Fantasy Football: Week Four Sunday rundown

Jacob Kleinberg gives his start/sit suggestions and picks a sleeper performer for each NFL matchup this weekend.

Miami Dolphins running back Damien Williams stiff arms linebacker Preston Brown during Miamis 22-9 win versus the Buffalo Bills last year. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Miami Dolphins running back Damien Williams stiff arms linebacker Preston Brown during Miami’s 22-9 win versus the Buffalo Bills last year. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Jacob Kleinberg, Contributing Writer

Jets at Dolphins (in London)

Start: Chris Ivory (RB-NYJ) –The Dolphins have let up an alarmingly bad 145 yards on the ground per game in the past three weeks. This game sets up perfectly for Ivory; an early start on the road in London against a leaky run defense leads me to believe the Jets will have Ivory slamming the ball down the Dolphins’ throats from the get- go.

Sit: Lamar Miller (RB-MIA) – Poor coaching, run blocking and some nagging injuries have kept Miller from breaking out this season. If he does break out at all, it’s not going to be against the stingy Jets run defense. I also think the Jets will go up early, leading the Dolphins to pass all game long.

Sleeper: Jeremy Kerley (WR-NYJ) – While you’d have to be really desperate to start him, he has some value as a wide receiver if Eric Decker is out again with a PCL sprain. Kerley caught a touchdown, got plenty of looks from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick last week and was targeted 11 times. He’s available in almost every Yahoo league.  


Giants at Bills

Start: Tyrod Taylor (QB-BUF) – The Giants have given up an average of about 21 fantasy points to quarterbacks in the last three games. Historically, the Giants have struggled mightily when defending mobile quarterbacks. The Giants’ defensive line also looks like a bottom five pass rushing unit. Taylor has earned 30 or more points in his last two outings.

Sit: Lesean McCoy/Karlos Williams (RB-BUF) – Shady is hurt and it looks more and more every day like Karlos Williams will be the handcuff to start on Sunday. He was one of the hottest waiver adds of the week. I wouldn’t start either no matter who starts since the Giants have the second best rushing defense in the league.

Sleeper: Rueben Randle (WR-NYG) – Reports are starting to come in that Victor Cruz may be out again this week after injuring his calf on Wednesday. The Giants’ often-inconsistent number two, Randle finally broke out against the Redskins catching all seven of his targets for 116 yards and a touchdown. The Bills have also let up a ton of fantasy points to number two receivers. In each of their three games, the opposing number two wide receivers have earned an average of 20.8 points per game in PPR.


Panthers at Buccaneers

Start: Mike Evans (WR-TB) – In his first full game back from injury, Evans was targeted 17 times by quarterback Jameis Winston. That’s encouraging to say the least. Even though he has a tough matchup against underrated Panthers corner Josh Norman, Winston should continue to heavily target Evans in the passing game.

Sit: Doug Martin (RB-TB) – Martin hasn’t scored a touchdown in the past three games despite being the lead back in Tampa Bay. That streak will continue on Sunday against a very formidable Panthers defense. Martin’s 3.8 yards per carry average doesn’t inspire much confidence in a strong performance, either.

Sleeper: Ted Ginn Jr. (WR-CAR) – If you’re really desperate for a wide receiver, Ted Ginn Jr. should be available on the wire. He’s the number two option in the Panther’s passing game and should thrive against the Buccaneers 28th ranked pass defense.


Raiders at Bears

Start: Latavius Murray (RB-OAK) – I was a huge fan of Murray heading into fantasy draft season this year and he’s proving me right every week. In the last  three games, he’s had an average of 21 touches per game. Any player that gets their hands on the ball 20+ times a game is going to produce. It helps to have the extraordinary talent Murray does. And you can’t ask for a better matchup than against the Chicago Bears.

Sit: Everyone on the Bears offense – I know that wideout Alshon Jeffery comes back this week, but quarterback Jimmy Clausen has looked absolutely horrible at quarterback, passing for only 184 yards and one interception in two games. The Bears were shut out last week in Seattle, and while I don’t think they’ll be totally shut out at home, I can’t see them getting much going on offense in this game.

Sleeper: Michael Crabtree (WR-OAK) – I like Crabtree in this game a lot because the Bears secondary is atrocious. He has been a pretty reliable target as the number two in the Raiders passing attack, which has exceeded expectations this season.


