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Thread: Fantasy football cheat sheet: Start, sit and more tips for Week 4

  1. #1 Fantasy football cheat sheet: Start, sit and more tips for Week 4 
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    Fantasy football cheat sheet: Start, sit and more tips for Week 4


    Joe Kaiser
    ESPN PLUS


    Are you looking to get the edge for your Week 4 fantasy lineups? Well, you've come to the right place!
    The Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings certainly got things started this week, combining for 69 points on Thursday night and giving plenty of fantasy squads an early jump-start in their matchup (you're not the person who didn't start Cooper Kupp, are you?). Still, there is a lot of football left to be played and we're here to help.


    The ESPN+ cheat sheet provides a rundown of the greatest tips from all of our ESPN+ fantasy football content. You'll find answers to the biggest questions of the week, along with injury updates, matchup advantages and wild-card plays from Eric Karabell, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Mike Clay, Al Zeidenfeld and KC Joyner. It's all the best advice in one handy article.
    Here's what our experts are saying about Week 4 in the NFL:


    Top tips

    Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
    "Brees has been outstanding early this season and now -- although out of the friendly confines of the Superdome -- gets to face an overmatched set of defensive backs for the Giants," Zeidenfeld notes in his weekly daily fantasy best buys column. "Though the Giants' defense vs. position numbers looks solid, we need to realize that two of the three quarterbacks they've faced are Dak Prescottand Blake Bortles, with neither team interested much in passing. The Saints are clearly a different animal offensively than those two squads, have one of the highest-expected team totals on the week, and Brees is a high-quality QB target to pay up for in tournaments."

    Michael Crabtree, WR, Baltimore Ravens
    "The Steelers have surrendered the most fantasy points to players lined up wide to the left. This makes sense considering the team's turmoil at right corner," Clay writes this week in his always informative best and worst reciever matchups column. "Steelers cornerback Artie Burns, who was actually benched in favor of Coty Sensabaugh entering Monday Night Football, still allowed five catches for 115 yards and a score in the game. Sensabaugh allowed 87 yards and a score on six catches. On the season, Burns has allowed a 157.9 passer rating and Sensabaugh is at 147.7. Crabtree lines up at left receiver 60 percent of the time, which sets him up with a terrific matchup."

    Denver Broncos' offense
    "Fantasy managers are well aware of how powerful the Kansas City offense is, but this week they should also pay close attention to how weak the Chiefs' defensive front seven is," Joyner writes in his Week 4 offensive line rankingscolumn. "Kansas City's defense ranks 27th in pass pressure rate (PPR, 23.8 percent), 31st in quarterback contact rate (QCR, 7.0 percent) and 27th in sack rate (4.0 percent). The Chiefs are equally poor against the rush, as they place 27th in yards per carry before first defensive contact (YBCT, 3.0) and are next to last in my good blocking productivity (GBP) metric that measures overall rush defense prowess (4.3)."


    Playing the matchups

    Phillip Lindsay, RB Denver Broncos
    "The Chiefs' defense has struggled mightily against the pass thus far, surrendering an NFL-worst 362.7 yards-per-game average, but it's a pretty weak unit overall," Cockcroft writes in his best and worst matchups column. "Against the run, the Chiefs have afforded the third-most yards per carry (5.2) and ninth-most runs of 10 or more yards (10), and has allowed five different running backs to score at least 12.7 PPR fantasy points, a remarkable 'feat' considering the team has played a league-leading 83 defensive snaps with at least a 10-point lead. Lindsay is the first Broncos back you want, despite his four-carry, two-point Week 3, as the cause was a second-quarter ejection rather than a shift in the team's backfield plans."

    Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
    "The Bears move Robinson all over the formation, as he has lined up approximately 35 percent wide to the left, 34 percent wide to the right and 32 percent in the slot this season," Clay notes. "Taylor Gabriel is used similarly (35 percent, 36 percent, 30 percent, approximately). This week, that means both will see a fairly even share of the Buccaneers' struggling corners. The Bucs have allowed the most fantasy points to slot receivers (a missed opportunity for injured Anthony Miller) and the third-most to wide receivers overall. Robinson should be locked into lineups every week and Gabriel's heavy volume makes him an underrated asset as is."

    Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
    "This play comes down to matchup as much as anything else," Zeidenfeld explains. "Most weeks Shepard isn't someone who is in my sights as a target, as I'd rather play Odell Beckham Jr., but this week Lattimore should be trailing OBJ around the field while Shepard draws Ken Crawley, who has allowed 295 yards receiving against in coverage (the most in the league) on 18 targets. Opposing quarterbacks have a perfect 158.3 rating when targeting the receiver Crawley is defending, and I can't imagine the Giants will ignore that heading into this week. Shepard already has had a solid amount of supply with 19 targets through three games, and the matchup this week couldn't be better."

    Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
    "If you're in a pinch at tight end -- conceivable, considering the injuries the position has absorbed to date -- Hooper is a standout matchups play available in more than 70 percent of ESPN leagues," Cockcroft writes. "While it feels like we've been waiting forever for his potential breakthrough, his usage appears to be up slightly this season, as he ranks 12th at the position in both snaps played (155) and routes run (83), and is tied for third with three red zone targets. That bodes well facing a Bengals defense that has allowed 15.1 and 11.0 PPR fantasy point performances to Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle in Week 1 and 10.7 to Mark Andrews in Week 2."


