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Why You Must Sit Dez Bryant and Other WR/TE Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 4

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant

Between the start of bye weeks and all the injuries that keep coming, figuring out which wide receivers and tight ends to start in Week 4 could be a trickier proposition than usual for fantasy owners. But before I offer my start/sit advice fort this week, let’s see how I fared in Week 3.

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Good Calls...

Start Marvin Jones (38.5 FP) – He had a career day, needing just six catches to rack up 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Start Jarvis Landry (26.6 FP) – Landry finished Week 3 third in the league in targets, a trend that should only continue.

Sit Randall Cobb (4.3 FP) – Is Cobb becoming an afterthought in the Packers' offense?

Bad Calls…

Start Stefon Diggs (8 FP) – After scoring 33.2 fantasy points in Week 2, Diggs came crashing back down to earth with only four catches for 40 yards against the Panthers

Sit Jimmy Graham (20 FP) – The whole Seahawks' offense was on fire last Sunday and Graham had his best game ever as a Seahawk

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Teams on bye: Green Bay, Philadelphia

Wide Receivers

START THESE WRs...

Terrell Pryor, CLE (at WAS)

If Pryor is still available in your league, stop reading this and go pick him up right now. He’s really all the Browns have now that the team’s top two quarterbacks are out, Corey Coleman is hurt and Josh Gordon is no longer in the picture. Pryor will get plenty of touches against the Redskins’ 29th-ranked defense.

Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, DEN (at TB)

Sanders seems to be Trevor Siemian’s favorite target, but either way, both are worth starting now that we've seen Siemian play at a high level after his performance in Week 3 at Cincinnati. This week the Broncos travel to Tampa Bay to play a defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing WRs. The Falcons (Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu), Cardinals (Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Jaron Brown) and Rams (Brian Quick and Tavon Austin) all had multiple receivers score touchdowns on the Buccaneers. Whether that trend continues this week remains to be seen, but either way Sanders and Thomas should fare well.

DeSean Jackson, WAS (vs. CLE)

Jackson has now had two solid games against the Steelers in Week 1 (10 fantasy points in a standard league) and the Giants (15 points), and his lone blemish was a four-point outing in Week 2 against Dallas. This week the Browns come to town and they have really struggled with opposing receivers this season. There are already five that have scored double digits in fantasy points against Cleveland, including Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker last week. The Browns' top cornerback, Joe Haden (groin), also is uncertain to play. Jackson should be considered a must-start fantasy option this week.

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

Tyrell Williams, SD (vs. NO)

We all saw what Brandon Coleman and Michael Thomas did to the Saints Monday night. The Saints are not good, and they have to travel to the West Coast on a short week to take on San Diego, which is third in the league in scoring after three games. Williams is emerging as the Chargers’ best pass catcher. He caught one TD pass in his debut as a starter in Week 2, but could have just as easily wound up with one or two more. Last week, after just one (dropped) target in the first half, he caught 6-of-8 in the second half for 69 yards and nearly scored a TD for the second week. He’s emerging as the “go-to-guy” in San Diego and is in for a big game this week.

SIT THESE WRs...

Brandon Marshall, NYJ (vs. SEA)

Marshall's knee and foot injuries didn't limit him last week in terms of snaps (66) or targets (10), but he finished with just three catches for 27 yards against the Chiefs. Things won't get any easier this week, as Marshall figures to see a lot of Richard Sherman, who has allowed just four catches for 23 yards so far this season, or DeShawn Shead, who also is playing well. The Seahawks have allowed an average of 9.7 receptions, 109 yards and zero touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this year, and with Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa also vying for targets in what is projected as a low-scoring game, it'll be tough for Marshall, or any of the Jets' receivers, to put up WR2 numbers.

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Golden Tate, DET (vs. CHI)

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Tate caught four of six targets for 40 yards in the loss to the Packers in Week 3, but he may be becoming the forgotten man in the Lions’ offense with the emergence of Marvin Jones. And who could blame Detroit? Jones is among the best wideouts in the game while Tate struggles to run his routes and produce yardage. According to the game charters at Pro Football Focus, Jones is averaging 3.21 yards per route run, second best in the NFL. Tate is averaging 0.81 of a yard per route run, second worst. Even 35-year-old Anquan Boldin has produced more yards per route run (0.90) than Tate.

