Week 4 Where to Put em

Thursday, Oct 1, 2015 at 12:00 pm ET

This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 4 of the 2015 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Start 'em Derek Carr (OAK, QB)
If you've been hit by the injury bug at QB or need a bye-week replacement for Brady or Mariota, Derek Carr should be on your radar. Rodgers and Palmer each had more than 20 fantasy points and Wilson was close with 16. Carr should continue rolling and getting 16-18 points out of him is absolutely realistic this week. We expect plenty of Carr to Cooper moments.
Start 'em Cam Newton (CAR, QB)
They say that if you lose one of your senses, the rest will increase as a way of compensating for the loss (better hearing if you lose your sight for example). The loss of Kelvin Benjamin in the preseason has given room for players like Ted Ginn Jr and Greg Olsen to step up and take on bigger roles. Newton has been fantastic the past two weeks and should continue that against a Bucs defense that let Marcus Mariota earn 25 points for fantasy owners in Week 1. He should be able to gain decent yards on the ground as well.
Start 'em Andy Dalton (CIN, QB)
This is a must-start situation for Andy Dalton. Even though Dalton is no Aaron Rodgers, he should be looking forward to this match-up after Rodgers tossed 5 scores against KC on Monday night without his #1 receiver Jordy Nelson. A struggling Peyton Manning earned 20 points in Week 2, and with the chemistry between Dalton and AJ Green at an all-time high right now, Dalton is easily a Top-10 play this week.
Start 'em Karlos Williams (BUF, RB)
Whether it's in your season-long league or in daily fantasy football, Karlos Williams should be a great play this week. It appears that Shady McCoy will not play and Williams has played beyond expectations in his limited role thus far. The Giants have allowed the 2nd-fewest rushing yards per game, but both Devonta Freeman and Joseph Randle hit double digits on them. Williams should too.
Start 'em Frank Gore (IND, RB)
Frank Gore finally hit pay dirt last week...twice. He'll face a Jacksonville defense that got bowled over by both LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis. The passing game should open up against the Jaguars giving some breathing room to Gore on the ground. While he won't see the endzone twice in this match-up, there's a good chance that he sees it at least once and delivers double digit points for you.
Start 'em Amari Cooper (OAK, WR)
The Bears appear to be in rebuilding mode and it's only Week 4. Jared Allen is gone and the Bears defense has been a shell of expectations. Obviously, this is bad if you're a Bears Defense owner, but very good if you own Amari Cooper. Both Larry Fitzgerald and Randall Cobb have found the endzone against them, and with the way Derek Carr and Cooper have been playing, we expect Cooper to see the endzone as well.
Start 'em James Jones (GB, WR)
It's almost as if James Jones never left Green Bay. He has picked up right where he left off. The loss of Jordy Nelson and the tepid injury concerns with Adams has left a void that Jones has been able to fill quite nicely. The Niners give up the 5th-most passing yards making Jones a great value play and a solid WR2 for your team this week.
Start 'em Jordan Reed (WAS, TE)
Coming into this week's FFN rankings at #7 is Washington's Jordan Reed. The QB situation in Washington is ugly but the targets (26) have been there for Reed through the first three games. As Kirk Cousins' favorite security blanket, Reed should remain heavily involved in the passing game as long as DeSean Jackson is missing time.
Start 'em Charles Clay (BUF, TE)
Rounding out the Top 10 this week among tight ends is Charles Clay who has been one of the beneficiaries of Tyrod Taylor's play this year. Witten took the Giants for 26 points (PPR). Jacob Tamme took them for 12 and Jordan Reed took them for 15. There's no reason to think that Clay couldn't hit double digits in this one.
Start 'em Green Bay Packers (GB, DEF)
The Packers defense has played much better than expected with BJ Raji perhaps playing one of his best games ever. They will either be phenomenal against the Niners or they're going to let Kaepernick redeem himself. Given the history between these two teams over the past few year, it could go either way, but we're betting on a solid defensive performance.
Start 'em Mason Crosby (GB, K)
