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Fantasy Football: Week 4 starts, sits

09.27.13 at 9:48 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 4 starts and sits. It’s a tough week, with the byes finally upon us. We lose Green Bay and Carolina this week, so I have some options if you are looking to replace Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton. Later Friday, Jim Hackett and I will be doing our weekly podcast sponsored by Mohegan Sun. Check back for that. We’ll be talking about Thursday night’s game, and we’ll take a look at this week’s matchups. If you have more lineup questions, check out our full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.com.  I’ll be updating them in full Saturday.  Finally, as always, I’ll be here at 11 a.m. on Sunday to take all of your lineup questions. I hope to see as many of you there as we had last week.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Tom Brady, Patriots at Falcons 

He should never be on this list, but I hear people talking about benching Brady these days, so it seemed appropriate. I’m not benching Brady. The youngsters are coming around, and they seem to have found an old weapon in Brandon Bolden. Brady may not be posting any huge games until the lineup is closer to full, but he can still be your QB1 this week.

Jay Cutler, Bears at Lions

The Bears are playing very good football and Cutler is getting pass protection that he’s never gotten in the past. That and his new weapons make him a weekly option. The Lions won’t be able to shut the Bears or Cutler down. He’s a solid QB1 option in Week 4.

Andy Dalton, Bengals at Browns

It’s a tough matchup on the road, but Dalton and company have handled the Browns well in the past. Dalton can be used as a QB1 in 12-team leagues. His top receiver, A.J. Green, has a solid history against CB Joe Haden and the Browns defense.

Michael Vick, Eagles at Broncos

There’s some risk in this tough road matchup, but Vick will need to pull out all the stops and use his feet, which means points for you. My big concern with Vick is his week-to-week availability, but he’s ready for this one. He has plenty of upside and is a solid QB1 if you need him.

SITS

Carson Palmer, Cardinals at Buccaneers

Arizona is struggling right now due to injuries, mostly. I really like what new coach Bruce Arians is doing, but the roster is not helping him much at this point. The Bucs have a challenging defense, and with Larry Fitzgerald less than fully healthy, I’d avoid Palmer this week.

Eli Manning, Giants at Chiefs

He has upside, sure, but it’s very hard to trust Manning right now on the road against a tough defense and with his offensive line struggling mightily. Things could change. They could even change this Sunday, but I am not betting my team’s future on it.

RUNNING BACKS

STARTS

Giovani Bernard, Bengals at Browns

It sure seems like the Bengals are beginning to favor the rookie over BenJarvus Green-Ellis. It’s still a time share, but Bernard is going to get his, and since he’s found the zone against some tough defenses, I am more than willing to use him as a RB2 or flex option in Week 4.

Bilal Powell, Jets at Titans

Powell is not a special talent, but he is pretty much the only game in town right now. Chris Ivory is predictably unavailable and Mike Goodson is still out on his suspension. That leaves only Alex Green to challenge Powell. Green actually is a better back, but he’s still working back from his 2011 ACL reconstruction. Powell should touch the ball a ton this week. He can start for you if you need a back.

Lamar Miller, Dolphins at Saints

The way they have used him so far borders on criminal, but they are winning, and winning is a great antiseptic, as somebody famous once said. Miller has looked dynamic at times, but he’s still just an RB2 or flex in 12-team leagues unless they start using him more consistently. He’s a good play this week at New Orleans.

David Wilson, Giants at Chiefs

He actually looked quite good last week. He had a sweet touchdown run called back on a shaky penalty and he had another good run called back. The stats don’t tell the story. Wilson is going to get it going, and this could be the week. He’s just a light RB2 or flex because of the obvious risks, but his ceiling still is quite high. I don’t think the Giants can afford to not use this guy.

SITS

Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals at Buccaneers

He’s banged up, and so is his line. I’d call him a flex option at best against a tough defense on the road. Mendenhall has missed a lot of practice lately and is just not in a good place. I’d avoid him for now.

Willis McGahee, Browns vs. Bengals

Too soon and a bad matchup. McGahee may do some good things this year if he can stay healthy, but this is not a good week to use him unless you just have no other options. The Bengals can play defense.

WIDE RECEIVERS

STARTS

Julian Edelman, Patriots at Falcons

Edelman’s level of play exceeds his stats. He’s been missed for touchdowns and he’s had some nice plays called back. I like him plenty this week, especially in PPR formats. If Rob Gronkowski does make his return, that should only increase Edelman’s value. The thing that will hurt him is Amendola’s return, but that won’t be this week.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts at Jaguars

He’s had two bad games and one good one, but this matchup should help him even out his ledger. I expect a few big plays and his first 2013 score. He’s a nice WR3 in 12-team leagues.

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars vs. Colts

I am not buying into popular wisdom that says the return of Blaine Gabbert spells doom for Shorts. I still expect very good things from him. Gabbert was looking the best that I’ve seen him as a pro before his thumb injury. He may surprise some people this week if the Jaguars can protect him at all. He’s a solid WR3.

Alshon Jeffery, Bears at Lions

His involvement is on the rise and he is a player that can do good things between the 20s and in the red zone. He could have a nice week with Brandon Marshall drawing coverage. I like him as a WR3 in larger formats.

SITS

Miles Austin, Cowboys at Chargers

He’s been mediocre and he’s nursing a hamstring issue. Sit him, even if he plays this week.

Greg Jennings, Vikings vs. Steelers

It’s not a great matchup. I’m aiming higher this week if I can.

TIGHT ENDS

STARTS

Martellus Bennett, Bears at Lions

He didn’t do much last week, but he just missed a score by a few inches. That’s worth noting. I like his matchup this week. He has a good chance to do some damage and he is a huge threat near the goal line.

Coby Fleener, Colts at Jaguars

Don’t let last week’s tough matchup throw you — Fleener is going to be a big part of the offense as long as he can stay healthy. This a good matchup for him. He should post solid numbers if you need him.

Charles Clay, Dolphins at Saints

He’s been very active for the last few weeks and there is an obvious target vacuum at tight end in the wake of Dustin Keller’s season-ending knee injury. Clay can help you in bigger formats if you are in need at tight end.

Zach Miller, Seahawks at Texans

His foot obviously is healthy now and he’s back to being a red zone weapon. Russell Wilson likes Miller and he looks for him. In very large leagues, the Seahawks tight end is a nice option if you are in need.

SITS

Kellen Winslow, Jets at Titans

He looks good here and there, but he’s just now what he was, and he’s sharing time with Jeff Cumberland. You can do better.

Jordan Reed, Redskins at Raiders

He may play, but he is clearly less than full strength. Unless he gets in a full practice Friday, I’d avoid him. That said, we really like Reed’s upside the rest of the way if the knee comes around, and it should. Just rest him this week.

Read More: Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler
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