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NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 4: Quarterbacks

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'em

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Miami Dolphins · QB
Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
2020 · 3-0-0

We are right in the middle of Fitzpatrick doing everything in his power to keep the young quarterback we really want to see get on to the field. Well, everyone except for my good friend Keith, a talented comic who is the biggest Fitzpatrick fan in the world. But everyone else would like to see Tua Tagovailoa. But this feels like it’s going to take another week. The Seahawks have allowed a QB to top 24 fantasy points in back-to-back games. They have allowed the most-passing yards to quarterbacks this season. They have allowed the second-most points to quarterbacks. Remember this, though: There will be a game where Fitzmagic turns to Fitztragic. Six interceptions. It’s like the QB version of the hot-tag in wrestling. We know it’s coming. It’s building and we’re going to pop like crazy for it. But let’s take some time to enjoy him while we can. 

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · QB
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
2020 · 0-3-0

Imagine, if you will, that Watson had a talented, clutch receiver he could rely on to get the ball to on crucial situation. A guy who you could target 150 times a season and not have to worry about it. Nah, you’d never find a player like that. And if you could, nobody would ever take a past-his-prime running back and a second-round pick for him. That would be crazy. Maybe Watson would be higher than the QB18 this year. I don’t know. But let’s focus on the positive. Watson does have at least 250 passing yards in every game this season. The Vikings have allowed the third-most passing yards to quarterbacks this year. The Vikings are a nice Merlot. Because they are VINO. Vikings in Name Only. Why did I have to spell that all out for you? That was a smart joke, come on.

Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · QB
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 · 1-2-0

Burrow has been playing pretty damn well. Despite being shaken up in the game against the Eagles and briefly leaving the contest, he returned to throw for 300-plus and a pair of scores. And you love how well he is playing, but maybe we don’t let Burrow be exposed that often. It’s the weird thing where you love that Zac Taylor is not hiding his quarterback like a newborn with just 13 pass attempts a game or some nonsense like that. But also, dude, maybe dial it back a notch if you could. Good lord. But ... that’s why Joey is the QB11 this year. He’s had at least 20 fantasy points in each game this season. And the Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most points to quarterbacks this season. 

Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · QB
New York Giants
New York Giants
2020 · 0-3-0

Now this is the Jared Goff I wanted to see when I started grabbing shares right at the end of August. Now, I don’t expect him to get down much in this game and have to scramble back like he did against the Bills last week. That was kind of a problem. But I don’t want to dismiss this matchup, either. The Giants have allowed at least two touchdown passes to quarterbacks in back-to-back games. Nick Mullens went for 343 against them last week with virtually nobody playing for San Francisco offensively. This is more like a lag-putt to me. You’re probably not going to drain a 35-pointer in this one, but if you can get close to 20, I’ll be happy with that. I mean, not you on the internet who wants to take a shot at everything (and I can appreciate that). But this feels like a safe floor for Goff this week. 

Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · QB
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
2020 · 1-2-0

I know it’s dangerous to look at what Russell Wilson did to the Cowboys and think to yourself, “oh wow, the next quarterback should be able to go out and do that.” That’s similar to me watching Rory McIlroy get out of trouble by swinging his 3-iron left-handed and then me going to the local muni and thinking I can make that exact same shot. Because here’s the spoiler alert, I certainly cannot do that. So I will look at the Cowboys nine passing touchdowns allowed this season with a small grain of salt, knowing that Wilson did that five times. But it should be noted the Cowboys have allowed at least two touchdown passes in back-to-back games. And Goff was able to move the ball on them, too, but gave up production to the running back. Which is a huge danger for the Brows in this situation. But I always shoot for bogey par anyway. And as a reminder, please check the rankings. Aaron Rodgers, Russell, Dak and Lamar have the best QB matchups this week. But I don’t think I need to tell you that. I just don’t want to read on Twitter that you started Baker over Rodgers because I AM NOT SAYING THAT. 

Sit 'em

Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Indianapolis Colts · QB
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
2020 · 3-0-0

I love Philip. But dude always seems to come up against great matchups and seemingly never delivers. Like the quarterback version of New Year’s Eve that’s big on expectations but never lives up to the hype. Because Philip has had some pretty choice matchups and, well, he’s currently the QB30. He’s not cracked the top 20 in any of the three games this season. Now he’s got the Bears who have not allowed a top-20 fantasy quarterback and surrendered just two touchdown passes on the season, none to a receiver. This clearly sets up for Rivers throwing for 199 yards and four touchdowns. But that’s the kind of decision-making process your friend makes when he starts dropping chips on roulette. It might hit once. And you’ll talk about it forever. But it’s probably just best to make your way to the bar and have a good time there instead. 

Nick Foles
Nick Foles
Chicago Bears · QB
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
2020 · 2-1-0

Just so we’re clear, this message is for fantasy managers, not Bears coach Matt Nagy who made the announcement on Monday to start Foles. I don’t want to be one of those Chicago fans who is going to drag Mitch. It’s not his fault Ryan Pace moved up in the draft to choose him over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. And who knows, if he had been picked by the Patriots or a team that could have allowed him to learn, he might have been a good NFL quarterback down the road (and will likely be one of the best backups in the game). That said, the Colts defense leads the NFL with six interceptions. They have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season. Bears fans can be excited, but just realize he might not hit the fantasy total this week. I’ll take Foles giving you a safe floor that’s good enough for the Bears to win, but not your fantasy team.

Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew
Jacksonville Jaguars · QB
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
2020 · 0-2-1

NOW YOU TELL US not to start Minshew. And look, I know it didn’t work out for us against the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. And it made matters worse to look at those nine points all weekend. But again, I have to point out to you the process of making these picks. Imagine if I told you that Minshew was going to complete 30 of 42 passes against one of the (at the time) worst pass defenses in the league. You would have been crazy to sit that player. Obviously it didn’t work out. And again, I’ll completely own that. But the reasoning was sound. But guess what, this is a game played by human beings and not a Madden sim, so the results can be volatile. I will tell you, though: I have Gardner just outside of the QB1 range this week. The Bengals have allowed the third-fewest yards passing yards per game. And only one quarterback has topped 16 points this season. Oh, and this is a James Robinson game. 

Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · QB
Houston Texans
Houston Texans
2020 · 0-3-0

Cousins had three touchdown passes last week against the Titans and sparked some excitement around rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson. But he again had too many mistakes and still managed to finish with less than 20 fantasy points on the week. The Texans have been middle-of-the-road against quarterbacks this season, so it doesn’t seem like a bad option. But Houston has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs on the year, so this looks like a heavy-dose of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, which is an elixir for Mike Zimmer and his desire to run the football. Cousins has been prone to throw multiple touchdowns, but isn’t seeing the volume passing-wise to have historic games. I’d search for other options.

Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · QB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 · 2-1-0

I’ve been surprised with Herbert. Just like I’ve been surprised in how much I’ve loved Cobra Kai. Honestly, that would have been an amusing Funny or Die sketch, but I’m so hooked on this series (haven’t finished Season 2 yet, so no spoilers … update, I was up until 3 a.m. on Monday watching Season 2, so we are good). Herbert has impressed me in his two starts with the Chargers (who I believed would have been better off with Jordan Love). Kudos to the Chargers so far. But the Bucs have allowed the fifth-fewest points to quarterbacks this year, with no QB going over 15 points against them this season. 

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter at @adamrank.

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