Matthew Stafford (vs. NO): I will give you three reasons to start Stafford this week: 1) The Saints will be missing many key defensive starters in this game, including DE Marcus Davenport, DB Marshon Lattimore, DB Janoris Jenkins. That leaves Matthew Stafford in great matchup at home versus a defense that does will be starting backup DBs and lost their best pass rusher. The second reason is this game has a 54.5 total and is expected to shoot out. The last reason I like Stafford is because Kenny Golladay has such a great matchup for this week against likely PJ Williams for the Saints who has been one of the worst DBs in the league for a while now.
Aaron Rodgers (vs. ATL): You can get away with starting anyone against the Falcons this year, and Aaron Rodgers is no exception. He’s going to be playing with little to no help from his WRs, but Rodgers is a man on a mission after the Packers drafted Jordan Love and AJ Dillon early this year, failing to address a clear need of pass catchers for Rodgers, who will be throwing to an injured DaVante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Robert Tonyan, with the loss of Allen Lazard. The Falcons defense is just horrendous that it won’t matter who is out there catching passes from Rodgers, there should be a lot of points put up on the board.
Carson Wentz (vs. SF): Let’s keep this short and sweet. The Eagles WRs and TEs this week are Zach Ertz, Greg Ward, John Hightower, Quez Watkins, Travis Fulgham, Deontay Burnett and potentially former WR turned TE in Hakeem Butler. Thanks, but I’d rather avoid starting any QB with a receiving group that is so beat up. Even with all of the injuries to the 49ers defense, they still decimated the Giants last week and I expect a similar performance on Sunday night versus the Eagles.
Nick Foles (vs. IND): Normally, you think new QB, there is new life for an offense, right? Well, not this week. The Bears are going against one of the top three defenses in the NFL in the Indianapolis Colts, and are going to be without pass catching specialist RB Tarik Cohen. This is a tough spot for Foles.
Kenyan Drake (@ CAR): A matchup against the Panthers is a great spot for just about any RB any week, as the Panthers defense is the single worst defense versus RBs this season in every sense of the world. Despite being the number 28 RB to start the year, I’m expecting top-12 numbers this week from Drake, after a few disappointing weeks in a row.
Giovani Bernard (vs. JAC) or Joe Mixon (vs. JAC): This play relies entirely on the status of Joe Mixon, who popped up with an injury late in the week and is considered questionable for Sunday’s game. Should Mixon miss, Bernard is the next man up and has proven to be serviceable for fantasy in Mixon’s absence. Even Joe Mixon, who has been disappointing to start the year, has a great matchup against one of the worst defenses in the league in the Jaguars if he is active.
Ronald Jones II (vs. LAC): Just because Leonard Fournette is out this week, does not mean we need to jump right back on Jones. Jones has been ineffective for a handful of years as the Bucs’ starting RB, and there have been reports that suggest rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn could finally start to get mixed into the rotation this week while Fournette is out. I’m not ready to start any Tampa Bay RB right now in a relatively tough matchup.
Antonio Gibson (vs. BAL): Gibson has not lived up to the hype he received this offseason, and I’m not expecting a breakout here at home versus the Ravens. The Ravens are one of the top-three defenses in the NFL and should have this game well in hand from the start, which means game flow is going to be an issue. Gibson might be able to get a few receptions in there, but it’s tough to rely on that production to this point.
Jarvis Landry (@ DAL): We saw the last two weeks that the Cowboys defense simply is not all that talented compared to the rest of the league, and, on top of that, is banged up right now. Landry is going to be the slot WR for the Browns this week, a similar role to where Tyler Lockett destroyed this team last week. The Cowboys are going to be involved in lots of shootouts this year, until their defensive issues have been addressed. Landry should have one of his ceiling games this season.
Randall Cobb (vs. MIN): It’s tough to rely on Cobb in any matchup, but sometimes you can’t pass up an opportunity in a game with a 54.0 total against backup DBs. Is Cobb the primary read for Watson? No. Is Cobb the second read for Watson? That’s debatable, probably not. That won’t matter this week though, as the matchup is expected to be another shootout. Cobb was on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues and is a nice plug and play this week.
Terry McLaurin (vs. BAL): If you were ever going to bench Terry McLaurin, this is the week. Nine out of ten times, I’ll tell you never to bench this guy, but he’s got such a brutal situation coming up. First, he’s banged up with a thigh issue, and his status is uncertain. Next, he’s a massive underdog going against a team that has Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters as their top CBs. No thanks, look elsewhere.
Hunter Renfrow (vs. BUF): Just because starters Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards are out, does not mean Renfrow is an auto play. Renfrow has the tough task of going up against the Bills top defenders, likely Tre’Davious White. Being Renfrow is not an elite wide out, White should have no issue stopping this receiver.
T.J. Hockenson (vs. NO): Everyone against the Saints is playable this week, even an inconsistent Hockenson. We talked about all of the injuries above, and we need to remember that the Lions are 3.0-point underdogs in this one, which suggests they will be throwing more often.
Logan Thomas (vs. BAL): I’ll be honest, Thomas has a tough matchup this week, but I don’t really mind it for fantasy. The reason for that is, with the Ravens putting their attention onto Terry McLaurin, targets should open up in the middle of the field for Logan Thomas, who is heavily involved in the Football Team’s scheme. When looking for tight ends, always side with targets, because more targets typically equal more opportunities for receptions, which are easier to predict than random touchdowns.
