Week 4 is already upon us, and it seems like just yesterday it was the beginning of the season. Which is a good caveat into this: draft capital spent on players, doesn’t matter anymore. We are three weeks into the season, which means after Week 4 we can begin to access what is real and what is not real. For instance, Allen Robinson might be this year’s biggest bust, but will that continue? The easy matchup with the Lions secondary will show us the truth. Mike Williams has started off the season hot, with three straight weeks of being a WR1. We can assess that due to target volume, the offense and his pedigree, Williams may have himself a breakout campaign.
When you start making trades, it may be hard to get rid of a player who you spent a third or fourth round pick on, but soon reality will be set forth and draft capital will mean nothing if said player has significantly underperformed.
Jonathan Taylor has been very bad for fantasy the past two weeks. Fantasy managers are beginning to panic on him, which has made him a favorite buy low candidate. 6 of his next 7 games are against teams ranking 22nd or worse against the run. The Colts are going to go back to what works, which is run the ball. Hint hint, Taylor might be mentioned below.
How about a blind resume?
Player A: 32 targets, 23 receptions for 322 yards and 1 touchdown
Player B: 21 targets, 10 receptions for 86 yards and 1 touchdown
Player A is Brandin Cooks and Player B is Allen Robinson. Am I saying Cooks is better? Yeah, I kind of am, at least for fantasy this year. I think Allen Robinson is the better player, and he was worth much more in fantasy drafts, so Robinson owners may have little time left to sell him high. However, I’ll finish with this; Robinson faces the following teams from Week 12-17: Lions, Cardinals, Vikings, Seahawks and the Giants. If the Bears can fix their offensive woes by then, Robinson could be a crucial play to finish off the year. That’s a big if.
Now, let’s get into this week’s starts and sits.
QB – Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (@ MIN)
Baker has been an average fantasy quarterback thus far. He hasn’t blown the top off opposing defenses mainly because he hasn’t had to. But the Vikings offense is good and they should keep pressure on a Browns offense who tends to control the game with Chubb and Hunt. Baker may be asked to pass more in this one, and I’m okay with that because the Vikings secondary has surrendered the 7th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the 4th most passing yardage thus far. I like Baker as a streaming option in Week 4.
RB – Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (@ MIA)
As mentioned above, Taylor has been underperforming for fantasy managers. Especially when factoring in his talent, the offensive line and fantasy draft capital. But the Dolphins have allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs this year. Did you not see what the Raiders’ Peyton Barber did against them? Peyton Barber! The Colts know their strength is the run game, not Wentz, and that change is coming this week. If you can, I would buy low on Taylor while there is still time because he may be at his cheapest right now.
WR – Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (vs SEA)
This is risky. Aiyuk was a stud last year, so we know the talent is there. But starting this season, it was starting to look like he was going to be one of the top bust candidates due to him being in Shanahan’s doghouse. But last week showed us that not only is he out of the doghouse, he is healthy and ready to rock. Aiyuk has the ability to take a 5-yard slant to the house, and that just might happen this week as he faces the worst ranked passing defense in football through three weeks. Add in that the 49ers will have to throw to keep up with Russell Wilson and you have a sneaky flex play in Week 4. I’ll die on this hill, Aiyuk will finish as a WR1 this week.
TE – Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (@ ATL)
Not the prettiest name in football, but it’ll do. Thomas is a focal point in this offense, and he gets to face a defense ranking 27th against opposing tight ends and tied for first on touchdowns allowed to the position. Averaging around 5 targets a game with two touchdowns to his name, Thomas has one of the better floors going into Week 4 compared to other fantasy tight ends.
D/ST – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ NE)
This is going to be such a fun game and it’s getting its well-deserved hype. But don’t expect this to be a shootout. I like the defenses in low scoring games, as we all should, so if you’re picking one, it’s definitely the Buccaneers defense. The Bucs defense is lacking in pass defense, but that’s okay because that is not the strength of New England’s offense. Fortunately, the Bucs still sport one of the best rushing defenses in the league, leaving the game in the hands of a rookie quarterback, who I don’t think will torch this defense. The Bucs are a good play.
QB – Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (@ NYJ)
Yes, I’m not high on a quarterback who is facing the Jets. But trust me, it isn’t crazy to think this. The Jets have allowed the third fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks. And when I say, “allowed” I mean this defense will allow basically anything. However, quarterbacks don’t need to throw in these games due to game script. The Titans will do what they always plan to do, run through Henry. So, there won’t be much a need for Tannehill especially since he may be without his two top receivers in AJ Brown and Julio Jones.
RB – Mike Davis & Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons (vs WAS)
Both Davis and Patterson (to much of our surprise) have been relevant thus far for fantasy owners. And despite the troubles Washington is facing on defense, they are still one of the best defenses against the run, sporting one of the best fronts in football. Both Patterson and Davis, to their credit, get a lot of work in the passing game. But Washington shouldn’t have an issue containing players within 5-yards of the line of scrimmage, where each player sees most of their targets. And despite the past two weeks, I don’t quite believe Patterson is an RB1… as his fantasy finishes suggest. This is a good defense who will understand that when he is on the field, he is there to catch passes. A good defense will adjust and the Falcons running backs will be busts this week.
WR – Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts (@ MIA)
Remember what I said about the Colts game plan for this week? Well, it won’t involve throwing that much. Pittman has been a steal in fantasy drafts and is Wentz’s top receiver, but even with 12 targets in his last two games that’s not what we project in this week’s matchup especially when you factor in Pittman will see a lot of Xavian Howard. Pittman is producing off of abnormally high target totals, and he will not see 12 targets in this one, making him a risky play.
TE – Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (vs. ARI)
Contrary to last year, Arizona has looked stellar against tight ends. Due to a few factors: 1.) Isaiah Simmons has a year under his belt and is an athletic freak. 2.) It’s very easy to pass on the Cardinals cornerbacks.
Now the latter is probably the biggest reason why the Cardinals are good against opposing tight ends but given the limited target share where Higbee is the 3rd of 4th option on this passing attack, I wouldn’t have high hopes he can produce enough fantasy points this week to make you happy. The Cardinals are allowing the third fewest points the position so far this year. But this game could easily be a shootout, in which Higbee could prove me wrong. But I’ll take my chances and pass on him.
D/ST – Carolina Panthers (@ DAL)
Carolina’s defense has looked incredible, but a few things need to be considered:
1.) They faced Jameis Winston, Zach Wilson and Davis Mills.
2.) They are traveling to Dallas.
3.) Dallas’ offense is stellar. In fact, it is the hardest matchup for opposing fantasy defenses.
4.) They lost CB Jaycee Horn (who was 3rd best corner in the league in QBR when being targeted) and S Juston Burris.
It isn’t worth starting this defense in Week 4.