By Jamal Murphy, Ourlads Chief Fantasy Analyst
Fantasy Strategies: Start ‘em/Sit ‘em
Each week, fantasy owner’s biggest conundrums usually boil down to which players on their roster they should start and which ones they should leave sitting on their bench. One wrong move could cost you a win for the week and consequently a playoff spot down the road.
Here are a handful of not-so-obvious players you should definitely start or sit for Week 4 of the fantasy football season.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals…Fitz was quite shaky the first two weeks of the season, but he absolutely went off in Week 3. He caught 13 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Add to that, he was targeted 15 times by Carson Palmer, and it becomes impossible to sit him Week 4 versus the 49ers.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts…Speaking of breakout performances, Hilton had one in Week 3, as well. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett looked like a new man behind center and Hilton benefited greatly with seven receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown. Those totals matched Hilton’s combined catch totals during the first two weeks and surpassed his season yards total. Now that Brissett seems to have found himself, it is safe and recommended to play Hilton.
WR Brandon Marshall, New York Giants…Marshall also awoke from the dead last week, with eight catches for a tame 66 yards, but it was the 11 targets that caught our eye. Eli clearly trusts Marshall now, so owners would be wise to get the veteran in their lineups, especially against Tampa Bay, who has given up the most fantasy points to the wide receiver position in the league.
WR Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans…Matthews is quietly Tennessee’s and Marcus Mariota’s top wide receiver. He’s coming off a good week where he had six receptions, 87 yards and a touchdown versus Seattle. He should be very involved at the Texans this Sunday.
RB Bilal Powell, New York Jets…Fellow Jets’ running back Matt Forte is unlikely to play Sunday, due to Turf Toe, and that’s good news for Powell owners. Powell’s coming off a season-high 15 carries in Week 3, including his first touchdown of the season. He also has the good fortune of facing the Jaguars, whose defense, while much-improved, still ranks 28th against the run.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers…Benjamin is currently listed as questionable, but expected to suit up for the Panthers on Sunday. Owners should consider sitting him this week, regardless. He has struggled mightily so far this season. His Week 1 and 3 performances were putrid. Add to that injury concerns and Benjamin is a bench-warmer this week at New England.
WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys…This might hurt owners who drafted Bryant high (like me), but despite his two touchdown receptions, Bryant and quarterback Dak Prescott have yet to gel. Bryant caught only two passes for 12 yards versus Arizona last week and this week’s opponent, the Rams, have given up the sixth fewest fantasy points to the wide receiver position.
DST Carolina Panthers…Carolina still ranks at the top in total defense, but it didn’t look like it last week, as they gave up 34 points to Drew Brees and the Saints. This week they face another great quarterback and high powered offense in Tom Brady and New England. In fact, the Patriots possess the league’s number one offense, so Carolina DST owners should look for other options this Sunday.
RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns…Crowell’s rushing attempts have been alarmingly low this season. He has a game high of 44 yards and no touchdowns to date. Moreover, Duke Johnson has received all of the action in the passing game and looks like the more explosive back. Owners should stash Crowell until further notice.
QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers…Everyone expected that Newton could struggle early in the season, after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. But, few thought he’d be this bad. He has yet to top 250 yards passing and twice has failed to pass for 200 yards. He has three interceptions and only two touchdowns and a 69.7 quarterback rating, good for 34th in the league. The Panthers head to Foxboro to face a Bill Belichick team known to give fits to quarterbacks lacking confidence. Cam owners beware.
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