2012 ranks: Oh, those inconsistent RBs

Four weeks of the fantasy season have come and gone. It's October already, and by the time this month ends, most of you will have some idea of whether the playoffs are a possibility. Meanwhile, we aim to provide the most reasonable end-of-season rankings possible each and every Tuesday to help you with potential trades, among other things. Remember, if you're looking for the Week 5 staff rankings, they will be posted on Wednesday. Happy trading!

Quick click by position, for easy reference:

Top 40 Quarterbacks | Top 60 Running Backs | Top 60 Wide Receivers

Top 30 Tight Ends | Top 32 Defense/Special Teams | Top 100 Overall

Top 40 Quarterbacks

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Well, it's about time the quarterbacks that fantasy owners were relying on the most came through with big games! Aaron Rodgers versus Drew Brees wasn't just a matchup of fantasy first-rounders, it was 56 points worth of standard-scoring awesomeness. Tom Brady started slowly against the beleaguered Buffalo Bills and then piled on a week-best 31 points. Cam Newton threw and ran and ... well, he has been playing at a high level all along, but entering Week 4 Brady was tied for 11th in quarterback scoring and Rodgers was tied with Mark Sanchez for 20th. Those two are not tied any more. There were 11 quarterbacks that reached 20 fantasy points in Week 4. Last week three quarterbacks rushed for touchdowns; in Week 4, seven did that.

So it is that the first meaningful changes in the quarterback rankings don't come until well into the reserve section, with Kevin Kolb, Ryan Tannehill and Matt Hasselbeck serving as the biggest risers of the week. None of these guys broke into the top 20, though. Kolb threw for 324 yards in another win. He's probably not losing the starting job to John Skelton anytime soon, but Kolb is also probably not who we thought he was two years ago. Tannehill threw for 431 yards, a mere one yard off Newton's NFL record for rookies, set last year, but the Dolphins won't be doing this every week. Hasselbeck could again be starting for the Tennessee Titans, as promising Jake Locker has not only played poorly, but a shoulder separation figures to sit him for a while.

The faller in the top 10, though you'll note he still is in the top 10, is Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. He ran for a touchdown Sunday, but through four games, he has thrown only three touchdown passes. The yards have been there, and perhaps he gets back to 5,000 passing yards again -- I don't think anyone will throw for 5,000 yards this year, personally -- but we're still waiting for a 20-point fantasy performance, and we won't get it this week (the Lions have a bye week). Top overall fantasy scorer Robert Griffin III and his legs have to move up, as he has reached 22 or more fantasy points each and every week, and Peyton Manning was impressive Sunday. Stafford remains in the top 10 and is starter-worthy, but after this bye week he's on the road at Philadelphia and Chicago, not exactly defenses getting shredded by the pass.

By the way, Minnesota Vikings sophomore Christian Ponder might not look like San Francisco 49ers leader Alex Smith, but it's worth noting that Ponder is the only starting quarterback that has yet to throw an interception. That's largely how Smith built his fantasy value last year, and Josh Freeman to some degree the season prior, so don't brush Ponder aside.

Top 60 Running Backs

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