Koerner’s Week 4 Fantasy Football Tiers for Every Position

Koerner’s Week 4 Fantasy Football Tiers for Every Position article feature image
Credit:

Credit: USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Julio Jone, Kareem Hunt.

  • Sean Koerner -- the No. 1 in-season fantasy football ranker in 2015, 2016 and 2017 -- takes a detailed look at his Week 4 tiers for every position: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, defense and kicker.
  • Use the strategies outlined below to build the most optimal starting lineup for your fantasy football team.

Below you’ll find my tiers for Week 4 fantasy football. These are based on standard scoring and cover every position.

As a reminder, these tiers are not updated after publication. If you want my most up-to-date rankings for PPR, Standard and Half-Point PPR leagues, check out this post.

And, yes, my tiers will be part of our Action Network subscription this season. Be sure to check out the awesome special we’re currently running below for an annual sub.

Jump to a position: Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker | Defense


Quarterback

Tier 1
Patrick Mahomes (@ DEN)

Mahomes “regressed” to a 314-yard, three-touchdown game in Week 3. He is still on a historic pace and should be treated as the No. 1 quarterback moving forward.

Tier 2
Aaron Rodgers (vs. BUF)
Drew Brees (@ NYG)
Deshaun Watson (@ IND)
Matt Ryan (vs. CIN)
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. BAL)
Tom Brady (vs. MIA)

Don’t let the Texans’ 0-3 start fool you. Watson appears to be regaining his 2017 form. It’s worth pointing out that Will Fuller’s availability should be considered when we project Watson going forward.

Since Fuller’s debut in Week 2, Watson has averaged 347 passing yards and two touchdowns per game.

With three straight games of 35-plus rushing yards, it’s also safe to say his ACL tear hasn’t slowed him down one bit. Watson still needs to be treated as an elite QB1.

Tier 3
Philip Rivers (vs. SF)

Rivers is in a bit of a tricky spot. While the Chargers should win this game fairly easily against a 49ers team sans Jimmy G, we have to wonder if Rivers won’t need to throw much to put this game away. The 49ers do not pose as a tough matchup and will be without Richard Sherman this week. I’m treating Rivers as a high-floor/low-ceiling back-end QB1 this week.

Tier 4
Ryan Fitzpatrick (@ CHI)
Andrew Luck (vs. HOU)
Russell Wilson (@ ARI)

Despite an ugly start on Monday night, it appears FitzMagic is still with us for now. Jameis Winston returns from his three-game suspension this week, which should fuel a quarterback controversy if Fitzpatrick slows down at all going forward.

Both quarterback options offer QB1 value every week, as the Buccaneers have one of the top receiving corps in all of football. Not to mention, the Buccaneers have made almost no effort to establish a running game to this point.

With Luck, it was a bit telling that Jacoby Brissett was brought in for the final play to attempt a Hail Mary. That made it crystal clear that the team and/or Luck himself isn’t confident in his shoulder strength quite yet.

At the moment, he’s much more of an underneath game manager. As someone who had the same shoulder surgery Luck had in 2016, I know how much it limits your range of motion. (Important caveat: Luck is a professional athlete who received around-the-clock treatment likely getting him as close to 100% as one can get following this type of surgery.)

Although we need to lower our expectations for him, it was encouraging to see his rushing ability return this week with a nice 33-yard run. His dual-threat ability is what gives him QB1 upside this week.

colts-bengals-betting-odds-september-5-2018
Brian Spurlock, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Andrew Luck

Tier 5
Carson Wentz (@ TEN)
Matthew Stafford (@ DAL)
Jared Goff (vs. MIN)
Andy Dalton (@ ATL)
Kirk Cousins (@ LA)
Blake Bortles (vs. NYJ)
Mitch Trubisky (vs. TB)

This QB2 tier is one where a Cam Newton owner can potentially nab a BYE week fill-in. Cousins was forced to attempt 55 passes in Week 3, as somehow the Vikings were in permanent comeback mode at home against the Bills.

He’ll get a tough test Thursday night against the Rams. The blessing in disguise is that star corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters are likely to miss due to injury this week, making this matchup much less imposing.

