[dropcap]A [/dropcap]large part of being successful in fantasy football is determining the better match-ups in your lineup. Fantasy owners debate every week on what players are the better starts for their team. The difference in choosing one player over another in just one position could easily cost a win any given week. The following players and their match-ups are advisable options for Week 4 based on the fantasy points allowed by the opposition, according to one of my personal favorite websites, FF Today. Scoring is PPR.
Each week we’ll feature three quarterbacks, three running backs, three wide receivers, two tight ends and two defenses/special teams.
My attempt is to not name the guys you drafted in the first couple rounds that you should be starting every week no matter who they’re playing. These choices are almost exclusively based on the weekly opponent.
Tony Romo @ San Diego
The Chargers have been porous against the pass in 2013, giving up an average of 32.9 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to quarterbacks. That’s worst in the NFL. Even with the possibility of Miles Austin not playing, Tony Romo should find success against San Diego, especially when he still has Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. See where Romo and other quarterbacks are ranked this week.
Tom Brady @ Atlanta
If there’s a facet of the team to be blamed for the Falcons’ slow start ,(besides Roddy White) it’s probably their pass defense. After three weeks, Atlanta is allowing 26.2 FPPG to quarterbacks. Even with a depleted receiving corps, Tom Brady has found success so far in 2013. With All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski possibly returning in Week 4, expect Brady to put up big numbers Sunday night in the Georgia Dome.
Andrew Luck @ Jacksonville
The Jaguars are just what the doctor ordered for Andrew Luck’s slow start to the 2013 fantasy football season. Luck is barely maintaining his QB1 status going into Week 4 against Jacksonville. The good news for the Stanford alum is that the Jaguars have allowed seven passing touchdowns through three weeks. Additionally, they’ve given up the second most rushing yards to quarterbacks (89).
Darren Sproles vs. Miami
Sproles had a mediocre Week 3 in a win against the Cardinals, even with fellow running back Mark Ingram sidelined. As one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, Sproles managed just four catches for 39 yards during the Saints’ aerial assault on Sunday. I see a bounce-back week coming for Sproles against a Miami defense that has given up 22.6 FPPG to opposing running backs. Even with Pierre Thomas sharing touches, I really like Sproles as a low-end PPR RB1 to high-end PPR RB2 at home against Miami this week. See where Sproles and other running backs are ranked this week.
Trent Richardson @ Jacksonville
To the surprise of some, on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers Ahmad Bradshaw outperformed the recently acquired Trent Richardson. Bradshaw carried the ball 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown while Richardson saw 13 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown. Bradshaw also caught three passes for 16 yards on four targets while Richardson had zero catches on three targets. Fortunately for Richardson owners, Ahmad Bradshaw is out this week. Richardson should see plenty of touches out of the backfield against the swiss cheese that is Jacksonville’s defense.
Bilal Powell @ Tennessee
Perhaps no running back has been more surprising in the realm of fantasy football than the New York Jets’ Bilal Powell. It didn’t take long for Powell to supplant Chris Ivory as the go-to running back in New York. Of course, Ivory’s hamstring issues have helped Powell’s rise. Nevertheless, Powell has taken the opportunity and literally ran with it, en route to being a Top 10 PPR running back so far in 2013. The Titans’ defense is allowing 22.1 FPPG to the opposition’s running backs. If you’re lucky enough to claim Powell off waivers or have already, you can comfortably start him as at least a PPR RB2 this week against Tennessee.
Broncos WRs vs. Philadelphia
Let’s be honest, the Broncos can score against anyone, but especially against a defense that has allowed 48 FPPG to wide receivers. You’re already starting Demaryius Thomas every week, but Eric Decker and Wes Welker should also be every-week starts, unless you have a ton of depth at the position. Peyton Manning and Co. should continue their torrid pace at home in Week 4. Thomas and Welker are PPR WR1s this week and Decker should be considered a high-end WR2. See where the Broncos and other wide receivers are ranked this week.
Torrey Smith @ Buffalo
Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments so far in the 2013 fantasy football is Torrey Smith. So much was expected of him after Anquan Boldin left Baltimore. As it stands, Smith is WR25 in PPR scoring. This could be the week for a coming out party against the Bills, who are yielding 45.6 FPPG to wide receivers. That’s fifth from last in the league. Something’s got to give.
Antonio Brown @ Minnesota
Speaking of coming out parties, Sunday night featured Antonio Brown’s best game of his young career as he caught nine passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted a team-high 13 times in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Bears. The Vikings allow 38.1 FPPG to opposing wide receivers and one would anticipate the Steelers passing a lot in Week 4… and really the rest of the season. Le’Veon Bell may be returning and Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller is back, but Brown still remains the Steelers’ most dangerous offensive weapon.
Antonio Gates vs. Dallas
Where has Antonio Gates been the last few years? So far in 2013, Gates has played like the perennial Pro Bowler we all remember. Mike McCoy’s offense has molded very well with Gates and quarterback Philip Rivers. What’s more appealing for Week 4 is that the Cowboys are giving up 14.1 FPPG to opposing tight ends. Gates may be turning into an every-week starter again. See where Gates and other tight ends are ranked this week.
Heath Miller @ Minnesota
Ben Roethlisberger has one of his favorite weapons back in Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller. The Vikings are allowing 17.8 FPPG to tight ends in 2013 and Miller is more than ready to contribute after missing the first three weeks of the season. Antonio Brown is still the offensive player you want in Pittsburgh, but Heath Miller has an ideal match-up in Week 4.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Giants
Folks, the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense is for real. The Giants’ offense has been the most pathetic squad in the NFL in 2013 and the Chiefs at home are much more difficult. Defenses are scoring 14 FPPG against the Giants this year. Start the Chiefs with confidence this week. See where the Chiefs and other D/STs are ranked this week.
Bengals @ Cleveland
If the Bengals can make the Packers’ offense look bad, they can make any offense look bad, but especially an offense that has Brian Hoyer as its quarterback. The Browns’ surprised most of us on Sunday by beating the Vikings, due in large part to their offense, but they sputtered late in the game. The Bengals have a much better defense than the Vikings, while Cleveland has given up the eighth most points to fantasy defenses so far.