Eight teams are winless (at least one in every division except the NFC North). Ten teams have lost at least two in a row (not including those who tied last week). And half of this week's games feature a point total of over 50. This should be the week where defenses start to catch up to the offenses, which might make for some frustrating Fantasy outcomes. Pay real close attention to the teams that normally have good defenses but haven't shown it so far — the Vikings and Texans are two examples.
Here are my start, sit, sleeper, and bust calls for every game in Week 4 based on what we've learned through the first three games, and if you need more lineup help, check out Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, plus Heath Cummings' Week 4 previews for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. And, if you need to make a trade, the trade values chart can help make sure you're a winner.
All lines from William Hill Sportsbook.
The line wants us to believe: The Panthers are better than previously believed. Their surprising win last week at the Chargers was helped along by four turnovers against a rookie-led offense. Kyler Murray had a bad outing last week and should bounce back here against an apparently overrated Panthers defense.
CAR Carolina • #11
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
A staple in this column, Anderson continues to offer upside. Any receiver with a target share north of 20% is good -- Anderson's reliably seen between 21% and 24% of Teddy Bridgewater's targets every week. The Cardinals have allowed touchdowns to opposing top-targeted receivers in consecutive games, and Anderson leads the Panthers in the category with zero drops.
D.J. Moore WR
CAR Carolina • #12
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Moore has seen a better target share than Anderson through three weeks, but it's close. What's been alarming has been Moore's lack of use in the red zone -- he's seen just one of Teddy Bridgewater's 15 targets inside the 20 compared to five for Mike Davis, four to Robby Anderson and even two for Curtis Samuel. I can't say with certainty that will flip because Moore saw just a dozen red-zone targets in 2019 and 3 of his 6 career touchdowns have been in the red zone (and just one inside the 5). This isn't about the Cardinals pass defense being some dominant unit either, although Patrick Peterson's allowed just a 50% catch rate, and if anyone would shadow Moore, it would be him. We knew Moore would be a volume-based receiver, and he's finding himself contending with Anderson and Davis for targets these days. It makes him harder to trust, particularly in non-PPR.
The line wants us to believe: The Colts are just a little bit better than the Bears. Offering up a 3-0 team as a home underdog is really something. Chicago's the most fraudulent undefeated team in football, but they've posted well more than 20.5 points in two games. And as well as the Colts have played, their decisive wins were against 0-3 teams. Both run games should be effective.
T.Y. Hilton WR
IND Indianapolis • #13
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Preseason concerns about the Colts not being pass-happy are coming to fruition. Hilton had end-zone targets in Weeks 1 and 2 but has been at a 20% target share at best each game this season. Rivers will find the matchup harder this week as the Bears will know full well to shade coverage toward Hilton and force him to go with other parts of his depleted passing attack. The Bears have yet to give up a touchdown to a receiver this year, and Hilton has under 100 yards in 16 straight games including the playoffs.
Mo Alie-Cox TE
IND Indianapolis • #81
Age: 27 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Alie-Cox might eventually be Rivers' new Antonio Gates, but ideally, you want a tight end who runs routes every time the quarterback throws. Alie-Cox has run exactly 27 routes over the past two weeks (46 pass plays). Thing is, he's seen nine targets on those 27 routes and has caught eight of them for 161 yards and a score. He delivered 11 non-PPR points in Weeks 2 and 3. Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said this week that the Colts "have to continue to keep him involved." It'll take a leap of faith to trust him, but Alie-Cox's 6-foot-5 frame and solid movement poses a problem for a Bears defense that's allowed a touchdown and/or over 50 yards to a tight end in two of three games this year.
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
After splitting snaps pretty much evenly with Tarik Cohen through his short career, Montgomery found himself in on 17 of the Bears final 18 plays after Cohen's injury, excluding kneel downs, in a come-from-behind win last week. The opportunity is genuinely there since he figures to see the lion's share of playing time ahead of Cordarrelle Patterson and their depth runners. The Colts have been great statistically against the run but put two of their three opponents this season in pass-heavy game scripts. It's possible they can do the same to Chicago, but as a running back with 17-touch potential, Montgomery has to be in lineups.
