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Welcome to the Week 4 starts and sits! Is it too late to recommend Larry Donnell? Oh well. Don’t fret, we have plenty of other ideas for this weekend. If you need more guidance than I could fit into this space, check out my full lineup rankings over at Rotobahn or participate in our WEEI Sunday morning chat. It starts right here at 11 a.m. and I’ll tweet a link to the chat early Sunday morning as soon as it’s available. Follow me on Twitter to get all the fantasy football info we have to offer.

I will also be back on the air this weekend, so tune in Sunday morning for The Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host and good friend Jim Hackett. I’ll also be on NFL Sunday with Dickerson, Price and DeOssie at about 10:45 as usual, so don’t miss it.

And, don’t forget to start your Week 5 with us on Tuesday, when I break down the best pickups in the Week 5 waiver wire.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Saints

He’s been shaky in his return from back surgery, but he battled back last week on the road against a better defense. I expect a high-scoring game and a solid fantasy output from Romo. Don’t hesitate to use him in any format.

Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Jaguars

He’s playing very well so far, and this is a very enticing home matchup. Treat Rivers like a QB1 in all formats in Week 4. He’s good for a solid outing.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars at Chargers

He’s a young QB making his first start on the road. That’s normally a red flag situation, but Bortles will be chasing a Chargers offense that can score points in bunches in good matchups like this one. Bortles can score points with his feet and with his arm. That should give him a solid fantasy floor. He can help you in big formats if you need some help in Week 4. If you are unfamiliar with the rookie’s skill set, check out my original scouting report on the UCF product.

Sit

Geno Smith, Jets vs. Lions

This is not a week with a lot of sits for quarterbacks outside of the obvious ones. Smith is a good passer to avoid this week because he struggles more than most when the pocket gets busy, and things certainly will get busy with Detroit’s front four in town. Factor in the injuries to Smith’s receivers and you have a recipe for bad play or at least limited success. Even on a slow week, there are better options out there than Smith.

RUNNING BACKS

Start

Frank Gore, 49ers vs. Eagles

He’s been disappointing both in terms of usage and in terms of output. I expect things to change this week, for both Gore and his backup Carlos Hyde. The 49ers have gotten away from their running ways early on and this is a week to return to their ground-and-pound roots. This game goes better for Frisco if it comes down to late game execution vs. a four-quarter track meet. Gore should reach 20 carries for the first time in 2014 and give you solid RB2 production.

Khiry Robinson, Saints at Cowboys

He was solid last week and he did get the kind of carries we’d hoped for, but goal-line chances were not available in abundance in a game that bogged down a bit in the middle half. I expect better output from Robinson in Week 4. He’s a nice RB2 or flex option in any sized league.

Matt Asiata, Vikings vs. Falcons

The matchup is good, and he’s getting most of the action so far in the wake of Adrian Peterson‘s departure. He’s the bigger of the two Vikings backs, so he should be in charge of the goal line this week and Atlanta should provide some chances. While I still expect Jerick McKinnon to be the guy eventually, Asiata makes a solid RB2 in Week 4.

Carlos Hyde, 49ers vs. Eagles

While I think Frank Gore makes a nice RB2 option this week, I also like his backup to post good flex numbers for those in bigger formats. Hyde already is getting goal-line love, and I think he gets more snaps and touches this week as Frisco tries to play keep-away from Chip Kelly’s offense.

