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Sports

Observer Fantasy Football Corner — Week 4

, , , , and | Wednesday, September 30, 2020

We didn’t see a rash of major injuries in Week 3 of the NFL season as in the week prior, but we still gleaned some useful information for fantasy league participants out there. See who our Fantasy Corner crew believes you need to start and sit in your league this week.

 

Sam Ouhaj

Must start: Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Say what you want about the Cowboys and their recent struggles over the first three weeks. Despite these struggles, one of the few players who has shined for the Cowboys is quarterback Dak Prescott. Currently, Prescott is averaging 28.3 fantasy points a game, which makes him a top-3 fantasy quarterback. Prescott leads the league in passing yards with 1,188 and shows no signs of slowing down. The Dallas Cowboys are set to face the Cleveland Browns this Sunday, whose defense has already given up 27.5 fantasy points to Lamar Jackson and 24.5 points to Joe Burrow. Prescott is coming off 39.8 and 27.5 point games these last two weeks. Jackson and Burrow each threw for 3 touchdown passes against the Browns defense, and I have all the confidence in the world that Prescott will replicate this success. I have a strong feeling that Prescott is going to have a career game against the Browns this week. Something worth noting is the Cowboys are returning to Dallas for a three-game home stretch with fans, an advantage that can go the extra mile in a year like this. If you have any of the Cowboys wide receivers, they are a must-play as well. 

Must sit: Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

It has become clear that despite being the number one running back for the Bucs, Jones has yet to produce points at a consistent level. Jones was a high upside flex player to start the season, but after three games, I am ready to abandon ship. Jones has yet to break more than 10.7 points this season, and his matchup this week against the Chargers gives me no justification to even consider starting him. While the Chargers are allowing teams to run for a total of 109.3 yards a game, Jones will see time split between Leonard Fournette and on occasion, LeSean McCoy. The Bucs are also a pass-first team with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, so there is little reason for the Bucs to choose the run game. If you have Jones, I would keep him on the bench and maybe look to pick up a new running back through the waiver wire. 

Who to pick up:

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins (owned in 45.8% of fantasy leagues)

Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots (owned in 28.8% of fantasy leagues)

 

Gavin Aitken

Must play: Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers

With Christian McCaffery out with an ankle injury, Davis looks to be the next man up in terms of replacing the monstrous load that McCaffery holds each week. While obviously not expected to be as productive as the Stanford product, Davis has already proven himself to be a sneaky good pick in terms of receiving production, picking up 16 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. With a favorable matchup against the Arizona Cardinals this week, expect the Panthers to try to get Davis integrated in the lineup as quickly as possible with matchups against NFC South rivals looming in the distance.

Must sit: Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

After watching what the Kansas City Chiefs did to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ passing game this Monday, I don’t exactly have high hopes for production from the wideouts for the Patriots this weekend. Cam Newton will get his production on the ground, but the Chiefs are going to make it really uncomfortable for him to find his preferred targets, Edelman chief among them. Perhaps the Chiefs experience a let off after their near perfect half of football last weekend, but that’s not something I’m willing to count on in terms of fantasy.

Who to pick up:

Nick Foles, QB, Chicago Bears (owned in 0.6% of fantasy leagues)

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings (owned in 17.0% of fantasy leagues)

 

John Kalemkerian

Must start: Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos

Gordon had a disappointing game against the Buccaneers, rushing just eight times for a meager 28 yards. His limited attempts were more a factor of game flow than anything else, as the Broncos fell behind early and were forced to rely almost exclusively on the pass in the second half. This week will be much different for Gordon and the Broncos offense, who get a weak Jets defense to rip apart on Thursday night. Gang Green is 29th against the run so far this season, and even a return of Gordon’s backfield mate Philip Lindsay won’t be enough to limit his touches.

