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START/BENCH: Week 4

With three weeks of the 2020 season in the books, we’re starting to figure some things out.

Some of those things, we already essentially knew. Three weeks into the season, Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys rank among the top-five running backs in Sharks League Scoring. DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals is a top-five wide receiver. Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs is pacing all tight ends in fantasy points.

None of that is surprising.

However, there have been unexpected developments—for better and for worse. At this point in the season, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills is fantasy football’s No. 1 quarterback. Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals barely ranks inside the top 35 at the running back position. DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks is a top five fantasy wideout.

Now, these surprises may not hold. Mixon started slow in 2019 as well. Deshaun Watson‘s slow start in Houston can in some part be attributed to a brutal schedule to start the season. Making knee-jerk moves after a small sample size is asking for trouble.

But there have been some changes to the “Studs” list three weeks in—and more will be coming after Week 4.

Speaking of Week 4, let’s move on to this week’s recommendations.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. New England)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Washington)

Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. Cleveland)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Miami)

Kyler Murray, Arizona (at Carolina)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (at Las Vegas)

OFF THE LIST: Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. Minnesota): Watson may well work his way back into stud-dom in short order. But three weeks in, he’s 15th among quarterbacks in fantasy points.

SPOT-START OF THE WEEK

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami (vs. Seattle)

For a guy who is essentially just a placeholder for rookie Tua Tagovailoa, Fitzpatrick has been playing well of late—he has 488 passing yards and four scores without an interception over the past two games. As Evan Macy wrote for Philly Voice, a third straight solid statistical effort could be in the offing Sunday against the Seahawks.

“(Seattle has) a weakness,” Macy said, “and it’s on the defensive side of the ball. In three games they’ve allowed around 27 points per game, and seem to prefer winning in shootouts. There should be room for Fitzpatrick to throw together some stats, regardless of whether they have a chance to win at home this weekend.”

Over the first three games of the 2020 season, the Seahawks have allowed more passing yards than any team over that span in NFL history. The Dolphins have the talent at wide receiver to light Seattle up again in Week 4.

ROLL THEM OUT

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (at Dallas)

This is admittedly a play in deeper leagues, superflex formats and two-QB leagues. But if Mayfield can’t have a big game against a Cowboys secondary that was roasted over and over again in Week 3, then said big game isn’t coming—ever.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Atlanta)

At this rate, there are going to be a lot of fantasy managers who owe Rodgers an apology after prematurely deciding he was in decline as a player. He’s seventh in fantasy points among quarterbacks, and draws a top five matchup at home Sunday against a bad Falcons defense.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit (vs. New Orleans)

Stafford is coming off his best game of the season—270 passing yards and two scores in an upset win over the Arizona Cardinals. Sunday Stafford and the Lions will play host to a New Orleans Saints team that has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.

SIT THEM DOWN

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New York Giants)

Goff has been solid so far this season, checking in ninth among quarterbacks in fantasy points through three weeks. But this week’s bottom-10 matchup with the Giants isn’t a great one, if only because the Rams may well not have to throw the ball all that much. The Giants, um, suck.

Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville (at Cincinnati)

In his season-plus in the NFL, Minshew has demonstrated that he can put up good numbers when the matchup’s right. Unfortunately, this week’s tilt in Cincinnati isn’t—the Bengals have given up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season.

Kyler Murray, Arizona (at Carolina)

Murray’s ascendancy to fantasy stardom hit a speed bump last week with a three-interception performance against the Lions, and this week the Redbirds face a Panthers team that has surprisingly ranked 31st in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks in 2020.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.