Start 'EM Sit 'EM Week 4
Start 'EM Sit 'EM Week 4
We're already three weeks into the 2022 fantasy football season. If you're off to an undefeated start, congratulations! If you're 0-3 and feeling desperate, exercise patience and try not to make any rash trades or cuts. The fantasy season is a long grind, and each week is different. That's the beauty of the game. Schemes, opportunities, matchups, injuries, and game scripts create a lot of variables to analyze and dissect. Fortunately, I'm here to help with some of the most difficult start/sit decisions entering Week 4.
Let's review how my Week 3 start/sit recommendations fared. Let's focus on starts. David Montgomery exited early due to injury, allowing Khalil Herbert to produce a monster game that resulted in 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns, elevating him to an overall RB1 finish. Miles Sanders had an opportunity to carry 15 times for only 46 yards and record one reception for -2 yards. The last miss was Brandin Cooks, who was held to two receptions for 22 yards on seven targets. Tee Higgins finished as the WR33 in PPR formats, securing five receptions for 93 yards, and also had an impressive toe-tap that was not ruled a touchdown. CeeDee Lamb had an egregious drop in the first half but made up for it with a clutch one-handed touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter, finishing as the WR8. Tyler Higbee caught all four of his targets for 61 yards, winding up as the TE14, while Joe Burrow finished as the QB5 with 275 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Pivoting to sits, Michael Thomas caught all five receptions for 49 yards but exited with an injury, winding up as the WR47. Clyde Edwards-Helaire found the end zone to preserve a strong RB2 finish in an otherwise quiet outing, while T.J. Hockenson finally scored his first touchdown of the season to climb into a TE1 finish. Aaron Rodgers had a tough matchup but still threw two touchdowns to wind up as the QB12.
Without further ado, let's jump into Week 4 to find out which players deserve to be started or benched.
James Robinson (RB) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville finally proved that its Week 2 shutout win over the Indianapolis Colts was not a fluke. A big piece of the Jaguars' success is the miraculous return of running back, James Robinson. The third-year running back tore his Achilles last season, and it's not an easy injury to rehab, so seeing Robinson produce against every defense through three weeks is an awesome comeback story. Robinson has handled 56 percent of the carries for the Jaguars through the first three weeks while averaging 4.5 YPC and scoring at least one touchdown in every outing. Yes, Travis Ettiene is seeing a slightly bigger target share, but Robinson has been an effective ball carrier in Doug Pederson's offense. Week 4 will keep the Jaguars on the road against the red-hot Eagles, but it's a good matchup for Robinson. Philadelphia has allowed 25.37 PPR points to fantasy running backs through the first three weeks, while the secondary has been its bread and butter. Robinson is the overall RB3 through three weeks, so you have to keep him plugged into lineups.
Ezekiel Elliot (RB) Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliot has been a dud for fantasy lineups in recent games; however, he logged enough touches near the goal-line against the New York Giants to score his first touchdown of the season. It's concerning that Tony Pollard averaged 8.1 YPC versus Elliot's 4.9 YPC on Monday Night Football; however, Zeke had success against Washington last season, scoring two touchdowns on only ten touches. Pollard was injured during this occurrence, so he will steal touches at home against the Commanders. However, the Cowboys are playing well under backup quarterback Cooper Rush at the moment, so expect Elliot and Pollard to continue splitting snaps in a good matchup against a divisional opponent. If Dak Prescott returns for Week 4, I like Elliot even more. His target share is abysmal, but the top-heavy wide receiving corps and a hobbled Dalton Schultz create more opportunities. It's a risky decision but I like Elliot to finish as an RB2 in Week 4.
