Fantasy football feels normal again as owners barrel toward tough start 'em, sit 'em decisions for Week 4.
Names like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson came up big in Week 3 for owners. This doesn't mean there weren't surprises like Blake Bortles and Jacoby Brissett turning heads, but guys drafted high who are mostly irreplaceable seemed to get back on track.
With fantasy fireworks set to erupt between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football, let's pause and compare the best matchups to help form matchup rankings while also looking at notable start/sit options for top names.
|Drew Brees (at MIA) vs. Aaron Rodgers (vs. SEA)||Drew Brees|
|Russell Wilson (vs. IND) vs. Matthew Stafford (at MIN)||Matthew Stafford|
|Eli Manning (at TB) vs. Jared Goff (at DAL)||Jared Goff|
|Carson Wentz (at LAC) vs. Tom Brady (vs. CAR)||Tom Brady|
|Andy Dalton (at CLE) vs. Marcus Mariota (at HOU)||Marcus Mariota|
Star to Know: Drew Brees (at MIA)
Drew Brees is consistent and that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon.
The thing with Brees now is targeting the massive outbursts. He has two games in a row of hitting at least 20 fantasy points and five passing scores in that span.
He shouldn't have any problems blowing past the 20-point mark when his New Orleans Saints play the Miami Dolphins in London. Those Dolphins only allow the 19th-most points to quarterbacks on average right now, but that's skewed since that includes facing Josh McCown, who threw a touchdown with no interceptions.
Rest assured Brees can excel where McCown simply managed.
Star to Sit: Tyrod Taylor (at ATL)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor isn't a bad option most weeks because of the way he moves with an offense seemingly lacking weapons.
Taylor seems to have fallen into a sweet spot, though, having yet to fall below 10 fantasy points but never hit 20. It's a problem capable of being amplified against the Atlanta Falcons.
At a solid streaming position, Taylor isn't worth the risk.
|Ezekiel Elliott (vs. LAR) vs. Le'Veon Bell (at BAL)||Ezekiel Elliott|
|Kareem Hunt (vs. WAS) vs. Joe Mixon (at CLE)||Joe Mixon|
|Todd Gurley (at DAL) vs. Dalvin Cook (vs. DET)||Todd Gurley|
|LeGarrette Blount (at LAC) vs. Tarik Cohen (at GB)||Tarik Cohen|
|Leonard Fournette (at NYJ) vs. DeMarco Murray (at HOU)||Leonard Fournette|
Star to Know: Joe Mixon (at CLE)
Time to hop on the Joe Mixon train.
The Cincinnati Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese before Week 3 and promoted Bill Lazor, who turned around and did the obvious thing by making the rookie a workhorse.
Mixon wound up dropping 10.1 fantasy points on 18 carries after failing to receive double-digit totes over his first two games. Now he gets the Cleveland Browns, which is about as easy as it sounds.
Those Browns have had an easy schedule over the past few weeks against quarterbacks, but Mixon's ability on the ground and through the air suggest a massive breakout game is on the way soon.
Star to Sit: Melvin Gordon (vs. PHI)
Melvin Gordon has been the model of consistency for owners so far, hitting the 13-point mark and higher in all three games
Owners, of course, will judge the output based on where they drafted the Los Angeles Chargers' lead back.
Regardless, best to avoid what might be a dud from Gordon in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles allow the 11th-fewest points to running backs on average, with the electric breakout Kareem Hunt the exception (22.9 points).
Gordon isn't going to touch Hunt's numbers, though he might be more in line with the various dud performances against the Eagles already.
|A.J. Green (at CLE) vs. Doug Baldwin (vs. IND)||A.J. Green|
|Jarvis Landry (vs. NO) vs. Odell Beckham Jr. (at TB)||Jarvis Landry|
|Antonio Brown (at BAL) vs. Stefon Diggs (vs. DET)||Antonio Brown|
|Keenan Allen (vs. PHI) vs. DeAndre Hopkins (vs. TEN)||Keenan Allen|
|Michael Thomas (at MIA) vs. Sammy Watkins (at DAL)||Sammy Watkins|
Star to Know: Jarvis Landry (vs. NO)
Even outside of a points-per-reception league, Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry can be a monster of an option.
Such is the case this week when Landry, who has yet to hit the 10-point mark in a game despite 19 catches, takes on the Saints in London.
The Saints defense has lived up to past expectations this season and is allowing the seventh-most points to wideouts. Three receivers of note haven't had a problem blowing past the 13-point mark.
Given the Dolphins will want to keep Brees off the field, Landry should have a big day against a unit with droves of issues.
Star to Sit: Alshon Jeffery (at LAC)
Best not to overreact with Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery in Week 4.
The Eagles and Jeffery have opened up the vertical passing game this season, which is nice. But one problem: It isn't connecting.
For whatever reason, Carson Wentz and Jeffery aren't hitting on these big plays yet, which explains why his 15.2-point outburst in Week 2 gets sandwiched between outings of five points.
So while the Chargers allow the eighth-most points to wideouts on average, numbers skewed by names like Tyreek Hill aren't anything to lean on, and especially not with Jeffery and the offense on the road.
|Jimmy Graham (vs. IND) vs. Travis Kelce (vs. WAS)||Travis Kelce|
|Cameron Brate (vs. NYG) Coby Fleener (at MIA)||Coby Fleener|
|Rob Gronkowski (vs. CAR) vs. Ben Watson (vs. PIT)||Rob Gronkowski|
|Charles Clay (at ATL) vs. Jared Cook (at DEN)||Charles Clay|
|Delanie Walker (at HOU) vs. Austin Hooper (vs. BUF)||Austin Hooper|
Star to Know: Travis Kelce (vs. WAS)
Fantasy owners sure wouldn't mind an apology from Travis Kelce.
The Kansas City Chiefs star tight end erupted for 16.3 points in Week 2...then followed with 0.1 in Week 3.
With the way Hunt is playing, Kelce has turned into a boom-or-bust option. This isn't a bad thing for owners leaning on him in Week 4, though, thanks to a matchup against the Washington Redskins.
Washington is notorious for giving up big days to tight ends in fantasy, with this year no exception considering they enter the weekend coughing up the fifth-most points to the position, a number spread out evenly among big days for all three opposing starters faced.
Star to Sit: Jason Witten (at LAR)
It looked like Jason Witten was finally back to fantasy relevancy. He scored 11.9 points or more in each of his first two outings on a combined 22 targets.
Then Week 3 happened.
The Dallas Cowboys took him out of the game plan, only giving him four targets, resulting in 0.3 points.
It's hard to imagine Witten will be a big part of the plan against the Los Angeles Rams, a team permitting the 11th-fewest points to the position despite a matchup with Jordan Reed. Given how unpredictable the position has been so far, owners have plenty of options to compensate.