In fantasy football, deciding who to sit and who to start can be a very difficult task. It may even decide the outcome of your weekly matchup. Other than the obvious, here are the players we believe are must starts this week:
Start Em Quarterbacks:
1. Phillip Rivers vs. JAC
2. Matt Ryan @ MIN
3. Jay Cutler vs. GB
4. Ben Roethlisberger vs. TB
5. Nick Foles @ SF
Quarterback Sleepers: Blake Bortles, Colin Kaepernick, Teddy Bridgewater,
Obvious QB picks: Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers
Phillip Rivers has every reason to be dancing this week as he is facing the Jacksonville Jaguars and they are ranked last in the league in team defense. Last week the Jags gave up 370 yards and 4 touchdowns to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers has thrown for 778 yards and 6 touchdowns thus far this season and we expect him to torch the Jaguars as many teams will this year. Rivers is an obvious must start and our start of the week for quarterbacks. Our prediction: 350 yards, 3 touchdowns Spread: Chargers -14
After a shaky week 2 against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals Matt Ryan bounced back in week 3 throwing for 286 yards and three touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This week Ryan will face a Minnesota Vikings team ranked 11th in team defense so far this year but Ryan will put up decent numbers in week 4 at home. Teddy Bridgewater will making his rookie starting debut and this could mean the Vikings will commit a few turnovers and put Atlanta in great field position to score. Start Ryan this weekend, so far he has put up 965 yards and 7 touchdowns. Our prediction: 310 yards, 3 touchdowns Spread: Falcons -3
Jay Cutler is in line for a career year and it has much to do with the receiving core for the Chicago Bears. Many believe that the Bears have the best overall team when it comes to receivers, the Bears line up with Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte. Cutler has thrown for 750 yards and 8 touchdowns and we don’t expect him to slow down this weekend against the Green Bay Packers who rank 20th in team defense. Expect Cutler to put up decent numbers at home in week 4. Our Prediction: 290 yards, 3 touchdowns. Spread: Bears + 2
Ben Roethlisberger faces off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 4 and they rank 31st in the NFL in team defense thus far this year allowing 387 average yards per game. Roethlisberger has thrown for 778 yards with only three touchdowns so far but that number should rise at home against the Bucs. We’d start him over Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Andrew Luck. Our prediction: 280 yards, 3 touchdowns Spread: Steelers -9
Nick Foles has proved thus far that he isn’t going to have a sophomore slump and has what it takes to be a top tier quarterback in the NFL. Foles has led the Eagles to three comeback victories this year as they are 3-0. This week Foles squares up against the San Francisco 49ers, a team that ranks 13th in the league defending the pass. They 49ers do play at home but Foles has thrown for 978 yards and 6 touchdowns and we expect him to continue his production this week. Our prediction: 307 yards, 2 touchdowns Spread: Eagles +4.5
Sit Em: Tony Romo, Ryan Tannehill, Jake Locker, Joe Flacco
Start em Running Backs:
1. Lamar Miller vs. OAK
2. Matt Asiata vs. ATL
3. Khiry Robinson vs. DAL
4. Donald Brown vs. JAC
5. C.J. Spiller & Fred Jackson @ HOU
Running Back Sleepers: Darren Mcfadden, Trent Richardson, Chris Ivory
Obvious Running back picks: Matt Forte, Le’veon Bell, Demarco Murray
Lamar Miller will be the leading back for the Miami Dolphins again in Week 4 after starting running back Knownshon Moreno dislocated his elbow and will be out for 4-5 more weeks. In week 3 Miller was on our players to start list and he didn’t disappoint rushing for 108 yards on 15 carries for a 7.2 yards per carry average. Look for Miller to continue being effective as the Oakland Raiders are ranked 31st against the run. Miller may run angry, like a man determined to overtake the number one spot for good. Miller is our start of the week for running backs in week 4. Our Prediction: 110 yards and one touchdown.
The Minnesota Vikings are still trying to figure out a way to cope with the fact that superstar Adrian Peterson may not play in 2014. Matt Asiata is next in line and although he hasn’t been extremely productive on the ground thus far he has scored a touchdown in the passing game and continues to be targeted. In week 4 the Vikings face the Atlanta Falcons who are ranked 18th in the league against the run. The Vikings still haven’t figured out a way the best way to get Asiata involved but with rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater making his NFL starting debut they may run the ball more. Look for Asiata to have a decent game, he will at least find the end zone this weekend to pad his fantasy stats. Our prediction: 60 yards rushing, 25 receiving, and one touchdown.
