It was a great week for quarterbacks last week in fantasy football. A whopping seven quarterbacks scored 30 or more fantasy points (depending on league scoring) in Week 4. To put that into perspective, only two QBs reached that mark in Week 3.
And it wasn’t the big-name QBs like Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes doing it either. It was guys like Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton, Derek Carr and Joe Flacco. QBs that you would normally leave on your bench, or might even be on your league's waiver wire.
This makes choosing the right quarterback to start each week very important. So who should that be for Week 5? I'm glad you asked. But before we dive into my start/sit advice for QBs (and defense/special teams), let's see how well I did in Week 4.
Good Calls for Week 4...
Start Matt Ryan (29.26 fantasy points) – As of right now, Ryan ranks second in fantasy points behind Patrick Mahomes.
Start Andy Dalton (24.78 FP) – The Bengals' offense is firing on all cylinders this year, making Dalton a QB1.
Sit Ryan Fitzpatrick (3.04 FP) – It was only a matter of time before the “FitzMagic” ran out and it was easy to tell it was going to happen last week.
Bad Calls for Week 4...
Sit Matthew Stafford (20.78 FP) - Stafford ended up having a decent game in Dallas against a tough defense in a losing effort.
Teams on bye: Chicago, Tampa Bay
START THESE QBs...
Carson Wentz, PHI (vs. MIN)
This is Wentz’s third game back and he has been a must-sit for his first two weeks, but that changes this week. Wentz and the Eagles are favored by a field goal at home against a Vikings defense reeling from giving up 38 points to the Rams last Thursday on the road. It can’t be ignored that Josh Allen scored three total TDs against Minnesota back in Week 3 either, and Wentz’s own condition can’t be questioned after 50 pass attempts in last week's loss to Tennessee. Wentz looked good when moving and had no rust when connecting with Alshon Jeffery or Zach Ertz and that should continue this week against the Vikings.
Matt Ryan, ATL (at PIT)
The best part about the 2018 Atlanta Falcons from a Ryan fantasy perspective is that the team is dreadful on defense. Due to the loss of some key starters, the Falcons can never comfortably sit on a lead. The over/under for the Steelers matchup is 57 total points. Both teams rank in the bottom 10 of the league in passing yards and TD passes allowed. This game will be a shootout and Ryan could once again throw for 300-plus yards and five touchdowns.
Derek Carr, OAK (at LAC)
This is for all you fantasy players who love to stream quarterbacks. Carr is available in about 65 percent of fantasy leagues, and offers the best streaming value of the week. Quietly, after a disastrous start to the season, Carr has been much better in recent weeks. He's thrown for at least 288 yards in each of the first four games, with his best output coming in Week 4 against the Browns, with four touchdowns and 437 yards. The turnovers are concerning, with seven so far this season, but this week's matchup offers a solid chance at putting up big yardage totals again. The Chargers are allowing 8.3 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 29th in the NFL. Los Angeles also is allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Alex Smith, WAS (at NO, Mon.)
This Monday night gem has a 52.5 implied total from Vegas, that’s huge and the Saints are favored by roughly a touchdown, which is more than fair given their offense and playing at home, but that means plenty of work should land on Smith’s shoulders (and legs). The Saints' defense has limited the likes of Tyrod Taylor and Eli Manning to roughly 250 yards and a TD each but were destroyed by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Ryan for more than 800 yards and nine TDs combined. Washington hasn’t needed Smith to hit the gas pedal often and he’s yet to top 300 passing yards through three games, but we know he’s got it in him as well as some sneaky rushing potential.
SIT THESE QBs...
Marcus Mariota, TEN (at BUF)
Despite a big overtime win against the Eagles, Mariota’s Week 5 matchup isn’t ideal. The Bills have been somewhat respectable on defense the last two weeks, holding opposing Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins to modest numbers. The over/under for this game is only 39 points. so expect a hard-fought defensive battle, which is rare in the NFL these days.
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. MIA)
Miami looked bad in Week 4 against a New England team hungry for a win. Don’t expect that not to be the case Sunday against a Bengals team that is much improved. Minus a four-interception performance against Carolina, Dalton has been a steady fantasy football option. He's thrown for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games and he already has 11 touchdown passes this season. However, the Miami pass rush is legit, and despite a rough outing against the Patriots, this Dolphins defense is still pretty good. The Dolphins allow 12.51 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, which is the fourth fewest.
Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. LAR)
After scoring 25 fantasy points in Week 1 at Denver, Wilson has averaged 15 fantasy points in his last three games. Part of the reason has been Seattle finding a ground attack against the Cowboys and Cardinals, and Wilson has been limited to 26 pass attempts in each game. But that's what the Seahawks want to do, and you can expect Seattle to try to slow down this game against the Rams. Plus the Rams have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season and the Seahawks' offensive line is still terrible.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Kirk Cousins, MIN (at PHI)
The Eagles’ secondary can be beaten, but the warning comes because of the battle in the trenches between a Vikings' offensive line that’s ranked as the sixth-worst unit in pass blocking (Pro Football Focus) against the Eagles’ No. 3-ranked pass rush. And through four games, Cousins has been pressured on a league-high 89 drop backs and when pressured, he is known to throw an interception or two. Look for Cousins to finish the week outside the top 12 fantasy QBs this week.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Carolina Panthers (vs. NYG)
The Panthers are rested after a bye week, and the Giants continue to allow QB pressure (15 sacks). Averaging just under three sacks and two takeaways a game, Carolina is in a good spot against Eli Manning at home.
Tennessee Titans (at BUF)
Buffalo's Week 3 explosion against the Vikings feels like a fluke, and after last week's three-turnover, zero-point performance against Green Bay, you have to like any DST against the Bills. Tennessee is averaging three sacks per game and should be able to pressure Josh Allen into some mistakes.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Seattle Seahawks (vs. LAR)
The Seahawks play well at home, and would normally put up a good fight against their division rivals, but Earl Thomas is the latest key member of a once-dominant defense that is now either injured or gone, leaving behind a legion of gloom that needs rebuilding.
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. ATL)
Pittsburgh's defense has only one good fantasy performance this season, scoring 17 points against the Buccaneers and turnover-prone Ryan Fitzpatrick. Otherwise, the Steelers have averaged fewer than five points a game. That might be their ceiling this week in what figures to be a high-scoring game against Matt Ryan and a Falcons offense that's on absolute fire right now.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.