By Sam Farley
We’re in Week 4, and one trend is evident:
This is the year of the fantasy quarterback.
Injuries to Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley — the top two picks in most drafts — along with the sluggish starts by Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Jacobs have resulted in slow starts for those owners who selected running backs early.
Granted, there’s plenty of season left, yet most fantasy owners who hit it big at QB have taken advantage of their good fortune.
Week 4 will continue to hammer home the point of having a consistent fantasy producer at the position, so much so that some streaming options have the chance to thrive.
START: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Dolphins: Having accounted for five touchdowns (one rushing) in his past two games, Fitzpatrick gets a Week 4 matchup against a Seahawks pass defense that allows the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Expect Fitzpatrick to take his share of downfield shots on a defense that has given up the most air yards in the league (936).
SIT: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: Wentz has already thrown six interceptions, one fewer than his entire 2019 total. Even with injured WRs DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery expected to return to the lineup, Wentz is in a tough situation on Sunday night against a 49ers pass defense that has allowed a league-low two touchdowns while also ranking second only to the Colts in fewest passing yards allowed.
START: James Robinson, RB, Jaguars: Jacksonville has found its lead back, which means Robinson will get a healthy dose of touches versus a Cincinnati defense that is 28th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing RBs. The Bengals also allow 5 yards per carry, placing them 24th overall and making it a must to install Robinson into lineups in all formats.
SIT: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens: Since scoring twice in Week 1, the rookie has become a non-factor with a combined three carries the past two games. That paltry volume of touches isn’t enough to justify playing Dobbins despite his big-play potential. Add the fact the Washington Football Team does a solid job against pass-catching backs (24 receiving yards allowed per game), it’s time to consider other options.
START: DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks: Averaging just under 100 receiving yards per game, Metcalf has scored in each of the first three games and will be in line for bigger numbers when he and QB Russell Wilson face a Dolphins secondary that is 28th in yards allowed per reception (12.2). Metcalf also leads the NFL with 19.7 yards before catch per completion.
SIT: A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: The days of counting on Green as a major contributor are seemingly gone. Green has caught just 46% of his 28 targets and averages just under 37 receiving yards per game. Don’t count on a sudden revival against the Jaguars, who allow the third-fewest yards per game to opposing wideouts at 123.7.
START: Robert Tonyan, TE, Packers: He’s not a familiar name to many fantasy owners, but Tonyan caught all five of his targets for 50 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Saints. Monday night could be a breakthrough for Tonyan as he gets to contend with a Falcons defense that allows an average of nine catches and 73 yards per game to opposing TEs while also giving up four touchdowns thus far.
SIT: Evan Engram, TE, Giants: Engram has yet to score this season and is averaging just under 9 yards per catch. While he could see an increase of targets against the Rams on Sunday, keep in mind that Los Angeles is 10th overall in fewest yards per game allowed to opposing tight ends.
START: Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: The Saints are 29th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks and have already allowed eight touchdown passes. Now is a good time to roll with Stafford, who has thrown two touchdowns in each of his past two games and will have favorite option Kenny Golladay for a second straight game. Don’t be shocked if Stafford is one of the most productive performers in Week 4.
SIT: Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: Mixon has disappointed his fantasy owners and will continue to do so on Sunday. Jacksonville is ninth in fewest rushing yards allowed per game (82.3), a number that doesn’t bode well for a struggling back who’s averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and has yet to find the end zone.
START: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Browns: He’s been a major disappointment so far, but that could change when Beckham lines up against a Cowboys defense that’s allowed a league-high nine touchdown passes and is 28th in yards allowed per reception (12.2). OBJ has five career touchdowns in seven previous games against Dallas as a member of the Giants.
SIT: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: Although Hilton leads the team in targets (17), QB Philip Rivers has spread the ball around as four other Colts have at least 10 targets. Hilton has yet to score this season and faces a tough matchup against a Bears pass defense that shares the league lead (49ers) with just two touchdown passes allowed.
START: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: Big Ben still has it, as his 7:1 TD:INT total suggests. Even with WR Diontae Johnson (concussion protocol) questionable, Roethlisberger has more than enough playmakers at his disposal when he and the Steelers face a Titans defense that has allowed seven touchdown passes while also ranking 25th in yards per catch allowed (11.9).
SIT: Josh Allen, QB, Bills: Only Dallas’ Dak Prescott has thrown for more yards than Allen’s 1,038, yet this might be a good week to find another option. Allen squares off against a Raiders defense that is sixth in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Las Vegas is also second only to Indianapolis when it comes to fewest air yards allowed, limiting just 286 yards in three games.