. These are the kind of performances he used to put up on a weekly basis. I still don’t think he’s the 2008 version of himself, but I’m a fatter, slower version of myself from back then, too. He’s put up impressive weekly totals, with the exception of that nightmare against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2. He’s getting it done somehow, so my hat is off to him.

Aaron Rodgers finally looked like himself. I play in a keeper league. This season, I kept Rodgers. Thus far, he had been frustrating. A respectable Week 1 showing against San Francisco, followed by two stink bombs against Chicago on Thursday night in Week 2 and the debacle in Seattle last week. But those three teams represented three very good defenses, so there was reason to feel optimistic. Then I saw the schedule and his Week 4 opponent: the New Orleans Saints. With New Orleans coming to town, Rodgers was in line for a big week, and he delivered with 319 yards and four touchdowns. Those are the kind of numbers that made folks consider him with the top overall pick in the preseason. The hits should keep on coming next week as the Packers travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts, and that means Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and the rest of that offense should be primed for a big day.

DeSean Jackson is really dangerous again. Maybe I’m being a homer, but Jackson has impressed me this season. The Philadelphia offense came alive on Sunday night against the New York Giants when Michael Vick started finding Jackson on their final drive of the first half, punctuated by a 19-yard touchdown. He finished with six catches and 99 yards, and is once again laying claim as one of the league’s most dangerous deep threats. Unfortunately, Jackson may end up having feast-or-famine games throughout the year, but it looks like he’ll be worth the gamble.

Good luck in Week 5.

Drew Magyar is a fantasysharks.com staff writer and can be reached at drewmagyar@gmail.com. “What Did We Learn” will be posted each Tuesday morning during the season, and “Rock and a Hard Place” will be posted each Friday morning.