Sit

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens vs. Panthers

He looked good last week. I have him rostered in a few leagues, and I like the fit for the big one-cut back in Gary Kubiak‘s offense. The problem is that Bernard Pierce returns this week. It’s also a less-than-stellar matchup against a stout Panthers defense. Be careful with Taliaferro outside of very big formats. He’s more stash option than flex option this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Start

Keenan Allen, Chargers vs. Jaguars

This is a get-well matchup for Allen, who has struggled so far this season due to a sore groin and some very tough matchups. I expect better output this week against a beatable Jaguars secondary. Allen is practicing fully this week, so the groin is feeling better.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings vs. Falcons

Just in case any of you are thinking about benching him, think again. The Vikes still are trying to find themselves. I doubt anybody in Minnesota envisioned an offense that did not include Adrian Peterson, but that’s their reality. Patterson has to be at the center of the new plan, so be patient and expect better results in Week 4 than we saw since Peterson left the team. This is a better matchup, and Teddy Bridgewater should loosen up defenses a bit more than Matt Cassel did. Stick with Patterson as a WR2 this week.

Golden Tate, Lions at Jets

Calvin Johnson is nursing an ankle sprain, so it’s possible that Tate could be the primary outside weapon in Week 4. Even if he’s not, he has a tasty matchup with the Jets’ battered secondary, which will be without Dee Milliner again in Week 4. Tate should have his best week as a Lion. Get him active as a WR3.

Torrey Smith, Ravens vs. Panthers

Call me crazy, but the Panthers could end up being a tad preoccupied with stopping Steve Smith this week. Torrey Smith will make the big play as the forgotten man both in terms of yearly production and in terms of the Panthers’ potential fixation on their big-mouthed ex-star. Smith has been a disappointment so far, but that should change this week. He’s good for WR3 production in 12-team leagues.

Anquan Boldin, 49ers vs. Eagles

I smell a bounceback after his meltdown cost his team in Week 3. Don’t expect the moon and the stars, but Boldin should show up with his game face on, and WR3 production or more should follow. It’s a big game, and Boldin is a big-game player.

Sit

Eric Decker, Jets vs. Lions

He could do well, but I do not trust his hamstring at all. Decker has left the last two games early, and that is a pattern that has to trouble fantasy GMs. It certainly troubles me. Decker is a guy to bench this week if you have other solid options.

TIGHT ENDS

Start

Dwayne Allen, Colts vs. Titans

He’s one of their best players, but he doesn’t get the publicity that some of his teammates receive. Allen has been in the end zone twice so far this season and I like his chances of scoring again in Week 4. He can help you in any format.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Patriots

Apart from the running backs, if anybody on Kansas City is going to damage the Patriots this week in the passing game it will be Kelce. The young tight end is a playmaker in the Gronkowski mold and he’s making plenty of plays in limited action. His playing time is on the rise and I suspect that the trend continues. Look out for Kelce this week, Patriots fans, and get him active in fantasy leagues of all sizes.

Andrew Quarless, Packers at Bears

Here’s a deep option for those of you struggling for a player in Week 4. Quarless is playing well and he gets a sweet matchup this week against an undermanned secondary that will be stressed to the max just to deal with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Aaron Rodgers should be able to go to Quarless and his other tight ends almost at will this week. Quarless is a nice roll of the dice in big leagues.

Sit

Ladarius Green, Chargers vs. Jaguars

Be careful with Green, who looked very good last week but pulled a hamstring in practice this week. Green probably will play, but he may be playing at less than full capacity. Check your Rotobahn lineup rankings on Sunday or head over to my chat at WEEI that starts at 11 a.m. Barring some very good news or a full Friday practice, I would play it safe with Green in Week 4.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson
John Parry will work Monday's game between the Patriots and Chiefs. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

John Parry will work Monday’s game between the Patriots and Chiefs. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

John Parry will work as the lead official for Monday’€™s game between the Patriots and Chiefs in Kansas City, according to our pal Football Zebras.

The Patriots are already pretty familiar with Parry — he and his crew spent a portion of training camp in Foxboro this summer helping New England get up to speed on the new points of emphasis. He was also the referee for Super Bowl XLVI between the Patriots and Giants.

Monday will mark his first regular-season New England game since he worked a pair in 2012 — the season-opener against the Bills in Buffalo, and a November contest against the Colts in Foxboro. (Both were wins for the Patriots.

