Things we learned in Week 4
Compiled by Thomas Harrigan, Jesse Pantuosco, and Steve Schwarz

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Denver Broncos offense had another easy day, as expected, but the rest of the NFL seems to change course every week.

Last week's fantasy studs; Robert Griffin III, Matthew Stafford, LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray and Calvin Johnson were pedestrian, while Philip Rivers, Frank Gore and Greg Jennings jumped above of the crowd.

Below are a few more things we observed.

The Bills never make it look easy do they? In their two victories this season, they've won by a combined five points. Their two losses have been just as close (a seven-point loss to the Jets last week after losing by two against the Patriots in Week 1).

Fred Jackson (16 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD) has out-gained C.J. Spiller three out of the past four weeks. Could the Bills be the first team since 2008 to have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers? It's starting to look that way.

Stevie "Why so serious?" Johnson decided to take a week off to let Robert Woods shoulder the load. The USC rookie hauled in four catches for 80 yards while Johnson was limited to just one grab for -1 yards. No, that's not a typo. Johnson really did finish the day with negative receiving yards.

Kiko Alonso (five tackles, two INT on Sunday) is making a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The 23-year-old linebacker already has four picks in his first four NFL games.

As awful as Joe Flacco's day looks on paper (25-for-50, 347 yards, 2 TD, 5 INT), the man can still throw a mean deep pass. His 74-yard heave to Torrey Smith in the fourth quarter led to a first down at Buffalo's 17-yard line. Later in the game, he connected with Deonte Thompson on an equally gorgeous 33- yard completion.

Smith was a ghost in the first half (one catch for 23 yards), but he came on strong after half time (143 yards, one TD). He's on pace for a Baltimore record 1,740 receiving yards in 2013.

The Ravens are 2-2 for the first time since 2008. Baltimore made it to the AFC Championship that season so maybe it's not such a bad thing.

Bengals at Browns

The Bengals must have left their offense in Cincinnati. Sunday was the team's lowest yardage output since last year's playoff loss to Houston.

Cincinnati's running back duo of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard has produced a combined 289 yards rushing this season. As of 5 p.m. Sunday, eight running backs in the league have collected more yardage than that all by themselves. Needless to say, neither piece of the Bengals' "running back by committee" is working right now.

It's always fun to see one of the best wideouts in the NFL matched up with one of the league's best cornerbacks and that's exactly what we saw Sunday with Joe Haden shadowing A.J. Green. Green finished with only 51 yards so I guess you could say Haden won the battle.

Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is on pace for 1,440 receiving yards this season. That would be an NFL tight end record. He's also on pace for 20 touchdowns, which, you guessed it, would be another NFL tight end record. So yeah, he's been pretty good this year.

The Browns are 2-2 for the first time since 2011. Last season, they didn't get their second win until Week 8.

The Browns are winning but they're doing it without any semblance of a running game. Today, the quartet of Willis McGahee, Chris Ogbonnaya, Bobby Rainey and Brian Hoyer collected just 89 yards on 30 carries.

So now the question for Cleveland is, who starts at quarterback when Brandon Weeden (thumb injury) is cleared to play again? You tell me. Here are there numbers this season side-by-side.

Weeden: 54.7 percent completion rate, 258 ypg, 1 TD, 3 INT, 62.0 QB rating, winless.

Hoyer: 59.8 percent completion rate, 295 ypg, 5 TD, 3 INT, 83.2 QB rating, undefeated.

Seems pretty obvious doesn't it?

Bears at Lions

Detroit put up a 40-spot in this one. That's the most points the Bears have allowed in a game since 2009 when they lost 41-21 to the Kurt Warner-led Arizona Cardinals.

Reggie Bush looked like he was making up for lost time this week. The 139 yards he generated on the ground were his most since Week 2 against the Raiders in 2012.

The Calvin Johnson fade route is becoming the NFL's version of the Kareem sky hook. Everyone knows it's coming but they still can't stop it.

As far as I saw, Ndamukong Suh didn't do anything to warrant a fine in Week 4. Hey, there's always next week.

Matt Forte turned on the jets for a 53-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. That's Forte's longest touchdown sprint since Week 5 of 2010 (68-yard score versus Carolina).

Alshon Jeffery answered the bell with a team-high 107 yards receiving on five catches. Jeffery had just 104 yards total in the Bears' first three games, so fantasy owners can be excused for not starting him.

Chicago converted back-to-back two-point conversions in the fourth quarter. You don't see that too often.

Seattle at Houston

It was a big day for Arian Foster backers. Foster had 27 carries and 102 yards on the ground and six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown through the air. And while Ben Tate had 44 yards on seven carries (6.3 ypc), he also lost a fumble.

After Russell Wilson torched the Jaguars for four touchdowns in Week 3, he managed just 123 passing yards, zero touchdowns and one interception at Houston. The only positve was his 77 rushing yards. Other than the Jacksonville game, Wilson has two passing touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Seahawks are getting Marshawn Lynch more involved in the passing game this season, which can only help his fantasy value. Lynch had three catches for a team-high 45 yards Sunday, giving him eight receptions on the year. He also had his best rushing game from a yards-per-carry standpoint, picking up 98 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries (5.8 ypc). He entered the game with averaging 3.4 ypc.

Despite playing with an injured leg and having Richard Sherman in his grill for much of the game, Andre Johnson had 12 targets, nine catches and 110 yards.

DeAndre Hopkins proved he isn't an every-week starter yet with two catches on three targets.

Garrett Graham could be a sneaky bye-week fill-in at tight end. He had five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown Sunday, giving him three scores in four games.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

The strategy to start any defense playing the Jacksonville Jaguars is 4-0 in producing double-digit fantasy points. The Colts gave up three points, sacked Blaine Gabbert four times and picked off three of his passes, returning one for a touchdown. The Jags are at St. Louis next week, if you were wondering.

Trent Richardson didn't have a big yardage day, running for 60 yards on 20 carries, but he did get in the end zone. One thing he'll definitely have with the Colts that he didn't have with the Browns is frequent scoring opportunities.

After two quiet weeks in a row, Reggie Wayne saw his most targets of the season with 11 and caught five passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

With Dwayne Allen out for the season, Coby Fleener should be a TE1 going forward. He had 77 yards and a touchdown on five catches Sunday.

If Maurice Jones-Drew can't run against the Colts, who allowed the eighth most rushing yards in the NFL over the first three weeks, he's not going to be able to run against anyone. He should be benched until he shows some signs of life.

New York at Kansas City

Eli Manning only had 217 passing yards, but Victor Cruz had 164 of them. He saw 16 of Manning's 37 passes, caught 10 of his 18 completions and grabbed Manning's lone touchdown too.

More targets did not help Hakeem Nicks. After complaining that he couldn't throw the ball to himself following a zero-catch effort in Week 3, Nicks saw nine targets against the Chiefs, but snared just three, for 33 yards.

With pass-happy Andy Reid coaching the team and check-down artist Alex Smith quarterbacking, Jamaal Charles is as active in the passing game as he has ever been. While he only had 65 rushing yards on 18 carries (3.6 ypc), Charles caught five of his 11 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. He has 23 receptions through four games, putting him on pace for 92, 57 more than 2012.

Dwayne Bowe is going to have to rely on touchdowns for his fantasy production this season, which makes him a boom-or-bust play every week. He caught a 34- yard score with 3:06 remaining and the Chiefs leading 24-7 Sunday.

David Wilson had his best game of the season, but it still wasn't very good. He just didn't have to do much to best his other efforts. Wilson carried the football 13 times for 55 yards.

Pittsburgh at Minnesota

Rookie Le'Veon Bell showed us speed and elusiveness on a first quarter touchdown run. Fantasy owners have to love that they gave Bell the ball twice from the 1-yard line in the second half and he scored again, so the rookie should continue to see the rock in goal line situations.

A pretty good day statistically for Ben Roethlisberger (36-of-51 for 383 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but Pittsburgh fell to 0-4 for the first time in 45 years.

Antonio Brown caught 12 balls, but for just 88 yards and no touchdowns. At least his PPR league total will be respectable.

The installation of Matt Cassel at quarterback apparently brought the return of Greg Jennings (3-92-2) to fantasy relevance. Jennings still has blazing speed as he showed on a 70-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.

