6 Days Detroit Lions
Lions backup QB Shaun Hill is recovering from a minor offseason foot surgery.
Hill had surgery to repair a "nagging" injury. He expects to participate in some portions of OTAs and should be 100 percent by training camp. Hill, now 33 years old, is entering a contract season. As Matthew Stafford stayed healthy in 2012, Hill came off the bench for just one appearance, completing 10-of-13 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a September loss to Tennessee.
23 Days Detroit Lions
Shaun Hill is fully expected to be Matthew Stafford's backup once again this season.
Stafford has played in all 16 games in each of the last two seasons. But when Hill started 10 times in 2010, he averaged 259.8 yards per game and threw 16 touchdowns. He's well worth the $2.4M in base salary the Lions will pay him in the final year of his contract.
One thing to note: WR1s no longer need to fear the New York Jets. With Darrelle Revis out for the season, the Jets are now a desired passing matchup. So, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Wes Welker just had their chances in upcoming dates with the Jets vastly improved.
Let's move on to this week's desperation heaves. And, keep in mind, those heaves, even when they wind up in the hands of your opponent, can still somehow result in touchdowns. I'll list the player, their Week 4 matchup, and the percentage of leagues in which he is owned according to our friends at fleaflicker.com.
Christian Ponder at Detroit -- 45 percent. Ponder has been better than you probably realize this season. He's scored more points than Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton and Tony Romo. Last week he lit up the vaunted San Francisco defense, and this week he gets a Lions defense that's been rocked by Alex Smith and Jake Locker the last two weeks. If he's available in your league, he might be worth an add.
Shaun Hill vs. Minnesota -- 5 percent. This one gets a big time asterisk. Hill is worth picking up if, and only if, Stafford can't go on Sunday. Hill is a capable backup against a Vikings pass defense that is suspect at best. Oh, and he still has that Calvin Johnson guy, and I hear he's pretty good.
Rashard Mendenhall, BYE -- 67 percent. I know he's on a bye, so this may not help you out all that much in Week 4. But maybe you can spare a roster spot or have an open Injured Reserve slot. In any case, Mendenhall will be back soon, possibly as soon as next week. He's already putting in full practices, and he's still the feature back in Pittsburgh. If you can stash him, he may be able to provide some serious value down the stretch.
Ryan Williams vs. Miami -- 61 percent. Remember that Williams was having an impressive camp prior to last season, and there had been speculation that Chris ‘Beanie' Wells might lose his starting job then. Instead, Williams blew out his knee, but he's come back strong this season. He has ball security issues, but he also has some major talent. And with Wells now nursing an injury of his own, it's possible that Williams runs away with the gig. He gets a Miami defense in Week 4 that's been below average against the run. Arizona will run the ball to control the game. Look for Williams to play an important role.
Andrew Hawkins at Jacksonville -- 50 percent. Hawkins is on this list once again, because...
What a crazy week of football. I'm sure everyone is tired of talking about the Monday night debacle, but in a way it is the best thing that happened this season. Think about it. Had they called the play correct, we would have the same referees for the next few weeks or even through the Super Bowl. Imagine if the same mistake was made on the last play of the Super Bowl. Roger Goodell would have to run to Europe and hide. The good news is that the refs and the NFL have came to an agreement! Everyone will be happy to see them return until they make a bad call and then it is business as usual.
I had an opportunity to see my Giants in a regular season game for the first time last Thursday. It was a Panthers home game but you wouldn't have known it because of the sea of blue that was at the game. I'm not talking about Carolina Blue either. The game was dominated by the Giants and the Giants' fans were enjoying every minute of it.
Another great thing about watching a game live is seeing your fantasy player score for you. Let's get down to business. Last week I talked about injuries and covering yourself for players that will miss some time. If you didn't cover the bye weeks with players during your draft, I hope that you picked players up last week rather than waiting for this week to make a move. Nothing is worst than an owner waiting until the week of to fill a bye week need and missing out due to waiver priority or lack of quality starters. This week the Colts and Steelers are off.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Jamaal Charles - 33 carries for 233 yards and one touchdown with six receptions for 55 yards. Charles was limited in Week 2 because of knee soreness but came back to put up a tremendous amount of yards in Week 3. Let's hope that he can stay healthy all season and keep lighting it up.
A.J. Green - Nine receptions for 183 yards and one touchdown. There is a reason Green went early in drafts and after two decent weeks, he exploded in Week 3.
