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What Did We Learn – Week 4 Edition

DeAngelo Williams isn’t dead.
After three weeks that were certainly less than encouraging, Williams managed to put together a nice performance on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Granted he only got 10 carries, but putting up 82 yards rushing is nothing to sneeze at. At this point, owners probably don’t want to have to rely on him, but Williams may be a nice buy-low candidate as we approach the bye weeks.

Chris Johnson is still Chris Johnson.
I think we all expected that, sooner or later, Johnson would remember who he was and start running like it. Keep in mind that he reported late to camp, and therefore missed some conditioning, some hitting and some football. He’s now returning to form. But the way, he gets fullback Ahmard Hall back this week.

Laurent Robinson is worth owning.
Both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin get hurt fairly often. It’s safe to assume that each will miss a game or two. Austin already has. But Robinson reeled in seven balls for 116 yards on Sunday. It’s clear that Tony Romo is comfortable throwing to him, and he may continue to have a role even after Austin returns. In deeper leagues, he may be worth a stash.

Washington running backs are to be avoided.
This is not something that we learned. It’s something we were reminded of. Mike Shanahan continues to drive fantasy owners crazy. First it was Tim Hightower, then Roy Helu, and now Ryan Torain. He has confirmed that he will use a committee in the backfield, meaning that the situation should just be avoided.

Jacksonville is dumb.
Or at least the offensive coordinator is. According to Maurice Jones-Drew, his low workload on Sunday was part of the gameplan. The Jaguars, starting a rookie quarterback for just the second time and playing a dynamic New Orleans Saints offense, thought the way to attack their opponent was not via their best player and workhorse back, but rather through the passing game. This should be resolved quickly, and Jones-Drew should see his carries increase. Even with just 11 carries, he wound up with 84 yards.

Stevan Ridley may be the New England running back to own.
He only received 10 carries, but he made the most of them, picking up 97 yards and a score. Even though BenJarvus Green-Ellis also ran well, Ridley has looked very good and has impressed the past two games. Look for Ridley’s role to continue to expand, especially if he can protect Tom Brady in the pocket.

Ben Roethlisberger seems lost.
He’s getting pressured on almost every snap. Without any time, he looks as if he’s looking to escape the pocket before he even gets the ball. The running game has been almost non-existent. I don’t doubt that he will figure it out, but fantasy owners may need to turn to someone else until Roethlisberger gets it done.

You can’t say enough about Aaron Rodgers.
And yes it was the Denver Broncos, but what he does can be applied fairly consistently across the league at this point. He’s throwing deep. He’s spreading it around. He’s running. He’s protecting himself. And he’s putting up touchdowns. It’s almost as if he still thinks the Green Bay Packers are on a Super Bowl run. And maybe they are.

Willis McGahee is easily a Top 20 back; maybe Top 15.
He’s getting the touches of a true starter. He’s surpassed Knowshon Moreno on the depth chart, and has head coach John Fox’s confidence. Against the Green Bay defense on Sunday, McGahee ran 15 times for 103 yards. But as I watched the game, it was amazing how easy those yards looked. The Denver Broncos were forced to abandon the run due to the Aaron Rodgers clinic, but McGahee is a great guy to own while he’s healthy.

Mike Tolbert is officially the backup in San Diego.
As much as I love Tolbert, it seems that the Ryan Mathews show has finally begun. Mathews is certainly a more dynamic player, but Tolbert will continue to see time on passing downs and to spell Mathews. I wouldn’t drop him, since Mathews’ health is always a concern, but owners may need to look elsewhere until Tolbert can get a bigger share of the carries.

Week 5 byes: Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Washington

Good luck.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at

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