Week 4 fantasy football matchups preview

Struggling to set the perfect fantasy lineup? Let us be your guide. Each week the NFL Fantasy staff will provide you with game-by-game, player-by-player matchup breakdowns in this column to help you set a winning lineup. Think of this as the one-stop shop to crushing your opponent in fantasy football.

Now, onto the best and worst Week 4 fantasy matchups.

Denver Broncos at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

Broncos

Trevor Siemian, QB -- SIT: The highest scoring quarterback of Week 3 -- yes, that is a real stat -- Siemian has a decent matchup against an awful Bucs pass-defense, but he'll still be hard to trust as a fantasy option until he starts producing consistent numbers. He had fantasy totals of 9.1 and 11.3 in the first two weeks.

C.J. Anderson, RB -- START: Anderson was a disappointment last week, but he remains an RB1 in fantasy. Look for Denver to lean on him late in the game if their defense can hold the Bucs to minimal points.

Demaryius Thomas, WR -- START: It was nice to see Thomas score his first touchdown of the season last week after speaking out about his diminished role in the offense. He should eat again against a soft Bucs pass defense and is worth a shot as a WR2.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR -- HIGH-END FLEX:Sanders exploded for 117 yards and two scores a week ago, and while we can't expect him to repeat, Siemian seems to prefer Sanders over Thomas (nine more targets). He's a high-end flex play in Week 4.

Buccaneers

Jameis Winston, QB -- SIT: Winston has an extremely unfavorable matchup against a Denver defense that's allowing fewer than 200 passing yards per game and is second in the league in sacks. You can likely find a better quarterback matchup to stream on waivers.

Charles Sims, RB -- START: Sims is a volume-based upside play with Doug Martin sidelined for a second week. On paper, it seems like a bad matchup, but Denver has actually allowed 127 rushing yards per game through three weeks.

Mike Evans, WR -- START: You can't bench a guy who leads the NFL in targets, is averaging over 100 receiving yards per game and has a touchdown in every game thus far. Even if Winston struggles, he'll lean on Evans more than anyone else.

Vincent Jackson, WR -- SIT: Jackson is quickly falling off the fantasy radar with just nine catches on 22 targets this season. Leave him on the bench.

Adam Humphries, WR -- FLEX: Believe it or not, Humpries is actually a more reliable fantasy option than Jackson at this point. The Bucs' slot receiver has 18 catches on 25 targets and 201 yards through three games. He's worth flexing in a deeper format.

Cameron Brate, TE -- START: With Austin Seferian-Jenkins out of the picture in Tampa Bay, Brate scored not once, but twice in Week 3. He presents a sure-handed red zone target for Jameis Winston and should provide low-end TE1 value against the Broncos on Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals: 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Rams

Case Keenum, QB -- SIT: Keenum's ceiling this season came last week with a whopping 13.7 fantasy points. He remains off the fantasy radar even in 2QB leagues.

Todd Gurley, RB -- START: Gurley finally scored a touchdown last week (two, actually) but mustered just 3.1 yards per carry. You probably have to start him since he was your first-round pick, but temper expectations against Arizona.

Tavon Austin, WR -- SIT: Austin had a decent outing a week ago, but he's too unreliable of an option in one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Leave him benched against the Cardinals.

Cardinals

Carson Palmer, QB -- START: Throw last week in the trash. Palmer will likely bounce back this week in a home matchup against the Rams. If he can't get on track this week, we'll be in full-blown panic mode.

David Johnson, RB -- START: The best running back in the league posted great numbers last week even when his team was getting blown out. David Johnson is a must-start each and every week.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR -- START: Fitzgerald has been the only reliable fantasy wideout in Arizona this year and as long as he keeps producing, you need to keep starting him.

John Brown, WR -- FLEX: Was Week 3 a sign that Smokey is getting back on track? It's possible. You can flex him this week and hope he finds the end zone against the Rams.

Michael Floyd, WR -- SIT: Thus far, Floyd has been a whiff in fantasy leagues. We're going to stash him on the bench this week, and going forward, unless he shows us he can produce in the stat sheets.

New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers: 4:25 P.M. ET on FOX

Saints

Drew Brees, QB -- START: We could give you all sorts of analysis. Or we could just say ... Drew Brees against the Chargers.

Mark Ingram, RB -- START: The Chargers have been OK at stopping running backs from running. But they give up a lot of receiving yards to the position. Get you a back who can do both.

Brandin Cooks, WR -- START: Last week reminded you how frustrating having a Saints receiver can be. But you have to trust the Saints most targeted player against this defense.

Willie Snead, WR -- START: Snead's numbers are nearly identical to Cooks with fewer targets and receptions. He's a legit weapon in this wide open passing attack.

Coby Fleener, TE -- SIT: Last week was fun but if Snead is back, it's hard to imagine Fleener getting anywhere near the level of action he saw against the Falcons.

Chargers

Philip Rivers, QB -- START: Rivers hasn't had any eye-popping fantasy totals, but are you really going to sit him against possibly the worst defense in the league? No. No you are not.

Melvin Gordon, RB -- START: There's no cute title like #TheAwakening for Gordon's fast start. But maybe after he torches the Saints, there will be.

Travis Benjamin, WR -- START: Benjamin has done a respectable job filling in for Keenan Allen. He should eat heartily against the Saints secondary.

Tyrell Williams, WR -- FLEX: His role in the passng game is expanding and his big-play ability means he has a high fantasy ceiling. He should have some flex appeal this week.

Hunter Henry, TE -- FLEX: You might not be able to flex a tight end, but consider this a way of saying Henry deserves consideration with Antonio Gates injured.

Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers: 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

Cowboys

Dak Prescott, QB -- START: He's not your QB1 in most circumstances but if you're forced to sit Aaron Rodgers this week, Prescott is a nice streaming option.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB -- START: Elliott has been on the verge of a huge fantasy performance for a couple of weeks. This could be the week it happens.

Dez Bryant, WR -- START: This is a VERY cautious start depending on whether Bryant can play with the hairline fracture in his knee. Even if he plays, temper your expectations.

Cole Beasley, WR -- START: Regardless of Bryant's status, Beasley has become Prescott's favorite target and has even more value in PPR formats.

Jason Witten, TE -- SIT: Witten has seen six combined targets in the past two weeks. His role in the offense has become far too inconsistent to trust him in fantasy.

49ers

Blaine Gabbert, QB -- SIT: No.

Carlos Hyde, RB -- SIT: Hyde had a surprisingly good fantasy total last week and a lack of running back depth could warrant starting him. But it's hard to see a repeat of Week 3.

Torrey Smith, WR -- SIT: Smith has 103 receiving yards this season. Nine players had at least that many yards last week.

Jeremy Kerley, WR -- SIT: Kerley leads the team in receiving yards ... with 114. You're not starting him under any circumstances.

Vance McDonald, TE -- SIT: There's no such thing as a volume play in the Niners offense. McDonald's only value is if he scores a touchdown. That's a tough way to live.

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers: 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

Chiefs

Alex Smith, QB -- SIT: Following his Week 1 explosion, Smith has not been a viable fantasy quarterback with two tough matchups. If you're in desperate need of a streamer, he's always a go-to option, but you can probably do better.

Spencer Ware, RB -- START: With Charles sidelined, Ware has been the Chiefs' workhorse. Expect another 20 or so touches for Ware on Sunday night against the Steelers who simply couldn't stop the Eagles' run game a week ago.

Jamaal Charles, RB -- SIT: There have been some whispers that Charles could play this week, but with the late Sunday night game we're not banking on it. Leave Charles benched and hope he can get on the field next week.

Jeremy Maclin, WR -- START: Maclin is an every-week starter as the Chiefs' No. 1 passing game option. He should be just fine against a questionable Steelers' secondary on Sunday night.

