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Week 4 Starts/Sits

After an awful week 2, we got back on track in week 3 with 77% hit rate. This hobby we enjoy is extremely finicky. For instance, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jordy Nelson. After five receptions for 53 yards in his first two weeks, Nelson was thought to be washed-up, old, slow, etc. Then, against the Miami Dolphins, he catches six balls for 173 yards and one touchdown, including this nice little 61-yard catch and run.

Days like this happen a lot in the NFL, and it is hard to predict. Maybe the better example is the Buffalo Bills beating the Minnesota Vikings. You read that right. The 17-point underdogs, on the road, beat the Vikings. The last time a 17-point underdog won was in 1995. There have been 24 such games, all of the favorites to win won. That is how unlikely this win was.

This all gives you an idea of how hard it is to predict sports and fantasy football. All of that being said, you can not get by in this industry without standing out. Without having a little swag. Therefore, after the week 3 successes, I am rechristening myself ‘Stomptradamus’.  With that in mind, here are your week 4 starts/sits.

Fantasy football, so much fun! they said

Setting your weekly lineups, what a chore

Losing makes me want to lose my head

These starts and sits will help you win in  week four

Quarterback

Start

Joe Flacco @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Despite three interceptions against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Steelers defense has given up no less than 27.6 points to quarterbacks. This included Tyrod Taylor. The Steelers defense has given up an average of 35 points to opposing quarterbacks.

Meanwhile, Flacco has been good this season. Currently, he ranks as the QB14 in fantasy football. With trustworthy wide receivers in John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and Willie Snead, as well as two dynamic running backs in Alex Collins and Buck Allen, Flacco and the Ravens have been able to score relatively at will. The Ravens currently rank fifth in the league in scoring. With the Steelers ability to throw the ball and their inability to stop the pass, this game could be high scoring. Start Flacco in week 4.

Andy Dalton @ Atlanta Falcons

After week 1 after the Falcons stifled Nick Foles and the Eagles, the Falcons have given up 33 and 44.5 fantasy points, to Cam Newton and Drew Brees the successive two weeks. This included 731 yards and six touchdowns. This is largely due to the loss of one of the best cover linebackers in Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal in week 1. The Falcons then lost their other starting safety Ricardo Allen for the season against the Saints.  The Falcons currently rank 25th in DVOA against the pass and are likely worse with the injuries they have suffered.

Like the Ravens, the Bengals have looked good offensively this season. They are currently sixth in the league in scoring. Dalton is currently QB12, a fantasy QB1. He has been prone to interceptions with five, but Dalton also has eight touchdowns. This game will likely be high scoring with an over/under of 51. The Bengals offense is having a positive regression. Combined with a poor Falcons secondary, Dalton should have a good afternoon against the Falcons in week 4.

Case Keenum vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Another Chiefs game, another shootout. The over/under for this Monday night game is 56, the highest in week 4. Probably for good reason. The Chiefs have been the highest scoring offense in the league in 2018. Patrick Mahomes has looked like a Hall of Famer so far and I doubt the Broncos slow him down all that much. The Broncos defense has not been the same defense we are used to the last three seasons. Currently, the Broncos rank 19th in DVOA against the pass. The Chiefs should be able to score.

Meanwhile, as good as the Chiefs offense has looked, that is how bad the Chiefs defense has been. They rank 30th in DVOA against the pass and the run. The Chiefs defense has allowed the third most points in the league. They have also allowed the third most points to quarterbacks in fantasy.

Keenum has not looked good the last two games. He has 414 yards and two interceptions the last two weeks. This may be the game that Keenum bounces back. With the Chiefs great offense and bad defense, Keenum will have to throw the ball. Keenum will be a good streamer in week 4.

Sit

Dak Prescott vs. Detroit Lions

As bad as the Lions defense looked the first two weeks of the season, they have done really well against quarterbacks. The Lions also shut down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in week 3. Over the first three weeks, the Lions have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The Lions defense ranks 17th in DVOA against the pass and 27th against the run. So, while not great, the pass defense is much stronger than the run defense.

Dak and the Cowboys offense have looked abysmal. The Cowboys have produced the second-fewest points in the league through the first three weeks. They also have thrown for the second-fewest pass yards per game with 145. Dak is fantasy QB28. The entire pass offense is awful and this is not the game that Dak gets off the floor.

Derek Carr vs. Cleveland Browns

The Browns held Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Bress in relative check the first two weeks. In week 3, the Browns gave up single-digit fantasy points to Sam Darnold. The Browns have an overall good defense with, ranking fifth in DVOA against the pass and 10th against the run. Now they have a potentially better offense with quarterback Baker Mayfield back at the helm. This will likely keep the defense fresher and able to make plays.

