Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – In what is quickly turning into the “Year of the Pass,” 13 quarterbacks scored at least 20 fantasy points in Week 4 led by New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
And with all the rules changes designed to make the passing game succeed, it shouldn’t be a surprise to fantasy owners that 13 quarterbacks are currently on pace to throw for 4,000 yards this season. Compare that to the average number of 4,000-yards passers since 2000 which is 5.9 per season.
Eli Manning, New York Giants – Manning and the Giants were first out of the gate Thursday night and he posted a number for all to see and try to beat. They couldn’t. Behind three first-half touchdown passes to tight end Larry Donnell (see below) Manning finished the night with five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing), 300 yards and a position-leading 34 fantasy points.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis – Luck threw for four touchdowns for the second consecutive weekend and hit the 370-yard passing mark for the third time in four games as he led the Colts to an easy victory over Tennessee. With 13 touchdown passes and 1,305 yards through the air he leads all fantasy players in points.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas – Murray has taken up permanent residence in this corner of the fantasy piece. He leads the league in rushing after his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. Sunday night he abused a Saints run defense for 149 yards and two scores.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City – Fantasy owners welcomed back Charles after he missed the last game with an ankle injury and the Chiefs running back showed no signs of the injury lingering. Against New England as he totaled 108 yards from scrimmage and scored three times. Of course, it was such a dominating performance by Kansas City that Charles’ backup, Knile Davis, rushed for 107 yards too.
Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore – Smith was already one of the biggest surprises of the fantasy season, but facing his old team for the first time in Week 4 he was obviously ready to show the Panthers the mistake in their strategy to let him go after last season. He caught seven of 10 targets for 139 yards and two scores worth almost 34 fantasy points.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh – In 2014 Brown has added the one element which kept him from being a fantasy superstar last season – scoring touchdowns. Sunday he scored twice to bring his season total to five along with 131 yards receiving. He also completed a pass and continues to return punts. He’s the complete package and is currently the top fantasy wideout. This is not a fluke.
Larry Donnell, New York Giants – If you said “Who?” after Donnell scored the first of his three touchdowns Thursday night you haven’t been paying attention. He’s been one of Manning’s favorite targets all season, averaging almost eight targets per game. Thursday he caught seven of eight targets for 54 yards and three touchdowns worth 26 fantasy points. Likely a free agent pickup in your fantasy league, he’s currently ranked fourth at his position ahead of names like Greg Olsen, Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski. By the way, he’s owned in less than 60 percent of all Yahoo leagues. What are you waiting for?
Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers – Dawson was perfect on the day, going 4- for-4 in field goals attempts, including a 51-yarder, to lead the position with 17 points.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles defense and special teams did everything they could to help the team and fantasy owners who took a chance on them. The Eagles blocked a punt for a touchdown, returned a punt for a touchdown and took an interception 53 yards for a third score. Unfortunately, they were only started in about 10 percent of all leagues. That’s probably a higher number than you would expect considering their past defensive performance … or lack of it. You can thank the start of the bye weeks.
And the winner of the TSN Fantasy Player of the Week is … Giants quarterback Eli Manning. It’s been a long time since the younger Manning found his way onto the FPOW pages, primarily due to his propensity to throw interceptions and his coach’s preference for a balanced offense. Thursday night’s production reminded us of his zenith as a fantasy quarterback – in 2011 when he threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns.