Week 4 Wide Receiver Start or Sit | Marvelous Marvin Jones
Week three gave us everything. Last second victories, monster fantasy numbers (see Marvin Jones), and plenty of disappointing performances. Let’s focus on the latter for a moment. After all, what better way to start your day than a tall glass of negativity?
The list of ugly showings from week three seems to be endless: from Kelvin Benjamin’s goose egg to Ryan Mathews’ negative half-point outing that likely cost several of you a fantasy victory. I won’t leave out Ryan Fitzpatrick’s six (yes, six) interceptions or Cody Parkey’s three missed field goals.
But there was one performance from week three that was as abysmal as any: This guy who told all of the FTA readers, all of Twitter, and anyone else who would even pretend to listen, to start Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett. That fool was me, in case you missed that. So as last week’s start of the week, what did Tyler Lockett do for us? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. That’s right, Tyler Lockett had not a single catch, rush yard, or anything resembling a positive fantasy statistic. It was the let down of all let downs. And for that, my friends, I am sorry. I mean, hey, it’s probably not all my fault. After all, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham could have shared a little bit with the kid out of Kansas State. With that said, Mr. Lockett has been banned from all future Start or Sit articles and I will be anxiously awaiting my fine from Roger Goodell. For now though, we’re moving on to a new week. Here’s to a bounce-back performance for all.
Every week I will provide you with my recommended start or sit wide receivers. I will not be discussing obvious must-starts like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, etc. Instead I will be assisting with the tough lineup decisions such as Michael Floyd or Marvin Jones? Or Jordan Matthews or Randall Cobb? You get the idea. It is important to note that these are just recommendations and I always believe following your gut is the way to go when making a final start or sit call.
My suggestions are based on numerous factors such as matchups, opportunities within the offense, and past performances, to name a few. All statistics provided are based on standard scoring (non PPR).
For more start or sit advice and any other fantasy football questions you may have, visit our forums where myself and all of our wonderful writers will be more than happy to help you out. You can also follow FTA on Twitter @FanTeamAdvice or myself @ajohnsonFTA. Finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s matchups so be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Start of the Week: Allen Hurns (vs IND *In London*)
Allen Hurns owned the Colts in 2015. In two games vs Indianapolis, Hurns combined for 14 catches, 221 yards, and two scores. Going back to his rookie season in 2014, Hurns has three touchdowns in four games against the Colts. It’s been a bit of a quiet start for the third-year wideout. Hurns has just 13 catches for 179 yards after three weeks. He has yet to find pay-dirt. He is still second on the team, though, in targets (23), behind Allen Robinson (31), and first in red zone targets (5). The touchdowns are sure to come soon. Through the first three games of 2016, the Indy defense ranks in the bottom 10 of the league in passing yards allowed. Opponents are averaging over 300 yards/game through the air. With neither defense performing particularly well, the possibility of this one turning into a high scoring affair is very likely which should increase the chances of Hurns tallying big numbers for your fantasy team.
Bottom Line: Start Hurns with confidence as a solid WR2 with upside. Note: This game will be played in London at 9:30 a.m. E.T. so set your lineups accordingly.
Marvin Jones Jr. (at CHI)
Marvin Jones has been one of the league’s best free agent signings of 2016. Jones came over from the Bengals and out of the shadow of A.J. Green. Jones has proven to be a high quality number one wide receiver. In fact, he currently leads the NFL in receiving yards (408). Jones also leads all NFL receivers in fantasy points and is tenth in targets. In week three he torched the Packers secondary for 205 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions. It was already his second 100 yard game as a Lion. Megatron who? With the Bears on tap this weekend, Jones should have an opportunity to eclipse the 100 yard mark for the third straight game. Chicago’s pass defense has allowed over 22 points per game and three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. In two games vs the Lions last season, the Bears gave up a combined 703 pass yards and seven passing touchdowns. The numbers point to another big game from Marvin Jones this week.
Bottom Line: Start Marvin Jones as a borderline WR1/2 who could produce another top 10 performance.
Mike Wallace (vs OAK)
The Raiders defense looked much improved in their week three 17-10 win over the Titans. They held Marcus Mariota to just 214 yards passing and no touchdowns. Despite the good performance, I am not convinced. The Raiders still rank last in passing yards allowed (1,020, 340/game). Mike Wallace has gotten off to a great start with the Ravens. He has 10 receptions for 166 yards and three touchdowns in his first three games. He nearly had his fourth score early in the third quarter vs Jacksonville. Wallace has averaged six targets per game and leads all Ravens not named Joe Flacco in fantasy points. Wallace’s speed and play-making ability combined with a bad Raiders secondary makes for a very intriguing matchup.
Bottom Line: Wallace will be a WR3 vs Oakland.
Kelvin Benjamin (at ATL)
Kelvin Benjamin’s week three was nothing to write home about. Actually it was nothing at all. Benjamin did not produce a single catch in the 22-10 loss to the Vikings. As I was looking at the stat sheets from Sunday I actually found myself asking if I had missed Benjamin getting injured, but no it was just a great performance by one of the elite defenses in the NFL. I have a feeling Benjamin will make up for his disappearing act this week against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are allowing 313 pass yards per game which is the fourth most in the league. The 10 touchdown passes they’ve allowed is tied for the most with the Lions. Prior to his week three letdown, Benjamin had collected 199 yards and three touchdowns on 13 receptions. He led all wideouts in fantasy points after two games. He still leads all Panthers wide receivers in targets (22) and the team in redzone targets (3) and receptions (3). There is little reason to doubt Benjamin will have a bounce-back week in Atlanta.
Bottom Line: Start Benjamin as a borderline WR1.
Others with favorable matchups: Tyrell Williams (vs NO), John Brown (vs LA), DeVante Parker (at CIN)
Sit of the Week: Eric Decker (vs SEA)
Outside of Eric Decker’s week two performance he has just three catches for 68 yards. Decker is just third on the Jets in targets behind not only Brandon Marshall but Quincy Enunwa as well. The Jets opponent this week is the Seattle Seahawks who have given up the third fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. They also rank second in passing yards allowed and have yet to give up a passing touchdown. In Decker’s only game vs the Seahawks (SB XLVIII) he was held to just one catch for six yards. With the difficult matchup and a quarterback who is coming off a six interception outing, my expectations for Decker are minimal.
Bottom Line: Decker is not much better than a WR3. Temper expectations if you have to start him.
Julian Edelman (vs BUF)
This is actually a good matchup for Julian Edelman. However, the quarterback situation in New England is an unknown making Edelman’s prospects of a fantasy relevant outing skeptical at best. Last week with rookie Jacoby Brissett starting at quarterback for the Patriots, Edelman caught just four passes for 38 yards. Brissett injured his thumb against the Texans making him questionable to play vs the Bills. With Jimmy Garoppolo’s status (shoulder) also unknown, the Patriots could be forced to call on a free agent or even Edelman himself to play quarterback this week. As the situation becomes more clear throughout the week, I will update this article. If Garoppolo plays, Edelman will become a good option. If anyone other than Jimmy G starts for New England I would highly advise keeping Jules on the bench.
Bottom Line: With the quarterback situation up in the air, Edelman is hard to trust as anything better than a flex in standard scoring and low-end WR3 in PPR.
Sterling Shepard (at MIN)
This is more about the Vikings defense than the rookie Sterling Shepard. Minnesota’s defense has been dominant for the first three weeks of the season. Opposing receivers are averaging just 15.3 fantasy points per game, with just one touchdown. Quarterbacks have been held to an average of 211 yards with a brutal passer rating of 69.5. The Vikings also lead the league with 15 sacks, eight of which came in week three. Minnesota held Panthers wide receivers to fewer than 12 fantasy points combined while keeping Kelvin Benjamin off the stat sheet altogether. Sterling Shepard is out to a great start for the Giants. After three games the rookie has hauled in 16 receptions for 233 yards and two scores. He has provided fantasy owners with double-digit points in every game so far. It will be difficult for Shepard to continue that success against a very tough Vikings D.
Bottom Line: This Vikings unit is elite. I would stay away from Shepard for this week. He should be considered a low-end WR3.
Tavon Austin (at ARI)
The Cardinals defense is coming off an embarrassing 33-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills. As bad as the Bills beat up on the Cardinals, it was the running game that did most of the damage. Patrick Peterson and company held Tyrod Taylor to just 119 yards passing and did not surrender a touchdown through the air. No Bills receiver had more than 51 yards. The Cardinals rank sixth in fewest passing yards allowed. In six career games vs Arizona, Tavon Austin has averaged just 35 receiving yards and has failed to find the end zone in five of those contests. I expect those trends to continue this time around.
Bottom Line: Don’t count on Austin as anything more than a WR4.
Others with difficult matchups: Sammy Watkins (at NE), Mike Evans (vs DEN), Odell Beckham Jr./Victor Cruz (at MIN)