Even so, Jerome Simpson (7-124-0, team high 11 targets) was Cassel's favorite target.

The defense wasn't loaded up in the box on a first down play, a welcome sight for Adrian Peterson. Peterson right guard for 60 yards, TOUCHDOWN. A welcome sight for fantasy owners.

Arizona at Tampa Bay

The Cardinals' best offensive player in the first half was Andre Ellington. On a team with Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer and Rashard Mendenhall that's not a good thing. Palmer hit Fitzgerald with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to make their totals less objectionable to fantasy owners.

Fitzgerald didn't have a catch until the third quarter.

We now know quarterback Josh Freeman wasn't the answer, but after leading his team to a score on their second drive of the day, there was hope for rookie Mike Glennon who hit Mike Williams with a short touchdown pass. He was 15-of-24 for 115 yards in the first half without a turnover. The second half was a different story as he was just 9-of-19 with a pair of interceptions. Fantasy owners should not be jumping on the Glennon bandwagon either.

The Bucs' defense continued its strong play, holding the Cardinals scoreless in the first half and 87 net yards. Tampa Bay's defense is not the team's problem as they have given up just 70 points all season.

We're still waiting to see the Doug Martin from 2012. Twenty-seven carries for 45 yards is unacceptable?

New York Jets at Tennessee

Bilal Powell managed 108 yards from scrimmage, but didn't get into the end zone. Unfortunately, that's about the best the Jets had to offer fantasy owners.

The Jake Locker who showed up in the first half against a solid Jets defense (16-of-19, 130 yards, three touchdowns) is the guy the Titans thought they drafted with the eighth pick of the first round in 2011. The team (and fantasy owners) just haven't seen him often enough over his first 20 career games. Now the bad news - he left early in the third quarter with an injury.

Justin Hunter's first and only two catches in the NFL have both resulted in touchdowns.

Chris Johnson's numbers, 15 carries for 21 yards, were very Doug Martin-like, that is to say ugly.

Philadelphia at Denver

None of the Eagles fantasy worthy-players performed up to expectations. Given that they were playing the juggernaut Broncos' offense, the final score (xx-xx) is no surprise.

Peyton Manning & Co. rolled through the Eagles' defense as expected. A touchdown pass to Wes Welker on the first drive was a harbinger of things to come. They didn't even need Manning for the second score as Trindon Holliday took the next kickoff 105 yards for score number two. Manning finished with another 300-yard passing day and four more touchdown passes.

Through four games Manning has thrown 16 touchdowns passes against zero interceptions. Oh yea, he's also thrown for 1,470 yards (367 ypg).

This week is was Welker and Demaryius Thomas dominating the receiving statistics. Last week it was Eric Decker. Manning is managing to keep all three star wideouts happy.

Washington at Oakland

Alfred Morris owners suffered through another week of frustration, this time due to injury. Morris managed just 71 rushing yards before leaving with an injury.

Robert Griffin III threw for 227 yards - his first game this season under 300 yards. The Redskins were more balanced on offense and he attempted just 31 passes. He attempted at least 40 in each of the first three games.

The "pick-six" that Matt Flynn threw in the second quarter is the reason he can't win a starting gig in the NFL. Flynn let Washington back into the game with a very bad interception.

Oakland backup running back Rashad Jennings managed 99 yards of offense in relief of Darren McFadden.

Dallas at San Diego

Philip Rivers likes his new weapon - Danny Woodhead. A teammate of Darren Sproles before the back went to New Orleans, Rivers certainly knows how to use him. He hit Woodhead on touchdown passes of 26 and 13 yards.

Antonio Gates' 56-yard touchdown grab was the longest since 2006. Maybe he is finally healthy again.

Rivers owns five 400-yard passing days in his career - two in four games this season.

The sight of Dez Bryant jumping over Richard Marshall should scare every cornerback in the league as Marshall had perfect defensive position and still couldn't stop the touchdown pass. Bryant's second touchdown catch was just your basic 34-yard reception turning a short pass over the middle into six points.

Tony Romo has thrown eight touchdown pass and just one interception. Though he doesn't have a 300-yard game yet this season, he's posting solid fantasy numbers week-in and week-out.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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