Coach’s Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit – Week 4

VIKINGS @ RAMS – Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins 

SIT – None 

The Los Angeles Rams’ offense is as explosive as any in the franchise’s history, perhaps even more so than the “Greatest Show on Turf.” With tons of talent, incredible schemes, and mastermind Sean McVay pulling the strings, all of the main pieces of the Rams offense are matchup-proof starts each week. This includes quarterback Jared Goff on a short week against an angry Minnesota Vikings defense. On the opposite sideline, Vikings signal-caller Kirk Cousins is a borderline start. However, confidence in him for this contest could rise depending on the status of Rams cornerback Marcus Peters. With fellow corner Aqib Talib already ruled out for the game, the absence of Peters could open up the skies for Cousins to have a great outing.

Running Backs

START – Todd Gurley, Dalvin Cook

SIT – Latavius Murray, Mike Boone

There will never be a matchup in which Todd Gurley is a sit. Dalvin Cook, when healthy, likely can’t be left on the bench either. Despite battling a hamstring issue, if Cook suits up he’s still slotting in the lineup as at least a flex play. Whether Cook misses the game or not, however, both Latavius Murray and Mike Boone should be left on the bench. Murray lacks the ability to make plays when holes are not opened up by the offensive line, and the Rams are stacked up front defensively. While Boone could be a nice DFS dart-throw in the event of a Cook absence, he is best left on the bench.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph 

SIT – Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, Laquon Treadwell

The trio of Rams receivers should be in lineups each week, regardless of matchup, because of the reasons stated above. However, the Rams tight ends are not very involved in the offense and should not be started unless an owner is in the direst of circumstances at tight end. For the Vikings, Thielen and Rudolph each have solid matchups against the interior of the Rams’ secondary. Diggs is the riskier of the plays if he draws coverage from Marcus Peters. However, after missing practice Tuesday with a calf injury suffered in Week 3, Peters seems to be more doubtful than probable to go in this one. Regardless, Diggs is a start, but expectations can be raised if Peters is out for this game.

TEXANS @ COLTS – Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Deshaun Watson 

SIT – Andrew Luck 

The Indianapolis Colts defense is not the pushover it was thought to be. However, Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans offense has too much talent to be held in check. Watson makes the start list in this contest. The surprising sit in this one is Andrew Luck. He’s looked a bit rusty in his return, which was expected. But what wasn’t expected was his arm strength or lack thereof. With Luck not taking deep shots and instead looking more like a checkdown version of Alex Smith, the upside of both him and the offense is limited against a talented, yet underperforming Texans defense. Luck is no longer the set-it-and-forget-it QB1 many hoped he would be upon his return because of his arm issues. He’s on the bench this week.

Running Backs

START – Lamar Miller, Nyheim Hines 

SIT – Alfred Blue, Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins 

Lamar Miller may finally get his chance to run the ball with a positive game script in this contest. The 0-3 Texans have yet to be able to feature Miller with a lead in the second half. That scenario could happen this week. For the Colts, Nyheim Hines slots in as a deep PPR option because of his passing-down work and volume of dump-off passes. As for the other Colts tailbacks – Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins – neither should be relied on this week, as the Indianapolis offensive line has not been able to open up running lanes and J.J. Watt figures to wreak havoc in the trenches.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron 

SIT – Ryan Griffin, Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, Jack Doyle 

The Colts defense has been surprisingly stingy against wide receivers in fantasy this season. However, the Colts gave up a solid stat line to A.J. Green in the opener but then faced off against Washington’s inconsistent receiving corps and the Philadelphia Eagles minus Alshon Jeffery. The match-ups thus far have been in the Colts’ favor, but that stops this week. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller can be started without fear this week. Also in the starting lineup should be T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. Hilton is still the top option in an offense that throws a lot, albeit very short throws. Hilton’s upside may be capped by the lack of a vertical passing game, but he’s still a solid WR2 in fantasy. Ebron gets the nod with Jack Doyle looking doubtful with the hip injury that kept him out of last week’s game. The tight end position is awful in fantasy, so a volume play such as Ebron needs to be in the lineup.

BILL @ PACKERS – Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Aaron Rodgers 

SIT – Josh Allen 

A hobbled Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers and therefore a must-start when he’s in the game. There is no reason to get cute with the Green Bay Packers quarterback. For the Buffalo Bills, rookie Josh Allen has a surprising rushing floor, as he displayed his ability and willingness to tuck and run during the preseason and in the Week 3 upset of the Minnesota Vikings. While the Packers’ defense is far from resembling the Jacksonville Jaguars, Allen is a quarterback option who is better left on the bench. With a bad offensive line and suspect weapons to throw to, Allen simply cannot be trusted to deliver consistent production this early in the season.

