Emotion ran high in Week 4. At least three players (David Carr, DeShaun Foster and Corey Dillon) celebrated touchdowns by hucking the ball into the stands. And in the case of Dillon, who delivered the pigskin to the fans of his former team, the ball was sent back in classic Wrigley Field fashion. Emotion also got the better of Tennessee defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who couldn't help but take his cleats to the head of a helmetless Andre Gurode, a Cowboys offensive lineman, not once, but twice. Personally, my Week 4 emotional peak hasn't been reached yet. It will come on Monday night as my fantasy team needs Brett Favre and Donald Driver to hook up early and often. While I wait for that rollercoaster ride, let's take a look at what went down on Sunday:
Week 4 Update: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Despite the offensive line woes, I do think that Leinart is capable of more than what we've seen of Warner in his time in Arizona. For one thing, Leinart isn't completely immobile like his predecessor. He also doesn't hold onto the ball as long and shouldn't take as many sacks as Warner. Leinart has the smarts, the vision and the arm accuracy to hit the ground running. The offensive line is a serious problem that can't be ignored, and dates with Kansas City and Chicago in the next two weeks might be best served by having Leinart ride the fantasy pine. But, if you own him , or plan on bringing him aboard this week, he's going to be an attractive play in Week 7 and Week 8 when then team travels to Oakland and Green Bay, respectively.
- Week 4 highlighted what has been a bumper crop of breakout receivers. On Sunday, Marques Colston (5, 132, 1), Jerricho Cotchery (3, 65, 1), Bernard Berrian (3, 108, 1) and Reggie Williams (5, 93, 2) further proved their early season exploits weren't a fluke, and each now sits among the top 10 fantasy receivers. While their fantasy availability has shrunk over the weeks, two more receivers emerged on Sunday that will be much more attainable across Yahoo! leagues, and perhaps as valuable. Detroit's Mike Furrey scored twice against St. Louis, where he spent time last season as a free safety. Now a starting receiver in Mike Martz's pass-happy offense, Furrey sits ninth in the league in catches among receivers and 25th in yards (242). He's 99 percent available.
In New England, Doug Gabriel has positioned himself as the team's go-to receiver the past two weeks. He missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury, and didn't record a catch in Week 2 as he was slowly worked into the offense. But he's been targeted a team-high 19 times in the two games since, tallying 122 yards and two TDs. Gabriel is a burner with the skills to develop into a complete package. On the go forward, expect his role to grow and for the team to look for him deep more than it has thus far. A buzz pickup in preseason after he was traded from Oakland, Gabriel still can be had in 94 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
- Terrell Owens' return to action on Sunday, coming off a broken hand and an accidental drug overdose, went off without a hitch. He hauled in a respectable five passes for 88 yards, and he also had a ball thrown to him in the end zone that was first ruled a TD but was overturned by another referee – from the replays I saw, it looked like it actually may have been a legit catch. Owens' presence certainly benefited Terry Glenn, opening things up for the veteran to score twice on passes from Drew Bledsoe. Between the lines, there is no arguing that Owens has a positive affect on the Cowboys, and his fantasy owners. No question, those owners long for the off-the-field stuff to just go away. But with Philadelphia on the Cowboys' schedule for Week 5, those wishes will be folly for at least another week.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues
QB – David Carr, Hou
Efficiency has defined Carr's season, thus far. After four games, Carr is the surprise NFL leader in QB Rating (108.9) and Completion Percentage (73 percent). He has accounted for eight scores (7 TD passes, 1 TD run), while throwing just two picks – only Peyton Manning and Jake Delhomme have fewer INTs among QBs that have started four games. He's still eating turf more than you'd like to see – his 15 sacks are second-most in the league – but when Carr is able to move the offense into the red zone, the team's struggles running the football (3.2 yards per carry) has Carr looking to find pay dirt through the air – Carr has the team's only rushing TD, while TD passes to Andre Johnson (2), Eric Moulds (1), Owen Daniels (2) and Mark Bruener (2) have accounted for the team's remaining offensive touchdowns. Carr is still available in 51 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
RB – Kevan Barlow, NYJ
While I like rookie Leon Washington's chances to work his way prominently into the Jets' backfield mix, Barlow should be good for at least half of the backfield workload no matter how this situation evolves. And, more importantly, Barlow should continue to own exclusive rights to goal-line carries. Barlow scored twice on Sunday, giving him four rushing TDs in four games – all of his scores have come from five yards out or less. Cedric Houston, who has the only other rushing TD for the Jets (a five-yarder), hurt his knee in Week 4, eliminating any worry for the time being of Barlow losing any short-yardage glory carries. With Chad Pennington masterfully piloting the Jets' offensive attack – through Sunday, the Jets were the fourth-highest scoring team in the league – Barlow should continue to see scoring opportunities, even if the yardage is meager. Consider Barlow as a plug-n-play during the next four weeks of the bye season – he's available in 65 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
WR – Reggie Williams, Jac
With two touchdowns on Sunday, Williams now sits among the top 10 fantasy scorers at the wide receiver position, and he's still available in 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues. With Matt Jones nursing a groin injury, Williams, not Earnest Wilford, has been the object of quarterback Byron Leftwich's attention. For the season, Williams' 33 pass targets ranks 16th among receivers, and is tops on the Jaguars. Although slow for the position, he's a big body with good hands, which should afford him continued looks in the red zone.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values