Calvin Johnson - 10 receptions for 164 yards and one touchdown. Johnson finally gets into the end zone and puts up Megatron like numbers. Even if Matthew Stafford misses time, back up Shaun Hill can get Calvin the ball.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Kevin Smith - Zero carries. Smith was a sleeper pick-up before the season and a big waiver pick-up after Week 1. Mikel Leshoure 's...
I stated before Week 3, if New England is not safe in their home opener, then no one is. This proved to be true last week as the New Orleans Saints fell to 0-3 and even more surprisingly to 0-2 at home, eliminating me from the knockout pool. I recommended you avoid the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, who both fell to 1-2 on the season. If you escaped the first three weeks and went with my second option of the Dallas Cowboys, check out my full analysis of every game in Week 4.
Week 1 : Bears -- WIN
Week 2 : Giants -- WIN
Week 3 : Saints -- LOSS
Week 4 :
Thursday Night Football
Cleveland at Baltimore -- It is a divisional game, but Cleveland traveling to Baltimore on a short week is not an easy task. The Ravens are about a 12½ point favorite in this game and they should be able to control the game from start to finish. The Ravens are a top pick in Week 4.
New England at Buffalo -- Divisional game that I would avoid. New England can't go to 1-3, right?
Minnesota at Detroit -- The Lions should bounce back after a tough overtime loss in Tennessee. Matthew Stafford should play, but if he cannot Shaun Hill would make the start. He can play well enough for the Lions to win. I would pass in survivor.
Carolina at Atlanta -- The 3-0 Falcons look very impressive thus far with Matt Ryan leading the way. However, it is their defense that has propelled them to the next level. They'll take on their first NFC opponent of the season as they host Carolina. Avoid this divisional matchup which should showcase a lot of offensive firepower.
San Francisco at New York Jets -- The 49ers will enter New York with a bad taste in their mouths after losing to Minnesota handedly. I expect Mark Sanchez to be in for a long day, but I cannot force myself to take a road team, so I will pass again.
San Diego at Kansas City -- San Diego took a big step back after last week's blowout loss at home to Atlanta. Kansas City had a great comeback win led by Jamaal Charles in New Orleans. It's an AFC West divisional game, so I'll avoid.
Tennessee at Houston -- Houston should be a fine choice this week against Tennessee. It is disappointing that Chris Johnson still cannot figure out how to run the ball, especially since Jake Locker has looked good through three weeks. The Texans are clearly the favorite in the AFC right now, and they'll handle their business at home.
Seattle at St. Louis -- I always repeat the differences between Seattle at...
8 Months Detroit Lions
In 10 2010 starts for the Lions, Shaun Hill averaged 259.8 yards per game and threw 16 touchdown passes.
There is no greater frustration for fantasy owners than seeing the player you used a valuable draft selection on wearing the little red ‘x' of injury designation. All the careful planning for draft day and the broad smile of satisfaction when you drafted that particular player because you are certain this is the year he breaks out. OK, you are almost certain that this is the year he beats the injury bug and plays the entire season and is a fantasy viable option. OK, this is the year you decide to take a perpetually injured player high in your fantasy draft and hope he can stay healthy. The late, great Detroit Lions beat writer and radio personality, Tom "Killer" Kowalski had a saying he was fond of - "Hope is not a strategy."
Drafting players with a history of injury and substantial games missed due to said injuries is not a strategy, and this is a look at some names to go ahead and leave off of your fantasy draft boards for 2012, due to the risk of injury. I am not saying to exclude them from your personal fantasy rankings, but suggesting that come draft day, leave their names off to avoid the temptation to call out their names. I preface this list with the following disclaimer- I am not a doctor, nor do I play a doctor on television, but I do watch several TV shows that feature doctors as main characters, so I have that going for me.
Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit: I love this kid, I really do. He played most of his rookie season with two turf toe injuries and did not miss a game. In Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins, he even managed to flash the speed and shiftiness he had shown early in the season, taking a short pass from Shaun Hill for 53 yards and a touchdown. Best actually had a respectable rookie season as a fantasy running back. He had 1,050 total yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. The 58 passes that he hauled in made him at least a very intriguing Top 15 draft selection at running back in points per reception leagues for 2011. A closer examination of the numbers that Best put up in 2010 and the game-by-game breakdown put the value of his season in a different light. Weeks 1-5 would see Best amass 484 total yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. During Weeks 6-16, while hobbled and on limited touches, he would put up 498 total yards and the single touchdown against Miami. Best would only post four games with double-digit fantasy points in 2010 and none from Weeks 6-15. Up-and-down doesn't begin to describe the season, and hit-or-miss...