Running Backs

START – Aaron Jones, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Williams 

SIT – Ty Montgomery, Chris Ivory, Marcus Murphy 

With Aaron Jones coming off suspension, the Packers have two running backs that can crack a fantasy lineup as flex plays in Jones and Jamaal Williams. While Williams was a volume-based back-end RB2 while Jones was out, it is likely that Jones now begins to eat his way into the lead role in the running game. However, with Aaron Rodgers dealing with a knee injury, Williams should still be on the field quite a bit because of his ability as a pass blocker. This should lead to him having a decent PPR floor to lean on in fantasy. For the Bills, LeSean McCoy will be a startable fantasy option in this one if he is able to suit up. He missed the previous game with a rib injury, but the Packers’ defense can be chewed up by quality running backs. If McCoy gets the green light this week, he can be plugged into a fantasy lineup.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Devante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Randall Cobb, Jimmy Graham 

SIT – Kelvin Benjamin, Charles Clay, Zay Jones 

As mentioned above, the Bills are very suspect at receiver and tight end. Between Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones and Charles Clay, only Benjamin is rosterable because of his touchdown upside. But with only two teams on a bye and the injury bug not yet chomping away at the receiver position as a whole, Benjamin should be left on the bench in this one. For the Packers, either Devante Adams or Geronimo Allison will draw coverage from Tre’Davious White, who did a great job on Stefon Diggs last week. Should White stick to Adams, then expectations for him need to be lowered while Allison will reap the benefits. However, both should be in lineups in this match-up. Also in the lineup are Randall Cobb, who shouldn’t have any coverage worries in the slot, and Jimmy Graham.

BUCCANEERS @ BEARS – Josh

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Mitch Trubisky, Ryan Fitzpatrick 

Ryan Fitzpatrick has opened the season with four straight 400-yard passing games and looks to be holding off Jameis Winston for the starting job. However, Khalil Mack and the Bears defense is waiting this week. In a tough match-up on the road against a wrecking ball of a defender and with Winston now looking over his shoulder, perhaps it’s time to cash out on the Fitzpatrick hot streak instead of letting it ride one more time. Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is also on the bench despite a favorable match-up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary.

Running Backs

START – Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen 

SIT – Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers

While Peyton Barber finally showed some burst in his first positive rushing match-up of the season last week, the running game was quickly scripted out by a large deficit. While the Bears likely are unable to run away with the game, the defense is stout up front making running room hard to come by. For the Bears, Jordan Howard remains a high-end RB2 or low-end RB1 with plenty of volume likely headed his way in this game. Tarik Cohen also figures to have a role in the offense and is a solid PPR flex option.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Allen Robinson, Mike Evans, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton 

SIT – Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, DeSean Jackson, Cameron Brate 

After falling apart in the fourth quarter of the opening game, the Bears defense has rallied to hold most receivers in check the last two games. Each of their last two opponents have seen just one receiver put up a decent stat line while the other options were marginal at best. With the clock ticking on the Fitz-magic act, the Bears defense could stifle the Buccaneers’ receiving corps with the exception of a single startable option. The most likely candidate for a solid game is Mike Evans, while the likes of Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson can be left on the bench. While the tight end position is rather bleak, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are best left on the bench if it can be done. With injuries and bye weeks, some fantasy managers may have no choice but to ride with Howard, however. For the Bears, Allen Robinson should see enough targets to keep him at his WR2 form while Anthony Miller is an interesting flex play, especially in PPR, if he is able to suit up this week. Trey Burton is also a start, but expectations should be tempered, as he may not get a one-on-one opportunity with Chris Conte to shove his way through for a long touchdown.

DOLPHINS @ PATRIOTS – Ben

Quarterbacks

START – Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill

SIT – None

It’s not that Tom Brady has been bad, he just hasn’t exactly been great and that was, even more, the case in Week 3 when he managed a paltry 133 passing yards with only 1 TD and 1 INT. Yikes. The good news is that he gets to go home this week and try to bring a 3-0 Dolphins team back to earth. I expect a solid bounce-back showing from the veteran against a Miami pass defense that has allowed the 4th most passing yards this season. Tannehill should also be in for a solid game against a New England defense that has allowed 7 TD passes through three weeks. That is also the total number of touchdowns that the Miami QB has thrown for as he’s posted at least 2 per game. Tannehill has emerged as a surprising source of fantasy value, cementing the rationale that you should always wait on QB’s in your drafts, and he should continue that success this week.

