Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings: Unfavorable Matchups to Avoid at Each Position

Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 25, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 8: Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to avoid corner back Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Making the choice to bench a fantasy football starter that 99 percent of the general population has faith in can blow up in an owner's face. 

It can also be the difference in winning a weekly matchup against a bitter rival and eventually making the playoffs. 

Oh, the difference a gutsy move can make. 

There's a fine line between knowing when to leave a player out of your lineup and over-thinking the situation. If you spend too much time laboring over stats, player comparisons and expected matchups then you probably won't be happy with your final decision, even after the bell tolls. 

Projections are everywhere for Week 4 of the fantasy football season. We'll take a look at a few of our own below while providing a positional breakdown of players you should avoid this week at each position. 



Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer

Hoyer's inspiring performance against the Minnesota Vikings gave fantasy owners pause over the weekend, but those reading who jumped on his 300-yard, three-touchdown performance will want to avert their eyes. 

Minnesota is one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL through three games. 

Against a Cincinnati pass-rush and secondary allowing the 10th least amount of fantasy points to QBs in standard leagues, Hoyer will have his hands full. Although he and teammates Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron were fantasy stars over the weekend, Week 4 doesn't hold the same potential. 

Others to Avoid: Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker, St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford


Running Back

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 23:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans bows to the fans in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during play at LP Field on October 23, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Get
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It's never easy to put a first-round pick on your bench, but this might be the week where that move pays off. 

Foster managed just five fantasy points in standard leagues against the Baltimore Ravens, and an equally tough matchup with the Seattle Seahawks is waiting in the wings. 

With Ben Tate receiving double-digit touches in each of the first three weeks, an argument can be made that Foster is losing ground in the fantasy world.

Granted, benching Foster is a high-risk, high-reward move, especially if you have an unproven backup waiting to take his place in the starting lineup. Strictly looking at the Seattle defense and the current distribution of carries, though, it might be just as risky to trust Foster as an RB1. 

Others to Avoid: Buffalo Bills RB C.J. SpillerDallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray


Wide Receiver

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson

The Bucs made Mike Glennon their starting QB on Wednesday, and while that news bodes well for the long-term fantasy values of receivers like Jackson, it's hard to trust the passing game in Tampa Bay this week. 

News of Jackson dealing with an injury forcing him to miss practice on Wednesday, as reported by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, lessens that trust:

Quarterbacks need practice to work on timing with receivers. When you throw in the fact that Glennon is a rookie making his first NFL start on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, Jackson doesn't look like a sure thing, even if he's 100 percent healthy. 

Doug Martin is the only Buc I would start with confidence this weekend. 

Others to Avoid: Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace, Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery


Tight End

New York Giants TE Brandon Myers

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 8:  Brandon Myers #83 of the New York Giants misses a pass during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Myers got off to a great start against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, but his numbers have steadily decreased, and he was a virtual no-show against the Carolina Panthers. 

With Eli Manning struggling to find his rhythm as a passer and turning the ball over at an exorbitant rate, it's tough to put any Giant in the upper echelon of fantasy starters for Week 4. 

When you consider that the Chiefs have allowed just 100 receiving yards to opposing tight ends and that the Giants are somewhat lost on offense at this point in the season, having faith in Myers to produce double-digit numbers in standard leagues isn't a smart leap. 

Others to Avoid: Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller, Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph


Defense/Special Teams

Denver Broncos

The Broncos will face the Philadelphia Eagles this week, a team currently near the bottom of the NFL list in turnovers with seven. Conversely, the Denver defense is tied with Minnesota for the most interceptions in the league with six. 

Something's got to give. 

Since the turnovers haven't stopped Philadelphia from being the league's second-best offense in yards per game, Denver isn't a smart play this week. John Fox's defense might force a couple of turnovers and register a sack or two, but Philadelphia is a safe bet to eclipse 20 points. 

You should avoid both defenses from this expected shootout. 

Others to Avoid: Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets



San Diego Chargers K Nick Novak

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Kicker Nick Novak #9 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after kicking the game winning 46 yard field goal with seven seconds remaining during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Novak has been hit or miss this season for fantasy owners, teasing them with a 14-point explosion in Week 2 before coming back down to earth against Tennessee. 

He and the Chargers face Dallas this weekend, a team with one of the most impressive early-season defenses in the NFL. The Cowboys have also been unfriendly to opposing kickers, yielding just seven extra points and two field goals. 

The 32-year-old is worth an add in most formats, but this doesn't appear to be a matchup working in his favor. 

Others to Avoid: Washington Redskins K John Potter, Indianapolis Colts K Adam Vinatieri


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