Originally written on Fantasy Sports Locker Room  |  Last updated 11/15/14

The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped to 0-4 this week, falling just six yards short against the Vikings in London but as Steelers fans are greatly disappoined there are some positive takeaways from a fantasy perspective. Most notably, their rookie rusher is making a big difference. In the first quarter of his first game Le’Veon Bell gave the Steelers something they hadn’t had all season. He may have been a bit overexuberant jumping over the line on his first career touchdown but his burst bouncing the ball to the outside warranted some type of celebration. His 3.6 YPC doesn’t jump off the box score at you by any stretch of the imagination but he looked much better than anyone Pittsburgh has put on the field at the position to date. No Steelers back with more than 7 carries in a game has posted more than 4.0 YPC anyhow. The big takeaway from a fantasy perspective is that Bell took a full workload immediately, leaving no question as to whether who would be Pittsburgh’s lead back coming out of their bye. Bell carried the ball 16 times, 14 more than any other back and was featured on all downs. His performance today was an announcement to the fantasy community but also a positive sign for Steelers fans that he may provide strong play at the position in the coming years. Lets not forget about Antonio Brown, either, who followed his near 200 yard performance in Week 3 with 13 catches on 12 targets and 103 total yards. Moving forward Brown and Bell are must start options week in and out, while Heath Miller has firmly inserted himself in the TE stream discussion. It’s hardly consolation for a Steelers fan base that has all but abandoned hope on 2013 (no one is running away with that division, mind you) but all is not lost for fantasy owners. Onto the bullets: Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery catch a ton of balls that he shouldn’t. They both have big bodies and can gain positions on most corners. Marshall, for example, was well OB on his first quarter endzone target but it was just a ball that Cutler put in the air because he saw a one on one. He shouldn’t have even had a chance to catch it. Despite his struggles, Cutler had a decent game fantasy wise and gave us three useful receivers, including a big game from Jeffery who looks good running the end around (just 5 of 12 catches/target, though). Ugly QB play kind of defined the day in what is supposed to be a QB driven league, with many pivots turning the ball over more than once. In particular, Blaine Gabbert coming back from injury and Mike Glennon deemed a better option than Josh Freeman, struggled. Gabbert’s first of three picks went off his receivers hands/not on him, but he later threw one right at Darius Butler and went back for six. Glennon’s first start featured 10 points: 4.5 YPA, 56% completions and three turnovers. The Jags have already recommitted to Blaine Gabbert for next week. Which you’re thrilled about if you own the Rams D and are otherwise displeased with. MJD had no room to run, and won’t. Reggie Bush completely changes what Detroit can do. Which is impressive in particular because Joique Bell is running very well this year, but doesn’t bring half of what Bush does to the offense. Beyond that, Matt Forte had 117 total yards and a long TD, yet was the second best RB on the field by a wide margin. Bush gained a first down in the second half on a crazy spin move and kept his legs churning after contact all day. Credit Brian Hoyer for not getting picked after a three INT performance last week. He was steady. Dalton wasn’t, in large part due to good coverage and consistent pressure, which should spell trouble for Cleveland’s opponents throughout the year. Josh Gordon had a serviceable day. Cameron was a monster, again (12 targets, early TD). Greg Jennings’ first TD was on a 7 yard curl route, so don’t get overexcited by the 70 yard TD on the box score. But, we shouldn’t be shocked that Matt Cassel helped the value of Minnesota’s skill position guys. It’s time we start taking Jerome Simpson seriously. The coaching staff clearly intends to use him more than Cordarrelle Patterson, who went back to just two targets. Moving forward, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Matt Cassel doesn’t keep the starting job. His 9.9 YPA was 1.5 better than Ponder’s best game this year and 3.0 better than his average. Marshawn Lynch had another of his textbook ‘you can’t tackle me’ runs with about 1:30 left in the 1st quarter and tacked on another long one to help save his fantasy day, after a quiet first half. Credit the Texans for working Arian Foster in the passing game early against Seattle. The first half went well, because the team found creative ways to get their weapons the ball. He wound up with 171 total yards and far more work than Tate in his best fantasy performance of the season despite going up against a tough defense. Discredit the Texans for letting Matt Schaub give it away late. Today marked his 3rd straight game with a pick 6, that came on an awful bootleg-looking play. Hopkins was held down by Seattle’s pass D but I wouldn’t let that discourage me on him moving forward. It was more than five quarters since their last Touchdown but Victor Cruz got open deep and Eli Manning found him. That’s about all that went right for New York, but, take note that the Manning-Cruz connection is still thriving despite the team’s struggles. Cruz was targeted 16 times today. In the deepest of deep leagues (or KR leagues) you’ll note that Jeff Demps made it into the lineup and had 22 yards on two touches. Tampa Bay clearly plans to use him if he’s on the roster; he 3 returns for 69 yards. C.J. Spiller’s day was serviceable, with 77 yards rushing, but on 7 fewer carries Fred Jackson outrushed him again, posting a touchdown and  87 yards on the ground. Torrey Smith had the monster day that most were projecting against a depleted Bills secondary (165 yards, TD). Joe Flacco did not, he attempted 50 passes to just nine carries. Put another way, Flacco threw an interception more than half as many times as Baltimore rushed the ball against Buffalo’s 6th worst rush defense. Next week, the Bills draw Hoyer and the gang. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron should  be in for big weeks. Speaking of the short week game Spiller and Jackson were both hurt but expect to play. I know that Trent Richardson is struggling, but why do you trade for the guy if (opening of the 2nd quarter) you’re going to pass the ball three consecutive times from the four rather than feed him the ball? They later remedied it as on the back of a 50 yard run (and 9 yard catch) by Donald Brown, Richardson picked up consecutive carries from inside the 8 and scored. I’ll need to review the tape, but, this looked like ‘more than a 3.0 ypc performance’. Not any huge runs, but, some big chunks late in the game. It was troubling to see Don Brown break off a long one in limited action, though while Richardson again plodded all day. I spoke about the impact of Jerome Felton’s return on Adrian Peterson’s fantasy game and indeed, Felton was on the field on All Day’s 60 yard TD (he led through the hole but only had to lay half a block). He wound up with his best game of the season (23-140-2TD) including his best YPC average (6.1). Matthew Stafford’s fantasy day was aided in a big way by the underperformance of Chicago’s offense. Consecutive turnovers gave Detroit layup touchdowns. Stafford missed a ton of throws, to his RBs, TEs over the middle, on many different routes. For the Lions, it’s a positive sign that they can pull out a win when they are out of sync but from a fantasy perspective there were lots of points left on the field. Ryan Broyles was absent from the box score on just one target. Michael Vick started out on fire, but, didn’t throw for a touchdown in what appeared to be a great matchup against Denver. Manning, meanwhile, was Manning. Bryce Brown finally got some work, due in general to the altitude and LeSean McCoy having the wind knocked out of him… but, he showed what he can do in this offense (60 total yards, though unimpressive rushing numbers) with lots of work. If you can get Brown cheap, go ahead an roster him if for no other reason than a possible McCoy injury. DeMarco Murray wound up underused in the second half and that played a hand in Dallas’ loss but while he had the ball he again looked elusive and agile. He found his was through a lot of holes cleanly. Dez Bryant (and Tony Romo) owners will be thrilled to see that the team continues to be willing to throw the toss up fade to him from inside the 5. Another short TD, using his height to his advantage. Were it not for his fumble Terreance Williams would have had a performance to be impressed with. The DMC injury changed the offense considerably today. Rashad Jennings wound up as Captain Checkdown Matt Flynn’s lead receiver. Meanwhile…. Alfred Morris got dinged up and Roy Helu played just fine in his stead. Morris tells us to expect him on the field after the bye, though. Locker was electric before his injury. 3 TDs, 130 rating, 17 yards rushing. He did it without Kenny Britt who was inactive. It would be a surprise if he factors into Tennessee games at all moving forward, though fantasy owners should become interested again if he’s traded. Without him,  Nate Washington topped 100 yards with two scores and Kendall Wright caught 5 balls despite an injury scare. Nothing went well for the Jets after all the offensive players posted nice numbers last week. Bilal Powell, though, posted 108 total yards in losing effort. His investors hope that Chris Ivory never sees the field again. I’m not citing numbers here, just the snaps I saw, but it feels like Ryan Mathews (who played well between the 20s) wasn’t on the field at all in the redzone. San Diego opted instead for Danny Woodhead. Who handled the task just fine but this severely handicaps Mathews moving forward. It will be hard to start Philp Rivers in any given week but you’ve got to be impressed with the way Mike McCoy has helped to revitalize Rivers’ game. He completed 83.3% of his passes today for more than 400 yards and has passed for more than 76% in every game since opener. Robert Griffin III struggled again but he did protect the ball this time and he’ll continue to make Pierre Garcon useful (though 7 targets was a season low, considerably when compared to 11, 13 and 13). Dwayne Bowe shows just fine on the stat sheet (4-58-TD) but his 34 yard score came in garbage time and he was underused, again, despite Alex Smith throwing 41 passes. 10 of them went to Donnie Avery, who caught a paltry 2. David Wilson fared well, despite his surroundings. If Giants figure out their offense, owners will be happy they stayed the course. The post Inside the Locker Room, Week 4 Review: A look at Sunday’s action appeared first on Fantasy Sports Locker Room.

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