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Running Backs

START – Sony Michel, James White, Kenyan Drake

SIT – Frank Gore

R.I.P. Rex Burkhead. The proto-typical blue collar back that fits Belichick’s style so well was placed on the IR and that opens the door for Michel to take off. Now is the perfect time to buy on the rookie running back who was seeing a steady climb in his workload each of the past two weeks. Michel will anchor the ground game while White will continue to thrive in the passing game where he currently rests as the leading receiver in New England. This puts both RB’s in the mix as suitable RB3/FLEX starts. Across the way, we find a scuffling Dolphins backfield that managed only 11 total carries in Week 3 against an Oakland run defense that is allowing 5.1 yards-per-carry this year. Drake has really failed to take off for his owners, but the good news is that Gore hasn’t been any better. I still like rookie Kalen Ballage to emerge down the road here, but for now, Drake remains the feature back and should be started. He’s a shaky RB2/FLEX.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Kenny Stills

SIT – Albert Wilson, Philip Dorsett, Danny Amendola, Mike Gesicki, Jakeem Grant, Josh Gordon

If you’re one of the mislead souls who overpaid for Rob Gronkowski in your draft, you’re probably desperately trying to rationalize that decision right about now. Gronk remains a must-start TE but he hasn’t been winning weeks for his owners – it’s hard to say if those performances will come around more often than not going forward. The Patriots live to torment fantasy owners by being unpredictable but someone has to catch Brady’s passes and Hogan has shown the ability to step up. I like him to pick up where Jordy Nelson left off last week when Nelson went for 170 yards against this Dolphins defense. Stills is a touchdown machine who is going to carve out more targets as the season progresses. He’s a deep threat that will get his chances this week and is the most likely Dolphin receiver to put up solid fantasy output. The rest of this crew fall into the unpredictable category. You can roll the dice on Amendola, Dorsett, Wilson, and Gordon and be justified, but it will certainly be a gamble.

LIONS @ COWBOYS – Ben

Quarterbacks

START – Matt Stafford

SIT – Dak Prescott

Slowly but surely, Stafford is beginning to show his fantasy value. Over his past two weeks, he’s posted over 600 yards and 5 TD and he should have a chance to work against a shaky Dallas defense. The Lions’ QB is a safe fantasy start this week, although perhaps not a world beater. Dak, on the other hand, is simply not trustworthy given the lack of dependable targets in the Cowboy’s receiving corps – fade Prescott.

Running Backs

START – Kerryon Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott

SIT – LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick

Happy coming out party Mr. Johnson. The rookie etched his name into the hearts of his team and Lions’ fans everywhere by being the first Detroit running back to rush for 100 yards in a game since 2013. He was a sleeper darling in the fantasy community and he appears to have awoken. Factor in the absence of Sean Lee on the Dallas D and this could be a solid encore opportunity. He’ll also get to take notes for Elliott who is, as always, a must-start. Ride this horse all year long, yee-haw.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay

SIT – Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, Tavon Austin all TE’s

Tate, Jones, and Golladay are an imposing trio of receivers and may legitimately contend as a potential 1000 yard threesome. If there is one to fade, it’s Jones but the veteran has touchdowns in back to back games. While the Lions receiving corps is loaded, the Cowboys is decidedly not. This group is begging for someone to step up and breakout, but that isn’t likely to happen against a Detroit defense that just stuffed Tom Brady. Fade all Dallas pass catchers.

BENGALS @ FALCONS – Ben

Quarterbacks

START – Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan

SIT – None

Dalton has tossed 2+ TD in each of his first three games and with the emergence of Tyler Boyd we’ve got the makings of a potent fantasy offense. Things only get easier this week against a reeling Falcons defense that has allowed 700+ passing yards and 63 points over the past two weeks and is riddled with injuries. Dalton is joined in this one by Ryan who is fresh off a 5 TD performance in Week 3 and has 9 total TD through his past two weeks. Both signal callers are greenlit for Week 4, insert them into your lineup with confidence.

