Four weeks into the fantasy football season and much has probably changed when it comes to those you trust in your lineup and those who give you a little more pause before plugging in. So in the spirit of change, let's mix things up a bit for the start/sit advice for quarterbacks, tight ends, and defense/special teams (DSTs). This week, I am going to present them as sit/start instead.
It's not a big change, granted, but it's still a change. What hasn't changed, however, is the approach. I'm taking a look at a pair of players very close in the weekly rankings. Hopefully, you already are utilizing Athlon Sports' positional rankings (below). I do realize there are other rankings out there, but more often than not, I recommend the lower-ranked option to start and the higher one to sit.
Teams on bye: Detroit, Miami
Sit Josh Allen, Start Mason Rudolph
We still don't know who is starting for the Bills this week. Josh Allen has been cleared from concussion protocol, so he can play. The reasonable expectation is that he will start on Sunday, but it's no guarantee. Matt Barkley could get the call but it doesn't make a difference as I would not start either BIlls signal-caller.
The Titans' defense is no joke. Yes, they gave up 400-plus passing yards to Atlanta last week. But let's just say Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley are better weapons than what Buffalo will throw against Tennessee on Sunday.
The Titans also had five sacks last week, the second time this season they've hit that mark. Even in a 2-QB league, I'd sit the Buffalo quarterback this week. Meanwhile, I am absolutely starting Mason Rudolph this week, especially in 2-QB leagues.
First off, let's look at what Rudolph has done:
From the above, we can see that Rudolph has had two touchdowns each game that he has started. His attempts, completions, and yardage have all steadily rose each week.
Meanwhile, in Week 5 he takes on a Ravens team that is 30th in the NFL in passing yards per game allowed. That means just two other teams (and they are the Buccaneers and Eagles) are giving up more.
Sit Austin Hooper, Start Tyler Eifert
Hooper might play a lot of snaps this week. However, I expect many of those snaps to require him to stay in and help block All-Everything J.J. Watt. Even if Hooper does go out for more patterns than I expect, I would keep your expectations low. Houston is giving up fewer than six fantasy points per game to TEs this season, making the Texans the third stingiest defense vs. the position. This game has one of the higher over/unders for the week at 50 points, so I understand the temptation to use Hooper. Just don't expect Hooper to be a part of that 50.
The next highest over/under is the Cardinals and Bengals game at 47.5. I'm not so sure they get there as I think Andy Dalton will continue to struggle. But it's becoming well known that tight ends are absolutely terrorizing the Arizona defense.
The Cardinals have given up 111 fantasy points to the tight end position through four games. That's more fantasy points than the Buffalo Bills gave up to tight ends all season last year. It's mind-boggling given that just a few seasons ago in 2016, the Cardinals gave up the least amount of fantasy points to tight at 85. The fact that the Cardinals have already given up more fantasy points to the tight end in four games than teams have in an entire season is reason alone to start Eifert.
But how about when Arizona has the ball this week?
Sit Cincinnati DST, Start Jacksonville DST
Fantasy owners seem to be starting the Bengals DST this week and I'm not sure why. The four sacks against Seattle in Week 1 were nice. But what else have they done since? They have one more sack and a few takeaways. They have allowed 21 points or more in every game. And they allowed nearly 600 yards of offense to the 49ers in Week 2.
I know, its the matchup. Yes, Arizona is in the bottom half of the league in offense. But the Cardinals still have David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, two amazing weapons. Furthermore, I stated earlier in the week and I'll say it again. I think Kingsbury and Kyler Murray get it figured it out this week.
Meanwhile, owners seem to be scared of using the Jaguars DST this week, probably because of Christian McCaffrey. But unstoppable object, meet immovable wall. Jacksonville is allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game. The pass defense is a little weaker, but not much. The Jags have allowed only six TD passes in four weeks. That's not too shabby. You drafted Jacksonville because they were one of the better DSTs last year. They are this year as well.
— 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.