Here’€™s a look at who has worked as referees for New England’€™s games to this point in the season:

Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli
Sept. 29 at Kansas City: John Parry

For more on Parry’€™s work, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. And to check out all the assignments for the week, check out Football Zebras.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Darrelle Revis breaks up a pass intended for Oakland's James Jones last Sunday. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis breaks up a pass intended for Oakland’s James Jones last Sunday. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England will make its Monday night debut against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Overview: Revis and the Patriots head to Kansas City for a date with the Chiefs on Monday night. New England (2-1) enters the weekend tied for the league lead in takeaway ratio at plus-six, while Kansas City (1-2) is last in the league at minus-five. (The Chiefs’ defense has not had a single takeaway in three games this season.) The art of the takeaway has been one the Patriots have become well-schooled in this season, as they are tied with the Bears and Bengals for the league lead in interceptions with six.

“[There's] a big emphasis on turnovers for this defense,” Revis said after practice on Thursday. “That’s probably the main thing — that’s what the coaches always harp on and always talk about, creating turnovers every game. We have high expectations for that to try and make turnovers. We have to try and make turnovers this week as well.”

Last week: Against the Raiders, Revis played all 60 snaps. (It was the first time all season he went wire-to-wire.) By our count, he was on the left side 35 times and the right side 25 times. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw in his direction seven times, and completed five passes for 63 total yards. James Jones caught three of the passes, while Rod Streater and Denarius Moore had one catch apiece.

One important thing that we saw that was later verified by Revis on Thursday was an apparent priority on guarding against deep balls against the Raiders. That was manifested in the sight of Revis and the rest of the defensive backs playing off their man throughout the afternoon. At least three of the balls that were completed against Revis were completed in front of him. The one time where there was a deep ball thrown on him, it came in the second half and it fell incomplete.

“Every week is a different strategy and different game plan,” Revis said. “Every week is a different emphasis. As a secondary as a whole, deep balls will kill you. They kill any defense. Double moves in the high red area usually [means] teams go for the end zone and try and take a chance. We’ve been doing great so far, and we just have to continue to stay consistent in that area.

“[But] deep balls will kill you. Just overall. It can be a long day for a secondary, and it’ll be a longer day Monday coming in and the coaches getting after you about it,” he added. “Like I said, we’ve been doing a great job all around the board. We and the safeties have been doing a great job and alerting it in certain situations and key moments and guys have been paying attention, and we’ve been taking care of that.”

While it appears to be a fundamental change from the style of defense he played as a youngster under Rex Ryan when he was with the Jets, the results have pair off through the first three games of the season. As we noted here, the Patriots have yielded six pass plays of 20 or more yards (tied for second-best in the league), and zero pass plays of 40 yards or more (tied for best in the league). That’s a big change from the numbers the Patriots pass defense put up in previous years.

Something else we mentioned here, but in this context, it certainly bears repeating: the Patriots moved him from one side to another all afternoon, and matched him up on various receivers throughout the day, including Streater (who had one catch for nine yards on Revis in the early going) and Moore (who also had an 11-yard reception when matched against Revis). However, on Oakland’s final drive, he appeared to be almost solely focused on going head-to-head with Jones. On the Raiders last eight plays, he was against Jones on five occasions, including matching up with him in the slot on one play while Logan Ryan went against Andre Holmes on the outside. (That was the play where Ryan was flagged for pass interference.)

And then, there’s this:

In all, by our count, through three games, Revis has yielded eight catches on 16 targets for 103 yards, with one interception and three pass breakups.

Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’€™t be solely one-on-one): Provided the Chiefs are fully healthy, they have some good depth across the board, but their leading wide receiver is likely Dwayne Bowe. The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Bowe is a 30-year-old receiver who has caught at least 47 passes a year since he arrived in the NFL in 2007.