Running Backs

START – Tevin Coleman, Giovani Bernard

SIT – Ito Smith

Bernard and Coleman are virtually identical in their situations. Both are talented backs pushed to reserve roles by other more talented backs only to return to the spotlight when their teammates went down with an injury. As capable in the passing game as they are on the ground, each is a valuable volume runner for Week 4 and carry with them RB2 upside.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Tyler Eifert, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley

SIT – Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, John Ross

Last week I listed Boyd and Ridley as starts and all they did was combined for 275 yards and 4 TD. Both should be in line to build off their breakout performances and will be joined by weekly must-start in Jones and Green as fixtures in fantasy lineups. After a slow start over the first two weeks, Eifert rebounded for 6 catches, 74 yards in Week 3 and should be in a position to post a strong outing against a Falcons defense that allowed 5/71 to the veteran, Ben Watson. While the arrow is pointing up on the aforementioned group, it remains neutral on Hooper, Sanu, and Ross. All three are capable of producing fantasy value, but none can be trusted consistently yet.

JETS @ JAGUARS – Ben

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Sam Darnold, Blake Bortles

Darnold is going to be a fantastic, must start fantasy QB … in 2019. He might even be useful in the latter half of this season, but he is not going to be of any help in Week 4 against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Sure, Josh Allen just shocked the vaunted Vikings defense on the road but that is an anomaly. There are far safer bets. One of those safer bets is not Blake Bortles. I love me some Shaky Blakey from time to time, but that time is not now. If you can’t field a QB with a better fantasy match-up that these two, you’ve got bigger problems.

Running Backs

START – Leonard Fournette, Billal Powell

SIT – TJ Yeldon (unless Fournette sits then start him), Corey Grant, Isaiah Crowell

Quietly emerging as a consistent fantasy weapon, Powell is showing off more than his receiving skills lately. In a game where Crowell could manage only 34 yards on 16 carries, Powell ripped off 73 on 14. Powell is carving out more looks on a weekly basis and he’s made Crowell completely TD dependent at this point. Fade Crowell and roll the dice on a volume performance for Powell even against a tough Jacksonville D. Whether Fournette returns this week, or Yeldon gets the nod, the starter here should be a starter in your lineup. The Jets defense has given up a 4.4 yard-per-carry average and 3 total TD to opposing starting running backs. There’s room for production here, make sure you capture it.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Keelan Cole, Quincy Enunwa

SIT – Donte Moncrief, Robbie Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Dede Westbrook

Cole has emerged as the #1 target in the Jacksonville passing game. That might not amount to a lot in a match-up against a solid Jets pass defense, but I think he’ll flash similar to Jarvis Landry’s Week 3 effort. That won’t leave room for many other trustworthy options in a game that will likely be a snoozer from a passing standpoint. Enunwa is Darnold’s safety blanket who has averaged 10 targets a week and will likely see his fair share in this one. He’s the only other body I’m trusting and only because of his volume upside. This is likely to be a battle between a pair of stout defenses keeping fantasy hopes limited for the most part on the passing side.

EAGLES @ TITANS – Ciriaco

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Carson Wentz, Marcus Mariota

In what projects as a low scoring game I will sit both QB’s as well as most of the offensive players for both teams. The Titans defense, led by a strong defensive line including Jurrell Casey and rookie Harold Landry, have given up on average 16.6 points weekly. Wentz will be playing his second game after his off-season of recovery following his ACL tear and Mariota is still recovering from his elbow injury. I will steer clear of both of these signal callers and stream an option on just about any other team.

Running Backs

START – Dion Lewis

SIT – Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Jay Ajai, Derrick Henry

Dion Lewis is averaging a respectable 3 catches a game so far early this season. What has kept him on the bench the last two weeks is the game script. The Titans have been in tight games where they could lean on the between tackles grinder Derrick Henry. Henry has done little with those carries with only 3 yards-per-carry. In a game I project the Eagles getting a lead early on, I believe the Titans will have to lean on Lewis which will lead to RB2 numbers this week.
This is a game that I will steer clear of all of the Eagles running backs. This team spreads the ball around so much that it will be hard to predict who will be the “top dog” in any given week. Ajai looks like a game-time call. In a game against the Titans who have given up a high of 68 yards to a back in one game, I will pass on these RB’s this week. Derrick Henry is just not that good at football so far this season or in his career.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Nelson Agholor, Zack Ertz

SIT – Alshon Jefferey, Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Jonnu Smith

Agholor has 27 targets in three games and is the number one WR for the Eagles. He is an every week start. Super Bowl hero Ertz should never leave your lineup for any reason. I am not sure when, if at all this season, Jeffery will play. Even if he does play I would not get cute and insert him in your lineup. The QB play for the Titans is awful making all of the receiving options bench or waiver fodder.

