While putting together my start/sit QB/TE/DST fantasy advice for Week 4, I kept thinking about Tua Tagovailoa. I was actually surprised as to both the width and depth of the fantasy world's reactions to his injury Thursday night.
Being who I am, I read and heard plenty about him and his situation. But there's one story I can't get out of my head. One of my buddies had to choose between Tua and Kirk Cousins this week. He started Tua, and you obviously know what happened next. But what you don't know is how my buddy's lowlife of an opponent acted immediately after.
Within minutes of hearing Tua was out for the game, this loser sent my friend a text simply saying, "Haha. Shoulda started Cousins!" Seriously?!?!?!? This kind of reaction is why NFL players and others hate fantasy players. A young player's career is in jeopardy and you are going to take this moment to mock your opponent about his start/sit choice? Not cool. Not cool at all. I'll simply say you shouldn't do that.
Of course that brings us to this week's Start/Sit decisions. This column focuses on the options in the "QB2/TE2/DST2" range, i.e. those ranked from around 13 to 24. That's the tier I will be evaluating. And more often than not, I'll try to give you a lower-ranked option for whom to start and a higher-ranked option for whom to sit when possible.
But I think I might have found some options worth starting that should exceed expectations and some others that will fall short of expectations.
Read below to see what they are.
START This QB
Cooper Rush, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Commanders
When Dak Prescott got injured, you would have thought the sky was falling in Dallas with Rush having to start. However, Rush has filled in rather competently. He's not a suddenly elite option, but he has at a minimum become a very efficient game manager. He hasn't turned the ball over and has completed better than 60 percent of his passes for 200-plus yards each of the last two weeks.
Washington meanwhile has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Rush is not a top-10 option, but I'd be very comfortable starting him in a Superflex league this week or even if I was in a tight pinch in a standard league.
SIT This QB
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
For example, I might even start Cooper Rush over Carr this week. Carr has a much higher ceiling than Rush, but I'd actually rank Carr's floor lower than Rush's this week.
Carr has a very mediocre 6:4 TD-to-INT ratio this season. And he and Davante Adams simply don't seem to be on the same page right now. This tweet was one of the better ones, but it was one of many discussing the issues with Carr:
And now enters Denver, who has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season? I'll admit, Carr makes for an interesting pivot in a GPP DFS contest. But if I didn't have to start him in a regular fantasy league this week, I wouldn't.
START This TE
Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles
I would have never suggested Engram initially before I started doing my research this week. However, as I started digging in, I found some very encouraging stats. Engram has played 72 percent of their offensive snaps this season for the suddenly dangerous Jacksonville offense. That is ninth amongst tight ends in routes. But the encouraging signs don't stop there.
While his actual stats weren't that impressive last week, he nearly toe-tapped a touchdown against the Chargers. Furthermore, I was initially scared about this matchup. Thanks to Darius Slay and James Bradberry, the Eagles are absolutely shutting down enemy WRs. However, they're much softer in the middle of the field. For example, Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. drew eight targets against the Eagles in Week 2. He not only scored, but also dropped a potential second touchdown. Don't be surprised if Engram finds the end zone this week against Philly.
SIT This TE
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (MNF)
For a non-elite tight end, Higbee is off to a decent start this season, having corralled 16 of 24 targets for 171 yards. But this recommendation to keep him on your bench is pretty much all about the matchup. San Francisco has allowed a total of just 7.30 fantasy points to tight ends this year, unsurprisingly tops in the league. Higbee just isn't worth it this week.
START This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Chicago Bears at New York Giants
Last week, the Giants' Daniel Jones was sacked eight times. Think the Bears' defense might be licking their chops this week? And while the Chicago offense is an absolute mess, the defense has been solid, allowing just two TDs a game this season. If I'm streaming a DST this week, I'm seriously considering the Da Bears.
SIT This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans
I know some folks are suggesting the Chargers DST as a lock play this week. Not me.
The Chargers have allowed seven touchdown passes already this year; only three teams have allowed more. They've sacked the opposing quarterback just seven times this year. Only nine teams have fewer sacks. And this was before they lost Joey Bosa.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.