[sc name=”Author – Chris Mangano”]
Welcome to our Week 4 matchups analysis and starts/sits column for fantasy football. We’ll be covering every matchup from every Sunday game to help you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups.
I’ll be on Reddit each Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to answer all your start/sit questions as well. You can also reach me directly on Twitter @ChrisMangano if you can’t wait.
Let’s get to the matchups for Week 4.
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Week 4 NFL Matchups – 9:30 AM ET Games
Important note and credits about data used in this article:
- All snap counts taken from Football Outsiders. Adjusted line yards also taken from Football outsiders. You can read more here.
- Success rate is taken from Sharp Football Stats (Warren Sharp). You can read more about it here.
- Wide receiver snap percentages and corner grades/stats are taken from Pro Football Focus.
Saints at Dolphins
Matchups We Love:
Drew Brees (QB, NO)
Brees is close to matchup-proof and this week he draws the best matchup on the slate. The Dolphins are giving up a 61% successful play rate (31st), 9.3 YPA (31st) and a 116.2 rating which is worst in the league. They also put little pressure on quarterbacks as they rank 31st in adjusted sack rate. Brees is in line for a monster game.
Michael Thomas (WR, NO), Ted Ginn (WR, NO)
Thomas has played 77% of his snaps on the outside while Ginn has played 76% from the outside. Miami’s outside corners Xavien Howard and Byron Maxwell have not been good. All Howard and Maxwell have done is give up 19 catches for 213 yards on 28 targets. Thomas is a must start and Ginn should have flex value.
Jay Cutler (QB, MIA)
Brees may have the best matchup but Cutler’s isn’t far behind. The Saints rank 30th in success rate on passes against at 60%, are giving up 9.4 YPA which leads the league, and have given up six touchdowns in three games. Cutler should have plenty of time to throw as well as the Saints rank 27th in adjusted sack rate. If you streamed him last week keep him in for another go.
Jay Ajayi (RB, MIA)
Ajayi saw his snap rate drop to 52% in Week 3 as the Dolphins were getting blown out and went into catch-up mode. He struggled in a plus matchup on Sunday but now gets an even better matchup against the Saints who rank 29th in adjusted line yards and are allowing 4.6 YPA. Ajayi should rebound for his owners and is a must start.
DeVante Parker (WR, MIA)
After missing Sunday’s game, corner Marshon Lattimore is back at practice and appears set to shadow Parker. While Lattimore is the Saints’ best corner, he has still given up five catches for 58 yards on seven targets. Parker also has three inches and 20 pounds on the rookie cornerback. This is a battle Parker should easily win and he is a locked-in start this week regardless of format.
Jarvis Landry (WR, MIA)
Landry draws a great matchup against slot corner P.J. Williams. Williams has given up eight catches for 165 yards and a touchdown from the slot on just 11 targets. Landry has seen 26 targets through two games and is a high-floor start this week.
Matchups We Hate:
Mark Ingram (RB, NO)
Ingram led the Saints playing 50% of the snaps on Sunday and led the team with 14 carries. He now has six, eight and 14 carries over the first three weeks so his role as the lead back seems to be taking shape. Unfortunately he draws a very tough matchup against a Dolphins team that ranks seventh in adjusted line yards and allows just 3.1 YPC (6th). In a tough spot, Ingram can’t be considered more than a low-end RB2.
Wide receiver Kenny Stills (WR, MIA) will be matched up with De’Vante Harris who has given up seven catches for 119 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Stills saw ten targets in week three but is still the number three option on this team. He makes for a great start in deeper formats, or for teams looking for that boom/bust player. Julius Thomas (TE, MIA) draws a great matchup against a Saints defense allowing a 63% success rate on throws to tight ends (29th) and 9.7 YPA (27th). Thomas has only seen eight targets through the first two games but could be a solid streamer this week for teams in need.
Alvin Kamara (RB, NO) played just 29% of snaps in Week 3 but saw five targets second only to Michael Thomas on the Saints. He seems to be carving out a role as the passing down back and that could serve him well this week against a defense allowing a 63% success rate on throws to running backs (27th worst) and 8.1 YPA (26th worst). Kamara’s volume makes him nothing more than a flex play in PPR leagues. Adrian Peterson (RB, NO) continues to be the odd man out playing just 24% of snaps and receiving nine carries and no targets. Against a tough run defense Peterson should not be started in any format. Willie Snead (WR, NO) returns from suspension this week but coach Sean Payton hinted that Snead may be eased back in. Factor in the emergence of slot receiver Brandon Coleman (WR, NO) and Snead is a tough start in his first week back. Slot corner Bobby McCain grades out well and has only given up one catch for four yards from the slot. Both Snead and Coleman should likely be avoided this week if possible. Tight end Coby Fleener (TE, NO) has an OK matchup against a Dolphins team allowing a 58% success rate on throws to tight ends (21st) and 6.9 YPA (14th). He is in the TE2 mix this week.
NFL Week 4 Matchups – 1:00 PM ET Games
Titans at Texans
Matchups We Love:
Marcus Mariota (QB, TEN)
After two tough matchups, Mariota draws a soft one that he should exploit. Houston is allowing 8.2 YPA and have given up six touchdowns with zero interceptions. They also lack that dominant pass rush that has been a hallmark of this defense, ranking just 23rd in adjusted sack rate. Mariota is a great start this Sunday.
Rishard Matthews (WR, TEN)
Matthews has played 70% of his snaps from the outside which will match him up against corners Johnathan Joseph and Johnthan Banks. Joseph has given up three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown on six targets while Banks has given up three catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. Regardless of where Matthews lines up, he will have a distinct advantage and makes for a great play this week.
