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Week 4 Start and Sit Calls for 2021 Fantasy Football

| September 28, 2021 1:39 pm PDT

Week 3 brought mixed results when it came to starts and sits. Starting Saquon Barkley and sitting Jameis Winston proved to be the right call. Unfortunately, I missed on starting Robert Woods and sitting Brandin Cooks.

With another week under our belt, we become more and more aware of which fantasy players we can trust and who has a good matchup.

Let’s check out the players I’m starting and sitting in Week 4.

Fantasy Starts for Week 4

It’s all about finding those borderline players with plus matchups.

Here are a few players that should give you an advantage in Week 4.

QB: Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans)

Ryan Tannehill’s 2021 season is off to a decent start. He passed for just 212 yards in Week 1, but he did manage to record two touchdowns. While the passing yards went up to 347 in Week 2, he failed to pass for a touchdown.

Last week, Tannehill failed to clear 200 passing yards but he salvaged a good fantasy day with his rushing ability.

  • 5 carries
  • 56 yards

Despite playing without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones for most of the game, Tannehill finished with three touchdowns and was a top 10 quarterback this week.

Probably not the start fantasy owners envisioned but he has had three tough matchups. The good news is things get a lot easier this week as Tannehill takes on the New York Jets.

New York’s offense is the real weakness of their team, but the defense isn’t much better.

Surprisingly, they’ve only allowed one top 12 quarterback this season but look at their opponents.

  • Sam Darnold
  • Mac Jones
  • Teddy Bridgewater

Tannehill is far better than those quarterbacks. We aren’t sure if Brown will play this Sunday but Tannehill has enough talent to succeed without him.

Fire up Tannehill as a top 12 quarterback.

RB: Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals)

Joe Mixon had a rough 2020 season. He played in just six games, going over 70 rushing yards once. This season, the Cincinnati Bengals have emphasized getting Mixon the ball.

In Week 1, he had 29 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown. While he hasn’t found the end zone since, he is still racking up carries and yards.

Mixon’s 67 carries and 286 yards both rank second in the league.

This week, Mixon has a very enticing matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville’s run defense has been weak thus far in the season.

The Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals each had two rushing touchdowns against them, while the Denver Broncos running backs combined for just under 100 yards.

I know the teams are different but Mixon went up against the Jaguars in Week 4 last season and had a monster day.

  • 25 carries
  • 151 rushing yards
  • 2 rushing touchdowns
  • 6 receptions
  • 30 receiving yards
  • 1 receiving touchdown

Cincinnati is a big home favorite on Thursday night. They should feed Mixon early and often as they seize control of the game.

Following two down weeks, I think we’ll see Mixon return to the top 10, if not top five.

WR: Terry McLaurin (Washington Football Team)

Has there been a bigger disappointment early in the season than the Washington Football Team defense? They allowed the fourth-most points this season.

While that’s not ideal for Washington, it’s great for Terry McLaurin fantasy owners. With them playing catchup, McLaurin is the number one target in a suddenly pass-heavy offense.

McLaurin had a monster performance in Week 2, before recording just 62 yards last week.

In Week 4, McLaurin has a chance to bounce back in a golden matchup. McLaurin and the Football Team will head south to take on the Atlanta Falcons. As bad as Washington’s defense has been, Atlanta’s has been worse.

Atlanta’s defense offered little resistance against the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They did look a little better last week, but that was against a New York Giants team that lost two wide receivers.

Considering how poorly each defense is playing, this matchup has the potential to be a high-scoring one. That’s the kind of matchup McLaurin can thrive in.

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke has taken a liking to McLaurin. Clearly, it’s been working and I don’t expect it to stop this Sunday.

The Falcons top corner, A.J. Terrell, is still in concussion protocol. If he doesn’t play, the matchup gets even easier for McLaurin.

TE: Kyle Pitts (Atlanta Falcons)

Well, we just talked about the shootout potential in the Washington Football Team vs. Atlanta Falcons matchup. Why not pick a starter from both offenses?

Kyle Pitts came into the NFL as maybe the most hyped-up tight end in NFL history. We’ve seen him have a big role in the offense, but it’s not translating to a ton of success.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Receptions 4 5 2
Yards 31 73 35
Targets 8 6 3

Last week was disappointing because he had a plus matchup against the New York Giants. He somewhat salvaged his day with a late 25-yard reception.

In Week 4, Pitts will face a Washington defense that has been okay against tight ends.

They’ve allowed between 49-57 yards in each game. Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox recorded a touchdown against them last week.

So far, Washington has faced Jared Cook, Kyle Rudolph, and Knox. None of those players are top targets in their offense.

Pitts is right up there with Calvin Ridley for the top option in the Falcons offense. Add in the fact that they don’t have a run game and you have a lot of pass-catching opportunities.

This has all the looks of a breakout game for the rookie tight end.

Fantasy Sits for Week 3

Not every player has an advantageous matchup.

Some are going up against a tough defense and should probably stay on the bench. The following players made the sit list.

QB: Daniel Jones (New York Giants)

Daniel Jones is a classic example of how rushing stats are a cheat code when it comes to fantasy quarterbacks.

I think just about everyone knows Jones isn’t a good passer. However, the last three weeks he has been a top 10 fantasy quarterback. How? His rushing ability.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Attempts 6 9 8
Rushing Yards 27 95 39
Touchdowns 1 1 0

Last week, Jones had a great matchup against a bad Atlanta Falcons defense. Jones had a decent passing day with 266 yards, but he failed to record a touchdown.

This week, things are going to be a lot tougher. The New York Giants will go on the road to take on the New Orleans Saints.

Early in the season, the Saints passing defense looks like one of the best in the league. They have a league-high six interceptions and have only allowed one quarterback to pass for over 275 yards.

Jones can try and run on the Saints, but I don’t think he’ll have much luck. They rank third in the league in run defense.

Sterling Shepherd and Darius Slayton are both dealing with hamstring injuries. There are just way too many things going against Jones for me to trust him this week.

RB: Damien Harris (New England Patriots)

Damien Harris started the 2021 season with a 100-yard game. After a late fumble, we wondered if the New England Patriots would cut his playing time.

That really didn’t happen. He has had 16 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Last week, Harris couldn’t get anything going against a tough New Orleans Saints run defense. Things won’t get any easier as he takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers run defense.

Surprisingly, Sony Michel managed to rush for 69 yards against Tampa Bay. Before that, they held Ezekiel Elliott and Mike Davis to under 40 yards.

When you look at this game, New England comes in as a big underdog. If they fall behind early, they will have to turn to the passing game. When you look at Tampa Bay’s passing defense, that may be the right call.

  • Dak Prescott: 403 yards and 3 touchdowns
  • Matt Ryan: 300 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Matthew Stafford: 343 yards and 4 touchdowns

I’m sure the Patriots would love to control this game with their rushing attack, but will they have a choice?

Harris is essentially a non-factor in the passing game. His lack of usage will likely doom him on Sunday night.

WR: Allen Robinson II (Chicago Bears)

Will Allen Robinson ever have a chance to play with an elite quarterback?

He had to deal with Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky for much of his career. He started this season with Andy Dalton but had an opportunity to play with rookie Justin Fields last week.

Unfortunately, the quarterback change didn’t do much for Robinson’s numbers.

  • 2 receptions
  • 27 yards
  • 6 targets

As a result, the Chicago Bears were a big loser in Week 3.

This week, we have no idea who will start at quarterback. Head coach Matt Nagy had this to say about a potential starter.

“They’re all three under consideration right now in regard to where they’re at. We know where Nick’s at, health-wise, but we just want to keep an eye on Justin and Andy.”

The Bears do have a plus matchup with the Detroit Lions. However, the Bears passing offense looks so bad right now that I can’t trust anyone.

Detroit allowed Deebo Samuel and Davante Adams to have over 100 receiving yards. They did a much better job containing the Baltimore Ravens passing offense, but tight end Mark Andrews had over 100 yards.

Having Robinson as a sit is risky because he could pop off in a plus matchup. At the same time, I just haven’t seen enough from the offense to warrant starting any receiver.

It’s tough to bench an early-round pick, but I think you have to do it with Robinson.

TE: Robert Tonyan (Green Bay Packers)

Last season, we saw Robert Tonyan come out of nowhere to score 11 touchdowns. His 11 touchdowns came on just 52 receptions. Everyone knew that pace wasn’t sustainable.

Early in the season, we’re seeing what happens when he doesn’t score touchdowns.

Tonyan had a great performance in Week 2. Going against the Detroit Lions, he had 52 yards and a touchdown. Now, let’s check out his numbers against the New Orleans Saints (Week 1) and San Francisco 49ers (Week 3).

  • Week 1: 2 receptions and 8 yards
  • Week 3: 1 reception and 6 yards

Touchdown upside or not, you can’t start someone who has had less than one point twice in three weeks.

Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier with a matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers looming.

Pittsburgh defense has dealt with their fair share of injuries. Darren Waller had his way in Week 2, but they allowed a combined 41 yards to tight ends in the other two games.

The Steelers are having a tough time defending opposing wide receivers. We could see a big day for Davante Adams.

Right now, Tonyan is an afterthought in this offense. Without a touchdown, he has no value. It’s just not a risk I’m willing to take.

More Week 4 Fantasy Football Advice

A few of the top quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady, and wide receivers, Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson, have tough matchups this week.

When you have elite players there is a very small chance, you’re benching them. They are good enough to overcome a bad matchup.

The last thing you want is one of your stars having a big day on your bench.

Betting on the NFL in Week 4

In relation to betting, the Football Team vs. Falcons matchup features a pair of underwhelming defenses. That’s why I have one player for each team on my start list. Look out for that game to hit the over on the point total.

On the flip side, Damien Harris might suffer from a negative game script because the Patriots are big underdogs.

It may not seem like it, but fantasy football can help us when betting on games or setting DFS lineups.

With that in mind, here are the early odds for Week 4 matchups.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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