Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 4 of the 2016 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Philip Rivers (SD, QB)
Ranked #2 among QBs this week is Philip Rivers facing a Saints defense that has been a shooting gallery this season. Matt Ryan took them for 20 fantasy points last week and Derek Carr scored more than 18 points in Week 1. New Orleans gives us 299 yards through the air and Rivers should capitalize on each of them.
Start 'em Kirk Cousins (WAS, QB)
Sometimes it's all about the matchup, and Kirk Cousins has a nice matchup with the 24th-ranked Browns pass defense. Both Tannehill and Wentz put up 19 fantasy points which is why it's easy to see how Cousins comes into this week's rankings at #6.
Start 'em Melvin Gordon (SD, RB)
Melvin Gordon is no longer a TD-virgin coming into the season. He's on a roll, and without Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen in the picture, the offense will continue to lean on Gordon. Nobody gives up more yards on the ground than the Saints who gave up 27 points (std) to Devonta Freeman last week.
Start 'em LeGarrette Blount (NE, RB)
One more week before Tom Brady returns which means that the Patriots will need to lean on LeGarrette Blount at least one more week. Both David Johnson and Matt Forte turned in 23+ points games against the Bills, and we expect Blount to follow up his Week 3 performance with a stunner.
Start 'em Marvin Jones (DET, WR)
The #1 WR in the NFL
isn't named Brown, Jones, or Beckham. It's Marvin Jones which is why you'll find him ranked in the Top 3 this week against a Bears defense that is in shambles giving up the 3rd-most yards through the air each week. Jones is a must-start.
Start 'em Travis Benjamin (SD, WR)
Ranked 11th this week, Travis Benjamin has become the clear top wideout option for Philip Rivers. This should be a game in which Rivers gets to throw a lot and Benjamin should see at least 10 targets.
Start 'em Zach Miller (CHI, TE)
The lone bright spot on the Bears has been Zach Miller who comes into this week's rankings at #13. He was Week 3's Top TE
and faces a Detroit defense that gave up double-digit points to both Delanie Walker and Dwayne Allen.
Start 'em Eric Ebron (DET, TE)
Rounding out the Top 10 this week is Eric Ebron. The Bears have actually been pretty tough on TEs this year, but few tight ends have as many targets and opportunities as Ebron has in an offense that is lighting things up through the air. Ebron should make for a good play this week.
Start 'em Arizona Cardinals (ARI, DEF)
Vegas odds have Arizona up by eight and the Cardinals are the only team in the FFN rankings to be projected to score double digits.
Start 'em Adam Vinatieri (IND, K)
Sometimes there's just no substitute for experience, and Adam Vinatieri has plenty of that. He'll face a Jacksonville defense in London that has given up at least eight fantasy points to kickers each week including a monster outing from Baltimore's Justin Tucker last week.
Sit 'em Tyrod Taylor (BUF, QB)
Without a healthy Sammy Watkins, it should be tough going for Tyrod Taylor in New England against the Patriots' 19th-ranked pass defense. Brock Osweiler put up a stinker in Week 3 putting up just 7 points. Taylor comes into the week ranked 16th among QBs.
Sit 'em Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
Matt Ryan did well last week, but don't expect that success to continue this week against Carolina and their 5th-ranked pass defense. The Panthers only give up 183 yards through the air and will likely make Ryan's day awfully difficult. He's ranked 19th this week.
Sit 'em Jay Ajayi (MIA, RB)
With the news that Arian Foster will be INACTIVE this week, some folks might be tempted to plug Jay Ajayi into their lineups. Not so fast. It's clearly a RBBC approach in Miami and the Bengals front are no slouches giving up just 109 yards total on the ground. Ajayi is ranked 46th this week meaning that he's not even a flex play.
Sit 'em Latavius Murray (OAK, RB)
Ranked 26th this week among all RBs, Latavius Murray will face the 8th-ranked Baltimore run defense that gfives up just 86 yards on the ground each week. TJ Yeldon managed just 3 points last week, but Crowell and McCoy had double digits the prior weeks, so while Murray isn't an RB1 or RB2, he's still a nice flex play.
Sit 'em Tavon Austin (LA, WR)
A short memory is needed here. Tavon Austin surprised fantasy owners and went off for a monster performance last week. That's going to be tough against Patrick Peterson and the 6th-ranked Arizona pass defense. You know it's not good when the #1 WR on a team is ranked 44th on the weekly list. #Sit
Sit 'em Julian Edelman (NE, WR)
One more week before the Patriots' QB situation resolves itself. A poor QB option under center combined with a defense that is ranked and kept Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and Steve Smith under 7 points makes for a difficult situation. Edelman is a flex play this week - nothing more.
Sit 'em Gary Barnidge (CLE, TE)
We had such high hopes for Barnidge this year, and so far he has failed to live up to expectations. The Redskins have been brutal on TEs this year. Larry Donnell, Jason Witten, and Jesse James have all been kept at 5 points or less. With a fuzzy QB situation, it's no surprise to see Barnidge ranked 15th this week.
Sit 'em Martellus Bennett (NE, TE)
There's still hope for Martellus Bennett this year, but it won't be in Week 4. Ranked 23rd this week, he'll face a Bills defense that has kept opposing TE1's to 4 points or less.
Sit 'em Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT, DEF)
The Steel Curtain hasn't been particularly difficult to score against this year. Pittsburgh is ranked 17th this week meaning that they're questionable even as a streaming defense against a methodical Kansas City offense.
Sit 'em Josh Brown (NYG, K)
The Giants kicker has been a solid fantasy option this year, but his #19 ranking this week comes against a Minnesota defense that gives up the 3rd-fewest points per game.