Oct. 02, 2018
Week 4: Start 'Em/Sit 'Em
So did anyone outside of Buffalo see that game coming? Beside being totally off on selecting all the Vikings last week, our Start 'Em/Sit 'Em predictions were pretty solid. You can check out our Week 3 results, but for now let's jump right into Week 4 of Start 'Em/Sit 'Em!
As always you can follow us on Twitter and tweet us any of your lineup questions! @LastPlaceFF
QUARTERBACK - START 'EM:
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (Away at Atlanta Falcons)
We're expecting another high-scoring game involving Atlanta this week as the Falcons will be without both starting safeties, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen. Through three weeks the Falcons have the third-worst defense in the league and we fully expect Andy Dalton and Co. to take advantage down in the dome. Surprisingly, Dalton is the 12th highest scoring fantasy quarterback in 2018, and ripped a stout Ravens defense for four touchdowns and 26.6 fantasy points.
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (Home vs San Fransisco 49ers)
Rivers makers his return to our Start column this week in a very nice home matchup versus the 49ers. San Fransisco wasn't great with Jimmy Garoppolo, and now that he's lost for the season with a torn ACL it's hard to see the 49ers doing anything positive this season. Already ranked 20th in offense DVOA and 25th in defense DVOA expect things to get a lot worse for the 49ers starting this week in Los Angeles.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (Home vs Pittsburgh Steelers)
We're usually not huge Joe Flacco fans, but it's hard to ignore the Ravens home matchup with the Steelers this week. Pittsburgh has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks while Baltimore is averaging 37 points a game at home in 2018. Flacco could be set for a nice week and should be available in most leagues.
*Week 4 QB Sleepers*
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (Away at Oakland Raiders): I'll put this out there as a disclaimer, I wouldn't actually start Mayfield unless you're very desperate at quarterback. With that being said Baker goes into his first start in about as favorable way as possible, 10 days to prepare to play the second-worst defense in the league. The only way this could be more ideal is if the game was at home. I'd keep my eye on Mayfield this week as he may put up some points and be an interesting waiver wire pickup.
Case Keenum, Denver Broncos (Home vs Kansas City Chiefs): Last week we had Keenum as a hard Sit and couldn't have been more correct, this week we're thinking that he'll have a bounce back week versus the league-worst Chief's defense. Expect a high scoring game giving Keenum the chance to produce viable fantasy numbers.
QUARTERBACK - SIT 'EM:
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (Home vs Cleveland Browns)
Many people in the fantasy world weren't very high on Derek Carr this season, and so far he's proving them right. Carr ranks outside of the Top-25 of fantasy quarterbacks in 2018 and Week 4 doesn't get any easier as the Cleveland Browns defense comes to town. You may be chuckling, but the Browns have the 4th ranked defense DVOA and held an explosive Saints offense in check in Week 2. Sit Derek Carr this week!
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (Home vs New York Jets)
Blake Bortles has technically been a Top-15 fantasy quarterback this season, but over half of that production game in one game against the Patriots. Bortles struggled last week versus a mediocre Titans defense and we think he's going to struggle again this week against a Jets' team ranked 2nd in defense DVOA.
Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals (Home vs Seattle Seahawks)
Talk about a baptism by fire, Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen replaced starter Sam Bradford while trailing 16-14 with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Not to mention Arizona was playing the Chicago Bears who boasts the number one defense in the league. Predictably the drive ended in an interception and we expect to see a lot more picks out of Josh Rosen this week in his first start. Seattle comes to town with a Top-10 defense and will give Rosen fits all day, stay away!
RUNNING BACK - START 'EM:
Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers (Home vs San Fransisco 49ers)
Gordon has pretty quietly been the third highest scoring running back in fantasy in 2018 and we expect him to have another great week against the 49ers. The Chargers should be up early and often in this one leading to a heavy dose of Melvin Gordon, he's a must start at home this week.
Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns (Away at Oakland Raiders)
Another player having a quietly productive fantasy season is Browns' running back Carlos Hyde. Hyde ranks in the Top-10 of fantasy scoring for running backs and has a favorable matchup this week on the road in Oakland. Everyone knows the Raiders defense was bad before they traded Khalil Mack, and now only Kansas City is worse on that side of the ball. Hyde will continue to roll in Oakland this week!
Denver Broncos' Running Backs (Home vs Kansas City Chiefs)
How quickly things can change, last week we had this pair as a hard Sit as they faced a tough road matchup in Baltimore. Well a return home brings great things for the Broncos when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs who don't like to play defense. We know Mahomes and the Kansas City offense will score so it'll be up to these guys to try and keep the game close.
*Week 4 RB Sleepers*
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (Away at Atlanta Falcons): This play all depends on the health of Joe Mixon, Bernard is an excellent start again this week if Mixon is unable to go as the Bengals should have a high scoring game in Atlanta.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (Away at Arizona Cardinals): Chris Carson shouldn't be much of a sleep at this point as he's taken a firm grasp of the top running back spot in Seattle, but we more see this as his coming out party to the rest of the league. We're expecting Carson to go off as the Seahawks dismantle the Cardinals.
RUNNING BACK - SIT 'EM:
James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (Home vs Baltimore Ravens)
James Conner started the season red-hot, but has seen his production fall constantly from week to week. It's, of course, not out of the realm of possibility that Conner finds the endzone and has a bounce back week, but we think it's more likely that he struggles against a Top-5 Ravens defense.
Tennessee Titans' Running Backs (Home vs Philadelphia Eagles)
The Titans face a very tough home matchup against the reigning champion Philadelphia Eagles. Tennessee comes into this game with the 28th ranked offense DVOA while the Eagles bring the 7th ranked defense DVOA. We're expecting both Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis to struggle immensely this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars' Running Backs (Home vs New York Jets)
Leonard Fournette is a week to week case with his hamstring injury and T.J. Yeldon has done well as his replacement, but no matter who plays this week we don't like either of them to have much success. We think this Jets-Jags game is going to be a low-scoring ugly game that we don't want any part of. Avoid the Jaguars running back mess this week.
WIDE RECEIVERS - START 'EM:
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (Home vs Kansas City Chiefs)
Sanders has surprisingly been the sixth highest scoring receiver in fantasy so far, and we think he's set for another huge week at home against the league-worst Kansas City Chiefs defense. Sanders is a must start in all formats.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (Away at Atlanta Falcons)
Tyler Boyd has consistently scored more fantasy points each week and that'll all culminate this weekend against a Falcons defense that's ranked 30th in defense DVOA and missing both starting safeties. We like Boyd for at least 100 yards and a score on Sunday.
Tyler Lockette, Seattle Seahawks (Away at Arizona Cardinals)
We liked Lockette as a sleeper last week to grab a touchdown versus a tough Dallas defense and he did just that. We're fully expecting him to take advantage of a much more favorable matchup this week against a Cardinals defense that ranks middle of the pack so far in 2018, we have Lockette down for another touchdown in Arizona.
*Week 4 WR Sleepers*
John Brown, Baltimore Ravens (Home vs Pittsburgh Steelers): Brown is among the league leaders in yards per catch while his usage and production makes him a viable fantasy option. The Steelers have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and Brown should take advantage on Sunday.
Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers (Home vs Buffalo Bills): We're still figuring out how the Bills were able to torch the Vikings last week, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers won't be taken by surprise. Allison doesn't get as many targets as Devonte Adams, but we think he has more upside than Randall Cobb. It's touchdown-or-bust for Allison.
WIDE RECEIVERS - SIT 'EM:
Marquise Goodwin, San Fransisco 49ers (Away at Los Angeles Chargers)
We have absolutely no interest in playing Marquise Goodwin this week against the Chargers, with Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season you need to take a hard wait and see approach with the speedy Goodwin.
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (Home vs Cleveland Browns)
Amari Cooper is having another disappointing season and we fully expect that to continue against a Browns defense that's only let up three passing touchdowns all season which is good for second in the league. We have Cooper as a strong sit this week.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (Home vs Philadelphia Eagles)
We had Davis as our number one sit last week and were spot on as he caught only two passes for 34 yards against Jacksonville. We're shying away from Davis again this week as the reigning champion Eagles bring their 7th ranked defense DVOA to Tennessee. We expect Philly to stifle the Titans 28th ranked offense. This has mismatch written all over it.