Rob Gronkowski (vs. LAC): Even though Chris Godwin is out this week, I’m not expecting the targets to go to Gronk. Reports stated that Gronk was brought in to be a blocker for the Buccaneers, and a red zone/third down option, not a primary target of Brady’s. I’m not one to believe every report I see on the internet, but I would not be surprised if we saw a heavy dosage of Mike Evans in this one.
Ian Thomas (vs. ARI): I’ve recommended to start a TE versus the Cardinals every week to this point, but I do have my limits. Ian Thomas has been a bust to this point in his career, and even the best of matchups might not be enough for him to produce anything more than top 20 or worse numbers. Thomas might luck into a touchdown, but I just can’t trust this guy at the moment.
LA Rams (vs. NYG): The Giants offensive line is complete disarray this year and is not looking to get better any time soon. Without Barkley and Shepard, this Giants offense is just a mess all around. The Rams should have their way in this game.
Arizona (@ CAR): Without star RB Christian McCaffrey, I refuse to believe this Panthers team is any good. The Panthers have an implied total of roughly 22 points, depending where you look, and I would not be surprised to see them score under that mark, even though this game is expected to be somewhat high scoring.
Minnesota (vs. HOU): Speaking of high scoring affairs, I expect this Vikings-Texans game to be one of the highest scoring of the week. High scoring games usually mean less points for defenses, so I’ll pass on the shaky Vikings against the Texans this week.
LA Chargers (@ TB): The Chargers might get enough points to get you by this week, but I’d rather not trust them on the road in Tampa Bay against one of the premiere offenses in the league. Sure, Brady isn’t his former self, but that may not matter. I’ll take my shot elsewhere this week.
Jason Myers (@ MIA): One of the most popular games of the week for fantasy football is going to be the Seahawks at Dolphins, as each of these teams have exploitable matchups on both sides of the ball. I’m expecting the Seahawks to handle this one with ease, though, and that could be with a lot of Myers field goals.
Sam Sloman (vs. NYG): The Giants are one of the worst teams in the NFL this year, so any time you can add a kicker in a good offense in a clear mismatch game, you do it and take your seven or more fantasy points and be happy with it.
Younghoe Koo (vs. GB): Koo has been a great get for those who waited to draft a kicker, but he has been doubtful all week and I’d rather just start a healthy kicker. Drop Koo for now and pick him up when he’s healthy again.
Michael Badgley (@ TB): I’m expecting Tampa to easily win this game, and with all of the Chargers injuries, I’m not sure if they’ll be able to keep up with the Buccaneers at all. There are better options at kicker this week.
Week 4 Injury Report (Saturday)
Jimmy Garoppolo (Ankle) – Ruled Out.
Tyrod Taylor (Ribs) – Ruled Out.
Leonard Fournette (Ankle) – Ruled Out.
Raheem Mostert (Knee) – Ruled Out.
Cam Akers (Ribs) – Ruled Out.
Kareem Hunt (Groin) – Questionable, game time decision.
Chris Carson (Knee) – Practiced fully, expected to play.
James White (Non-Injury) – Expected to return.
Zach Moss (Toe) – Expected to return.
Carlos Hyde (Shoulder) – Game time decision.
Michael Thomas (Ankle) – Ruled Out.
Chris Godwin (Hamstring) – Ruled Out.
DaVante Adams (Hamstring) – Full Practice, expected to play.
DeAndre Hopkins (Ankle) – DNP, expected to play.
Christian Kirk (Groin) – Limited practice, expected to play.
Julio Jones (Hamstring) – Limited practice, expected to play.
Calvin Ridley (Ankle) – Limited practice, likely to play.
Terry McLaurin (Thigh) – DNP, expected to play.
Allen Lazard (Core Muscle) – Placed on IR, expected to miss a while.
Henry Ruggs (Hamstring) – DNP, Doubtful.
Bryan Edwards (Foot) – Ruled Out.
Mike Williams (Hamstring) – Ruled Out.
DeSean Jackson (Hamstring) – Ruled Out.
Alshon Jeffery (Foot) – Ruled Out.
Jalen Reagor (Thumb) – Ruled Out, placed on IR.
Jared Cook (Groin) – Ruled Out.
George Kittle (Knee) – Expected to return.
Younghoe Koo (Groin) – Expected to miss.
Stephen Haushka (Knee) – Limited Practice, expected to play.
The Steelers-Titans and Patriots-Chiefs games have been officially postponed as of this writing, and will not be played on Sunday. The Steelers -Titans game was moved to Week 7, and the league is still determining the fate of the Patriots-Chiefs game at this time, which could either be played on Monday, Tuesday, or a day later in the season. My best guess is the Chiefs game is going to be played later in the season, and I would be setting my lineups as if players from these games are out. That includes Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Tannehill, Patrick Mahomes, Cam Newton (who tested positive for COVID-19), Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, James Conner, Derrick Henry, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Jonnu Smith, Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Travis Kelce, Devin Asiasi, and Dalton Keene. All of these players should be OUT of your lineups, unless you just want to risk it with the NE-KC game, which is not something I advise doing until we get official confirmation the game is 100% going to be played on Monday or Tuesday.
(Cover Photo: Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)