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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 4


Welcome to our Week 4 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other important information.

Chris O'Reilly will start off by covering the first set of games that begin at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, and Spencer Aguiar will take you home with his analysis of the late afternoon and evening games.

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @Teeoffsports and @cjoreillyCLE and feel free to ask away! Without further ado, let's get started.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons

Matchups We Love:

Julio Jones (WR, ATL)

Julio Jones has scored at least one touchdown in each of Atlanta's first three games. Three of those have come inside the 10-yard line, where he has a 100% catch rate and a 42.9% target share. The Titans have allowed touchdowns on six of seven red zone possessions, with their 85.7% conversion rate against tied for the second-worst in the league. Atlanta has attempted just six rushes in the red zone, and just three inside the 10. Combine Jones' role in scoring position with his target share everywhere else on the field, and it's not hard to envision him being the first wide receiver to truly torch the Titans secondary in 2019.

Matchups We Hate:

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

Atlanta is allowing 3.6 yards per carry to opposing backs. Only five teams have allowed fewer. It's encouraging to see that the Titans finally appear to have committed to Derrick Henry and the ground game, but I'm not sure volume alone is enough in this matchup. I don't trust Marcus Mariota to be able to open things up for him, and Henry doesn't have a role in the passing game to account for a slow day in the rushing attack. He has all three of Tennessee's carries inside the five-yard line, and six of eight inside the 20, so consider him a touchdown-dependent RB2.

Marcus Mariota (QB, TEN)

Marcus Mariota has been sacked a league-leading 17 times, and while the Falcons don't possess the most fearsome pass rush, there's clear concern regarding Tennessee's ability to protect its quarterback. Mariota has played turnover-free football, but he ranks 27th among 35 qualified QBs in completion percentage. The Falcons have allowed just 211.3 passing yards per game, the 25th-lowest such total in the league. There also isn't a ton of scoring-position upside here. Mariota has attempted eight passes in the red zone and just two inside the 10. The Titans are going to struggle to move the ball consistently if they can't get Henry going, and Mariota is not the type of quarterback to return fantasy value by slinging it all over the field.

Other Matchups:

Devonta Freeman (RB, ATL)

The Titans are allowing 4.9 yards per carry to opposing backs, so there are worse matchups in which to expect Devonta Freeman to finally get going in 2019. Freeman has yet to find the endzone, however, and Tennessee has allowed just one running back to score. He's not used excessively in the passing game, and we already touched on how infrequently the Falcons have run the ball in the red zone through three games. You're encouraged here after Freeman averaged 5.5 yards per carry in Week 3, but I'm concerned if I have to deploy him as anything higher than a volume-dependent RB2.

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)

It's fair to call Tennessee's early success against the pass misleading. They faced a sleepwalking Browns offense in Week 1, and followed that up with games against middling passing attacks from the Colts and Jaguars. Atlanta is their first opponent with an established track record of success through the air, so I'm not fidgeting about if Matt Ryan is my fantasy starter. I am slightly concerned about his tendency to turn the ball over, however. Ryan's six interceptions are the most in the league. You'd like to see him shore up the mistakes if he's your guy, as it's never fun to need 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in order to offset turnovers.

Calvin Ridley/Mohamed Sanu (WR, ATL)

It's discouraging to see Calvin Ridley sitting at fourth among Falcons pass-catchers in targets, even if it is a byproduct of one terrible game. There's good and bad to be found here, as he does lead the team in yards per target at 10.3. He's still a capable downfield threat that is going to benefit regularly from opposing secondaries committing maximum effort to slowing down Jones. But I'm worried about Ridley's place in the pecking order once Atlanta gets into the red zone. Jones, Austin Hooper, and even Luke Stocker have seen multiple targets inside the 10-yard line, while Ridley has seen zero. I'm rolling him out as a flex play in Week 4 with the obvious expectation that he gets back into the target share equation. Mohamed Sanu is a deep PPR flex option, as his steady target share (6.3 per game) has been enough to yield double-digit fantasy outings in two of three games. Expecting more than that is risky.

Austin Hooper (TE, ATL)

Austin Hooper ranks second on the Falcons in targets (22) and yards (177), is tied with Jones for the most receptions (19), and is tied with Ridley for second in touchdowns at two. He's also tied with Jones in red zone targets at four. I'd normally exercise some caution when rolling him out against a Titans Defense that has allowed four receptions and 36.3 yards per game to opposing tight ends, but Hooper's involvement in Atlanta's offense is too prevalent to ignore. Of the 12 catches Tennessee has allowed to TEs, three have been for touchdowns.

Delanie Walker (TE, TEN)

Delanie Walker is the only trustworthy pass-catching option in Tennesee's offense at the moment. He's hauled in 16 of 21 targets for 158 yards and two touchdowns. He's also the only player on the team with multiple red zone targets; the Titans prefer to run the ball in scoring position, but they're looking to him when they have to pass. The Falcons have allowed 5.7 receptions and 63.3 yards per game to opposing tight ends, but have yet to permit one to score. At a position where you could be just as well-served to choose your starter with a blindfold on, Walker is at least a reliable bet to see a healthy target share and have an opportunity or two near the goal line.

Dion Lewis (RB, TEN)

You probably weren't considering him anyway, but just in case you're being hit with the early bye week and/or the injury bug, Dion Lewis is a no-go in fantasy. He has nine carries and five receptions on six targets in three games, for a combined 47 scrimmage yards.

A.J. Brown / Corey Davis / Adam Humphries (WR, TEN)

In case I wasn't clear enough above, Delanie Walker is the only trustworthy pass-catching option in Tennessee's offense at the moment. Are we encouraged by Adam Humphries catching six of nine targets for 93 yards last Thursday? Sure, but let's wait to see some similar production going forward after he was targeted three times combined in the first two weeks. A.J. Brown amassed 100 yards on three catches in Week 1. He has 29 yards on four catches since. Corey Davis has just six catches in three games. Stay as far away as you can from this receiving corps until further notice.

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions

Matchups We Love:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

Patrick Mahomes transcends any level of difficulty presented by an opposing defense. He is averaging just under 400 passing yards per game and leads the league with 10 touchdowns. He has been sacked just three times, and has yet to throw a pick. If there is any reason whatsoever to be concerned here, it's that the Chiefs have faltered in the red zone. For such a high-powered offense, six touchdowns in 12 trips inside the opponent's 20-yard line isn't a gleaming bright spot. The Lions have permitted just five TDs in 11 red zone opportunities, which is sure to be a point of pride as they take on the NFL's best offense at home. To combat this, of course, the Chiefs have three players inside the top 12 league-wide in yards per target. If they can't score from your 20-yard line, they'll just score from theirs.

Matchups We Hate:

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

You're obviously not benching a tight end averaging just south of 95 yards a game, but the Lions have allowed just seven receptions for 93 total yards to the position. We also just got done discussing Kansas City's relative lack of success early on in the red zone, where Travis Kelce has caught zero of his team-leading five targets. The silver lining there, of course, is that he does lead the Chiefs in scoring position targets. Kelce is also heavily involved everywhere else on the field, so his volume keeps him in the high-end TE1 conversation. I'm avoiding him in DFS though.

Other Matchups:

Matt Stafford (QB, DET)

The Lions have had almost no success in the running game, and whether we believe in their defense or not, it's probably best to allow for a relatively high-scoring affair in this contest. I like Matthew Stafford as a streaming option this week based on the idea he'll have to sling it a ton, but I am going in with modest expectations. Stafford is averaging a healthy 277 passing yards per game, though it's worth pointing out he racked up nearly half his season total in Week 1. What we like most here is that Detroit's line has done a fantastic job protecting him; Stafford hasn't been sacked in either of the Lions' last two games. If I have a safer option, I'm keeping Stafford on the bench against a Kansas City pass defense that hasn't exactly been lit up in its first three games. There are worse streaming matchups for those with question marks at QB, however.

