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Week 4 fantasy sits, starts and wild cards

Carson Gourdie, Staff Writer

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The season is almost a quarter over? Yikes. Through the first four weeks, we have had pleasant surprises (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Mahomes) and disappointing blue bloods (Tom Brady and Derek Carr). Confusing, I know, but that’s why I am here. For the rest of regular season, I will be by your side, giving you the best information possible so you can win your league. Full disclosure: I am currently 1-2, but my two losses were decided by a combined eight points.

 

Quarterbacks

START:

Drew Brees, New Orleans vs New York Giants:

Brees has been an absolute beast this year, averaging 29 points a game with a low of just 17, which is Andrew Luck’s season high. Playing the Giants, who got shredded by DeShaun Watson, Brees should have no trouble getting at least 20 points.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs Buffalo:
Usually, going with Rodgers is always a slam dunk, and this week is no exception. I know the Bills shut down Cousins and the Vikings, but they’re playing a man this week who scored 24 points against the Bears on one leg during the second half. I would be shocked if Rodgers didn’t score at least 18 points in a standard scoring league.

Deshaun Watson, Houston vs Indianapolis:

After week one of scoring just 11 points against the Patriots, Watson has begun to regain his rookie year form, scoring an average of 23 points these past two week. Also, keep in mind that, being on a Texans team with a weak defense, it is safe to assume each game will be close, resulting in the Texans having to pass the entire game.

 

BENCH:

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville vs New York Jets:

Jacksonville will look back and wonder why they ever gave an extension to this man. His lack of a downhill passing threat makes him vulnerable every week. If the Jets can manage to shut down the Jaguars running game, which would force obvious passing downs, this could be a long weekend for fantasy owners who started him.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams vs Minnesota:

Goff has been a pleasant surprise this year, averaging 20 points per game. However, I would strongly advise against the start for the third-year QB. Minnesota, coming off of a historically bad loss against the Buffalo Bills. I can’t imagine this defense getting shredded two weeks in row and giving Goff easy touchdowns. If Gurley can get some chunk plays, this could change.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay vs Chicago:

FitzMagic has stolen the show- and Jameis Winston’s position- these past three weeks. However, last week, he struggled with turnovers, but was able to recover, fantasy-wise, in garbage time. Chicago, though, will stop this passing game with a strong pass rush, like they did against Seattle and Arizona, and hold Ryan way below his scoring average.

 

Wild Card:

Eli Manning, Giants vs New Orleans:

The Saints defense is dreadful this year and it finally looks like Eli is starting to show signs of life. With great offensive weapons (Barkley and Beckham), I strongly believe Eli will register a 20 plus point week.

 

Running Backs:

START:

Melvin Gordon, San Diego vs San Francisco:

Gordon has finally become a stable work horse in the NFL, and I would strongly recommend a start. Though he might not get the insane Gurley-Like numbers, a game with 15 points or less would be a surprise.

Carlos Hyde, Cleveland vs Oakland:

With the Browns going with their rookie QB, Baker Mayfield, on the road against the Raiders, the Browns might give Hyde a little more responsibility to soften the load on Mayfield. And it’s not like Hyde hasn’t made the most of his opportunities. Also, with Baker being a bigger passing threat than Tyrod, the Oakland defense will probably not be stacking the box as much.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas vs Detroit:

The Cowboys are in a dire situation and will not be playing cute with Detroit. I expect the Cowboys to feed Elliot the ball around the goalline with Dak’s struggles, which will lead to a Cowboys victory.

 

BENCH:
James Conner, Pittsburgh vs Baltimore:

James Conner has put together a fine season so far, but he is still no Le’Veon. Baltimore has an above average defense and will stuff the run against the Steelers, which will result in a lot more passing from Ben Roethlisberger. Keep in mind, Baltimore has only allowed one rushing TD all year.

Isaiah Crowell, New York Jets vs Jacksonville:

Crowell started off great last week, scoring two quick TDs against the Browns before being bottled up for the rest of the night. Playing alongside a rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, expect last year’s number one defense to force him to pass, which will decrease the amount of carries Isiah will get.  

Jordan Howard, Chicago vs Tampa Bay:

Howard has yet to record an 100 yard rushing game and touchdowns have been difficult to come by. I know Tampa Bay has a bad defense, but this is really about Howard’s and the Chicago’s ability to effectively run the pigskin.

 

Wild Card:

Marshawn Lynch, Oakland vs Cleveland:

Beast Mode has been a steady-eddy this season, scoring no less than 10 points in a game. Although his Seahawk glory days are probably over, don’t be surprised to see a crooked number by his name every now and then. And against this Browns team, who is riding high after their first victory in over 600 days, expect the Raiders to trust Marshawn to end Cleveland’s one-game winning streak, especially with Carr struggling as much as he is.

 

Wide Receiver

START:

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh vs Baltimore:

Brown is hungry and he’s ready to explode. Against Baltimore, I envision Big Ben throwing the ball his way a little more and Brown getting his first big game of the year.

Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams vs Minnesota:

I know Goff is a bench player this week, but he still has to pass for some yards, right? Cooks is a consistent player and Goff will feed his most talented receiver when playing one of the Super Bowl favorites, Minnesota.

 

BENCH:
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City vs Denver:

I own Tyreek and I know he should probably sit on my virtual bench. He is technically the number one wide receiver in the league, but his first week, when he scored 34 points, is jacking up his stats in a big way. I’m not saying he is a one-hit wonder like Vanilla Ice, but please don’t expect him to tear up Denver’s defense.

Kenny Stills, Miami vs New England:

This is probably more about Stills’ QB and opponent than it is about him, like most wide receivers. The Patriots are coming off of back-to-back embarrassing losses and I expect them to rough up Tannehill and not allow him to get a good look. So, while Kenny might get a few yards, I think Tannehill’s ability will hinder his potential.

 

Wild Card:

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston vs Indianapolis:

Mr. Hopkins has been quiet, albeit you should not expect that for long. With Watson starting to regain his footing after a dreadful week one, Hopkins will feast against the Colts’ pass defense.

 

Defenses

START:
Jacksonville Jaguars vs the Jets:

The Jets lacks explosive playmakers. Mix that with a rookie QB and you got trouble. Jaguar owners should be licking their chops this week and they should expect a double digit outing from Jalen Ramsey and Co.

Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona:
I know most of their playmakers from that Super Bowl team has moved on, but they still know how to play ball as they have recorded seven interceptions this season. Playing rookie QB Josh Rosen, who had trouble protecting the ball at UCLA, spells money for the Seattle.

 

BENCH:

Bengals vs Atlanta Falcons:

Cincinnati has been a surprise this season, starting off the year 2-1, though they can’t thank their defense for that. They have allowed at least 23 in each game, including 31 against Cam Newton and the Panthers. Considering that Atlanta has been hot as of late, expect the Bengals to get shredded.

 

Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers:

Last year, the Ravens were a turnover heavy team that scored a lot of defensive touchdowns. That’s hard to predict, so I wouldn’t count on that. Also, even without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers have been scoring a lot with the emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner. And don’t forget, Antonio Brown is always lurking around, ready to explode for big plays.

 

Wild Card:

LA Rams vs Minnesota Vikings:

Kirk Cousins can be hit with the turnover bug quite often, and with the Rams playing their butts off so far, don’t be shocked if Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald can ride home field advantage to a potential victory over the shaky Vikings.

 

Just a quick reminder: I do not own a DeLorean, so please do not get too angry with me if you lose bragging rights for a week because of my advice. Good Luck!

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Week 4 fantasy sits, starts and wild cards