Say you’re Kyle Shanahan.
Put that flat-billed cap on for size.
You grew up in your father’s shadow. An elite wishbone quarterback in high school. An offensive genius as a coach. He had a knack for winning. He won with the Sooners in ‘75. He then won with his college alma mater in ‘78. Oh, and the Super Bowls. Three of them. One with the 49ers and two as head coach of the Broncos with John Elway. His name is proudly enshrined in the Broncos’ ring of fame and he will soon don the gold jacket in Canton.
You too are dubbed an offensive genius. You too are expected when nothing but Super Bowls.
But you have a problem.
A minor one, if you will.
You are yet to win the big one.
And this haunts you.
It’s considerably haunting when you show up to Denver on a Sunday night, your enshrined father looking on, and once again your quarterback is yet again unable to lead a comeback drive. He’s no John Elway, this one. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but yet it is. Unlike your father, you’ve repeatedly found ways to lose in big moments. The conference championships, the Super Bowl, a September night in Colorado against a Broncos squad that is yet to score more than 16 points this season and the mile-high crowd is already booing.
This all leads up to your next game. Once again under the bright lights. Once again with your incompetent quarterback at the helm. And this time you’re playing your rival. Not just your in-division rival, but your professional rival. The man whom you worked with as an assistant. A close friend of yours. The colleague who got a head coaching job the same year you did. You will forever be compared to him. The one thing that sets you two apart? He got that quarterback, and because he got that quarterback he just won that illustrious goal that you have been striving for all your life.
A Super Bowl victory.
The falling of confetti on one’s shoulders.
A place in history.
The game that you, a Shanahan, were always supposed to win and yet can never find a way. This season is not a redemption.
It is a series of cruel reminders.
And with that here are this week’s starts/sits:
Fantasy football Week 4 start ’em
Quarterbacks to start in Week 4
Russell Wilson vs. Raiders
Last week I told you to start DK Metcalf against the Falcons and shield your eyes. Well, here’s another one this week. Pretend it’s the sun and don’t look directly at it. You just can’t deny who he’s going against: an atrocious Raiders secondary that just made Ryan Tannehill look good.
Dare I say the Broncos may be feeling good after the final drive Sunday night? Russell Wilson tucked the ball and ran. This opened up cover-1 against the Niners’ defense and he got that one-on-one look he loves on Courtland Sutton. This may be the start of something new for this offense, and they have the resources to put up points in Vegas.
Just do yourself a favor and don’t watch.
Trevor Lawrence vs. Eagles
I think he proved to us last week against the Charges that he’s able to put up points on a good defense. He takes what defenses give him and has an array of, let’s say, above-average pass catchers. Remember too that this a revenge game for his head coach. He won a Super Bowl in Philly and they fired him after a couple of faulty seasons? Look for the Jags to be hungry in this one, and it could lead to a shootout.
Running backs to start in Week 4
James Robinson vs. Eagles
Speaking of Jaguars players to start, you can’t help but admire what Robinson is doing. He tore his Achilles at the end of last season and everyone (including yours truly) wrote him off because of the severity of the injury. What he’s able to accomplish on such a short timeframe is nothing short of amazing. He’s the RB2 in PPR formats!
It’s a great story, and it’s heartening to see him doing so well. It speaks to future injuries football players can come back from. Once upon a time, we figured players (especially running backs) who tear their Achilles would be at the end of their careers, but Robinson (and Donte Foreman before him) are proving us wrong. Please do. This is great to see.
Jamaal Williams vs. Seahawks
Just looks at what he did after DeAndre Swift left the game due to injury. Swift may miss the game, but even if he doesn’t I think Williams is a great play. The Lions want to run, run, run and the Seahawks are all but rolling out the red carpet for running backs. This is a great play no matter who starts Sunday.
Wide receivers and tight ends to start in Week 4
Amari Cooper vs. Falcons
Cooper is the 7th-ranked WR in PPR formats. And that’s after a 3 for 17 opening week! Yes, he’s been that good, and now he gets the Atlanta Falcons that just revived DK Metcalf’s unconscious body. Just know that going forward my WR starts will just be the WR1 going against the Falcons. It’s money in the bag. My only question is what I will do Week 14 for their bye.
Greg Dortch vs. Panthers
This is another one you don’t want to look at too closely. Here’s my thinking: the Cardinals suck but Kyler is going to throw for 200+ yards. He does not have DeAndre Hopkins, Zach Ertz, and AJ Green are hurt, and not all passes can go to Hollywood Brown. Dortch has quietly been effective the first three weeks of the season. He’s WR20 in PPR leagues, and he’s a great low-ceiling/modest-floor flex if you don’t know who to put in that spot.
D/ST to start in Week 4
Giants vs Bears:
You want a defense that can generate sacks and turnovers, which the Giants do. It’s even better when the offense they’re playing against has a sieve for an O-line, which the Bears do. Start them with confidence.
Fantasy football Week 4 sit ’em
Quarterbacks to sit in Week 4
Carson Wentz vs. Cowboys:
Welcome to the Wentz is Officially Unraveling Show sponsored by every man, woman, and child on his last tours in Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Hey, at least he made it two weeks this year!
This week he gets to play against Micah Parsons and a Dallas team that knows they cannot score more than 20 points in a game and is forced into ugly defensive matches. I hope you did not start Wentz against the Eagles, but the good news is that if you did you have (hopefully) learned your lesson.
Matthew Stafford vs 49ers:
Something is up with this offense. The line is leaky. The run game is non-existent. Someone needs to take Allen Robinson around the back and perform the same ceremony they bestowed upon Old Yeller. Now he’s going against a PO’d Niners team that has his number? No, thank you.
Running backs to sit in Week 4
Chase Edmonds vs Bengals:
I know those two touchdowns last week look good, but just look at his rushing numbers in the past three games:
Week 1: 25
Week 2: 33
Week 3: 21
He was supposed to be catching a ton of passes, but in the past two weeks, he’s had 1 reception per game. And he’s going against a stout Bengals rush defense. Pass on him and Raheem Mostert this week.
Cam Akers vs 49ers:
Like with Stafford, it’s best to sit all non-Kupp Rams in this one. It’s nice to see his usage going up, but he won’t get anywhere against a Niners team that has to win with their defense. He’s still splitting time with Darrell Henderson and the team as a whole has averaged 72.3 yards/game on the ground. Both players are stay-aways.
Wide receivers to sit in Week 4
Brandin Cooks vs. LA Chargers:
Where have you been, Brandin? I thought you were supposed to be the centerpiece of the Houston offense and the pass-catching leader for a second-year quarterback that you had a promising connection with in his rookie year. Were leaps not to be made? Did you not just sign a big extension in the offseason?
I’ve left numerous messages that have gone unreturned and I really wish you’d at least let me know you’ve received them. We’re all concerned about you. Please write back.
Brandon Aiyuk vs LA Rams:
All that hype during the offseason was nice. He had carved out a role in the offense as a field stretcher that was going to get explosive, chuck plays.
The problem is that A) Trey Lance is injured and B) Jimmy Garappolo throws the ball in 2 seconds and C) now Trent Williams is injured and D) Jimmy Garappolo will now throw the ball in less than one second to avoid pressure and this week he’s going up against E) Aaron Donald who will wreck this shell of an offensive line and Jimmy G will curl up in a ball begging defenders not to touch his face.
So, yeah, sit Aiyuk.