Fantasy: Start, Sit, Stash, Quit - Week 4
SSSQ is a weekly look at under-appreciated fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers
It's rare to see Brady featured in the start section, but doubts might be creeping in for his managers after three straight games with fewer than 15 fantasy points. Fortunately, Brady's subpar fantasy performances are easily explainable, and his situation is about to change for the better.
The Buccaneers have dealt with a variety of injuries to their offensive line and receiving corps, as well as a suspension for Mike Evans that caused him to miss last week's game.
Evans will return to action for their Sunday night showdown with the Chiefs and could be joined by wideout Julio Jones and left tackle Donovan Smith, who are both back to limited practices. And though Chris Godwin is unlikely to play in Week 4, he'll be active soon, too.
The cavalry is coming at the right time, as Brady prepares to go toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes. Plus, Kansas City's defense is allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Brady will be a solid top-12 option on what should be an emotional night for Tampa Bay in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Boone's projection: 312 passing yards, 3 passing TDs
Other QBs to start
- Aaron Rodgers vs. Patriots
- Kirk Cousins vs. Saints (London)
Jamaal Williams, Lions
With D'Andre Swift likely sidelined until after the Lions' Week 6 bye, Williams moves into fantasy RB1 territory.
The 27-year-old is already tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns (4) despite playing a more limited role than the other backs at the top of the list - Nick Chubb and James Robinson. Now he'll handle the majority of Detroit's backfield touches as well.
Williams will also get the benefit of facing the Seahawks this week. Seattle has been one of the softest matchups for fantasy ball carriers in 2022, giving up big games to Javonte Williams (108 yards), Jeff Wilson (103 yards), and Cordarrelle Patterson (153 yards, TD).
Don't hesitate to start Williams as a top-10 fantasy back for however long Swift is out.
Boone's projection: 78 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards, 3 receptions, TD
Other RBs to start
- Khalil Herbert at Giants
- Najee Harris vs. Jets
- James Conner at Panthers
DeVonta Smith, Eagles
Any concerns about the passing volume in Philadelphia have been put to rest by Jalen Hurts, who's averaging five more attempts per game this season in an overpowering and highly concentrated Eagles attack.
A.J. Brown's presence as a dominant No. 1 receiver has helped unlock the full potential of Philadelphia's passing game, but Smith has shown he's not far behind over the last two weeks.
The sophomore wideout has poured in stat lines of 7-80-0 and 8-169-1 in victories over the Vikings and Commanders. Next up is a tougher challenge against an upstart Jaguars defense that hasn't been tested by an offense as dangerous as Philly's.
As long as the weather doesn't become a problem, Smith will be a low-end fantasy WR2 with top-15 upside in this game and in most weeks moving forward.
Boone's projection: 83 receiving yards, 6 receptions, TD
Other WRs to start
- Tyler Lockett at Lions
- Garrett Wilson at Steelers
- Romeo Doubs vs. Patriots
T.J. Hockenson, Lions
Hockenson ranked high on our panic meter episode of theScore Fantasy Football Podcast this week, but he could temporarily boost his value with Swift sitting out and Amon-Ra St. Brown nursing an ankle injury that has his status in doubt.
The former first-rounder's playing time dropped from 91% of the snaps in the opener to 86% in Week 2 to just 76% last Sunday. He's also seen his production fall from 38 yards to 26 to 18.
But with Swift missing time and St. Brown either limited or inactive, Hockenson would step back into a prominent role on the offense against a Seahawks defense permitting the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Kyle Pitts was the latest to take advantage, racking up 87 yards on five catches.
After Hockenson delivers in Week 4, make sure you sell high before the other Lions stars return to full strength.
Boone's projection: 64 receiving yards, 6 receptions, TD
Other TEs to start
- David Njoku at Falcons
- Dalton Schultz vs. Commanders
Matthew Stafford, Rams
It hasn't been an ideal opening month for Stafford, who's thrown five interceptions and just four touchdowns through the first three games.
Perhaps all the offseason practice time he missed due to the elbow issue is to blame for the Rams' offense struggling out of the gate.