Derek Carr is not good. Or maybe Jon Gruden is not good. Regardless, the Raiders are BAD. The Raiders are 28th in points scored in the NFL. This despite throwing for the sixth most yards. Carr is the fantasy QB26 through three weeks. Expect another bad day for Carr and the Raiders.

Blake Bortles vs. New York Jets

Bortles is a rollercoaster. Against the Patriots in week 2, Bortles threw for 376 yards and four touchdowns. In week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, Bortles threw for 155 yards. That is it. Because of his up and down nature, sitting Bortles is risky. But, it is easier to do if Fournette is playing. According to RotoViz’s game splits app, Bortles has four fewer attempts and four fewer fantasy points when Fournette in the lineup. Fournette is on track to play on Sunday.

Bortles is also going up against the Jets who have held opposing quarterbacks to the seventh-fewest fantasy points. The Jets are also first in DVOA against the pass. This game is likely to be low scoring as well with an over/under of 38, the lowest of the week. With Fournette back and going up against a good pass defense, Bortles should be benched in week 4.

Running Back

Start

Phillip Lindsay vs. Kansas City Chiefs

One would think to not start running backs in barn burners because the opportunity to rush is not there. However, Lindsay is the Broncos’ primary pass-catching back. The Chiefs have been susceptible to pass-catching backs, ranking 32nd in DVOA. They have also given up the most receiving yards to running backs. Lindsay also has the most rushing yards for the Broncos, despite being ejected from the Broncos week 3 game against the Ravens early.  The Chiefs rank 30th against the run in DVOA.

The Broncos will need to use Lindsay in the passing game in this one. Start him against the Chiefs.

Gio Bernard @ Atlanta Falcons

This comes with the assumption that Joe Mixon sits. If Mixon plays, Gio is obviously not startable. Gio was the only running back to touch the ball for the Bengals against the Panthers in week 3. In that game, Gio totaled 86 yards from scrimmage, five receptions, and one touchdown.

Gio gets a better matchup this week in the Falcons. The Falcons defense is surrendering the third-most fantasy points to running backs. They also rank 32nd in DVOA against the run. The Falcons, like the Chiefs, are susceptible to pass-catching backs as well, allowing the second-most reception yards to running backs in the league. Gio is a borderline RB1 if Mixon is out again. Start him if Mixon sits.

Marshawn Lynch vs. Cleveland Browns

Lynch has put up workman-like numbers for the first three weeks of the season. Though he only has 170 yards, good for 16th in the league, he has three touchdowns. Lynch is currently the RB14 in fantasy. He also has double-digit carries every week this season, including 18 and 19 the last two weeks respectively.

Lynch faces a Browns defense that is susceptible to the run. The Browns defense has given up ninth-most fantasy points to running backs. They have allowed a double-digit fantasy point game in every week this season. They have also allowed four rushing touchdowns. Lynch will get his touches and likely a few goal line carries. He is an under the radar start in week 4.

Sit

Derrick Henry vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles defense continues its success from 2017 into 2018. They rank 11th in DVOA against the pass and second against the run. The Eagles defense has also allowed the second-fewest fantasy points through three weeks, allowing one total touchdown and one double-digit fantasy game.

Henry currently ranks outside of the top-50 running backs in fantasy. He has been inefficient with his touches, averaging only three yards per carry. Henry also only has two targets on the season, surrendering most passing down work to his backfield mate Dion Lewis. The Titans pass game is suspect as well, throwing for the fourth-fewest yards in the league. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is nursing a nerve injury in his elbow. The Eagles will likely stack the box and make Mariota beat them.

Game script and likely be against the Titans and the defensive scheme will likely be against Henry. Sit him in week 4.

Peyton Barber @ Chicago Bears

Barber has been bad this season. He is the fantasy RB57, averaging 2.9 yards per carry and only receiving four targets. Unfortunately, game script has also been against Barber in the first three weeks. The Buccaneers secondary has been extremely poor, allowing the second most passing yards in the league. This leads to the need to throw the ball, which is why the Bucs lead the league in passing yards. This is not conducive to Barber getting more touches.

On the flipside, the Bears defense has been great with the addition of Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith. They currently rank third in DVOA against the pass and fourth against the run. They have also allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. This is not a good matchup for Barber.

New York Jets Running Backs @ Jacksonville Jaguars

After a 48 point outburst in week 1 against the Lions, the Jets have scored 29 total points over the past two weeks. Their rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has struggled with one touchdown versus four interceptions. Running backs Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell have actually been good over that timeframe. Powell has 153 yards from scrimmage with five receptions and a receiving touchdown. Crowell has only 95 yards from scrimmage, but two touchdowns.

The Jets face a formidable defense in the Jaguars. The Jaguars rank 10th in DVOA against the pass and seventh against the run. They also have given up the 10th-fewest points to running backs. The Jets do not have much in terms of receiving weapons. With one of the best duo of cornerbacks in the league, the Jaguars will likely stack the box and make the Jets rookie quarterback beat them through the air. Avoid the Jets as a whole in week 4.

Wide Receiver

 (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Start

Sterling Shepard vs. New Orleans Saints

This is the same story as Calvin Ridley’s last week. The Saints are bad against the pass, ranking 32nd in DVOA. The Saints also rank 32nd in covering WR2s. Ridley had the best game of his short career in week 3 with 146 yards receiving and three touchdowns. The Saints also have one of the better passing offenses in the league, which means they find themselves in a lot of shootouts. The over/under for this game is 50, so there is an expectation that points will be scored.

The Giants will likely be down their start tight end Evan Engram. This likely means that the Giants distribution of targets will be funneled towards Shepard and fellow wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Shepard is coming off of a game with 80 yards and one touchdown against the Houston Texans. Expect another good day for Shepard against the Saints in week 4.

John Brown @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have given up the third most fantasy points to wide receivers. This includes double-digit fantasy games to wide receivers in three games. The pass defense is ranked middle of the pack in terms of DVOA, ranking 16th. However, with the pace Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger is on, teams have to throw to stay in the game. The Steelers are scoring the seventh-most points and allowing the fifth-most.

Brown has been targeted by Flacco 23 times, second on the Ravens. Brown has the perfect skillset for Flacco’s strength, the deep ball. He is averaging 18.5 yards per catch. He also has two touchdowns. The Ravens have also been throwing a lot in 2018, with the fourth most passing attempts. The Steelers have the third most passing attempts. This game has a chance to be another shootout, and Brown will benefit.

Tyler Boyd @ Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have given up a lot of double-digit fantasy games to wide receivers. In the three games they have played, seven wide receivers have scored double-digits in PPR scoring. The Falcons defense has struggled overall since losing star linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal. The Falcons rank 25th in DVOA against the pass and 32nd against the run. With the loss of other starting safety Ricardo Allen, the Falcons secondary is in even more trouble.

Boyd might finally be breaking out in his third season. The past two games, Boyd has 223 yards and two touchdowns. Boyd is second on the Bengals with 21 targets, five behind AJ Green. But he leads the Bengals in receiving. The over/under for this game is 51, so there will be some scoring. Boyd should get targets and is worth the start.

Sit

Dede Westbrook vs. New York Jets

The Jets have the top-ranked passing defense in terms of DVOA. They also rank sixth in DVOA against wide receivers across the board.

Westbrook is fourth in targets on the Jaguars with 15. In two of his three games, he averaged 10.2 and 10.3 yards per catch. In the third game, Westbrook received 61  of his 82 on a long touchdown pass, most of which was yards after the catch. Westbrook a slot receiver who does not get volume. With Bortles likely throwing a little less with Fournette back (see above), Westbrook will likely not see a large volume again. Best to avoid him this week.

Dallas Wide Receivers vs. Detroit Lions

This one seems pretty obvious. The Cowboys pass offense has looked awful to start the season. See the Dak Prescott above. Wide receiver Cole Beasly has the most receiving yards for the Cowboys with 132. Every other pass-catcher is below 100.

The Lions have a surprisingly OK pass defense. The Lions have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. It is probably a good idea to avoid the Cowboys offense outside of Zeke, but sit them against the Lions this week.

Marvin Jones @ Dallas Cowboys

This one might be a bit controversial. Jones is third on the Lions in targets. He is also third on the team in yards. Jones currently ranks as WR38 in PPR fantasy. Meanwhile, his counterparts, Kenny Golladay and Golden Tate, ranks as WR12 and WR18 respectively. According to RotoViz’s game splits app, Jones produces five fewer PPR fantasy points and receives five fewer targets with Golladay in the lineup. The Lions also may lean on the run a little more, with their first 100 yards running back in five years.

The Cowboys pass defense has actually been good in 2018. They rank fourth in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. The Cowboys also rank third in DVOA against WR2s.