Delanie Walker (TE, TEN)
The Texans are allowing a 50% success rate on throws to tight ends which ranks ninth best, but they allow 8.4 YPA which ranks 26th worst. Walker has seen 19 targets through the first three weeks and should be a locked in TE1.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)
As pointed out by Rich Hribar, the Titans have allowed a top-12 WR in each of the first three games this season and now have to face NFL target leader Hopkins. Hopkins has spent 87% of his snaps on the outside which will match him up with Brice McCain and Adoree’ Jackson. McCain has given up four catches for 50 yards on eight targets while Jackson has given up a whopping 13 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 21 targets. Hopkins is a locked-in must start this week.
Matchups We Hate:
The rumors of DeMarco Murray’s (RB, TEN) demise were greatly exaggerated. He out-snapped Derrick Henry (RB, TEN) 48 to 30 and broke off a 75 yard touchdown run despite nursing a sore hamstring. Murray did only out-touch Henry 15 to 14 so Henry is still a part of the gameplan. The matchup this week is just OK as the Texans rank 17th in adjusted line yards and are giving up just 3.6 YPA. Murray is an easy start while Henry may have some flex value. Eric Decker (WR, TEN) badly disappointed in a spot he was supposed to break out in and now looks like he should be a fantasy after-thought. The matchup with outside corners Joseph and Banks is good, but Decker just isn’t seeing the volume to make him fantasy relevant. With Corey Davis out, rookie Taywan Taylor (WR, TEN) assumed slot duties last week and should do so again, matching him up with slot corner Kareem Jackson. Jackson has given up five catches for 92 yards on nine targets, but Taylor has only seen four targets on the season. We need to see him more involved before he can be started.
DeShaun Watson (QB, HOU) broke out in a big way making just his second NFL start against the Patriots. The Titans pass defense is a step up from the Patriots, however, but the matchup is still not daunting. The Titans are allowing 7.2 YPA, a 52% success rate and seven touchdowns versus two interceptions. Watson should make for another solid start in two quarterback leagues. The Titans only rank 22nd in adjusted sack rate so Watson should have time to throw as well. Despite the emergence of D’Onta Foreman (RB, HOU), Lamar Miller (RB, HOU) dominated this backfield with 70% of snaps in Week 3 and out-touched Foreman 15 to 10. Miller was inefficient with his touches but has a decent matchup this week against a Titans defense that ranks 23rd in adjusted line yards. Miller and Foreman are hurting each other’s value and neither can be trusted for much at the moment. Ryan Griffin (TE, HOU) broke out against the Patriots in Week 3 with five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. He gets a plus matchup against a Titans defense allowing a 57% success rate on throws to tight ends (19th) and 7.9 YPA (22nd). He makes for a solid TE2.
Jaguars at Jets
Matchups We Love:
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, NYJ)
Jenkins was supposed to be out of shape coming back from his suspension but that didn’t stop the Jets from playing him early and often. Jenkins saw six targets and turned them into five catches for 31 yards. He draws a great matchup against a Jaguars defense that allows a 59% success rate on throws to tight ends (25th) and 8YPA (24th). Jenkins makes for a solid TE2 and a great stream this week.
Bilal Powell (RB, NYJ)
With Matt Forte sidelined with a toe injury, the Jets backfield will be left to Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire (RB, NYJ). Powell out-snapped McGuire 44% to 19% in Week 3 and should get the bulk of the work. The Jaguars are a great matchup as they rank 31st in adjusted line yards and are allowing 4.8 YPA, and are one of the worst run defenses in the league. Powell is a must-start that could be a pleasant surprise.
Matchups We Hate:
Josh McCown (QB, NYJ)
The Jaguars are one of the best defenses against passers, allowing just 5.2 YPA and a 41% success rate, both first in the league. They have only allowed three passing touchdowns versus four interceptions. They also apply tons of pressure ranking first in adjusted sack rate. McCown should be avoided in all formats.
Jermaine Kearse (WR, NYJ)
Kearse plays 72% of his snaps from the outside and will draw outside stud corners A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. Bouye and Ramsey have combined to give up just 11 catches on 31 targets. Kearse is still the number one receiver but is better left on the bench in such a tough matchup.
Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ) plays 58% of his snaps from the outside were he will have to battle with Ramsey and Bouye, but also sees work out of the slot were he can matchup with Aaron Colvin. Colvin is no slouch, but he has given up eight catches for 72 yards on 12 targets. Anderson is still a tough start in this matchup.
Surprisingly, the Jets have been somewhat good versus opposing passers. Still, Blake Bortles (QB, JAC) should make for a solid QB2 this week against a defense allowing 6.7 YPA, a 51% success rate and six touchdowns versus three interceptions. The Jets have an average pass rush ranking 14th in adjusted sack rate. Leonard Fournette (RB, JAC) saw his fewest snaps of the season at just 51%, but that was mostly due to the Jaguars blowing out the Ravens. He still led the team with 17 carries and is the clear cut number one on this team. In Week 4 he draws a decent matchup against a Jets team that ranks eighth in adjusted line yards but is allowing 4.8 YPA. Fournette is a locked in must start. Chris Ivory (RB, JAC) played 34% of the snaps and is getting his share of work, but is just a handcuff at the moment. Marqise Lee (WR, JAC) continues to be the number one option for the Jaguars and led the team with seven targets against the Ravens. He will likely be shadowed by Morris Claiborne who has given up six catches and 70 yards on ten targets. Lee makes for a solid start this week. Allen Hurns (WR, JAC) only saw three targets in Week 3 but he did catch a touchdown. He draws a plus matchup out of the slot against corner Buster Skrine who has given up six catches for 82 yards on ten targets but will need more volume to be a consistent start.
