Week 4 Storylines: Five Things To Watch: Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Williams & More

by Ray Kuhn

As we embark on Week 4, here are some thoughts that I have:

  1. What is the story with Cam Newton?  He had a great rookie season, maybe one of the best ever, but his first half was far and away better than his second half.  Newton has not been great at all this season, but at least in the first 2 games there was some optimism to be had.  In Week 1 he passed for 303 yards and in Week 2 he ran for 71 yards.  But his performance in Week 3 was just brutal to watch.  And if that was not bad enough, his body language, sulking, and overall demeanor as things went sour and then when Derek Anderson replaced him could not have made fantasy owners feel good.  Steve Smith did speak to him as a leader, and there is concern about his mental state in Carolina.  This week after having a few extra days between games he takes on the Falcons.  I am very interested to see how Newton reacts to all the scrutiny and adversity.  I would like to think the past few weeks are merely a speed bump and Newton will  remind us why he was drafted in the first two rounds, but I’m not sure how optimistic I truly can be.
  2. Adrian Peterson has been looking better each week, and last week against the tough 49ers defense, he looked like he was truly ready to take flight and announce that he is back.  Overall his day was not good, but that can attributed to the defense he faced.  Peterson rushed for 86 yards, but 21 one those yards came on one 4th quarter rush, which was the cause for increased optimism.  That rush, and the fact that he was able to carry the ball 25 times, and looked strong doing so and killing the clock in the 4th quarter leads me to believe that he will rush for over 100 yards and find the end zone at least once this week.
  3. Lack of talent in not the issue for Ryan Williams.  Injuries, fumbling, and lack of playing time behind Beanie Wells were the issues.  But Williams appears to be healthy and Wells is out for a while.  Williams had 13 carries for 84 yards against the Eagles last week and with Kevin Kolb behind center, it will be interesting to see Williams can follow up on that performance and how he handles being the number one back.  If Williams can remain healthy, there could be some value here as he is an explosive running back.
  4. Chris Johnson has just been brutal to watch.  Granted he did look good in breaking off three long runs, but he also had multiple runs where he lost yardage and just in general did not look good.  He has not shown any explosiveness or much ability to get thru a hole and is averaging 1.36 yards per carry thus far and he is without a touchdown.  Houston’s run defense is ranked 5th in the league so the outlook does not look much better for Johnson this week.  There really is no guarantee that he will break out, but all it takes is one run to break the cycle.  If you have other options I would look to bench him for this week, even given the painful possibility that he breaks out on your bench, because the starts do not seem to point that way.
  5. Another thing I am keeping an eye on this week is how Aaron Rodgers reacts to and rebounds from the Monday night debacle.  Forget about the outcome, Rodgers was sacked 9 times, only passed for 223 yards and did not have a touchdown.  Granted the Saints are beyond desperate and perhaps overdue for a win, but their defense is not very good and it seems that everything is lined up for Rodgers and his stable of receivers to have a big game.
Buy Low Backs: Ryan Mathews & Ryan Williams
Musing & Confusing: Random Week 2 Thoughts: Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden & More


  1. Todd says:

    I am strong at wr….A. Rodgers at qb and my rb’s are M. Lynch,R.Turbin.Fjax. R. Williams and Andre Brown….Would you deal Willams and Brpwn for D,Sproles??? Thank you for opinon.

  2. Jeff says:

    This one is eating me up. Start romo at home under the Monday night lights or newton against the tough falcons D. What do u think?

  3. Todd – Sproles honestly scares me, because he could be rather hit or miss from week-to-week (though you could also say the same thing of the other two).

    That said, I think Williams could offer you your best bet of a steady RB2 the rest of the way. I would be in favor of trading the two, but I would aim a little higher and see if someone would bite.

    Jeff – I would go Newton. While both are struggling, Newton’s potential with both his arm and his legs give him the edge in my book.

  4. Drew Tingley says:

    Who should I start tomorrow?

    Daren Sproles or Steven Ridley
    Vincent Jackson or Jordy Nelson


  5. Drew says:

    Im at a cross roads here. Do I start sproles against a pretty good Green Bay Defense or Stevan Ridley against the rival Bills at home? Danny woodhead seems to be getting more and more involved with the offense which is really confusing consider Ridley’s size and talent. The other toss up is start Vincent Jackson at home against a very injury plagued Redskings defense even though Josh Freeman’s level of play has been subpar or start Jordy Nelson with a healthy Greg Jennings against a Saints defense that has not shown up for most of this season. What do you think? Thanks!

  6. Randy says:

    I lost Nicks this week and planned to play Hankerson in his place. Now that Garçon may try to play, how much value would Hank lose if Garçon is indeed active? It is a later game, so my other options based on remaining free agents would be Barden or James Jones. I do have Amendola and Simpson on my roster, but planned to sit them (don’t know what to expect out of Simpson and don’t trust Danny vs Seattle).

  7. Drew – I would go Sproles & Jackson; I agree with you that I don’t trust Ridley’s touches and Jackson’s matchup is too enticing to pass up.

    Randy – While Hankerson does lose some value, he is going to still start, I believe, so he should have value still. However, with the options you have, I think Amendola has the highest upside potential, especially if it is a PPR league.

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