Onto week 4 of the NFL slate, and we are officially into the bye weeks.  Make sure players on the following teams are out of your lineups this week: Dallas, Minnesota, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.  Now is the time when plugging and playing those late round gems/waiver wire pickups is crucial.  Tonight is going to be a shorter effort but you’ll get all of the vital information here.

Last week, we went 8-8 and are now 18-11-1 on the season vs. the oddsmakers.  We’ll improve on our .500 record from last week.

Broncos @ Titans (-7)

You know what?  I have to give props to Kyle Orton – I never thought the chubby-faced, homeless bearded Purdue QB would amount to anything.  He was great at Purdue, but I thought he was a joke in Chicago during the Rex Grossman era and didn’t understand why Josh McDaniels traded rocket-armed Cutler for Orton.  And Orton will not ever be as good as Cutler or might never win a playoff game, but he is a legit NFL QB.  He’s putting up huge yards and points on the board with no running game and crappy WRs like Gaffney, Royal and rookie (not crappy but young and unproven) Demarius Thomas.  Kyle Orton needs to be owned in every league and is a decent 12-team starter.  As for the rest of the players in this game, I think you can do worse than rolling with the Broncos WRs mentioned above since Kyle’s passes have to go somewhere, but stay away from the Denver running game.  Moreno is already thought to be out and Maroney and Buckhalter looked turrrible.  On the Tenn side, Chris Johnson is the #1 RB of the week.  Other than that, I can’t see anyone worth using, but Tennessee as a team is still very solid.  Titans 23 – Broncos 17

Ravens @ Steelers (-1)

Well I just gave props to an individual, and now it’s time to give credit to the Steelers.  They are 3-0 without their Pro Bowl rapist, and he is due back in just 1 more week.  The Steelers have to be the odds on favorite to win the SuperBowl right now with this suffocating defense, good running game, solid WRs and a QB stud on the way to go with 3 wins already.  That said, I think the Ravens line is a gift this weekend.  Baltimore will not let the Steelers’ offense move down the field enough to be any real threat.  While I respect the Steelers defense quite a bit, the Ravens have the offense to separate themselves in this matchup.  Just because the defenses are stellar on both sides, you should still start your studs in this one (especially since resources are slim with the byes).  Ravens 17 – Steelers 13

Bengals @ Browns (Off)

No line on this one yet since the Browns’ QB has not yet been determined; however, I don’t think it matters much whether Seneca Wallace (Iowa State, baby) or Jake Delhomme starts against the Bengals’ solid defense.  At least the Browns have a good offensive line and seem to finally have a starting RB in Peyton Hillis, who thrashed a good Ravens front 7 for 140 yards last week (quick trivia: did you know that Peyton Hillis was in the same backfield at Arkansas with McFadden and Felix Jones?  And now all three are starting RBs in the NFL.  Crazy.)  As long as Mangina doesn’t pull the ol’ switch-r’-roo and throw Jerome Harrison back in there, we might have a solid #2 RB in The Hillis Have Eyes (Conley call-out).  On the other side of the field, Carson Palmer’s arm still looks like poo-poo.  Ochocinco has good value because he’s a pretty damn good WR despite Palmer’s spaghetti arm, and Cedric Benson seems to have picked up where he left off.  Bengals 24 – Browns 16

Lions @ Packers (Off)

Another line that is off, mainly because Javhid Best’s toe is giving him trouble and that puts the Lions in a huge hole, especially since they are already without Stafford.  Shaun Hill seems to have put up decent yardage, but very little is being gained by Megatron.  This is starting to worry me, but I doubt you have 3 WRs with more upside than Johnson, so you still need to be starting him.  But maybe it’s time to think about trading him if he still has value to those in your league.  On the Packersside, the offensive line is again terrible and holds a lot so Aaron Rodgersdoesn’t die, and they cannot run the ball.  However, Rodgers is like a football god and will continue to lead fantasy teams to the promised lands with the plethora of receiving options that he has to go with his rocket arm and quick release.  This one gets ugly.  Packers 30 – Lions 10

Panthers @ Saints (-14)

Big line in the NFL.  Pats couldn’t cover 15 at home vs. terrible Buffalo last week, and this is another inter-divisional contest, but I think the Saints know that they must bounce-back vs. crappy Jimmy Clausen and Co.  Can’t recommend any Saints WRs because Brees goes to everyone, but can’t say you’re wrong for starting any of them either – any could go off at anytime.  Pierre Thomas looks like a good play here, and you need to start D-Will, Stewart and Steve Smith because they are just too talented to bench and the Saints defense isn’t all that special.  Champs 38 – Panthers 14

49ers @ Falcons (-7)

I just want to see Michael Crabtree show up in this one.  Please, Michael.  You were an absolute beast in college; I bought your Niners jersey this year; I have you on one of my catches cup teams.  Please.  And I think he will – a new offensive coordinator has arrived for SF, and we tend to see differences pretty quickly in the NFL.  Start Gore, Crabtree and VD along with your obvious Falcons.  I still think Atlanta wins this one and pushes the 49ers to 0-4.  Falcons 27 – 49ers 20

Seahawks @ Rams (+1.5)

Yuck.  Who cares?  Seriously.  If you Steven Jackson proves healthy and it seems that way, he’s always a must-start.  Other than that, I can make the case for Mark Clayton and Danny Amendola from the Rams, and John Carlson of the Seahawks finally rose from the dead last week, so you could do worse than him with Witten and Shiancoe on byes.  And shout out to the Rams for sticking it to the Deadskins last week – well done boys.  Can’t pick against you at home this week after that one.  Rams 22 – Seahawks 20

Jets @ Bills (+6)

Mark Sanchez looks to be coming into form with two solid outings in a row against good teams (Pats and Fins), and I think he will lead the Jets to another win this week.  I’m hearing that Shonn Greene is going to get another crack at the starting RB gig this week, so owners of Greene need to get him in vs. a porous Bills run defense.  LT is a good play here too and didn’t look 100 years old last week which is good.  I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend Dustin Keller since he helped me win in my big league last week, and I know that I will continue to play him.  On the Bills’ s side, Marshawn Lynch is re-emerging.  Pick him up if you haven’t already because he’s getting the bulk of the carries and could be an okay flex play this week if you are in a pinch.  Other than that, bench Spiller and you really shouldn’t own any other Bills players…  Jets 24 – Bills 6

Colts @ Jaguars (+8)

The Jags just picked up Trent Edwards off of waivers from the Bills – the Bills cut him.  That should tell you just how bad the Jags are, and how much they have soured on East Carolina product David Garrard.  Since the QB position is so unreliable, it’s hard to rely on big numbers from MSW, but I think you start him since he’s their best option and someone will catch the ball.  Also you need to start MJD as always but especially since the Colts are not good against the run.  As for Indy, everyone is an option (except Pierre Garcon – I hate you) because that offense is silly good.  In a bye week, Donald Brown and even Blair White might help your team out.  Colts 37 – Jaguars 21

Texans @ Raiders (+3.5)

The Raiders have been a plucky team so far this year, and Bruce Gradkowski has actually allowed the team to move the ball through the air.  Now, it’s been against the lowly Rams and Cardinals in recent weeks, but still that offers hope to Raider Nation.  RB RunDMC looked good again and is a must-start – all but killing Michael Bush’s value for now.  What kind of odds would you have needed to bet that McFadden is a top 20 player through week 3?  I probably wouldn’t have touched it below 50-1.  Crazy game.  The Texans need a bounceback after a lackluster performance vs. resurgent Dallas, and I think this is a good opponent to line up against.  Arian Foster will continue to beast his way up the field as the Raiders’ defensive front can be run on, and Schaub gets back on track.  Sneaky play this week – Jacoby Jones – with Andre a bit banged up, I think Jones will see more important looks.  Texans 27 – Raiders 17

Cardinals @ Chargers  (-8.5)

The Cards are the luckiest, ugliest 2-1 team in the NFL.  They barely held on vs. St Louis in week 1; they got manhandled by Atlanta in week 2; and they needed Sebastian ‘Sea Bass’ Janikowski to miss a chip shot in week 3 to hold on.  This line tells it all: a 1-2 team more than a TD favorite vs. a 2-1 team.  Slaughter hoouuuse.  Beanie Wells did look impressive last week vs. Oakland, and I look to see him continue to carry a heavier workload and be a top 20 RB from here on out.  I feel badly for Fitgerald – two years ago you were this close to a championship and now Derek Anderson is your QB and can’t get you the ball.  Hey, at least you are rich.  Philip Rivers will throttle the Cards and this one won’t be close.  Start Rivers, my boy Floyd and Gates.  If Mathews is back, he’s also a very solid RB and due to bust out.  Chargers 28 – Cards 10

Redskins @ Eagles (-6.5)

This looks like a trap game to me.  McNabb back in Philly to square off against moron Andy Reid and his dog fighters.  Call this one a gut feeling, but I think McNabb and the Skins pull off the upset here in a doubly meaningfully game for Donovan – and I hate saying that because I’d rather watch The Princess Diaries than pick/hope the Redskins win.  That said, I also think it’s a shootout and all your guys should be played here.  Including you LeSean McCoy – do something!  Redskins 31 – Eagles 28

Bears @ Giants (-4)

Really not sure what to make of this one yet.  The Bears look to be for real, but they did need 18 GB penalties, a special teams TD and a huge mental gaffe by James Jones on that fumble (keep the ball in your outside hand, moron) to pull off this past MNF game vs. Green Bay.  I don’t see any reason to bench any of your players, other than Brandon Jacobs who is donskies, and I think Eli is an especially nice bye week play if you have him.  Giants 24 – Bears 23

Patriots @ Dolphins (+1)

The Fins always play the Pats tough, especially at home, and since this is a MNF matchup, I’m taking Miami.  No one is going to be able to cover Brandon Marshall, and Ronnie Brown should run wild(cat) against a terrible Pats defense.  Brady, Moss and Welker will get theirs, but I don’t have any confidence in the Patriots’ running game this week.  Should be a fun one in South Beach.  Fins 27 – Pats 24

And one last tidbit unrelated to the games this week.  The rumor is that the NFL is now a lock to go to an 18 game regular season.  While I like this from a fan’s perspective as more meaningful games means more meaningful fantasy football, I see why the players don’t want this without appropriate compensation.  The average lifespan of an NFL player in the league right now is less than 3 years and will almost assuredly get shorter with the addition of 2 more bone-crushing games per year.  These guys already have terrible retirement benefits and health care coverage, and I see why the union is standing up strong against this.  Owners, either pay up and reward retirees with better benefits or take a hike.  A work stoppage is good for no one, but that is what is around the corner if the owners don’t budge.  I just don’t see the players moving on this issue, and they shouldn’t.

Okay, that’s all for now.  Go win your league and enjoy the games.