Either way, Stafford has finished outside the top-25 QBs in weekly scoring twice in three tries and now travels to San Francisco to square off with a 49ers unit limiting opposing passers to the fourth-fewest fantasy points this year.
The Niners held Stafford in check in both their meetings last season while picking him off four times.
Stafford should be on your bench until the Rams' offensive line comes together and he finds his rhythm.
Boone's projection: 229 passing yards, TD, 2 INTs
Other QBs to sit
- Derek Carr vs. Broncos
- Trevor Lawrence at Eagles
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs
There are plenty of reasons to question Edwards-Helaire's production this season. Fantasy Life's Dwain McFarland outlined many of them during our Week 4 preview show when he highlighted CEH as an obvious sell-high candidate.
The bottom line is that Edwards-Helaire is only playing 41% of the Chiefs' offensive snaps and has been held to eight or fewer carries in every game. His most recent effort resulted in seven carries for zero rushing yards against the Colts, but he saved his day with 39 receiving yards and a touchdown.
He'll need similar good fortune in the passing game versus the Bucs this week. Tampa Bay's defense is allowing the fewest fantasy points to runners and it hasn't let a back find the end zone.
Edwards-Helaire is a fantasy RB3 masquerading as an RB1, and this matchup will be his most difficult yet.
Boone's projection: 42 rushing yards, 16 receiving yards, 2 receptions
Other RBs to sit
- Jeff Wilson at Rams
- Cam Akers/Darrell Henderson at 49ers
- JK Dobbins at Bills
Allen Robinson, Rams
It's still early, but Robinson is still working on establishing himself as a difference-maker for the Rams.
The 29-year-old has yet to eclipse five targets in a single game, and his stat lines of 1-12-0, 4-53-1, and 2-23-0 leave a lot to be desired.
He's playing 94% of the Rams' snaps, so the production should eventually come. Just don't expect a breakout performance against the 49ers on Monday night.
San Francisco is the fourth-toughest matchup for fantasy wideouts so far.
Hopefully, you have a better option to use in your lineup over Robinson, who's a WR4/flex at the moment.
Boone's projection: 41 receiving yards, 3 receptions
Other WRs to sit
- Adam Thielen vs. Saints (London)
- DeVante Parker at Packers
- Greg Dortch/Rondale Moore at Panthers
Dawson Knox, Bills
While we knew touchdown regression was coming for Knox this season, no one expected him to take a complete backseat in Buffalo's high-powered offense.
Knox is the TE26 in fantasy points per game this season with five or fewer targets in each outing, only one contest with over 25 yards, and no scores.
He's purely a touchdown-or-bust fantasy option at this point.
Boone's projection: 27 receiving yards, 3 receptions
Other TEs to sit
- Logan Thomas at Cowboys
- Evan Engram at Eagles
D'Onta Foreman/Chuba Hubbard, Panthers
It seems like Christian McCaffrey has been on the injury report every day this season. However, his latest quad issue kept him out of practice two straight days and now threatens his availability for Week 4.
If CMC does miss time either this week or in the future, the Panthers' backfield would turn into a committee with Foreman (9% rostered) handling a majority of the early-down touches and Hubbard (9% rostered) seeing more passing-down snaps.
Keep your expectations in check, though. With the state of the Baker Mayfield-led Carolina offense, you should plan for Foreman or Hubbard to provide nothing more than RB3/flex production.
Justice Hill, Ravens
As J.K. Dobbins works to regain his form coming back from an ACL tear, it's been Justice Hill (2% rostered) who's looked like the backup with the most juice in Baltimore's backfield.
The coaching staff has rewarded Hill with more snaps and touches each week, culminating in a six-carry, 60-yard outing against the Patriots on Sunday.
The 24-year-old should continue to see snaps alongside Dobbins until Gus Edwards returns, making Hill the unexpected No. 2 runner for the Ravens until further notice.
Quarterbacks (1QB): Justin Fields, Matt Ryan
Running backs: Eno Benjamin, Elijah Mitchell (if no IR spot)
Wide receivers: Darnell Mooney, Kadarius Toney
Tight ends: Cole Kmet, Albert Okwuegbunam