Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2017
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 4 of the 2017 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 Dak Prescott (DAL, QB)
Ranked 6th this week is Cowboys QB Dak Prescott who looked like Superman last week. No - he literally looked like Superman as he flew into the endzone. We knew that his schedule was going to be tough to start the season, but his fortunes should change this week against a Rams secondary that was just owned by Brian Hoyer putting up 25 fantasy points.
Start 'em Trevor Siemian (DEN, QB)
Facing a Raiders secondary that has given up more than 20 fantasy points each week, Trevor Siemian is in a good position at home if you need to stream a QB. He's ranked 17th this week ahead of more familiar names like Jameis Winston, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning. Kirk Cousins used Oakland to bounce back and Siemian should be able to put up a fine fantasy day.
Start 'em Chris Carson (SEA, RB)
The only thing exciting about the Seattle backfield is Chris Carson, and that gets a boost this week against an Indy defense that doesn't allow a lot of yards on the ground, but has given up more than 20 PPR points to both Duke Johnson and Todd Gurley. He's ranked 15th this week putting him firmly in RB2 territory.
Start 'em Christian McCaffrey (CAR, RB)
On a depleted offensive team, Chrisian McCaffrey is still a fantasy option against the Patriots who have surrendered the 7th-most yards on the ground including the ridiculous 45 fantasy point day from Kareem Hunt in the season opener. McCaffery is ranked 16th among RBs and should be a nice play this week.
Start 'em Larry Fitzgerald (ARI, WR)
Coming off a monster game against the Cowboys, Larry Fitzgerald just doesn't seem to slow down. He's clearly the #1 option in that offense and a matchup against the Niners should be just what fantasy owners want to see. San Fran gave up double digit points to Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins last week. Fitz remains a WR1.
Start 'em Golden Tate (DET, WR)
One of our favorite wide receivers to draft this year has also been quietly one of the more consistent options. Ranked 21st among WRs this week, Golden Tate will continue to line up in the slot (keeping him away from Xavier Rhodes) making him a solid WR2 in all formats.
Start 'em Jared Cook (OAK, TE)
The best TE that nobody is talking about is Jared Cook. Ranked 11th this week, he'll face a Denver secondary that has given up monster points to both Charles Clay (9.9 STD/15.9 PPR) and Jason Witten (15.7 STD/25.7 PPR) over the last two weeks. With at least 5 targets each week, expect Cook to remain an active part of the Oakland offense.
Start 'em Kyle Rudolph (MIN, TE)
We're looking for a nice bounce-back game this week for Kyle Rudolph who's coming off a game where he hauled in just 1 catch for 4 yards. He's ranked 9th this week facing the Lions where he'll continue to share targets with Diggs and Thielen. He'll be a threat in the endzone where his fantasy points will likely come from.
Start 'em Arizona Cardinals (ARI, DEF)
The Arizona Cardinals have underwhelmed this season, but that should change against a San Francisco team coming off three straight losses.
Start 'em Ryan Succop (TEN, K)
Ryan Succop is ranked 13th this week but he's the #1 fantasy kicker averaging 12.67 fantasy points with an "A" for consistency. He may regress a bit this week, but we're keeping him penciled in until that happens.
Sit 'em Cam Newton (CAR, QB)
Newton couldn't do it against a New Orleans secondary that has been terrible against the pass. 167 yards, no scores, and 3 picks is not what fantasy owners were expecting. Now, there's a chance that he bounces back against the Patriots who has given up big days to QBs the past three weeks, but Newton can't be trusted. Kelvin Benjamin is expected to play this week, but if he doesn't, the situation for Newton gets even worse.
Sit 'em Jameis Winston (TB, QB)
Unless you're in a superflex or 2-QB league, Winston will probably be best left on your bench. The Giants have given up just 13 fantasy points to Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford and 17 points to Dak Prescott. New York gives up the 6th-fewest yards per game to opposing signal callers.
Sit 'em Isaiah Crowell (CLE, RB)
If you could rewind time and do your draft over, there's zero chance that Isaiah Crowell gets taken in the third round. He just hasn't been a factor so far this year, which is too bad because the Bengals have been one of the best defenses to run on giving up 129 yards on the ground per game. Too risky to play Crowell this week beyond your flex spot.
Sit 'em Terrance West (BAL, RB)
With the exception of last week's performance from the Chicago tandem of Howard and Cohen, the Steelers have been brutal to running backs keeping them to single digits. West found himself on the bench after coughing up a fumble in the second half of last week's game, but it didn't matter as he turned in just 26 yards. West has become a TD-dependent running back leaving him no more than a possible flex option in lineups.
Sit 'em Terrelle Pryor (WAS, WR)
It's not yet time to throw the towel in on Terrelle Pryor, but it's getting close. The matchup isn't terrible as Kansas City gives up the 9th-most yards through the air, but Pryor just isn't on the same page with QB Kirk Cousins. He has just 8 targets in the last two games and is averaging just 3 for 38 yards per game. It's hard to recommend Pryor right now, and his 33rd rank this week confirms that he's nothing more than a flex option.
Sit 'em DeSean Jackson (TB, WR)
DJax will likely spend much of this week facing Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Jackson is the ultimate boom-or-bust player. He can go off at any time with just a single huge play, but the Giants only give up 181 yards through the air making those odds awfully tough. They've only allowed one player to reach double digits this year.
Sit 'em Hunter Henry (LAC, TE)
If you look up the word "inconsistent" in the dictionary, you'll likely find a photo of Hunter Henry next to it. The matchup if pretty sweet, but Henry isn't an active part of this offense on a consistent basis. Perhaps that's why he's ranked 20th this week making him a bad option at TE this week.
Sit 'em Austin Hooper (ATL, TE)
Austin Hooper's Week 1 performance seems so long ago, doesn't it? He just hasn't followed that up leaving fantasy owners scrambling. We'll be scrambling again this week with Hooper who faces a Buffalo defense that has been brutal to the TE position giving up the 9th-fewest yards and low-single-digits to the position.
Sit 'em Houston Texans (HOU, DEF)
A matchup against the Titans is not exciting for fantasy defenses. In fact, no other team has given up fewer fantasy points than Tennessee making this a tough matchup for Houston.
Sit 'em Matt Prater (DET, K)
In what will likely be a low-scoring affair, it's hard to find much excitement with Matt Prater's chances this week against rival Minnesota.