    Injury impact

    Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons -- Freeman (knee) will not play in Sunday's game against the Bengals.
    LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills -- McCoy (ribs) practiced on a limited basis for a third straight day Friday but is still listed as questionable for Sunday's game in Green Bay.
    Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals -- Mixon (knee) is officially out for Sunday's game against the Falcons. It will be the third straight game he has missed.
    Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers -- Allen (knee, tooth) returned to practice on Friday but is listed as questionable for Sunday's home game against San Francisco.
    Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks -- Baldwin hasn't played the past two weeks and is officially listed as questionable. However, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he expects Baldwin (knee) to play in Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
    Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers -- Rodgers (knee) hasn't been practicing Wednesday through Friday since being injured Week 2 against the Vikings. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills.
    JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers -- Smith-Schuster (abdomen) returned to a limited practice Thursday but is listed as questionable for this Sunday's home game against division rival Baltimore.
    Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars -- Fournette (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Jets. He hasn't played since Week 1.
    Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles -- Jeffery (shoulder, illness) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game in Tennessee.
    Josh Gordon, WR, New England Patriots -- Bill Belichick said, "we'll see," when asked Friday morning whether or not Gordon would be ready to play Sunday against the Dolphins.
    DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V, WRs, Houston Texans -- As is the case in previous weeks, both Hopkins (thumb, ankle, hamstring) and Fuller (hamstring) are on the injury list and considered questionable. Both players have been playing through nagging injuries so far this season.
    Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts -- Mack (hamstring) took part in Friday's practice but is listed as questionable. The only game Mack appeared in this season was the team's Week 2 win over Washington.
    Darren Sproles and Corey Clement, RBs, Philadelphia Eagles -- Sproles (hamstring) has been ruled out while Clement (quad) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game in Tennessee.
    Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts -- Doyle (hip) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Texans.
    Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers -- Cobb (hamstring) was held out of practice Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills.
    Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals -- Fitzgerald (hamstring) was a limited participant at Thursday's practice and is listed as questionable.
    DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins -- Parker (quadriceps) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at New England.
    Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears -- Miller (shoulder) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.
    Jonathan Stewart, RB, New York Giants -- Stewart (foot) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Saints.


    Lottery tickets

    Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
    "The byes begin this week, and with them the chance that you might be in the hunt for a fill-in. Trubisky should fit the bill, especially in two-quarterback or superflex (OP) leagues, going up against a Buccaneers defense that has afforded the third-most fantasy points on passing plays thus far (71.0)," Cockcroft writes. "In particular, the Buccaneers have been weakest containing opposing slot receivers, which is good news for a Bears team that routinely rotates -- and should continue to do so -- Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel all over the formation. The defense is below average covering perimeter receivers and tight ends, too, the latter providing a benefit to Trey Burton. Even without Anthony Miller (shoulder), this could be Trubisky's breakthrough game."

    Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns
    "Because of the departure of Josh Gordon, a large number of snaps and targets have opened up for the secondary wideouts in the Browns system, and Callaway has done the most to take advantage of that early on," Zeidenfeld writes. "Callaway has played 86 percent of snaps the past two weeks, logging 14 targets, a trend that should sustain with the change to Baker Mayfield as the starting quarterback over Tyrod Taylor due to his tendency to throw into tighter spaces than Taylor would have tried. The matchup is fantastic, as the Raiders have allowed the sixth-highest deep completion percentage since the beginning of last season. The puzzle pieces fit, and Callaway is a cash-game-viable player with tournament-winning upside."

    Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
    "Philadelphia's Ronald Darby has been targeted 32 times this season, which is four more than any other cornerback," Clay writes. "Jalen Mills sits 19th in the category (18) and is allowing a 123.1 QB rating. Offenses continue to pick on the weak spot of the Eagles' defense, which is the perimeter corners. Expect Tennessee to do the same in Week 4. Davis has been targeted on a massive 32 percent of his 74 routes. He is fine to re-insert into lineups following a tough matchup with Jacksonville last week."


    Big question of the week

    Which players will emerge at tight end, the thinnest of all the fantasy positions, and help your roster going forward?



    "Injuries to top-10 options Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker and Evan Engram have forced fantasy managers to look elsewhere at the position, and luckily for us, Oakland's Jared Cook, Tampa Bay's O.J. Howard and Indianapolis's Eric Ebron have stepped up," Karabell details this week in his fantasy stock watch column. "Cook has disappointed before; in 2016 when paired with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, he was supposed to emerge, but managed three receptions per game, and one overall touchdown. Howard had a quiet rookie season but easily leapfrogged Cameron Brate on the depth chart this summer. Ebron has taken advantage of the Jack Doyle injury, although I remain skeptical this lasts. Howard should be a star and has top-five tight end potential. Get him now before another big game in Week 4."
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  2. #2  
    RX Senior Gaz's Avatar
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    What's funny here is that the top picks didn't so squat (denver yet to play) and the lottery picks all kicked ass
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