BROWNS @ RAIDERS – Ciriaco

Quarterbacks

START – Baker Mayfield

SIT – David Carr

Mayfield as a rookie is close to every week start status. If you have a top 10 QB you may only want to start him in two QB leagues, otherwise, it would be hard to pass up starting this gunslinger who has the talent to be a top three QB in this league. Enjoy Baker’s first career start on Sunday with him in your lineup. I’m tempted to make Carr a sit his week but he will run for his life Sunday against the ferocious front four of the Browns led by Miles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi. This game does have shootout potential but not enough to make Carr a QB1. I do see him as startable in Superflex leagues but the Browns have played at a slow pace that has produced low scoring games thus far. Mayfield could change all of the pace with his talent but I would not risk putting Carr in my starting lineup Sunday.

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Running Backs

START – Carlos Hyde

SIT – Marshawn Lynch, Duke Johnson, Nick Chubb

With the offense headed in the right direction following the change at QB, most of his offensive weapons will begin to be unleashed. After averaging less than three yards a carry in the first two games Hyde went off shortly after Mayfield came into the game. Hyde finished with over a hundred yards on 26 touches for 4.26 yards-per-carry. He will be a regular starter for your team. Averaging less than four yards-per-carry with only 6 targets so far Lynch is a TD or bust option. I expect him to bust Sunday. I cannot trust Duke or Chubb until they find themselves part of the game plan. If Duke can get onto the field I see him producing with Mayfield at some point. That point will probably not be this week.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Amari Cooper, Jared Cook

SIT – Jordy Nelson, Antonio Callaway

I see both Landry and Njoku being the two most immediate winners because of the new QB in Cleveland. Landry is a borderline one and I see Mayfield taking full advantage of his beast at TE. Amari has all of his owners ready to sell at the moment because he has had wildly varied target counts in his first three games. As the Raiders are still winless on the season the team will have to take advantage of the biggest difference maker on the team starting this week. The Browns have not given up many yards to TE’s this year but they have not played any good ones. Cook will be a low-end TE1 this week. I’m not quite ready to start Callaway and I’m not yet buying into Nelson’s game Sunday.

SEAHAWKS @ CARDINALS – Ciriaco

Quarterbacks

START – Russell Wilson

SIT – Josh Rosen

In what could be a surprisingly close game only because these teams are division rival I will start Wilson as I do weekly. He will not be shut down Sunday. I only trust a few QB’s to start as rookie and Rosen is not close to there yet. For a team that will have to rely on RB David Johnson to move the ball. Rosen is in the show-me portion of his career.

Running Backs

START – Chris Carson, David Johnson

SIT – Rashaad Penny

Chris Carson was given 32 carries last week versus the Cowboys. He is an every week RB2 as long as he has that usage. David Johnson should be the focal point of this team. I believe this is the week he becomes just that. Penny was glued to the bench in Sunday’s contest. As long as that is the case he should be glued to your bench if not kicked to the waiver curb already.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Tyler Lockett

SIT – everybody else

Lockette has averaged over 65 yards along with a TD in every game this year as the Seahawks number one WR. He will continue to eat against the Cardinals as he is able to avoid just enough of Patrick Peterson’s coverage on Sunday to make a few big plays. Nobody else stands out as much more than a TD or bust option. Larry Fitzgerald is injured right now and none of the other options generate much optimism. Stay away.

SAINTS @ GIANTS – Ciriaco

Quarterbacks

START – Drew Brees, Eli Manning

SIT – None

In a game that I see becoming a shootout, I will start most of the relevant players in this game. Even though Eli looks awful most weeks he will dig himself out of his grave to utilize his weapons Sunday. Brees had one of his least impressive statistical seasons in 2017 but he has come out in 2018 guns firing. Brees has averaged over 350 yards with 10 total TD’s and zero interceptions. Mark Ingram’s return may change this calculus but ride Brees until that happens.
SIT –

Running Backs

START – Alvin Kamara, Saquan Barkley

SIT – Mike Gillisly, Jonathan Stewart

As the number one RB in PPR leagues, Kamara should never leave your starting lineup. Barkley is the number four RB and it feels like he has not yet scratched the surface of his potential. Against a team that is known to give up big plays, I think Barkley could have the highest scoring game of his career versus the Saints.
These two will not see the field enough to make a difference unless they find a way to get into the end zone. I would not bet on that happening Sunday.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Mike Thomas, OBJ, Ben Watson, Sterling Shepard

