Welcome to this week’s start/sit fantasy advice for quarterbacks and defense/special teams (DST). But first I know you’re really interested to see how I did last week, so let’s take a look shall we.
Start Andy Dalton (18.40 fantasy points) — The Red Rocket is a must-start every week now.
Sit Ryan Tannehill (14.32 FP) — What has happened to the Dolphins? Tannehill was on everyone’s breakout list heading into this season and now he is destined for the waiver wire.
Plus I warned you about starting Michael Vick, which turned out to be a good idea.
Start Derek Carr (14.84 FP) — Everyone and their grandma knew that you should start Carr against the Bears. Too bad it really didn’t work out.
Sit Eli Manning (19.28 FP) — Somehow Eli managed to throw three touchdown passes and not one of them went to Odell Beckham Jr.
Now moving onto Week 5...
Byes: Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, New York Jets
START THESE QBS...
Drew Brees, NO (at PHI)
He’s back! After sitting out Week 3 with a bum shoulder, Brees was back in action against a decent Cowboys defense and he torched it for 359 passing yards and two touchdowns. His shoulder might not be 100 percent, but he is off of the injury report. The Saints say their franchise QB is “fine,” so look for him to keep airing it out against an Eagles defense that has struggled against elite signal-callers so far this season.
Philip Rivers, SD (vs. PIT, Mon.)
Rivers sure loves playing at home. In Week 1 threw for 404 yards and two touchdowns, then he was on the road for two games and struggled. Last week he returned home and lit it up for 358 yards and three TDs. Look for that trend to continue with the Pittsburgh Steelers rolling into town with a defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Plus, Rivers gets one of his favorite targets back in tight end Antonio Gates so look for another 300-yard passing day.
Jay Cutler, CHI (at KC)
Cutler returned after missing Week 3 with a hamstring injury and looked pretty good, as he threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns with only one interception, as he guided the Bears to their first win of the season. While it’s been awhile since Cutler has had a big passing day that should change this week even though he will be playing on the road in a hostile environment. The Bears travel to Kansas City to play a Chiefs defense that ranks dead last against the pass. Matt Forte will also have a big game this week, but look for Cutler to connect with his tight end Martellus Bennett early and often and a 20-point fantasy day isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Sam Bradford, PHI (vs. NO)
This might surprise you but hear me out. Bradford is coming off of his best game as an Eagle, throwing for 270 yards and three TDs. He finally started to look somewhat comfortable in the pocket last week and it showed, as Bradford finally decided to throw the ball down the field which led to several big plays. This week Bradford gets to play at home against the league’s second-worst passing defense in the New Orleans Saints. With Bradford starting to spread the ball around to all his weapons (sorry Jordan Matthews owners) and the Eagles' complete ineptitude at running the football, look for Bradford to build on his stats from last week.
SIT THESE QBs...
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. ARI)
One of these weeks you just know that Stafford and Calvin Johnson are going to have a huge week, it’s inevitable. But it’s not going to happen this week against the Arizona Cardinals. Stafford hasn’t been able to get anything going so far this season and has looked really bad in the Lions' past two losses to Denver and Seattle. Things don’t get much easier for Stafford this week. Last week the Cardinals' defense did allow Nick Foles to pass for three touchdowns, but keep in mind that so far this season Arizona has given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. That’s terrible news for Stafford owners.
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. SEA)
The fiery red head has been one heck of a pleasant surprise so far this season. He’s scored the second-most fantasy points of all quarterbacks through the first four games, beating out guys like Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning. Not bad for a guy who primarily went undrafted in many fantasy drafts. However this week we will finally see what Dalton and the Bengals' passing game is really made of when they host the Seattle Seahawks. Granted the Seahawks don’t always play the best when they travel east, and are coming off a Monday night game, but the Seahawks are still the Seahawks. Look for the Bengals to control the game and minimize mistakes and try to get Jeremy Hill going in this one.
Derek Carr, OAK (vs. DEN)
Carr has been a pleasant surprise this year thanks to the addition of WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Carr has been one of the most added players off the waiver wire too. But last week Carr was extremely disappointing, scoring a mediocre 13.84 fantasy points when much more was expected of him against the Chicago Bears. If he struggles against the Bears, imagine what he is going to do against the vaunted Denver Broncos defense? The Broncos have surrendered an average of 7.37 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. That’s the fewest in the league and enough of a reason to bench Carr this weekend.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Andrew Luck, IND (vs. HOU, Thurs.)
Of course if Luck plays you are going to start him and he could very well have a 30-plus fantasy point game, but he is still dealing with a mysterious shoulder injury that kept him out of action last week and very little light has been shed on its current condition. Luck is playing a Houston Texans team that just got crushed by the Atlanta Falcons and Devonta Freeman. Look for the Colts to lean heavily on Frank Gore (as long as he doesn’t fumble near the goal line for a third time) and max protect Luck so he doesn’t take many hits. Don’t expect many big plays through the air in this one.
START THESE DSTs...
New York Giants (vs. SF)
The Giants are slowly starting to get their act together on defense, as last week the G-Men stifled Tyrod Taylor and the rest of the Bills' surging offense. This week they get Colin Kaepernick and the rest of the 49ers, who keep gifting points to opposing defenses. The 49ers have allowed 7, 11, 28 and 15 fantasy points to opposing DSTs so far this season and look for the Giants to keep the double-digit scoring trend going Sunday night at home.
Arizona Cardinals (at DET)
The Cardinals' defense might be a little Jekyll and Hyde, but what fantasy defense isn’t? In Week 3 Arizona's DST scored 28 fantasy points and last Week just one fantasy point. This week the Cardinals travel all the way to Detroit but the good news is that Matthew Stafford has been struggling and the Lions' offense has allowed opposing defenses to score about nine fantasy points per game.
SIT THESE DSTs...
St. Louis Rams (at GB)
Many people thought the Rams' defense would be great heading into the season and those people would be right. The Rams DST has scored 10 or more fantasy points in three of the first four games. But this week St. Louis is going up against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Lambeau Field. That alone makes the Rams DST a must sit this week.
Dallas Cowboys (vs. NE)
Until proven wrong do not start any defense that is going up against Tom Brad and the New England Patriots. The Patriots are on a rampage and after their bye week they are going to pick up where they left off when they scored 51 points against the Jaguars.
— 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.