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Carm's Fantasy Football Corner 2014: Week 4

Much like a car, your fantasy football team will need a tune up, but you need to know the difference between when to get your oil changed and when you need replace your engine. The issue with a lot of fantasy players is that they’re too quick to scrap their team. They want to drop it all off in the scrap yard, only to pick up some unreliable junk, while a true mechanic knows just what it takes to make it run just right. We’ve reached Week 4, which is the quarterly mark of your fantasy football season. By now you should have a decent idea of what your team is capable of, but don’t forget you’re only 25 percent of the way there. You should be able to spot your weaknesses and make some adjustments accordingly. There’s no need for a complete overhaul because it’s still too early, but a quick tune up will do just fine for now.

Jerick McKinnon, RB Minnesota Vikings: No AP, no problem. Despite the fact that Adrian Peterson’s days might be done in Minnesota, the Vikings have still found a way to fill in for the lost production. In Sunday’s win over the Falcons, rookie running back Jerick McKinnon had 18 rushes for 135 yards and added one catch for 17 yards. Although Matt Asiata had three of the four rushing touchdowns on the day, McKinnon added a different dimension to the Vikings’ run game, adding the lightning to the thunder, evident of 7.5 yards per carry. Granted the Falcons have one of the worst rush defenses in the league thus far, McKinnon has shown some serious ability and the coaching staff enjoys the change of pace he brings to the game. Although it looks like he and Asiata will be splitting carries, McKinnon is a serious talent and although he’s currently available in over 80 percent of fantasy leagues, don’t expect him to last because he’s got a lot of upside moving forward.

Mike Glennon, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It may be a different year, but it’s pretty much the same story for Mike Glennon. With Josh McCown out with a thumb injury, Glennon filled in and threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns in their last second win over the Steelers. While the yardage and touchdown count was nice, the one thing that was troubling about Glennon’s game was the completion percentage. Glennon threw for 50 percent on Sunday, completing 21 of his 42 passes, which could be a double-edged sword moving forward. The Buccaneers clearly have no problem letting him air it out, which makes you worry about interceptions (he threw 1 on Sunday), however, he only had 9 picks all last year. Glennon has two big downfield targets in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans (who will return in 2-3 weeks after he rehabs his groin injury) and the return of Doug Martin could open up the passing game by reestablishing the run. While the Buccaneers haven’t committed to Glennon just yet, he’s pretty much a sure bet to be their quarterback. Available in about 95 percent of all fantasy leagues, Glennon is certainly worth a look.

Devin Hester, WR Atlanta Falcons: If Devin Hester wasn’t a football player; he’d probably be a Swiss Army Knife because this guy is the definition of a multi tool player. His ability as a return man is undisputable and last week, besides breaking Deion Sanders return touchdowns record, he had a 20-yard rushing touchdown and a forced fumble. In Sunday’s loss to the Vikings, Hester had five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.  It was the second time this season Hester had posted 5 receptions in a game as well as at least 70 yards. Through four games, Hester has been targeted 15 times and has pulled in 12 of those passes for 196 yards. In Chicago he was never much of a receiver, but things have seemed to click for him in Atlanta. Although these numbers are never much of a guarantee for Hester, seeing as he’s the third receiver now that Harry Douglas is out, he still finds a way to be productive, even if it’s in such nonconventional ways. As a high-risk, high-reward type of player, Hester is an interesting gamble who is available in about 80 percent of fantasy leagues.

Isaiah Crowell, RB Cleveland Browns: The Browns may have been on a bye last week, but that hasn’t impeded the interest in running back Isaiah Crowell, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama State. With Ben Tate injured, Crowell shifted from the No. 3 running back to the No. 2, playing behind Terrance West. However, Crowell outplayed West in the Browns’ three games this season and even practiced ahead of him last week. So it looks like the now No. 2 back may retain that spot with the likely return of Tate in Week 5. Through three games this season, Crowell has 27 rushes for 141 yards and three touchdowns. While he may be a backup, Crowell could be in line for some more touches because the Tate is far from invincible and spent most of his bye week on the exercise bike. Crowell is available in about 75 percent of fantasy leagues.

Eli Manning, QB New York Giants: For the first time in a long time, Eli Manning looked like Eli Manning on Sunday, a quarterback with two Super Bowl rings. In their 45-14 beat down of the division rival Redskins, Manning completed 28 of his 39 passes for 300 yards, 4 touchdowns and a interception that wasn’t 100 percent his fault for once, not to mention he added a rare rushing touchdown to his stats as well. After a slow start for the Giants offense, the G-Men have now posted at least 30 points in their last two games. In that span, Manning has completed 49 of his 67 passes for 534 yards, 6 touchdowns and just the lone interception. It seemed like a steep learning curve for Manning and his offense under first year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, but it seems like they’ve finally figured it out. Manning and the Giants host the Falcons in Week 5. Peyton’s kid brother is available in about 50 percent of fantasy leagues.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB Minnesota Vikings: Getting his first start in the NFL, Teddy Bridgewater, the final pick in the first round of this year’s NFL draft looked like anything but a rookie on Sunday. Bridgewater was sharp; connecting on 19 of his 30 passes for 317 yards. He also added five rushes for 27 yards and a touchdown, displaying his playmaking ability as a mobile quarterback, which bodes well for fantasy owners in the future, as QB’s who can run will always rack up the points. However, what doesn’t look good going forward is his sprained ankle, which he had to be carted off the field for. Thankfully for Bridgewater and the Vikings, the MRI came back today negative. The Vikings have a short week as they travel to Green Bay on Thursday, which doesn’t give him much time to rest. If you need a quarterback to start next week, be hesitant on Bridgewater and monitor his status like a hawk. If you’re looking to secure a solid QB 2 with a lot of potential moving forward, Bridgewater is available in about 85 percent of fantasy leagues.

- Carmine Colangelo