Fantasy: Start, Sit, Stash, Quit - Week 4
SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar 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.
Anthony Richardson, Colts
All signs are pointing toward Richardson being cleared from concussion protocol and suiting up against the Rams.
Sean McVay's team hasn't been a particularly favorable matchup for quarterbacks this season, but it also hasn't faced a player like this over the first three weeks.
Richardson's dual-threat abilities helped him finish as the fantasy QB4 overall in his debut, and he was on the verge of a massive breakout game in Week 2 before getting hurt. Despite playing just 32% of the snaps in that contest, the rookie still posted QB19 numbers.
His impressive fantasy start revolves around rushing production, poise on the field, quality coaching, and a high-paced attack. If Richardson keeps this up, he might end the year as a top-five fantasy QB.
Boone's projection: 217 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 52 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
Other QBs to start
- Daniel Jones vs. Seahawks
- Justin Fields vs. Broncos
James Cook, Bills
Cook hasn't scored a touchdown in the first three weeks, but the rest of his numbers are extremely promising for a strong fantasy RB2 who could crack the top 12 if he can start to find the end zone.
The sophomore back is averaging 18 touches, 111 yards, and three receptions per outing, and he's the RB17 in fantasy points per game - without a TD.
Now he gets to showcase his talents in a game with the highest-projected total points in Week 4 (53.5) against a Dolphins defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs on the year.
Boone's projection: 106 rushing yards, 27 receiving yards, 3 receptions, TD
Other RBs to start
- D'Andre Swift vs. Commanders
- Jerome Ford vs. Ravens
- Javonte Williams at Bears
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers
After missing last week's game due to a shoulder injury, Aiyuk has been back at practice and is trending toward playing in Week 4.
The 49ers may really need him as well since Deebo Samuel (ribs, knee) and Jauan Jennings (shin) didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan already declared them questionable for this week's matchup against the Cardinals, where San Francisco has the highest-projected point total on the slate (29).
Prior to getting hurt, Aiyuk posted an 8-129-2 line in the opener and had three catches for 43 yards playing just half of the second game.
He's a must-start regardless of who's in the lineup moving forward.
Boone's projection: 91 receiving yards, 6 receptions, TD
Other WRs to start
- Michael Pittman vs. Rams
- George Pickens at Texans
- Adam Thielen vs. Vikings
Darren Waller, Giants
It's been a rough rollout for Waller in New York, with matchups against top-tier defenses (49ers, Cowboys) in two of his first three appearances.
In his other outing versus the Cardinals, Waller had six receptions for 76 yards and was the TE4 overall on the week.
We should see something similar to that when he takes on the Seahawks on Monday night. Seattle has been a middle-of-the-pack matchup for tight ends this year but allowed the most fantasy points to the position in 2022.
Boone's projection: 73 receiving yards, 5 receptions, TD
Other TEs to start
- Evan Engram vs. Falcons
- Pat Freiermuth at Texans
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
It's been a rough start to the fantasy season for Prescott, who's finished as the QB28, QB17, and QB19 over the last three weeks.
To make matters worse, he'll face his toughest challenge yet when Bill Belichick and the Patriots come to town this Sunday.
New England is permitting the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks despite going up against the high-powered offenses of the Eagles and Dolphins. The best fantasy result against them was QB19.
Boone's projection: 232 passing yards, TD, INT, 9 rushing yards
Other QBs to sit
- Joe Burrow at Titans
- Deshaun Watson vs. Ravens
Joe Mixon, Bengals
Joe Burrow struggling while playing through a calf injury means the Bengals' offense hasn't had the same bite we've become accustomed to seeing in recent years.
That lowers the fantasy outlook of everyone involved, including Mixon - who has yet to pop for a big week.
It probably won't occur in Week 4 either, since he's dealing with a Titans defense that's been the sixth-hardest matchup for running backs while holding every ball carrier they've encountered to 45 rushing yards or less.
Boone's projection: 44 rushing yards, 15 receiving yards, 3 receptions
Other RBs to sit
- James Conner at 49ers
- Brian Robinson at Eagles
- Breece Hall vs. Chiefs
Zay Flowers, Ravens
Flowers has been solid in the early part of his rookie campaign, amassing 21 receptions through three games.
However, with defenses adjusting and Mark Andrews returning to the lineup in Week 2, Flowers' yardage totals have dropped in each outing (78, 62, 48).
Don't be surprised if he's held in check this week against a Cleveland defense giving up the fewest fantasy points to wideouts on the season. Outside of a 75-yard touchdown by George Pickens, the Browns have stifled every opposing receiver to less than 50 yards.
Boone's projection: 47 receiving yards, 6 receptions
Other WRs to sit
- DeAndre Hopkins vs. Bengals
- Marquise Brown at 49ers
- Drake London at Jaguars
Hunter Henry, Patriots
Following two quality performances, Henry fell back to earth in Week 3 with just two catches for 17 yards.
Things won't get any easier against the Cowboys, who've been one of the worst matchups for most positions - and tight end is no different.
There'll be weeks where Henry is a decent fantasy option again, but the next two contests versus the Cowboys and Saints aren't the spots to use him.
Boone's projection: 37 receiving yards, 3 receptions
Other TEs to sit
- David Njoku vs. Ravens
- Zach Ertz at 49ers
Rico Dowdle, Cowboys
Three weeks into the season, there aren't many one-injury-away running backs available in the majority of fantasy leagues. However, the few that are deserve to be picked up immediately.
Dowdle (8% rostered) is the No. 2 back behind Tony Pollard after winning the job this summer. He's even earned at least six touches in every game, culminating in a 46-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 3.
Though Dowdle is unlikely to provide consistent flex value, he's proven himself to be the next man up if Pollard misses time.
Zamir White, Raiders
Since we seem to be searching for the next Jerome Ford - a backup RB who could become an instant fantasy starter if injuries strike their depth chart - let me turn the spotlight on White (4% rostered).
Josh Jacobs continues to be a bell-cow in the Raiders' offense, but he hasn't quite regained his 2022 rushing-king form after sitting out training camp and the preseason due to a contract dispute.
If the Raiders fall out of the playoff hunt in the second half of the season, it's possible Jacobs might not be as willing to battle through injuries without a long-term deal. That could open the door for White, making him worthy of that final spot on your bench.
Quarterback (1QB): Derek Carr, Kenny Pickett
Running back: Jamaal Williams, Damien Harris
Wide receiver: Skyy Moore, JuJu Smith-Schuster
Tight end: Cole Kmet, Dalton Schultz
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