Week 4 of the 2012 fantasy football season helps distinguish the contenders from the pretenders. Those with a 3-0 record are in good shape and may just stand pat with their roster while owners with a 0-3 roster may need a major shakeup to change their luck. Here's a look at some players that are likely available on the waiver wire and can be played for Week 4 action.
The following players are all owned in under 50% of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues as of September 25, 2012.
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit Lions, 14% owned)
Already the quarterback with the highest completion in the NFL after two weeks, Ponder continued his success in Week 3 in the surprising win against the San Francisco 49ers where he scored three touchdowns (one rushing). With a solid support cast of Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Kyle Rudolph, he has been very accurate this season and has grown a lot in his second year. With deep-threat Jerome Simpson returning from his suspension and a matchup against a struggling Lions secondary that allowed a big game to Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, Ponder is in a great situation in Week 4.
Honorable mentions: Buffalo Bills' Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. New England Patriots, 40% owned), Tennessee Titans' Jake Locker (at Houston Texans, 38% owned), Oakland Raiders' Carson Palmer (at Denver Broncos, 49% owned)
Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Miami Dolphins, 37% owned)
When Beanie Wells left with a turf toe injury, Williams received nearly all of the touches out of the backfield and have 95 total yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3. While it's undetermined whether Wells will miss any playing time, Williams' situation as a potential starter in Arizona is better than some of the other popular waiver wire options that may receive major carries in Week 4. Despite the injury risk, Wells' injury could be lingering, making Williams a possible full-time back for the Cardinals.
Honorable mentions: Miami Dolphins' Daniel Thomas (at Arizona Cardinals, 14% owned), Denver Broncos' Ronnie Hillman (vs. Oakland Raiders, 9% owned), New York Jets' Bilal Powell (vs. San Francisco 49ers, 3% owned)
Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals (at Jacksonville Jaguars, 28% owned)
With a touchdown in each of the last two games, Hawkins has looked like the Bengals' most dangerous receiver behind A.J. Green. With excellent speed and playmaking abilities after the catch, this slot receiver makes the most of his limited touches. A big-play receiver in an offense effectively led by Andy Dalton, Hawkins is a solid WR3 with lots of potential, especially if the Bengals start getting him the ball more.
Honorable mentions: Washington Redskins' Leonard Hankerson (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6% owned), Minnesota Vikings' Jerome Simpson (at Detroit Lions, 11% owned), Seattle Seahawks' Golden Tate (at St. Louis Rams, 4% owned)
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit Lions, 41% owned)
As Ponder continues to improve every week, Rudolph, a fellow second-year tight end from the same draft class, has become a major target as well, particularly in the red zone. With two more touchdowns in Week 3 against the 49ers, he now has three on the season and has gotten off to a much better start than bigger names like Antonio Gates, Jermichael Finley, Fred Davis, and Jason Witten. Not just a great matchup in Week 4 against a Lions defense that has allowed big performances to opposing tight ends in prior weeks, Rudolph will also have favorable matchups in Week 5 against the Titans and in Week 6 against the Redskins.
Honorable mentions: Buffalo Bills' Scott Chandler (vs. New England Patriots, 27% owned), Oakland Raiders' Brandon Myers (at Denver Broncos, 5% owned), Cleveland Browns' Jordan Cameron (at Baltimore Ravens, 0% owned)
Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants (at Philadelphia Eagles, 11% owned)
Easily forgotten due to his Thursday night performance and overlooked by Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop, Tynes had an excellent showing in Week 3 with five made field goals. On a much more consistent and balanced offense than Succop or other waiver wire options, Tynes has made nine field goals and six extra points in the past two weeks and faces an Eagles defense that has given up the most fantasy points to kickers this season.
Honorable mentions: Baltimore Ravens' Justin Tucker (vs. Cleveland Browns, 47% owned), Houston Texans' Shayne Graham (vs. Tennessee Titans, 9% owned), Kansas City Chiefs' Ryan Succop (vs. San Diego Chargers, 2% owned)
Arizona Cardinals team defense (vs. Miami Dolphins, 47% owned)
A favorable play last week against the Eagles, the Cardinals team defense terrorized Michael Vick with plenty of pressure and kept them out of the end zone. From forcing turnovers to making big plays, the Cardinals should capitalize on a Week 4 matchup where they face a Dolphins offense led by rookie Ryan Tannehill and with concerns about Reggie Bush's availability. A top option in Week 3, the Cardinals team defense could also be a huge fantasy scorer in Week 4.
Honorable mentions: Atlanta Falcons team defense (vs. Carolina Panthers 30% owned), Cincinnati Bengals team defense (at Jacksonville Jaguars, 22% owned), Denver Broncos team defense (vs. Oakland Raiders, 21% owned)
Andrew Hawkins Game Log, Yahoo! Sports
Kyle Rudolph News & Notes, Yahoo! Sports
Lawrence Tynes Profile, Yahoo! Sports
Fantasy Points Against Philadelphia Eagles Kicker, Yahoo! Sports
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