The over/under on the game is 43.5, so it will be relatively low scoring. One of the Lions wide receivers will likely suffer this game, I am betting it is Jones.

Tight End

Start

Mark Andrews @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers give up the second most fantasy points to tight ends. They also rank 22nd in DVOA covering tight ends. Over the past two weeks, the Steelers have surrendered 215 yards and three touchdowns to tight ends.

Andrews has 107 yards and one touchdown this season. While not spectacular, he is getting targets. Andrews has a chance to have a great game against a bad Steelers defense in what could be a shootout. Take a chance.

Trey Burton vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends and the most receiving yards. The last two weeks, the Bucs have allowed 20-plus fantasy point games to opposing tight ends. They rank 25th in DVOA against tight ends.

Burton has not had a great start to his time with the Bears. The Bears offense has not had a good start to the 2018 season in general. But Burton has become more involved over the past two weeks. Burton is third on the Bears in targets and second in receiving yards. This is the perfect game for the Bears offense and Burton to get of the snide.

Jack Doyle vs. Houston Texans

Outside of their week 2 game against the Titans, post-Delanie Walker injury, the Texans defense has not been good against tight ends. They gave up 123 yards and one touchdown to Rob Gronkowski in week 1. In week three, after an Evan Engram injury, Rhett Ellison produced 39 yards and one touchdown.

Doyle has been quarterback Andrew Luck’s safety blanket this season. He missed week 2, but on a per game basis, he is second on the team in targets. Doyle has caught nine of his 15 targets this season for 80 yards. Fellow tight end Eric Ebron had his chances in week 3 but had some bad drops that could end up affecting Luck’s trust in him.

This game has a chance to be high scoring with two relatively bad defenses. Doyle should step back into his safety blanket role and then some against the Texans.

Sit

Jared Cook vs. Cleveland Browns

The Browns have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. They ranked fifth in DVOA against tight ends in coverage. Granted, the Browns have not faced the best tight ends, but that may be due in part to their defense.

Cook did what Cook does. Cook has great games a couple times a season and then is mediocre or even bad the rest of the season. It just so happened that one of his great games happened in week 1. Since his 180 yard outburst, he has 49 and 31 yards in weeks 2 and 3 respectively. Expect another middling performance against a good Browns defense.

Ricky Seals-Jones vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have given up 111 yards and one touchdown to tight ends on the season. Though they rank 12th in fantasy points surrendered to tight ends, the Seahawks rank first overall in DVOA covering tight ends. The Seahawks pass defense as a whole ranks fourth in DVOA.

The Cardinals offense is a mess. They are dead last in the league in scoring and yards. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen took over for Sam Bradford in the fourth quarter of week 3 and has been named the starter for week 4. With Bradford, Seals-Jones was targeted 15 times, catching eight for 71 yards and one touchdown. I do not think you can expect much more than that with a rookie quarterback against a good pass defense. Sit Seals-Jones in week 4.

George Kittle @ Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have given up the third-fewest points to tight ends, including 1.6 points to Travis Kelce. Despite being overall terrible against the pass, ranking 26th in DVOA, the Chargers rank 2nd in DVOA against tight ends.

Kittle is one of the up and coming tight ends in the NFL, ranking as TE11 in fantasy. Kittle has two games of 14 or more fantasy points in 2018. However, he lost his starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to an ACL tear. Though backup quarterback CJ Beathard was Kittle’s quarterback in college, it is still a downgrade. You cannot rely on Kittle against the Chargers with a backup quarterback.

 

Thank you once again for allowing me to advise you. I hope this article helps you set your lineups and win your week 4 match-ups.

Until next week.

Sources

Football Outsiders DVOA

FFToday Fantasy Points Allowed

Bleacher Report Over/Under

ESPN Team/Player Stats

RotoViz Game Splits

Thank you for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @FFStompy. Enjoy more redraft articles from The Fantasy Authority here., dynasty articles here, and DFS here. Enjoy and subscribe to the four podcasts hosted by The Fantasy Authority found here. Also, follow The Fantasy Authority (@FF_Authority), the Dynasty Life Podcast (@DynastyLifePod), the Redshirts Fantasy Football Podcast (@RedshirtFFPod), and the DFS DegeNation Podcast (@DegeNationPod) on Twitter.

Raised in Colorado, I am an avid Broncos fan. I have been playing fantasy football since I started with my dad around 15 years ago. My current home, redraft league is 10 years old. I started playing dynasty a few years ago and became addicted. I have since joined double-digit leagues, become a fantasy football writer, and have appeared on several podcasts.

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