Coming in at #2 among kickers in this week's rankings is Mason Crosby who is averaging double digits this year and could certainly repeat that type of performance this week against the Niners. If Rodgers can't drop it in the endzone, he'll get close enough for Crosby to chip it in.
Sit 'em Eli Manning (NYG, QB)
It has become apparent that an Eli Manning without Odell Beckham Jr is an Eli not worth starting in fantasy. The stud WR accounts for one third of Manning's production. This little fact will not go unnoticed in Buffalo where they will try and shut down OBJ. You still start Beckham who will still do great, but lower your expectations on Manning. The Bills have caused trouble for both Luck and Tannehill keeping them each under 16 points.
Sit 'em Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Looking at the FFN rankings this week and seeing Matt Stafford ranked below Bortles, Fitzpatrick, Vick, Winston, and Alex Smith should cause you concern. Seattle has given up the 2nd-fewest passing yards after three games and one of those games was against Aaron Rodgers. Things are just not clicking in the Motor City passing game right now.
Sit 'em Ameer Abdullah (DET, RB)
It pains us to put Ameer Abdullah in this column but let's face it. Even though he's not getting the workload that he should, he has made the most of every opportunity. The opportunities will be much more difficult this week against a Seattle front that locked down Matt Forte last week to just 7 points and has been stingy in rushing yards allowed. It's tough to find much love for any of the Lions this week.
Sit 'em Lamar Miller (MIA, RB)
At some point, the Dolphins are going to figure it out and turn things around. It probably won't be this week though. Lamar Miller hasn't lived up to expectations so far this year and a meeting with the Jets isn't likely to make things much better. New York held Frank Gore and Isaiah Crowell to 4 and 3 points respectively. Expect a tough going to Miller on Sunday morning.
Sit 'em Andre Johnson (IND, WR)
It is with sincere hope that karma will come back to haunt us as we put Andre Johnson on the Sit List. We'd like nothing more than to see him put up the kinds of numbers that we were hoping for when he arrived in Indy. The matchup is so sweet that Johnson would have normally been a must-start, but his 52nd ranking this week on FFN shows what the industry thinks of his potential this week. Gotta bench the ol' man.
Sit 'em Vincent Jackson (TB, WR)
4, 7, 5, and 2. Those are the number of points that the Panthers have allowed this year to Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins, and Allen Robinson. Jameis Winston will struggle through the air on Sunday and VJax and Mike Evans will struggle alongside him.
Sit 'em Kyle Rudolph (MIN, TE)
The Denver defense has been tough on every tight end they've faced including limiting Travis Kelce and Eric Ebron to just 6 points each. In fact, they haven't given up a score to any TE yet making this a tough matchup for Rudolph the End Zone Reindeer.
Sit 'em Jordan Cameron (MIA, TE)
Like Lamar Miller above, it's been a tough going for the Dolphins this year. Cameron has been the lone bright spot, but that light will dim considerably in London on Sunday morning as he faces a Jets D that has blanketed tight ends this year surrendering less than 4 points to Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener, and Gary Barnidge. Cameron is ranked 8th on FFN this week and we think that's much too high.
Sit 'em Houston Texans (HOU, DEF)
I think we were all expecting more out of the Houston Texans this year. A team with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney should be among the top 3 or 4 fantasy D/ST's and yet they have been barely a blip so far on our fantasy radars. Things aren't going to get much easier with the Falcons who have the league's most productive wide receiver in Julio Jones, a cooler-than-ice Matt Ryan, and an emerging running back in Devonta Freeman.
Sit 'em Matt Prater (DET, K)
In the past, Matt Prater has been a great fantasy kicker, but that hasn't been the case this year. Facing a Seattle defense that just shut out the Bears, the Lions will likely struggle to put points on the board and it doesn't matter if those points are coming on the ground, through the air, or between the uprights.

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