Rookie quarterbacks are starting everywhere, the Bills beat the Vikings, and the Dolphins are undefeated. Just like we drew it up for Week 3. What can we expect in Week 4? Who knows. But, there should be some interesting matchups when considering your start/sit decisions.
The Falcons and Saints have become a magnet for WR1 matchups, while the Browns have become a no-fly zone. Over in Green Bay, we are waiting for Mike McCarthy to find his brain (if he ever it), and in Buffalo, we are waiting to see if the Bills actually improved. Luckily they play each other.
Tough matchups and injuries will lead to some interesting decisions for fantasy owners this week. So let’s look at some Start/decisions for Week 4 and get you ready to celebrate a win. If you have any questions about your team, reach out to me on Twitter @MattWi77iams.
FFStatistics Start/Sit for Week 4
To help make my decisions I will utilize the data analysis tools right here on FFStatistics.com (Be sure to check out the Start/Sit Tool). So without further ado, let’s get into the Start/Sit picks for week three for fantasy football.
Start Ryan Tannehill at NE
Tannehill comes into the weekend with a 10-1 record over his last 11 games. Now, that may not count for much in fantasy, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless. He also comes into the game have back to back 20+ Fantasy point performances against the Jets and Raiders.
The Patriots defense has allowed 639 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions over their past two contests against Blake Bortles (yeah) and Matthew Stafford. New England now takes on a quarterback with the fourth-best passer rating in the NFL (121.8). Tannehill trails only Pat Mahomes, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Drew Brees in that department. Pretty impressive. Let’s see if he can keep it going in this potential shootout.
Sit Derek Carr vs CLE
The Browns have boasted on the leagues best defenses thus far (I’m serious). Do we really expect Derek Carr to change that? Carr has yet to score more than 17 Fantasy points in 2018. All while the Cleveland defense has held Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Sam Darnold to an average of 249 passing yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions (below).
Start Andy Dalton at ATL
Dalton will be going up against an Atlanta Falcons defense who have given up 276 passing yards a game, 401.7 total yards, and 28.3 total points. Atlanta has also recently lost linebacker Deion Jones, as well as safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal to season-ending injuries. Jones and Neal were injured prior to the Falcons 43-37 overtime loss to the Saints on Sunday in which the team allowed 534 yards of offense.
[QB1 vs Falcons Defense in 2018]
Needless to say, the Falcons now have a severe depth issue at safety. I have serious doubts they have enough time to plug this massive hole in time for the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. The Vegas total has already been bet up to 51.5 from a 48 open. Why? The world saw what New Orleans did vs the Falcons and this is going to be another bloodbath in Atlanta.
While Cincinnati doesn’t have the Saints’ firepower, A.J. Green is on track to return from a groin injury and Tyler Boyd having a breakout season so far. If you add in Giovanni Bernard and Tyler Eifert, the Falcons defense are going to have another tough day defending the middle of the field.
Dalton seems primed for a top-10 QB performance in Week 4. Start your Bengals.
Also start: Mitchell Trubisky, DeShaun Watson
Also sit: Carson Wentz, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Start/Sit Running Back
Start Aaron Jones vs BUF
The Packers get to face a Bills defense that that is one of just four teams that have surrendered over four rush TDs to opponents. Regardless of how they performed last week, you have to like Packers as a 10-point home favorite over Buffalo, likely to be playing with a lead all game.
Also, Aaron Jones is much better than Jamaal Williams. It’s not even close. Williams has just 135 yards on 36 carries (3.75 YPC) over three weeks, while Jones collected 42 yards on just six carries Sunday. There does not seem to be any evidence that Jamaal Williams rumored pass-blocking skills have done anything to help Aaron Rodgers to this point either.
The bottom line is I am not expecting the Bills’ success to carry over from Week 3 when they monkey stomped the Vikings. If the game turns into a rout, the Packers should give the ball to Aaron Jones. He is by far the Packers best runner, and Jamaal Williams has been garbage for three straight weeks.
Aaron Jones is RB1. Feed him pic.twitter.com/HfsoMmss3Z
— IKE Packers (@IKE_Packers) September 23, 2018
Sit Isaiah Crowell at JAC
Crowell fell into two rushing TDs last week against Cleveland, which may have been enough to fool fantasy owners who were not paying attention. Not you though, right? Crowell will likely need to luck into these scoring opportunities to maintain any kind of value moving forward.
It seems like a long shot for Crowell to replicate this performance in Week 4 against a stingy Jacksonville defense. Not to mention he has to split the workload with the arguably more talented Bilal Powell. Vegas has the Jets down for 14 points, in a game they will likely be trailing. The matchup and game script scream sit.
Start Chris Carson at ARI
Chris Carson was handed the ball 32 times in Week 3. That is nothing due to game script or injury, this was Pete Carrol telling everyone that Chris Carson is going to be the guy. It’s hard to completely buy into this considering the Seahawks spent a first-round pick on Rashaad Penny and it makes little sense to ignore his existence. But still, the results are the results, and Seattle just won a game based on how Carson performed.
