Fantasy Start/Sit For Week 4: Start Kareem Hunt & Tyler Higbee, But Bench Marquise Brown & Leonard Fournette
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Browns RB Kareem Hunt
A nightmarish Week 3 injury report made setting fantasy football lineups quite a headache for managers, and with many key players’ statuses still up-in-the-air heading into Week 4, determining who to start and who to sit will prove difficult once again.
Below are players at each position you should definitely start as well as others you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.
Fantasy QBs to Start
Jalen Hurts, Eagles vs. Chiefs
Hurts had an off game this past Monday night on the road versus the Cowboys. He completed 25-of-39 attempts for 326 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and tacked on nine rushes for 35 yards — good enough to finish as QB9. He’s the QB4 this season behind only Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes and faces the Chiefs’ defense, which ranks dead-last in points allowed this season.
This should be a strong bounce back game for Hurts and the entire Eagles’ offense.
Sam Darnold, Panthers at Cowboys
Darnold has put up consistent fantasy production through three weeks and is the QB12, one spot behind Russell Wilson and a spot ahead of Justin Herbert. Darnold is a viable streamer this week against Dallas’ defense, which ranks second-to-last in passing yards per game this season.
Fantasy WRs to Start
Tyler Boyd, Bengals vs. Jaguars
Boyd posted his best game of the season in Week 3 against the Steelers and caught four of six targets for 36 yards and a touchdown — his first this year. He certainly benefitted from wideout Tee Higgins being sidelined with a shoulder injury and will reap those benefits once again on Thursday in a cupcake matchup against the Jaguars. He is a borderline top 24 play this week.
Odell Beckham Jr., Browns at Vikings
Beckham looked fantastic in his season debut against the Bears. The 28-year-old former Giants star is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season. He reeled in five of nine targets for 77 yards and tacked on a rush for 10 yards. He should perform well in a positive matchup this week against a soft Vikings secondary and continue to be targeted heavily with Jarvis Landry on injured reserve.
Beckham is also a borderline WR2.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos vs. Ravens
Sutton had a quiet game last week as the Broncos shut out the Jets 26-0. He caught five of five passes for 37 yards on the heels of his monster nine-catch, 159-yard game in Week 2. He remains the alpha receiver with K.J. Hamler out for the season and so long as Jerry Jeudy is sidelined.
Sutton should bounce back nicely against the Ravens, who have allowed the third-most passing yards this year.
Corey Davis, Jets vs. Titans
Davis has been quiet since his two-touchdown game to start the season, which was surprisingly against the Panthers, who are the top defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA. His ineffectiveness has been a symptom of two tougher matchups against the Patriots and Broncos.
The Jets face the Titans and Falcons in the next two weeks before their bye, and Davis should be a good flex play in each of those games.
Fantasy RBs to Start
Kareem Hunt, Browns at Vikings
Hunt had a monster game in Week 3 against the Bears and finished as RB2 for the week in half PPR. He rushed 10 times for 81 yards and a touchdown and caught six of seven passes for 74 yards. (His target share went up as a function of Jarvis Landry’s absence.)
Hunt should continue to see work both on the ground and through the air in this favorable matchup against the Vikings this week.
Chuba Hubbard, Panthers at Cowboys
It’s likely you overspent to get Hubbard, so now would definitely be the time to start him. He is a RB2 with RB1 upside this week with star running back Christian McCaffrey out with a Grade 1 hamstring injury.
We’ve seen in the past how the Panthers have utilized backup running backs when McCaffrey was sidelined with Mike Davis, who finished top 12 through 16 weeks in half PPR last season. The Panthers face the Cowboys this week, which should bode well for Hubbard’s fantasy production.
Zack Moss, Bills vs. Texans
I never fully bought into Devin Singletary as the RB1 in this backfield, even when Moss was benched in Week 1. He returned in Week 2 and has scored three touchdowns over two games. This will likely be some kind of committee, but Moss has always been the goal line guy over Singletary. The Bills face the Texans this week, which should bode for a three-game win streak and solid fantasy numbers for Moss.