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB) Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith has fully unlocked Cordarrelle Patterson's ceiling and full potential. The former wideout has converted to running back, utilizing his strength and speed to find running lanes and run over opposing defenders. Patterson was held in check against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2 but he broke back out in Week 3, carrying 17 times for 141 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Tyler Allgeier does not pose a threat to Patterson's usage heading into a Week 4 matchup at home against the Cleveland Browns. It's not a great matchup on paper, as the Browns rank as a top-12 defense against fantasy running backs. Patterson is the focal point of the Falcons' offense. Marcus Mariota has been moving the ball effectively through the air with Kyle Pitts and Drake London, meaning Patterson should have several goal-line touches against a Browns defense that has surrendered consecutive touchdowns to Najee Harris and Breece Hall. Patterson is a lock in fantasy lineups against the Browns in Week 4.
CeeDee Lamb (WR) Dallas Cowboys
After a horrible start to the 2022 season, CeeDee Lamb has revived his fantasy appeal. Ironically enough, Cooper Rush has been an asset for Lamb despite being the backup and filling in for Dak Prescott while he rehabs a hand injury. Through three games, Lamb has a commanding 33.7 percent target share and flipped this into eight receptions for 87 yards and a game-winning touchdown against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football to end his previous two-game drought. He drew a 40 percent target share in Week 3 and a bad drop prevented Lamb from finishing as a top-five wide receiver in PPR formats. Lamb gets arguably the best matchup for fantasy wideouts in Week 4 against a porous Washington defense that ranks as the third-best fantasy matchup for wide receivers. Lamb has the opportunity and ability to be a bonafide WR1 with Rush or Prescott in a plus-matchup against the Commanders, so start him with confidence.
Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (WR) Arizona Cardinals
It's ugly in the Desert but Marquise Brown is finally coming to life for fantasy football purposes. The fourth-year wideout has 28 targets across the past two weeks, including 17 against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. This resulted in 14 receptions for 140 yards, which was good enough to climb into the overall WR3 finish in PPR formats. Against the Raiders, Brown turned 11 targets into six receptions for 68 yards, finishing as the WR34. He's an integral piece to a Cardinals' offense that finds itself desperate for other weapons. Kyler Murray's chemistry with Brown from their days at the University of Oklahoma has to be considered. Brown will face the Carolina Panthers in Week 4, which is the 13th-best matchup for opposing wide receivers in PPR leagues. Expect another dozen targets or more for Brown in a plus-matchup, making him a must-start on the road in Carolina.
D.K. Metcalf (WR) Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has pivoted off the traditional ground-and-pound offensive scheme they've deployed over the last several seasons. Geno Smith has looked much better than expected as a passer, which has manifested itself for D.K. Metcalf's fantasy outlook. I faded Metcalf against a stout 49ers defense in Week 2, which was the right decision. However, against bad pass defenses like Atlanta in Week 3, Metcalf found success, recording five receptions for 64 yards and his first touchdown of the season. It was the first touchdown for any Seahawks wideout this season. Metcalf draws a juicy matchup against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. The Lions' defense has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers, which means Metcalf could have a busy, productive day. Justin Jefferson was shut down by Jeff Okudah, but two other Minnesota wideouts scored touchdowns, so there is plenty to go around for Metcalf in Week 4. He's a fringe WR1 under OC Shane Waldron in an increasingly-pass heavy offense, so start Metcalf in fantasy lineups.
T.J. Hockenson (TE) Detroit Lions
T.J. Hockenson has virtually no competition in Detroit's tight end room. After a slow start, the fourth-year tight end has ten receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown. He'll see more opportunities against the Seattle Seahawks, who are a top-ten fantasy matchup for tight ends this year. Hockenson runs shallow routes, averaging 4.6 yards per target; however, the expected absence of star running back D'Andre Swift means the Lions may have to lean on its passing attack. Amon-Ra St. Brown also is slightly banged up, placing an even bigger emphasis on starting Hockenson in fantasy lineups against a Seattle defense that struggles to contain tight ends. Kyle Pitts just had his best outing of the season in Seattle during Week 3, so keep Hockenson plugged into fantasy lineups at home in Week 4.
