Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans
Ben Roethlisberger – Please, from all of us owners in fantasy land, have more than one touchdown. Roethlisberger’s yardage has been up to expectations but the scoring is way behind. On top of that, turnovers are much higher than we expected at this point in the season. The Steelers’ offensive line is in complete shambles and Roethlisberger is paying the price. The pass rush has completely throttled Roethlisberger to open the 2011 season. Until the Steelers can handle the rush, the Pittsburgh quarterback will not be able to hit his full potential.
This is a chance for the Steelers offensive line to rebound from the debacle that was the Indianapolis Colts game. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis ripped up the offensive line and got to Roethlisberger in a big way. It makes one wonder – how effective can Roethlisberger be with an efficient rush in front of him? The Houston defense will provide us with such an indication. Roethlisberger will either booms or bust here in Week 4. Let’s hope that it’s boom and he’s able to put up his first multi-scoring game of the season. If not, it’s time to move him down into a good matchup only play. I expect him to perform well and earn his No. 1 starting quarterback title here in Week 4.
Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears
Cam Newton – Time to join the big boys, rookie. Here in Week 4, Newton has the chance to showcase his skills against another capable defense, extending his stock value. As vaunted as the Bears’ defense is, they can most certainly be thrown on. This will undoubtedly be the best linebacker core that Newton has faced in his young career. The linebackers from Chicago are so talented that they should all but take away the Panthers’ tight ends. This matchup will force Newton to find his wide receivers more often than his tight ends. I expect a huge day from the newly established Steve Smith and another impressive day from Newton. As long as Newton can move away from his safety nets in Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen, the overall stock of Newton should rise, win, lose or draw. If Newton can produce without his check down options then he’ll make a massive jump up the rankings into distinguished quarterback territory.
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks
Julio Jones – I can all but guarantee that Jones finds the endzone in Week 4. Roddy White has been drawing heavy coverage so far in the young season and this matchup is more than enough for Jones to take full advantage. As always I ask, “If not now, then when?” Matchups don’t get much better than this one and Jones needs to capitalize. Jones has the chance to reach his full potential at a premature age here in Week 4. The ability to dominate in easy matchups like this one could propel Jones way up the wide receiver rankings early in his young career. Matt Ryan should be able to dominate the Seahawks’ pass defensive like most of the opposing quarterbacks have so far in 2011. Expect Jones’ best day as a pro, but if even if he doesn’t it’s not the end of the world in relation to his value.
New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals
Victor Cruz – We all know what Hakeem Hicks’ role in that Giants’ offense is. Nicks is the trustworthy, playmaking, highly targeted, safety blanket. But who hits the home runs in New York, outside of Curtis Granderson? Cruz showed huge ability in Week 3. But one game isn’t enough cause to sit a proven player for a firework. Cruz has the chance against a big mismatch in the Arizona Cardinals. If Cruz can have back-to-back big nights for the Giants then owners should be ready to start him as their No. 3 receiver in hopes of a No. 1 receiver output. This is an extremely favorable matchup and if he could do it again it would most certainly happen here. Eli Manning has to be able to find someone to throw to. It could just as easily be Cruz as it was with Mario Manningham last year. Wait for two games of performance before benching a reliable point resource at the receiver position. But if a second effort were to come, why wouldn’t it be against Arizona?