Tier 6
Case Keenum (vs. KC)
Ryan Tannehill (@ NE)
Joe Flacco (@ PIT)
Baker Mayfield (@ OAK)
Eli Manning (vs. NO)
Dak Prescott (vs. DET)
Derek Carr (vs. CLE)

In two-quarterback leagues you can certainly do worse than this Tier. Keenum could be in trouble if he can’t get on track against a leaky Chiefs defense. May be worth handcuffing him with Chad Kelly in a deep two-QB league.

Mayfield is a high-upside flier who is worth a stash if he is somehow still available.

Tier 7
C.J. Beathard (@ LAC)
Josh Allen (@ GB)
Marcus Mariota (vs. PHI)

Do not sleep on Beathard in two-QB leagues. He displayed his dual-threat ability in his six starts he made for the 49ers last year. This is still a Kyle Shanahan offense with quite a few weapons for him to throw to.

The 49ers won’t be nearly as potent without Jimmy G under center, but Beathard could see plenty of weeks where he puts up QB2 value.

Tier 8
Josh Rosen (vs. SEA)
Sam Darnold (@ JAX)

I do not recommend rolling with Rosen in his first career start. Nor do I recommend Darnold, who has one of the worst matchups in all of football on the road against the elite Jaguars defense.


More Fantasy Football Rankings

PPR: Flex | QB | RB | WR | TE | D/ST | K
Standard: Flex | QB | RB | WR | TE | D/ST | K
Half-Point PPR: Flex | QB | RB | WR | TE | D/STK


Running Backs

Based on standard scoring; +/- indicates how many Tiers up/down each player would move in a PPR format.

Tier 1
Todd Gurley (vs. MIN)
Alvin Kamara (@ NYG) +1

I honestly never thought Kamara would make it up to Tier 1 in standard scoring, but here we are. In PPR he would have Tier 1 all to himself. It’s clear that the Saints use dump-off passes to Kamara as an extension of the running game. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle Kamara once Mark Ingram returns next week.

Tier 2
Ezekiel Elliott (vs. DET)

The Cowboys’ passing game is a disaster this season. It’s going to force them to lean on Zeke even more going forward. He’s locked and loaded as a top-five RB going forward, to no one’s surprise.

Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott

Tier 3
Melvin Gordon (vs. SF)
Saquon Barkley (vs. NO)

There is certainly some merit to the opinion that the Giants shouldn’t have spent the No. 2 overall pick on Barkley, but for fantasy purposes, we don’t care. He has met the lofty expectations of being a midrange RB1 in his rookie season.

Tier 4
James Conner (vs. BAL)
Jordan Howard (vs. TB)

The Steelers appear to be open to trading Le’Veon Bell. It’s still anyone’s guess as to how this will all turn out, but that would be great news for Conner owners.

He may be the first player ever to potentially be a RB1 for all 16 weeks after typically being drafted in the last round of drafts in late August.

Tier 5
David Johnson (vs. SEA)
Kareem Hunt (@ DEN) -1
Giovani Bernard (@ ATL) +1

Johnson should finally get it going at home this week. If he explodes for a huge game, I would recommend trying to sell high.

Hunt has scored three total touchdowns in the past two weeks to help make up for the lack of yardage we have seen from him so far this season.

One alarming stat so far: He has just one catch (on three targets) for five yards. This likely has to do with Patrick Mahomes continually forcing the ball downfield.

Either way, Hunt benefits from being the workhorse back in this potent offense, but he could be wildly inconsistent if he needs to score TDs to return fantasy value on a weekly basis.

Tier 6
Leonard Fournette (vs. NYJ)
Sony Michel (vs. MIA)
Carlos Hyde (@ OAK)
Marshawn Lynch (vs. CLE)
Lamar Miller (@ IND)

I receive a lot of “why don’t you like Sony Michel?” and “why are you so low on Sony Michel?” questions on Twitter. As you may know from reading my Tiers, the main driver of my rankings are my projections (which you can find within the FantasyLabs models).

If you ever find yourself making player projections, you will notice just how important projected touches are.

You can be the most talented back on the team, but if you are only projected for five to 10 touches, it’s going to be hard for you to outproduce a mediocre back who may see 20 to 25 touches. It’s just basic arithmetic.