Must sit: Giants RB’s

The Giants struggled mightily against a 49ers team largely comprised of second string players last week, and a matchup with the Rams doesn’t appear much — if at all — better. Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and newly-signed Devonta Freeman weren’t able to generate anything on the ground, rushing for a total of 17 yards on 10 carries. Their leading rusher, quarterback Daniel Jones, actually managed to outgain the combined yardage of the three backs. Yikes. Though Freeman has the potential to carry some standard league value later on in the season, he’s still adapting to the team and this is not a good matchup. Until the Giants offense can have some semblance of functionality without Saquon Barkley, steer clear of this trio of running backs.

Who to pick up: 

Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers (owned in 50.9% of fantasy leagues)

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings (owned in 38.0% of fantasy leagues)

 

Andrew McGuinness

Must start: DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

No team has had a worse pass defense in the early going this year than Seattle. They’ll be matched up against the Dolphins this week, and while Miami isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, their No. 1 wideout DeVante Parker is a solid option this week. Parker appears to be getting back to full health after dealing with a hamstring injury early in the year, catching all five of his targets last week and putting up a season-high 69 receiving yards. He’ll likely be a prime target once again for Ryan Fitzpatrick, as the Dolphins will likely look to go with more of an air raid look against Seattle this week, benefitting Parker’s potential production (try saying that five times fast).

Must sit: Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns

Though his team is over .500 for the first time in over half a decade, Baker hasn’t exactly been the catalyst behind their 2-1 start. Mayfield has yet to put up a performance over 16.5 points in my league (for reference, 25 passing yards is 1 point and a passing touchdown is 4), as the Browns have most relied on their ground game to put up 69 points in the past two weeks. Granted, Dallas’ defense hasn’t been the best so far this season at defending the pass, so it’s not the end of the world if you have to start him. Just know that there are many better options on the table at quarterback this week, and probably one of your team, too.

Pick Up: Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (owned in 41% of fantasy leagues)

 

Jamison Cook

Must start: James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

The undrafted rookie had his second big week in a row, following up a 21-point performance in Week 2 with a 30.9-point outburst in Week 3 (PPR leagues). Robinson has seen double-digit carries in each of the three games so far this season and has reached the end zone in each of the last two weeks, including twice against the Dolphins in Week 3. Even more notably, however, is the receiving production Robinson showed in Week 3. His six receptions for 83 yards led the Jaguars in both categories. The Bengals suspect defense, which has given up more than 350 yards every week, adds even more appeal to starting Robinson in Week 4, making him a lock for your starting lineup this weekend.

Must sit: AJ Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

It appeared as if the arrival of Joe Burrow in Cincinnati would bring Green back to fantasy relevance, but that has not been the case so far this season. Green has no touchdowns, has only caught 13 passes through the first three weeks of the season and has only topped 50 yards receiving once. His teammate Tyler Boyd has caught 17 passes in the last two weeks, with a touchdown in Week 2 and 125 receiving yards in Week 3. Boyd seems to be the preferred target for Burrow, and this does not bode well for Green owners, especially entering a matchup against a Jaguars defense that ranks 10th against wide receivers in Week 4. Green should stay on your bench until he shows signs of life and the Bengals offensive line shows they can give Burrow enough time in the pocket.

Who to pick up:

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins (owned in 45.8% of fantasy leagues)

Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills (owned in 10.4% of fantasy leagues)

 

Justice Mory 

Must start: Denver Broncos defense

For people that stream defenses, it has become clear that any team playing the New York Jets merits must start fantasy consideration. They are still available in the majority of leagues, and with the Jets giving up an average of 13 points to fantasy defenses over the season, this appears to be a strong play.

Must sit: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Do not let name recognition cloud your judgement. Even with a decent matchup against a suspect Bears secondary, T.Y. Hilton has not managed double digit points once this season. Whether it is his chemistry with new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers, game plan, or just age, Hilton is not currently a viable starting option in terms of consistency or upside. 

Who to pick up:

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers (owned in 3.6% of fantasy leagues)  

Jimmy Graham, TE, Chicago Bears (owned in 13% of fantasy leagues)

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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