Week 4 saw a few unexpected studs in addition to the usual premier performers. Sure, Drew Brees, Chris Johnson and Roddy White all posted big fantasy days, but we all expected that, right? At the very least, we knew it was a possibility.
But who knew Brian Hartline would rack up two games' worth of receiving yards, the Patriots would have two 100-yard rushers and a Kevin Kolb target would hit the century receiving yard mark while reeling in a couple of scores? Yet that's exactly what happened during Sunday's slate of games, meaning we could see some serious activity on the waiver wire this week.
Pull up a chair. Here are five unexpected key players from Sunday's Week 4 action
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins
12 catches, 253 yards, 1 TD
We're four weeks into the regular season, and the NFL's leading receiver is Brian Hartline. No, seriously, it's true. Hartline has emerged as Ryan Tannehill's top target down in South Beach, and Week 4 went a long way toward showing that Hartline could be an impact fantasy receiver going forward.
Hartline had a monster week, catching 12 balls for 253 yards and a score. It's no Flipper Anderson circa 1989, but that's some serious yardage, especially for a relatively unknown receiver playing with a rookie quarterback. We probably shouldn't expect that type of production each week — otherwise, we'd be looking at the best receiver in the history of football — but it's realistic to think Hartline will continue to produce at a high level.
The wideout's big time performance came against a nasty defense in Arizona, and the game marks Hartline's second 100-yard performance of the season. The 25-year-old now has 455 receiving yards in 2012, which, as mentioned, is tops in the NFL.
Hartline's teammate Davone Bess also accumulated over 100 yards receiving on Sunday, so clearly The 2012 Fins aren't afraid to air it out. Hartline probably got scooped up in many leagues after his 111-yard Week 2, but if someone in your league cut the cord with him following his subpar Week 3, now is the time to put in a claim.
Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals
6 catches, 118 yards, 2 TDs
While Brian Hartline's performance was a jaw-dropper, it wasn't the only unexpected big day from Sunday's Dolphins-Cardinals clash. Arizona's Andre Roberts also turned in an impressive performance, catching his third and fourth touchdowns of the season, including a game-tying score on fourth down with 15 seconds to play in regulation.
Roberts finished with six catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns, meaning he now has a touchdown in three of his first four games. Larry Fitzgerald is always going to be the go-to receiving threat for the Cards, but Kevin Kolb looked like he had a good rapport with the 24-year-old Roberts. Since Anquan Boldin went to Baltimore, fantasy owners have been wondering who is going to finally emerge as the Cardinals' clear-cut No. 2 receiver. We could finally be looking at that guy.
Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots
16 carries, 137 yards, 1 TD
We're used to seeing Patriots high up on the weekly leaders list, but it's typically a product of Tom Brady picking apart the opposition. This week, however, the Patriots had a huge game on the ground, and came away from Sunday's victory over the Bills with two 100-yard rushers.
Stevan Ridley posted 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns, which once again shows why he's been highly touted since getting drafted by New England. Brandon Bolden was just as effective, though, scampering for 137 yards in just his fourth NFL game.
Bolden's big day really came out of nowhere. He entered the game with just seven carries for 15 yards, and it was safe to assume a majority of the ground touches would once again go to Ridley and Danny Woodhead. Bolden made the most of his opportunity, though, as he posted an impressive 8.6 yards per carry while pacing the Patriots' offense.
With all of this said, fantasy owners should tame their excitement. Bolden might have a nice day every now and then, but expecting big things from a New England running back is always risky business, especially when you've got as many weapons as the Patriots currently do.
Scott Chandler, TE, Bills
4 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD
Before the Patriots beat up on the Bills in the second half of Sunday's game, Buffalo was hanging tough. Helping to keep the game within reach was Scott Chandler, who suddenly looks like a viable fantasy tight end option.
Chandler caught two touchdowns, including one very nifty grab that involved outjumping a defender. The Iowa product now has four scores on the season, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Ryan Fitzpatrick continue to look his way. At 6-foot-7, Chandler is a massive target, and he showed Sunday that he has the hands to make the tough catches, so Chan Gailey would be foolish to not dial it up for the big man when the Bills start knocking on the door in the red zone
Chandler's four catches on Sunday matched a season-high, and his 62 yards were also the most he's had in a game this season. Ultimately, Chandler's value comes down to how many targets the Bills coaching staff opts to give him, but he's certainly a solid plug-and-play option right now. He may be on the cusp of becoming a starting tight end in most fantasy formats.
Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins
21 carries, 113 yards, 1 TD
Mike Shanahan's running back use has historically been a crap shoot. That trend figured to continue this season with Washington having Roy Helu and Evan Royster in the fold in addition to Alfred Morris. Helu has since been placed on IR, though, and Royster is now clearly the backup to Morris, giving the Redskins' situation a surprising sense of clarity.
Morris has earned his starting gig, and he proved Sunday that his solid first three weeks weren't an aberration. The 23-year-old rushed for over 100 yards for the first time in his NFL career as Washington pulled out a dramatic victory over Tampa Bay.
Starting Morris in the fantasy world isn't yet a given, as Sunday's big game was still somewhat of a surprise, but you could certainly do worse than him at this point. You might as well enjoy the ride while you can.