We are nearly at the quarter mark of the football season and so much has happened in the first three weeks of the season. With injuries and under-performing studs plaguing many fantasy teams, start/sits going forward are of critical importance. Not to mention, we have to deal with the byes, as Carolina and Green Bay are idle this week.
With all that said, here are some important start/sits for Week 4.
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Joe Flacco: Baltimore Ravens
The reigning Super Bowl MVP is a mix-and-match quarterback for fantasy purposes and this is one of the week’s you’ll want to go “whacko” for Flacco.
This week Flacco will be going up against the Bills and their beaten down defense. The Bills can’t stop anybody these days and that includes the Jets. The Bills allow 262.3 passing yards per game (19th in the NFL) and with Flacco clicking with Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown, this could be the week he goes boom.
Darren McFadden: Oakland Raiders
McFadden has been healthy all season and that is removing any doubt about his value this year. So when a matchup like the Redskins comes along, you have to seize the opportunity and start him.
The Redskins are a mess on defense and they can be easily run on. They allow an unsightly 155 rushing yards per game (31st in the league) and have given up four rushing scores thus far. With Terrellle Pryor likely out for the game with a concussion, much of the game plan will be to feed the ball to McFadden. Start Run DMC with the utmost of confidence this week.
Le’Veon Bell: Pittsburgh Steelers
While it may be tough to trust a rookie in his first game back coming off an injury, the matchup against Minnesota is enticing enough to insert Bell into lineups.
The second-round pick in April’s draft will try to jumpstart an anemic Steelers’ rushing attack and the Steelers should feed him a lot when Pittsburgh takes on Minnesota in London. After all, the Vikings are allowing 114 rushing yards per game (21st in the NFL) and most of these games played in London lend themselves to sloppy grind-it-out affairs.
Cecil Shorts: Jacksonville Jaguars
Whether it was Chad Henne (although Blaine Gabbert is his quarterback now) throwing him the ball or the fact that he’s seemingly always involved in blowout losses (which leads to garbage time production), Shorts gets his numbers. Sunday can be another one of those days for Shorts.
The Colts (the Jaguars Week 4 opponent) are so-so against the pass and with the Colts likely to build up a big lead, expect more garbage-time magic from Shorts as Jacksonville tries to play catch-up.
T.Y. Hilton: Indianapolis Colts
With the Colts likely to win going away in Jacksonville, it makes all their skill-position players a recommended start this week, with Hilton at the forefront.
While the Colts would like to run the ball down the Jags throats, Andrew Luck will also keep it balanced with plenty of strikes through the air. The Jags are an all-around bad defensive unit and with them allowing seven passing touchdowns (tied for fifth most in the NFL); Hilton should be able to get loose in this affair.
Coby Fleener: Indianapolis Colts
Continuing on the theme that the Colts should easily dispose of Jacksonville, Fleener also makes for a solid start this week. Remember the Jags just allowed Seahawks tight end Zach Miller to score two touchdowns against them last week. And if Miller can do some damage, that makes Fleener just as likely to put up some nice numbers.
Matt Schaub: Houston Texans
This week Schaub and the Texans will be taking on a supremely talented defense in the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are particularly known for their tremendous pass defense, only allowing a meager 146.7 passing yards per game while giving up just one passing touchdown.
Besides, Andre Johnson is not 100 percent and when you add it all up, Schaub is clearly not a recommended start this week.
Chris Johnson: Tennessee Titans
Although Johnson is playing solidly enough this season, this might be one of those weeks you may want to stash him on your bench, as the 2-1 New York Jets come to town.
The Jets look rejuvenated on defense and they are doing a bang up job against the rush, allowing just 79.1 rushing yards per game while only allowing Doug Martin to score a rushing touchdown this year. With the Titans a suspect pass offense, expect the Jets to stack the box against Tennessee.
C.J. Spiller: Buffalo Bills
While it is extremely difficult to sit a player you likely selected in the first round, the surrounding circumstances make Spiller a guy you may want to sit this week.
You see there are three factors working against Spiller this week. First, he has a nagging thigh injury. Second, he is splitting time with Fred Jackson. And third, Spiller is facing Baltimore, who rank 4th in the NFL in rushing defense (74.7 rushing yards per game allowed) while not allowing any running back to score this year.
Andre Johnson: Houston Texans
Just like Spiller, it is hard to justify sitting a high draft pick—and in many instances your top receiver selected on draft day—in Johnson. However, outside factors play a huge role in Johnson perhaps struggling this week.
First, Johnson is suffering from a shin injury and he’ll likely not be at 100 percent. Secondly, Johnson will have to go up (likely) against Richard Sherman and the vaunted Seahawks pass defense. It all adds up to Johnson being a prime bust candidate. Start him at your own risk.
Hakeem Nicks: New York Giants
That was the amount of targets Nicks had last week in the Panthers shellacking of the Giants.
With the Giants a wounded and beaten down bunch, it may be hard for Eli Manning to connect with Nicks this week in Kansas City. The Chiefs have a vastly underrated bunch on defense, and have allowed just 185 passing yards per game (5th in the NFL).
While Nicks and Manning should regroup in time, this may not be the week to get them going.
Owen Daniels: Houston Texans
Like I said, passing on the Seahawks is tough enough and they are even at better at defending tight ends, having giving up the least amount of fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Hence, Daniels is a risky pick this week, despite his fine start to the season.