Travis Kelce, TE -- START: Kelce is a must-start and a weekly top-10 fantasy tight end due to his volume. He scored his first touchdown of the season a week ago and is a scoring threat every time he takes the field.

Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger, QB -- START: Ben looked awful last week, but he's not the same quarterback on the road. Now he's at home in primetime and gets Le'Veon Bell back. He's a top-10 fantasy quarterback in Week 4.

Le'Veon Bell, RB -- START: Finally, fantasy owners who invested a high pick in Bell can fire him up on Sunday night. He's an elite fantasy back and needs to be started each and every week given his key role in the Steelers' offense.

Antonio Brown, WR -- START: Brown had a "down" game last week and still put up 140 yards. He's the GOAT and you start him no matter what.

DeAngelo Williams, RB -- SIT: With Le'Veon Bell back, we're going to take a wait-and-see approach with Williams. There's a chance he still gets some touches, but it won't be anything close to the 86 percent rushing share he's enjoyed the first three weeks.

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings: 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Giants

Eli Manning, QB -- SIT: The Vikings are playing absolutely stifling defense right now with a three-to-five touchdown-to-interception ratio and an NFL-high 15 sacks. There are safer options than Manning right now.

Giants RBs - SIT:Let someone else mess around with this cluster. Orleans Darkwa is the favorite to lead the team in touches if Rashad Jennings sits.

Odell Beckham, WR -- START: The Vikings just held Kelvin Benjamin to zero catches so you know the risk here. However, Beckham can have a big game against anyone.

Sterling Shepard, WR -- SIT:The rookie has started the year on fire but this should be a low-scoring game and Captain Munnerlyn, the Vikings slot defender, has been their most consistent corner thus far.

Victor Cruz, WR -- SIT: The Giants play more three-wide sets than any other team so Cruz will be on the field a ton, but he's third in the pecking order.

Sam Bradford, QB -- SIT:There are better options than Bradford for streaming this week. The Giants have only allowed three touchdowns on the season.

Jerick McKinnon, RB -- FLEX: After seeing 17 touches in Week 3, we know McKinnon will be the lead back. This isn't a great matchup but it's tough to turn your nose up at a starting running back right now.

Stefon Diggs, WR -- START: The Vikings lost a possession due to a punt return touchdown in Week 3, which helps explains Diggs' quiet day. Two of the Giants' top-three corners are on the injury report this week.

Kyle Rudolph, TE -- START: It hasn't fully bore out in the stats (16-172 allowed) just yet, but the Giants' weak points at coverage linebacker and safety make them vulnerable to tight ends. Rudolph has target totals of eight, eight and 10 this year.

Completed Games

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals: 8:25 p.m. ET on NFL Network

Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill, QB -- SIT: Tannehill has actually been a decent fantasy option through three games, but historically doesn't fare well on the road and can't be trusted on a short week.

Jarvis Landry, WR -- START: If there's one Dolphins player you can start every week in fantasy, it's Landry. Coming off back-to-back 100-yard games, he's tied for the league lead in receptions (24) and his volume upside makes him a high end WR2 on a weekly basis.

DeVante Parker, WR -- FLEX: Parker is a bit of a hit-or-miss fantasy option. He scored early last week but wasn't heard from the rest of the game. He can safely be flexed against a Bengals defense that was torched by Broncos receivers last week.

Kenny Stills, WR -- SIT: Even in his only game with a touchdown, Stills didn't reach double-digit fantasy points. He had five catches for 76 yards last week but remains a boom-or-bust deep threat for fantasy purposes. Leave him on the bench until he shows more promise.

Dolphins RBS -- SIT: With Arian Foster out last week, Miami's backfield split carries between four different players. It's nearly impossible to predict which running back will have the best fantasy game, so don't mess with any of these guys on the road in Week 4.

Bengals

Andy Dalton, QB -- START: He's been something of a letdown of late, but this is a get-right spot for the Bengals starter. The Dolphins defense allows 7.4 yards per attempt and that's from squaring off with a hobbled Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo and Cody Kessler.

Jeremy Hill, RB -- START: Power backs LeGarrette Blount and Isaiah Crowell ripped through the Dolphins defense in each of the last two games. Hill got going in Week 3 and we can expect Cincinnati to feature him again.

Giovani Bernard, RB -- SIT: This doesn't look like the type of game script where Bernard will be featured much. He's not a weekly difference maker, either way.

A.J. Green, WR -- START: We just saw top Dolphins corner, Byron Maxwell, get worked over by Terrelle Pryor. Green could easily finish as the top scoring receiver on the board in Week 4.

Brandon LaFell, WR -- SIT: He's still playing as the No. 2 receiver, but this doesn't project as a shootout so we cannot expect many targets to go his way.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars: 9:30 a.m. ET on CBS

Colts

Andrew Luck, QB -- START: Luck has slid in fantasy the last two weeks, partly because he's been without Donte Moncrief, and partly because he's faced two tough matchups (Broncos, Chargers). Still, a matchup with the Jaguars who've conceded eight total touchdowns (six passing, two rushing) to opposing signal-callers could be just what Luck needs.

Frank Gore, RB -- FLEX: While Gore still looks to be fending off Father Time, he's losing a fair amount of work each week to Robert Turbin and Josh Ferguson (combined 30 percent of backfield touches, 55 percent of red-zone touches), hurting his scoring opportunities. Gore has a reliable floor, but needs to find the end zone to return real value as a flex play (which he's done in each of the last two weeks).

T.Y. Hilton, WR -- START: With Moncrief injured, Hilton becomes the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver in this offense. He's able to move all around the formation and produce, posting a 9-120-0 stat line out wide and a 9-174-1 stat line in the slot. This will help him avoid (at times) Jacksonville's budding young superstar Jalen Ramsey, and produce solid totals in fantasy.

Phillip Dorsett, WR -- SIT: Dorsett didn't assume enough of the passing volume in Week 3 (just four targets) to immediately become a weekly starter. More targets funneled to Jack Doyle and Dwayne Allen instead. It'd be best to wait and see with Dorsett, but if forced to start him at least the Jaguars are susceptible to big plays -- they're one of eight teams to allow three or more 40-plus yard receptions in 2016, and also hold the seventh-worst touchdown rate in the NFL (6.1 percent of opposing pass attempts result in touchdowns).

Dwayne Allen & Jack Doyle, TEs -- SIT: Heading into 2016, Allen looked set for a massive breakout campaign, but the emergence of Jack Doyle has morphed this position group into a tried and true committee. Allen and Doyle are splitting targets almost equally, making it a guessing game as to which one finds the end zone or has the bigger day. If in a pinch, though, there are worse tight ends to roll the dice with than this talented duo.

Jaguars

Blake Bortles, QB -- START: Bortles is one of just six NFL quarterbacks with more interceptions than touchdowns through three weeks. Still, he can produce good fantasy totals in the right spot. In a game that figures to be high-scoring, this is a solid week to start Bortles and hope he hits the ceiling he frequently reached in 2015 while constantly playing catchup.

T.J. Yeldon & Chris Ivory, RBs -- SIT: Yeldon had two weeks to steal the starting job from Chris Ivory and averaged 2.68 yards per touch -- on 40 total touches. Meanwhile, Ivory missed the first two weeks with an undisclosed illness and promptly was injured upon returning to action in Week 3. Stay away from this mess of a backfield.

Allen Robinson, WR -- START: Robinson owns 24.4 percent of Bortles' targets so far, and finally got back on track with two touchdowns in Week 3. He's an every-week starter, and should be in line for another solid outing against the Colts' banged up secondary.

Allen Hurns, WR -- SIT: After a phenomenal 2015 campaign that netted him a massive contract extension, Hurns is losing targets to Marqise Lee in 2016. He's unstartable until he garners a larger share of this passing offense.

Julius Thomas -- SIT: Thomas has missed practice in each of the last two weeks with an elbow injury, and has seen his production drop as well. Until he gets healthy or gets back on track on the field, he's better left on the fantasy bench. He's a game-time decision for Week 4.

Jaguars D/ST -- STREAM: To date in 2016, Andrew Luck and his vaunted Colts offense are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses (11.33) per game. This stems from their turnstyle-esque offensive line and Luck's propensity to hang onto the ball too long in an effort to make more plays leading to turnovers. For now, fantasy owners can stream defenses against Luck and co. until they iron things out, though it's still a risky play.

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Titans

Marcus Mariota, QB -- SIT: Mariota is piloting an offense with no downfield passing threat and has yet to surpass 17 fantasy points in a game. Don't expect him to buck that trend on the road in Houston.

DeMarco Murray, RB -- START: While he's been somewhat big-play dependent, Murray owns 75.3 percent of the backfield touches through three weeks, and has found the end zone three times. As long as the team continues to treat him as an outright starting running back, he's a starting running back in fantasy.

Derrick Henry, RB -- SIT: Henry continues to look impressive with limited touches, but can't be trusted in fantasy until he starts getting the rock more frequently.

Tajae Sharpe, WR -- SIT: While he is the "No. 1" wide receiver in Tennessee, his fantasy value is crippled because of the team's inability to push the ball downfield or move the chains regularly. There are better options likely on the waiver-wire this week (Terrelle Pryor, Cole Beasley, etc.).

Delanie Walker, TE -- START: Walker's absence crippled an already anemic Tennessee passing attack in Week 3. Expect Mariota to target his tight end early and often against the Texans. Walker is a must-start when healthy.

Texans

Brock Osweiler, QB -- SIT: Osweiler can't get out of his own way right now (four interceptions, three touchdowns), and isn't racking up enough yardage to be trusted in less-than-perfect matchups. This is a time to leave him on the bench.

Lamar Miller, RB -- START: Miller continues to produce solid totals even withouth finding the end zone through the first three weeks. A big game is coming for the former Dolphin as he's seen 81.5 percent of the backfield touches through three weeks. Keep him in your starting lineup.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR -- START: You don't sit Nuk Hopkins. Not now, not ever.

Will Fuller, WR -- FLEX: We knew there were going to be ups and downs with Fuller given his shaky hands and boom-or-bust nature. Last week was one of the downs. He's still worth a flex start in Week 4, as we know what he's capable of in this offense and his target total should stay elevated (averaging 8.3 per game in 2016).

Texans D/ST -- START: Even without J.J. Watt, the Texans defense is playing too well -- especially at home -- to think about sitting. Expect them to put Mariota and co. through a long afternoon.

Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Browns

Cody Kessler, QB -- SIT:Kessler looked like he could actually play in the NFL in his first-ever start last week, but don't be foolish and think he should start for your fantasy team.

Isaiah Crowell, RB -- FLEX: Crowell averages 15 carries per game and 6.1 yards per carry through three weeks. Washington allows the fourth-most yards in the league and has conceded six rushing touchdowns, tied for the most in the league. Crowell will get his touches again in Week 4 and is a solid flex play.

Duke Johnson, RB -- SIT: While seven targets and five catches were a positive sign last week, Johnson's 12 receiving yards weren't. He's simply not getting enough touches at this juncture to warrant starting, even in PPR formats.

Terrelle Pryor, WR -- FLEX: Lacking playmakers with Josh Gordon suspended and Corey Coleman injured, the Browns funneled their offense through Pryor and he responded with a stellar performance. He took snaps at both quarterback and running back in addition to his usual role as wide receiver, amassing 44.9 percent of the Browns total yards. He's going to receive a wealth of touches and targets again in Week 4 and is a fine flex play.

Gary Barnidge, TE -- SIT: Barnidge got back on track a bit in Week 3 (six targets, five catches, 66 yards) but is still tough to trust with so much uncertainty under center and Terrelle Pryor hogging so many targets.

Redskins

Kirk Cousins, QB -- START: Cousins is the only quarterback with 300-plus passing yards in every game this season, and is facing a Browns secondary allowing 294.3 passing yards per game and the third-most passing touchdowns (seven). At home, Cousins is a safe start for Week 4.

Matt Jones, RB -- FLEX: Washington currently runs the football on 31.4 percent of their offensive plays, 30th in the league, but Jones has seen his carries increase each week (seven to 13 to 17). He's still not a very efficient runner and doesn't have a tremendous matchup (Browns allow just 3.9 ypc), but his volume merits flex consideration.

Chris Thompson, RB -- SIT: Thompson plays a vital role in this offense, but is only averaging six touches per game. That's too small of a workload to trust in fantasy at this time.

DeSean Jackson, WR -- START: Jackson, if healthy, remains at worst a weekly flex due to his knack for making big plays. He caught his 29th touchdown of 40-plus yards last week, the most by any player in the NFL since Jackson entered the league in 2008. Cleveland is currently tied for sixth in the league with 13 pass plays of 20-plus yards allowed. Jackson should have chances deep in this matchup, making him a solid start.

Jamison Crowder, WR -- FLEX: It's time for the fantasy world to take notice of Crowder, who leads the team in touchdowns (two), is tied for the team-lead in targets (25), and most impressively is tied for the league-lead in red-zone targets (eight). He catches most of his passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage though, so his weekly ceiling is a touch limited unless he scores in the red zone or breaks free for a long one.

Jordan Reed, TE -- START: There's no way to sit Reed given his massive upside in a cushy matchup with the Browns. Let's just hope the team course corrects and starts looking his way in the red zone, as his three targets in that space thus far are disconcerting.

Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Seahawks

Russell Wilson, QB -- START: If Wilson is healthy enough to start for the Seahawks on Sunday, he should be started in fantasy. Seattle will likely look to attack the Jets via the passing game, since New York boasts a solid run defense.

Christine Michael, RB -- START: As mentioned, New York has a pretty stout run defense, allowing just 71 rushing yards per game. Still, Michael is in line for a high-volume workload and he's capable of exploding on any given carry. He's an upside RB2.

Doug Baldwin, WR -- START: Baldwin put up huge numbers in Week 3 with over 100 yards and a score. He'll have WR1 upside against the Jets as long as Russell Wilson starts under center.

Tyler Lockett, WR -- SIT: Thus far, Lockett has been a disappointment for fantasy owners. He's a bit banged up now and hasn't really had a significant role in the offense yet (12 targets, seven receptions). Leave him on your bench.

Jimmy Graham, TE -- START: Is Jimmy Graham all the way back? Sure looks like it. He's a top-10 fantasy option at tight end until further notice, so fire him up against the Jets.

Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB -- SIT: Need we explain? Really? Fine. Fitz threw SIX interceptions last week. He probably won't do that again, but let him simmer down on the waiver wire for at least a week, especially against Seattle.

Matt Forte, RB -- START: The volume cannot be ignored. Start Forte as an RB1 despite the bad on-paper matchup against Seattle.

Brandon Marshall, WR -- START: Marshall is the kind of receiver that you start no matter what, even at less than 100 percent in an unfavorable matchup. And considering Decker could have a "serious" shoulder injury, B-Marsh would see even more volume if his counterpart sits.

Eric Decker, WR -- FLEX: Decker is apparently dealing with a shoulder injury. It's a situation to keep an eye on, but a shoulder injury for a wideout is never a good thing. Flex him if he plays.

Quincy Enunwa, WR -- FLEX: Enunwa has more targets and catches than Eric Decker through two games. He's a legitimate part of the Jets passing game and can be flexed in deeper leagues or if Decker misses time.

