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Why You Should Sit Matt Ryan and Other QB/DST Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 4

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan

Week 4 means the start of bye weeks, so a new element is introduced into those pesky fantasy-related start/sit decisions. This week, it’s Green Bay and Philadelphia, so on the quarterback and defense/special teams front that means no Aaron Rodgers or Carson Wentz or Packers and Eagles DST.

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But before I dig into my Week 4 start/sit advice, let’s take a look back to see how I did last week.

Good Calls..

Sit Andy Dalton (11.24 fantasy points) – Dalton did have a decent passing game against the Broncos, but had zero touchdowns.

Start Ryan Tannehill (23.96 FP) – With Adam Gase coaching him up, it looks like Tannehill might be this year’s Blake Bortles. Although Thursday night’s performance against Cincinnati wasn’t all that encouraging.

Bad Calls...

Start Philip Rivers (11.4 FP) – He did throw for more than 300 yards, but how on earth did he not throw a TD pass against Indy?

Start Marcus Mariota (6.76 FP) – The whole Tennessee offense couldn’t get anything going against a Raiders D that was playing across country (again) and had been lit up in the first two weeks of the season.

Sit Jameis Winston (29.5 FP) – Winston had a huge game (405 yards, 3 TDs) against the Rams in a losing effort.

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

Teams on bye: Green Bay, Philadelphia



Matthew Stafford, DET (at CHI)

Stafford is having his best start to a season in his entire eight-year career. He’s already scored the third-most fantasy points among quarterbacks, is coming off of a huge week where he put up 30.5 against the Packers in Green Bay and he’s scored at least 26 in two of his three games so far this season. Stafford should continue to roll this week against the Bears, which have one of the league’s worst defenses and is currently giving up 27.5 points per game.

Carson Palmer, ARI (vs. LA)

Has there been a more disappointing quarterback to start the season than Palmer? He has been terrible in two of the first three games, and his one good outing came against the Buccaneers, a defense that can’t stop anyone through the air. But this week against the Rams he should rebound in a big way. Palmer has scored 18-plus fantasy points in seven of his last 11 home games, which includes four performances with more than 20 points. Los Angeles also allowed more than 25 fantasy points to Jameis Winston last week.

Philip Rivers, SD (vs. NO)

Rivers also was a no-doubt, must-start last week against the Colts and while he did throw for 330 yards, none of his passes resulted in a touchdown, which really hurt his fantasy value. That shouldn't be the case this week against the Saints, who have surrendered an average of more than 18 fantasy points a game to QBs. This could be a shootout, so Rivers, and his fantasy owners, should benefit.


Kirk Cousins, WAS (vs. CLE)

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Cousins has been tough to predict from a fantasy perspective after three weeks, but he has produced two straight games with 18-plus fantasy points. This week Cousins gets the lowly Cleveland Browns, who have surrendered more than 18 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, a total that includes seven touchdowns.

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Eli Manning, NYG (at MIN, Mon.)

Looks like good ol’ Eli is alive and well this year and he is getting harder and harder to trust as an every-week starting fantasy QB. His last two matchups were at home against the New Orleans Saints and the Washington Redskins. Two games where he was supposed to have a fantasy bonanza and he thoroughly disappointed, scoring fewer than15 fantasy points in each game. This week Manning and the Giants travel to Minnesota to take on a Vikings team that might field the best defense in the league. Just ask Cam Newton, who was held to 13 points last week.

Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. CAR)

You might be inclined to start Ryan this week since he’s scored the second-most fantasy points among quarterbacks and is coming off of a decent 21.9 against the Saints, which was his lowest point total of the season. This week is a different story as the Falcons welcome the Panthers to town. Carolina has allowed fewer than 180 passing yards twice this season, has yet to allow a 250-yard passer and also has allowed an average of fewer than 14 fantasy points a game to quarterbacks. Ryan has averaged fewer than 13 points in his last three home games against the Panthers.

Jameis Winston, TB (vs. DEN)

Winston is coming off of his second huge fantasy performance in three weeks (405 yards, 3 TDs, INT vs. the Rams), but we've already seen three examples of how no one is matchup-proof against the Broncos. Cam Newton threw for 194 yards and a touchdown while Andrew Luck threw for 197 yards and a score. Andy Dalton barely topped them in yards (206) but didn't find the end zone. Overall, that's three top-tier fantasy quarterbacks averaging 199 passing yards, 5.7 yards per attempt and 0.67 TD passes against the Broncos' elite defense. Winston is super intriguing once he gets past this murderer's row schedule (at ARI, LA, DEN, at CAR), but I would pass in Week 4 unless you're in a two-QB or deep league.


Russell Wilson, SEA (at NYJ)

He’s not playing well as it is, and now he’s dealing with a possible sprained MCL. Despite the magical healing properties that Pete Carroll believes his quarterback has, the fantasy reality is that Wilson hasn’t had any impact as a rusher yet this season, which hurts his overall value and limits his playmaking ability. Furthermore, no one wants to see Wilson get flattened by Muhammad Wilkerson and then take off a few series. Put Wilson on your bench for this week and let him heal. The good news is Seattle is on bye in Week 5.

Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)


Arizona Cardinals (vs. LA)

The Cardinals scored a serviceable eight fantasy points in last week's loss to the Bills, but an upcoming matchup against the Rams should mean a much bigger stat line. Opposing defenses have combined to average a solid 11 fantasy points per game when facing Case Keenum and company, so start the Red Birds.

New York Jets (vs. SEA)

Wait... start the Jets’ DST against the Seahawks? Yup, that’s right. First, Russell Wilson is banged up with knee and ankle injuries. That's not good against a formidable Jets front four. Second, two of the first three defenses to face the Seahawks have scored 11 fantasy points. Don't be shocked if the Jets soar in this one.


New York Giants (at MIN, Mon.)

The Giants' defense appeared to be on the rise after a 12-point performance against the Saints, but last week's three-point stinker put an end to that. The next team on the docket is Minnesota, which has not been fantasy friendly to defenses. In fact, opposing DSTs have averaged a mere 4.7 fantasy points against them.

Baltimore Ravens (vs. OAK)

The Ravens have been hot on the defensive side of the football, scoring a combined 21 fantasy points in their last two games. That short "streak" could come to an end this week though against Derek Carr and the Raiders. After three weeks, opposing defenses have combined to score zero fantasy points against Oakland.

— 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.