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October 01, 2020

Fantasy football Week 4 start/sit advice: Play Joe Burrow, bench Justin Jefferson (and all Steelers, Titans)

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Joe-Burrow-Bengals-Eagles-fantasy_100120_USAT Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Is Joe Burrow a reliable fantasy quarterback... already?

Week 4 is about to commence in fantasy and there are some truly tough decisions to make out there. Among healthy skill players and quarterbacks, there is a clear differentiation between the haves and have-nots. Waiting for certain players to perform well may no longer be possible, as the trade markets should start to open up in your league.

In addition to that, pulling the right levers each week remains the most important decision-making tool you have to help propel your team to victory. As we do every week, we've singled out a player at each position we recommend starting — and sitting — if you happen to have them on your squad.

Unlike other outlets, we are not going to waste column inches telling you to start Patrick Mahomes every week. Start him. And start Nick Chubb too. Duh. We are going to dive into some fringe borderline players to help with those 50/50 decisions fantasy owners suffer through every week.

Quarterback

Start: Joe Burrow, Bengals vs. Jaguars

It's time to make Burrow your starter. A second straight 300 yard game against the Eagles last week, paired with his team's matchup this week against a terrible Jaguars defense makes him a very high upside starting candidate. If it's between him and, say, Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, go with the rookie.

Jacksonville is the sixth worst team at allowing points to fantasy QB's, and Burrow's usage is super high — he throws it 47 times per game. This is a match made in heaven. Fire it up.

Sit: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs Titans

Statistically, Big Ben is probably a fine starting candidate against Tennessee this week. But the pandemic in our midst has finally impacted the NFL season, as a small outbreak in the Titans locker room has forced this game to be pushed back to what was initially reported to be Monday — but now is looking like the game will be pushed.

There is no way to know when the outbreak will be handled, or whether a new player will test positive. Everything is in flux, and with a 10-14 day quarantine period needed to prevent the spread of COVID, nothing is for sure right now. Because of that, it would be wise to avoid Roethlisberger, James Conner, Derrick Henry and all the players involved in this game because, frankly, you have no choice. 

Running back

Start: Carlos Hyde, Seahawks vs. Dolphins

An injury to starter Chris Carson last weekend opened the door for the veteran Hyde, who is a bit banged up but looks to be the RB1 for the game against the Dolphins this week. Many forget Hyde ran for 1,000 yards last year and has a pretty reliable track record.

We expect many of you have spend a bit on him from the FAAB on waivers — make that investment worth it. Hyde will get the most carries if things go as planned in Week 4, and might even find the end zone as Seattle should have its way offensively against Miami.

Sit: Devonta Freeman, Giants vs. Rams

We stress this every week — if you don't know, don't take a chance. Freeman has reportedly said he knows about half the playbook as he looks to assume Saquon Barkley's role as featured back for the downtrodden Giants. Their offensive line is a mess and couldn't even block for Barkley when healthy, so taking a Giants offensive player is a risk this season.

Let's wait and see how Freeman responds to the new team, his first since playing the early part of his career in Atlanta. If you have another running back who is a borderline starter, go with him over Freeman this week until you know what you have.

Wide reciever

Start: Robbie Anderson, Panthers vs. Cardinals

Anderson is becoming a favorite target of Teddy Bridgewater in Carolina, and he has been an unexpectedly consistent and reliable wideout through three weeks. We expect that trend to continue. 

He's been targeted 24 times and already has 278 receiving yards. He is the bonafide No. 1 for the Panthers and until he lays an egg, it's probably safe to put him in the no-brainer start every week category. 

Sit: Justin Jefferson, Vikings vs. Texans

Jefferson had a positively monster game last week against the Titans, catching seven passes for 175 yards. He was a red hot pick on on the waiver wire with fantasy owners selling the farm to pick him up.

But let's slow our roll a bit. He's a rookie and we have seen this happen before. No, by no means are we saying Jefferson isn't going to be a stud for the rest of his career — we just think he needs to prove he can do it two games in a row first. His first two games combined saw him catch five balls for 70 yards. It will be very valuable to see what he does in this next game.

Tight end

Start: Jimmy Graham, Bears vs. Colts

Yeah, we know the Colts have — for whatever reason — been extremely effective against tight ends this season, among the best in football. But Nick Foles man, come on.

Last week with Foles assuming the Chicago offense, Graham had six receptions and scored a pair of touchdowns. Big energy Nick loves his tight ends, as he did in Philly (in Zach Ertz and Trey Burton). Graham could be the favorite receiver for Foles going forward. Graham is worth a start.

Sit: Jordan Atkins, Texans vs. Vikings

Atkins has had only two catches in two of his first three games and one lone touchdown. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been spreading the ball around, and he hasn't proven he trusts any of his tight ends this year. Atkins on paper is a good pick to start, but he hasn't produced yet.


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