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Start or Sit? NFL fantasy football tips for Week 4

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Bye weeks are a factor now, making these decisions all the more difficult

Houston Texans v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

We’re almost a quarter of the way through the 2019 regular season and still don’t have a completely firm grasp on how good all of these teams are, aside from the Patriots being great and the Dolphins being terrible. But here are some educated guesses at who you should start and who you should sit this week in fantasy football.

Start Em

QB Philip Rivers vs. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins defense has been so bad to start the season that it’s pretty much common sense to start whoever is playing against them that week. It just so happens that Philip Rivers is a darn good quarterback who will no doubt be looking to avenge a loss last week to the Texans.

QB Dak Prescott vs. New Orleans Saints

The Saints defense has been in the bottom quarter of the NFL in nearly every category, but especially their pass defense. They’re actually giving up more passing yards a game than the Dolphins. Dak Prescott leads the NFL in completion percentage and QBR and should make work of this secondary.

QB Case Keenum vs. New York Giants

Word of Case Keenum’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. The journeyman quarterback is averaging 311 yards per game and has more touchdowns than Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers (after his TNF game), Rivers, and Jared Goff. Sure, Keenum threw three picks last week, but it was against a dominant Bears defense. This week, Keenum draws the worst pass defense in the NFL. Good things should come of it.

RB Josh Jacobs vs. Indianapolis Colts

Perhaps the only real challenger for presumptive Offensive Rookie of the Year Gardner Minshew II is Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. Despite limited carries the last two weeks as the Raiders were playing from behind, Jacobs has been a model of efficiency. He’s averaging 5.1 yards per attempt, while the Colts are allowing 5.3 yards per attempt.

RB Derrick Henry vs. Atlanta Falcons

After being a reliable starter the first two weeks, Henry took a tumble last week against a Jaguars defense that remembered who they were. Still, Henry is averaging 4.1 yards per carry and seeing a healthy share of touches, and he’s scored at least one touchdown in each game so far. The Falcons’ leading tackler De’Vondre Campbell is questionable to play this week and their best run stopping safety Keanu Neal is on the injured reserve, which should lend itself to a big day for Henry.

WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Seattle Seahawks

I’m finally ready to recommend starting a Cardinals wide receiver. While Kyler Murray does spread the ball around in Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense, he’s found some great chemistry with one of the NFL’s best receivers in history. Fitz is averaging just over ten targets per game and nearly 70 yards a game, and Seattle has one of the more suspect defenses against the pass coming into this matchup.

WR Randall Cobb vs. New Orleans Saints

As mentioned, the Saints have a bad pass defense, which should lead to Dak having yet another big game. And in the past two weeks, Randall Cobb has had huge plays negated by penalties. You have to figure that eventually those plays will start counting, and there’s no better defense for it to happen against than this one.

TE Darren Waller vs. Indianapolis Colts

Just as he did with Jared Cook last year, Derek Carr has formed a lethal bond with tight end Darren Waller, who’s averaging nearly nine catches a game for 89 yards. Meanwhile, the Colts defense has been routinely beaten by tight ends this year, which heavily favors the Raiders’ leader in receiving yards.

Patriots DEF vs. Buffalo Bills

Crazy stat of the week: opposing teams have scored more points against the Patriots’ offense and special teams than against their defense. That’s right, the Pats have yet to give up a rushing or passing touchdown through three games. Sure, Josh Allen has been on fire this season, but he hasn’t faced a defense anywhere near this good.

K Dustin Hopkins vs. New York Giants

The Giants defense is dismal this year yet again, and no amount of excitement around Daniel Jones can fix that. Against an efficient Case Keenum, this defense will give plenty of opportunities to Hopkins, a fairly reliable kicker who can help this Washington team in their quest for win number one.

Sit Em

QB Josh Allen vs. New England Patriots

As established, the Patriots defense is good. While I’ve been a strong advocate of Allen as a good fantasy option thus far, this week is not the time to believe in the second-year signal-caller.

QB Gardner Minshew vs. Denver Broncos

As someone who routinely watched Minshew tear up defenses in college last year, I’m not the least bit surprised that the swagalicious man of mustache is playing well so far. But on the road in Denver? That’s not the best combination for a guy making his third career start.

QB Baker Mayfield vs. Baltimore Ravens

Three weeks have shown conclusive evidence that Baker Mayfield and head coach/offensive playcaller Freddie Kitchens are not on the same page. Worse, Cleveland’s offensive tackle situation isn’t good enough to make up for that. Facing a tougher-than-expected Ravens defense, it’ll be another rough outing for the former first overall pick.

Patriots RBs vs. Buffalo Bills

It’s hard to keep up with which running back is Tom Brady’s favorite each week, but suffice it to say this is not the week to be starting any of them. Buffalo has a nasty defense, especially against the run, and the Pats are without their best run blocker Isaiah Wynn due to injury.

RB Tarik Cohen vs. Minnesota Vikings

One has to wonder if Bears head coach Matt Nagy even knows Tarik Cohen is still on the team. The inconsistency with which Nagy has utilized his own version of Darren Sproles is maddening for Cohen owners, and against a stout Vikings defense he can’t be relied upon this week.

WR Jarvis Landry vs. Baltimore Ravens

Landry has been slowly declining in fantasy production, both a byproduct of the Browns’ struggling offense and the fact that Odell Beckham Jr. is also on the field. On the road against the Ravens defense likely won’t result in Landry suddenly having a breakout game.

WR Dede Westbrook vs. Denver Broncos

Before the season began, I ballyhooed for Westbrook as a PPR sleeping giant given Nick Foles’ proclivity for hitting guys over the middle. But Minshew is the man now, and his willingness to throw deep more often has helped DJ Chark become the Jaguars’ more effective receiver, leaving Westbrook in a secondary role in the passing game.

TE Tyler Eifert vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Eifert was once a top starter in fantasy, but that’s very clear no longer the case. Similar to the Rams, where Bengals head coach Zac Taylor came from, Cincinnati makes little use of their tight end. Eifert had only one target last week, and with the way the Bengals’ receivers have been playing there’s little reason to think Eifert will bounce back any time soon.

Panthers DEF vs. Houston Texans

The Panthers defense actually ranks fourth in total yards and second in pass defense so far, but Deshaun Watson, Destroyer of Worlds, is up next on the schedule. He just carved up a talented Chargers defense and it appears he’s starting to get the protection he so desperately needs.

K Dan Bailey vs. Chicago Bears

Dan Bailey is reliable as ever indoors, but outside he can’t really be trusted. Guess where his next game will be played, and you’ll figure out why he’s a sit this week. Not only that, but it’s against a Bears defense that isn’t giving up many points at all.