SIT – Ted Ginn, Cameron Meredith

Mike Thomas will continue to roll as the number one fantasy WR by a large margin. He is breaking records and winning weeks for his owners. Marshawn Lattimore covering OBJ will make owners nervous but he was not drafted early to sit on your bench. I do not fear the Giants linebacker coverage and last time Watson played the Giants as a member of the Saints he had nine catches for 147 yards and a TD. He single-handedly won a lot of games that Sunday. That game saw over a hundred points scored. I don’t expect Watson to have that type of game Sunday, but he will be a solid starter. The Saints cornerback two is a revolving door opening up Shepard to be a target magnet Sunday with Evan Engram out. He will be a solid WR3 in your lineup. There is an outside chance that these two could be usable Sunday, I just would not bet on it until one separates from the other. The only issue is that it will most likely happen after Ingram comes back, making both waiver candidates.

49ers @ CHARGERS – Matt

Quarterbacks

START –  Philip Rivers

SIT – C.J. Beathard

Phillip Rivers draws the 49ers bottom-barrel defense in week 4. The veteran signal caller has thrown for two or more touchdowns in every game this season. Rivers will have no problem finding success in this game. The 49ers defense gives up the 7th most fantasy points and 5th most passing yards to quarterbacks backs. Not to mention, the Niners still don’t have any interceptions through three weeks. He’s projected to score 22 points start him. With Jimmy Garoppolo now out for the season after tearing his ACL backup, Beathard will draw the start. This is a good match-up on paper for Beathard because the Chargers are allowing the 8th most passing yards to the position. Last week Jared Goff schooled the Chargers passing for 335 and 3 scores. I would like to see more from the new starting quarterback before I can recommend playing him. He’s projected to score 9 fantasy points sit him

Running Backs

START –  Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Matt Breida

SIT –  Alfred Morris

Melvin Gordon is playing out of his mind avenging 28.4 fantasy points per game. He should be heavily involved again this week. The 49ers are tough against the run this season but with Garopolo out, San Fransico should struggle to move the ball setting Melvin up for a big game on the ground. He’s projected to score 23 fantasy points start him. San Diego’s little scat-back Austin Ekeler has been effective on a limited amount of touches this season. The 49ers defense struggles to contain pass-catching running backs out of the backfield. Ekeler is a nightmare to cover and he could do damage as a pass-catcher this week. He’s projected to score 11 fantasy points start him. The Chargers defense ranks in the middle of the pack against the run. Breida is a good play this week because Shanahan likes to run the ball so playing one of his backs is always a safe bet. Plus he’s going to see a lot of touches in a game the 49ers will likely control the clock and take the ball out of Beathard hands. He’s projected for 13 points start him. Alfred Morris played great last week rushing for over 60 yards and a touchdown but he did get a little dinged up. Based on game flow I expect more of the same this week without the touchdown. I see him with around 12 to 15 touches in this game. He is a one-dimensional runner and his fantasy value will be touchdown dependent. He’s projected for 9 fantasy points sit him.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START –  Keenan Allen, Mike Williams

SIT –  Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, George Kittle, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates

Keenan Allen had a down game last week but in his defense, his opponent was the Rams and they play tough against wide receivers. Allen has been targeted 26 times through the first three weeks so his numbers will improve with time. I fully expect him to right the ship this week against a Niners team that gives up the 9th most fantasy points and 10th most receiving yards to the wide receiver position. He’s projected for 17 fantasy points start him. Mike Williams had his breakout game last week scoring two touchdowns and finishing with 25 fantasy points. The former number 7 overall pick is seizing control of the starting receiver position. He should receive just as many targets again this week. If Allen’s injury turns out to be serious Williams could have a huge day. He’s projected to score 13 points start him. Pierre Garcon has been a shell of his former self. Although he is likely to be the number one receiver for the 49ers I can’t suggest playing him in fantasy this week. He’s hard to trust in a game the San Francisco offense will struggle to move the ball. He’s projected for 10 fantasy points sit him. Marques Goodwin scored last week but only had 30 yards receiving. This is a great match-up for the 49ers receives LAC gives up the 5th most receiving yards. But until Goodwin shows something I can’t trust him. He’s projected to score 9 points sit him. George Kittle had a solid game last week catching 79 yards and almost scored but they called the touchdown back. The Chargers are tough against tight ends they haven’t allowed over 35 yards yet to the position. He’s projected to score 8 points to sit him.

