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Fantasy Football: NFL 2021 Week 4 Start Em' Sit Em'

Need lineup help for your fantasy football team? Here are guys you should be starting or sitting.

With three weeks of NFL football in the books, we now have a pretty good feel for how players will perform this year and how the teams stack up against each other. Before we dive into who you should be starting and sitting in week four of fantasy football, let's revisit last week's article. It was an up and down week for us in week three. We had some stars go off for huge weeks, including our start of the week at running back Saquon Barkley and quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Matthew Stafford. However, we were wrong about the Broncos and Eagles having great matchups for Teddy Bridgewater and Miles Sanders. We had some great sit recommendations who did nothing, such as our sit of the week at tight end, Robert Tonyan, Kenyan Drake, and Corey Davis, but we also had Chase Claypool and Kareem Hunt, who had great games, on the sit list. Hopefully, this week we can continue to minimize the mistakes and crush our opponents. Here is who you should be starting and sitting in week four of the fantasy football season. 

Quarterback 

Auto Starts: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert 

Start of the Week

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

Hurts owners have enjoyed an outstanding start to the signal caller's fantasy season. Currently ranking as the number five fantasy quarterback in terms of points scored, Hurts has yet to have a game in which he scored less than 20 fantasy points. Hurts will have a favorable matchup this week against a Chiefs defense that is bottom ten in the league against the pass, second to last in the league against the run, and that has allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the league. We know how much Jalen Hurts loves to use his legs, and there should be plenty of points to be had for him on the ground against this defense. The Eagles will almost certainly be playing from behind in this game, so the game script favors Hurts fantasy-wise as well. 

Strong Starts 

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 

After a putrid week one, the reigning MVP has bounced back with two terrific games. While Rodgers's fantasy numbers were not incredible, he still had a phenomenal game and made some mind-boggling throws on the road against a very tough defense. Pittsburgh has a good defense, but they did give up three touchdown passes to Joe Burrow and the Bengals. The Packers have a much higher-powered offense than the Bengals. Rodgers should have no problem putting points up against this defense at home. 

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals 

Matthew Stafford is building a strong MVP case for himself early on in this season. After two terrific performances in weeks one and two, Stafford shredded the defending champion Buccaneers for 343 yards and four touchdowns in week three. Stafford will be taking on a Cardinals defense that allowed 25 fantasy points to Kirk Cousins in week two. That was a high-scoring game between two high-powered offenses, which is expected to be the same. 

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers 

Fantasy managers may be skeptical about trusting Prescott in week four. Dak will be going up against a Carolina defense that ranks number one in the league against the pass and has given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. However, the quarterbacks that the Panthers have faced so far this season are Zach Wilson, Davis Mills, and Jameis Winston. Prescott is light years better than those three and should have a much easier time with Carolina. Panthers cornerback and first-round draft pick Jaycee Horn just went on the shelf with a season-ending ACL injury, which is beneficial for Prescott this week as well. Do not make the mistake of leaving the star quarterback on your bench this week. 

Sleeper of the Week

Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team @ Atlanta Falcons 

Heinicke will also have a much easier matchup this week than he has had in the last two. Washington's backup quarterback has strung together two strong fantasy performances, as he has scored 20 or more fantasy points in both of his starts. The Falcons have allowed the second-most passing touchdowns and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Heinicke could cash in a third straight 20-plus fantasy point performance this week against Atlanta. He presents as an intriguing week four streaming option and is a very solid play in two-quarterback or other deep leagues. 

Sit of the Week

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets 

Tannehill was finally able to string together a strong fantasy performance against the Colts last week, but you should not be counting on that happening again this week. Despite their struggles, the Jets have surprisingly allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and have allowed the least passing touchdowns in football this year. The Jets are an awful team, and teams have not had to throw the ball much against them. That will very likely be the case in this game as well. Tennessee may also be without their star receivers, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. Expect the Titans to lean heavily on Derrick Henry here and for Tannehill to have a quiet fantasy week. 

Strong Sits 

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers 

Entering week four as a top-ten fantasy quarterback, Carr has had a very promising start to his fantasy season. Carr will have a tough matchup this week, however, in Los Angeles. The Chargers defense is top-seven in the league against the pass, against opposing fantasy quarterbacks, and against allowing passing touchdowns this year. Two of those opposing quarterbacks are Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott. Prescott put up just 7.5 fantasy points when he played the Chargers in Los Angeles in week two. Carr is a great quarterback to own in fantasy right now, but he should be left on the bench this week in most leagues with a tough matchup against the Chargers.

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 

Burrow has still yet to have a fantasy performance in which he puts up twenty points as he enters week four as the 23rd ranked fantasy signal-caller. Burrow's matchup for this week could be favorable, but the game script will likely place a big emphasis on the run game here against a lackluster Jaguars squad. It would be wise to wait until we see Burrow put up a 20-point fantasy performance before we trust him in our lineups. 

Running Backs

Auto Starts: Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, D'Andre Swift, Najee Harris, Jonathan Taylor, Ezekiel Elliott, David Montgomery, Chris Carson, Saquon Barkley, Antonio Gibson 

Start of the Week

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles 

After two very disappointing weeks, Edwards-Helaire finally gave fantasy owners a strong performance with 100 yards on the ground and a receiving touchdown. Edwards-Helaire has to be chomping at the bit after watching Ezekiel Elliott run all over the Eagles on Monday Night Football. The game script favors the running back here as well as Kansas City is heavily favored and should be trying to take the air out of the football by the end of the game. Bank on Edwards-Helaire to duplicate his stellar week three performance. He presents as a strong RB2 in week four. 

Strong Starts 

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings 

Last week, Hunt burned us on the sit list as he had a monster 27.5 fantasy point performance in PPR formats. Hunt was targeted seven times in the receiving game last week. He will face a Minnesota defense that ranks in the league's bottom half against the run, against the pass, against allowing rushing touchdowns, and against passing touchdowns. This is expected to be a close, high-scoring affair as well, which means Hunt will probably see a ton of work in the receiving game again this week. Hunt is another running back who can be expected to carry over his strong week three performance into week four. He projects as a very solid RB2 this week. 

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

Sanders had another disappointing fantasy game in week three as the Eagles got blown out by the Cowboys. Sanders was only given two carries as Philadelphia attempted to throw the ball to get back in the game. Sanders should be able to flip the script this weekend, however. He will be going up against an abysmal Chiefs defense against the run (see Jalen Hurts). After not being utilized in a blowout loss, it would make sense for Philadelphia to make Sanders and the running game a focal point for this week, especially given the matchup. Sanders is a great week four bounce-back candidate and can be viewed as a back-end RB2 or a very solid flex option.

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns 

Mattison ran wild for 112 yards on 26 carries in week three to replace the injured Dalvin Cook. He was also targeted eight times in the passing game and caught six passes for nearly 60 receiving yards. While the matchup with Cleveland here is not extremely favorable, the Vikings treated Mattison as if he was Dalvin Cook last week, making him the focal point of their offense. We saw too much volume from Mattison last week for us to be comfortable with leaving him on the bench. Start him unless you are loaded at the running back position. 

Sleeper of the Week

Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Football Team

Patterson, a running back who many view as a receiver, has strung together two strong fantasy performances the last two weeks. Patterson was given seven carries in each of these weeks and was targeted seven times in both games. Patterson has his fingerprints on this Atlanta passing game and its running game. He will be going up against a Washington defense that ranks bottom five in the league against the pass and bottom ten in the league against the run. It would not be a surprise to see Patterson targeted heavily in the passing game for a third straight week. He presents as a solid streaming option and is a worthy flex play in all PPR formats. 

Sit of the Week

Damien Harris, New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Harris had a lackluster week three performance against the Saints as he was only given six carries and had negative receiving yards. A repeat of last week can be expected again this week for Harris. Tampa Bay ranks fourth in the NFL this season against the run and has only allowed one rushing touchdown. New England did not run the ball much last week as they trailed for the majority of the game, and that can be expected again this week against the defending champs. Harris does not provide much in the receiving game and is not likely to see much usage come this Sunday night. Comfortably leave him out of your week four lineup. 

Strong Sits 

Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens 

Williams has seen his workload decrease in each of Denver's three games this season and was out-touched by Melvin Gordon in each of the last two games. Gordon has also been much more productive, averaging 4.6 yards per carry to Williams's 3.5. Denver may also have a tough time running the football this week, as the Baltimore defense is giving up only 3.6 yards per carry this season. Williams appears to be losing the backfield to Gordon as the season progresses, and he should not be trusted in fantasy leagues this week with a tough matchup against the Ravens. 

Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears 

Due to a huge week one game, Jamaal Williams is surprisingly the 11th ranked fantasy running back in PPR formats as we enter week four. However, Williams has seen his usage in the receiving game decline heavily since the first week, having only been targeted five times in two games. This means that Williams likely becomes touchdown-dependent in fantasy football. Chicago has only allowed two rushing touchdowns so far this season. It is not likely that Williams finds the endzone in this game that is anticipated to be a low-scoring affair. 

Wide Receiver 

Auto Starts: Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, D.K. Metcalf, Keenan Allen, Justin Jefferson, D.J. Moore, CeeDee Lamb, Tyler Lockett, DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, Deebo Samuel, Mike Williams, Adam Thielen, Ja'Marr Chase, Mike Evans

Start of the Week: 

Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings 

Beckham had an encouraging performance in his return to action in week three. Beckham only had five receptions for 77 yards, but he was targeted nine times. In week four, he will be going up against a Vikings defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers and the sixth-most receiving yards this season. This will not be an easy game for Cleveland on the road, and their game script should call for a lot more in the passing game than usual. Beckham did not appear to have any issues health-wise last week and should be the focal point of the Cleveland passing game this week with Jarvis Landry still out. Expect a bunch of targets for Beckham on Sunday. He can be seen as a back-end WR2 or a strong WR3 and flex play this week. 

Strong Starts 

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans @ Buffalo Bills 

Since Tyrod Taylor went down in week two, Cooks has provided the only sign of life from the Texans' offense. Houston pass-catchers have a tough matchup against the stingy Buffalo secondary this week, but Cooks was targeted 14 times by Texans backup quarterback Davis Mills in week two for nine receptions and was targeted 11 times by Mills last week for nine more grabs. The Houston offense with Davis Mills revolves around Cooks, and there is no reason to expect that the volume will not be there in another game that Houston should be trailing in. Trust the number six ranked PPR fantasy receiver to continue to put up numbers in week four. 

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Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Green Bay Packers 

Claypool is another sit that burned us in week two. With Dionte Johnson being ruled out and JuJu Smith-Schuster exiting the game in the first quarter, Claypool became the main target for Ben Roethlisberger last week as he was targeted fifteen times for nine catches and 96 yards. With Johnson and Smith-Schuster still banged up, Claypool figures to be the lead dog again this week in the Pittsburgh passing game. Green Bay has also allowed nine passing touchdowns this season, which is the most in the NFL. Claypool is a great bet to repeat his strong week three performance in week four and can be viewed as a WR2 or high-end WR3 depending on the statuses of Johnson and Smith-Schuster.

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals 

Given that Woods probably went between the third and fourth rounds in most fantasy drafts this year, he has had a disappointing start to his fantasy season. He only has eight receptions and one touchdown through the season's first three games. However, Woods remains a key weapon in one of the league's best offenses, and it is only a matter of time before he starts producing for fantasy managers. This week, Woods will have a solid matchup against a Cardinals defense that ranks in the bottom ten in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers this year. Cooper Kupp has been arguably the best receiver in football through the first three weeks. Defenses are going to start adjusting to that. Woods will break out at some point, and there is a good chance that this will be the week. 

Sleeper of the Week

Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Meyers is the 38th ranked wide receiver going into week four which is the only reason why we are labeling him as a sleeper instead of a strong start for this week. In a game in which New England played mostly from behind, Meyers was targeted 14 times and ended up with nine catches for 94 yards. New England will very likely be playing catch-up in this game as well, which means Meyers should see plenty of volume in the passing game again. Tampa Bay this season has allowed the most passing yards in the league, the most passing touchdowns in the league, and the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. Meyers should take advantage of this matchup, and is a solid bet to repeat his week three performance. 

Sit of the Week

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

We are going bold with our wide receiver sit of the week in week four. If you have Allen Robinson on your squad, you probably spent a high draft pick on him, and you are probably very frustrated that he has yet to put up more than ten or so fantasy points in a game this year. The Bears offense was historically abysmal last week as Justin Fields threw for just 68 yards and was sacked nine times in his first NFL start. The Chicago offensive line is terrible, and Robinson's rookie quarterback looked atrocious last week, completing only six of his 20 pass attempts. Just because you spent a high draft pick on somebody does not mean you have to play them. Why risk Robinson hurting your team for a fourth straight week? This offense cannot be trusted in fantasy right now outside of David Montgomery. Leave Robinson on your bench this week if you can. 

Strong Sits 

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos 

It was a very frustrating Sunday for Marquise Brown's fantasy owners as he dropped two would-be touchdowns. While Brown is one of Lamar Jackson's favorite targets, you may want to go with somebody else this week as it will be a tough matchup for Brown. Regardless, Brown will have a difficult matchup going up against a Denver secondary that ranks third in the league against the pass and has allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns this season. Ravens' first-round rookie wide receiver, Rashod Bateman, is also expected to be back this week, which does not bode well for Brown fantasy-wise.

Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots 

If you have Antonio Brown, you had to sit him last week due to him getting Covid. This week you should sit him due to him going up against the New England Patriots. New England is top-5 in the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed, passing touchdowns allowed, and fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. The beginning of Brown's season has shown us that he can be a boom or bust decision, as he followed a 23.7 fantasy point performance with a 2.7 fantasy point performance in week two. We have not seen enough from Brown this year to be comfortable with starting him against arguably the toughest secondary in football. 

Tight End 

Auto Starts: Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews, Logan Thomas 

Start of the Week

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens 

Fant had a disappointing fantasy performance this past Sunday as Denver took the air out of the football early against the Jets. He is a great bounce-back candidate for week four, nevertheless. With Jerry Jeudy still out, Fant remains high on the pecking order in terms of targets for Teddy Bridgewater. The Baltimore defense ranks third to last in the league against the pass. Denver should be throwing the ball more in this one, too, as it is likely to be a close game. Fant was a great play at tight end in weeks one and two, and he should be able to bounce back this week, with Denver likely opening up the passing game. 

Strong Starts 

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Football Team 

Pitts was a disappointment for fantasy owners in week three, but he has a solid opportunity to make up for it in week four. Washington ranks in the bottom four in the NFL against the pass and bottom seven in the NFL in terms of allowing passing touchdowns. It would not be a shock if Pitts could exploit this matchup and have a breakout game in week four. 

Sleeper of the Week

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Hunter Henry has not been productive at all this year for fantasy teams, but that could change this week. Henry has seen his targets increase each week and was targeted six times last week for five receptions. As mentioned earlier (see Jakobi Meyers), Tampa Bay has been horrendous this year against the pass, and New England's game script should call for significant work through the air. If you need to stream a tight end this week, Henry is a solid option. 

Sit of the Week

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts 

After producing next to nothing in the first two weeks of fantasy football, Gesicki came out of nowhere to catch ten balls in week three on 12 targets for 86 yards. There is no debating that Gesicki was fantastic last week and was a huge part of Miami's passing attack. However, you cannot just look past the fact that he only had three catches for 41 yards through the first two weeks. Indianapolis also struggles much more in coverage against wide receivers than tight ends, as they have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers while ranking in the top ten in the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends. It is easy to get emotional about Gesicki's week three performance, but he is not a good bet to repeat last week against this opponent. 

Strong Sits 

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 

Our sit of the week at tight end from last week winds up on the sit list again. Tonyan has now put up two duds of performances in two of the first three weeks and would have done so in week two as well if he did not catch a touchdown. Tonyan remains touchdown-dependent in fantasy and can be comfortably left on the bench in any league. 

That is going to do it for week four. Thanks for reading. Good luck to everyone in their matchups. Let's enjoy another week of football.

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