Week 4 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Top 10 Players, Stat Projections for Every Position

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 29, 2017

New York Giants' Eli Manning passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

If you're struggling to decide which players to start and sit for your fantasy football team, take a step back and think about how the games might go in some matchups.

For example, if you're picking between New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard or Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Marqise Lee for the third wide receiver spot or flex, consider how they will do against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets defenses, respectively, this week.

Will they have space to operate? Will they get targets? Will the games be shootouts, defensive slugfests or something in between?

Below you'll find some top-10 rankings for each position followed by a breakdown of the Giants-Buccaneers matchup, with a particular focus on New York's passing attack and how it might do on Sunday.

        

Top 10 Quarterbacks

1. Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans) at Houston Texans: 225 passing yards, 1 INT, 50 rushing yards, 2 passing TD, 1 rushing TD (29 points)

2. Tom Brady (New England Patriots) vs. Carolina Panthers: 300 passing yards, 3 TD (24 points)

3. Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills) at Atlanta Falcons: 225 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD (25 points)

4. Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Los Angeles Rams: 225 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD (24 points)

5. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) vs. Miami Dolphins (in London): 300 passing yards, 3 TD, 1 INT (23 points)

6. Eli Manning (New York Giants) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 350 passing yards, 3 TD, 1 INT (23 points)

7. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Indianapolis Colts: 225 passing yards, 2 TD, 40 rushing yards (21 points)

8. Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans) vs. Tennessee Titans: 200 passing yards, 1 INT, 30 rushing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD (20 points)

9. Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams) at Dallas Cowboys: 275 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT (20 points)

10. Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs) vs. Washington Redskins: 275 passing yards, 2 TD (19 points)

                    

Top 10 Running Backs

1. Kareem Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs) vs. Washington Redskins: 100 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 2 TD (32 points)

2. Dalvin Cook (Minnesota Vikings) vs. Detroit Lions: 130 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 TD (27 points)

3. Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams) at Dallas Cowboys: 70 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 1 TD (24 points)

4. LeSean McCoy (Buffalo Bills) at Atlanta Falcons: 60 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 1 TD (22 points)

5. Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Los Angeles Rams: 100 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 TD (23 points)

6. Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville Jaguars) at New York Jets: 100 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 1 TD (22 points)

7. Jay Ajayi (Miami Dolphins) vs. New Orleans Saints (in London): 120 rushing yards, 2 TD (24 points)

8. Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons) vs. Buffalo Bills: 80 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 1 TD (23 points)

9. Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers) at New England Patriots: 30 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 1 TD (23 points)

10. Carlos Hyde (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Arizona Cardinals: 70 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 TD (21 points)

         

Top 10 Wide Receivers

1. A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals) at Cleveland Browns: 9 receptions, 120 receiving yards, 1 TD (27 points)

2. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals) vs. San Francisco 49ers: 10 receptions, 110 receiving yards, 1 TD (27 points)

3. Michael Thomas (New Orleans Saints) vs. Miami Dolphins (in London): 9 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 1 TD (25 points)

4. Doug Baldwin (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Indianapolis Colts: 8 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 1 TD (24 points)

5. Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) at Baltimore Ravens: 8 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 1 TD (24 points)

6. DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans) vs. Tennessee Titans: 8 receptions, 90 receiving yards, 1 TD (23 points)

7. Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons) vs. Buffalo Bills: 7 receptions, 90 receiving yards, 1 TD (22 points)

8. Odell Beckham (New York Giants) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6 receptions, 90 receiving yards, 1 TD (21 points)

9. Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos) vs. Oakland Raiders: 7 receptions, 80 receiving yards, 1 TD (21 points)

10. DeVante Parker (Miami Dolphins) vs. New Orleans Saints (in London): 6 receptions, 80 receiving yards, 1 TD (20 points)

         

Top 10 Tight Ends

1. Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots) vs. Carolina Panthers: 8 receptions, 80 receiving yards, 1 TD (22 points)

2. Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs) vs. Washington Redskins: 7 receptions, 80 receiving yards, 1 TD (21 points)

3. Zach Ertz (Philadelphia Eagles) at Los Angeles Chargers: 7 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 1 TD (20 points)

4. Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Los Angeles Rams: 5 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 1 TD (16 points)

5. Delanie Walker (Tennessee Titans) at Houston Texans: 4 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 1 TD (16 points)

6. Coby Fleener (New Orleans Saints) vs. Miami Dolphins (in London): 4 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 1 TD (15 points)

7. Jared Cook (Oakland Raiders) at Denver Broncos: 5 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 1 TD (16 points)

8. Evan Engram (New York Giants) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 TD (14 points)

9. Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings) vs. Detroit Lions: 4 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 TD (14 points)

10. Jimmy Graham (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Indianapolis Colts: 3 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 1 TD (12 points) 

        

Top 10 Kickers

1. Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: 2 FG (50-plus), 2 FG (40-49) (18 points)