Panthers at Patriots
Matchups We Love:
Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)
Through three weeks McCaffrey now leads the Panthers with a 26% target share and out-snapped Jonathan Stewart 41 to 26. While McCaffrey only got four carries, his work in the passing game makes him a solid PPR play. He draws a great matchup this week against a Patriots offense allowing a 65% success rate on throws to running backs (29th worst) and giving up 11 YPA (31st worst). McCaffrey should once again make a great start this week.
Jonathan Stewart (RB, CAR)
While Stewart only played 44% of snaps he led the team with 12 carries and another two carries inside the red zone. He has now seen double-digit carries in every game and at least two red zone carries. He draws a great matchup this week against a Patriots defense that ranks dead last in adjusted line yards and is allowing 5.1 YPC. Stewart could be affected by game flow, the Patriots are heavy favorites, but he should offer a safe floor.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR, CAR), Devin Funchess (WR, CAR)
Benjamin has played 86% of his snaps on the outside while Funchess has played 73%. Outside corners Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore have struggled this year, giving up 12 catches, 144 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets. Benjamin’s knee seems to be fine and he is set to play. Benjamin is a solid start while Funchess makes for a good flex play.
Matchups We Hate:
James White (RB, NE)
White led the Patriots backfield in snaps at 49% and received just five carries and one target. It was a bit surprising as he had eight and five targets in the previous two games. This week he faces a Panthers defense that shuts down pass catching backs, allowing just a 30% success rate (5th best) and 4.1 YPA (6th best). White should be left on benches if possible.
Cam Newton (QB, CAR) draws a great matchup against the Patriots. The Patriots are allowing 9.2 YPA, a 57% success rate and have given up over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. Unfortunately Newton does not look right and disappointed in a great matchup at home against the Saints. Even in a plus matchup Newton has to be viewed as a QB2 at this point. Ed Dickson (TE, CAR) was a non-factor replacing injured Greg Olsen and now draws a matchup against a Patriots team that allows a 52% success rate on throws to tight ends (13th) and 7.4 YPA (19th). He can’t be trusted in any format.
Tom Brady (QB, NE) has 825 yards and eight touchdowns over his last two games. The Panthers have a great pass rush, they rank 5th in adjusted sack rate, and are allowing just 6 YPA and a 47% success rate. Still, Brady is playing as well as ever and is a must start in all formats. Mike Gillislee (RB, NE) saw 32% of snaps and led the team with 12 carries for just 31 yards. This is what you’re going to get on the weeks Gillislee doesn’t find paydirt. It may be tough this week against a Panthers defense that ranks 10th in adjusted line yards and has given up just one rushing touchdown on the year. Brandin Cooks (WR, NE) finally had the breakout game his owners were hoping for and gets a good matchup against outside corners Daryl Worley and James Bradberry. Worley and Bradberry have combined to give up 13 catches for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Cooks is a solid start this week. Chris Hogan (WR, NE) played 91% of snaps Sunday and turned in another big game. He lines up all over the field so he’ll see plenty of Worley and Bradberry, as well as slot corner Captain Munnerlynn who has given up five catches for 38 yards on five targets. Hogan is a solid start as well. Danny Amendola (WR, NE) came back from his concussion and played 49% of snaps, mostly from the slot, so he’ll get chances against Munnerlynn. Still as the third option on this team he is more of a flex play in PPR. Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE) is always a must start but his matchup this week is just OK as the Panthers allow a 58% success rate (22nd) but only 6.2 YPA (7th). Still, Gronk is unlike any other tight end and you’re starting him.
Lions at Vikings
Matchups We Love:
Golden Tate (WR, DET)
Tate has played 83% of snaps from the slot and will draw a matchup against slot corner Terrance Newman. Newman has given up nine catches and 92 yards on just 14 targets. Tate has seen double-digit targets in two games and should be in line for a big week.
Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)
Cook continues to dominate the Vikings backfield as he led all running backs with 27 carries and five targets as well as eight red zone carries. He draws a favorable matchup against a Lions defense that ranks 28th in adjusted line yards and is allowing 4 YPC. Cook is a potential top-10 RB again this week.
Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)
Thielen plays 70% of snaps in the slot and will draw Quandre Diggs who has given up six catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns on 12 targets. Thielen makes for a solid start, even with Case Keenum at the helm.
Matchups We Hate:
Ameer Abdullah (RB, DET)
Abdullah played just 41% of snaps in Week 3, but had 14 of the Lions’ 17 carries. After having four red zone carries in the first game Abdullah has not had a red zone carry since. In a tough matchup against a Vikings defense giving up just three YPC and no touchdowns, Abdullah will be hard to start in any format.
Marvin Jones (WR, DET)
Jones draws the dreaded Xavier Rhodes shadow this week. Rhodes and the Vikings held Mike Evans to just 67 yards last Sunday and has given up just eight catches for 90 yards on 17 targets. Jones has yet to see more than six targets in a game and needs to be left on benches this week.
Case Keenum (QB, MIN)
Sam Bradford is out again, so that will leave it up to Case Keenum to lead this Vikings attack. The Lions present a tough matchup as they are allowing 7 YPA but just a 46% success rate and have seven interceptions versus three touchdowns. While neither quarterback should be under much pressure, the Lions rank just 16th in adjusted sack rate, this secondary does a great job locking down the passing game.