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Bills

Tyrod Taylor, QB -- SIT: Taylor pulled a solid fantasy performance out of his bag of tricks last week on the back of 76 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, but don't expect him to duplicate those totals against the Patriots. In another tough spot with Sammy Watkins still banged up, Taylor should ride the pine.

LeSean McCoy, RB -- START: Few backs can rival McCoy's stranglehold on the Buffalo backfield, as he's received 83.6 percent of the targets and rush attempts out of the backfield. He looks rejuvenated this year, and should be a locked-in RB1. His volume will make him a viable play, even against the tough New England defense.

Sammy Watkins, WR -- SIT: Watkins hasn't practiced through Thursday, but will test his foot and try to play on Sunday. Even if he does suit up, this foot injury saps him of his speed and route-running precision, which makes him a less effective and dynamic wide receiver. He should be benched until he gets healthier.

Charles Clay, TE -- SIT: Clay didn't see an uptick in usage when Watkins was out last week. He's not even rosterable at this point.

Patriots

Patriots QBs -- SIT:Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo are both injured and whomever starts will be leading a run-heavy attack once again. Neither is worth the risk considering there are plenty of capable signal-callers in good matchups available in most leagues.

LeGarrette Blount, RB -- START: Sans Tom Brady, the Patriots are running the ball on average 12 more times per game than they did in 2015, and Blount is the main beneficiary. He leads the NFL in rush attempts (75), rushing yards (298) and is tied for the league-lead in rushing touchdowns (four). He's a must-start until Brady comes back.

Julian Edelman, WR -- FLEX: Edelman has produced solid totals thus far without Tom Brady, but most of his value came when Jimmy Garoppolo was under center. If Jimmy G suits up and starts, Edelman is a safe-floor flex play, but if it's Brissett again, let Edelman take a seat for one week until Brady returns.

Rob Gronkowski, TE -- START: It didn't work out last week, but if Gronk plays, you play him. It's as simple as that.

Patriots D/ST -- START: The Bills passing attack is hamstrung without Sammy Watkins and overly reliant on Shady McCoy. Traveling into Foxborough is no cakewalk for even more capable offenses. The Patriots defense is a solid start this week.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM

Cam Newton, QB -- START: After disappointing at home in Week 3, Cam Newton is in a strong bounce-back spot this week. The Falcons have allowed the fifth-most passing yards through three weeks and a 10-to-two touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Cameron Artis-Payne, RB -- FLEX: As expected, Artis-Payne led the committee of Panthers running backs with 13 touches to 10 for Fozzy Whittaker. The Falcons allow 4.8 yards per carry to running backs so the matchup is right for Artis-Payne, but he's just a mid-range flex play because this should be a pass-heavy game script.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR -- START:Cam Newton already came out and said he needs to get the ball to Kelvin Benjamin this week. Desmond Trufant is a tough draw in coverage and he shut down Brandin Cooks last week, but Benjamin did get 100 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons in a 2014 loss.

Greg Olsen, TE -- START:Coby Fleener got off the schneid against the Vikings last week and Olsen is in a good position to go off against Atlanta too. The Falcons have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends which is tied for the NFL lead.

Falcons

Matt Ryan, QB -- START:The Panthers have a tough defense on paper, allowing a 58.9 completion percentage and the fourth-fewest passing yards. However, they've played Trevor Siemian, Blaine Gabbert and Sam Bradford so far. The Panthers struggle to rush the passer right now and Ryan is still at home.

Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, RB -- FLEX:These running backs are splitting the workload on a near-even clip. The Panthers are a tough draw, allowing only 3.5 yards per carry.

Julio Jones, WR -- START: It's hard to imagine a scenario where you sit Julio Jones, but he's garnered target totals of eight, five and seven through three games. He averaged 12 targets per game last year and saw single-digit targets in just two games. It's fair to wonder if he's still a lock top-five WR1 every week at this point.