The line wants us to believe: The 0-3 Bengals are the better team. Don't forget that before their meltdown last Thursday, the Jaguars averaged 28.5 points per game against good defenses within their division. Getting D.J. Chark back could get the Jaguars offense back on track against a Bengals defense that's been lousy (29.0 points per game allowed past two weeks).
D.J. Chark WR
JAC Jacksonville • #17
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Chark's not doing anything wrong other than drawing double-teams. That's why he has only seven targets through two games. The matchup certainly isn't a deterrent -- the Bengals have allowed a receiving score to a wideout in consecutive games but none has had even 80 yards against them. Of course Chark could change that, but the target share he's had (15% in Week 1, 9% in Week 2) doesn't provide much optimism. Have flex expectations.
Joe Burrow QB
CIN Cincinnati • #9
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
The Jaguars have allowed 27-plus Fantasy points to each of the past two quarterbacks they've faced, and Burrow has 24-plus Fantasy points in each of his past two. Volume and garbage time have helped Burrow out considerably, but the biggest boost comes from the Bengals run game not getting on track and the coaching staff ultimately giving Burrow the green light to sling it. Suddenly, the Bengals have three capable receivers (A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins) along with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard to make plays. The Jaguars have one good cornerback, rookie C.J. Henderson, and nothing else good in that pass defense.
A.J. Green WR
CIN Cincinnati • #18
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
If he can't get it done this week, bench him or trade him for whatever you can get. As a matter of fact, be ready to bench him or trade him even if he has a good game because the Bengals schedule is about to get rough. Green has actually tied for ninth in the NFL in targets (28), but is laughably tied for 39th in receptions (13) and 75th in receiving yards (116). Jacksonville's pass defense has allowed three scores to receivers over its past two games. Even if it's Henderson shadowing Green, the veteran deserves the benefit of the doubt one more time.
The line wants us to believe: The Cowboys aren't that much better than the Browns. I imagine a lot of people will see Dallas giving just 4.5 points and rush to take it. That's what they want you to do! The Browns defensive line should have an edge, and the Browns offense will either focus to win the time of possession battle or go over the top on the Cowboys sad secondary. Cleveland will keep it close, if not win.
CLE Cleveland • #80
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
This feels like the kind of week where if Landry can't get it done, he shouldn't be in active lineups moving forward. Despite seeing just 13 targets through three games (15% target share), Landry has caught 12 balls for 143 yards. Eventually, a 92.3% catch rate will translate to massive Fantasy points. A matchup against a depleted secondary in what should be a high-volume passing game for the Browns should be just what Landry needs to be a quality Fantasy starter. Dallas has given up seven touchdowns and a 66% catch rate to opposing receivers over the past two weeks.
CeeDee Lamb WR
DAL Dallas • #88
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
It's the opportunities, not the talent, that are slowing down Lamb. Despite the Cowboys attempting 48.0 passes per game on average, Lamb's target share is pretty much in line with that most rookie receivers get: under 15%. That includes last week when Dak Prescott looked for his other top receivers and his star rusher more often than Lamb. But overall, Lamb has been awesome, earning a 76% catch rate including 100% on four deep throws. The catch is he sees a lot of short tosses (8.2 average depth of target), so if the volume isn't there, neither will his big numbers. Hopefully it's there this week -- slot receivers and non-No. 1 wideouts have decimated the Browns all season (Willie Snead, Tyler Boyd, Dontrelle Inman all with 12-plus non-PPR points against them).
The line wants us to believe: The Lions aren't that bad. The line is designed for the public to ride with the Saints. Should they? The Saints pass defense has been decimated by injuries (Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins and Marcus Davenport are all out) and could pave the way for the Lions to connect through the air for some scores.
Drew Brees QB
NO New Orleans • #9
Age: 41 • Experience: 20 yrs.
He's startable this week because the matchup is good, but make no mistake — Brees isn't the same guy. Practically half of Brees' yards and 2 of his 3 touchdowns from Week 3 came on short passes that Alvin Kamara weaved into highlights. Normally I'd say that's unlikely to happen again, but defenders tend to slide off of Kamara like he's covered in Crisco and the Lions run defense looked foolish against Aaron Jones two games ago. They've been pretty poor against the pass too, giving up 22-plus Fantasy points to every quarterback they've seen so far. That should be the expectation for Brees, who shouldn't be counted on for a bunch of deep throws -- on the year he's tried 10 deep throws, completing six with five of them going for under 20 yards. He's good but shouldn't be amazing.