Aaron Rodgers (QB) Green Bay Packers
Green Bay is leaning on its rushing attack with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon; however, Aaron Rodgers is still finding ways to produce in a run-centric scheme. The reigning MVP just beat Tom Brady and a stout Buccaneers defense with 255 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3, utilizing the return of wideout Allen Lazard. He's played three good defenses to start his season, which is why he's 26th in fantasy quarterback production. Don't let this fool you. Rodgers gets a New England Patriots pass defense at Lambeau Field in Week 4, which has surrendered the seventh-highest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Yes, they got gashed by Lamar Jackson in Week 3, but the Patriots have only looked good against Mitchell Trubisky. Rodgers demands more respect, and he finally has Lazard and left tackle David Bakhtiari back in the fold. Fire Rodgers up as a solid QB1 in Week 4.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City is a difficult team to assess. There are so many new pieces on its offense, including a fully reloaded wide receiving corps, while Travis Kelce remains the alpha. The running back room is a true committee backfield, with rookie Isiah Pachecho and veteran speedster Jerick McKinnon each handling at least 20 percent of the rushing share this season. Clyde Edwards-Helaire maintains a lead on rushing share (32.4%) and target share (11.3%), but he recorded zero yards on seven carries against the Colts in Week 3. Yes, he scored a touchdown somehow, but the five receptions for 39 yards is standard protocol for CEH. He's been hyper-efficient, scoring three touchdowns across the first three weeks on limited touches, so going into a Week 4 matchup against the league's best-run defense is massively concerning. Tampa Bay's defense is no joke against the run, so bench CEH and wait for a softer matchup to roll him back into lineups in the following weeks.
D.J. Moore (WR) Carolina Panthers
Arizona began its season with terrible play from its secondary, as Patrick Mahomes lit them up for five touchdowns through the air. It's since improved each week, locking down Davante Adams and sending Allen Robinson back to irrelevancy in Week 3. It's even less encouraging when you have D.J. Moore on your fantasy rosters. Moore drew the most targets of any Panthers wideout in Week 3 but finished with one reception for two yards. It was an abysmal performance against a Saints defense that is very talented in its secondary; however, Marshon Lattimore was not on the field due to suspension. Moore has yet to reach 50 receiving yards this season, finding the end zone once in Week 2 against the New York Giants. Baker Mayfield cannot be trusted to preserve Moore's value, even in a decent matchup. Bench Moore and pivot to other wideouts such as D.K. Metcalf, Amari Cooper, or Devonta Smith in Week 4.
George Kittle (TE) San Francisco 49ers
It feels weird recommending George Kittle on fantasy benches. He was such a dominant force for the San Francisco 49ers offense for several years; however, he's only logged one game in 2022 and was used primarily as a blocker in an ugly Week 3 loss. Kittle saw five targets against Denver, hauling in four receptions for 28 yards. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are the primary weapons for Jimmy Garoppolo, while Kittle will be used to set up Jeff Wilson and Samuel in the rushing attack. The Rams are a terrible matchup for fantasy tight ends, allowing a meager 5.8 PPR points to the tight end position through three games this year. Kittle popped against the Rams in one of two matchups last season, most recently disappointing with five receptions for ten yards. Fade Kittle until we see his usage spike in the 49ers' passing attack.
Derek Carr (QB) Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas is the best 0-3 team in the NFL this season. Derek Carr has not helped them out in crunch time, giving away the win in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers by forcing a pair of bad passes downfield that wound up intercepted. He also was sloppy against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, passing behind his intended target to yield an untimely interception. Carr has accounted for two passing touchdowns in each of his first three games but the turnovers are an issue. Expect Josh McDaniels to settle into the run-game more against the Denver Broncos pass defense, which has stifled each of its opponents thus far. Carr will throw at least one interception and while he may clean up in garbage time or hit a big play early, he's too risky to roll into lineups right now. Bench Carr in Week 4 and pivot to other streaming options like Jared Goff or Marcus Mariota.
Matt is an avid writer and enjoys analyzing the game within the game that is fantasy sports. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his fiancé and three pets, which typically involves some type of outdoor exercise or adventure. He likes to read, listen to Podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the fantasy sports industry. Pat McAfee is a massive inspiration to Matt, along with his parents and friends. He is guilty of ordering the same menu item at restaurants.