The only thing holding Michel back in my model was the fact that he had to split work with James White and Rex Burkhead. Now that Burkhead has been placed on IR, Michel shoots way up my rankings as a high-end RB2 for Week 4.

He is the same exact talent in my eyes as he was in Week 3, but now he has a much clearer path to touches. It’s critical to think about projections in this light versus whether or not I “like” someone.

Tier 7
Alex Collins (@ PIT)
Chris Carson (@ ARI)

One of my main concerns with Collins entering 2018 was Kenneth Dixon and/or Buck Allen being more involved than we would like. Sadly, that has been the case so far, with Allen playing a large role early on and getting the highly valuable goal-line carries.

The good news is, Collins can only get more usage from here, as I still believe he is the superior back.

Carson had a massive workload in Week 3 (32 rush attempts). I think it’s increasingly clear that he is the Seahawks’ bona fide workhorse and first-round rookie Rashaad Penny is not posing much of a threat.

Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alex Collins

Tier 8
Devonta Freeman (vs. CIN)
Dalvin Cook (@ LA)
Kenyan Drake (@ NE)
Tevin Coleman (vs. CIN)
Kerryon Johnson (@ DAL)
Matt Breida (@ LAC)
Dion Lewis (vs. PHI)
James White (vs. MIA) +1
Isaiah Crowell (@ JAX)
Austin Ekeler (vs. SF)
Royce Freeman (vs. KC)

Freeman and Cook’s health are in question. If either of them sit, we would see Coleman shoot up to Tier 6, and despite a brutal Week 3 spot start, Latavius Murray would also shoot up to the middle of this Tier.

Johnson was the first Lions RB to rush for 100-plus yards in a game in five years. It would make sense for the Lions to give him more snaps, since opposing defenses can predict what type of play is coming when one-dimensional RBs LeGarrette Blount (rushing play) and Theo Riddick (passing play) are on the field. Johnson’s versatility should earn him more work going forward.

Tier 9
Phillip Lindsay (vs. KC)
Peyton Barber (@ CHI)
Derrick Henry (vs. PHI)
Jay Ajayi (@ TEN)
LeSean McCoy (@ GB)
Bilal Powell (@ JAX)
Javorius Allen (@ PIT)

Lindsay had an early exit Week 3, as he was ejected for punching another player in the face. The box score certainly makes it seem like Royce Freeman is now the Denver workhorse back, but I fully expect Lindsay to return to a full-on RBBC role in Week 4.

It’s going to be tough to trust either Ajayi or McCoy if they return from injury this week. I can’t imagine them having a full workload, as they could be eased back in given the depth their teams have at RB.

Tier 10
Jamaal Williams (vs. BUF)
Alfred Morris (@ LAC)
Jordan Wilkins (vs. HOU)
Aaron Jones (vs. BUF)
Latavius Murray (@ LA)
Chris Ivory (@ GB)
Tarik Cohen (vs. TB)
Ty Montgomery (vs. BUF)
Marlon Mack (vs. HOU)
T.J. Yeldon (vs. NYJ)
Corey Clement (@ TEN)
Nyheim Hines (vs. HOU)

A lot of this Tier depends on the health of other RBs on their team. If Mack returns this week, it makes Wilkins, Mack and Hines part of an ugly three-way RBBC.

I’ll want to avoid that at all costs until we get more clarity on how the Colts plan on handling their roles going forward.

Wide Receivers

Tier 1
Michael Thomas (@ NYG)
Antonio Brown (vs. BAL)

Brown finally has to share his Tier with another WR this week. Thomas has certainly earned his spot here after posting 10-plus receptions each of the first three weeks.

Tier 2
Odell Beckham Jr. (vs. NO)
Julio Jones (vs. CIN)
Tyreek Hill (@ DEN)
DeAndre Hopkins (@ IND)

Jones continues to frustrate owners with his lack of TDs. I have a feeling Calvin Ridley’s breakout game might help get Julio more red-zone looks. He is certainly due for an eruption game, and it could come as soon as this week.

