Week 4 of the fantasy football season is here and we are just about at the quarter pole, but really we are about to hit the nightmare that is the bye weeks, so enjoy this one last "easy" ride...
Of course like any good ride, they have to tell you about the rules, so let's review those, shall we? I will not be suggesting to start any WR or RB who is a "consensus" RB1 or WR1 (i.e. typically a player in the top 12 for his position that week). Likewise, I will be not suggesting that you sit an RB or WR who is not typically in the top 30 at either position.
Any other rules you want me to follow, go ahead and send 'em my way (@MarkStrausberg). If enough of you want to be stricter, looser, or whatever you suggest, I will adjust my approach accordingly.
So with the "rules of the road" let's get this car on the road to the Week 4 start/sits!
START These RBs
Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Yes. Yup. I hear you. And you're right. Sigh. The 49ers' backfield is just a glob of talent with no clear delineations and a constant enigma. But if you got Sermon, I'd start him. The only back who saw more snaps than Sermon did last week was fullback Kyle Juszczyk, usually for blocking purposes. Elijah Mitchell is looming as a threat, but there should be plenty of carries to go around. The 49ers have the ninth-most running plays in the NFL so far this year.
And opposite them will be the Seahawks, who are giving up more fantasy points to RBs than any other team in the league. You know the downside, but Sermon's upside is worth the start.
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans
Houston will not be able to hang with the Buffalo offense. End of story.
SIT These RBs
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Gaskin returns to this space again this week. I really don't understand why he is getting all the love he is. This is far from a plus matchup. Indianapolis is giving up the 12th-fewest fantasy points to running backs and that's after going against Derrick Henry last week. And let's be honest, Gaskin isn't even close to the talent level of Henry.
Gaskin has a big fat zero in the TD column and has a whopping 139 rushing yards through three weeks. That's actually worse than the mediocre 58 yards per game he had last year. And in seven games last season, he had all of three rushing touchdowns. Can someone explain to me why so many fantasy managers continue to start him every week? Seriously, I can't for the life of me figure it out.
Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys
How many times have we seen the popular waiver wire pick do zilch the following week? But even if that proves true this week, that's a little more than confirmation bias on anecdotal evidence at best. But what is true is that Dallas has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Hubbard is not a bad player, but the void left by Christain McCaffrey is not easily filled by a fourth-rounder making his first start. You're not the Panthers and hopefully don't have to start Hubbard.
START These WRs
Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans
I'm actually trying to figure out why you wouldn't start Sanders. He has half a dozen or more targets each of the last three weeks. He's not only consistently targeted, but he's also coming in hot off of a 2-TD performance last week and just a little short of 100 yards.
Okay, so maybe the matchup against Houston might not be the most game-flow-friendly for the Buffalo WRs. However, Houston is still giving up more than 269 passing yards per game, the 11th-most in the league. And let's not forget how much Buffalo loves to pass the ball. Sanders is definitely worthy of either a start as a WR3 or in a flex spot.
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings
If not now, when? It is time for ODB or OBJ or whatever his nickname is nowadays to step up and show he still has the talent. The opportunity is certainly there. He appears to be the healthiest he has been in a long time. Time for him to put up or shut up.
He has the matchup to do so. The Vikings are giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs. With Jarvis Landry still out, I would expect Beckham to put up a big stat line this week.
SIT These WRs
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers
Logic says we should start Claypool. Diontae Johnson appears to be out again this week and JuJu Smith-Schuster was injured last game. Claypool is one of the better values on my team in my dynasty league, so I want him to have a good game. But I am actually inclined to leave him on the bench this week.
For one, I have so little faith in Ben Roethlisberger right now. Secondly, Green Bay is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. It might depend on your other options, but Claypool should not be either one of your top two WR options this week.
Editor's note: This article was initially published on Friday, prior to Claypool being officially ruled out by the Steelers early Saturday afternoon.
Cortland Sutton, Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens
Let's not sugarcoat it — the loss of Marcus Peters was a huge blow to the Ravens' secondary. However, they've actually acquitted themselves quite nicely. The Ravens are middle of the pack in fantasy points given up to WRs. I also believe Broncos head coach Vic Fangio knows the best way to contain Lamar Jackson is to keep him off the field. And the best way to do that is to run the clock with Denver's effective running game. Sutton should give you a handful of points this weekend, but like Chase Claypool, he shouldn't be either of your top two WR options.
— 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.