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September 30, 2008 3:30 AM

NFL Rookie Watch: Week 4

Chris Long (Rams) – Long picked up his second sack of the season against Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters. This says more about Peters working back into the Bills offense after sitting out training camp then it does about Long’s abilities.


Matt Ryan (Falcons) – Ryan threw a career-high 41 passes. The Falcons aren’t going to win with Ryan throwing the ball that much. In the Falcons two wins Ryan has averaged 15.5 pass attempts. In the two losses he has averaged 37. Ryan finished 21 for 41 for 158 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.


Darren McFadden (Raiders) – The Raiders had averaged over 180 rushing yards per game but they managed just 72 against the Chargers. McFadden had 7 carries for 20 yards. In week 2, McFadden had a breakout game rushing for 164 yards on 21 carries. In his last two games McFadden has had the same number of carries (21) but has gained just 62 yards. The combination of the turf toe injury and being a part of the Raiders one-sided offense would hurt anyone’s numbers.


Keith Rivers (Bengals) – Rivers had 8 tackles in the Bengals’ loss to the Browns.


Jonathan Stewart (Panthers) – He had 14 carries for 52 yards and scored his 4th TD of the season. He will continue to split time with DeAngelo Williams but if his YPC average remains higher (currently 4.4 compared to DeAngelo’s 3.7) he should get more carries throughout the year.


Joe Flacco (Ravens) – Although his numbers weren't great, Flacco played through a lot of pressure and didn't do half bad. He was playing on Monday night in Pittsburgh against a tough defense with the division lead up for grabs. Flacco went 16 for 31 for 192 yards and had his first passing touchdown of his career to Daniel Wilcox at the end of the first half.


Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers) – Mendenhall finally got his chance with Willie Parker out against the Ravens. But Mendenhall fractured his left shoulder on his first carry of the second half and will now be placed on IR. Mendenhall had just 9 carries for 30 yards and finishes the season with just 19 carries for 58 yards.


Chris Johnson (Titans) – Anyone who was smart enough to pick this guy up in fantasy leagues has to be pretty happy (and yes I am tooting my own horn). Johnson only had 61 rushing yards but had 2 TD’s and is earning a lot of praise from his coaches. Johnson has learned to block well in pass protection and that will earn him more carries throughout the season.


Eddie Royal (Broncos) – Royal matched his career-high from week 1 with 9 catches. He had 104 yards but he did fumble the ball, which led to a Chiefs’ field goal. The Broncos’ staff is calling him the best receiver from this Draft class.


Matt Forte (Bears) – The Eagles’ defense shut down the Bears’ running game. Forte averaged just 2.3 yards per carry but he was the Bears leading receiver. Forte had 5 catches for 42 yards. Somehow, Forte led the Bears with 43 rushing yards and 42 receiving yards and they won.


DeSean Jackson (Eagles) – DeSean had 71 receiving yards including a 22-yard TD in the first quarter. Four games into the season it still looks like DeSean is McNabb’s go-to option. He has had at least 5 catches in each of his first four games.


Steve Slaton (Texans) –The Texans only had 79 yards on the ground vs. the Jaguars but that didn’t stop Slaton from having an impact. He had 10 rushes for 33 yards but also contributed with 8 catches for 83 yards including a 30-yard TD.


Tim Hightower (Cardinals) – Hightower had his typical stat line – 6 carries for 13 yards and 1 TD. For fantasy owners he’s a good 3rd RB or flex option but the Cardinals haven’t given him much of a chance to show if he can be anymore than a goal line back.


Chris Horton (Redskins) – Horton picked off his third pass of the season. He picked off Tony Romo at the end of the 3rd quarter on a 1st down pass intended for Miles Austin. The Skins scored on the ensuing possession to put them up 23-17.

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