Tier 3
Keenan Allen (vs. SF)
Mike Evans (@ CHI)
A.J. Green (@ ATL)
Adam Thielen (@ LA)
Davante Adams (vs. BUF)
JuJu Smith-Schuster (vs. BAL)

Evans has returned to being an every-week WR1. Adams has now scored a TD in each of the first three games this year and will only get better. His yardage totals are sure to go up as Aaron Rodgers’ knee injury continues to heal.

Tier 4
Jarvis Landry (@ OAK)
T.Y. Hilton (vs. HOU)
Brandin Cooks (vs. MIN)
Emmanuel Sanders (vs. KC)
Stefon Diggs (@ LA)
Will Fuller (@ IND)

Landry gets an immediate boost with the Browns deciding to name Baker Mayfield as the team’s starter going forward.

Fuller has been incredibly efficient the past two seasons with Deshaun Watson under center. He is likely due some regression in terms of efficiency, but he has seen target totals of nine and 11 in his first two games this season. This puts him squarely in play as an every-week WR2 until further notice.

Tier 5
Robert Woods (vs. MIN)
Allen Robinson (vs. TB)
Golden Tate (@ DAL)
Kenny Golladay (@ DAL)
Demaryius Thomas (vs. KC)
Sammy Watkins (@ DEN)

The Rams’ and Lions’ passing attacks are potent enough to sustain three fantasy-relevant wide receivers each and every week. Golladay has really impressed so far, and if Tate and/or Marvin Jones were to ever miss time, Golladay just might be able to push WR1 value.

Tier 6
Cooper Kupp (vs. MIN)
Sterling Shepard (vs. NO)
Tyler Lockett (@ ARI)
Calvin Ridley (vs. CIN)
Amari Cooper (vs. CLE)
John Brown (@ PIT)
Marvin Jones (@ DAL)
Keelan Cole (vs. NYJ)
Corey Davis (vs. PHI)
Nelson Agholor (@ TEN)
DeSean Jackson (@ CHI)
Randall Cobb (vs. BUF)
Michael Crabtree (@ PIT)
Antonio Callaway (@ OAK)
Tyler Boyd (@ ATL)
Larry Fitzgerald (vs. SEA)
Quincy Enunwa (@ JAX)
Chris Hogan (vs. MIA)
Kenny Stills (@ NE)
Mike Williams (vs. SF)

This Tier is the very reason I was saying the WR position is as deep as it’s ever been headed into the season. You really can’t go wrong with any of the above as your WR2/3.

We definitely need to start wondering if Fitzgerald’s age is finally catching up to him after a dreadful start to the 2018 season. We could see him turn things around in Week 4 as the Cardinals give rookie QB Josh Rosen the nod. I would imagine he is going to lean on the veteran WR heavily to begin his career.

New Orleans Saints wide receivers Ted Ginn (19) and Michael Thomas (13). Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Tier 7
Ted Ginn (@ NYG)
Geronimo Allison (vs. BUF)
Chris Godwin (@ CHI)
Jordy Nelson (vs. CLE)
Brandon Marshall (@ ARI)
Alshon Jeffery (@ TEN)

Jeffery is tentatively expected to make his season debut this week. I’m willing to leave him on my bench just to avoid a scenario where they ease him back in his return.

Nelson erupted for a huge Week 3, when he went for 6/173/1. I’m not falling for it and would only start him if you are in dire need at WR.

Tier 8
Kelvin Benjamin (@ GB)
Dede Westbrook (vs. NYJ)
Mohamed Sanu (vs. CIN)
Marquise Goodwin (@ LAC)
Taylor Gabriel (vs. TB)
Willie Snead (@ PIT)
Ryan Grant (vs. HOU)

Although we see our first BYE weeks this week, it’s only the Panthers and Redskins that get a break, which means there isn’t enough WR firepower missing this week to warrant starting anyone in this Tier unless you are in 14- or 16-team leagues.

Tight Ends

Tier 1
Rob Gronkowski (vs. MIA)
Travis Kelce (@ DEN)

Gronk, like Antonio Brown, typically inhabits the top tier all to himself, but he has to share it with Kelce this week.

Tier 2
Zach Ertz (@ TEN)

Dallas Goedert broke out with a huge Week 3, which is quite concerning to Ertz owners. Another concern is that Ertz has yet to score a touchdown in 2018.

If anything, I see this as a good time to float a trade offer to an Ertz owner who may overreact to any of the above.

Tier 3
Jared Cook (vs. CLE)
Eric Ebron (vs. HOU)
Jimmy Graham (vs. BUF)

Ebron disappointed in Week 3 with a 5/33/0 line on 11 targets in Jack Doyle’s absence. With Doyle set to miss another week due to injury, I expect Ebron to have a bounce-back game (eight to 10 targets).

Tier 4
George Kittle (@ LAC)
Kyle Rudolph (@ LA)
Trey Burton (vs. TB)
O.J. Howard (@ CHI)
Tyler Eifert (@ ATL)

The 49ers’ entire offense was dealt a massive blow with Jimmy G’s torn ACL in Week 3. Kittle may not see as big of a drop-off as other pass catchers in the offense. He was C.J. Beathard’s teammate/roommate at Iowa. There’s reason to believe Kittle could receive the most targets going forward.

Eifert quietly put up a 6/74/0 line in Week 3. He appears to be 100%, and it’s only a matter of time until he starts adding TDs to his box score as well.

Tier 5
David Njoku (@ OAK)
Ben Watson (@ NYG)
Austin Hooper (vs. CIN)
Vance McDonald (vs. BAL)

Njoku is another player who should benefit from Baker Mayfield taking over as the Browns’ starting QB.

Hooper could be a sneaky BYE week replacement for Jordan Reed owners.

Tier 6
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (vs. NYJ)
Ricky Seals-Jones (vs. SEA)

Hopefully you don’t need to resort to either of these hyphenated players. Both are TD-or-bust plays, but that’s sometimes the life of a TE streamer.

Kickers

Tier 1
Harrison Butker (@ DEN)
Matt Bryant (vs. CIN)
Caleb Sturgis (vs. SF)
Justin Tucker (@ PIT)
Stephen Gostkowski (vs. MIA)

Tier 2
Sam Ficken (vs. MIN)
Chris Boswell (vs. BAL)
Mason Crosby (vs. BUF)
Wil Lutz (@ NYG)
Adam Vinatieri (vs. HOU)

Tier 3
Brandon McManus (vs. KC)
Cody Parkey (vs. TB)
Randy Bullock (@ ATL)
Matthew McCrane (vs. CLE)
Josh Lambo (vs. NYJ)
Brett Maher (vs. DET)
Jake Elliott (@ TEN)
Ka’imi Fairbairn (@ IND)
Dan Bailey (@ LA)
Aldrick Rosas (vs. NO)

Tier 4
Matt Prater (@ DAL)
Sebastian Janikowski (@ ARI)
Chandler Catanzaro (@ CHI)
Greg Joseph (@ OAK)
Ryan Succop (vs. PHI)
Jason Sanders (@ NE)
Robbie Gould (@ LAC)
Steven Hauschka (@ GB)
Phil Dawson (vs. SEA)

Tier 5
Jason Myers (@ JAX)

Yannick-Ngakoue-Calais-Campbell-Jacksonville-Jaguars-2018
Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell.

Defense

Tier 1
Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. NYJ)
Green Bay Packers (vs. BUF)

Tier 2
Los Angeles Chargers (vs. SF)
Seattle Seahawks (@ ARI)

Tier 3
Philadelphia Eagles (@ TEN)
Chicago Bears (vs. TB)
Los Angeles Rams (vs. MIN)
Dallas Cowboys (vs. DET)
Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)
Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
Oakland Raiders (vs. CLE)
New England Patriots (vs. MIA)

Tier 4
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
Houston Texans (@ IND)
New Orleans Saints (@ NYG)
Tennessee Titans (vs. PHI)
Cleveland Browns (@ OAK)
Atlanta Falcons (vs. CIN)
Kansas City Chiefs (@ DEN)
New York Jets (@ JAX)
Detroit Lions (@ DAL)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ CHI)

Tier 5
Baltimore Ravens (@ PIT)
Minnesota Vikings (@ LA)
Buffalo Bills (@ GB)
San Francisco 49ers (@ LAC)
Cincinnati Bengals (@ ATL)
Miami Dolphins (@ NE)
New York Giants (vs. NO)
Denver Broncos (vs. KC)