TIGHT ENDS - START 'EM:
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (Away at Oakland Raiders)
With Baker Mayfield making his first start this week we love David Njoku. The Browns had ten days to prepare for one of the softest defenses in the league and we fully expect Baker Baker Touchdown Maker to make at least one score for Njoku this week.
Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks (Away at Arizona Cardinals)
We're clearly loving the Seahawks this week, but it's hard not to trust Pete Carrol and Russell Wilson to take advantage of great matchup. Seattle should be able to do whatever they want on offense and we think Dissly bounces back this week and grabs a touchdown.
*Week 4 TE Sleeper*
Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers (Home vs Baltimore Ravens): McDonald had one of the highlights of the year on Monday night with a brutal stiff arm on a long touchdown catch. It's hard to trust McDonald with Jesse James around, but his big-play ability is hard to ignore.
TIGHT ENDS - SIT 'EM:
Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (Home vs Cleveland Browns)
It feels weird picking all these Raiders to sit versus the Browns, usually they're a matchup you look to exploit, but not this season. Cleveland's defense has been great so far in 2018 and we don't trust any Oakland players to produce in fantasy this week.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Away at Chicago Bears)
It's kind or ironic that both of our starts last week are sits this week, but sometimes that's how the matchups roll. Tampa has a tough road game against on of the top defenses in the league, we aren't expecting much fantasy production from anyone not named Mike Evans.
D/ST - START 'EM:
Seattle Seahawks (Away at Arizona Cardinals): Rookie Josh Rosen makes his first start for the Cardinals this week and the Seahawks are in prime position to take advantage. Expect multiple interceptions and a nice fantasy output from the Seattle defense this week.
Philadelphia Eagles (Away at Tennessee Titans): The Titans have had one of the worst offenses in the league this year without Marcus Mariota under center and their struggle will continue again this week against a strong Eagles defense. Take advantage of this matchup if you can.
D/ST - SIT 'EM:
Denver Broncos (Home vs Kansas City Chiefs): There's not a whole lot that needs to be said about this, Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City have been lighting up the league on offense so we suggest sitting whichever defense they're playing against.
Dallas Cowboys (Home vs Detroit Lions): Matthew Stafford and Co are coming off a big win against the Patriots and will continue to sling the ball around the field in Dallas this week. If Stafford can connect with Golden Tate, Kenny Golloday, or Marvin Jones Jr consistently the Cowboys could be in trouble.
KICKER - START 'EM:
Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints (Away at New York Giants): Lutz is coming off a terrific fantasy performance scoring 15 fantasy points against the Falcons. We expect him to put up more numbers this week against a Giants defense that's given up an average of 9.33 fantasy points per game to kickers. That ranks tied for the fourth-most in the league so far, making Lutz a nice starting option.
Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (Home vs Pittsburgh Steelers): Tucker has been the third-best kicker so far in 2018 and the Ravens are set for a high-scoring matchup at home versus the Steelers. We like Tucker to score big this week.
KICKER - SIT 'EM:
Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers (Home vs Baltimore Ravens): Even though the Steelers have a high powered offense that hasn't been translating to fantasy production for Chris Boswell. Boswell is 29th in fantasy points scored so far and the Ravens have surrendered an average of just five fantasy points per game to kickers in 2018.
Jake Elliot, Tennessee Titans (Home vs Philadelphia Eagles): The trend against the Titans continues as Elliot has averaging just five fantasy points per game for the season and they have a very tough Eagles defense coming to town. Bench all your Titans, play your Eagles!
Thanks for taking the time to read our Week 4 Start 'Em/Sit' Em! This week you might have noticed us mentioning something called defense and offense DVOA throughout the column. DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) is a proprietary system developed by Football Outsiders that breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team's performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average. You can read more about the system here, but we think this is one of the best ways to measure a defense.