Because the Kansas City offense has seen some shifting parts over the early stages of the 2014 season — lead back Jamaal Charles has been in and out of the lineup because of a high ankle sprain, while Travis Kelce has emerged as a dependable target for quarterback Alex Smith — his numbers have been less-than-impressive, as he has just six catches in his two games. (He sat out Week 1 because of suspension.)

However, in his two career games against Revis-led defenses, Bowe has 12 catches for 171 yards. (It’s worth mentioning that Revis has never lost to the Chiefs — in those games, both with the Jets, the cornerback has six tackles and no interceptions.) In Bowe’s two career games against the Patriots, he has 12 catches for 136 yards and one touchdown, but he’s lost both of those games.

Money quotes: “Certainly he is a tremendous player. Certainly, when he’s manned up, [he's] a very, very good player. You’ve seen the last couple weeks [he's] matched the opposing team’s best receiver and for the most part has had a lot of success. He’s good, he’s physical, he’s fast, he’s smart, and you can see all those on film, so it’s a pretty dangerous combination when you have all that.” — Smith on Revis

“They’re very explosive. You have Donnie Avery, you have Dwayne Bowe. But it starts with Alex Smith. He runs the offense very well and he hurts defenses a lot with his feet as well. Scrambling a lot. We’ve seen that a lot on film. We know we’re going up against an explosive offense and explosive players. They’re very talented all around, even at running back, they’re talented. Jamaal Charles. Joe McKnight. So many guys. We’re looking forward to the matchup. … [Smith] doesn’t commit a lot of turnovers. He takes very good care of the ball.” — Revis on the Chiefs offense

One more thing: Despite the fact that he’s in his eighth year in the league, Monday will mark Revis’ first-ever game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga was the only Patriots player missing from practice on Thursday as the team released its first formal participation report of the week leading up to their game Monday night in Kansas City. Siliga injured his foot in the first half Sunday against the Raiders and did not return.

Sealver Siliga addresses reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Sealver Siliga addresses reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga was the only Patriots player missing from practice on Thursday as the team released its first formal participation report of the week leading up to their game Monday night in Kansas City.

In a bit of encouraging news for the Patriots, three players were removed altogether from the injury report after spending last week on the list. Receiver Julian Edelman (back), running back Shane Vereen (shoulder) and center Ryan Wendell (knee) participated fully in practice and were not on the report.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) and linebacker Jamie Collins (thigh) remain on the list.

For the Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles, who missed Sunday’s win over the Dolphins with a high-ankle sprain, returned and was listed as limited.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid indicated that he believes the running back will be ready to play Monday night against the Patriots.

“Yeah, I think so,” Reid said Thursday when asked if Charles would practice this week and play on Monday. “He’s going to practice. We’ll see how he does.”

Here’s the complete report:

Did not participate
DT Sealver Siliga (ankle)

Limited
DE Michael Buchanan (ankle)
LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
OL Dan Connolly (knee)
CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)
S Don Jones (hamstring)

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Jamaal Charles is a question mark heading into Monday's game against the Patriots. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Jamaal Charles is a question mark heading into Monday’s game against the Patriots. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Chiefs coach Andy Reid sounded an optimistic note about the health of running back Jamaal Charles on Thursday, saying there’s a chance he’ll play Monday against the Patriots.

“He’€™s going to practice [Thursday],” Reid said of Charles, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in a Sept. 14 loss to Denver and sat out Sunday’s win over the Dolphins. “We’€™ll see how he does.”

Charles is one of the most impressive multidimensional threats in the game. Last season, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder had 1,287 rushing yards on 259 carries, and added 70 catches for 693 yards on top of that. (He finished the year with a whopping 19 combined touchdowns.)

Against the Dolphins, Knile Davis started in his place and had a very productive afternoon, finishing with 132 yards on 32 carries. (The Chiefs also got some good work from backup running back Joe McKnight, who moved up the depth chart when Charles went down. Used mostly as a third-down option against the Dolphins, he caught six passes for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns.)

