- The Saints lead the way in our Week 4 fantasy football positional rankings, but we debate where Matthew Stafford and T.Y. Hilton belong.
Each week, above our full fantasy rankings, SI.com fantasy writer Michael Beller and 4for4 writer John Paulsen will have a brief debate about some players they view differently. Scroll down for our full rankings at every position.
Michael Beller: Alright, John, Week 4 is here, which means byes are back. Things aren't too bad this week, with just Carolina and Washington taking a seat. We'll have plenty of time to talk about byepocalypse weeks in the near future.
This week, I want to focus on Matthew Stafford and T.Y. Hilton. Once again, I'm higher on Stafford than you are. I've got him as QB7 this week, whereas you have him as QB14. In short, I just trust this Detroit offense, especially the passing game. The volume is there, the production is there, and while I'd like to see more efficiency, I'm willing to bet that Stafford and his trio of receivers are going to deliver, more often than not. I know this has the look of a classic letdown game in Dallas after the win over the Patriots last week, but, let's be honest, the Cowboys are a bad team. The Lions disappointed in a big way in Week 1, but they nearly clawed all the way back to beat the 49ers in San Francisco in Week 2, and then dominated the Patriots from start to finish. This may not be a great team, but it certainly isn't a bad one. They should figure out the Cowboys, with Stafford leading the way.
It's the reverse on Hilton, where you're more optimistic than I am. I've got him WR25, and you've got him WR18. We're both starting him, but I have him as a WR2/3 type, while you think he's comfortably a WR2. In short, I'm worried about Andrew Luck. 5.34 yards per attempt? An average depth of target of 5.5 yards? It was nearly three yards farther his last healthy season. I'm worried about the shoulder, and what that means for Hilton, who does his best work nowhere near the line of scrimmage. Why should I be more confident in him this week?
John Paulsen: From a fantasy perspective, I’m a big Stafford fan. He was one of the quarterbacks I was targeting during draft season since he always seems to outproduce his draft position. I’m a little worried about this week, however. At 4for4 we just released our first iteration of our adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) strength of schedule metric, and Dallas looks like a tougher-than-average matchup, ranking seventh in quarterback aFPA. They held Cam Newton to 161 yards passing and no touchdowns, sacked Eli Manning (279 yards, one touchdown) six times, and limited Russell Wilson to 192 yards and a pair of scores. This is shaping up to be a low-scoring game (43.5 over/under), and Detroit is only expected to score 20.3 points. I think Stafford has a pretty safe floor of 250 yards and one-to-two touchdowns, but I wouldn’t expect much more than that.
As for Hilton, I understand the concern about Andrew Luck and his performance thus far. On the plus side, Hilton has been targeted 32 times in three games (with a minimum of 10 in each game) and has at least five catches in every game. Historically, he tends to produce a lot better at home than he does on the road. In eight home games in 2016 (the last time Luck played), Hilton averaged 100.6 yards per game. He’s probably not going to eclipse the century mark with Luck dinking and dunking his way down the field, but I think he’s good for 70 yards and maybe a touchdown against a Houston defense that is checking in at No. 25 in wide receiver aFPA.
Beller: Those are sound arguments, John. I still think I’m right, but the arguments are on solid ground, nonetheless. Good luck in the rest of your Week 4 calls. Let’s get to those with our Week 4 rankings.