by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos – vs. Oakland
Siemian is a tough quarterback to trust, because the Broncos have always seemed like they wanted Paxton Lynch to take command of the starting role. Then you have a rather poor showing in Week 3, including throwing a pair of INT and having posted a season worst 6.48 yards/attempt. Of course that came on the road, whereas this week he returns home to take on a Raiders’ defense that has allowed the fourth most points per week to opposing quarterbacks (and has yet to get an INT).
A home start against a secondary that doesn’t scare you? It seems like an ideal week to utilize Siemian in your starting lineup. He may not throw for over 300 yards, but the opportunity for TD will be there and that’s vital.
Sit – Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are one of the stingier defenses against opposing quarterbacks thus far. Then you have an offense that is going to run through Ezekiel Elliot and the running game, as evidenced by only 18 passing attempts in Week 3 against Arizona. Of course that seems like the exception to the rule (Prescott had 89 attempts over the first two weeks), except for the fact that Los Angeles has allowed the second most points per week to opposing running backs, thanks to the second most rushing yards (399) and the most rushing TD (5). It’s hard not to expect Elliot to be the focal point of the offense once again, putting Prescott’s performance at risk.
Start – Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland
The question Mixon has faced is opportunity, but that appeared to resolve itself in Week 3 with a new offensive coordinator running the show:
- Joe Mixon – 18 carries for 62 yards, 3 receptions for 39 yards
- Jeremy Hill – 7 carries for 23 yards, 1 reception for 6 yards
- Giovani Bernard – 3 carries for 37 yards, 2 receptions for 12 yards
Mixon is going to continue to give up some touches to the other two options, but he should continue as the clear leader and possesses the most upside. With things becoming clear, he’s now a must use option.
Start – Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Indianapolis
Much like Mixon, Carson has taken control of the team’s backfield and is the clear leader ahead of Thomas Rawls. With C.J. Prosise out for Week 4, Carson’s role could expand even further and he could see more opportunities in the passing game (4 receptions for 35 yards and 1 TD thus far). Taking on an Indianapolis defense that has allowed 360 yards to opposing running backs through three weeks (201 rushing yards, 159 receiving yards), he could be in line for his biggest week to date.
Sit – Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – at Denver
While the Broncos have allowed the third fewest rushing yards thus far, the only two teams to allow fewer are the ones who have only played two games (Miami and Tampa Bay). Over three weeks Denver has allowed 142 yards and 0 TD on 58 carries for running backs (2.4 yards per carry), with the “blemish” being running backs who catch the football (105 receiving yards and 1 TD). As it is Lynch is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry, has 1 TD and is not a factor in the passing game. That makes Lynch a tough sell as a RB2, and while you can utilize him as a FLEX he’s a risky proposition at best.
Sit – Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Miami
The Saints’ backfield remains a bit of a mystery, as Ingram shares things with Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara. Ingram has gotten between 11 and 16 touches over the first three weeks, which could be enough to make an impact but it is not a guarantee (he’s averaging around 78 yards per game). The biggest thing is that he has yet to find the end zone, though the fact that his touches are not guaranteed and that the Dolphins are allowing 70 rushing yards per week to opposing running backs makes him a risky play.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Golden Tate – Detroit Lions – at Minnesota
It would be easy to overlook Tate in shallower formats, with just 83 total yards over his past two games. That said he’s been targeted at least 11 times in two of the three games this season and he draws a Vikings’ defense that has allowed the second most points per week to opposing wide receivers. With a league high 638 receiving yards allowed, you know Detroit will take to the air and Tate should be the leader of the pack.
Sit – T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts – at Seattle
Hilton finally had a big day in Week 3, hanging 7 receptions for 153 yards and 1 TD against the Browns. Of course things are likely going to be completely different in Week 4, as the Colts travel to Seattle to take on one of the stronger defenses in the league. We all know the Seahawks’ history and with ample questions hanging over Indianapolis Hilton is going to be a tough sell in shallower formats.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Pierre Garcon – San Francisco 49ers – at Arizona
It’s easy to overlook Garcon, as he’s not a flashy option. He is steady, though, and he’s posted strong performances in two of the three games thus far (he has 10 targets and at least 80 yards in two of his three contests). He’s going to remain the team’s top option, and the Cardinals have allowed the third most points per week to opposing wide receivers.
Sit – Jermaine Kearse – New York Jets – vs. Jacksonville
Jacksonville has allowed opponents to turn 48 targets into just 19 receptions, 201 yards and 1 TD. That’s among the best in the league, and while Kearse is the “leader” of the Jets’ receiving corps he’s yet to exceed 64 yards in a game and has gotten 8 targets over the past two weeks. Even in deeper formats he’s impossible to trust.
Start – Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New York Giants
The Giants have shown a weakness against opposing tight ends this season, including 3 TD allowed. While Brate has not done much, he has turned 7 targets into 6 receptions and has 1 TD. While he may not be the most trustworthy option, if you don’t have one of the elite he’s as good of a gamble as there is.
Sit – Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Philadelphia
There was a lot of hype heading into the season, but Henry hasn’t even been targeted in two of the three games. Will this be another rebound game or will he again be a non-factor in the game plan? It’s impossible to predict, and therefore he can’t be trusted.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings: