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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 4

Doric SamSeptember 29, 2021

Philadelphia Eagles' Miles Sanders jogs to the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Fantasy football is not easy to predict. Decisions that look good on draft day can have team owners trying to climb out of a hole by Week 4.

But that's why we're here, to help forecast the best and worst options based on weekly matchups. We break down two players who should break out this week, as well as two players who will likely fall short of prognostications.


Start 'Em: Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) looks to the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Miles Sanders has been a frustrating player for fantasy owners. Despite the Philadelphia Eagles ranking fifth in the NFL in rushing, Sanders has not factored into the offense.

Through three games, Sanders is averaging just 12.7 touches. He finished with two carries for 27 yards in Monday night's loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Sanders has yet to score a touchdown this season.

That should change Sunday with an ideal matchup at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City is giving up 160.3 rushing yards, which ranks second to last in the league.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts leads the team with 179 rushing yards and Sanders is right behind him with 156. Both of them should feast on a soft Chiefs defense. After Monday's debacle against Dallas, Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni should look to rectify it by making Sanders a featured part of the offensive gameplan.


Sit 'Em: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Fantasy owners were optimistic in their season outlook on Saquon Barkley despite the New York Giants lead back coming off a torn ACL that caused him to miss the majority of the 2020 season.

But Barkley has failed to live up to those expectations, totaling just 134 rushing yards in three games. He won't have an easy time Sunday in a road matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints rank third in the league in rushing defense, giving up just 60.3 yards. New Orleans has held their opponents to under 50 rushing yards twice, and the season-high of rushing yards allowed is 89 in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers.

At 0-3, the Giants are just not a good team at the moment. They will likely be playing from behind against the Saints, which would likely lead to more throwing opportunities for Daniel Jones but less carries for Barkley.

Barkley has also been a non-factor in the passing game, totaling just nine receptions for 56 yards on 13 targets this season.


Start 'Em: Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) lines up against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
AP Photo/Justin Rex

With quarterback Sam Darnold being traded to the Carolina Panthers this offseason, it was expected that he would rekindle his connection with Robby Anderson from their time together with the New York Jets.

But so far, Anderson's production has left much to be desired. He's been targeted just 11 times in three games, notching five receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown. Factoring out his 57-yard touchdown reception against the Jets in Week 1, Anderson has been next to nonexistent in the passing game.

Anderson should be able to turn things around in Sunday's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, who rank second to last in the NFL in passing defense (331.7 yards per game). Through three games, the Cowboys have allowed five receivers to finish with at least 90 receiving yards. 

Anderson is known for his big-play ability and he should have ample opportunities on Sunday. Panthers receiver DJ Moore has taken the lion's share of the targets so far this season, so he will get a lot of attention from the Cowboys defense. That should open things up for Anderson to get going.


Sit 'Em: Ty'Son Williams, RB, Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 19: Baltimore Ravens running back Ty'Son Williams (34) runs with ball during the Kansas City Chiefs game versus the Baltimore Ravens on September 19, 2021 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD.  (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens running back Ty'Son Williams' fall was almost as quick as his rise.

After posting back-to-back top-20 performances in the first two weeks of the season, Williams had just five carries for 22 yards last week against the Detroit Lions. He trailed both quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Latavius Murray, who both had seven carries in Sunday's win.

The Ravens will be facing the vaunted Denver Broncos defense on Sunday, and no one is in for an easy time. The Broncos rank second in the NFL in both rushing defense (59.3) and total defense (221.7) and third in passing defense (162.3).

In a crowded backfield with Murray and veteran Devonta Freeman, it looks like Williams' role is diminishing. With Jackson also eating up carries, it's likely best to keep Williams on the bench until he matches his early-season performances.