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START/BENCH: Week 4

There are numerous times during the fantasy season that I am reminded of an iconic scene from one of my favorite movies involving one of my favorite actors. The movie would be ‘Animal House,’ the actor would be Kevin Bacon and the scene is where ‘Chip Diller’ is lying on the ground being trampled and repeating the phrase “All is well.”

Why would I bring this up to begin the Week 4 Start/Bench article one may ask?

Well, if you own A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffery, DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald or Amari Cooper you need to keep that phrase in mind after they all finished outside the top-30 in scoring at the WR position last week. Yes, those types of performances can be frustrating and disappointing to swallow but they are not the norm. With only three weeks in the book it is not the time to panic. These are elite players and they will bounce back.

All is well.

With that being said there are once again a few tweaks to the ‘Studs’ list as a three week sample size continues to shed light on offensive schemes as well as snap counts moving forward. Keep in mind that bye weeks are now underway with Philadelphia and Green Bay having the week off. I am done babbling and let’s get to it!

 

QUARTERBACK

STUDS

Cam Newton
Aaron Rodgers -bye week-
Andrew Luck
Drew Brees
Ben Roethlisberger
Tom Brady –suspended for the first 4 games-
Carson Palmer
Derek Carr

Time to Take a Seat

Eli Manning While he is averaging just over 300 passing yards per gam,e Manning has thrown only four touchdowns in the first three weeks. Until he starts reaching the end zone with more frequency he’s not an elite, every week must-start option.

Blake Bortles Bortles is a fringe top-10 QB right now but when you have more turnovers (7) than touchdowns (5), it’s hard to sell that player as a ‘Stud.’ There will be plenty of weeks where we’ll want to have him in our lineup but we may see weeks where it’s time to sit him due to the untimely turnovers and other QBs with more favorable matchups.

 

START

Matthew Stafford, DETROIT at Chicago – Let’s keep riding the hot hand here as Stafford just put up 385 passing yards and three scores against the Packers. The Lions struggle to run the ball (I am being kind) and will be relying on Stafford’s arm on a weekly basis. He has seven TD passes against only a pair of interceptions and is developing a nice rapport with WR Marvin Jones and TE Eric Ebron. The Bears have allowed five total TDs to the QB position and struggle to create pressure putting up only four sacks to date.

 

Kirk Cousins, WASHINGTON, vs. Cleveland – We got a glimpse of the 2015 version of Cousins last week as he finished with two TD passes while not turning over the ball on the way to a victory in New York. This week’s matchup is a juicy one with the Cleveland Browns coming to town. Stumbling out of the gate, Ryan Tannehill just hung over 300 yards passing and three TDs on Cleveland. For the season, Cleveland has allowed an average of 299 passing yards per game and seven TD passes. We like that!

 

Philip Rivers, SAN DIEGO vs. New Orleans – “Old Man” Rivers just keeps plugging along despite losing major offensive weapons on what seems like a weekly basis. Through three weeks he has yet to throw an interception and has thrown five TDs. This week he has a very nice matchup against a defense that has yet to pick off a pass this season in the New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense was just lit up by Matt Ryan for a pair of passing scores as well as gored on the ground by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Rivers will be able to utilize play action to get the ball deep against a secondary ravaged by injuries.

 

Trevor Siemian, DENVER at Tampa Bay – It was a coming out party for Siemian last week in Cincinnati as he tore through the Bengals putting up over 300 passing yards and four TD passes. With the Bengals selling out to stop the run, Siemian showed the ability to feed the ball to both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and both WRs went for over 100 receiving yards with a score (Sanders had a pair). Tampa Bay ‘s pass defense has struggled allowing seven TD passes and managing only one interception. Worse yet, they just gave up two TD passes to Case Keenum. Siemian and the entire Broncos offense will have their way with the Buccaneers this week.

 

BENCH

Eli Manning, NY GIANTS, at Minnesota – The Vikings are simply beating the snot out of opposing QBs. In the last two games, they have mauled both Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton sacking the pair 13 times while creating six turnovers. On the season, Minnesota has racked up 15 sacks, nine turnovers, a safety with three D/ST TDs. Coming off of throwing a late game pick that cost his team a chance at a game winning field goal, Manning heads into the teeth of the dragon this week in Minnesota. He has been sacked six times and will be in for a very long day against this dominant defensive unit in Week 4.

 

Jameis Winston, TAMPA BAY vs. Denver – It’s been a case of feast or famine through the first three weeks for Winston. In weeks one and three, he tossed seven TDs against only two interceptions. Sandwiched between those games the Arizona Cardinals picked off four passes while sacking Winston three times and he lost a fumble. On the season, Winston has eight TDs as well as eight turnovers. The Broncos have only allowed two TD passes and one rushing TD to the QB position. Denver has averaged four sacks per game and will be pressuring Winston all day long. A pressured Winston can be a turnover-prone Winston. Let’s sit him this week.

 

Russell Wilson, SEATTLE at NY Jets – Early reports are that Wilson should be good to go this week after suffering a knee injury that forced him out of Week 3. That’s all well and good but a hobbled Wilson against what should be a very fired up front seven of the Jets scares me. After being hung out to dry by their offense last week, you can bet that Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams will be looking to make life hell for Wilson. If he’s unable to scramble out of the pocket, Wilson will have little time to get the ball downfield. There are better options available until Wilson gets healthier.

 

Marcus Mariota, TENNESSEE at Houston – Things are trending in the wrong direction for Mariota coming off a game in which he failed to throw a TD while tossing two picks and losing a fumble against Oakland. Now he’s got to travel to Houston and face a defense that was humbled by the Patriots but will have had extra days to get ready having played Thursday night. Even if the news that J.J. Watt may be out, the combination of Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney will make for a long day for Mariota. Mariota has yet to face the  Texans as he missed both showdowns last season but will not be so lucky this year. Avoid him this week.

About Wally Spurlin

Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine as well as the 2015 edition. Wally is also a weekly co-host on the Fantasy Football Feeding Frenzy pod cast on Fantasy Sharks Radio at Blog Talk Radio.Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurlin