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Fantasy 411 – Week 4

After Further Review

Despite sitting out virtually all of training camp with several different ailments Arian Foster was still a top five pick in most fantasy football leagues, but after three weeks of play he has not performed up to his draft slot. The Texans have a playoff run on their minds with absolutely no interest in appeasing fantasy owners in mind, and consequently, they are easing Foster back in to action as he shares carries with Ben Tate. On most other teams such arrangements would be impossible, given the typical talent gap between backs, but the Texans are blessed to have two capable running backs.

Through three weeks Foster has forty-nine carries to only twenty-seven for Tate. Tate has been making his mark with a gaudy 6.8 yards per carry. Don’t panic if you own Foster! Foster has been among the best goal line backs over the last several years, but he has only found the end zone once so far this season. He is still getting the red zone carries over Tate and figures to start cashing those in as the Texans utilize him more. Tough match-ups are in store for him over the next several weeks and he could make a nice trade target if his owner grows tired of waiting on him to live up to expectations.  
It seems like decades since Maurice Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing yards. It was actually only two seasons ago, but the Lisfranc injury last season and the Jags’ anemic offense appear to be taking their toll. MJD did manage to find the end zone in week three, salvaging an otherwise pedestrian performance. Through three games Jones-Drew is averaging only 2.6 yards per carry. The Jags offense seems to be at least a little more efficient with Chad Henne at quarterback, but after seeing Tampa Bay and the New York Giants race out to 0-3 starts (among others), they have announced Blaine Gabbert will reclaim his position as starting quarterback in an effort to tank for the top draft pick next year. I still believe in MJD’s talent, but I have major concerns about his surrounding circumstances. Keep a close eye on the Jags’ offensive scheme over the next couple of weeks. They looked like they occasionally got away from the newly installed zone blocking approach they had been using and MJD looked more comfortable at times in week three. If they have any hopes of reeling off a few wins, the Jags need Jones-Drew to operate with optimum efficiency.  
Several media outlets are reporting that Tom Brady has been texting and calling Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd. If anyone has Randy Moss and maybe even Irving Fryar’s numbers maybe they could pass them along. The Patriots pride themselves in plugging in ordinary guys without missing a step, but with several inexperienced wideouts they don’t appear to have the right parts this time. Aaron Dobson is capable of making circus catches followed up with head scratching drops. Zach Sudfeld and Kenbrell Thompkins were draft day darlings, but they have yet to consistently come through. I know Thompkins grabbed two touchdowns this week, but other than that he only managed one more reception. Brandon Bolden will look to carve out a niche in the absence of Shane Vereen, and Rob Gronkowski should stabilize things when he comes back, but I can no longer consider Brady an elite top-five fantasy quarterback. Chances are you didn’t draft a high end QB2 if you drafted Brady, so he probably will stay in your lineup each week, but don’t be afraid to trade him if the offer is right.  
More of a sleeper or breakout candidate than a bona fide trusted fantasy commodity, Chris Ivory looks more like waiver wire fodder after three unimpressive weeks. As if his uninspiring play wasn’t enough, he also appears to be hobbled by a lingering hamstring problem that threatens to keep him sidelined for at least a few weeks. If Bilal Powell can build off of his week three 149 yard performance, Ivory will have a hard time finding carries when he returns. Mike Goodson will look to establish a role for himself when he returns from suspension and this backfield has all the makings of a jumbled mess that you want to avoid. Make no apologizes for dumping Ivory this week for another option on the waiver wire.   
Following a week one performance where he reeled in seven catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns, Jared Cook made all the experts who predicted a breakout from him look like soothsayers. After two duds, Cook looks like just another guy at tight end. Cook will likely have a few more big weeks, but counting on them consistently is setting the bar far too high. Rather than making a leap to the tight end elite category, Cook figures to finish the season muddled in the middle of several low end TE1 options. Good enough to start, inconsistent enough frustrate. 

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