Minnesota is no longer a pass defense to fear as they are allowing 7.7 YPA, a 55% success rate and five touchdowns versus three interceptions. They also don’t pressure the quarterback well ranking just 28th in adjusted sack rate. Matthew Stafford (QB, DET) continues to play well regardless of matchup and is a solid start this week. Despite seeing nine targets, Theo Riddick (RB, DET) disappointed in a great spot last week and now draws a Vikings defense that is allowing a 47% success rate (20th) and 5.1 YPA (15th) against pass catching backs. He is a flex play in PPR formats only. Kenny Golladay (WR, DET) has seen just eight targets since his week one breakout but draws the best matchup against corner Trae Waynes. Waynes has allowed 10 catches, 130 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. With Jones likely to be locked up by Rhodes, Golladay could make for a flex play this week. Eric Ebron (TE, DET) had a dreadful day with just two catches and two drops on seven targets. The matchup with the Vikings is good as they allow a 59% success rate on throws to tight ends (24th) and 7.7 YPA (20th). Ebron is still involved in the offense and should be in the TE2 range this week.
Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN) had a huge Week 3 with backup quarterback Case Keenum under center but draws the toughest matchup this week against shadow corner Darius Slay. While Slay is very good, he has given up 12 catches for 123 yards on 18 targets. Diggs could still find success this week but owners should temper expectations. Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN) has been hurt by the loss of Bradford and has seen just eight targets over the last two games. His matchup this week against the Lions defense is just OK as they allow a 44% success rate on throws to tight ends (5th) and 7.3 YPA (17th). You might want to look for a streaming option this week if you can.
Bills at Falcons
Matchups We Love:
LeSean McCoy (RB, BUF)
After two disappointing weeks McCoy should get back on track against the Falcons. The Falcons rank 25th in adjusted line yards and are allowing 4.8 YPA. While they do an adequate job on throws to running backs with a 37% success rate and just 5.8 YPA, McCoy should do plenty of damage on the ground and is a must start this week.
Julio Jones (WR, ATL)
Jones plays 81% of his snaps on the outside and will draw corners E.J. Gaines and Tre’Davious White. Combined they have given up 15 catches for 188 yards on 31 targets. Jones is a weekly must start and is primed for a big week.
Mohammed Sanu (WR, ATL)
Sanu has played 64% of his snaps in the slot and will face off against corner Leonard Johnson. Johnson has allowed 11 catches on 15 targets and 92 yards. Sanu has seen at least six targets in every game and makes for a solid start this week.
Matchups We Hate:
Charles Clay (TE, BUF)
Clay is second on the Bills in targets with 18 and leads the team with five red zone targets. Unfortunately he draws a tough matchup this week against a Falcons defense that allows a 34% success rate on throws to tight ends (3rd) and 4.9 YPA (4th). Clay will need a touchdown to come through for his owners.
Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)
Look, you’re starting Ryan, but the matchup is far from ideal. The Bills are allowing just 6.1 YPA, only 45% of pass plays against them are successful, and they have yet to give up a passing touchdown versus four interceptions. They also do a good job pressuring the quarterback ranking 10th in adjusted sack rank. Start Ryan but temper expectations.
DeVonta Freeman (RB, ATL)
While the matchup for Freeman isn’t great you can’t really sit him. The Bills rank 3rd in adjusted line yards and are allowing just 3.4 YPA. They also excel in throws to running backs as just 35% of plays are successful against them (8th) and go for just 4 YPA (4th). Freeman has steadily increased his volume over Coleman but owners should temper expectations this week.
Tyrod Taylor (QB, BUF) should be a solid QB2 option this week but does draw a somewhat tough matchup against a Falcons defense allowing just 6.1 YPA and a 45% success rate. They have given up four touchdowns versus just one interception, however, and rank just 13th in adjusted sack rank, so Taylor could have time to throw. There is no Bills receiver you want to be relying on. In week three Jordan Matthews (WR, BUF) had five targets while Zay Jones (WR, BUF) and Andre Holmes (WR, BUF) each had two. Neither of the three have a good matchup and should be left on benches or the wire.
Tevin Coleman (RB, ATL) played just 41% of the snaps and got just six carries in Sunday’s contest. In a tough matchup he should probably be left on your bench. Tyler Gabriel (WR, ATL) plays 80% of snaps on the outside and will get chances against Gaines and White. Though he saw six targets in Week 3, he is still the third option and remains little more than a flex play. Austin Hooper (TE, ATL) draws a great matchup as the Bills allow a 60% success rate to tight ends (26th) and 7.0 YPA (21st). Unfortunately he has only seen two targets in each of the first three games and just isn’t seeing enough volume to be fantasy relevant.
Steelers at Ravens
Matchups We Love:
Jesse James (TE, PIT)
James has seen at least four targets in every game and draws a great matchup against a Ravens defense that is allowing a 54% success rate on throws to tight ends (15th) and 10 YPA (28th). They have also allowed a league-high four touchdowns to the position. With Brown and Bryant drawing tough coverage, Roethlisberger could be leaning on James, especially in the red zone.
Matchups We Hate:
Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)
Don’t let last week’s game against Jacksonville fool you, this Ravens defense is still an elite pass defense. Even after last week’s debacle they are only allowing 7.1 YPA and a 43% success rate. They also have eight interceptions versus five touchdowns and rank eighth in adjusted sack rank. This may be another tough week for Roethlisberger owners.
Antonio Brown (WR, PIT)
Brown is always a must start, but playing 82% of his snaps on the outside will match him up against the Ravens strong corners of Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr. On the season Smith and Carr have given up just six catches for 92 yards on 17 targets. You can’t sit him but temper expectations.
Joe Flacco (QB, BAL)
The Steelers are allowing just 5.6 YPA and are allowing a 43% success rate. They have only allowed two touchdowns on the season and rank 2nd in adjusted sack rate. Flacco has not looked good this year and should be avoided in all formats.
Mike Wallace (WR, BAL)
With Maclin sidelined, Wallace saw his most targets of the season with five. The Steelers outside corners of Joe Haden and Artie Burns have combined to allow just five catches for 44 yards on 13 targets. With Wallace seeing such low volume he can be left on benches.
Le’Veon Bell (RB, PIT) played 97% of snaps in Week 3 and scored his first touchdown of the season. His matchup this week is good as the Ravens rank 12th in adjusted line yards but are allowing 4.3 YPC. More importantly for Bell, the Ravens are allowing a 52% success rate on throws to running backs (22nd) and 8 YPA (25th). Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams is expected to miss another game as well which would certainly be a boost to Bell’s prospects. Bell is a locked in must start. Martavis Bryant (WR, PIT) plays on the outside 86% of the time and will draw the tough duo of Smith and Carr. He should likely be benched if you have better options and will need to hit pay dirt to pay off this week.
It’s hard to take anything away from the terrible performance of the Ravens in week three. Terrance West (RB, BAL) started and looked OK while playing just 17% of snaps. Most of that was due to the fact that the Ravens were getting blown out. Buck Allen (RB, BAL) played 53% of the snaps as the Ravens went into catchup mode. We’d expect West to remain the starter but Allen should get his share of work as well. The matchup is just OK as the Steelers rank 11th in adjusted line yards but are allowing 4.4 YPA. They are tough against pass catching backs, however, as they allow just a 37% success rate (10th) and 4.8 YPA (12th). Both West and Allen should be considered nothing more than flex plays this week. Jeremy Maclin (WR, BAL) draws a decent matchup against slot corner Mike Hilton who has allowed seven catches for 50 yards on nine targets. The problem is Maclin has yet to see more than five targets in a game and that makes him little more than a flex play. Benjamin Watson (TE, BAL) was a hot waiver add in Week 3 but saw just three targets and saved his day with a touchdown. Watson is dealing with a calf injury and has not practiced all week. Even if he plays the matchup against the Steelers is tough as they are allowing a 50% success rate on throws to tight ends (9th) and just 6 YPA (6th). Watson should not be started.
Bengals at Browns
Matchups We Love:
A.J. Green (WR, CIN)
Green is playing on the outside 90% of snaps and will draw Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor. Combined they have allowed 16 catches for 242 yards and one touchdown on 24 targets. Green is a locked in must start and could have a huge game.
Matchups We Hate:
DeShone Kizer (QB, CLE)
The Bengals passing defense holds teams to just 6.7 YPA and a 45% success rate. The Bengals do not posses an overly strong pass rush, however, ranking 12th in adjusted sack rate. Kizer’s legs always give him a chance but he could struggle through the air this week.
Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)
Under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals backfield got some clarity as Mixon played 56% of snaps and received 18 carries. Mixon now looks like the starter relegating Jeremy Hill (RB, CIN) to backup duties. Mixon draws a tough matchup against a Browns defense that ranks fourth in adjusted line yards and is allowing just 3.1 YPC. Mixon should get plenty of volume, however, and should be a solid start.
Gio Bernard (RB, CIN)
Bernard is now set as the pass catching back but only saw 21% of snaps in Week 3. He draws a tough matchup as well as the Browns allow just a 35% success rate on throws to running backs and 4.4 YPA. Bernard is barely a flex in PPR formats this week.
Despite the huge fantasy game from Jacoby Brissett last week, the Browns do not possess the cream-puff matchup of years past. Still, Andy Dalton (QB, CIN) and the Bengals passing attack should find success. The Browns are allowing 7.9 YPA but just 47% of passing plays are successful against them. They have given up five touchdowns and are poor at rushing the quarterback, ranking just 25th in adjusted sack rate, which should play in Dalton’s favor behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Brandon LaFell (WR, CIN) draws a favorable matchup on the outside but has seen just 14 targets on the season. He is nothing more than a flex in deep leagues.
Isaiah Crowell (RB, CLE) continues to struggle and split snaps with Duke Johnson, Jr. (RB, CLE) almost evenly. Crowell handled just 12 carries for 44 yards and draws an OK matchup with a Bengals defense that ranks 19th in adjusted line yards and allows 4.1 YPA. Johnson only had two carries on Sunday, but had seven targets and six receptions. The Bengals do a great job limiting passes to running backs with a 40% success rate (12th) and 3.6 YPA (1st). Johnson is nothing more than a flex in PPR formats this Sunday. Kenny Britt (WR, CLE) rebounded on Sunday with 10 targets but only caught three of them, though he did score. He draws an OK matchup against outside corners Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick who have allowed 14 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 26 targets. The volume should be there but the efficiency won’t. Still Britt makes for a solid start. Rishard Higgins (WR, CLE) followed up his 11 target performance in Week 2 with just six on Sunday. He draws a great matchup against Darqueze Dennard who has given up seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Higgins could pay off for owners who didn’t give up on him. Seth DeValve (TE, CLE) out-snapped David Njoku (TE, CLE) 56% to 39% but only saw one more target (five to four). The matchup is OK as the Bengals allow a 50% success rate on throws to tight ends (9th) and 8.3 YPA (25th). Both are tough to trust, however, with the even playing split.
Rams at Cowboys
Matchups We Love:
Dez Bryant (WR, DAL)
Bryant gets his best matchup of the season thus far against outside corners Nickell Robey-Coleman and Trumaine Johnson. Coleman and Johnson have combined to allow 13 catches and 259 yards on 22 targets. Bryant should have his way with this secondary.
