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NFL Week 4: Fantasy football start ‘em/sit ‘em

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Marvin Jones is on the rise, Jimmy Graham appears to be back to form. We’re here to offer advice before you set your lineup.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There isn’t always a correlation between fantasy football success and actual team success, which is why a couple of Detroit Lions make it onto our list this week of NFL players to start on your fantasy football team heading into Week 4. You can hear all our picks and our reasoning behind each one in the following podcast:

Quarterbacks

Start ‘em

Matthew Stafford, DET (vs Chicago Bears): Stafford is racking up the fantasy points now that he has former Bengal Marvin Jones to throw to. He’s already thrown for 985 yards and 7 touchdowns, and is the third overall best quarterback on NFL.com’s fantasy site. Now he goes to Chicago to face a Bears defense that just surrendered 31 points to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. And yet, he’s only being started in 23.1% of leagues.

Sit ‘em

Eli Manning, NYG (vs Minnesota Vikings): The yards are there, but Manning has turned the ball over in every game this short season. That’s not a great streak to own heading into Minnesota, as he’s throw 14 interceptions in 8 games against the Vikings (including 5 pick-sixes). So the fact that he’s starting in 69.5% of leagues is a bit surprising. If you have safer options, you might want to use them this week.

Running Backs

Start ‘em

Todd Gurley, STL (vs Arizona Cardinals): After a very slow start through Weeks 1 and 2, Gurley broke 80 yards and finally found the end zone twice in a winning effort against the Buccaneers. Now, he faces the team that he broke out against last year in Week 4 as well in the Cardinals, who’ve given up a large 4.8 yards per carry so far this season as well. Gurley is too talented to stay inept for too long, stacked boxes withstanding, so don’t be hesitant to start him against a favorable matchup.

Sit ‘em

Rashad Jennings, NYG (vs Minnesota Vikings): Last week we told you to start Jennings’ backup Shane Vereen due to Jennings’ injury, now we’re telling you to sit Jennings’ as he is day-to-day with his thumb injury coming back to replace a now injured Vereen. Going up against Minnesota’s stout run defense (3.5 yards per carry, 84.0 yards per game) and the fact that he will not be 100%, it doesn’t bode well for the Giants’ ground game as well as their passing game.

Wide Receivers

Start ‘em

Marvin Jones, DET (vs Chicago Bears): For the second straight week, we are telling you to start the former Bengal. As of now, Jones is only starting in 17.1% of leagues, despite being the number one wide receiver in all of fantasy football. Let’s be very clear: Jones is a must start. Anyone who entertains the notion that his hot start is a fluke has not watched the man play football. Jones leads the league in receiving yards.

Sit ‘em

Alshon Jeffery, CHI (vs Detroit Lions): For the team Jones is facing, things are looking conflicting for their no. 1 receiver. Jeffery had a decent outing against the Cowboys, but received half the targets of no. 2 receiver Kevin White. White now has 26 targets on the season to Jeffery’s 20, and quarterback Brian Hoyer seems to favor the ball going White’s way. The good news is that the Lions aren’t very good in pass coverage (264 yards a game, 10 touchdowns), but regardless, be cautious placing a still touchdown-less Jeffery in your lineup.

Tight Ends

Start ‘em

Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs New York Jets): Last week we told you to feel safe starting Graham, as his injury concerns seem to be behind him (for now). Now Graham faces a New York secondary that was just burned by Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce for 89 yards and a touchdown, including a 42 yard play.

Sit ‘em

Clive Walford, OAK (vs Baltimore Ravens): After a solid Week 2 performance against the Falcons, when Walford recorded six receptions for 50 yards and a score, his targets dropped from seven to three and caught only two passes for 27 yards. Walford is two inconsistent to be started every week, and now has a tough road matchup with the Ravens, don’t expect a bounce back game this week.

Defense/Special Teams

Start ‘em

Cincinnati Bengals (vs Miami Dolphins): After getting torched by Trevor Siemian and the Broncos, the Bengals defense has a good opportunity to bounce back on a short week against the ever inconsistent Ryan Tannehill, who is also the team’s leading rusher. Making things easier, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron will miss the game due to injury.

Sit ‘em

Carolina Panthers (vs Atlanta Falcons): The Panthers defense is being started in more leagues than any other defense/special teams. But this week’s game in Atlanta might be the week to play another top defense if you have one on your roster. After all, Carolina’s only regular season lost last year happened when playing in Atlanta, and now the Falcons are on quite the offensive tear, averaging 40 points over their last two games.