RAVENS @ STEELERS – Matt

Quarterbacks

START –  Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco

SIT –  None

Big Ben has a divisional showdown against the Ravens this week. These teams play each other tough every time they lock horns. So it’s safe to say they will pull no punches in this one. Roethlisberger is coming off a nice performance throwing for 353 yards 3 scores. Ben might have a tough time repeating that performance this week against a stout Ravens defense that allows the 3rd fewest fantasy points and 2nd fewest passing yards. With that said, the Steelers offense is potent and Ben hasn’t thrown for less than 335 yards yet this season. He’s projected to score 23 fantasy points start him. Joe Flacco has a great match-up against the Steelers who give up the 2nd most fantasy points to quarterbacks 35 points per game. Look for Flacco to air it out because this game is set up for a shootout written all over it. He’s projected to score 22 points start him.

Running Backs

START –  James Conner

SIT –  Alex Collins, Javorius Allen

Alex Collins was off to a slow start before last week when he came through with 68 rushing yards and a touchdown. Pittsburg’s defense gives up the 4th fewest points to running backs and 8th fewest rushing yards this season. If the Steelers jumps out on top early then Collins touches could see a reduced workload. He’s projected to score 18 points sit him. I’m assuming the Raven will need to throw early and often because this game has all the makings of a potential shootout. Even though the Steelers completely shut down running backs this season, Javorius Allen is a good receiving back and might see a decent amount of touches. He’s hard to start against this defense but has been productive all season averaging 15 points per game. He’s projected to score 13 points to sit him. James Conner continues to be involved in the passing and rushing game so no matter how the game flows he’s gonna get his touches. This week will be a good test him squaring off against a defense that allows the 6th fewest points to running backs. But he’s in the RB1 territory now averaging 27 points Per game. He’s projected to score 21 points start him

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Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – JuJu Smith-Schuster Antonio Brown, Michael Crabtree, John Brown

SIT – Vance McDonald, Jesse James, Mark Andrews

JuJu is on fire that’s three straight games of 100 receiving yards to start the season. This is his toughest test yet for the sensational sophomore because the Ravens are stout against wide receivers allowing the 2nd fewest receiving yards per game. But at this point, JuJu has become match-up-proof. He’s projected to score 14 points start him. Antonio Brown hasn’t been performing up to his high expectations this year. With all the new receiving talent around him, and Ben calling his on plays this could be the new norm. On the other hand, he’s still being heavily targeted so the big game might be coming. The Raven defense is dinged up at the moment, look for the Steelers to exploit the injuries by taking big shots downfield with the NFL’s best receiver. He’s projected to score 22 points to start him. Crabtree has the most targets on the Raven team with 26. He’s squaring off against a Steelers defense that allows 4th most yards to receivers. He could have a nice game especially if he can score. He’s projected to score 13 points start him. John Brown is playing great for the Ravens averaging 15 points per game and is the best deep threat on the team. The raven has been throwing a ton this season look for that trend to continue against a Steelers team that gives up the 10th most fantasy points to receivers. Brown will be heavily targeted in this one. He’s projected to score 13 points start him. McDonald had a huge game catching 4 balls for over 100 yards and a score. But unfortunately, with Jesse James healthy and both tight ends splitting time they cancel each other out. He’s projected to score 6 points to sit him.

CHIEFS @ BRONCOS – Matt

Quarterbacks

START –  Patrick Mahomes, Case Keenum

SIT – None

On Monday night a national audience will get to see the young phenom that has been taking the NFL by storm. Mahomes has been destroying the leagues passing records, and he’s currently on pace to throw 84 touchdowns. Put this guy in your lineup sit back and watch a couple more passing records get broken. He’s projected to score 31 fantasy points start him. Case Keenum makes for a solid play in a game the Broncos will need to throw to keep up. He should produce his best stat line of the season to this point. KC doesn’t play defense they outscore everyone on offense. The Chiefs have been gashed through the air giving up the most passing yards in the league and 3rd most fantasy points to quarterbacks. He’s projected to score 22 fantasy points start him.