DET Detroit • #88
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
We're going to find out quickly just how much attention the Lions pay to opposing defensive tendencies. Aaron Rodgers blistered the Saints zone defense with a total of nine receptions on 10 throws to his tight ends with a pair of scores. Darren Waller had over 100 yards and a touchdown against them the week before, and O.J. Howard hit pay dirt in New Orleans in Week 1. Look for Hockenson to rock the Saints' coverage on crossing routes (5 of his 13 receptions are across the middle) and hopefully see an uptick in targets overall and in the end zone.
The line wants us to believe: The Texans will finally pull away and win a game. Keep in mind, Minnesota has scored at least 30 points in 2 of 3 games and the Texans have allowed a minimum of 28 points every week. So can Houston keep up? The matchup suggests they can (Minnesota is giving up 34 points per game), but the hunch is both defenses facing an 0-4 start play better than expected — maybe Minnesota's more than Houston's.
MIN Minnesota • #18
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
I know, I'm a week late. But you know how it is with hot waiver-wire adds -- you can't always start them a week after breaking out. Jefferson clicked in Week 3, showing off his fancy route running and contested catch skills to put up a ton of numbers on a soft zone Titans defense. The Texans change it up but seem to play more zone than man, though they've played an awful lot of explosive offenses so far. Point is, Jefferson seemed to get open versus zone coverage far more often than man. But as long as his target share and playing time remain high, he's going to be fine for your Fantasy team, especially if the Vikings end up playing from behind in the fourth quarter.
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
The Vikings have been gashed in consecutive weeks by Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry, with each getting plenty of work. With a win desperately needed, the Texans brain trust figures to give Johnson more than the 14.0 total touches he's averaged over the past two weeks. He won't dominate touches — Deshaun Watson is still the centerpiece of the offense, of course — but expect more work. The O-line hasn't played great, but they've mostly done a better job run blocking than pass protecting. It presents a favorable game script for Johnson, a rarity so far this season ... and he's scored twice in three games despite it.
Will Fuller WR
HOU Houston • #15
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
The matchups for both Texans receivers is just too good to be true. Minnesota's pass rush isn't getting to the quarterback (three sacks through three games) and the cornerbacks are easily the most exploitable part of the unit. Fuller's been good in the two games he's actually finished, seeing target shares of 31% and 18.5% in Weeks 1 and 3 (and sadly 0% in Week 2). This should be an easy decision.
The line wants us to believe: The Dolphins won't be pushovers. And they won't be — they've scored at least 28 points each of their past two games. Seattle's secondary is in rough shape and not helped by a pass rush at all. Expect a high-scoring game that the Dolphins could hang around in.
Carlos Hyde RB
SEA Seattle • #30
Age: 30 • Experience: 7 yrs.
The prevailing thought here is that Hyde will work as the Seahawks rushing down back, including at the goal line, while Travis Homer will work passing downs. Seattle's operated that way in the past. Miami's run defense seems decent, as it's ranked outside of the top-10 in Fantasy points allowed, but they've seen the eighth-fewest running back rush attempts per game, too. It's impossible to think Hyde will see a ton of touches given the way the Seahawks offense has been operating, but he's in play for 50 yards and a score.
MIA Miami • #14
Age: 37 • Experience: 16 yrs.
Seattle's spotty pass rush has contributed to their league-worst pass defense. Through three weeks, they've allowed 80.4 more passing yards per game than the second-worst pass defense (Atlanta). To be fair, they've also seen the most pass attempts, but that's a combination of their defense being a favorable matchup and their offense putting up gobs of points. By choice or by force, expect Fitzpatrick to take to the air, something he's done 32.3 times per game this year. The closing shot: The Seahawks have allowed 28-plus Fantasy points (and at least 397 yards) to every quarterback they've faced. Fitzpatrick should be magic and started ahead of *deep breath*: Joe Burrow, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Jared Goff, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford.
The line wants us to believe: The Chargers aren't very good. Maybe that's the assumption after giving a game away against the Panthers last week. It's probably likely that Justin Herbert will turn the ball over a couple of times against this defense, and it's equally likely that the Bucs will find a way to put up more than three scores on the Chargers. Look for the tight ends to help Tom Brady out.
Ronald Jones RB
TB Tampa Bay • #27
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
With Leonard Fournette out, Jones doesn't really have the threat of getting benched for a mistake hanging over his head. It's true that Ke'Shawn Vaughn figures to be active and get his first taste of the NFL, but Bruce Arians wouldn't thrust the rookie into a big role if Jones misses a block or fumbles ... would he? LeSean McCoy also figures to see a few more snaps, but it's Jones who should see the most of the 20.7 running back rushes the Buccaneers have averaged this far. The Chargers rank second-best in Fantasy points allowed to opposing rushers (10.3 in non-PPR) but have seen the second-fewest carries per game (16.3) and will get tested by the Bucs' beefy line without run-stuffing end Melvin Ingram. Jones hasn't flourished, but more touches than usual along with goal-line carries could make him a useful No. 2 running back.
TB Tampa Bay • #87
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
It felt like Tom Brady was trying to be a good pal and hook up Gronkowski with some numbers. Gronk led the Buccaneers in targets and catches and would have had a 21-yard touchdown if Brady threw a better pass. With Chris Godwin sidelined, the tight ends figure to take on a bigger role for the Buccaneers, but it was Gronkowski who may have a leg up on Howard as the friendlier target. The Chargers also may not have an answer for Gronkowski's size -- he might end up going one on one with a linebacker, which could help him inside the 10-yard line.
The line wants us to believe: Washington can come within two scores of the Ravens. If Baltimore's offensive line is as bad as it was on Monday, then maybe Washington has a flicker of hope. But D.C.'s Football Team has yielded at least 30 points in consecutive weeks, getting run over by Kyler Murray and Nick Chubb in consecutive weeks. This is a big bounce-back spot for Lamar Jackson and his run game.
Mark Ingram RB
BAL Baltimore • #21
Age: 30 • Experience: 10 yrs.
The injuries to Washington's defensive front will look like a burgundy-colored welcome mat to the Ravens run game. That might sound great to Ingram, but it seems like his playing time will be chopped up regardless of what the game script is for the Ravens. Blowout win? He had 10 carries against Cleveland in Week 1, then nine at Houston in Week 2 (11 total touches). Blowout loss? He had seven carries last week against the Chiefs. No doubt, the Ravens should do well against the Football Team that got spiked last week, but Ingram hasn't seen more than 42% of the snaps in a game this season. The low floor his touch rate suggests keeps him as strictly a non-PPR option.
WAS Washington • #17
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
The Ravens allowed their first two touchdowns to wide receivers on Monday night, both deep passes from Patrick Mahomes. Prior to that, this defense kept Odell Beckham and the Texans pass catchers under wraps. Dwayne Haskins will be the worst quarterback they've seen yet this year — he has the worst bad throw percentage (27%) according to Pro Football Reference with a 4 of 17 completion rate on passes that travel 15-plus yards. The coverage on McLaurin figures to be tight (expect a lot of Marcus Peters). A late-week thigh injury definitely doesn't help his case to be relied upon.
The line wants us to believe: The Giants are completely inferior. Weird how they stayed fairly competitive with the undefeated Steelers and Bears (losing by 10 or fewer points), but not with the injury-depleted 49ers. New York has yet to score more than 16 points in a game this season; Los Angeles has posted at least 32 points in consecutive weeks. Darrell Henderson should have a monster performance to pace the Rams.
Evan Engram TE
NYG N.Y. Giants • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
A week after containing Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert for 72 total yards, the Rams were shocked by Tyler Kroft and Lee Smith, who combined for three scores in Week 3. Between that and simply losing on a tough call late last week, this has the look and feel of a get-right game for the Rams defense. They can use linebacker Micah Kiser or safety John Johnson (or even cornerback Jalen Ramsey) to contend with Engram. It might not matter who it is — Engram's sported a 55% catch rate and a 5.5 average depth of target with two drops through three weeks. That's not much of a recipe for success.