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Last week against the Raiders, some questioned the sight of Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis playing off some of Oakland’s quicker receivers, particularly James Jones, Denarius Thomas and Rod Streater.

Through three games, Darrelle Revis and the New England secondary have done well to limit deep balls. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Through three games, Darrelle Revis and the New England secondary have done well to limit deep balls. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Last week against the Raiders, some questioned the sight of Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis playing off some of Oakland’s quicker receivers, particularly James Jones, Denarius Thomas and Rod Streater. That approach may have played a role in the fact that Revis yielding five catches for 63 yards in what appeared to be man coverage.

Revis was asked Thursday after practice about giving those receivers some sort of cushion.

“Every week is a different strategy and different game plan,” he said. “Oakland did a great job of taking care of the ball as well — [David] Carr did. Every week is a different emphasis. As a secondary as a whole, deep balls will kill you. They kill any defense. Double moves in the high red area usually [means] teams go for the end zone and try and take a chance. We’ve been doing great so far, and we just have to continue to stay consistent in that area.

“[But] deep balls will kill you. Just overall. It can be a long day for a secondary, and it’ll be a longer day Monday coming in and the coaches getting after you about it,” he added. “Like I said, we’ve been doing a great job all around the board. We and the safeties have been doing a great job and alerting it in certain situations and key moments and guys have been paying attention, and we’ve been taking care of that.”

To this point in the season, the Patriots are tied for second in the league (six) when it comes to allowing the fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards. And they’re tied for the top spot when it comes to yielding the most pass plays of 40-plus yards (zero). That stands in sharp contrast to the last few seasons, where the New England secondary was usually at or near the top of the league when it came to giving up deep balls, particularly pass plays of 20 yards or more.

2013: 55 20-plus (11th), 9 40-plus (15th)
2012: 74 20-plus (1st), 8 40-plus (14th)
2011: 79 20-plus (1st), 9 40-plus (17th)
2010: 55 20-plus (7th), 4 40-plus (30th)

To this point in the season, a less aggressive approach in the secondary has yielded greater success when it comes to defending the deep ball. It’s a change from the system Revis learned as a younger player with Rex Ryan and the Jets.

“It’s a different system. It’s a totally different system,” he said when asked to stack one against the other. “Rex is more aggressive. We switch it up here. We plan man sometimes, and sometimes, we switch it up and do different things. It’s just two different things.”

Of course, you always have to bring some level of aggression to the cornerback position.

“This is an aggressive sport. You’ve got to play aggressive when you’re out there, competing on every down,” he said. “No matter what the situation is — man, zone — I have to do the best to execute my job and cover my man.”

Of course, there’s also the fact that sometimes, as a cornerback, you’re just going to get beat.

“Guys are going to make plays,” he shrugged, “This is not like we’re playing against high school players or any talent that’s less. Some of the greatest athletes in the world play this game. Sometimes, you make plays, sometimes, they make plays. That’s what happens.”

This week, he’ll be going against a Kansas City passing game he described as explosive and a quarterback in Alex Smith who has shown a good ability to hold on to the football.

“You have Donnie Avery, you have Dwayne Bowe,” Revis said. “But it starts with Alex Smith. He runs the offense very well and he hurts defenses a lot with his feet as well. Scrambling a lot. We’ve seen that a lot on film. We know we’re going up against an explosive offense and explosive players. They’re very talented all around, even at running back, they’re talented. Jamaal Charles. Joe McKnight. So many guys. We’re looking forward to the matchup.”

And then, there’s the first chance to Revis to play on Monday night as a member of the Patriots.

Monday Night Football is always a big deal,” he said. “We’re excited to be on center stage and get to show the world how we perform and how we play at a high level.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Danny Parkins from 610 Sports in Kansas City previews Pats-Chiefs 9-25-16

ESPN’s Adam Schefter checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Patriots and NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.