Chiefs at Bengals

Start: Tyler Eifert (TE-CIN) – Eifert frustratingly put up a goose egg in the points department last Sunday, but the refs negated what looked like a touchdown catch for him in the first half. This was receiver AJ Green’s game though. Green had a career day on Sunday, meaning that Andy Dalton never really had to check down to his tight end. Eifert is still an important part of the passing game, and the Chiefs struggle to cover tight ends.

Sit: Jeremy Maclin (WR-KC) – Alex Smith finally connected with a wide receiver in the end zone after going more 18 games without doing so.  Maclin found his first week of being involved in the passing game on Monday night, but the Chiefs were in catch-up mode all game. I don’t trust Maclin to produce consistently as the Chiefs offense is built only for Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce to succeed. Sell high on Maclin this week if you can.

Sleeper: Marvin Jones (WR-CIN) – Jones has had 13 targets in the last two weeks and has made the most of them, receiving seven of them for 142 yards and two touchdowns.  


Texans at Falcons

Start: Matt Ryan (QB-ATL) – As long as Julio Jones is in the lineup, Ryan will be a must-start at QB. The Texans are a good pass defense on paper, but haven’t been tested with an offense anywhere near as powerful as the Falcons. I think this game has potential to be a blowout in favor of the Falcons.

Sit: Leonard Hankerson (WR-ATL) – Hankerson has generated buzz as being the new number two option in the Falcons offense, taking over for veteran Roddy White. The only receiving option that can be trusted in that offense week in and week out is Jones.

Sleeper: Alfred Blue (RB-HOU) – This is a tricky call. It’s uncertain at this point whether or not Arian Foster will be able to start on Sunday. If he doesn’t, Blue would get the start against the Falcons weak run defense. Add him to your roster and start him if Foster is out come Sunday


Jaguars at Colts

Start: TY Hilton (WR-IND) – Hilton finally looks fully healthy and the Colts have a cake matchup at home against the Jaguars. He should be looked at as a high-end WR2 on most fantasy rosters this week.

Sit: Andre Johnson (WR-IND) – Johnson has been extremely disappointing for fantasy owners this season. He was drafted in the fourth through sixth rounds on average and during the last three games has looked awful. It looks like age has finally caught up with the future Hall of Fame wide receiver. Donte Moncrief has taken over and succeeded in Johnson’s role as the number two wide receiver in the Colt’s offense.

Sleeper: Allen Hurns (WR-JAX) – Hurns has seen seven, four and four targets respectively through the first three games. Last week he hauled in a 48 yard touchdown. With the Jaguars likely being down early on in this matchup, I think quarterback Blake Bortles will have to continue to spread the ball around. Look for Hurns to cash in during garbage time this week.


Eagles at Redskins

Start: Jordan Reed (TE-WAS) – Reed has emerged as the premier pass catcher for the Washington Redskins. After three games he’s posted 19 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown. In PPR he is a high end tight end option. I think he will consistently post five to seven receptions for about 80 yards per game.

Sit: Sam Bradford (QB-PHI) Some considered Bradford a late round steal for a starting quarterback in the offseason. Others predicted he would post top-ten quarterback numbers despite having not playing a regular season game since 2013. We’re three weeks in and Bradford just doesn’t look good. Even in the Eagles’ win over the Jets, Bradford only completed 50 percent of his passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully you didn’t buy into the hype.

Sleeper: Matt Jones (RB-WAS) – Jones broke out against the Rams for 19 carries, 123 yards and two touchdowns before being quieted by the Giants tough run defense in week three. The telling sign against the Giants was that he got 11 carries to Alfred Morris’ six. Jones is this year’s Jeremy Hill. He should be owned in all formats.


Browns at Chargers

Start: Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead (RBs-SD) – The Browns are letting up 158 yards per game to running backs while only allowing opponents 237 yards per game through the air. Teams are having success against the Browns by running the ball early and often. This is Gordon’s breakout week, and Woodhead has real RB2/Flex value in PPR.

Sit: Travis Benjamin (WR-CLE)– I’ll say it again this week: I just don’t buy into Benjamin as a season-long option at wide receiver. He’s had four touchdowns in the past three weeks, but those came on only ten receptions. We saw this last year with Terrance Williams, who scored six touchdowns in the first seven weeks of the year and didn’t score again until week 16. Sell high to someone who doesn’t know better.

Sleeper: Isaiah Crowell (RB-CLE)– Crowell hasn’t produced much this season, but the good news is neither has fellow back Duke Johnson. He has been churning out a less than ideal 3.5 yards per carry and has had only one touchdown throughout the last three games. The Chargers, however, have a leaking run defense and the Browns need to generate a good run game if they hope to have any success on the road in San Diego.