Mohamed Sanu, WR -- SIT:The Panthers aren't the type of defense that Sanu needs to be started against. This game likely won't turn into a shootout like last week's tilt with New Orleans.

Jacob Tamme, TE -- START: The Falcons will move the ball on Sunday and Tamme has a solid matchup. The Panthers rank 25th in pass DVOA against tight ends, per Football Outsiders.

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens: 1:00 P.M. ET on CBS

Raiders

Derek Carr, QB -- SIT: Carr has been good, not great, so far this season and is facing a defense that hasn't allowed a 250-yard passer in 2016.

Latavius Murray, RB -- SIT: This is about a defense allowing just 86 rushing yards per game. It's also about a coaching staff giving its lead running back just 13 touches per game.

Amari Cooper, WR -- FLEX: You might not have the wide receiver depth to sit Cooper, but be wary of a player who is averaging nine fantasy points per week and hasn't found the end zone yet.

Michael Crabtree, WR -- SIT: Crabtree leads the team in receptions but has suffered from lackluster yardage totals. If he doesn't score, it'll be a disappointing week.

Clive Walford, TE -- SIT: In three games, the Ravens have allowed 11 catches to tight ends. Walford isn't the man who will solve that riddle.

Ravens

Joe Flacco, QB -- START: We're banking that last week's Raiders' defensive performance was more about a bad Titans offense. Flacco should be a quality spot start this week.

Terrance West, RB -- SIT: Oakland's run defense is bad and running back is lacking depth but you can't trust a back who's season-high total is 45 yards.

Justin Forsett, RB -- SIT: West has been bad. Forsett has been worse.

Steve Smith, Sr., WR -- FLEX: Triple S hasn't been the big play receiver he's been in years past, but the volume of targets make him worth a play against a bad secondary.

Mike Wallace, WR -- START: Wallace has caught all three of Flacco's scoring throws in 2016. That trend won't last all year, but it's a good one to go off of this week.

Dennis Pitta, TE -- START: Pitta and Flacco have picked up where they left off before Pitta's injury issues. With tight end so thin, this is about as good of a start as you'll find this week.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears: 1:00 pm ET on FOX

Matthew Stafford, QB -- START:With the sixth most pass attempts in the NFL, a 67.8 with a top-four touchdown rate, Stafford is too efficient to bench.

Dwayne Washington, RB -- START: The Bears have a solid front seven but continue to get bit by the injury bug. Washington will be the early-down hammer and has a good shot at a touchdown.

Theo Riddick, RB -- FLEX: The Bears have allowed the fewest receiving yards to running backs in the NFL with 49. Riddick failed in his audition as the early-down back last week.

Marvin Jones, WR -- START: Sit the NFL's leader in receiving yards at your own risk. He's the top target in Detroit by far and Chicago just put their top corner on IR.

Golden Tate, WR -- SIT:We need to see something change in Tate's usage before playing him.

Eric Ebron, TE -- START: There are too few tight ends that see strong volume to go around. Ebron is in the group, and therefore must be started.

Bears

Brian Hoyer, QB -- SIT: In a 2QB league Hoyer is interesting as a streamer because the Bears will be chasing. Outside of that, he's not an option.

Jordan Howard, RB -- START:The Lions allow 5.3 yards per carry to running backs but just haven't been stung for a touchdown yet. With injuries afoot, Howard looks like a strong bet for a feature back workload.

Alshon Jeffery, WR -- START:You're playing Jeffery but the expectations might need dialing back. He has not seen 25 percent of the targets in any game yet and he should draw Darius Slay in coverage.

Kevin White, WR -- FLEX:This is risky but there's some reasoning to playing White this week. He'll draw the favorable corner matchup between the Bears wideouts and saw a whopping 14 targets from Brian Hoyer in his first start.

Zach Miller, TE -- START: The Lions gave up a league-high four touchdowns to tight ends through the first three games. Miller snared two red-zone scorers from Hoyer last week.

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