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NFL Fantasy Football: Start 'Em/Sit 'Em - Week Four

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Week four NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team.

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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I'm all over the place in my three fantasy leagues with one team at 3-0, one at 1-2, and another at 2-1.  Hey, at least no 0-3 teams!  This past week I went 2-1.  I was aided heavily this week by the Redskins and it felt great!  I started DeSean Jackson on the only team I own him on (my 3-0 team) and he led my team to victory as the leading scorer on my team.  With generous contributions from DeMarco Murray, Le'Veon Bell, and Martellus Bennett, my 3-0 team is stacked, leading the league in record and overall points.  My worst team unfortunately resides in the Hogs Haven fantasy league and I had a rough week there.  I started the Cleveland defense against Baltimore and they let me down big time with only two points.  I was also disappointed by Sammy WatkinsMarshawn Lynch and Le'Veon Bell tried to keep me in it, but It wasn't enough against my Kirk Cousins led opponent.  I'm 2-1 in my third league and fourth out of 14 teams overall.  In fact, my team has the third most points.  I did work this week with Pierre Garcon, Marshawn Lynch, and Le'Veon Bell carrying me to victory.  I'm 2-1 in this league, third overall in scoring, and Aaron Rodgers hasn't even gotten going yet.  They better watch out.

So, how'd my advice from last week serve you?

  • Let's see, I told y'all to start Luck, Wilson, and Matt Ryan.  I am good!  In most leagues, those were three of the top five or six QB's last week.  I mean I couldn't have hit on all three of those QB's more perfectly.  Luck put up one of the biggest fantasy stat lines of the year (370-4), Matt Ryan demolished the Bucs and would have been even higher if he even played in the second half, and Wilson went tit-for-tat with Peyton Manning, led his team to victory, and managed 40 rushing yards, 258 passing yards, and 2 TD's (not to mention a 17 yard reception).
  • I also told y'all to start Brian Quick.  I'm glad I picked him up because the man is coming on strong and is poised for a great year.
  • I was wrong on Peyton Manning.  Turns out he is the only QB in the league that is somewhat immune to Seattle defense in Seattle.  I was pretty spot on with his stats, but he got one more TD than I was calling.  He's really good.
  • Sorry about Joique Bell.  I've got nothing for you.  He got the carries and the Packers front seven is weak.  It just didn't happen.  And for some odd reason they didn't throw to him for like the first time ever.
  • At least I was totally right on Bradshaw and Bernard.  They're both tearing it up this year.
  • If you disagreed with my prediction for Peyton Manning last week, you might have also disagreed on Montee Ball.  Hopefully you didn't though, as Ball was largely ineffective (just like most everyone else in the world is against Seattle's defense in Seattle).  I guess Peyton Manning must be really good or something.
  • Also, Gerhart and Jonathan Stewart were both not good as expected.  Chalk up another one for me.
  • I really should have recommended the Washington WR's.
  • Victor Cruz came out of hiding.  Sorry for that one.  The Giants offense really hit on something last week.  I'll need to see more than one game before I'm a believer, though.
  • Hopefully you took my advice on Amendola and Bowe.  They're both drop worthy.  I really can't believe how much Amendola has dropped off.  I drafted him in a couple leagues!  Didn't take long to correct that mistake.
  • I'm so glad I have Martellus Bennett even though I didn't recommend him to you last week.  I did, however, recommend Greg Olsen.  Hopefully you listened, because outside of Bennett, he had the best week for TE's.
  • I hit on Dwayne Allen, too.  I'm mad Fleenor came out of nowhere and had a productive day (right after I dropped him), but I knew that offense would flourish against Jacksonville.  It's looking like when in doubt, just start players going against Jacksonville.

How about week four?

Quarterbacks

Start 'Em

Jay Cutler, CHI (vs Green Bay Packers) - Green Bay's defense is beatable through the air.  They did pretty well against Stafford last week, but I haven't forgotten that they made Geno Smith look viable not long ago.  Jeffery and Marshall are getting healthier and Bennett has been a revelation.  It's going to be a shoot-out and that benefits both QB's.  10-20 rushing yards, 300+ passing yards, 2+ TD's.

Matt Stafford, DET (@ New York Jets) - The Jets have a good run defense and a bad pass defense.  That sets up beautifully for Stafford.  They'll have to run less and throw even more.  He's had a couple "meh" weeks in a row, so I'm pretty sure he's due.  350+ yards and 2+ TD's.

Colin Kaepernick, SF (vs Philadelphia Eagles) - QB's do very well against the Eagles.  See Cousins, Kirk from last week.  The 49ers have been in a little bit of a rut, but I think most everyone thinks they're better than they've shown and are bound to show it.  There are few matchups more favorable for a QB in fantasy than going against Philly, especially when the game is in SF.  40-50 rushing yards, 250+ passing yards, 2+ TD's.

I normally don't put more than three QB's on here, but I just have to add one more...

Kirk Cousins, WAS (vs New York Giants) - Let's all face it, Cousins has been a man on fire for two weeks in a row now.  The Giants defense isn't that great, especially against the pass, and I expect Kirky to keep it up.  This Redskins offense just has too many weapons and looks very very legit.  Role with Cousins until he shows us otherwise (is Gruden saying that, too?).  325+ yards, 2+ TD's, 1 INT.

Sit 'Em

Eli Manning, NYG (vs Washington Redskins) - Look, Eli typically throws picks.  There's a reason all Redskins fans know the "Manning face."  Do you want to start the Manning face who throws picks against our Washington Redskins?  Didn't think so.  Expect the pass rush to ramp back up this week for Washington.  250 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.

Geno Smith, NYJ (vs Detroit Lions) - Surely you either watched the game, saw the highlights, or have at least heard about Smith's performance against the Bears on Monday night.  It's totally reasonable to expect that Mike Vick may be their QB there before the year's done.  Geno makes bad decisions and throws way too many picks.  The Lions pass defense isn't great, but their pass rush is and in a game where the Jets may have to try to keep up, I'm nervous having the ball in Geno's hands and him knowing he has to make plays.  10-20 rushing yards, 200 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.

Running Backs

Start 'Em

Who's playing the Jags?  Oh, yeah!  Donald Brown, SD (vs Jacksonville Jaguars) - It's really that simple.  They can't stop anybody and Brown is the guy in SD now that Mathews has hurt himself again.  I don't care that Brown is a back-up RB.  He's going to get the vast majority of the touches and HE'S PLAYING THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS.  Just do it.  20-30 receiving yards, 110+ rushing yards (you read that right), 1 TD.  SD might just get a lead and let Brown kill himself from running...

Alfred Morris, WAS (vs New York Giants) - The run game will work much better than last week and Gruden will use it much more.  The Redskins could be leading in this one and playing keep away with Morris.  DY keeps poaching potential TD's, but Morris is bound to get his this week.  The defense will be keying just a little bit more on the passing game now that they've seen that Cousins is legit and what he did the last two weeks.  Gruden's going to switch it up and he knows he needs to run the ball more.  100+ yards and 1 TD.

Lamar Miller, MIA (@ Oakland Raiders) - The Dolphins messed up last week.  Miller has been running great all year, especially last week, but they decided to let Tannehill throw it a million times and lose the game.  They're not going to make that mistake again this week and the Raiders are terrible.  Moreno is still hurt and this just sets up all too perfectly for the newly improved Lamar Miller.  20-30 receiving yards and 100 rushing yards... maybe a TD.

Sit 'Em

Darren Sproles, PHI (@ San Francisco 49ers) - It's real simple, Sproles was hot until last week against the Redskins.  He doesn't get a lot of TD's and I think Philly will make it a priority to establish McCoy this week after perhaps his worst outing ever last week against the 'Skins.  Added on to this is the fact that the 49ers have a very good defense, especially against the run, and they're home.  Philly is beat up, missing half it's OL, and coming off an exhausting, brutal battle against Washington.  I expect a let down, Sproles included.  50-60 total yards.

Reggie Bush, DET (@ New York Jets) - The Jets run defense is very good and I still believe in Joique Bell over Bush.  I think they'll go back to Bell in the passing game this week and I think the Jets D can handle the smallish Bush.  If they do get some red-zone running opportunities, Bell will take those.

Shane Vereen, NE (@ Kansas City Chiefs) - Stevan Ridley is back!  Ridley has dominated the Pats backfield and while the Pats are known for their unpredictability at RB, Ridley has done nothing (lately) to lose his workload.  Vereen has gotten less and less involved over the past couple weeks and I wouldn't start him until I see some signs of life.  60-70 total yards.

Wide Receivers

Start 'Em

Keenan Allen, SD (vs Jacksonville Jaguars) - If you don't know why he's listed here, you've not been paying attention.  He's bound to break out sooner or later and this seems like the perfect week.  70+ receiving yards and 1 TD.

DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs Buffalo Bills) - A very favorable match-up and Hopkins has been coming on strong.  He might even be more valuable than Andre Johnson from here on out.  The first two weeks he caught a TD in each game and then last week he went for 116 yards.  His targets are trending upward.  80+ receiving yards.

Green Bay WR's (@ Chicago Bears) - This is going to be a shootout (read Cutler, Jay above) and Aaron Rodgers hasn't really even gotten going yet this year.  This is the week.  A heated divisional battle against a Bears team that used to be all defense and no offense and now is just the opposite.  I'm looking at Nelson and Cobb to both have fruitful days with Aaron Rodgers slinging the ball.  The Packers have been trying to force the run game with Lacy quite a bit, but in a shootout with the offensive-minded Bears, this is the week they go back to the old tried and true... let Rodgers have the ball and get out of the way.  80-100 yards each and both'll grab a TD.

Sit 'Em

Riley Cooper, PHI (@ San Francisco 49ers) - Last week the Eagles offense was on a roll scoring 37 points and getting the WR's more involved than they had all year.  Maclin and Matthews both had huge days.  Cooper had 34 yards.  This week they'll probably try to get McCoy more established and I'm just not seeing it with Riley.  He's been terrible all year and has lost the benefit of DeSean Jackson on the other side of the field.  He's probably the fifth weapon on that team at this point and could soon be sixth if Matthews keeps it up.  Stay away.  40 yards.

Torrey Smith, BAL (vs Carolina Panthers) - WR's don't typically do well against Carolina, but if anyone on Baltimore is going to this week, I'm going with the other Smith.  Steve Smith has surpassed Torrey as the WR of choice in Baltimore and is having a huge year.  Do you really think that guy is going to be going all out against the Panthers this week?!  Torrey hasn't done anything all year and is fading fast.  I'm thinking he's a draft bust for fantasy owners this year.  The offense is just designed to run and pass to Steve Smith and until I see otherwise, don't start Torrey.  50 yards.

Dwayne Bowe, KC (vs New England Patriots) - Just to continue the trend and give you one last chance to listen to me.  Dwayne Bowe is not good for fantasy football now!  40 yards.

Tight Ends

Start 'Em

Niles Paul, WAS (vs New York Giants) - Paul is a top five TE this year.  Fact.  He's top five in catches and yards.  In fact, he's second in receiving yards amongst all TE's and is only one yard shy of first place... Jimmy Graham.  So I guess if you have Graham, you can start him over Paul.  Otherwise, start Niles Paul.  Gruden loves him.  Cousins love him.  I love him.  60+ receiving yards and 1 TD.

Martellus Bennett, CHI (vs Green Bay Packers) - Have I told you how much I love Bennett in fantasy and how happy I am to have him?  Have I told you about the shootout that's going to happen between the Bears and Packers this week?  Did I tell you to start Cutler?  Bennett is a beast right now and usually does better to start seasons.  Expect another big game from him, especially if Jeffery and Marshall are still getting back to 100%.  60+ receiving yards and 1 TD.

Delanie Walker, TEN (@ Indianapolis Colts) - I was wrong about him last week, but I won't be again this week.  He's been great all year, they're going to have to throw to keep up with Luck and company, and the Colts are a good matchup for TE's.  He basically is the Titans offense right now and is the #1 guy Locker looks for by far.  60+ yards and possibly a TD.

Sit 'Em

Jason Witten, DAL (@ New Orleans Saints) - The Cowboys offense functions better when they're running the ball.  The Saints typically do well against opposing TE's and we know that they have probably the second best home-field advantage in the league.  If you have Witten, you probably drafted him and will have to start him, but I'm expecting Dallas to get spanked and Witten never does well against the Saints.  He's never even scored a TD against them.  50 yards.

Fleener or Allen, IND (vs Tennessee Titans) - One week it's one, one week it's the other.  Too hard to predict.  I can't rely on either.  The Titans are pretty good against TE's, too.

Please leave any fantasy related questions you might have in the comments section and I'll try to answer as many and as quickly as I can.  It's fun to get everyone's perspectives on this week's matchups floating around down there and I'm always interested to see what kind of decisions different fantasy players have to make.  These are just general ideas for standard leagues, but we can all give and receive advice for unique situations as they come up.  Good luck!

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $350,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 4's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first place wins $30,000. Starts Sunday, September 28th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.