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Fantasy Football: starts and sits for Week 4

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 is a huge week for quarterbacks. With the Packers and Eagles on bye weeks, owners may be looking for replacements for players on those teams, as well as injury replacements. Let’s get right to the best and worst options for Week 4. As usual, obvious starters will not be mentioned.


Start of the Week: Melvin Gordon - Gordon is my start of the week for the second straight week. He didn’t produce many yards on the grounds against the Colts in Week 3, but a touchdown as well as 43 receiving yards saved him from a dud outing. However, Gordon is the unquestioned leader of the San Diego backfield. He will continue to get a lot of carries, and is getting work as a receiver now as well with Danny Woodhead on injured reserve. On top of that, Gordon will continue to get the goal line carries. This week, Gordon goes up against a Saints defense that Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman just walked all over. Expect another double digit point game from Gordon.

Joe Flacco - Flacco has not been impressive thus far into the season, but expect the Ravens passing offense to click in Week 4. The Raiders have allowed the third most points to quarterbacks this season. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan both absolutely dominated the Raiders defense in their respective games against Oakland, and at home, Flacco should be able to take advantage of Oakland’s weak secondary. As a result, expect big days from Mike Wallace and Steve Smith Sr. as well.

Kirk Cousins - The Redskins’ quarterback is second in the NFL in passing yards, just behind Drew Brees who exploded against the Falcons on Monday Night Football. Cousins has an incredible matchup against Cleveland in Week 4. Even if Joe Haden plays in this game, Cousins should have a field day against Cleveland’s much criticized defense. Cousins should be in the QB1 conversation for this Week, and is one of the best replacements for Aaron Rodgers during his bye week.

Isaiah Crowell - This Browns-Redskins game should be a shootout. Neither team has an particularly impressive defense. The Redskins are the third worst fantasy defense against the run. Crowell has established himself this season as a workhorse back for the Browns. Expect another big day for him against the Redskins.

Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders - Following his impressive game in Cincinnati, I am all in on Trevor Siemian. Emmanuel Sanders had the better game in Week 3, but Thomas may be the more reliable option. Sanders is purely a boom or bust play, while Thomas has a much higher floor than Sanders. But both are good starts facing the Buccaneers defense that just let the Rams score 37 points.


Frank Gore - While the Jaguars secondary has been near the worst in the NFL, their run defense has been pretty stingy in 2016, allowing the sixth fewest points to running backs. The ageless wonder that is Frank Gore may be in for a down week, likely touchdown dependent. This game figures to be dominated by Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton anyway.

Tevin Coleman - Unless absolutely necessary, try to avoid the former Hoosier this week. What he did against the Saints (26 points) was absolutely insane. But it isn’t something to expect from week to week. Don’t let that one performance make him an automatic start. The Falcons also face the Panthers this week who allowed a total of 14 points to running backs in Weeks 2 and 3. Freeman is worth considering as he is still the starter, but neither are great options.

Eric Decker - Decker has caught two touchdowns this season, and is in the top 25 of all receivers. But the red zone threat should sit if possible this week. The Jets play the Seahawks, who yet again have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Avoid Decker in this likely defensive showdown.

Sterling Shepard - The rookie receiver has been amazing this season, scoring double digit fantasy points every week. But the Giants face the Vikings this week. The Vikings have been the best overall fantasy defense so far, and is allowing the fourth fewest points to wide receivers. If the Giants offensive line struggles, Eli Manning will have an extremely tough time getting passes off with the Vikings superior pass rush in his face. This could be a long day for the Giants offense. Odell Beckham Jr. is the only player on the Giants worth starting, and that is purely because your team team likely can’t afford to sit him.

Derek Carr - The Ravens defense has quietly allowed the fifth fewest points to quarterbacks in 2016. This is largely due to the Ravens defensive line making life much easier for the secondary with pressure despite the absence of Elvis Dumervil. The interceptions have helped boost the Ravens into the top five in fewest point allowed to quarterbacks as well. For these reasons, Carr should find the bench this week. On top of this, readers of this column are likely Ravens fans, and with quarterback options with better matchups available on waivers, there is no need to root against the Ravens in order to support your fantasy team.

As always, good luck this week. Make sure to check back next week for more waiver wire pick ups and starts/sits.