Fantasy Outlook: Week 4

Eddie Lacy looks to break out of his early-season fantasy slump against da Bears on Sunday.
Eddie Lacy looks to break out of his early-season fantasy slump against da Bears on Sunday.

The NFL season is already moving way too fast. I can't believe we're coming up to Week 4 already!

Maybe this is due to the fact that I've been sleeplessly busy at work recently, or maybe it's because time flies when you're dominating your fantasy league. It's probably a mix of the two for me.

In Week 4, some big name squads (Denver, Seattle, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis & Arizona) have their bye weeks, so now is the time you need to get ahead of your opponents on the Waiver Wire and in free agency if you haven't done so already.

For example, since the Seattle defense is on a bye this week, I picked up San Diego. They sport a great matchup this week against Jacksonville - a team that's given up the most points to opposing D/STs so far this year.

If you drafted players like Peyton Manning or Marshawn Lynch, ideally you also grabbed a backup for them on draft day given their early bye week. If not, the pickings for replacements may be pretty slim at this point, especially if you find yourself in a 12-team league or larger.

You may find yourself settling for QB Jake Locker or RB Daniel Thomas at this point - and hopefully the rest of your team can pick up the slack. But all is not lost if you have to settle for backups this week. It's still early in the season, and I feel Peyton still has yet to hit his stride. (Or at least I hope so, as a Demariyus Thomas owner!)

But let's not look too far ahead - we still have to do our best to get another fantasy win in Week 4. So let's take a look at some predictions!

In Week 4, the Packers head to the Windy City to take on their rivals to the south. As of late, the Bears defense has been surprisingly good following a rough 2013 campaign. So far this year, the Chicago defense is only giving up an average of 15.3 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

But then again, they've had a relatively easy start to the season. E.J. Manuel (16.7), Colin Kaepernick (12.2) and Geno Smith (14.6) all struggled so far this season, but after last week's game in Detroit, all those numbers would be an upgrade for Aaron Rodgers!

I see Rodgers finally putting some distance between him and his slow start to the tune of 280 yards and two touchdowns. Not the huge game we saw against the Jets, but enough to instill confidence back into fantasy owners.

I also think Jordy Nelson will be the main beneficiary of those stats. The duo has had tremendous chemistry so far this year, and they'll keep going back to the well against the Bears secondary who is pretty banged up at the safety position.

Even though the Bears are currently the second-ranked defense in fantasy, they have had their struggles against the run. C.J. Spiller (13.2), Frank Gore (13.5) and Chris Ivory (9.6) have all posted decent games against the Monsters of the Midway so far in 2014.

Even though fantasy owners may be regretting their first-round pick of Eddie Lacy, this is the week they will be able to breathe that sigh of relief because Lacy will finally break out of his current funk and reach the 100-yard mark. Don't lose faith yet! Make sure #27 is in your starting lineup this week!

Even though Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson made the Packers defense look decent last week, look for them to be back to their old selves as they take on the Jets this week. After getting torched by Rodgers in Week 2 and Jay Cutler in Week 3, the Jets will once again get it handed to them via the pass by the NFC North. Look for Golden Tate to catch a touchdown and have a solid game too.

After Andrew Luck's drubbing of the Jaguars last week, look for Phillip Rivers and the Chargers receivers to do more of the same at home this week. This matchup easily puts Rivers as a Top 5 quarterback this week, and definitely boosts Keenan Allen's value as well. Look for new starting running back Donald Brown to get 25 touches and post double-digit fantasy points too.

After getting off to one of the more disappointing starts this season, don't look for Toby Gerhart to redeem his draft position this week at San Diego. Without a productive offensive line, Gerhart is averaging less than three yards a carry and has yet to find the end zone in 2014.

Keep him on your roster in deeper leagues, but if you want to drop him in an 8-team league and can find new, starting backs on the waiver wire (Matt Asiata, Donald Brown Knile Davis) it may not be the worst choice. Personally, I'm hoping Gerhart picks it up soon - I drafted him as my RB2 this year, but haven't played him since Week 1.

Jordan Matthews seems to have replaced Riley Cooper as the #2 receiver in Philadelphia. Matthews' big game last week (8 catches, 59 yards, 2 TDs) indicates a connection between him and quarterback Nick Foles, so make sure to grab him if you have someone to drop. Currently owned in only 8% of ESPN leagues, Matthews could come in handy on bye weeks. As for Cooper? Feel free to drop him if an unownedplayer catches your eye.

This week I'm facing our league's reining champion. While I'm forced to replace Demariyus Thomas and the Seattle D/ST due to the bye week, he loses players like A.J. Green, Russell Wilson and Michael Floyd. Projections currently have me winning and moving to 4-0. I'll tell you all about it next week, but for now,