The fantasy football season is moving fast, and the focus has shifted to where each of the most popular Week 4 waiver wire pickups fit in the start ‘em, sit ‘em rankings.
Owners that made moves this week are likely looking for help—most fantasy players have at least one position on the roster that is weaker than the rest—and which pickups are worth starting is a serious discussion.
With every win and loss making a difference in fantasy leagues, all of the following start ‘em, sit ‘em advice should be heeded in Week 4. Owners will reap the rewards for their educated risks.
All rankings and scoring based on standard leagues.
Quarterback: E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills (vs. Baltimore)
Buffalo Bills rookie starting quarterback E.J. Manuel has proven to be one of the brightest stars on the team and is becoming a viable fantasy option for this week and beyond.
At 19 percent owned in Yahoo! Sports and 23.4 percent owned in ESPN, Manuel must be a consideration for owners of the top quarterbacks who have a bye this week (Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Cam Newton of Carolina).
Not only has Manuel blossomed into a smart pocket presence—the rookie has thrown only one interception this season—but his ability to get out of trouble, extend the play and run down the field when needed also makes him a serious threat to rush for a touchdown.
Verdict: Start ‘Em
Running Back: Willis McGahee, Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati)
The Cleveland Browns traded away star running back Trent Richardson in a blockbuster deal but left a huge void in the backfield. That’s why free-agent veteran Willis McGahee was signed, and he's slowly working into the starting role.
In his first week with the Browns, McGahee only amassed nine yards on eight carries and zero receptions. While he led the team in carries and should see a larger workload after another week with the playbook, his test against the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive front is less than favorable.
A bona fide starting running back doesn’t hit the waiver wire often and fantasy owners were right to make the move, but this should be a long-term acquisition. Sit McGahee on the bench and let him acclimate to the offense before putting him in your lineup.
Verdict: Sit ‘Em
Wide Receiver: Donnie Avery, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NY Giants)
Fans were excited to see wide receiver Donnie Avery make an impact with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3—seven catches for 141 yards against Philadelphia—and fantasy owners who need help at wide receiver must start him.
The Chiefs have a great matchup against the porous secondary of the New York Giants (17th in the NFL allowing 253 yards per game), and quarterback Alex Smith’s newfound confidence in the receiver makes him a huge weapon in Andy Reid’s pass-happy West Coast offense.
While Avery likely won’t match the huge yardage output he had in Week 3, seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown would make him one of the top fantasy players at his position, especially in PPR leagues. Start him as a WR3 or flex this week.
Verdict: Start ‘Em
Tight End: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (in London)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are desperate for help, and the steady improvement of tight end Heath Miller in his second week of action since returning from a knee injury will be a huge addition for the team and for fantasy owners.
Miller and Ben Roethlisberger have a rapport built over years of playing together, and his numbers should reflect that relationship in a tough matchup against the Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The strange circumstances will force players to seek their comfort zones, and that means Big Ben will lean heavily on his veteran tight end. Add in Miller’s ability to pass protect and lead block when the team runs the ball, and the offense should see vast improvements.
Miller will lead the charge with a big statistical day.
Verdict: Start ‘Em
|Bilal Powell||RB||New York Jets||Tennessee Titans||Start|
|Nate Washington||WR||Tennessee Titans||New York Jets||Start|
|Johnathan Franklin||RB||Green Bay Packers||Bye||Sit|
|Santonio Holmes||WR||New York Jets||Tennessee Titans||Sit|