The line wants us to believe: The Raiders are almost as good as the Bills. What? Really? This is the fishiest line the oddsmakers have put out this year. Las Vegas is going to keep up without two young receivers, its best offensive lineman and with a depleted defense? I just can't see it ... which means I might be getting duped by taking Buffalo.
LV Las Vegas • #13
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
What a perfect storm for Renfrow. The Raiders are down Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards, clearing a path to significant targets from Derek Carr. Buffalo's defense has managed to play a little worse than expected and has especially been ripped by slot receivers. And it's not just slot cornerback Taron Johnson taking the brunt of the damage, though his 82% catch rate allowed doesn't help. Bank on Renfrow lining up all over the place and seeing a target share fairly close to the whopping 28% he saw in Week 3 against the Patriots.
The line wants us to believe: Even with all their injuries, the 49ers are significantly better than the Eagles. And it's true. Know why? Because Philadelphia has plenty of significant injuries themselves! The winless Eagles figure to be desperate and dangerous defensively, which is the only element that makes me nervous to lay the points for the Niners.
SF San Francisco • #28
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Maybe it was because we were seeing him on the field for the first time in three years, but McKinnon looked a lot thicker than I remember. Maybe it's my foggy old memory. Anyway, he moved well and dominated snaps before leaving with an injury (48 of a possible 62 plays). Jeff Wilson didn't seem quite as explosive, so the hunch is that McKinnon picks up where he left off this week against an Eagles run defense that's only looked good against two of the league's worst offensive lines in Washington and Cincinnati. Know who has a great offensive line? San Francisco. They're maulers and should make life real hard on the Eagles defensive front. McKinnon should score on at least 15 touches. He's flex worthy in non-PPR.
The line wants us to believe: Green Bay will outscore the Falcons easily. Atlanta's running out of reliable firepower and the Packers defense has plenty of room for improvement after last Monday. The Falcons pass defense is second-worst in football, something that won't be lost on Aaron Rodgers.
Matt Ryan QB
ATL Atlanta • #2
Age: 35 • Experience: 13 yrs.
Ryan began the week as an outright sit, but the return of Julio Jones to the lineup makes him a must-start. That's not really breaking news, right? Ryan's got two amazing receivers and a matchup against a Packers pass defense that couldn't tackle last week and has allowed five scores to wideouts in three games. By now you should also know that the Falcons run game isn't very potent, forcing Ryan to have a lot of pass attempts every week. Green Bay has allowed the 11th-most Fantasy points per week to opposing passers, and this game should be high-scoring.
The line wants us to believe: The Patriots aren't good enough to stay competitive with the Chiefs. It's an easy line to take the Chiefs on following their blowout win over the Ravens. New England is a competitive, resourceful bunch, though. They've played Patrick Mahomes close in the past — but I'd be surprised if they stay close this time without Cam Newton.
NE New England • #11
Age: 34 • Experience: 12 yrs.
With Brian Hoyer under center instead of Cam Newton, Edelman's quality of target figures to take a dip. He's a serviceable quarterback who is capable of connecting with receivers for touchdowns. Expect him to lean on Edelman, but also expect the Chiefs to know he'll lean on Edelman and put more pressure on the receiver knowing that Hoyer isn't a dual threat like Cam Newton. Edelman is OK as a flex in PPR but not in non-PPR.
The line wants us to believe: These teams are evenly matched -- and every bit as bad as their 0-3 records suggest. Even more stunning is that they've combined for one game with over 20 points (Denver scored 21 points in Week 2). You probably shouldn't start anyone from this game other than Melvin Gordon and Jamison Crowder. And maybe the Broncos defense.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #82
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Though he's not at 100%, Crowder should anticipate a matchup against Broncos rookie nickel Essang Bassey. He's allowed an 88.9% catch rate and a 132.9 QB rating through three games. In his absence, Braxton Berrios has managed a target share of 19.7%, a major nod toward the relevance of slot receivers in the Jets offense. Hopefully, Crowder will be deployed in the slot on 75% of his snaps, his usual rate.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 4 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.