With injuries to starting running back Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown will be the starting running back for the San Diego Chargers against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 4. It will be weeks before Matthews returns and last Monday we learned that Woodhead will be out for the season. Brown will have a great opportunity to put up big numbers against the Jaguars as they are ranked last in the league defending the run and allow an average of 160 to running backs. Brown was somewhat effective in week 3, gaining 62 yards on 31 carries. Though his yards per carry of 2.0 wasn’t impressive, 31 carries is a lot and it indicates that they aren’t scared to feed him the ball. And even if his yards per carry doesn’t improve he will have plenty of goal line opportunities to score touchdowns. Our prediction: 120 yards and a touchdown
The three-headed monster the New Orleans Saints use for production has been reduced to two, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas. Robinson showed much promise in his rookie season in 2013, mainly making a name for himself with his production, drive, and determined running for the Saints in the playoffs. In Week 3 he rushed for 79 yards on 18 carries for a 4.4 yards per carry average while sharing the work load with Thomas. In week 4 the Saints face the Dallas Cowboys who are ranked 13th against the rush but Robinson will be the featured goal line back and will most likely see the end zone. Our Prediction: 85 yards and a touchdown. I’d Start him over: Shane Vereen, Reggie Bush, Bernard Pierce, Frank Gore.
C.J. Spiller & Fred Jackson face the Houston Texans in week 4 and they rank 25th in the league against the rush. Though Fred Jackson looks the better back and may produce more than Spiller in week 4, they both are solid starts. Both have been extremely productive in the passing game while being just decent rushing the ball so far. The Bills should use their one two punch in running backs effectively in week 4 for some solid fantasy numbers. Our prediction: Spiller: 45 yards rushing, 60 yards receiving and a touchdown. Jackson: 55 yards rushing, 45 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Sit Em: Reggie Bush, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Toby Gerhart
Start em Wide Receivers:
1. Steve Smith Sr. vs. CAR
2. Julian Edelman @ KC
3. Roddy White @ MIN
4. Brandin Cooks @ DAL
5. Keenan Allen vs. JAC
Wide Receiver Sleepers: Mike Wallace, James Jones, Eddie Royal, Andre Johnson
Obvious WR picks: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson, Brandon Marshall & Alshon Jeffrey
We expect Steve Smith Sr. to come out and play angry, showing more fire than usual as he faces his former team the Carolina Panthers this weekend. Smith Sr. has been a force so far this year and through three games he has18 receptions for 290 yards and a touchdown. He is out to prove that the Panthers made a mistake by cutting him and his chemistry with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is undeniable. Look for Smith Sr. to go off this weekend as the Ravens have a good chance of taking care of the Panthers at home this weekend. Steve Smith Sr. is our wide receiver start of the week. Our Prediction: 135 yards and one touchdown
It was obvious after week one that Julian Edelman had become the safety net for Tom Brady. Brady has targeted Edelman the most out of any other receiver on the Patriots thus far and that should continue this weekend. In week 4 the Patriots face the Kansas City Chiefs, an 1-2 team that hasn’t really stopped anyone so far in 2014. Even though the Chiefs are ranked 10th in defending the pass, Edelman has 22 receptions for 260 yards and a touchdown. Look for Edelman to have a productive game as Tom Brady will look to silence some critics and come away with the win. Our Prediction: 90 yards and one touchdown.
Prior to being inactive in week 3 Roddy White finally looked like the player we were accustomed to seeing before an injury riddled 2013 season. In a productive week one, White posted five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. In week 2 however, White got injured and only put up 42 yards on five receptions. White and fellow receiver Julio Jones should be ready to dominate the Minnesota Vikings pass defense at home the weekend. Defenses will have their hands full all year as the Falcons are even deeper this year at receiver and Roddy White will be a big part of their success. Fantasy owners just better hope he stays healthy because he is another player to watch out for when it comes to injuries. Our prediction: 98 yards and a touchdown.
Brandin Cooks has yet to surpass the century mark in his rookie season but he has been rewarding fantasy owners with decent production thus far. The New Orleans Saints drafted him in the first round for a reason and we see no reason he shouldn’t put up solid numbers against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has given up the 8th most points to opposing receivers this season. Look for Cooks to have a big game as the Saints are still trying to figure out how to most effectively use the explosive receiver in the passing game. Our prediction: 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Keenan Allen has been fairly quiet this season after breaking out in his rookie season. On only twelve receptions so far this season Allen only has 109 yards receiving with zero touchdowns. That should all change this weekend as he finally has a favorable matchup against the worst defense in the league the past two seasons the Jacksonville Jaguars. Allen and crew should all put up decent fantasy numbers at the Jaguars allow an average of 333 yards per game against opposing receivers. Allen should have a decent game and shake off his so far sophomore year slump. Our prediction: 85 yards and a touchdown.
Sit Em: Vincent Jackson, Eric Decker, Greg Jennings, Golden Tate
Defensive start of the week: The San Diego Chargers