Here we sit, a quarter of the way through your fantasy season and slowly we're starting to see trends develop. Good ones in Houston (non-Matt Schaub-wise, that is), Jacksonville (I know, I know - read below, you'll see), and bad ones in Tampa Bay and Baltimore. As the saying goes, sometimes you're the hammer, and sometimes you're the nail. So let's see who's up and who's down going into Week 5. But first, if you're in a Sons of Anarchy fantasy league, wow are you losing guys right and left. Your bench guys are even dropping like flies. Now to the columnâ¦
7: On a scale of 1-10, the level of concern I have for Doug Martin and Ray Rice. Over. So many people have tweeted me about them this week and there are major concerns. The Buccaneers are in a free-fall right now, and that's not going to stop. Until they can throw the football, Martin's not going to find running room like he did a year ago. It may take Mike Glennon some time to get used to the NFL, which means Martin won't perform like you need him to. Can you trade him? Sure. It's early enough in the season where he still has enough leftover value from last year, but you're only going to get low-ball offers for him. Same goes for Rice, who has been replaced as the hub of the Ravens offense by Joe Flacco. Baltimore would rather ride his arm than Rice's legs. The best you can hope for both Martin and Rice is that they pick it up at some point. If I had to choose between the two, Martin would be the one to turn it around simply because he has the running game all to himself. But be honest with yourself when you're putting them in your lineup. They're both really No. 2 RBs for now.
20: The number of people who called me really bad names after my less-than-enthusiastic take on Victor Cruz in my Monday Targets & Touches column. Over. Heresy! It was heresy, you say to write what I did about Cruz. If you missed it, you can read it here. Go ahead, I'll wait. Welcome back. I make no apologies for my opinions on Cruz - it's simply what I think going forward for him. He has every chance to prove me wrong. But I have history on my side and so far we have a four-week sample size for 2013. Fantasy seasons have a long way to go, so I'll make a deal with you: if Cruz stays consistent and is a fantasy super-duper star, I'll address it later on this season and admit to being wrong, which I have no problem doing - I've been wrong plenty of times in my life. But let's let the rest of the season play out first.
60: Percentage of carries for Arian Foster per game going forward. Over. You can forget about that time-share in Houston. And I don't mean going to one of those presentations where you get a free set of golf clubs for listening to a pitch - I mean the running back time-share between Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Foster had 33 touches Sunday, and Tate just eight. It's what we've been saying on NFL Fantasy Live all season long - you just had to wait for Foster to regain his health and for Houston to realize they had to continue to ride him to win games. They've taken it easy on him through most of September so he can be fresher for the post-season. That's been accomplished. He's the regular Arian Foster now, and Tate is now back to being a pedestrian bye-week flex at best.
75: Number of tweets I've gotten this week about Brian Hoyer. Over. Hey, he's fun. And you should pick him up. He's a high-end backup right now. He throws the ball downfield and has two terrific weapons in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Why not grab him? Your No. 2 QB only plays during a bye week or if your No. 1 is awful/injured. And Hoyer can fit the bill if either of those things is happening for your team. Every year there's always a quarterback or two who come out of nowhere to put up big numbers. Hoyer could be that guy, which means he's worth having. And let's face it - Cleveland isn't going to run the ball at all the remainder of the season. They don't have the RBs to do it. Hoyer has thrown 92 passes in his first two games. That's going to be the norm for the Browns. GM Michael Lombardi loves Hoyer and he's going to get every chance to prove he can be great.
150%: How much the Jaguars offense will improve now that Justin Blackmon's back. Over. It looks bad for Jacksonville. Really bad. But are they this awful? By and large they're the same team from a year ago who, while not prolific, wasn't nearly this bad. The difference the first four games has been the absence of Blackmon. He's primed to become a superstar, no matter who's throwing him passes. He was the Jaguars true No. 1 WR the last month of last season (48 targets the last four games of 2012) and hit the pre-season in mid-season form. Pick him up if he's available. Due to the byes you may have to start him right away (I am), but by the end of October he'll solidly be your weekly flex at the least, possibly even a No. 2 fantasy WR.
Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. You can see him as the host of NFL Fantasy Live that airs Sunday through Friday on NFL Network at 5pmET/2pmPT and also at 1amET/10pmPT. Listen to him on the NFL Fantasy Live podcast available at nfl.com and on itunes. Reach out to him on Google plus or Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on nfl.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.