Jeremy Maclin, KC (at PIT)

Maclin has one game with double digits in fantasy points this year (Week 1 vs. Chargers, five rec., 63 yds., TD), but his season high is six catches for 68 yards in Week 2 at Houston. The Steelers have done a great job against opposing receivers so far this year, as Jordan Matthews last week is the only one thus far to score a touchdown. DeSean Jackson had six catches for 102 yards in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, but he's the lone receiver to score double digits in fantasy points in a standard league. The targets for Maclin have been consistent with at least seven in each game, but he will likely need to score to be considered a starting-caliber fantasy WR this week.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

Dez Bryant, DAL (at SF)

There is a fairly good chance that Bryant will be ruled out by the team before Sunday, but if not, you should still leave him on your bench. Jason Garrett said Bryant has a hairline fracture in his knee, and it would probably be better for him to sit for a couple of weeks and hopefully come back at 100 percent when Tony Romo (back) is healthy. It's been a tough season for Bryant, who is coming back from last year's broken foot, and he's struggled developing chemistry with rookie Dak Prescott. Bryant has scored 10 fantasy points in a standard league in each of the past two games, but he hasn't performed on a dominant level in accordance with his draft status..

Tight Ends

START THESE TEs...

Zach Miller, CHI (vs. DET)

Miller caught eight of nine targets for 78 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Cowboys. This week, he faces the Detroit Lions, who are allowing an average of five catches for 54 yards per game to TEs, resulting in 13.4 fantasy points per contest. The Lions also are tied with the Falcons for most touchdowns allowed (four) to tight ends.

Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. NYG, Mon.)

Sam Bradford and Kyle Rudolph have something special developing in Minnesota. Last week, Rudolph saw 10 targets (35.7 percent of the team’s total), reeling in seven of those 70 yards and a touchdown. Two weeks ago, it was eight targets. He only caught three of them, but his fantasy value was saved by a touchdown. He’s clearly the second option in this passing game.

Dennis Pitta, BAL (vs. OAK)

Pitta didn't have the huge game many fantasy owners were hoping for in Week 3 at Jacksonville with six catches for 42 yards on eight targets after a 102-yard outing in Week 2 at Cleveland. But you have to like the usage, and only seven tight ends had more targets and four had more receptions in Week 3. This week Pitta will face a Raiders’ defense that has allowed at least 59 receiving yards to three different tight ends this season and also has given up the ninth-most fantasy points to the position.

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MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

Cameron Brate, TB (vs. DEN)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins is gone from Tampa Bay. So it’s time to make Tampa’s TE position Brate again. Bad pun aside, Brate saw 10 targets and will be going against a Denver D that gives up TE touchdowns like the Broncos feel bad for opposing offenses. With Gary Barnidge now a non-factor, Dwayne Allen not stepping up, and Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett pointless plays until Tom Brady comes back, you can probably stick Brate in there this week for a nice, sneaky play.

SIT THESE TEs...

Jacob Tamme, ATL (vs. CAR)

The veteran tight end has found a nice home in Atlanta and is enjoying a solid start to his 2016 campaign. However, you should look elsewhere for a starting TE in Week 4. The Falcons will host the Carolina Panthers, who rank fifth in the NFL in passing defense. Additionally, Tamme will be tracked by All-Pro Luke Kuechly. He’s one of the most agile cover linebackers in the game, and should be able to stick with Tamme.

Clive Walford, OAK (at BAL)

Walford has been a popular streaming option so far this year because of amazing matchups against New Orleans, Atlanta and Tennessee. But he's only delivered in one game, which was Week 2 against the Falcons when he had six catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. In his other two games he had five catches for 52 yards and no scores. You can expect another low total this week against the Ravens. Baltimore is tough on tight ends with a combined 11 catches for 110 yards against Buffalo, Cleveland and Jacksonville. The Ravens’ defense should be able to handle Walford and he's not worth trusting as a streamer this week.

Jesse James, PIT (vs. KC)

The Chiefs are among the best at defending tight ends, which should make things tough for James this week. The Chiefs haven't exactly faced a gauntlet of great tight ends so far this season – San Diego, Houston, Jets – but Kansas City has allowed a total of eight catches for 61 yards to the position through three games. That’s enough to easily bench James this week.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

Jimmy Graham, SEA (at NYJ)

His nine targets translated to six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown last week. That’s the most since his eight-catch, 140-yard game in Week 6 of last season. Both of those are outliers and should not be taken seriously. This is a run-first offense, and Seahawk Jimmy hasn’t proved that he can play like Saint Jimmy consistently enough for you to put him back into your starting lineup with no hesitation or second thoughts.


— 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.