Vikings at Broncos

Start: Peyton Manning (QB-DEN) Not that you were going to sit him, but there were some questions in the first few weeks about head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense and Manning’s arm. Peyton answered those questions on the road against the Lions’ formidable defensive unit, throwing for 324 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Manning gets the Vikings at home and I think he’ll have a similar week this time around.

Sit: Mike Wallace (WR-MIN) – Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t broken out in year two like we all thought he could. There’s still plenty of time for him to turn the corner, but so far the Vikings’ passing game has been barely existent. I don’t like any of the Vikings pass catchers this week.

Sleeper: Juwan Thompson (RB-DEN) – You’d have to be really desperate, but I think Thompson is the best bet for a touchdown this week among the Broncos running backs.


Packers at 49ers

Start: James Jones (WR-GB) – I do think Jones will cool off this season, especially once fellow receiver Davante Adams gets healthy. However, he’ll stay hot this week against a 49ers defense that looks like a shell of itself after losing several key starters to retirement, injury or legal issues.

Sit: Carlos Hyde (RB-SF) – Hyde exploded in week one against the Minnesota Vikings, but hasn’t done much since. It’s not that he isn’t a great talent, but the 49ers have been down early in games and have had to abandon the run. That exact scenario will play out again in Levi Stadium this weekend and Hyde will have another flat fantasy week.

Sleeper: Richard Rodgers (TE-GB) – Andrew Quarless is out for the next four to six weeks, meaning Rodgers will fill in as the Packers TE1. He’ll be a receiving option for quarterback Aaron Rodgers; that alone gives him fantasy value.  


Rams at Cardinals

Start: Carson Palmer (QB-AZ) – No surprise here: Palmer has been one of the best quarterbacks in football so far this season, throwing for 803 yards, nine touchdowns and only two interceptions in the past three games. That will continue at home against an inconsistent Rams squad.

Sit: Arizona Cardinals running backs – Andre Ellington is set to return one week after Chris Johnson went off for more than 110 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers. Rookie David Johnson is also vying for touches. It’s unclear if anyone will emerge as the clear starter in this backfield, so I’m staying away until I see the numbers on Sunday.

Sleeper: Brian Quick (WR-STL) – Quick hasn’t been active since suffering a serious shoulder injury last season, but he has a ton of talent. Rams Coach Jeff Fisher says he could play this week, and if he does, he could emerge as the number one wide receiver in that offense.


Cowboys at Saints

Start: Joseph Randle (RB-DAL) – Randle had an amazing fantasy day at home against the Falcons, running for 87 yards on 14 carries and getting in the end zone three times. With Cowboys QB Tony Romo out and the Saints defense playing as soft as it is, getting the ball to Randle seems like a good strategy for success for the Cowboys.

Sit: Drew Brees (QB-NO) – The reports at the beginning of the week were that Brees was a long shot to play in this game, but all of a sudden he feels great and should play. Although, I worry about his shoulder. He’s looked off this season even before his injury. There should be viable starters in Tyrod Taylor, Derek Carr or Andy Dalton you can start over Brees this week. If he does well, throw him back in your roster next week. If not, it’s a sign that he may not be the top quarterback option you drafted him to be this season.

Sleeper: C.J. Spiller (RB-NO) – Spiller hasn’t been used much this year but he’s just coming off minor knee surgery. Sean Payton has acknowledged that he needs to get more opportunities. With Brees’ struggles this season, it’d be smart for the Saints to start using their ultra-talented pass catching back.


Lions at Seahawks

Start: Calvin Johnson (WR-DET) – I shouldn’t need to tell you to start Johnson, but he is going up against a top secondary unit in Seattle. He was matched up one on one with Aqib Talib, one of the league’s best corners and still had more than 15 points in PPR formats. Johnson’s not impossible to cover, but as long as he gets targets he’s a safe play. He’s averaged 11 targets per game this season.

Sit: Joique Bell/Ameer Abdullah (RBs-DET) – Bell looks horrible but scored a touchdown last week. Abdullah looks poised to take over as the number one back in Detroit, but that won’t happen against the Seahawks’ stout defensive line. There should be better options available.

Sleeper: Theo Riddick (RB-DET) – The Lions leaned on Riddick last week in the passing game against a stout run defense that was holding up Bell and Abdullah all night. He caught eight passes for 66 yards. I think that trend will continue this week in Seattle. He’s got real flex value in PPR leagues.

Jacob Kleinberg is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other articles, email him at [email protected]