2. Harrison Butker (Kansas City Chiefs) vs. Washington Redskins: 2 FG (39-and-under), 3 PAT (15 points)

3. Phil Dawson (Arizona Cardinals) vs. San Francisco 49ers: 3 FG (40-49), 3 PAT (15 points)

4. Cody Parkey (Miami Dolphins) vs. New Orleans Saints (in London): 2 FG (40-49), 1 FG (39-and-under), 3 PAT (14 points)

6. Brandon McManus (Denver Broncos) vs. Oakland Raiders: 2 FG (39-and-under), 1 FG (40-49), 3 PAT (13 points)

7. Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers) at Baltimore Ravens: 3 FG (40-49), 1 PAT (13 points)

8. Stephen Gostkowski (New England Patriots) vs. Carolina Panthers: 2 FG (39-and-under), 3 PAT (12 points)

9. Wil Lutz (New Orleans Saints) vs. Miami Dolphins (in London): 2 FG (40-49), 3 PAT (11 points)

10. Giorgio Tavecchio (Oakland Raiders) at Denver Broncos: 2 FG (40-49), 2 PAT (10 points)

             

Top 10 Defense/Special Teams Units

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (at New York Jets): 3 INT, 4 sacks, 1-6 PA (17 points)

2. Arizona Cardinals (vs. San Francisco 49ers): 3 sacks, 3 INT, 7-13 PA (13 points)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (at Cleveland Browns): 3 INT, 2 sack, 7-13 PA (11 points)

4. Seattle Seahawks (vs. Indianapolis Colts): 1 sack, 3 INT, 7-13 PA (11 points)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens): 2 INT, 3 sacks, 7-13 PA (11 points)

6. Minnesota Vikings (vs. Detroit Lions): 2 INT, 2 sacks, 7-13 PA (10 points)

7. Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): 2 sacks, 2 INT, 7-13 PA (10 points)

8. New York Giants (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers): 3 sacks, 2 INT, 14-20 PA (8 points)

9. Cincinnati Bengals (at Cleveland Browns): 2 INT, 1 sack, 7-13 PA (8 points)

10. Minnesota Vikings (vs. Detroit Lions): 2 INT, 1 sack, 7-13 PA (8 points)

       

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

At first glance, it might be odd to see New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning at sixth on the top-10 quarterback ranking above, especially considering that he is 22nd on the Week 4 expert consensus list from FantasyPros. Here's an explanation why.

The Giants haven't been able to run the ball effectively (3.1 yards per rush through three weeks), and now they will head to Tampa Bay, which has only allowed 2.7 yards per carry through two games.

Granted, those are both small sample sizes. However, given the Giants' success passing the ball last Sunday, one can't help but wonder if they can replicate that aerial success moving forward, making New York a pass-heavy team.

Manning attempted 47 passes in a 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Although the Giants offense got off to a slow start through two weeks, scoring just 13 points, they changed things up against Philadelphia by throwing quick passes to wide receivers and tight ends. That proved to be beneficial for a Giants offensive line that struggled protecting Manning through two games, as they had less time to block.

Wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. (seven catches, 97 yards, two touchdowns) and Sterling Shepard (seven catches, 133 yards, one touchdown) had big days. The Giants were successful in connecting on short routes all afternoon, one of which led to an explosive 77-yard touchdown from Shepard after a breakdown in the Eagles secondary.

Focusing more on Beckham for a moment: He is nearly untouchable against any cornerback. Beckham can take a five-yard slant for a long touchdown or make one-handed grabs. Given last week's performance, it also looks like he is fully recovered from a sprained ankle that forced him to sit the season opener and play at less than 100-percent capacity in Week 2.

On the opposite side of the line, the Bucs had a rough performance against the Minnesota Vikings' passing attack in a 34-17 loss last Sunday. Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs finished with eight catches for 173 yards and two scores, and teammate Adam Thielen accrued five catches for 98 yards.

In the Bucs' defense, Tampa Bay was missing No. 1 cornerback Brent Grimes, who should be back for this contest (he has been practicing in full since Wednesday). Grimes had a fantastic season last year, finishing with a fantastic 90.2 grade (out of 100 points) from Pro Football Focus. He should be able to slow down the Giants' passing attack at least a bit.

However, if Grimes can neutralize Beckham somewhat, that could leave more targets and opportunities for Shepard, wideout Brandon Marshall and tight end Evan Engram, who might have plus matchups against the rest of the Bucs defense based on their early performance (per Football Outsiders, the Bucs' pass defense ranks 29th of 32 teams in the league).

One final statistic before closing: As poor as the Giants offense has looked at times, Manning has an excellent 73.5 percent completion rate (second in the NFL) through three games. That's likely unsustainable long-term (that mark is over 10 percentage points better than his career-high), but it's not out of the question that he set a new high this season if the short-passing game success continues.

Ultimately, expect Manning to have one of the more productive games of his season this Sunday, with a few of the Giants' pass-catchers as beneficiaries.