Running Backs

START –  Kareem Hunt, Royce Freeman, Philip Lindsay

SIT –  Spencer Ware, Devontae Booker

Hunt only rushed for 44 yards last week but saved his fantasy day by scoring two touchdowns. Last years leading rusher isn’t being leaned on like he was in 2017. He is averaging 17 carries a game but has only been targeted 3 times catching 1 pass. Anyone playing on the Chiefs offense is worth a start right now though. Hunt could struggle to find running room against the Broncos 11th best rush defense. He’s projected to score 23 points start him. Royce Freeman is in a time-share with Lindsay but considering how bad the Chiefs defense is both backs will get run in this game. KC has given up the most fantasy points to running backs through the first three weeks. He’s projected to score 11 points start him. If you exclude the week 3 game when Lindsay was ejected, he is averaging 16 fantasy points per game. In weeks one and two Lindsay saw at least 15 touches and 70 rushing yards. He’s projected to score 13 points start him.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Tyreek Hill, Emanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Travis Kelce

SIT –  Sammy Watkins, Courtland Sutton, Jake Butt

Tyreek Hill was productive but didn’t have a dominant game last week. Going into this match-up I expect a solid game from him even though Mahomes spreads the ball around. He’s projected to score 16 points start him. Sammy Watkins isn’t seeing enough volume to consider unless you’re desperate. Emanuel Sanders and Keenum have a connection and he is the go-to receiver when Denver needs a play. The Broncos will be forced to throw a ton and Sanders should be a target monster eclipsing 100 receiving yards. The Chiefs defense gives up the 6th most fantasy points the too wide receivers. He’s projected for 14 points start him. Even with a heavy target share, Demaryius Thomas isn’t producing like expected. With stud rookie wideout waiting in the wings we could have a changing of the guard sooner than expected. But until that happens Denver will need all hand on deck in week 4. He’s projected to score 12 points to start him. Sutton skills are impressive, to say the least, he hasn’t had the big game yet but this could be the week it happens. But there’s only one ball and a lot of mouths to feed in Denver’s offenses, Sutton needs to show something before I can recommend starting him. He’s projected to score 7 points sit him. Travis Kelce is a stud arguably the best at his position not to mention he’s playing on one of the best offense in the league too. He’s coming off back to back 100 yards performances averaging 26 fantasy points between weeks 2 and 3. Kelce should put on a show for a national audience on Monday night. He’s projected to score 15 points start him.

KICKERS – Josh

START – Aldrick Rosas, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Sam Ficken 

SIT – Jake Elliott, Caleb Sturgis, Chris Boswell 

With no major weather concerns in the forecast for the weekend, the list of kickers to target this week consists of those whose teams figure to score early and often. Aldrick Rosas should get plenty of chances as the New York Giants take aim at a New Orleans Saints defense that has been burned by a deep passing touchdown in every game this season. Ka’imi Fairbairn and Sam Ficken also figure to have plenty of scoring chances with the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams, respectively. On the sit list is Jake Elliott, whose Philadelphia Eagles have a date with an underrated Tennessee Titans defense. Joining him on the bench are Caleb Sturgis of the low-scoring Jacksonville Jaguars and Chris Boswell, whose Pittsburgh Steelers may opt to be more aggressive and go for it on fourth downs as well as try two-point conversions in a rivalry game against the Baltimore Ravens.

DEFENSES – Josh

START – Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys 

SIT – Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins 

Of the three starts for defensive units, the Green Bay Packers is the obvious one on the list with the Buffalo Bills coming to town. Though the Minnesota Vikings proved last week that the Bills need to be taken seriously. The Dallas Cowboys tangle with the Detroit Lions, but the Dallas defense has been rather stingy this season, allowing the third-fewest yards per game in the league. The Chicago Bears is likely a unit most will be shying away from this week with the red-hot Ryan Fitzpatrick coming to town. However, the Fitzmagic act can only go on so long, and with Jameis Winston now in the picture looking over his shoulder and Khalil Mack coming after him this week, the magic could finally run out this week. The sit list is far less complicated: The New Orleans Saints have looked like the punching bag defense of years past so far this season, the Minnesota Vikings play the offensive juggernaut Los Angeles Rams on the road on a short week, and the Miami Dolphins travel to meet the New England Patriots and an angry Tom Brady.

Series Navigation<< Coach’s Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit – Week 3Coach’s Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit – Week 5 >>
Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker
Matthew Lotshaw
I was born and raised in St.Louis Missouri, I have been playing fantasy sports since high school I write weekly previews and strategy articles to help the fantasy community
Ciriaco

Ciriaco

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at SportsTalkLine
I'm a budding writer who's passion is for fantasy football. I love every NFL team but especially the Browns and what that franchise is creating on offense. I'm have two kids who I absolutely adore.
Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at Sports Talk Line
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook