Entering the fourth week of fantasy football, managers can begin separating from their leagues while others look to gain ground in the race. Much of this will be determined by the start/sit decisions.
Doing start/sit articles can be a little challenging. The players featured on the list below should not be taken as “must starts” or “must sits.” Instead, these are more suggestions on what we believe managers should do with fringe players heading into the weekend. The choice is ultimately up to the manager.
Just because a player is listed as a “start” doesn’t mean he should be put in the lineup over the secure, bona fide studs. Vice versa for the “sits.” If there’s no better option on the waiver wire or the bench, a manager shouldn’t automatically sit the player. That’s why these can be tricky waters to navigate.
You also can check out our start and sit bench list for Week 4.
Here is a look at some of the tough start and sit decisions in fantasy football for Week 4:
Sit: TE Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings
Though I’ve always been a fan of Smith’s prospects as a potential sleeper tight end, he will be difficult to trust in Week 4. Not only is his position open to more variance than most, this is as close to a prime-time game for Kirk Cousins as it gets. And there’s a reason the narrative surrounding Cousins in prime time has taken shape. Smith’s utilization hasn’t been strong or consistent enough to take a chance in a game overseas. He’s posted just a 46% snap share through three weeks and has yet to post more than 36 receiving yards in a game. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints have allowed the second-fewest PPR fantasy points per game (5.1), the fourth-fewest receptions (nine), and the second-fewest receiving yards (63) to tight ends thus far.
Start: TE Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
Though the Packers offense hasn’t looked like it’s typical self in the passing game, Tonyan could be in line for a solid outing in Week 4. As he gets more involved in the offense coming back from a torn ACL, Tonyan logged season-highs in snap share (58%) and target share (21%) during the Week 3 win over Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the matchup against the New England Patriots is never easy, they’re allowing the fourth-most PPR points per game (18.4) to the position and have allowed a league-high four touchdown receptions to tight ends. Tonyan is a solid streaming option this week with the chance to finish inside the top-five.
Sit: WR Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Trusting the Broncos offense just doesn’t seem like the move right now. Jeudy’s talent alone could make this suggestion look poor by the end of the week, but there’s not much confidence surrounding the offense as a whole. Given the Raiders’ propensity to allow fantasy quarterbacks to score at a high rate, this might be the week Russell Wilson figures it out. But they’ve been surprisingly stout against fantasy wide receivers, allowing the seventh-fewest PPR points per game (29.1) to the position. Also, Jeudy played just 59% of the snaps while posting a 19% target share in Week 3. Maybe that was due to the chest injury, but Jeudy hasn’t hit a 20% single-game target share yet this season. There is some upside considering his talent, but the floor for Jeudy is much lower than anticipated coming into the season.
Start: WR Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
We touched on Aiyuk’s prospects this week in the sleepers piece, and while we try to avoid overlapping these two articles, he’s one of my favorite sneaky starts this week. The season-ending injury to Trey Lance, while incredibly unfortunate, has helped raise Aiyuk’s stock. He has posted target shares of 28% and 33% over the last two weeks, respectively, since Jimmy Garoppolo replaced Lance. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams have allowed the second-most PPR points per game (50.9) and receiving yards (667) and most receptions (56) to wide receivers through three weeks.
Sit: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs
For the first time with the Chiefs, Smith-Schuster finished as a WR3 in fantasy football during the loss against the Indianapolis Colts. While that might be encouraging, it mostly came on a 53-yard reception. He finished with 89 receiving yards. The peripherals don’t look terrible considering his 18% target share in the Chiefs offense, but he and Patrick Mahomes haven’t nailed down that chemistry just yet. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been mostly average against fantasy wide receivers, ranking 17th in PPR points per game allowed. Smith-Schuster simply hasn’t done enough to prove he has a ceiling higher than a back-end WR3.
Start: WR Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers
With Justin Herbert seemingly getting closer to full health, we may get another week of Palmer being heavily involved in the offense. As Keenan Allen (hamstring) missed the last two games, Palmer has seen a 17% and 22% target share in the offense during that span. In Week 3, that resulted in a WR2 finish when he posted six receptions for 99 yards — both single-game career highs. Now, Allen has been ruled out for another game after seemingly suffering a setback in practice. Palmer will be a big part of a passing offense going against a Houston Texans defense that’s allowing 14.8 yards per reception to wideouts.
Sit: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
While Edwards-Helaire may be one of the top-scoring running backs through the first three weeks, he draws a brutal matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. They are allowing the second-fewest PPR points per game to running backs (13.0) and are one of just three teams to not allow a touchdown of any kind to the position. Edwards-Helaire has been mostly relevant for fantasy because of touchdowns and hasn’t had more than 12 opportunities in a single game yet this season. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this is the matchup where his lack of stable usage keeps him from helping fantasy managers.
Start: RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
It’s been a rough start to the season for Penny. His usage has been inconsistent, and he’s seen just three targets to begin the season. But he draws a fantastic matchup against the Detroit Lions, who are are allowing the most fantasy points per game (30.9) to running backs. Their six rushing touchdowns allowed are double the amount of every team except for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have allowed four. Ken Walker might steal some snaps, but Penny is the lead back in this offense and should have plenty of room to run in Week 4. Penny is flex worthy with upside if he finds the end zone, and if he pops off, try to sell high.
Sit: J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
The allure of J.K. Dobbins is certainly understandable, but he should be avoided in Week 4. The former second-round pick just made his season debut after a long recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery where he played 43% of the snaps and saw seven carries. His usage is expected to rise as he continues to get back into playing shape, and while the matchup against the Buffalo Bills could be high-scoring, they have allowed the fourth-fewest PPR points per game (14.1) to the position. Dobbins’ time will come, but it likely won’t be this week.
Start: RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions
Several managers are likely playing Williams given the injury to D’Andre Swift, but considering he was a late-round pick or waiver wire addition, there’s a chance that some managers feel they can afford to sit him. Though Craig Reynolds also will see some work, Williams should be in line for a strong workload in a favorable matchup. The Seattle Seahawks are allowing the fifth-most PPR points per game (27.1) and 5.1 yards per carry to running backs.
Sit: QB Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
We might want to prepare for a low-scoring game between the Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Though Stafford has the benefit of working with one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL, it doesn’t always translate to fantasy success. To open the season, Stafford has a QB10 finish sandwiched between a QB29 and QB27 finish. Now, he faces a 49ers defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game (12.6) to opposing quarterbacks. Given they are also the top fantasy defense against tight ends, Stafford’s second option in Tyler Higbee may get locked down, leaving him with just one reliable target.
Start: QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
I guess I’m in on the Seahawks offense this week. Smith won’t provide a week-winning performance — at least from what we’ve seen to open the 2022 campaign. But the matchup is there for him to have success. The Lions have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game (26.4) while allowing weekly finished of QB4, QB4, and QB10 to open the season. In a game that has one of the highest betting totals of the week, Smith is a solid start for those who are streaming.