Kerryon Johnson (RB, DET)

On paper, this should be the matchup in which Kerryon Johnson is able to get going. The Chiefs have allowed 6.2 yards per carry, the highest average in the league by nearly a full yard. The question is, what has Johnson done to earn our trust? He's got a stranglehold on Detroit's rushing opportunities with 48 attempts, but he's converted that workload into a meager 2.6 yards per carry. He also hasn't helped his cause in scoring position, scoring just one touchdown despite a 100% share of Detroit's rushing attempts inside the 10. You're starting him in a favorable matchup, but Johnson has yet to arrive as a reliable fantasy asset in 2019.

Kenny Golladay / Marvin Jones Jr. / Danny Amendola (WR, DET)

Kenny Golladay has the target share of a WR1 (27), though you'd like to see a catch rate higher than 51.9%. Golladay has hauled in 14 of his targets for 176 yards and two touchdowns, and he is tied with T.J. Hockenson in red zone targets with three. He's a must-start in all formats with a potential shootout on the horizon in Week 4. Danny Amendola has not been heavily featured in the offense after his impressive Week 1, catching just four of six targets for 37 yards in his last two games. Amendola's also dealing with an injury, so monitor his status going into the weekend. Again, there's potential for an aerial onslaught here, but I'm steering clear of him if I can outside of a potential gamble as a PPR flex. Marvin Jones is trending in the opposite direction after seeing an increase in targets with each passing week. I'd be fine trotting him out as a PPR flex, as he leads the Lions in receptions. There's concern for all three of Detroit's top WRs this week against a Chiefs Defense that has allowed the third-fewest receptions to the position, so we're banking on volume as opposed to a super-exploitable matchup.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, DET)

T.J. Hockenson has all but disappeared from the Lions offense after his outstanding Week 1 performance. He has caught just two of seven targets for eight yards in Detroit's last two games. If there's light on the road ahead, the Chiefs have allowed the most receptions (26) and the fourth-most yards (232) to opposing tight ends of any team in the league. We expect Stafford to throw often on Sunday, and the Chiefs have been relatively stingy to opposing WRs. Hockenson could be looking at a bounce-back. If I have George Kittle on bye or I just lost Vance McDonald to injury, I'm trying to pry Hockenson away from his frustrated owner after two terrible weeks.

Darrel Williams / Damien Williams / LeSean McCoy (RB, KC)

Kansas City's complicated backfield only became more dicey in Week 3 thanks to injury questions surrounding Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy. Darrel Williams capitalized on the opportunity presented by the other Williams sitting out the game, racking up 109 scrimmage yards on 14 touches--including five receptions on five targets. Damien Williams is still dealing with the injury that sidelined him in Week 3, which keeps Darrel Williams in the equation if he's inactive again. So let's try to sort this mess out. McCoy is clearly the most effective rusher, averaging 5.4 yards per carry on a team-leading 29 attempts. He's not utilized heavily in the passing game, though he has caught all seven of his targets and scored a receiving touchdown. Damien Williams is a near-liability on the ground, averaging an impressively bad 1.5 yards per carry. He does appear to have the nod on passing downs, however, as his 11 targets lead all Chiefs running backs. McCoy and Damien Williams have seen a pretty even split in red zone opportunities. Detroit is permitting 4.43 yards per carry to opposing backs, and has also allowed 16 receptions for 203 yards and a touchdown to the position. If Damien Williams is active, there's just not enough work to go around for Darrel Williams to remain fantasy-relevant (though he's a fine bench stash if you have the roster space). If he is held out, Darrel Williams reenters the flex conversation. McCoy's value doesn't appear to hinge on which one of the Williams' is active, so proceed as planned with him unless his own health comes into question.

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

I tried to encourage caution regarding Sammy Watkins after his explosive Week 1, but his career-long track record of inconsistency didn't stop most of the rest of the fantasy community from declaring him a can't-miss WR in 2019 based on one game. The upside is always going to be there for any player who regularly sees the field in this offense, so we can lean on Watkins' team-leading 32 targets and 20 receptions as a solid WR2 in PPR formats. He could be dealing with Darius Slay for most of Sunday afternoon, which could in turn cap his ceiling. Slay is on Detroit's injury report as questionable, so keep an eye on that situation going forward. If the Lions' best shutdown corner is unavailable on Sunday, Watkins and the rest of Kansas City's receivers would see a boost in value.

Demarcus Robinson / Mecole Hardman (WR, KC)

Demarcus Robinson had his big game in Week 2, with six catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He followed up on it by finding the endzone again in Week 3, but was held to just three catches for 43 yards. Mecole Hardman has caught a touchdown in each of Kansas City's last two games, but his overall involvement in the passing game this season has amounted to 12 targets and six receptions. This is a fascinating offense in that the Chiefs can regularly be expected to score enough to sustain fantasy value for multiple players, but there hasn't yet been enough overall volume to go around to boost anyone other than Watkins and Kelce in the non-touchdown receiving game. Hardman and Robinson are thus touchdown-dependent fantasy options; they just happen to be among the best such options in the NFL. The Lions have allowed 15.3 receptions and 188 yards per game to opposing wideouts while shutting down tight ends, providing a slight increase in value for Robinson and Hardman.

 

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

To quarterbacks not named Patrick Mahomes, the Ravens have allowed 269.5 yards per game and just one passing touchdown. I'll allow that Baker Mayfield should fare better than Kyler Murray and whatever you call that mess in Miami, but neither Mayfield nor the Browns have looked the part of an upper-echelon offense. For most of their first three games, this unit has looked confused and unprepared. Mayfield has completed 56.9% of his passes (30th in NFL), and thrown three touchdowns--which is one less than Kyle Allen threw in one game against the Cardinals on Sunday. Cleveland has converted 28.2% of its third down attempts, the fifth-worst mark in the league. The Ravens have permitted opposing offenses to convert just 33.3% of such attempts. Mayfield's completion percentage on third down is 53.3%. I've officially reached "prove it" territory with Mayfield before I consider starting him against a quality opponent, especially on the road.

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)

Baltimore has allowed the second-fewest total rushing yards to opposing backs and just under four yards per carry. Cleveland has attempted 65 rushes on the season, which amounts to roughly 37% of their offensive plays, for 4.1 yards per carry. I'm starting Nick Chubb based on his talent, his near-total share of Cleveland's rushing workload, and his high PPR floor. But this matchup and an already struggling offense have me concerned about his ceiling this Sunday.

Other Matchups:

Odell Beckham Jr. / Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

Jarvis Landry has been the player most adversely affected by Cleveland's incompetence on offense. He's been targeted 23 times, which should normally be a positive for a team's number-two wide receiver after three games. A 43.5% catch rate has massively hindered his fantasy value, however. The Ravens have been middle-of-the-pack in terms of limiting opposing wideouts, permitting the position to tally 13.6 catches and 216.3 yards per game. There's a reasonable amount of PPR appeal in Landry's outlook, but how confident can you be after what we've seen from this pass offense early on? Odell Beckham is talented enough to function as a fantasy asset independent of his team's overall performance, but even he has been relegated to little more than a volume-dependent WR2. Take away his 89-yard touchdown in Week 2 (a play on which he covered nearly all of the field after catching the ball), and he's caught 18 passes for 199 yards, which would equate to roughly 13 PPR points per game. Beckham is a WR1 based on who he is and his average of 10 targets per game, but this offense needs to improve in a hurry if he's going to return the season-long value you were expecting on draft day.

Demetrius Harris (TE, CLE)

We've just finished talking about how even the most talented players in the Browns offense are not the safest of fantasy bets, so why would things be any different for Demetrius Harris? He caught one pass on Sunday night against the Rams with no David Njoku in the fold. It just happened to be for a two-yard touchdown. I'm looking elsewhere even if I'm desperate at TE.

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Despite Cleveland's woefully underwhelming offense, the Browns have played well defensively. They're allowing under 240 yards per game through the air, and have sacked opposing quarterbacks on 9.7% of drop-backs, the fifth-highest rate in the league. Whether they will actually be able to corral the elusive Lamar Jackson is a different question, but we have to like Myles Garrett specifically to at least put enough pressure on him to force him out of the pocket. It's also worth noting that Cleveland held the supposedly high-octane Rams offense to 20 points despite playing without their entire starting secondary. Whether any of those banged-up defensive backs return for Week 4 remains up in the air, which would theoretically present a better matchup for Jackson. Consider this then, regarding the Ravens QB: Jackson's 22% bad throw rate is among the league's highest. His lofty numbers have come as a result of 6.2 yards per attempt on his 27 rushes, a 10.7-yard aDOT (third-highest in NFL), and the second-lowest percentage of his passes dropped (1.9%). He's electrifying and fun to watch, but he isn't perfect. I'd like to see the Browns get healthy in the defensive backfield going into Week 4, but either way this is not a soft matchup for Jackson.

Mark Ingram / Gus Edwards (RB, BAL)

Mark Ingram is the only Ravens running back you need to consider in fantasy lineups for the time being. Yes, Gus Edwards has cut into his workload somewhat, but only Ezekiel Elliott and (somehow) Jeff Wilson have more red zone carries than Ingram's 11. No player has more carries inside the 10 than Ingram, and he is in a three-way tie for carries inside the five. Ingram is averaging six yards per carry, and is the only Baltimore back with even a shred of involvement in the passing game. If Edwards occasionally steals a goal line touch here and there, you can live with it. But it isn't worth gunning up a fantasy Hail Mary on that off chance.

Marquise Brown / Willie Snead (WR, BAL)

For an offense as impressive as Baltimore's, there sure aren't many trustworthy options among its pass-catchers. Marquise Brown leads the team in targets with 27, and among the next six players on the list, three are tight ends and two are running backs. Brown doesn't just lead the team in targets; he's the only wide receiver who has even reached double digits. Brown is a PPR flex option for Week 4 based on volume, though you'd like for him to never again catch two of nine targets (his Week 3 line) in a game when he's in your starting lineup. He's especially inviting if Greedy Williams and/or Denzel Ward are once again inactive. Willie Snead has seen nine targets in three games. I'd have to be beyond desperate to consider him a fantasy option regardless of matchup given his lack of involvement.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

It's possible that a foot injury slowed Mark Andrews in Week 3, but his three-catch, 15-yard performance was not what you were looking for after his first two outings. Now you're forced to ask yourself whether you trust him against a Browns Defense that has permitted just eight receptions and 77 yards to opposing tight ends. Given the dearth of safe options at the position, I'm not sure you have much of a choice. Lean on his target share (eight per game) and hope for a touchdown in a less-than-ideal matchup.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Keenan Allen has seen the most targets of any player in football with 42. Michael Thomas has the next-highest total with 33. Naturally, Allen also leads the league in receptions (29) and receiving yards (404--nearly 100 more than second-place Sammy Watkins), with three touchdowns for his trouble. The Dolphins don't have a single regular corner with a pass coverage grade above 46.5 in PFF's grading system, and this includes Xavien Howard, who was supposed to be their best player. Allen's not just a WR1 for Week 4, he's the WR1 for Week 4.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

This will presumably be Austin Ekeler's last ride as the Chargers' first-string running back, as Melvin Gordon is set to rejoin the team for Week 5. If Ekeler drops into the background upon his return, he'll have quite a swan song to look back on. The Dolphins have already allowed 535 rushing yards to opposing backs, which is well over 100 more than the second-worst run defense after three weeks. They've arrived at this number by giving up 5.3 yards per carry. Opposing teams have attempted more rushes against Miami than against any other team for this reason. Ekeler has handled a large majority of the Chargers' rushing attempts, producing 4.2 yards per carry. His real value is in the passing game, however, where he's hauled in 19 of 20 balls thrown his way for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

Matchups We Hate:

Miami Dolphins (All Positions)

The Dolphins have converted eight of 40 third down opportunities. They've visited the red zone five times and come away with one TD. That touchdown was their only one of the season, and it came in the second quarter of Week 1 when they were already down by 39 points. Miami is averaging 5.2 plays per drive for 19.6 yards. Their leading rusher is Kenyan Drake, who is averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Preston Williams leads their passing game with 11 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. When I say that their only hope to make this a competitive football game is for the Chargers to be jet-lagged, I mean it in the most literal way possible.

Melvin Gordon (RB, LAC)
Melvin Gordon is finally back! Well, sort of as far as Week 4 is concerned. Los Angeles' lack of RB depth has forced head coach Anthony Lynn's hand to give Gordon some run on Sunday, but this feels like a situation where you will be best served to leave him on your bench. Better days will be ahead, but let's not rush him out into your fantasy lineups just yet.

Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

With such an exorbitant target share having gone in Allen's direction, there hasn't been much left for Mike Williams. He's seen just 15 passes thrown his way, catching eight of them for 158 yards. Williams does rank ninth in the league in yards per reception (19.6), and is top 25 in yards per target (10.5). There's big-play potential here against a Dolphins Defense that has the third-highest average depth of target against (11.1 yards) and has surrendered three passing touchdowns of more than 30 yards. Unfortunately, the lack of volume forces us to look at Williams in that light: as a big-play dependent touchdown threat. Given the upside, you can do worse than rolling him out as a flex, but beware of the risk.

****** Mike Williams has been ruled out of the game on Sunday. With Virgil Green also out, Dontrelle Inman should see some extra snaps. 

Other Matchups:

Philip Rivers (QB, LAC)

Game flow might work against Philip Rivers this Sunday, which is why he's not among the loves where he should be. The Dolphins have lost their three games by an average of 39 points, setting up Rivers for a low-volume second half if this game follows a similar trajectory. You like that he's averaging over 300 yards per game and facing a defense that has given up a league-high 10 passing touchdowns, just bear in mind that all three of the Chargers' first three games have been decided by seven points or less. I like Rivers as a high-floor option in what has to be the most exploitable matchup of the slate. He'll do his damage early on before the Chargers turn to the ground game.

 

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

I like Josh Allen as much as anyone, and I'm always going to root for the guy who has to constantly hear about how bad a decision his team made by drafting him. But the Patriots haven't allowed an offensive touchdown in 2019, and the Bills have just barely played well enough to beat three teams who are destined for top-10 picks at the 2020 NFL draft. I'll allow that two of the passing offenses in question for New England have been Miami and a third-string-quarterback-led Jets team, but I'm just not buying a huge day out of Allen here. The Patriots have allowed two red zone opportunities in three games. If Buffalo is able to get there, Allen has only attempted seven passes inside an opponent's 20. He's arguably more likely to score a rushing touchdown (six red zone rushing attempts) from in close than he is to throw for one, and you can bet the Patriots have something dialed up to prevent that too. Keep Allen on the bench for Week 4.

Devin Singletary / Frank Gore / T.J. Yeldon (RB, BUF)

Devin Singletary remains hobbled from a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 2, which is unfortunate both for the Bills and his fantasy investors. Monitor his practice participation heading into the weekend, because there's clear upside in his 12.7 yards per carry if that efficiency should ever translate into volume. Frank Gore is the only Bills running back with a carry inside the five, and he has four of those. There's touchdown potential, again, if the Bills are able to get deep into Patriots territory. T.J. Yeldon is listed here in case you happen to somehow own Saquon Barkley, Le'Veon Bell (bye week), all of the 49ers RBs (also bye week), and Singletary, and you're wondering if Yeldon could provide some emergency value in Week 4. Well he has 10 touches for 49 yards in three games, so no.

Other Matchups:

John Brown / Cole Beasley (WR, BUF)

Truthfully, I feel I should have every fantasy-relevant Bills player listed among the hates. But because I can envision a scenario in which Buffalo has no choice but to air it out, I'll keep the door open for John Brown and Cole Beasley based on opportunity. The two are tied for the team lead in targets at 23, while Brown has the edge in production: 18 receptions, 246 yards, one TD, to Beasley's 17 catches for 171 yards. Neither has seen a target inside the 10-yard line, meaning if Brown or Beasley are going to find the endzone on Sunday, they're likely going to have to run very fast and very far to get there. Oh, and they'll have Stephon Gilmore and the McCourty twins giving them fits all day. I can't in good conscience recommend you start either Brown or Beasley in Week 4.

Tom Brady (QB, NE)

If there's any chance for the Bills to remain undefeated on Sunday afternoon, it's going to have to be in a knock-down-drag-out kind of game. Buffalo is allowing just 211.7 passing yards per game, but they have permitted a middle-of-the-pack 4.4 yards per carry on the ground. Bill Belichick is probably more aware of this than anyone else in the entire universe, so right about now he is devising a game plan based on loosening up Buffalo's secondary by running the ball early and hitting his running backs in the short-yardage passing attack. Tom Brady's efficiency keeps him near the starting QB tier in just about any matchup, but I'm not seeing a ton of downfield work or big-play potential against the Bills. As a result, Brady will probably need multiple touchdowns again to provide a week-winning fantasy performance. Buffalo has allowed just three of them through three games.

James White / Sony Michel / Rex Burkhead (RB, NE)

The Patriots' backfield is rapidly devolving back into a fantasy owner's worst nightmare, as Rex Burkhead has begun to creep into the equation on both passing downs and the running game. It's fair to attribute some of his passing-game work to the fact that James White missed Week 3, but Burkhead saw eight targets in Week 1 as well. Sony Michel has seen the highest share of rushing attempts, but he's done next to nothing with them, averaging just 2.4 yards per carry. Burkhead has averaged 4.7 yards on his 24 opportunities. I'll still lean on White as the safest fantasy play (specifically in PPR formats) in this backfield based on his long-standing track record as one of New England's most reliable offensive players. I'll tilt the rushing scales in Michel's favor for the time being based on his 61.5% share of the Patriots' carries inside the 10-yard line. But if Michel's efficiency doesn't start to pick up in a hurry, I'm genuinely concerned about Burkhead cutting into--or even taking over--his role down the road.

Julian Edelman / Josh Gordon / Phillip Dorsett (WR, NE)

It might be time to start taking Phillip Dorsett seriously as a fantasy asset. In the two games Antonio Brown was not active, Dorsett has hauled in 10 of 11 targets for 148 yards and three touchdowns. He has a 92.9% catch rate, and we know Brady adores guys who aren't going to drop the ball when he looks their way. Further amplifying Dorsett's fantasy value is that he ranks seventh in the league in yards per target (13.4). We did just discuss the possibility of an emphasis on the short and intermediate passing game for Week 4, but Dorsett clearly looks like the long-range guy when the Patriots do go that route. I'm not entirely opposed to starting him as a flex this week if I have to, but let the record show I'm not crazy about the matchup. Julian Edelman is still Brady's favorite teammate, and thus your favorite Patriots pass-catcher if you own him in fantasy. He leads the team in targets and receptions, which should play well in PPR leagues against a Bills team that has allowed 50 receptions (though not much overall production) to opposing WRs. Josh Gordon is another flex candidate, as he ranks second on the team in targets behind Edelman and leads the team in yards per reception. I just wish he had a catch rate higher than 55% going up against a talented Bills secondary.

 

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

Matchups We Love:

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Monday night should still be fresh enough in your memory to recall the Redskins making Mitch Trubisky look good. After being torched by the Eagles and Cowboys in the two previous weeks, Washington has now allowed nine passing touchdowns on the season. The Daniel Jones era in New York is too small of a sample size to thoroughly evaluate, but we have to like the early returns. The rookie aired it out for 336 yards against Tampa Bay in his first career start, accounting for four total touchdowns (two passing, two rushing). The Redskins have only sacked opposing QBs on 4.8% of drop-backs, the seventh-lowest rate in the NFL. I don't know that we need to place extremely lofty expectations on Jones or the Giants after one game, but this is a fine matchup for another solid performance from the rookie.

Evan Engram (TE, NYG)

Evan Engram leads all tight ends in targets, and is quite clearly the best pass-catching option the Giants have. He's a red zone threat facing a Redskins team that has surrendered seven touchdowns on 10 such opportunities. Start him with confidence in Week 4.

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS)

This is dependent on whether or not Case Keenum plays Sunday, as he is currently dealing with a foot injury that has him in a walking boot. Washington's pass offense looks worse than it actually is (especially after Keenum's five-turnover outing on national television), but the one player for whom things have gone undeniably right is rookie wideout Terry McLaurin. McLaurin leads the Redskins in targets, has averaged 16.1 yards per catch on 16 receptions, and has scored a touchdown in three straight games to begin his NFL career. On Sunday he'll face a Giants Defense permitting 262 yards per game and 17.9 yards per catch to opposing wide receivers. The Giants have also given up six touchdowns to wideouts, including three to Mike Evans alone in Week 3. We don't have to love the Redskins offense to love McLaurin. Keenum has looked his way often, and the results have been there. The rookie is officially a fantasy starter as far as I'm concerned.

Case Keenum (QB, WAS)

Look, I saw what you saw on Monday night. Five turnovers in one game is never going to garner positive attention, and the national stage only made it worse. But that's also the first game of the season in which Case Keenum committed any turnovers at all, and it was against a Bears team that forced a league-high 36 of them in 2018. Keenum is averaging over 300 yards per game, and has thrown multiple touchdowns in each of the first three weeks. The Redskins have no running game to speak of, and the Giants are allowing 346 passing yards per game along with eight total passing touchdowns. Keenum deserves the criticism for Monday's debacle, but let's also give him credit for what he's done right this year on an otherwise hapless team. I'm banking on a high-scoring game thanks to two atrocious pass defenses, and Keenum's rough Monday night doesn't scare me out of streaming him if I have to.

Matchups We Hate:

Adrian Peterson (RB, WAS)

You would think that at some point the Redskins would have to establish something closely resembling a rushing attack after averaging 48 yards per game on the ground through three contests. It probably doesn't help that two of their first three opponents (Philadelphia, Chicago) have allowed 3.1 yards or fewer per carry to opposing rushers, but that doesn't help me feel any better about Adrian Peterson's outlook for Week 4. The Giants haven't been particularly exploitable on the ground, allowing just four yards per rushing attempt, and the Redskins are becoming an increasingly pass-happy offense out of sheer necessity. I'm avoiding Peterson (if I can help it), who has amassed 62 yards on 22 attempts in his two starts, until this situation begins to trend in the other direction.

Wayne Gallman (RB, NYG)

Fantasy owners were tripping over each other to acquire Wayne Gallman after Saquon Barkley suffered a relatively long-term injury in Week 3, but let's make something crystal clear: the Giants are not an offense in which the next man up just automatically becomes some fantasy superstar. Barkley is special because he's Barkley, not because his head coach is an offensive genius or he's surrounded by great talent at other positions. If there's something to lean on for Gallman this week, it's that the Redskins have been gashed for 4.8 yards per rushing attempt, but let's remember that Ezekiel Elliott is solely responsible for nearly one-third of the total rushing yards Washington has surrendered. I understand if you find yourself in an RB-related emergency with Barkley out, I just worry that fantasy owners are buying the Giants offense too much after one impressive game. Gallman is a flex play for me against Washington.

Other Matchups:

Chris Thompson (RB, WAS)

Chris Thompson is tied for the team lead in receptions with 16, and is averaging 12.2 yards per catch. He's a fine PPR flex option if you need one, but it's worth pointing out he has seen just one target in the red zone. The couple of goal line carries he saw on Monday night were likely intended to light a fire underneath Peterson, as opposed to an indication Thompson can expect similar opportunities going forward. If you're in a bind at RB, you can do worse than Thompson's 5.3 receptions and 65 yards per game.

Paul Richardson / Trey Quinn (WR, WAS)

Paul Richardson caught eight of nine targets for 83 yards on Monday. All three of those numbers are his highest in a single game as a member of the Redskins. I've mentioned that I believe this will be a high-scoring game, so I consequently believe there will be opportunities for this pass offense to produce. I just don't trust any of Washington's receivers outside of McLaurin. This applies to Trey Quinn as well, who is slowly carving out what could develop into a decent PPR role. The key word there is "slowly." He's got 13 catches despite ranking third on the team in targets, and he's averaging just 7.6 yards per reception.

Vernon Davis (TE, WAS)

With Jordan Reed teetering on the brink of retirement, the starting tight end job belongs to Vernon Davis by default. I'm not investing in his role in this offense, and I can live with it if he has a big game here and there on the waiver wire. He's averaging five targets and three catches per game, with 40.6% of his 118 yards having come on one play.

Giants WRs (All)

Sterling Shepard is the only Giants wideout I'm willing to pay attention to at the moment. For one thing, Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, and Russell Shepard all appear on New York's injury report. For another, Sterling Shepard is the only Giants wideout who meets all of the following: catch rate above 65%, target share above five per game, and yards-per-game average above 50.

 

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts

Matchups We Love:

Darren Waller (TE, OAK)

Darren Waller has the second-most catches in the league. Not among tight ends, among all players. He's also rocking an insane 89.7% catch rate on 29 targets. He hasn't scored a touchdown yet, so you can imagine how high his ceiling is once those become part of his equation. On that note, you'd like to see a few more balls thrown his way in the red zone. He has just two targets inside the 20, and none inside the 10. The Colts are allowing six receptions and 60 yards per game to opposing tight ends. Lock Waller into fantasy lineups everywhere.

Josh Jacobs (RB, OAK)

The Colts have allowed 5.4 yards per carry to opposing backs, which makes you wonder why their opponents haven't run the ball more against them. Indy's first three adversaries have attempted a combined 55 rushes with running backs as the ball carrier, which is the ninth-lowest total in the NFL. I don't expect the Raiders to follow this trend. Josh Jacobs is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, and is easily the only fantasy-relevant running back in Oakland. Jacobs finds himself in a four-way tie for third-most red zone carries in the league with 11, and has handled 100% of Oakland's rushing attempts inside the 10. Expect a heavy dose of Jacobs on Sunday against a Colts Defense that has not been good in the red zone.

Marlon Mack (RB, IND)

Marlon Mack is as strong a fantasy asset as there is in terms of his death-grip on the rushing workload in Indianapolis. He's attempted 61 rushes, and the second-leading rusher on the team is his quarterback. Mack is also the only Colt to see a carry inside the five-yard line after three games. He's averaging 4.9 yards per tote and just south of 100 yards per game on the ground. Oakland has allowed the seventh-highest rushing total to opposing backs. Lock him in.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Derek Carr (QB, OAK)

The Colts look like a solid pass defense at first glance, as they're permitting just 244.3 yards per game through the air. But let's look at the weaknesses of Indy's defense and how Derek Carr can take advantage of it on the road in Week 4. The Colts are permitting the second-highest completion rate in the league (76%), and Carr owns the third-best percentage (73.5%) among qualified quarterbacks. Opposing offenses have converted 51.6% of third downs against the Colts (fifth-highest in NFL), while Carr has completed 76.9% of his passes on third down for 242 yards and 15 conversions. Seven of nine red zone opportunities against Indianapolis have resulted in touchdowns, which is the league's fifth-highest rate. Carr has completed eight of 10 pass attempts inside an opponent's 20, with three of his four touchdowns coming in such field position. In short, the Colts have struggled with efficiency from opposing quarterbacks, and they're failing to prevent conversions on the most pivotal plays and in the most important areas of the field. You have to be sorely lacking in better options at QB for this week, but I'm higher on Carr in this matchup than most.

Tyrell Williams (WR, OAK)

Tyrell Williams has caught three of Carr's four touchdown passes, and he's benefited from Carr's accuracy to the tune of an 82.4% catch rate on 17 targets. We like that he's the Raiders' clear number-one wideout, but the volume isn't quite there to make Williams a must-start in fantasy. If not for the fact that he's caught a touchdown in three straight games, he'd barely be on the radar. The Colts have not been a friendly matchup for opposing wideouts thus far, and have only allowed two touchdowns to the position. I'd prefer to look elsewhere at WR for Week 4.

Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND)

You have to hand it to him: Jacoby Brissett has performed well as the Colts starting quarterback in the wake of Andrew Luck's sudden retirement. Brissett's 71.7% completion rate is the seventh-best in the NFL. He hasn't exactly been airing it out; his 92 pass attempts rank 22nd in the league and his 215.3 yards per game rank 26th. But why should he have to sling it all over the field with a running game like the Colts have? Of course--efficiency aside--that lack of opportunity is why Brissett can't be considered a fantasy option. The Colts don't throw unless they have to. Even against an Oakland defense that has surrendered 295 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, I don't know that there's enough upside here to rely on Brissett in fantasy lineups.

T.Y. Hilton (QB, IND)

T.Y. Hilton is likely to have that annoying little "Q" next to his name leading up to game-time on Sunday as he deals with a quad injury that forced him out of Indy's Week 3 game. If he's declared active, it's going to be hard to keep him out of fantasy lineups even with the injury potentially slowing him down. Hilton is the only player on the Colts with more than 11 targets (25), and the only one who's even reached double-digit catches after three games (20). Despite not possessing the size of a traditional red zone threat, Hilton is tied for second in the league with five targets inside the 10. The Raiders are allowing 189.7 yards per game to opposing wideouts, and have permitted five scores to the position as well. Again, if he suits up, you have to play him. Just have a backup plan in case he sits.

Jack Doyle / Eric Ebron (TE, IND)

If you're willing to gamble on Jack Doyle or Eric Ebron despite the overwhelming evidence that neither can be trusted in fantasy lineups, more power to you. Then again, maybe you're just forced to take that gamble due to lack of another option, in which case I'll leave you with this: Oakland has given up 15.9 yards per reception and a touchdown to opposing tight ends. In any case, I have to be feeling extremely lucky or have exhausted all other options if either one of these guys is finding his way into my fantasy lineup on Sunday.

 

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans

Matchups We Love:

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)

The Panthers enter Week 4 having allowed the most receptions in the league to opposing wide receivers. The production on top of it hasn't been much (9.1 yards per catch, 154.3 yards per game, two touchdowns), but DeAndre Hopkins is in a realm of his own. The fact that Hopkins hasn't found the endzone since Week 1 has put a dent in his fantasy production, but the touchdowns will come. He's averaging 9.3 targets per game, and that isn't in line to decrease against Carolina.

D.J. Moore / Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR)

Speaking of defenses that have been burned by opposing wideouts, Houston hasn't been any better than Carolina. The Texans are tied for the third-most catches allowed to WRs, and are giving up more than 200 yards per game to the position. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are both averaging at least eight targets per game, and their middling catch rates are mostly the product of having played their first two games with Cam Newton. Kyle Allen completed 73.1% of his passes against a similarly exploitable Cardinals team in Week 3. It's concerning that Moore only saw two targets in that game, but he did convert one of them into a 52-yard touchdown. I'll take his lack of involvement last week as an outlier. Both Moore and Samuel are fine flex plays this week in a game that should feature a ton of scoring on both sides.

Kyle Allen (QB, CAR)

I hesitate to get too excited about Kyle Allen's huge Week 3 performance against a dreadful Arizona pass defense, but the Texans offer him another opportunity for success. Houston has allowed 300 yards per game to opposing QBs, along with a 70.5% completion rate. The Texans have also been susceptible to both WRs and RBs in the passing game, allowing the third-most receptions to both positions. Allen will be able to look pretty much anywhere he wants on the field, whether that be to his wideouts downfield or to Christian McCaffrey underneath. I'm not shying away from Allen as my Week 4 starter unless I have a safer option.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)

Houston has allowed just 248 rushing yards to opposing backs through three games, which suggests in a vacuum that they're tough to run against. In reality, that's not quite the case. Opposing backs have attempted just 49 rushes against them, which is the fifth-lowest total in the league. They're also not effective against the pass, which in turn nullifies some of the need to run against them frequently. They're allowing just over five yards per carry, and have permitted the third-most receptions to running backs. You already knew this, but Christian McCaffrey is your boy for Week 4.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

If Deshaun Watson was anyone else, I'd list him among the hates. But he's Deshaun Watson, so I'm going to put aside the fact that the Panthers have yet to allow an opposing quarterback to total more than 208 yards through the air in a game. The quality of the quarterbacks they've faced thus far can be called into question, but this still isn't a fantastic matchup for Watson. Carolina isn't just the second-stingiest pass defense in the NFL in terms of yards per game, they're also tied for second in sacks. I'm expecting Watson to need his legs in this game, so in that regard it's worth pointing out he's averaging a solid 4.2 yards per rushing attempt and has scored two rushing touchdowns. You're starting him with the belief that he's arguably the second-best quarterback on the planet, just keep in mind the defense he's going up against has played well.

Carlos Hyde / Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, HOU)

Carlos Hyde came crashing back down to earth in Week 3 with 19 rushing yards on 10 attempts after averaging 5.8 yards per carry in his first two games. The Panther's aren't terrible or great against the run, having given up 4.4 yards per carry to the position, and their success against the pass lends itself to the possibility the Texans will at least try to establish Hyde on the ground early on. He's certainly got a strong enough grip on the rushing workload in Houston, and between injuries and bye weeks, you could be looking at a thin herd of RBs to choose from. I just worry about his efficiency, and if I'm starting him, I'm doing so with modest expectations and the hope of a touchdown. Duke Johnson continues to see minimal work, even in the passing game. He's seen nine targets in three weeks. Carolina is tied for the third-fewest receptions allowed to opposing RBs (10), and have given up the fewest receiving yards to the position of anyone. I can't get on board with Johnson as a fantasy starter.

Kenny Stills / Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

Kenny Stills and Will Fuller have come through when the ball has been thrown their way, but neither of their target shares are through the roof. Fuller has the slight edge in this department, having seen 17. Stills has been more productive, having caught nine of his 12 targets for 164 yards and a touchdown. As was mentioned in the Hopkins segment above, we like that the Panthers have allowed WRs to catch a high volume of passes, and this game could turn into a shootout. I just don't know that you can safely bank on either Stills or Fuller with Hopkins hogging so many of the opportunities. I consider both to be big-play-dependent flex options.

Jordan Akins / Darren Fells (TE, HOU)

The Panthers have allowed eight receptions to tight ends. Jordan Akins and Darren Fells have caught a combined 12 passes on 20 total targets. They have combined to haul in three of Watson's six passing touchdowns, so there is that, but only Akins has seen a target inside the 10. I'm not comfortable with the matchup or the overall usage, so unless there is some way of guaranteeing a touchdown, I'm out on both Akins and Fells for Week 4.


Greg Olsen (TE, CAR)

Greg Olsen was Allen's favorite target in Week 3, hauling in six of seven targets for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Houston has allowed just 11 receptions to tight ends for 90 yards, and have not permitted one to score. I like Olsen from a volume angle here, which is almost always the case with the sure-handed veteran. The Texans have not faced a pass offense that heavily features the tight end yet, so I'm not too concerned about the fact that they've generally held the position in check. Proceed as planned with Olsen.

Matchups Analysis - 4:05 PM ET Games

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams

Matchups We Love:

Cooper Kupp (WR, LA)

Yes, the Rams have a three-headed monster to deal with at WR, but Cooper Kupp continues to standout as Jared Goff's favorite target when he is healthy. Through three games, Kupp has received 31 targets, catching 23 balls for 268 yards and two scores. M.J. Stewart, who should be matched up on Kupp all afternoon, has allowed a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targeted and 18.8 yards per completion. Kupp is a WR1 this weekend.

Matchups We Hate:

Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

Jameis Winston finally exploded last Sunday against the New York Giants, throwing for 380 yards and three touchdowns. The performance was what every manager that drafted the former number one selection in the 2015 NFL Draft was hoping to see this year, but how sustainable will it be this weekend on the road against the Los Angeles Rams? I mentioned this during the pre-draft process, but volatility is what you signed up for when you selected the 25-year-old to your fantasy squad. In the right matchup, he can be a difference-maker, but you will have to deal with some unpredictable results from week-to-week. The Rams rank first in the NFL when it comes explosive pass rate against opposing QBs, allowing only three percent of throws to grade out successfully, and Winston's propensity to attack deep downfield could find some issues with his high interception rate. If the fifth-year pro outperforms expectations, I am ok watching him do it on my bench as a QB2 option in Week 4.

Other Matchups:

Jared Goff (QB, LA)

This is a matchup that should jump off the page as one of the best of the week when we consider Jared Goff's career home/road splits, but something has not looked right with the way the Rams' offensive unit has been flowing to begin the year. The perception around Tampa Bay's defensive squad could not be lower after they allowed first-time starter Daniel Jones to scorch them for 336 yards through the air, two passing touchdowns and two rushing TDs, but if we exclude the recency bias attached to the team, no QB this season has thrown for more than one score in a game besides the Giants. Goff is fully inside QB1 consideration with a total in Vegas that currently is placed at seven total touchdowns but some sharp money has come in on the under, limiting his upside potential. Somewhere between 16 to 20 points is what I'd be expecting if I decided to roll the 24-year-old out on Sunday, making him a solid option to ponder.

Todd Gurley (RB, LA)

Sean McVay can keep saying that Todd Gurley is not on a pitch count, but what else are we supposed to call it after the 25-year-old has been held under 20 touches in all three games this year. McVay said this week that he needs to do a more meticulous job of using his star back and provide him with a better opportunity "to really get going," and while that sounds good on paper, a matchup against the Buccaneers isn't quite the most straightforward test to allow Gurley to run wild. The Buccaneers have held opposing RBs to 160 yards on 59 carries through three games (2.71 yards per attempt), and it doesn't seem likely that McVay will decide to unleash the Georgia product in a contest that isn't expected to be overly competitive. Consider Gurley an RB2 in a challenging showdown against a slept on Bucs defense.

Peyton Barber / Ronald Jones II (RB, TB)

Bruce Arians has stayed committed to his "hot hand" approach this season, making it difficult to breakdown this backfield on a game-by-game basis. Ronald Jones has outworked Peyton Barber during both games where the team had to play with a more frenetic pace, so I do lean slightly towards him having the better upside and potential on Sunday, but neither man should be viewed better than an RB3 against the Los Angeles Rams. Consider Jones as an RB3 with a little flex potential and Barber an RB4. You could make the argument for putting Barber on the hate column this week, but the touch distribution is a little puzzling, and we will leave him as a strong dislike.

Brandin Cooks / Robert Woods (WR, LA)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been slightly susceptible to explosive passing plays this year, ranking 16th in the NFL at a nine percent allowance rate. Brandin Cooks is currently ranked 16th in the NFL in air yards, so there is an opening for him to get loose against a beatable secondary. As for Robert Woods, he has been the odd man out with just five catches for 73 yards in his previous two games. Cooks should be looked at as a middling WR2, as where Woods is more of a back-end WR2/high-end WR3. It will take a robust WR squad if you are considering benching Woods, but it is somewhat alarming that he has consistently produced as the third wideout through the first three weeks.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

It only took eight catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns in Week 3 against the New York Giants to welcome Mike Evans back to fantasy superstardom! Unfortunately, a Week 4 clash against the Los Angeles Rams might present a situation where we could see him revert slightly back to his early-season form. Los Angeles' secondary ranks first in the NFL in preventing explosive passes, adding issues to Mike Evans, who leads the NFL with 140 yards gained on "go routes" this season. Evans is more of a back-end WR2 than anything else this weekend, but it is a difficult sell when it comes to benching him after his breakout game last weekend.

Chris Godwin (WR, TB)

Chris Godwin played 96 percent of the offensive snaps in Sunday's 32-31 loss to the Giants but has missed practice to begin the week, citing a hip issue. For the time being, the injury should be viewed as nothing more than precautionary. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib tend to play their side of the field in most even matchups, so I wouldn't get too caught up in what corner will be on which player. If healthy, I slightly prefer Godwin over Evans in a difficult Sunday showdown, although both are still fully entrenched in the WR2 range.

O.J. Howard (TE, TB)

I was a big proponent on waiting to grab your TE this season if you missed out on the big three in a non-premium league. When I projected out the season, O.J Howard, who was my TE4, only was forecasted to be about three points per game better than my TE20. With players such as Darren Waller, Mark Andrews and Delanie Walker all available in the last few rounds of the draft, you were able to acquire a TE1 caliber player nearly 10 rounds later. It just so happens that Howard falls victim to this rant because of his early-season start, but the same case could be made for literally any TE that was being drafted between the fourth and 10th rounds. If you are stuck with Howard, what do you do now? The 24-year-old posted his best showing of the year in Week 3, catching three passes for 66 yards, and it feels like a spot where you are going to have to go back to the well again if you own him as a mid-to-back-end TE1. I see no point in trading him after his value has diminished this much so hold on tight and hope the positive trends continue.

 

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Matchups We Love:

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

What an amazing performance Russell Wilson put on in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. The 30-year-old scored his first rushing touchdown since 2017 - adding a second shortly after. And let's not forget his 406 yards through the air, two passing touchdowns and 51 yards rushing. Vintage Wilson at its finest. The Cardinals just allowed Kyle Allen to throw for 261 yards and four scores so fire up Wilson again in a mouth-watering matchup.

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

The Seattle Seahawks have allowed two passing touchdowns in all three games this season, and it is not as if Andy Dalton, Mason Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater are the kind of QBs that strike fear into a defense. Kyler Murray has yet to attempt less than 40 passes in a game, and while his production can be best summed up as erratic, the volume is there for another QB1 caliber showing against an overrated Seahawks Defense.

Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

Twenty-six targets in his past two games, any concerns about Tyler Lockett struggling to produce enough passes in his direction this season have gone out the window. Arizona's defense has allowed the fourth-most points per game this season, and Lockett should be viewed as a strong WR1.

Christian Kirk / Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

Christian Kirk (32) and Larry Fitzgerald (31) both rank inside the top-seven in the league in total targets on the year, and a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks isn't what it once was from a fantasy perspective. Seattle's defense enters the week ranked 18th in passing success rate, which should allow Kirk and Fitzgerald to continue to see a healthy amount of looks if they want to spring the upset on Sunday. Fitzgerald has WR1 upside, while Kirk should be viewed as a WR2 that has the potential for more if he can improve his yards per catch.

Will Dissly (TE, SEA)

Arizona has been beyond dreadful when it comes to defending TEs this season, allowing twenty-three receptions, 348 yards and five touchdowns in the first three games of the year. The ideal matchup places Will Dissly as a TE1 in Week 4, making it shocking that he is still available in nearly half of ESPN leagues as of Wednesday.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Chris Carson (RB, SEA)

Yes, everyone is going to want to jump to the manhandling Christian McCaffrey just applied to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3 and tell you that you need to get ready for the Chris Carson show on Sunday, but before McCaffrey's 153-yard day on the ground, Arizona's defensive rushing metrics were enough to hold both Kerryon Johnson and Mark Ingram in check. I am not entirely sold that we see the same explosion happen in Week 4, but this matchup is clearly good enough to cement Carson in the RB2 tier, with upside for more if he can find the endzone in what should be a high scoring affair.

David Johnson (RB, ARI)

For all the woes the Seattle Seahawks have shown defensively early in the year, the unit has been one of the better run-stopping systems in the league. Ranked as the sixth most efficient team against the run, eighth in success rate and 11th in explosive plays allowed, Johnson will need to follow a similar script that Alvin Kamara did last weekend and find most of his yardage through the air. His pass-catching acumen should allow him to do just that on Sunday, placing him inside RB1 consideration.

D.K. Metcalf (WR, SEA)

Metcalf has some under-the-radar flex appeal in Week 4 against a porous Arizona Cardinals unit. With 19 total targets on the year in three games, the first-year wideout will look to exploit a defense that ranks 23rd in the NFL in success rate against the pass.

 

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Minnesota's run-first nature doesn't bode well for Kirk Cousins against the vaunted Chicago Bears Defense. Vegas has this game pegged as the lowest over/under on the board, and until the 31-year-old is given a more aggressive game script to work around, Cousins doesn't carry enough fantasy value to start.

Mitchell Trubisky (QB, CHI)

After getting off to a difficult start to begin the season against two of the more challenging pass defenses in Green Bay and Denver, it was encouraging to see Trubisky fare better during a favorable matchup - posting three touchdowns and 231 yards on Monday night against the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately, Week 4 brings another tough battle, as divisional rival Minnesota comes to town. For the week being, downgrade Trubisky back to your bench, but the upside shown during Week 3 should add a little confidence in him as a streaming option moving forward.

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)

I don't think it is impossible for Sunday's battle against the Minnesota Vikings to feature a positive game script for Tarik Cohen, but it is currently difficult to imagine starting him with any confidence after we have seen his usage rate decrease exponentially from just a year ago. David Montgomery has taken over that backfield with full force, and Cohen should not currently be counted on for anything other than RB3 production. Despite the name recognition, don't feel pressured that you have to start the 24-year-old if you have other options at your disposal.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)

Adam Thielen has never cleared more than 68 yards in nine games against the Chicago Bears, hasn't scored a TD against them since 2014 and has never scored over 16 fantasy points in a game. With a lack of volume available on the offense this year, Thielen should be considered nothing more than a fringe WR2 in a difficult road showdown and perhaps more in the WR3 range at that.

Trey Burton (TE, CHI)

Seven targets in his past two games since returning from an injury is nothing to scoff at from a tight end, but until Trey Burton shows some upside on a weekly basis, he is best left away from your starting lineup.

Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)

A lack of opportunity has turned Kyle Rudolph into a waiver wire player after receiving just six targets in his first three games of the year. Rudolph provides some red-zone potential, but the lack of pass attempts in his direction isn't worth the headache.

Other Matchups:

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

Dalvin Cook will face a Bears defense that is yet to concede a rushing touchdown this season, but other than tempering your expectations when it comes to what you should be expecting from the 24-year-old, there isn't much else you can do. Cook is currently the number one back in PPR leagues and still remains a bonafide RB1 in any matchup.

David Montgomery (RB, CHI)

David Montgomery had his best game as a professional in Week 3, rushing for 67 yards on 13 carries. However, despite the steady improvement in production, we have yet to see the rookie breakout and provide his fantasy owners with the potential that made him a third/fourth-round selection. Minnesota coming to town with their solid run defense will most likely keep Montgomery as a mere flex possibility, but a touchdown isn't out of the realm of possibilities in a game that should feature a run-first mentality.

Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN)

Stefon Diggs has been great against the Chicago Bears during his career, scoring seven touchdowns in seven career games, which includes 21 catches, 173 yards and two touchdowns on 28 targets against them in two games last season. Diggs is a risky flex play given his early-season woes, but I don't think it is outlandish to prefer him over his running mate Adam Thielen in this particular matchup.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos

Matchups We Love:

Phillip Lindsay (RB, DEN), Royce Freeman (RB, DEN)

For all the accolades Jacksonville receives for their stout defense, the team ranks just 29th in the league in success rate against the run, allowing 56% of plays to grade out successfully. Playing in altitude and heat is a defenses worse nightmare and look for both Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman to take turns against a Jaguars squad that might be ripe for a letdown showing. Both are upside RB2 candidates on Sunday

Matchups We Hate:

Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAX)
Dede Westbrook / D.J. Chark Jr. / Chris Conley (WR, JAX)

The Gardner Minshew hype is fun and good for football, but I'm not so sure there is a more challenging test than playing in Denver's altitude during the month of September. Before their questionable loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 2, the Broncos had not lost at home since 2012, going 14-1 straight up in their past 15 games. We can harp on how Denver has yet to generate a sack or force a fumble, but that is going to change against a young, inexperienced QB such as Minshew. Leonard Fournette produces enough targets out of the backfield that his 98% snap share will allow him to retain fantasy value and avoid the hate list, but I wouldn't be able to comfortably start anyone else from their team and feel ok about it.

Noah Fant (TE, DEN)

There are better options to be found this weekend. Fant doesn't have the target share or matchup to warrant entering into your lineup.

Other Matchups:

Leonard Fournette (RB, JAX)

Leonard Fournette hasn't gotten quite going this season but is still averaging 91 yards from scrimmage and 19 touches per game. The Broncos have limited opposing backs to just 3.49 yards per carry this season but have been beatable once teams do get close to the endzone, allowing a league-high five scores to tailbacks this year. There is enough volume to salvage this difficult Week 4 matchup but view Fournette more in the RB2 range.

Joe Flacco (QB, DEN)

I don't hate Joe Flacco nearly as much as some do this weekend. Don't get me wrong, he is only useable in two-QB settings where you don't have multiple options to consider, but Denver is due for a bounce-back showing at home and Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay should be able to keep the Jaguars honest, opening up some passing work for Flacco and company.

Emmanuel Sanders (WR, DEN)

After recording 16 catches for 184 yards and two scores in Denver's opening two contests, Emmanuel Sanders was shut down in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers, hauling in just two catches for 10 yards. Extra coverage being thrown his direction was the culprit of his struggles, but a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars is good enough to put Sanders back on the flex map. It remains to be seen if CB Jalen Ramsey will play after continuing his sentiment that he wants to be traded so keep an eye on that as we head to Sunday.

Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN)

Similar to Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton's usage pattern early in the season does support WR3/flex value in Week 4. With 22 targets in his first three games, Sutton has been extremely efficient, catching 72.7% of the passes thrown his direction. You could do better, but you also could do a lot worse if you are looking for a plug-in flex option.

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night, 8:20 PM ET

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints

Matchups We Love:

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

Dak Prescott has accounted for three-plus total touchdowns in each of his first three games with Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator. The new system has done a superb job of raising Prescott's fantasy ceiling, and it doesn't hurt that the Saints have given up the most QB fantasy points-per-game this season. If you own Dak, keep rolling him out as a QB1.

Amari Cooper (WR, DAL)

Amari Cooper was listed as a limited participant in Thursday's practice with an ankle injury, but head coach Jason Garrett had suggested this could be the case ahead of the Cowboys' second practice of the week. Fresh off a six catch outing against Miami that saw him go for 88 yards and two scores, Cooper draws CB Marshon Lattimore, who has allowed a 140.7 passer rating when targeted to go along with yielding 19 receptions, 326 yards and two scores. 

Matchups We Hate:

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, NO)

What a story last weekend provided for Teddy Bridgewater after the 26-year-old filled in serviceably for Drew Brees and led the New Orleans Saints to an upset road victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The comeback story is as big as it was because Bridgewater nearly had his career come to an end during a team practice on August 30, 2016, which saw him suffer a non-contact injury to his left leg. The damage resulted in a torn ACL  and included a dislocation of the knee joint and structural damage. While I'd like to be more optimistic that Bridgewater can continue the magical run on Sunday night, it is hard to overlook some of his passing statistics from Week 3. The former Louisville product averaged just 3.3 yards on his average intended pass attempt and 1.8 yards on his average completed air yard. That helps to explain why 68% of his 177 passing yards came after the catch, and the Cowboys will be a different test than the once-vaunted Seahawks defense.

Jared Cook (TE, NO)

Low usage rate, low depth of target and low upside, Jared Cook can be left out of your lineups - even against a beatable Cowboys squad against TEs.

Latavius Murray (RB, NO)

I believe the Saints would be smart to try and change the pace of the game with Latavius Murray, but will they do it? Most likely not. Murray is a back-end RB3 that does have a little TD and usage upside if managed correctly.

Other Matchups:

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

You aren't benching Alvin Kamara, but I do want to point out a few notable numbers when these two teams met last season. The Cowboys managed to hold Kamara to 3.3 yards per target, which can be chalked up to their young, fast linebackers that quickly close down running lanes. In total, the Saints RB took 19 touches for a mere 72 yards, so this matchup does have some downside to it. You aren't benching him in any situation, but I just wanted to point this out so nobody overreacts if he does struggle in Week 4.

Michael Thomas (WR, NO)

You can chalk some of this up to soft coverages after the Dallas Cowboys have taken substantial leads during the first three weeks of the year, but "America's Team" has allowed 51% of passing attempts to grade out successfully - 25th best in the league. Michael Thomas is one of the best route runners in the NFL and should be able to help Teddy Bridgewater with his sure-handed style, but the 26-year-old will be looking for short, quick completions, limiting any big-play potential. That isn't too far off from his usual technique, but with an average depth of target that is going to be greatly reduced with his new QB, Thomas will be slightly TD dependant if you are hoping for WR1 type upside.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

I want to clarify that when I place someone in the "other matchups" portion of this article when they are clearly a top-tier player in the league, it has a lot more to do with their output in a given situation compared to the norm. Players such as Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and countless others could be labeled as "love" options weekly, but I don't believe Elliott is quite as electric on the road against the Saints as he could be in most weeks. He is still a clear-cut RB1 that you aren't benching, but the Saints defensive run-stopping unit is formidable. In their past 25 games, New Orleans has not allowed a single runner to eclipse 100 yards against them, and Elliott will have his work cut out to break the streak.

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