The Seahawks come into Week 4 facing a Cardinals run defense that has allowed a collective 578 yards, six touchdowns and three two-point conversions to opposing RBs over the first three weeks.
The bottom line is that Seattle will likely keep feeding Carson the ball since the Arizona defense can’t put an extra guy in the box, due to the rushing ability of Russel Wilson.
Sit Marshawn Lynch vs CLE
Cleveland held the Steelers and Saints to just 21 points each. In the Steelers’ and Saints’ other four games, those two teams have combined for 150 points (an average of 37.5). The Browns also allow just 3.7 yards-per-carry, which is tied for the 10th-best in the NFL. Their performance so far is not a fluke, as they have a formidable front seven led by Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and linebacker Joe Schobert.
There’s a very strong argument that the Cleveland Browns have the best defense in the NFL right now.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 26, 2018
Now they face a Raiders team hasn’t been able to top 20 points in a game yet. Lynch has rushing touchdowns in three straight games, but the Browns’ run defense could bring that to a halt. “Beast Mode” is averaging over three yards-per-carry after contact, however, Cleveland’s front seven, have combined for 27 stops at or behind the line of scrimmage this season.
There will be no Skittles on Sunday.
Also start: Tarik Cohen, Jordan Howard
Start/Sit Wide Reciever
Start Allen Robinson vs TB
Tampa Bay has been awful against WR1, being dominated over the first three weeks. Robinson is the clear-cut target leader for the Bears with 28, and he has the chance to go off in this matchup at home.
It’s true that Robinson hasn’t truly broken out yet, but he is the Bears go-to WR in targets, catches, and yards. Chicago may have struggled in the red zone thus far, but the Buccaneers have given up some time fantasy performances in 2018 so far. This week could be Robinson’s breakthrough.
Sit Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson at JAC
This is a terrible matchup against a Jacksonville secondary that stifles opposing wide receivers. The Jaguars have allowed just 210 yards after contact, which is lowest in the NFL. They have also only allowed two air TDs (best in the NFL).
I can see Enunwa getting 10 targets in the contest, but it may be for 45 yards and no scores. Likewise, Robby Anderson is in for a tough day as well. He may be able to break open a “big play”, but if we are playing the odds, that is likely going to result in a swing and miss.
The Jacksonville’s defensive backs have allowed just one WR, Odell Beckham Jr., to break the 100-yard mark this season. That is the only real damage a WR1 has done to the Jacksonville defense so far (chart below).
Second most? Sterling Shepard, who managed to tally 48 yards in that same game. The Jaguars have basically shut down opposing WR2’s this season, with the lone productive wideout being Chris Hogan, who lucked out in the end zone in order to save his fantasy day (chart below).
Through three weeks, the Jaguars are allowing 8.7 fantasy points per wide receiver, two points fewer than the league average. All in all, this is an avoid if you own Enunwa and Anderson and can afford to start other options.
Start John Brown at PIT
John Brown has the third-most air yards in the NFL this season, with 457. Only Julio Jones (548) and DeAndre Hopkins (487) have been able to top him. Add that in with Brown’s 19.9 average depth of target (aDOT), which also happens to lead the league for all wide receivers, and you have yourself a star.
We always knew John Brown had talent but has been held back by injury and illness. Well, he seems to be healthy right now, and he is making opposing defenses pay.
The Steelers secondary is vulnerable with 649 yards allowed, the only team that has allowed more are the New Orleans Saints. Each WR1 that has gone up against Artie Burns and this Pittsburgh secondary has cashed in so far in 2018 (see below).
The bottom line here is that Brown’s catches and targets keep increasing each week. He faces a Steelers defense that has given up some big games to opposing wideouts so far. Brown may have a safe floor, even if he doesn’t come down with a touchdown in Week 4. Start him.
Start Tyler Boyd at ATL
Tyler Boyd has been building his breakout slowly throughout the first three games. He then exploded in Week 3 for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Some will point to A.J. Green’s departure as the reason for this big game, but that may not be the case. Boyd was already pacing with Green for the team lead in targets before Week 3 as the clear WR2 on the Bengals. It was John Ross who saw the biggest uptick in action following the injury to Green (chart below).
A.J. Green looks like he is going to be back this week for an attractive matchup against the Atlanta secondary. This should not impact Boyd’s usage though. The Falcons’ secondary is beaten up (as we talked about in Andy Dalton’s “Start” section), and will likely be outmatched in this contest. Boyd has a good chance to keep things rolling this week. I expect him too.
Also start: Geronimo Allison, Will Fuller
Sit Start/Sit Tight End
Start David Njoku vs OAK
Statistics have nothing to do with this call. At least, nothing with any semblance of a reasonable sample size. I am banking on Bakr Mayfield here. I think he will finally make use of Cleveland’s talented tight end.
David Njoku with Baker at QB… pic.twitter.com/2kUECQXQ1m
— Al Smizzle (@AlZeidenfeld) September 21, 2018
The numbers say this is a “sit” in many ways, but the Oakland defense has yet to face a team that utilizes the tight end. I expect Mayfield to look Njoku’s way in this one.