Matchups We Hate:
Jared Goff (QB, LAR) gets an OK matchup against a Cowboys defense that is allowing a 54% success rate on throws but just 6.7 YPA. They have given up six touchdowns versus just two interceptions, however. They Cowboys do apply pressure ranking seventh in adjusted sack rate. Still, Goff makes for a solid QB2 play. Todd Gurley (RB, LAR) continued his redemption tour on Thursday night dominating the 49ers to the tune of 146 yards and three touchdowns. The matchup with Dallas is OK as they rank 13th in adjusted line yards and allow 3.6 YPA. They do struggle against passes to running backs, however, allowing a 64% success rate (28th) and 5.9 YPA (18th). Gurley leads the team in targets and could continue to do damage in the passing game. Sammy Watkins (WR, LAR), Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR) and Robert Woods (WR, LAR) draw good matchups against Dallas corners who have allowed 28 catches, 325 yards and four touchdowns through three games. No Rams receiver has seen more than seven targets in a game, however, which lowers the value of each.
Dak Prescott (QB, DAL) has had a strong start to his sophomore campaign and gets a Rams defense allowing 8.1 YPA but just a 46% success rate and only three touchdowns versus three interceptions. They also possess an elite pass rush led by Aaron Donald and rank third in adjusted sack rate. Prescott could find things tough on Sunday. Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL) struggled on most of his runs Monday night behind an offensive line missing two key players from last year. Still, the matchup this week is good as the Rams rank 24th in adjusted line yards and allow 4.3 YPC. Elliott is a must start every week. Jason Witten (TE, DAL) saw a season low four targets but should get back on track against a Rams defense allowing a 53% success rate on throws to tight ends (14th) and 7.4 YPA (18th). He is a solid start.
NFL Week 4 Matchups – 4:00 PM EST Games
Eagles at Chargers
Matchups We Love:
Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)
Wentz struggled against a tough Giants secondary but gets a plus matchup against the Chargers this week. The Chargers allow 7.3 YPA and a 49% success rate and have given up five touchdowns versus one interception. They could put pressure on Wentz, ranking 11th in adjusted sack rate, but overall Wentz should have success.
Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)
Ertz is tied for the team lead with 28 targets and should continue to be one of Wentz’ favorite targets against a Chargers defense that is allowing a 70% success rate on throws to tight ends (31st) and 12.5 YPA (31st). Ertz is a must start this week.
Phillip Rivers (QB, LAC)
Rivers should bounce-back from his three interception game last Sunday against an Eagles secondary allowing 7.5 YPA, a 54% success rate and five touchdowns. They do possess an elite pass rush ranking fourth in adjusted sack rate, so Rivers will be under pressure, but he should find enough open receivers to have a successful outing.
Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)
Allen plays from the slot on 61% of his snaps and will matchup against corner Patrick Robinson. All Robinson has done is allow six catches for 108 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. Allen should feast and is a must start.
Tyrell Williams (WR, LAC)
Williams has seen seven targets in two games and will matchup against outside corners Rasoul Douglas and Jalen Mills. Douglas and Mills have allowed 28 catches, 229 yards and two touchdowns. Williams should rebound this week and makes for a solid start.
Matchups We Hate:
Alshon Jeffery (WR, PHI)
Jeffery draws another tough matchup against shadow corner Casey Hayward. Hayward has allowed just four catches for 60 yards on eight targets. Jeffery is tied for the team league in targets with 28 but he should be avoided this week if possible.
With the brutal injuries to Darren Sproles, Wendall Smallwood (RB, PHI) played a team high 58% of snaps and tied LeGarrette Blount (RB, PHI) with 12 carries. Smallwood looked better than Blount and also ran a pass route on 22 of his 43 snaps. The matchup this week is great as the Chargers rank 30th in adjusted line yards and allow 4.7 YPA. Whoever gets the start should be in line for a big day so you’ll have to pay attention to reports as the week goes on. Torrey Smith (WR, PHI) draws a plus matchup against Desmond King who has allowed seven catches and 73 yards on seven targets. Unfortunately Smith has seen just 16 targets on the year and more than five in a game just once. In a good matchup he could have flex appeal. Nelson Agholor (WR, PHI) has seen just three targets in each of the last two games and gets a tough matchup against slot corner Trevor Williams who has allowed just two catches for 33 yards. Agholor should not be started in any format.
Travis Benjamin (WR, LAC) saw a season high eight targets in Week 3 and will get chances against a weak Eagles secondary as he lines up all over the field. The matchup is good and Benjamin could have flex appeal on Sunday. Hunter Henry (TE, LAC) and Antonio Gates (TE, LAC) split snaps evenly but Gates out-targeted Henry five to zero. On the season Gates has 12 targets to Henry’s seven. The matchup this week is just OK as the Eagles allow a 48% success rate on throws to tight ends (8th) and 6.8 YPA (12th). Neither tight end can be trusted but it appears Gates is the better play if you have to choose one.
Giants at Buccaneers
Matchups We Love:
Eli Manning (QB, NYG)
Maybe all Manning needed was a healthy Odell Beckham, Jr. as he had a huge day against the Eagles in Week 3. Now he gets a Buccaneers defense allowing 8.6 YPA, a 60% success rate and four touchdowns. They also rank dead last in adjusted sack rate so Manning should see little to no pressure in this one. Start him with confidence in two quarterback leagues.
Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR, NYG)
Beckham has played 93% of snaps outside of the slot and should see a combination of Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves. Grimes and Hargreaves have combined to give up 17 catches, 255 yards and a touchdown on 22 targets. Beckham looked fully healthy in Week 3 and should be in line for a huge day Sunday.
Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG)
Shepard has seen eight or more targets in two games and gets a great matchup against slot corner Robert McClain. McClain has allowed six catches, 66 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. Shepard should be a solid start in Week 4.
DeSean Jackson (WR, TB)
With Evans drawing shadow coverage from Jenkins (see below), Jackson will be left alone with Eli Apple. Apple has allowed nine catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets. Jackson makes for a great start this week.
Matchups We Hate:
Jameis Winston (QB, TB)
The Giants posses one of the toughest pass defenses holding teams to just 6.3 YPA and a 44% success rate. Two areas the Giants do struggle is in turnovers (zero) and pass rush (20th in adjusted sack rank). Those could both play in Winston’s favor this week but owners should still temper expectations.
Mike Evans (WR, TB)
Evans will draw shadow coverage from Janoris Jenkins who has allowed just four catches for 38 yards on the season. Evans is a must start and cannot be benched, but owners should temper expectations.
Orleans Darkwa (RB, NYG) started in Week 3 but left the game after just seven carries with a back injury. Paul Perkins (RB, NYG) replaced him and ran the ball nine times for just 22 yards and caught two passes for eight yards. Darkwa appears to be ready to go for this Sunday but this backfield is one to avoid. The Buccaneers are banged up on defense but have done a good job against the run game this year. Shane Vereen (RB, NYG) is the only running back that has any value in this offense as he ranks second in targets, though he’s only seen three and two since Odell Beckham, Jr.’s return from injury. The matchup is a plus as the Buccaneers are allowing a 56% success rate on throws to running backs and 7.7 YPA. Still, Vereen is barely even a flex play in PPR formats. Brandon Marshall (WR, NYG) woke up in Week 3 with 11 targets. He will draw a plus matchup against outside corners Grimes and Hargreaves and makes for a solid WR3 start.
Owners of Jacquizz Rodgers (RB, TAM) get one more week before Doug Martin returns from suspension. It’s a good matchup for Rodgers as the Giants rank 20th in adjusted line yards and are allowing 4.5 YPC. Rodgers should make for a solid RB2 in what will likely be his last usable week. Adam Humphries (WR, TB) exploded with 10 targets in Week 3 but most of that can be attributed to the Buccaneers playing catchup. He had only seen three targets on the season prior to Sunday. He draws a fairly tough matchup against slot corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who has allowed five catches for 43 yards. Humphries is a risky start.
49ers at Cardinals
Matchups We Love:
Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)
Fitzgerald draws a great matchup against slot corner K’Waun Williams. Williams has allowed 13 catches and 132 yards on 19 targets. Fitzgerald has seen 13 and 15 targets in weeks one and three respectively and should be in line for another monster game.
Jaron Brown (WR, ARI)
Brown was second on the team in targets with six in Week 3 and now has 17 targets in the two games John Brown has missed. He draws a great matchup against outside corners Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. They have combined to give up 14 catches, 195 yards and two touchdowns on 19 targets. If John Brown is out again, Jaron Brown should make a solid start.
Matchups We Hate:
Pierre Garcon (WR, SF)
Garcon will see shadow coverage from stud corner Patrick Peterson. Peterson has given up just two catches for 13 yards on the season. Garcon has seen 10 targets in two games this year but should be kept on the bench if possible in a tough spot.
Carlos Hyde (RB, SF)
Hyde has produced in bad matchups earlier in the year but will be tested again versus a stout Cardinals run defense. Hyde played 73% of snaps on Thursday against the Rams and had 25 carries and four targets. He is playing great and will need all of that against a Cardinals defense that ranks 2nd in adjusted line yards and allowing just 3.1 YPA. They are also good at stopping throws to running backs allowing just a 26% success rate (3rd) and 3.7 YPA (3rd). You can’t sit Hyde but temper expectations.
Brian Hoyer (QB, SF) has a decent matchup against a Cardinals defense allowing 48% success rate on throws and 7.4 YPA. The Cardinals rank just 20th in adjusted line yards, so Hoyer could be under less pressure than he is used to. Still, he can barely even be considered a QB2. Marquise Goodwin (WR, SF) has yet to see more than six targets in a game but does draw a plus matchup against Justin Bethel. Bethel has allowed six catches for 111 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Goodwin has a lot of risk but has boom potential in a good matchup.
For those who have been streaming Carson Palmer (QB, ARI) you can likely do it again this week against a 49ers defense allowing 7.3 YPA, a 47% success rate and six touchdowns. They also lack a pass rush, ranking 26th in adjusted sack rate, which should give Palmer more time than he had against the Cowboys. We got a little more clarity on the Cardinals backfield this week as Andre Ellington (RB, ARI) led the team with 60% of snaps and Chris Johnson (RB, ARI) played 38%. Johnson started the game and had 12 carries to Ellington’s five, but Ellington had eight targets to Johnson’s two. Johnson could have a little more success this week against a 49ers team that ranks 22nd in adjusted line yards but we’d like to see more from him before recommending a start. Ellington should have value in PPR formats as the 49ers allow a 42% success rate on throws to running backs (13th) and 5 YPA (13th). Ellington is a flex in PPR formats. After a big Week 2, J.J. Nelson (WR, ARI) had a quiet Week 3 with only three targets and no catches. The matchup is a plus but it appears Jaron Brown is the Cardinals preferred number two option. Still Nelson could make a solid flex play in a plus matchup.
Raiders at Broncos
Matchups We Love:
Demaryius Thomas (WR, DEN), Emmanuel Sanders (WR, DEN)
Thomas and Sanders play 85% and 75% of their snaps outside respectively. Raiders outside corners Gareon Conley and David Amerson have allowed 12 catches, 177 yards and three touchdowns on 18 targets. Both Thomas and Sanders are great starts this week.
Matchups We Hate:
Raiders Running Backs
The Raiders backfield was a full blown RBBC in Week 3 as Marshawn Lynch (RB, OAK) and DeAndre Washington (RB, OAK) each played 31% of snaps and Jalen Richard (RB, OAK) played 12% after leaving with an injury. Regardless of who plays the most snaps the matchup is as tough as it gets as the Broncos rank 1st in adjusted line yards and are allowing just 2.6 YPA. If possible this entire backfield should be avoided.
Michael Crabtree (WR, OAK)
Crabtree draws the tougher matchup as he primarily lines up to the right and will see plenty of Aqib Talib. Talib has only allowed four catches for 28 yards on 10 targets, though he has allowed a touchdown. Crabtree is likely going to need to score to salvage his day. Bench him if you can.
The Broncos pass defense is still very good, but their elite run defense is forcing teams to throw the ball more. Derrick Carr (QB, OAK) should rebound from his terrible performance Sunday night against a Broncos defense that has given up seven touchdowns through the air. They don’t pressure quarterbacks like they have in years past either, ranking 29th in adjusted sack rate. Carr is an OK start this week. It’s easy to see Denver and assume Amari Cooper (WR, OAK) has a brutal matchup. While it isn’t ideal, it isn’t as bad as it appears. Cooper primarily lines up to the left which means he will see Bradley Roby on most of his snaps. Roby has allowed eight catches for 65 yards and a touchdown so opportunity will be there. Cooper is still a solid start but owners should temper expectations. Jared Cook (TE, OAK) draws a good matchup against a Broncos defense allowing a 61% success rate on throws to tight ends (28th) and 8 YPA (23rd). He makes for another viable streaming option.
Trevor Siemian (QB, DEN) came back down to earth on Sunday and may find things tough again against a Raiders defense allowing just 6.4 YPA and two touchdowns on the season. The Raiders are allowing a 52% success rate, however, and rank just 14th in adjusted sack rate, so Siemian could find moderate success. He makes for a solid QB2. C.J. Anderson (RB, DEN) dominated the snaps playing 70% but saw only 10 touches, a season low. Still, he remains the number one back and draws a good matchup against a Raiders defense that ranks 18th in adjusted line yards and allows 4.2 YPA. Anderson makes for a solid start Sunday. Jamaal Charles (RB, DEN) played 30% of snaps and also saw 10 touches, including a touchdown. Still, he is second fiddle to Anderson and is a low end flex play at best. Bennie Fowler (WR, DEN) saw a season high seven targets in Week 3 and draws a great matchup against slot corner T.J. Carrie. Carrie has allowed 12 catches for 93 yards from the slot on 14 targets. Fowler is still just the third option but could have flex value this week.
NFL Week 4 Games – Sunday Night Football
Colts at Seahawks
Matchups We Love:
Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)
Wilson and the Seahawks passing game got things going in a big way last Sunday. Now they face a Colts defense allowing 8.1 YPA and four touchdowns. The Colts rank just 18th in adjusted sack yards, so the Seahawks offensive line could allow Wilson more time than usual. Wilson is a must start in all formats this week.
Jimmy Graham (TE, SEA)
Graham finally had the game his owners have been waiting for and he could back it up this week against a Colts defense that allows a 64% success rate on throws to tight ends (30th) and 10.4 YPA (29th). Graham is a locked in must start.
Matchups We Hate:
Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND)
Brissett will likely have to do it with his legs again as he faces a Seahawks defense allowing just 6.4 YPA and a 45% success rate. They have also only allowed three passing touchdowns versus two interceptions and rank ninth in adjusted sack rate. Expect Brissett to struggle once again.
Frank Gore (RB, IND) played 62% of snaps and carried the ball 25 times. While he only mustered 57 yards on those 25 carries he did add a touchdown. He draws a good matchup against a Seahawks team that is no longer the dominant rush defense of the past. They rank 21st in adjusted line yards and are giving up a league high 5.3 YPA. Gore should be a solid start this week. T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND) is used all over the field and finally had a productive fantasy game with Jacoby Brisett under center. While that was nice to see for Hilton owners it will be tough to start him this week against a Seahawks secondary that is allowing just 140 yards per game and has given up just two touchdowns. Jack Doyle (TE, IND) disappointed in a great spot on Sunday but did see five targets. He draws a tough matchup against a Seahawks defense that allows a 50% success rate on throws to tight ends (9th) and 6.3 YPA (8th). Owners may want to stream this week.
We got clarity on the Seahawks backfield this week as it appears Chris Carson (RB, SEA) will be the starter with C.J. Prosise (RB, SEA) playing the passing down roles. Carson played 56% of snaps and Prosise 37%. However, Prosise injured his ankle and has already been ruled out for Week 4. That means Carson should get all the work he can handle. The matchup for Carson is not ideal as the Colts rank 14th in adjusted line yards and allow just 3.3 YPC, though they have given up four rushing touchdowns. Still, Carson is a solid start with Prosise out. Doug Baldwin (WR, SEA) draws a tough matchup with slot corner Nate Hairston who has allowed just six catches for 59 yards on 12 targets. You can’t sit Baldwin but owners should temper expectations. Paul Richardson (WR, SEA) has seen seven targets bookended around a three target game. He plays primarily to the left and will draw a tough matchup as Vontae Davis should return to the field. Richardson is a low end flex play. Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA) saw just three targets for the second time this year and draws a tough assignment against corner Rashaan Melvin who has allowed just six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown on 18 targets. He’s a tough start with inconsistent volume.
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