Fantasy football is all about making smart week-to-week decisions. Whether it’s in the draft, on waivers or just managing the lineup, those that are more educated and take calculated risks are much more likely to win out over their opponents.
Playing the matchups is one of the most important factors to consider when figuring out who you will start and who you will bench every Sunday, especially in deeper leagues.
If you want to look like a guru and get a leg up on your competition in Week 4, keep reading to find out some of the top starts and best sits you can make.
Start ‘Em: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Minnesota)
Big Ben has been off to a rough start, but he finally started looking like his former Pro Bowl self in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears. Although the Steelers still lost, Roethlisberger put up over 400 yards and two touchdowns in the contest.
The signal-caller has a great matchup on a neutral field (Wembley Stadium in London) against the Minnesota Vikings this week and should be primed for another big performance. Stud tight end Heath Miller is returning full strength from an injury and gives him another weapon in the passing game, as well as provides solid blocking that can help keep him off the turf.
Sit ‘Em: Eli Manning, New York Giants (at Kansas City)
Manning has been a turnover machine over the first three weeks of the season and it’s not going to get any better against the Chiefs. Kansas City is plus-nine in turnover margin this season, which is best in the league. Manning’s G-Men are sitting at minus-nine, an unimpressive number that ranks worst in the NFL.
Stay away from this matchup, as it’s going to end in heartache for Big Blue fans and Manning’s fantasy owners.
Start ‘Em: Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens (at Buffalo)
Regardless of whether or not starting running back Ray Rice plays, Bernard Pierce is a solid fantasy play in Week 4. The backup put together a decent performance in Week 3 against the Houston Texans and should be in line for another great outing against a porous Buffalo Bills front line. Expect Pierce to go for at least one touchdown and 75 yards if Rice plays and possibly double that if he can’t go.
Sit ‘Em: Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (at Atlanta)
Ridley caught a break when Shane Vereen injured his wrist in Week 1, but the starting back still isn’t going to get a full workload after proving to be prone to fumbles. Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount are cutting into his touches, and Ridley is no longer worthy of a starting RB or even Flex spot in most leagues.
Start ‘Em: Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati)
Was Gordon a one-week wonder?
Gordon broke onto the scene last Sunday after being suspended for the first two games of the season. He’s an absolute monster of a receiver, using his huge height, quick speed, strong hands and explosiveness to come away with almost every ball thrown his way.
The 22-year-old has a tougher matchup against the Bengals this coming week but should still be able to put up huge numbers in an offense he is now the focal point of.
Sit ‘Em: Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Arizona)
V-Jax is a tough sit, but wise owners will move on without him this week. He’s ailing from a rib injury and doesn’t seem to be 100 percent going into the contest with the Cardinals. Factor in that rookie signal-caller Mike Glennon will be under center instead of incumbent starter Josh Freeman and you are looking at a tough matchup for the veteran star.
Start ‘Em: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Minnesota)
Miller is coming back and having his snap count removed in Week 4, which is a big boost to the Steelers offense. His beleaguered quarterback will finally have a reliable target that can help on short, medium and long distance situations. The 6’5” athlete is a red zone favorite and should be able to carve the Vikings defense much the same way that Jordan Cameron of the Browns did in Week 3.
Sit ‘Em: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (at Atlanta)
Gronk’s status is still up in the air and there’s talk that the team and player are currently at odds on his ability to return to the field. He’s not set to play until Sunday night against the Falcons, so unless you have Tony Gonzalez on your roster, it’s wise to avoid this nightmare situation.