Welcome to this week’s, Week 4 Fantasy Rankings! Here we review each game for the week, outline possible starters and streamers, and give you the low-down to make your fantasy life easier. Along with our outstanding football minds, we’ve included the projected weather forecast for the game.
With that, let’s dive in!
Thursday Night Football (NFL Network)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
Weather forecast: 69 degrees, mostly cloudy, slight wind possible
It’s been rough sailing for QB Trevor Lawrence and the Jags so far this season with the rookie sensation throwing five touchdowns and seven interceptions in three straight losses. He’s an obvious ‘sit’ this Thursday on a short week against the No. 7 scoring defense so far this season in the Bengals.
RB James Robinson finally took the lead in the backfield last week with 21 opportunities. Interestingly, Robinson actually played fewer snaps (in total and by percentage) than the week prior, but he touched the ball far more in Week 3, which should be encouraging for those with Robinson on roster. The Bengals are Top 10 against the run so far in 2021, so keep expectations in check, especially if the Bengals race out to an early lead on Thursday, but if the game script cooperates, there are worse options than Robinson.
At receiver, the Week 3 snap counts for Jacksonville is interesting in that WR D.J. Chark (87 percent) and WR Marvin Jones (97 percent) dominated snaps while WR Laviska Shenault (70 percent) was definitely the third receiver, coming off the field in two-wide sets. Shenault was third in routes-run and targets as well on his way to a somewhat disappointing four catch, 48-yard, zero-score performance. Despite this, though, all three Jags receivers could be decent plays if they are operating within a negative game script as they have much of the season so far.
In theory, the addition of TE Dan Arnold is a very good one for Jacksonville as it pertains to fantasy. Lawrence had been peppering the likes of TE James O’Shaughnessy, TE Jacob Hollister and TE Luke Farrell with targets thus far this season. Arnold represents a significant upgrade in receiving upside who might become fantasy relevant if Lawrence continues to throw to the position. Don’t start him this week, but he’s someone I’d be trying to acquire if the price is low.
For the Bengals, it was another week, and another banner day for WR Ja’Marr Chase, who scored two touchdowns against the Steelers and led the Bengals receivers in snaps and routes as the true No. 1 with WR Tee Higgins out. It appears the preseason panic regarding Chase and his dropped passes was a massive overreaction.
WR Tyler Boyd scored last week as well and has seen a steady share of targets (19 total), so he’s also usable against the Jags, currently the 28th-ranked defense in the NFL.
RB Joe Mixon continues to be the lead back in Cincy, and he’s probably going to be in your lineups most weeks if you have him, but keep an eye on RB Chris Evans who made a couple of nice receptions last week. He has been billed as a talented pass catching back all preseason, and so monitor his role this week.
- QB Joe Burrow
- WR Ja’Marr Chase
- RB Joe Mixon
- WR Marvin Jones
- WR Tyler Boyd
- WR Tee Higgins
- RB James Robinson
- WR Laviska Shenault
- WR D.J. Chark
- RB Samaje Perine
- RB Chris Evans
- RB Carlos Hyde
- TE Dan Arnold
Sunday Noon Games
Washington Football Team (1-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-2) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Indoors
RB Antonio Gibson scored on a 73 yard reception to salvage his fantasy day after rushing for just 31 yards on 12 carries. Despite that big play, however, the actual usage is interesting. Gibson actually ceded more time on the field to RB J.D. McKissic in Week 3 than the previous week. Gibson only out-snapped McKissic 31-25 last week. The split between those two has been shifting closer and closer to 50/50 each week. Atlanta is the 30th-ranked scoring defense in the league so far this season, and so the Football Team should have ample opportunity to score this week. I think you can start both WFT running backs this week.
WR Terry McLaurin is a top play this week and most weeks, and TE Logan Thomas is an uninspiring but safe play most weeks as well.
For the Falcons, TE Kyle Pitts had his worst week as a pro with just two catches for 35 yards against the Giants last week. Pitts continues to be a great dynasty asset, but his weekly production in 2021 might not live up to the lofty expectations attached to Pitts this preseason. Washington has already given up big fantasy days to TE Dawson Knox and TE Jared Cook so far this season, though, so Pitts could be a decent play this week, especially since his usage has been there (84 percent snaps last week).
WR Calvin Ridley is seeing targets but is not doing much with them, as he’s averaging less than nine yards per reception so far this year. To this point, he hasn’t lived up to his preseason ADP, but the season is young. You’re still starting him, obviously.
RB Mike Davis has been mediocre at best, but the position is so thin that a back with Davis’ amount of volume is still startable in most leagues.
RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson has been one of the stories of the young season. Patterson is currently RB8 in PPR and RB12 in standard leagues. I don’t know if his production is sustainable on just 34 touches in three games, especially since he’s played only slightly over a third of the Falcons offensive snaps this season. Use him if you must, but be prepared for a dud game upcoming at some point just based on lack of heavy usage.
- WR Terry McLaurin
- RB Antonio Gibson
- WR Calvin Ridley
- TE Kyle Pitts
- TE Logan Thomas
- RB J.D. McKissic
- RB Mike Davis
- RB Cordarrelle Patterson
- QB Taylor Heinicke
- WR Dyami Brown
- QB Matt Ryan
- WR Russell Gage
Houston Texans (1-2) @ Buffalo Bills (2-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: 63 degrees, possible light rain
WR Brandin Cooks is fifth in the NFL in targets this season (32), and only two targets behind NFL-leader Davante Adams, and is third in receptions (23), just two off of the leader, Cooper Kupp. Buffalo is a top five defense against the pass so far this season, but Cooks has entered “must-start” territory this season regardless of opponent or which quarterback is under center for the Texans.
Speaking of quarterback, QB Davis Mills had some moments last Thursday where he looked good, especially for a raw third round rookie thrust into an NFL game just three weeks into his career, but against the Bills and their aforementioned top five defense, Mills belongs on your bench, as do all the Texans running backs. This one is likely to turn into a negative game script somewhat quickly, so besides Cooks, best to avoid Houston this week.
The opposite is true for Buffalo. Start all your Bills this week.
RB Zack Moss actually outsnapped RB Devin Singletary in Week 3, 44-34, which is a far cry from Week 1 when Moss was a healthy scratch. If you have better options at RB, go ahead and leave both Singletary and Moss on the bench until we get another data point to go off of this week. If not, the Texans defense will likely afford both Bills running backs ample opportunities for success in Week 4.
Toss TE Dawson Knox into your lineups too if you need to. Knox has scored in back-to-back weeks and played on 78 percent of snaps last week, and Houston has allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends in the league so far in 2021.
WR Gabe Davis truthers continue to wait. Davis is the clear No. 4 receiver for Buffalo with just a 29 percent snap share. WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Cole Beasley and WR Stefon Diggs remain the top three, playing on the vast majority of downs for Buffalo.
- QB Josh Allen
- WR Stefon Diggs
- WR Brandin Cooks
- RB Zack Moss
- WR Cole Beasley
- WR Emmanuel Sanders
- RB Devin Singletary
- TE Dawson Knox
- QB Davis Mills
- RB Phillip Lindsay
- RB Mark Ingram
- RB David Johnson
- WR Nico Collins
- WR Gabriel Davis
Detroit Lions (0-3) @ Chicago Bears (1-2) (FOX)
Weather forecast: 67 degrees, likely rain
Week 4 looks to be a much easier test for QB Justin Fields if he’s selected to start against the Lions. Cleveland lived in Chicago’s backfield all day last week, making life tough for Fields. Whoever is starting at quarterback for the Bears, he will face the Lions, the 31st ranked scoring defense and the 27th ranked total defense in the league. The problem is, though, that QB Andy Dalton and QB Nick Foles are incredibly uninspiring options, and you just can’t trust Fields yet. For now, bench whichever of the Bears QBs is named starter this week.
RB David Montgomery is a nice play this week. Detroit is currently giving up the tenth-most fantasy points to RBs in the league, and Chicago is sure to want to rely on Montgomery and the run game in this one with the uncertainty at quarterback.
WR Allen Robinson has been miserable this season in large part to Dalton and the lack of downfield execution for the Bears’ passing game in general. Robinson has seen 21 targets in three games, which is not bad. The problem is, he’s only caught ten of those 21 targets for 86 yards total for the season. You probably drafted him as your WR2, so it is hard to bench him, but I think you have to until further notice.
After a nice seven-target, five-catch game in Week 1, TE Cole Kmet has been quiet over the past couple of weeks, catching just two passes for eleven yards since Week 1. Kmet did play 96 percent of the snaps for the Bears last week, and Detroit has given up the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends so far this season.
For the Lions, this would traditionally be a “sit everyone” situation against the Bears at Soldier Field. But so far in 2021, the normally dominant Bears defense ranks 19th in points allowed and 20th against the run.
RB D’Andre Swift and RB Jamaal Williams are both usable in this game. Both Lions running backs are top fifteen fantasy RBs so far this season, mostly due to the lack of talent at wide receiver.
Besides TE T.J. Hockenson, whom you should never bench (regardless of his quiet game in Week 3), I’m avoiding all of the members of the Lions passing game.
- TE T.J. Hockenson
- RB D’Andre Swift
- RB David Montgomery
- RB Jamaal Williams
- Everyone else
Carolina Panthers (3-0) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-1) (FOX)
Dallas is sixth in the NFL in points scored, thanks in large part to a 41-point performance last Monday Night against the Eagles. That offense takes on a Panthers team that is No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 against the pass and No. 1 against the run, so something has to give on Sunday.
I would say QB Dak Prescott is easily the best quarterback Carolina has gone up against (Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, Davis Mills), so we shall see this week if the Panthers D is for real. I’m keeping Prescott in my lineups while we find out.
At running back, RB Ezekiel Elliott continues to maintain roughly a 70/30 share of the backfield work with Tony Pollard in terms of snaps. Despite the tough matchup, I’d keep Zeke in your lineup. Pollard can sit.
WR Amari Cooper and WR CeeDee Lamb also belong in your lineups, especially after promising rookie CB Jaycee Horn went down with a season-ending injury, but no one reading this is actually considering leaving Cooper and Lamb on the bench.
At tight end, TE Dalton Schultz continues to operate as the TE1 in Dallas. He took 69 percent (nice) of the snaps in Week 3, out-snapping TE Blake Jarwin 53-43, and Schultz had six catches on seven targets for 80 yards and two scores. Schultz is currently TE5 overall. Jarwin is TE37. Remember when everyone was convinced Jarwin was going to be the unquestioned starter once he returned to health this year?
Over on the Panthers’ side of things, all eyes will be on QB Sam Darnold to see if he can continue to look good after years of disappointment in New York. He’s averaging just shy of 300 yards passing and two touchdowns per contest in 2021, and that pace should be sustainable this week against a Cowboys team that ranks 26th on defense so far in 2021.
The Panthers run three-receiver sets the majority of the time, so all of WR D.J. Moore, WR Robby Anderson and WR Terrace Marshall are startable. Obviously Moore is the best option of the bunch. This one should have plenty of targets to go around, especially with RB Christian McCaffrey not playing this week.
Speaking of the Carolina backfield, rookie RB Chuba Hubbard looks poised to take over the bulk of the work. He dominated snaps in all situations once CMC went down last week.
- QB Dak Prescott
- WR D.J. Moore
- WR Amari Cooper
- WR CeeDee Lamb
- TE Dalton Schultz
- RB Ezekiel Elliott
- WR Robby Anderson
- WR Terrace Marshall
- RB Chuba Hubbard
- QB Sam Darnold
- RB Tony Pollard
- TE Blake Jarwin
- TE Tommy Tremble
- RB Royce Freeman
Indianapolis Colts (0-3) @ Miami Dolphins (1-2) (CBS)
Weather forecast: 85 degrees, humid, partly cloudy
Prior to the season, this matchup would have looked very intriguing with both the Colts and Dolphins both winning 10-plus games in 2020. Not so much this year, though, as Indy is winless and Miami is 1-2.
Both quarterback situations are dicey as Miami will start QB Jacoby Brissett and Indianapolis will again trot out QB Carson Wentz, who is nursing two ankle injuries and did not account for a touchdown last week. I think both signal-callers belong on the bench this week.
The Dolphins’ backfield situation remains murky with RB Myles Gaskin and RB Malcolm Brown splitting snaps 43-34 in favor of Gaskin (52 percent-41 percent). Brown scored a short touchdown last week, so he continues to handle goal line work, further frustrating those with Gaskin on their rosters. Gaskin is once again the Dolphin runner to start if you must start one, but at RB29, there are likely better options.
At receiver, WR Will Fuller’s return did not affect WR Jaylen Waddle’s usage whatsoever. Waddle still led all Miami receivers in snaps, and while Fuller did play on 61 percent of snaps immediately upon returning, WR Albert Wilson was made inactive and Waddle, Fuller and WR Davante Parker were Miami’s top three. For now, I’d only consider Waddle, especially with Brissett under center.
TE Mike Gesicki led all tight ends in targets in Week 3 with 12, and he turned those into ten catches.
For Indy, RB Nyheim Hines (RB21 on the season) has officially overtaken RB Jonathan Taylor (RB28) in terms of fantasy production. After being close to a 50/50 share in terms of snaps (with a slight edge to JT) for the first two weeks, Hines finally out-snapped Taylor in Week 3, 34-29. Taylor is still probably the back to start in Indy by virtue of his heavy usage inside the five yard line, but up to this point, Taylor has been unable to capitalize. I’m fine keeping Taylor and Hines in my lineups, though, because Miami is currently allowing the second-most fantasy points to running backs so far this season.
Out wide for Indianapolis, WR Michael Pittman and WR Zach Pascal are deployable, although thus far Miami has been very good at keeping fantasy wide receivers under wraps, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to receivers in 2021.
- TE Mike Gesicki
- RB Myles Gaskin
- WR Jaylen Waddle
- RB Jonathan Taylor
- RB Nyheim Hines
- WR Michael Pittman
- Everyone else
Cleveland Browns (2-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-2) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Indoors
Former Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski returns to US Bank Stadium this week as his Browns take on the Vikings.
I feel like the Browns are the team Head Coach Mike Zimmer wishes he could coach: dominate the clock with two running backs and great defense, and only rely on QB Baker Mayfield when the game script forces you to.
Last week against the Bears, RB Kareem Hunt finally broke out with 155 total yards on six receptions on seven targets. Chubb was still used heavily with 22 carries per usual, but Chubb is relatively touchdown dependent due to Hunt’s monopolization of the passing game work. The Vikings will afford both backs plenty of opportunity though. Minnesota has the fourth-worst defense in the league so far in 2021, allowing 4.8 yards per carry to their opponents, also fourth-worst in the league. Chubb and Hunt are good bets this week.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. looked good in his 2021 return, going for 77 yards receiving on five catches on nine targets. The Vikings are 27th in the NFL against the pass, so keep OBJ in your starting lineups.
At tight end, if we knew which Browns tight end was going to put up the most points this week, that player would be a nice play this week, as the Vikings are giving up the third-most fantasy points to tight ends so far this year. However, the TE usage is a little cloudy in Cleveland. Both TE Austin Hooper and TE Davis Njoku played almost an identical number of snaps (50-49) with TE Harrison Bryant also chipping in with 33 snaps of his own.
For Minnesota, it was a familiar script for the Vikings’ fantasy options: RB Alexander Mattison (in for the injured Dalvin Cook) handles a large load, and the passing game funnels targets through the top two receivers and the tight end. The Browns have the third-best defense in the league statistically, but the Vikings often play very well at home. I would be fine starting Cook (if healthy), WR Adam Thielen and WR Justin Jefferson in this one. Leave WR K.J. Osborn and TE Tyler Conklin on the bench. Cleveland is top ten so far this year at defending the tight end in terms of fantasy points.
QB Kirk Cousins does deserve a shoutout. He is currently QB6, averaging 306 passing yards per game with eight passing touchdowns. He’s getting close to “every week start” status.
- RB Nick Chubb
- RB Dalvin Cook (if healthy)
- WR Adam Thielen
- WR Justin Jefferson
- RB Kareem Hunt
- WR Odell Beckham
- QB Kirk Cousins
- QB Baker Mayfield
- TE Tyler Conklin
- TE Austin Hooper
- WR K.J. Osborn
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
New York Giants (0-3) @ New Orleans Saints (2-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Indoors
The Saints have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since November of 2017, so start RB Saquon Barkley (you likely have to) at your own risk.
The Saints are currently the sixth-best defense (total yards) in the league, and they are at home, so be careful with QB Daniel Jones. It’s possible the Giants have to play from behind in this game, so Jones might still see decent volume.
WR Sterling Shepard and WR Darius Slayton left last Sunday’s game with injuries and neither were at practice on Wednesday. WR Kenny Golladay is startable, but limit expectations as he will line up plenty against CB Marshon Lattimore. WR Kadarius Toney stepped in after Shepard and Slayton went down and ended up playing on 66 percent of snaps. Expect a similar workload for the rookie this week, although I would not start him.
TE Evan Engram returned last week and played 56 percent of snaps. He had a very Evan Engram-like game, catching just two of six targets for 21 yards. Sit him until further notice.
The Giants rank 21st in the league in total defense, so it’s not a matchup to avoid if you own any Saints. QB Jameis Winston has yet to top 150 yards passing in a game this season, but he does have eight touchdowns in three games, so he hasn’t been a total loss.
You’re obviously starting RB Alvin Kamara no matter what. RB Tony Jones and RB Ty Montgomery haven’t been involved enough to consider.
Despite the plus-matchup, I don’t know if I would start any Saints receivers. WR Marquez Callaway is the only one I’d consider. One interesting thing to point out is that newly acquired WR Kenny Stills stepped right in and played on 47 percent of snaps, second on the team. Still, Winston isn’t offering enough opportunities for big stats from any of the receivers right now.
TE Adam Trautman hasn’t gotten anything going this year. He has just 18 yards receiving this season. He was targeted just once last week despite being on the field for 82 percent of snaps. This week is a good matchup for Trautman, though, as the Giants are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
- RB Alvin Kamara
- QB Daniel Jones
- QB Jameis Winston
- WR Marquez Callaway
- TE Adam Trautman
- RB Saquon Barkley
- WR Kenny Golladay
- WR Sterling Shepard
- WR Darius Slayton
- TE Evan Engram
- WR Deonte Harris
- WR Kenny Stills
- WR Chris Hogan
Tennessee Titans (2-1) @ New York Jets (0-3) (CBS)
Weather forecast: 77 degrees, partly cloudy
Don’t start any Jets.
For Tennessee, RB Derrick Henry is maybe the best start of the week at any position. He’s the No. 1 running back in fantasy, and there’s a chance that WR Julio Jones and WR A.J. Brown might both miss this game. Henry has carried the ball 62 times the past two weeks. Expect another healthy dose of Henry this week.
If Jones and/or Brown can’t go this week, QB Ryan Tannehill becomes a tricky play this week. The Jets are actually a top ten pass defense so far in 2021, so monitor the status of the Titans wideouts leading up to Sunday if you have Tannehill.
WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, WR Cameron Batson and WR Chester Rogers took the bulk of the snaps once Jones and Brown went down last week, but none make great starts this week.
- RB Derrick Henry
- QB Ryan Tannehill
- All Jets
- WR A.J. Brown
- WR Julio Jones
- TE Anthony Firkser
Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) (CBS)
Weather forecast: 74 degrees, partly cloudy
QB Jalen Hurts is QB5 in fantasy, yet the needle seems to be pointing down on him in real life. Luckily, we fantasy footballers don’t have to worry about real life and get to fully benefit from the garbage time magic Hurts pulled off late in that Cowboys game last week. That, along with Hurts’ rushing floor, make him a great fantasy start every week (for as long as he remains the Eagles’ starter).
RB Miles Sanders had two carries last week, but that was largely game script-related. Kansas City is currently 30th in the NFL against the run, so Sanders might have a chance this week if the game script doesn’t get out of control like last week. RB Kenneth Gainwell should stay on your bench for now.
At receiver, WR DeVonta Smith (98 percent of snaps) and WR Jalen Reagor (86 percent) continue to operate as the top two receivers, and both make decent plays this week against the Chiefs in what could be an aerial shootout. WR Quez Watkins is even a potential dart throw if he can connect with Hurts on a big play.
TE Dallas Goedert is surprisingly benchable. He and TE Zach Ertz are basically equal in snap percentage and Ertz has had more targets than Goedert for the past two weeks. Goedert is still technically the TE1 in Philly, but the two have sort of cancelled each other out and prevented both from becoming what we thought Goedert could be coming into the season. There’s a decent chance he scores this week, though, if this is a shootout, so don’t feel bad if you need to use him.
The Eagles rank much better against the pass than the run, so this might be a week to use RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, coming off a good game last week. The Eagles have given up the sixth-most rushing yards in the league this year.
In the passing game, you know the drill. Start QB Patrick Mahomes, WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce, bench the rest. Repeat until further notice.
- QB Patrick Mahomes
- TE Travis Kelce
- WR Tyreek Hill
- RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
- QB Jalen Hurts
- WR DeVonta Smith
- WR Jalen Reagor
- TE Dallas Goedert
- RB Miles Sanders
- WR Mecole Hardman
- WR Byron Pringle
- RB Darrel Williams
- WR Sammy Watkins
Sunday Late Afternoon Games
Seattle Seahawks (1-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: 84 degrees, clear
QB Russell Wilson has been good so far this season as the QB10. He has a nice matchup this week as San Francisco has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
RB Chris Carson hasn’t gotten a huge amount of volume. His season high was 16 carries in Week 1. But he’s been very efficient, averaging almost five yards per carry with three touchdowns on the year. He’s a middle-of-the-road start this week.
WR Tyler Lockett and WR D.K. Metcalf will trade off weeks acting as the No. 1 target, but both are quality plays each week. Nothing more to say on these two other than it was D.K.‘s turn last week.
Ever since Week 1 when TE Gerald Everett and TE Will Dissly had an almost-equal number of snaps, Everett has steadily taken hold of the lead role there, out-snapping Dissly significantly the past two weeks.
On the 49ers’ side, QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners’ offense faces a Seahawks defense that has given up the most total yards in the league so far in 2021. QB Kirk Cousins went for 330 and three last week against Seattle.
RB Elijah Mitchell was limited in practice on Wednesday (shoulder), so keep an eye on that situation leading up to the game on Sunday. RB Trey Sermon scored a touchdown last week, but wasn’t overly impressive on his way to a 10-carry, 31-yard day. Sermon can be inserted into your lineups if Mitchell can’t go. Ideally, you sit both until we see how the workload is split once both backs are healthy, but Seattle has given up the most fantasy points to RBs in the entire league.
WR Deebo Samuel is an elite start this week. He has 30 targets on the season, which ranks him in the top ten in the league. WR Brandon Aiyuk finally took control of his starting job as he took 86 percent of the snaps. Both can be used this week as can TE George Kittle.
- QB Russell WIlson
- WR D.K. Metcalf
- WR Tyler Lockett
- WR Deebo Samuel
- RB Chris Carson
- TE George Kittle
- WR Brandon Aiyuk
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo
- TE Gerald Everett
- RB Elijah Mitchell (if healthy)
- RB Trey Sermon (if not)
- QB Trey Lance
- WR Trent Scherfield
Arizona Cardinals (3-0) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-0) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Indoors
QB Kyler Murray is at the top of the fantasy mountain as the QB1 overall. He has a rushing touchdown in every game so far this weekend, so when that’s your absolute floor, you’re sitting pretty with Murray in your lineups.
RB Chase Edmonds continues to hold about a 70/30 advantage in the Arizona backfield timeshare with RB James Connor. Connor did have two rushing scores last week against Jacksonville, but Edmonds out-touched him 18-11. The Rams offer a tough test for the Cardinals’ ground game. If Edmonds receiving work is enticing enough to throw him in as a starter, go ahead, but I anticipate a low rush yardage total for the Cards in this one.
The Arizona wide receiver group is four-deep with WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR A.J. Green playing the most downs. WR Christian Kirk played on 57 percent of snaps last week, mostly as the slot man for the Cardinals. WR Rondale Moore played in about a third of the offensive plays. This has been the “workload” split all season for Arizona, so it’s a matter of volume week-to-week to determine how viable Kirk and Moore will be. I’d expect plenty of fireworks in this game, not to mention that CB Jalen Ramsey will likely be matched up on the outside against Hopkins all game.
TE Maxx Williams continues to see the field the most as the Cardinals TE1, but his usage (11 targets in three games) leaves a lot to be desired. He’s no better than the fifth or sixth option on this offense. Leave him on the bench… leave him on waivers, as a matter of fact.
For the Rams, they are operating this week against the Cardinals’ 29th-ranked run defense, so feel good about RB Darrell Henderson if he’s able to play. He was limited at practice this week. RB Sony Michel becomes playable if Henderson can’t go. Michel touched the ball 23 times last week, including three catches.
QB Matthew Stafford is loving his post-Lions life as the QB4 coming off a 343 and four score day against Tampa Bay last week. He obviously remains a must-start along with WR Cooper Kupp, who is the WR1 in all formats. Kupp has taken every opportunity with Stafford now in town, and the opportunities certainly have been there as evidenced by Kupp’s 33 targets through three weeks.
WR Robert Woods is a different story. He’s been on the field along with Kupp, but the targets and production just aren’t there as Stafford is clearly looking to Kupp as his primary target. Woods has been targeted 19 times, and he’s caught 11 of them. He’s probably an okay flex play this week just due to the fact that Stafford is rolling right now.
TE Tyler Higbee continues to dominate tight end snaps for the Rams. He scored a touchdown last week to go along with 40 yards on five receptions. His usage makes Higbee a decently high-floor start each week if you don’t have one of the elite tight ends.
- QB Kyler Murray
- WR DeAndre Hopkins
- QB Matthew Stafford
- WR Cooper Kupp
- RB Darrell Henderson (if healthy)
- WR Christian Kirk
- WR Robert Woods
- RB Sony Michel (if Henderson is out)
- TE Tyler Higbee
- WR Rondale Moore
- WR A.J. Green
- RB James Connor
- WR Desean Jackson
- TE Maxx Williams
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) @ Denver Broncos (3-0) (CBS)
Weather forecast: 79 degrees, clear
QB Teddy Bridgewater, after a great first two weeks, reverted back to the old Teddy a bit from a fantasy standpoint with a vintage 235-yard, no-touchdown performance last week against the Jets. The normally-stingy Baltimore defense currently ranks 24th in the league, and 30th against the pass, so Bridgewater might be able to get something going in this one.
RB Melvin Gordon is not ready to cede the backfield to RB Javonte Williams just yet. Gordon continued to out-snap Williams for the second week in a row, 36-27 last week. Gordon had 18 carries and two receptions last week. The Ravens defense, while vulnerable through the air, so far this season, has been a top ten unit against the run, so perhaps there are better options than Gordon and Williams this week, but Gordon is probably the back you want to start out of the two.
With Bridgewater held in check last week, WR Courtland Sutton was as well, but he did catch all five targets he saw. WR Tim Patrick was the leading receiver last week with nearly 100 yards on the same number of targets as Sutton. Those two are both usable against the Ravens this week. TE Noah Fant, coming off a quiet game last week, is still an every-week start.
For Baltimore, QB Lamar Jackson is starting, no more needs to be said.
The running back splits are what most fantasy managers have their eye on when it comes to the Ravens. For a second consecutive week, RB Ty’Son Williams led the backfield in snaps at a 50 percent share vs RB Latavius Murray at 33 percent. Despite that, Murray actually out-touched Williams 7-5. Both can be on the bench this week against the Broncos and their No. 2-ranked defense, both in total yards and against the run. Expect Jackson to have the majority of the Ravens production on the ground this week (like most weeks).
WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is currently WR14, but he could be much higher in the rankings had he not had two horrible drops that would’ve gone for long touchdowns last week. Still, the usage is encouraging (23 targets), at least until WR Rashod Bateman returns. Brown is startable this week despite the opponent, but WR Sammy Watkins is not.
TE Mark Andrews is an every-week start unless you are loaded at tight end.
- QB Lamar Jackson
- TE Mark Andrews
- TE Noah Fant
- RB Melvin Gordon
- WR Courtland Sutton
- WR Marquise Brown
- QB Teddy Bridgewater
- RB Javonte Williams
- WR Tim Patrick
- RB Ty’Son Williams
- RB Latavius Murray
- WR Sammy Watkins
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) @ Green Bay Packers (2-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: 66 degrees, mostly cloudy, possible 9-10 mph winds
QB Ben Roethlisberger sure looks washed. He didn’t practice Wednesday due to a pectoral injury, so keep tabs on him. He probably needs to be benched regardless against the Packers top ten pass defense.
WR Diontae Johnson was back at practice Wednesday as well, so he actually represents a strong start, especially since WR Juju Smith-Schuster’s status seems in doubt with an injury to his ribs. The Steelers live on the short passing game, so if Johnson sees all those targets this week, he could have a nice week. WR Chase Claypool might see a bunch of CB Jaire Alexander, but I won’t blame you if you need to use Claypool this week.
At tight end, Week 3 was strange because for the first time all season TE Eric Ebron has out-snapped rookie TE Pat Freiermuth (47-30). Freiermuth saw more targets (5-3), however. Best to avoid this tight end situation until it becomes more clear and the passing game starts to get going a little bit more as the season progresses.
The main story from Pittsburgh last week was RB Najee Harris and his 19, yes 19, targets in the passing game. Regardless of his struggles on the ground due to the Steelers offensive line woes, Harris is a must start with that kind of passing game usage.
For Green Bay, you can safely start the Big Three of QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones and WR Davante Adams as you would every week.
WR Allen Lazard and WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling are both playing with Adams most of the time as the Packers use a lot of three-wide sets, but so far, MVS is the clear-cut WR2 with 16 targets on the season to Lazard’s five. Against Pittsburgh’s bottom-twelve passing defense, Rodgers and the passing game should have a productive game.
- QB Aaron Rodgers
- RB Aaron Jones
- WR Davante Adams
- RB Najee Harris
- TE Robert Tonyan
- WR Diontae Johnson
- WR Chase Claypool
- WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling
- QB Ben Roethlisberger
- WR Juju Smith-Schuster
- TE Pat Freiermuth
- TE Eric Ebron
- WR Allen Lazard
Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) @ New England Patriots (1-2)
Weather forecast: 63 degrees, possible light rain
Brady’s return to Foxboro should be a triumphant one. The battle between Brady and Belichek is all but over after Brady’s Super Bowl win last year. Still expect this one to be a little personal and for Brady to keep his foot on the gas the whole game.
Brady had his worst game of the season last week, throwing for 432 yards and 1 touchdown, which is still an elite week. The first 2 weeks of the season Brady threw for 655 yard, 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Expect Brady to have 300+ yards passing and 3+ touchdowns, he is a must start.
Mac Jones is going up against a Buccaneers team that has allowed the most passing yards in the league this season. Expect the Patriots to be behind and for Mac to have to throw a lot this week. Jones is likely in for his best game of the year so far but there are far better options out there. Jones will be a bottom tier QB2 this week.
Sit all of your Bucs running backs this week, Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette are not trustworthy and Giovanni Bernard’s status is trending towards being out.
Sit all of your Patriots running backs this week. In true Belichek fashion after 2 solid weeks Damian Harris was MIA last week and Michel led the backfield. The loss of James White leaves an opportunity for a receiving back but it is unclear if that role will be filled by Brandon Bolden or JJ Taylor, or both of them.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are must starts this week as the premier benefactors of Brady’s revenge game. Godwin has averaged 19.4 points per game this season and Evans has averaged 16.2 points per game this season. Antonio Brown returns but his role is uncertain for the week and I would only play him as a flex if I don’t have other viable options.
Jakobi Meyers has emerged as the go to receiver for Mac Jones and I would confidently start him. Posting 14 targets, 9 receptions, and 94 yards receiving last week look for this to be another big week. I also expect Meyers to break his streak of 32 games without a touchdown this week. Sit all other Patriots’ wide receivers.
If Rob Gronkowski plays, start him. I expect a vintage performance against his former team as Brady looks to rub it in against New England.
Hunter Henry is a solid start this week as the only other consistent option in the passing game outside of Meyers. He has played on 75% of snaps this season . Henry’s targets have increased each week and with New England expected to be playing from behind their offense should be pass heavy this week. I am expecting Hunter to see 8+ targets and have over 50 yards receiving. Jonnu Smith has seen his playing time decrease each week falling to 42% of snaps last week. I would keep him on the bench this week.
- QB Tom Brady
- WR Chris Godwin
- WR Mike Evans
- WR Jakobi Meyers
- TE Rob Gronkowski
- QB Mac Jones
- TE Hunter Henry
- All RBs
- WR Antonio Brown
- TE Jonnu Smith
Monday Night Football (ESPN)
Las Vegas Raiders (3-0) @ San Diego Chargers (2-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Indoors
This battle of division foes was not expected to be a game for division supremacy. Both teams have exceeded expectations and are led by quarterbacks that are playing at an elite level.
Derek Carr will face his toughest test so far this year against a Chargers pass defense that is allowing on average 201.7 yards passing yards per game. Derek has averaged 401 yards passing and 2 touchdowns per game this season. Expect for him to fall short of 400 yards passing but he should still be a top tier option this week.
His counterpart on the Chargers, Justin Herbert, had a incredible game against the Chiefs last week and outperformed Patrick Mahomes. Herbert was dominant, throwing for 281 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Raiders’ passing defense has been stingy, allowing only 2 passing touchdowns on the year. Herbert should rack up yards but do not expect a performance like last weeks.
The running back situation in Vegas is murky at best and would usually cause me to avoid these situations. The uncertainty of Jacobs’ status and the splitting of duties between Drake and Barber is generally untenable. The absence of the Chargers defense’s ability to stop anybody from running makes this a different story.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire got his groove back to the tune of 100 yards rushing on 17 carries last week. Los Angeles is dead last in the league against the rush, opposing teams are averaging 170 rush yards per game, as well as 32 receiving yards and 4 receptions by running backs per game. Whether it is Jacobs or Barber who leads the backfield, they are a must start. Drake has been consistent and should be a viable flex play again.
After a mystifying week 1 Austin Ekeler has 222 yards from scrimmage, 18 targets, 15 receptions and 1 touchdown in the last two weeks. Returning to form, Ekeler should be a strong play against the Raiders this week. Avoid all other Chargers’ running backs.
Coming off a 7 receptions, 122 yards receiving, and 2 touchdowns performance Mike Williams is playing like the receiver we all dreamed he would be. Don’t expect the Raiders to stop his campaign of dominance. Partnered with the always reliable Keenan Allen, both receivers are must starts this week.
The Raiders receivers will face a tough matchup but Renfrow, Edwards, and Ruggs all offer WR3/flex value. Renfrow is the most sure option of the 3.
Darren Waller is a must start every week, Waller is matchup proof. The emergence of viable receiving options next to him should allow Waller to see less double teams. Jared Cook is not a viable starting option, his involvement in the passing game has declined each week and I do not see that changing.
- QB Derek Carr
- RB Austin Ekeler
- WR Mike Williams
- WR Keenan Allen
- TE Darren Waller
- QB Justin Herbert
- WR Hunter Renfrow
- RB Josh Jacobs
- RB Peyton Barber
- RB Kenyan Drake
- WR Henry Ruggs
- WR Bryan Edwards
- RB Justin Jackson
- WR Jalen Guyton
- TE Jared Cook
Check back next week for continued coverage. Also, let us know your thoughts, join the conversation and drop us a comment!
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Your typical know-nothing wannabe who never played American football growing up, Andrew grew up playing the REAL football, dreaming of being the next Ronaldo (the Brazilian one).
One fateful day in 1998, Andrew was introduced to one, Randy Moss, who would almost singlehandedly vault American football to the forefront of a young twelve-year-old’s flimsy attention span.
Twenty-some years later, Andrew, now a father, coach and rabid Tottenham supporter, still loves both footballs.