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NFL Fantasy Week 4: Start ‘em, Sit ‘em- Wide Receivers

Week 4 brings the first bye week of the NFL season with Carolina and Washington resting up. That doesn’t shake up the wide receiver market too much, but there are plenty of other questions regarding the cadre of mid-range NFL Fantasy wide receivers.

Can we believe Calvin Ridley is for real or not? Is Tyler Boyd the best Tyler in Cincinnati? Was Jordy Nelson in Oakland all this time? Can we start anyone against the mighty Bills? How did Miami put three players in the top 20 when they don’t pass the ball?

More importantly- is Doug Baldwin coming back this week? How about Alshon Jeffrey? Is AJ Green hurt worse than he thought? Will Odell Beckham or Julio Jones ever catch a touchdown this year?

Interesting questions all. Here are some of our thoughts about Week 4 start ‘em and sit ‘em decisions.

Start this guy: Sterling Shepard (vs. New Orleans)

Odell Beckham Jr. went over 100 yards last week against Houston, but it was Sterling Shepard who landed in the top NFL Fantasy scorers list by tacking on a touchdown to his 80 yards.

Shepard was as much a part of the Giants’ offensive revival as anyone else and should be licking his chops with the New Orleans Saints marching into MetLife Stadium.

Not only is New Orleans giving up a lot of NFL Fantasy points to wide receivers overall, they have given up a combined 373 yards and 6 touchdowns to the second receivers of their first three opponents.

If you are among the many who dumped Shepard over the first two weeks, you should get him back for Week 4.

Sit this guy: Randall Cobb (vs Bills)

Aaron Rodgers is giving it the ol’ college try on one good leg for the Packers, but he needs his receivers to step up and help him out. Mistakes and drops are magnified when the passer is gutting out a heroic performance.

Randall Cobb failed to step up last week against the Redskins. Don’t be surprised if Rodgers looks another direction when he’s under pressure or needs a big play Sunday.

Start this guy: Geronimo Allison (vs Bills)

NFL Fantasy writers and prognosticators live for moments like this when a preseason prediction looks like its actually happening.

Geronimo Allison was my top sleeper pick for 2018. Despite the presence of Jimmy Graham and Randall Cobb, I predicted he would emerge as the second receiver in Green Bay and could challenge Devante Adams for the WR-1 spot before the end of the season.

Allison has had 64 yards or more in each game and scored two touchdowns for the Packers. He validated the trust Rodgers had in him during last season’s injury issues. With tre’Davious White shadowing Adams, and Cobb in the doghouse, look for Allison to have a good day against Buffalo.

Sit this guy: Larry Fitzgerald (vs Seattle)

Larry Fitzgerald faces a Seattle defense out to prove rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. Seattle has 8 sacks and 7 interceptions through its first three games without a chunk of the Legion of Boom.

Fitzgerald has been nursing a tight hamstring all season and will be the focus of the defense operated by a debuting rookie quarterback in Josh Rosen. Rosen might be a step up on Ryan Fitzpatrick, or it could be that the Cardinals offense is so bad, it doesn’t matter.

But I’ll sit Fitzgerald either way. If you’re a big believer in Rosen, and he did get rave reviews in the preseason, I’d consider rookie Christian Kirk before Fitzgerald.

Start this guy: John Brown (at Pittsburgh)

Every receiver is in play in a Sunday Night affair against the Masters of Prime-time, the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am starting Joe Flacco (Joe Flacco!) as I expect the Ravens to chase points against Roethlisberger. Thus, I should give some love to his favorite wide receiver, John Brown.

Michael Crabtree actually has more targets and might be the safer play. However, Brown is Flacco's top target on passes thrown deep, and we know Flacco likes to throw deep.

Bet on Brown, Crabtree, and even Willie Snead to make some noise Sunday night, but I am playing Brown above the other two.

Sit this guy: DeSean Jackson (at Chicago)

Pittsburgh got some unexpected pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 3, sacking him three times and rushing him multiple other times. Fitzpatrick’s play changes radically under pressure, with a QBR less than half of what it is without pressure.

We also saw behaviorally what Fitzpatrick does. Basically, he abandons the deep route and hits his shorter targets. Mike Evans had a good game. Jackson ended up as the WR-57 for the week.

Expect the same thing, only worse, against the pass rush of the Chicago Bears. If the Fitz-magic was fading in Week 3, it’s gone in Week 4. Should Jameis Winston be the surprise starter, I still sit Jackson for about the same reason. Winston will look for Evans and tight ends all game.

Sideline thoughts

Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd are for real. Start them both against each other and expect good things to happen.

Tyler Lockett concerns me with Patrick Peterson playing better in Week 3 and a rookie quarterback instilling life into the Cardinals team overall. I’m looking for someone else. So will Russell Wilson.

Josh Gordon has tremendous talent, but he never struck me as the cerebral type of player the Patriots playbook requires. If he is active, he’ll get a target or two. Not enough to start him.

He could, however, be used as a decoy. I’m giving Chris Hogan another chance this week.

Full disclosure: not too shabby!

Out of the kindness of my heart, I gave you six start ‘em recommendations last week. Maybe I should have stuck to four. Detroit took Chris Hogan (3.1) out of the game and Pierre Garcon was so low on the NFL Fantasy scorers sheet, I finally checked the boxscore to see if he played.

My other four start ‘ems were in the top 24, kind of. I’m taking my “Any Lions Receiver” choice as a win since Jones and Golladay made it and Tate wasn’t terrible.

All four of my sit ‘ems failed miserably in Week 4, including Allen Robinson, who was a start recommendation of at least two of my peers. So… “Neener! Neener!” to them and congratulations to all who followed my advice.

Let’s do it again this week!