Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2018
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 4 of the 2018 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 (LAC, QB)
Ranked 5th this week is Philip Rivers facing a Niners secondary that is giving up an average of 287 yards through the air (6th easiest). Every QB that has faced San Francisco has put up at least 20 fantasy points. Rivers is a must start this week.
Start 'em Andy Dalton (CIN, QB)
If you have Cam Newton or Alex Smith on bye or just need to stream a QB this week, the Red Rifle is a fantastic play. He's ranked 10th this week on FFN. The Falcons are getting crushed to the tune of 29.9 FPG to QBs and Dalton, assuming he has AJ Green, should be well equipped to keep pace.
Start 'em Giovani Bernard (CIN, RB)
Gio looked great last week handling 88% of the snaps with 17 touches, including 9 targets. He's ranked 8th this week in PPR largely due to the fact that the Falcons have been surrendering 12 catches/game to RBs.
Start 'em Lamar Miller (HOU, RB)
It's not often that we see Lamar Miller inside our Top 20, but he's there this week facing a middle-of-the-road Indy defense that gave up 20+ PPR fantasy points to Joe Mixon and Chris Thompson. Although he only went 10/10 rushing, Miller caught 5 of 6 targets and scored a receiving TD last week.
Start 'em Sony Michel (NE, RB)
With Rex Burkhead on IR, look for Sony Michel and James White to see more action in the run game. Michel is still a bit of a work in progress, but with a decent 17 opportunities last week and 47% of the snaps, the volume should be there. Marshawn Lynch, Bilal Powell, and Dion Lewis put up double digit fantasy points against the Dolphins. Michel and White have the same opportunity.
Start 'em Allen Robinson (CHI, WR)
Look for Allen Robinson to finally break out as the Bears WR1. He's ranked inside our Top 20 this week facing a Bucs secondary that has given up more yards through the air than any other team. The opposing team's WR1 has scored no less than 17 fantasy points (PPR) with the average being 29 points (PPR). This could be a high volume game putting Robinson squarely in fantasy WR2 territory.
Start 'em Emmanuel Sanders (DEN, WR)
Without the rushing touchdown from last week, Sanders would have been a bust. He should bounce back nicely with a matchup against the Chiefs who have given up the second-most yards through the air and allowed five different receivers to score double digit fantasy points.
Start 'em Kenny Stills (MIA, WR)
Another big play for a score last week, Stills saw 92% of the snaps. If the Patriots show up to play, Miami may be forced to throw which would be good for Stills - especially because the Dolphins give up 45 FPG to WRs. Eight receivers have seen double digit PPR fantasy points after three weeks.
Start 'em Jared Cook (OAK, TE)
Caught 5 of 6 targets last week and 82% of the snaps and despite the stingy numbers, we'd start him against this D and hope for the best. The Browns haven't really faced a quality TE yet this year. Cook is ranked inside our Top 10 this week.
Start 'em Kyle Rudolph (MIN, TE)
After a 2-target opener, Rudolph has garnered 14 targets over the past 2 weeks. The Rams have tended to funnel targets to TEs, but that might not necessarily be the case on Thursday night with CBs Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib expected to be sidelined.
Start 'em Green Bay Packers (GB, DEF)
If you need a streaming option at DEF this week, the Pack could fill that role. Nobody...let me repeat that...nobody expected last week's upset between the Bills and Vikings. It's not likely to happen again. Vegas has Green Bay as 9.5 point favorites in this matchup at Lambeau Field and we're comfortable with that.
Start 'em Caleb Sturgis (LAC, K)
He only has four field goals on the season, but a matchup with the Niners should help boost his numbers. San Francisco allows the 6th-most points on the board this year.
Sit 'em Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB, QB)
No other player in NFL history has thrown 400+ yards in 3 straight games, so while the Bucs haven't officially announced their starting QB, we expect Fitz to get the starting nod ahead of their Week 5 bye. He has put up gaudy numbers, but a date with the Bears isn't great. Only Aaron Rodgers has put up more than 20 fantasy points against this defense. He's ranked 23rd this week putting him outside of typical QB1 starting territory.
Sit 'em Baker Mayfield (CLE, QB)
In his first start in the NFL, Mayfield has momentum going for him. Normally a trip to Oakland would be pretty tough, and while the Raider defense has actually hung in there, they still give up a promising 22.4 FPG to QBs and have serious questions in terms of pass rush and coverage. Tannehill, Keenum, and Goff have averaged 19 fantasy points, but with only a partial game to go off of, are you ready to trust Mayfield?
Sit 'em Derrick Henry (TEN, RB)
Derrick Henry has been getting volume at 15 carries a game and 18 touches for the last two week, but he's only averaging 3 YPC and 1 catch on the season. That's simply awful. Henry hasn't been effective as a runner regardless of volume. Add a tough matchup with the Eagles (only Tevin Coleman managed 10 fantasy points) and Henry doesn't deserve a starting spot on your roster.
Sit 'em Tarik Cohen (CHI, RB)
Tarik Cohen has been getting enough catches and looked really dynamic, but he hasn't put up many fantasy points. He only had 8 touches last week, but saw a decent 38% of the snaps. The Bucs have been tough on running backs allowing just 70.7 yards on the ground - 3rd fewest in the NFL. Alvin Kamara turned in a monster game against them in Week 1, but minus Kamara's big game, Tampa Bay has allowed just 8 standard fantasy points and 11 in PPR.
Sit 'em Marquise Goodwin (SF, WR)
The loss of Jimmy Garoppolo hurts Goodwin's value. He's not necessarily hopeless with CJ Beathard under center as they have worked together last year, but he could see a lot of top CB Hayward, which is a problem.
Sit 'em Larry Fitzgerald (ARI, WR)
Fitz played 96% of the snaps last week, but only saw 2 targets which is certainly alarming. He's had just seven fantasy points the last two weeks. Facing a resurgent Seattle secondary that has allowed the 8th-fewest yards through the air, it's tough to trust Fitz right now.
Sit 'em DeSean Jackson (TB, WR)
Played fewer snaps than Godwin last week, but only saw 5 targets. He's once again only boom or bust, and we're not seeing a boom against this stout Chicago defense.
Sit 'em Will Dissly (SEA, TE)
Dissly only saw 3 targets last week and 1/4 so he can't be used with any confidence - particularly as Vannett was more involved. Only Jordan Reed has seen double-digit fantasy production against Arizona this year. Dissly is going to be a bit of a crapshoot this week.
Sit 'em Antonio Gates (LAC, TE)
The veteran saw a decent 5 targets last week and played 43% of the snaps. While the odds are not great, the Niners have given up a promising 16.7 FPG to TEs and 3 TDs this year. Gates is ranked 20th among tight ends this week.
Sit 'em Minnesota Vikings (MIN, DEF)
An elite defense that we watched get dismantled by the NFL's dumpster fire Bills last week, the going does not get any easier for the Vikes in Week 4. Todd Gurley presents a unique challenge in the run game while L.A. has been just as dominate through the air. This will be a difficult matchup for Minnesota which is why you'll find them ranked 23rd on FFN this week.
Sit 'em Steven Hauschka (BUF, K)
Hauschka actually has a solid 5 FGs on the season but can't be trusted in this shaky offense, especially on the road.