The 2014 Fantasy Football campaign is entering Week 4, and Jake Ciely of RotoExperts.com will be providing exclusive Fantasy coverage for NewOrleanSaints.com all season. Jake will give you the expert deal on Saints players from fantasy perspectives with his in-depth game previews every week.
The Saints are back on the road this week, as they look to continue their winning ways against the Dallas Cowboys. Even though it's a road game, the Saints are favorites to come away with the win and even the record up at 2-2… oh, and put up plenty of points, as it's expected to be one of the highest-scoring games of Week 4.
The Cowboys are in the bottom half of the league against the quarterback in both passing yards and Fantasy Points Per Game (FFPG). That's with facing Colin Kaepernick, Jake Locker and Austin Davis. Drew Brees is set up for another great game, as he had 19.5 FP in NFL.com leagues last week. Brees is currently the eighth-best quarterback on the year, and that position will take a big jump after this week in Dallas. For those concerned about Brees being on the road, don't be. As I mentioned last week, Brees' road numbers are still great, and this is actually a dome(ish) game. Whether home or away, Brees has a significantly higher completion percentage and yards per attempt average indoors versus outdoors.
As expected, Khiry Robinson stepped right in for Mark Ingram. Robinson finished Week 3 with 18 carries for 69 yards. For reference, Ingram had 13 carries and 11 the first two games. Robinson is a good RB3/Flex play with that amount of touches, as even without a touchdown, the value is here. If Robinson scores, he can finish near RB1 status for the week. Pierre Thomas had eight carries and three catches in Week 3. The passing game usage should increase again this week. Even with no change in use, Thomas is still a RB3/Flex in non-PPR leagues and a solid RB2 in PPR. Travaris Cadet should stay on your radar, as he could explode if ever pressed into more action.
The receivers had a nice return to form against the Vikings. Marques Colston found the end zone, proving that Brees wanted to help him rebound from Week 2. Colston is still a rock-solid WR3 with potential for WR2 and even WR1 value against the Cowboys. Brandin Cooks returned to PPR glory with eight catches for 74 yards. You have to consider Cooks a must-start in PPR leagues at this point. Kenny Stills bumped his Week 2 totals up to four catches for 38 yards. Now that the bye weeks are here, you'd have a tough time finding a receiver with more upside than Stills… we know that 100-yard game is coming!
Jimmy Graham's lowest output of the season still had him in the Top 20 for tight ends. That's how good Graham is. But you already know that. Graham sits behind only Julius Thomas and Martellus Bennett on the season, and that's purely due to touchdowns. Graham actually leads the way in receiving yards, and with the Cowboys allowing the second most FPPG to tight ends (17.7 on NFL.com), look for Graham to have a Week 2-like performance or even better.
Defensively, the Saints shut down the Vikings attack. Look for the Saints DST to near DST1 status in Week 4 as Dallas has been prone to some turnovers early ithis season. Shayne Graham wasn't needed outside of a few extra points, but that should change against the Cowboys, as the Saints should have plenty of scoring chances.
Elsewhere, if you need a bye week quarterback already (Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson owners), Kirk Cousins is the obvious grab, even with a Thursday night game. With less than two games under his belt, Cousins is the 14th-best quarterback with 45.5 points, and somehow, he's owned in just 21.0 percent of NFL.com leagues. The Giants are allowing the sixth-most FPPG to quarterbacks at 18.5 per. On the other side of the ball, Eli Manning could be a sneaky fill-in, as the Giants' offense was clicking last week. The Redskins' run defense is terrific, but Nick Foles put up 29.5 FP against their pass defense. Philip Rivers should be a nice fill-in too, as the Jaguars have already given up 1,000 passing yards and allow the most FPPG to QBs at 23.2.
The Jaguars also allow the most FPPG to running backs, making Donald Brown a great option. Lamar Miller looked great in Week 3 with 15 carries for 108 yards. The Raiders allow the seventh-most FPPG to running backs (22.7), and there is talk about the Dolphins relying more on the run game. Both Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw have more than 150 yards rushing, but Bradshaw has an amazing 6.0 YPC average and three touchdowns. Bradshaw has reached must-start territory.
There is a surprising name among the Top Five leading scorers at receiver, Jeremy Maclin. Foles and Maclin have been an impressive duo, and the 49ers' defense allow the most FPPG to receivers at NFL.com with 30.0 per. Jordan Matthews makes a nice, high-upside bye week replacement in this matchup. As with quarterback and running back, the Jags are among the leaders in most FPPG allowed to receivers (24.0). This is a great week for Keenan Allen to get going. Somehow, Kelvin Benjamin is only 56.0 percent owned. Fix that in your league. He's the top option in the Panthers' receiving game, and he's the sixth-best receiver on the year with 37.3 FPs.
With the injuries, inconsistency and bye weeks, many owners will be scouring the wire for tight ends. Owen Daniels is the obvious replacement for Dennis Pitta owners, but there is much more out there. Larry Donnell is a great PPR option, as Manning hasn't stopped looking his way through three games. Niles Paul, as great as he's been replacing Jordan Reed, is somehow available in 87.7 percent of leagues. He's seventh in scoring. Lastly, Travis Kelce was and is a favorite breakout candidate, yet his ownership is just 12.8 percent, even though he's the 11th-best tight end and seeing his role increase each week.
The Chargers make for a great DST stream this week, as they host the Jaguars – a team allowing over 15 FPPG for opposing defenses. The Steelers are another solid play, as the Bucs allow the same amount of FPPG. Cody Parker is leading the league in scoring for kickers, yet somehow, he is still owned in just 13.2 percent of NFL.com leagues. The same surprising ownership percentage applies to Dan Carpenter, who ranks second on the year. His ownership is only 23.7 percent. Both are must-own players, as they are K1s again this week.
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Photos from inside the New Orleans Saints locker room after the teamâs win against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, September 21, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)