Fantasy football forecast: Who to sit, who to start

Don't panic just yet. Be careful not to gloat too soon. We're only three weeks into the fantasy football season. And considering half the teams make the playoffs in most leagues -- it's early.

If you're 0-3, I'm here to help you get things turned around. If you're 3-0, well, I don't know how you did it without me. But there's always room for improvement.

On a weekly basis, I will be using this column to help you in your last-minute decisions of who to play and who to sit, and I will offer advice on other ways to help your squad.

Here is my take on Week 4.


  • Kevin Walter, WR, Houston -- While news came Saturday that Andre Johnson plans on playing today for the Texans, that shouldn't stop you from putting Walter in this week's lineup. The Raiders will certainly match shutdown cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha up with Johnson, allowing quarterback Matt Schaub to look at his next best options. And that should mean plenty of targets for Walter and Jacoby Jones.
  • Mark Clayton, WR, St. Louis -- The Rams are playing Seattle this week, and for the immediate future, when you have a No. 1 wide receiver going against the Seahawks, you need to insert him into your lineup. The Seahawks are the fifth-best team stopping the run this year and the third-worst team against the pass. Expect Sam Bradford to sling the ball around the dome today. And Clayton has become his favorite target.

  • Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona -- He rewarded owners who drafted him late with high point totals in the first two weeks. Don't expect it to last. While he will start today in San Diego, the Cardinals clearly prefer Beanie Wells, who returned to the lineup last week against Oakland and rushed for 75 yards compared to Hightower's 40.
  • Clinton Portis, RB, Washington -- Some might have expected a bounce back year from Portis now that he has been reunited with coach Mike Shanahan, myself included. But that hasn't gone to plan. In fact, Portis appears to have already fallen out of favor in Washington. Ryan Torain carried the ball as many times as Portis did last week. Until Portis earns more touches, he should be considered nothing better than a bye-week flex option.

  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, New England -- Fred Taylor is considered the starter in New England, but that means nothing, and Taylor hasn't practiced all week anyway. Green-Ellis is slowly emerging as the favorite for carries. With Kevin Faulk done for the year, owners of Patriots running backs no longer must be frustrated seeing their guy scurry to the sidelines on third downs. You don't need to start him right away, but make sure he's not available in your league.

  • Kyle Orton, QB, Denver -- Orton is only nine pass yards away from leading the NFL in passing. Odds are, if you own Orton, you didn't draft him as a starter. Now is your time to get your money's worth. Take a look around your league and see which teams are in need of quarterback -- likely the one that drafted Kevin Kolb -- and fill a need on your roster.

  • Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay -- Through three weeks, Jennings has two touchdowns, but he has only 136 yards receiving. If you own Jennings, stay patient. If you don't, see if the owner is ready to look for better options. Once teams realize Packers tight end Jermichael Finley deserves extra coverage, Jennings will re-emerge as a big-play threat.
  • Editor's note: Fantasy football enthusiast Sam McDowell offers up his advice on how to manage your teams -- who to start, who to sit and what trades you should be eyeing. If you have questions you would like to see answered in an upcoming column or blogpost, e-mail him at