Alexander Mattison, Vikings vs. Browns
Mattison popped off in Week 3 against the Seahawks with Dalvin Cook sidelined and saw 26 carries for 112 yards and caught six of eight targets for 59 yards, finishing as RB7 in half PPR.
Cook’s status remains uncertain as of writing — he was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, but even if he plays, I would expect Mattison to see a non-trivial workload this week. He’s a low-end RB2 with upside this week versus the Browns.
Fantasy TEs to Start
Tyler Higbee, Rams vs. Cardinals
Higbee saw just one target in Week 2 against the Colts, which led many to write him off. He returned in Week 3 and caught all five targets for 40 yards and a touchdown, finishing as TE9 for the week in half PPR.
Most tight ends not named Travis Kelce and Darren Waller can be pretty touchdown- and game script-dependent, so I wouldn’t fault Higbee for one off game. He plays in a high-scoring Rams offense that takes on the Cardinals this week in a game with the highest point total of the week at 55 points (check real-time NFL odds here).
Higbee is back in top 12 territory.
Logan Thomas, Football Team at Falcons
Thomas scored for the second time this year in Week 3 and caught four of four passes for 42 yards. He is currently tied with Dawson Knox as TE6 in half PPR and should perform well against a highly exploitable Falcons defense this week, which ranks 30th in points allowed per game.
Fantasy Defenses to Start
Bengals Defense vs. Jaguars
The Bengals are a top nine defensive unit this season and looked strong against the Steelers last week. The team’s pass rush ranks fourth with 3.3 sacks per game — a massive improvement from 1.1 sacks per game in 2020 which was dead last in the NFL. This week, they are a top play as they face the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence, who has yet to throw fewer than two interceptions in a game this year.
Titans Defense at Jets
The Titans’ D/ST is certainly nothing to write home about as they are currently ranked 31st among team defenses. That said, the Panthers finished as DST6 in Week 1, the Patriots finished as DST3 in Week 2 and the Broncos finished as DST3 in Week 1. Zach Wilson is proving to be turnover-prone and isn’t getting much help from their offensive line, which ranks dead last in sacks allowed per game.
Fantasy QBs to Sit
Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. Panthers
Prescott is QB15 through three weeks after finishing as QB29 and QB14 in two fairly favorable matchups. His total passing attempts have been low, as have his rushing attempts (zero attempts vs. the Chargers). It appears he will be playing a bit more conservatively early in the season as he’s recovering from a gruesome ankle injury.
This week, the Cowboys face the Panthers, who have recorded an NFL-best 4.7 sacks per game and have the top defense according to DVOA. There’s a good chance you can’t sit Prescott, but you probably wish you could in this brutal matchup.
Daniel Jones, Giants at Saints
Jones was unable to capitalize on a plush Week 3 matchup against the Falcons and finished as QB20 for the week with zero touchdowns. He belongs back on your bench — or waivers — this week against the Saints as a low-upside QB2.
Fantasy WRs to Sit
Marquise Brown, Ravens at Broncos
Brown had a hot start to the season, scoring in back-to-back games. His Week 3 performance, however, was hallmarked by a hat trick of ugly first-half drops that could have cost the Ravens an easy win over the Lions.
The bad news continues as 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman — who had been dealing with a groin injury that required surgery — has been activated from injured reserve. Brown is a boom-or-bust flex play against the Broncos, who have allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game this year.
Chase Claypool, Steelers at Packers
Claypool saw a massive target share in Week 3 and caught nine of 15 passes for 96 yards while Diontae Johnson was sidelined. Johnson was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and JuJu Smith-Schuster is listed as day-to-day with a rib injury. In theory, this should benefit Claypool, but the Year 2 wideout has struggled this season as a direct result of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s ineffectiveness through the air. Claypool should also see a lot of Jaire Alexander this week, especially if both Schuster and Johnson sit.
Claypool is a risky low-end WR2 this week on the road in Green Bay.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals at Rams
Kirk is WR13 in half PPR through three weeks and is coming off a game in which he caught seven of eight targets for 104 yards. I don’t think this pace is sustainable, however, especially in a crowded Cardinals’ depth chart with DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore, who I think will see more work as the season progresses.
