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NFL Week 4: Fantasy football starts and sits

Who should be in your lineup for Week 4, and who is better off on the bench.

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It is Week 4 of the fantasy seasons which means for the first time you may be dealing with bye weeks. The bane of any fantasy owner. This means you may be looking at your bench or the waiver wire to replace some of your usual suspects in the lineup.

Also, just a reminder if you start a player on Thursday Night Football, make sure you don’t put them in the flex position. They may be a flex caliber option as far as the points they score, but nothing is worse than using up your flex position and not having that (for lack of a better word) flexibility on Sunday or Monday.

Bye Weeks: Carolina and Washington

Here are the starts and sits for Week 4

Must start

  • Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys RB): Elliott has wanted said he wanted more carries this week, and he should get them. The Lions have given up 26.9 points per game to opposing running backs. That is the third most in the NFL through three games. Dallas will likely look to feed their best player in hopes of getting back to .500, so don’t miss out on the benefits of that.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants WR): I don’t think anyone would’ve thought about benching Beckham, but he easily has the best matchup of the week. He is going up against the Saints who have surrendered over 45 points per game to opposing receivers. Not to mention he has 24 catches on the season already. He is still looking for that first touchdown, and we could see it this week.

Favorable matchups

  • Chris Carson (Seahawks RB): Carson has gained a stranglehold on the running back job in Seattle. He had over 30 touches last week, and now he is faced with the Cardinals defense that has given up 32.6 points per game to running backs, according to Fantasy Pros. That is the most of any defense in the NFL. That is a recipe for a great week.
  • John Brown (Ravens WR): Brown is the real deal as far as fantasy owners should be concerned. He has Joe Flacco’s trust already has two touchdowns on the season. He will be facing a Steelers defense that has given up 33.5 points per game to opposing receivers, and he should easily have a state line worthy of a second receiver on your team.
  • Austin Hooper (Falcons TE): Going with the trend of starting tight ends who play the Bengals, this week that would be Hooper. He has quickly become a pretty fantasy relevant player considering the state of the position. It also doesn’t hurt that Jordan Reed is on a bye, so you could be extra desperate.

Good but not great

  • Phillip Lindsay (Broncos RB): Lindsay squandered an opportunity to became the main guy in Denver last week when he got ejected for attempting to throw a few punches. That also ended up costing fantasy owners as he barely scratched two fantasy points on the day. Meanwhile, Royce Freeman came in and ran for 53 yards and a touchdown in his absence. The Chiefs have given up almost 30 points per game to opposing running backs. The main thing holding Lindsay back is whether the coaches trust him still.
  • Mike Williams (Chargers WR): Williams is fighting for more snaps, and there is a very good chance he will get them after catching two touchdowns last week. He has three touchdowns on the season, and he will be facing the 49ers who have given up 29.4 points per game to receivers.
  • Joe Flacco (Ravens QB): The Steelers have pretty much gotten lit up by every quarterback they’ve played. Flacco and the Ravens have been pretty pass happy recently, so if you’re missing Cam Newton, Jimmy Garoppolo or Alex Smith then Flacco is your guy.

Just sit them

  • Titans running backs: Both Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis should be avoided this week. The Eagles haven’t even given up 10 points per game to opposing running backs this season. That is the lowest average for any defense. Lewis might have some appeal in PPR leagues, but he hasn’t really done much since he had that great Week 1.
  • Quincy Enunwa (Jets WR): Enunwa has been Sam Darnold’s favorite target this season. He will be facing the Jaguars defense and Jalen Ramsey this week though, which means you can bench him. At best he is a flex play in deep leagues, but it is hard to believe you can’t find a better option.
  • Derek Carr (Raiders QB): At this point we have to start accepting this Browns defense is actually good at slowing down quarterbacks in fantasy. Their bend but don’t break style has led to them giving up the second-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks this season at 9.8 per game.

Streaming defenses

  • Rams vs Vikings: The Vikings are coming off a horrible showing against the Bills of all teams on a short week. The Rams defensive line should eat pretty well.
  • Chargers vs 49ers: With no Garoppolo for the 49ers, things should fall apart fairly quickly. This is semi-risky since the Chargers defense has been relatively soft, though.
  • Packers vs Bills: I’m not going to stop the train of starting whatever defense plays the Bills after one good game. They were aided by a ton of great field position and an opposing team that couldn’t keep its offense on the field.