This is also a tough matchup against the Rams defense, which could bring Kirk’s production to a screeching halt.
Marvin Jones Jr., Jaguars at Bengals
Jones has been a bright spot for the Jaguars this season and is currently WR21 in half PPR. That said, he has decent competition in a subpar offense and is significantly less efficient than D.J. Chark. He is averaging 11.4 yards per catch versus Chark’s 22, and gets a tougher matchup against the Bengals this week.
Fantasy RBs to Sit
Damien Harris, Patriots vs. Buccaneers
This may seem a bit counterintuitive given Harris has even less competition now that James White is now out for the season. Harris’ and White’s roles were fairly distinct in this offense, however, and there really isn’t an heir-apparent to White’s touches. Therefore, I don’t think Harris’ role changes at all with the subtraction of White, and he faces the lights-out Buccaneers run defense this week.
Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers vs. Patriots
Best of luck trying to guess which running back is Bruce Arians’ guy each week.
Ronald Jones was named the team’s Week 2 starter, only to be out-touched by Fournette seven to 15. Fournette then saw just four rushes for eight yards and caught three passes for 26 yards in Week 3 against the Rams.
I want nothing to do with this backfield.
Mike Davis, Falcons vs. Football Team
Davis has been unimpressive — but not terrible — through three weeks and is currently RB30 in half PPR. Given he was drafted in the mid-20s among running backs, I would hardly call this an outright bust, though it is certainly annoying to see Cordarrelle Patterson outscore him every week. The Falcons face the Football Team this week, who have been fairly permeable against the run this year, but are still a tough front seven. Sit Davis if you can.
Ty’Son Williams, Ravens at Broncos
Williams had a quiet Week 3 against the Lions after a hot start to the season in which he appeared to be the unrivaled RB1. He was the team’s third-best rusher behind quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Latavius Murray, each of whom saw seven carries to Williams’ five. I think Murray and Williams will probably split carries moving forward, with Jackson vulturing fantasy points every chance he gets. Williams is a RB3 with low upside against the Broncos’ run defense, which has allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game this year.
Fantasy TEs To Sit
Robert Tonyan, Packers vs. Steelers
Fun fact, if you search in the dictionary for the term, “touchdown-dependent,” you’ll see a picture of Robert Tonyan.
Levity aside, Tonyan was nearly shut out in Week 3 and caught his lone pass for six yards. He has seen eight targets all season and doesn’t have the volume to be a reliable TE1 week-to-week. That said, tight end is a hellscape and Aaron Rodgers gives Tonyan much higher upside than other players at the position. He’s a dice roll this week against the Steelers’ middle-of-the-road pass defense.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins vs. Colts
The Mike Gesicki Experience has been a rollercoaster this season. He bageled in Week 1 with zero catches on three targets, then caught three passes for 41 yards in Week 2. I was ready to drop Gesicki when, out of nowhere, he catches 10-of-12 targets for 86 yards in Week 3, finishing as TE5 in half PPR. It’s worth noting that much of that production came later in the game and in overtime.
Gesicki feels like fool’s gold at this point, especially in a struggling Dolphins’ offense, and is a sit for me against the Colts’ strong defense.
Fantasy Defenses to Sit
Rams Defense vs. Cardinals
The Rams’ D/ST has been serviceable through three weeks ranking 14th among team defenses (tied with the Chargers, Eagles and Dolphins). It’s a terrible matchup this week against the Cardinals, who have put up an NFL-best 34.3 points per game this season. The Rams aren’t far behind with 31.7 points per game, which spells for a shootout.
This matchup has the highest total of the week at 55 points — sit the Rams in favor of a team on your waiver wire.
Panthers Defense at Cowboys
The Panthers have been a top defense in terms of points allowed, sacks and DVOA. They rank fifth among fantasy D/STs, but are an easy sit this week opposite the Cowboys, who have too many weapons to be completely shut down.
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