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Fantasy Football Rankings Week 4: Sleepers, projections, starts, sits | Josh Palmer, Tank Dell and more

As we get into the Week 4 fantasy football rankings, sleepers, buys and more — team trends and game plans are taking shape. This helps us get a better idea of starts, sits, projections and finding bye-week options — they’re coming! The Week 4 game previews have all the most interesting info nuggets I can find. Enjoy!


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Week 4 Waivers | Week 4 SOS Ranks (THU)
Fantasy Football 101 (weather, lineups, trading, more)
All in Football Podcast


WEEK 4 FANTASY FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

Lions at Packers, TNF

  • Reminder that outdoor Jared Goff has 62.7 Comp%, 244.9 YPG, 0.86 TG/G and 2.5 TD/ATT% compared to 66.6 Comp%, 276.3 YPG, 2.33 TD/G and 6.5 TD/ATT% indoors.
  • While filling in for Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon averaged just 0.15 forced missed tackles per attempt. That’s worse than Roschon Johnson, Dalvin Cook and Sean Tucker.
  • The Packers are T-4 lowest in percent of runs of 10+ yards (6.3%).
  • The Packers have the seventh-highest YAC/Rec at 2.10, and that’s before Christian Watson makes his season debut, who had the 14th-highest mark (min 20 receptions) last year at 6.44. He’s a boom/bust WR4 in his first game back due to potential snap count limitations.

Falcons at Jaguars, 9:30 a.m., London

  • As mentioned in waivers, the Jaguars lead the league in receiver drops, and the Falcons have the fourth-lowest Comp% allowed (58.3). They faced Bryce Young (52.6%), Jordan Love (56.0%) and Jared Goff (66.7%).
  • Falcons have the sixth-lowest opponent plays per game (61.0).
  • Travis Etienne doesn’t have a single rush attempt inside the 5-yard-line while Tank Bigsby has three.
  • The Jaguars and Falcons rank fourth and fifth (18.58, 18.34) in defensive RushEPA.

Dolphins at Bills, 1 p.m.

  • Through three quarters, De’Von Achane had 45.0% of the RB touches and 51.6% of the rushes to 50.0% and 41.9% for Raheem Mostert — with 46.4% of the snaps to 64.3% for Mostert. This could be the Compound V version of the Ravens duo.
  • The Bills use three receivers just 41.4% of the time on drop-backs (second-lowest to the Falcons 13.0% ha!). Unfortunately for Dalton Kincaid, Dawson Knox has a higher Route% (70.7 to 69.3) and caps his TmTGT% at 11.3 thanks to 10.4 of his own.
  • Tua Tagovailoa leads the league in YD/Comp at 14.2 with Jordan Love second at 12.8.

Related: Re-ranking the Top 50 RBs after three weeks of fantasy football, with analysis from some NFL beat writers

Broncos at Bears, 1 p.m.

  • Broncos have the worst defensive RushEPA (-11.90), which is understandable after last week.
  • Javonte Williams (12.6) and Roschon Johnson (13.1) rank inside the Top 10 for all running backs in TmTGT%.
  • Despite being far behind Jerry Jeudy in AirYD/TGT (13.6 to 9.6), Courtland Sutton has a better Yards per Route Run (YPRR) at 1.77 to 1.56.
  • After 9.1 AirYD/ATT, 11.7 YD/Comp, 5.3 TD/ATT and 57.5 WRTGT% last year, Justin Fields is down to 6.9, 10.3, 6.4 and 47.7 while targeting running backs 28.4% versus 16.4. He also had a Pass:Rush ratio of 1.99:1 last year, which is up to 3.67:1.

Ravens at Browns, 1 p.m.

  • The Browns defense allows just 50.7 plays per game (2nd to BUF 47.7).
  • They also lead the league in forcing a 3-and-Out (61.5% of plays) and have the lowest yards per play (3.2) and drives to end in a TD (2.6%). The next closest team for each is 54.1% (NE), 4.1 (BAL) and 6.5 (BUF).
  • Zay Flowers had a 47.6 TmTGT% in Week 1 but just 23.8% with Mark Andrews back. Justice Hill could be an RB2/3 play without Gus Edwards, but it’s hard to trust Melvin Gordon if both are out.
  • Jerome Ford was the first running back since Saquon Barkley in Week 1 of 2022 to score 17+ points against the Titans… and just the second since Jonathan Taylor in Week 8 of 2021.

Bengals at Titans, 1 p.m.

  • Joe Burrow doesn’t look right, and it shows in his OffTGT% of 11.6 after 7.7, 6.9 and 7.6 for his first three years — and his reluctance to run (tied with Derek Carr for league-low 0.3 Rush+Scrambles per game).
  • Of receivers with at least 30.0 TmTGT%, DeAndre Hopkins is the only one not averaging at least 11.3 FPPG (Hop has 7.4).
  • Tyjae Spears has 80 snaps and Derrick Henry 81, but Henry has 56 touches to Spears’ 22 (71.8% to 28.2%).

Rams at Colts, 1 p.m.

  • Kyren Williams has the volume, including 15.7 TmTGT% (fourth among running backs), but is alongside Dameon Pierce, AJ Dillon, and Joshua Kelley in lack of explosive plays and yards after contact.
  • Top 5 in rushing yards per game the last two weeks: D’Andre Swift 152.5, James Cook 110.5, Zack Moss 105.0, De’Von Achane 104.0, James Conner 102.0.
  • The Colts have the second-lowest man coverage (9.1% to Packers’ 8.2%), and Puka Nacua is the sixth-highest graded receiver against zone per PFF.
  • Michael Pittman is quietly seventh in receptions and a must-start with his consistency.

Buccaneers at Saints, 1 p.m.

  • “Jameis Winston doesn’t throw to running backs” is a misnomer. Over the last five years, Winston has a 19.1 RBTGT%, Derek Carr has 21.0% over that same span.
  • Mike Evans has a 31.5 TmTGT% (ninth), 10.7 TD.TGT% (11th) and 126.7 AirYD/G (fifth).
  • Rachaad White is eighth in RB Touch% (73.4) and has all of the Buccaneers’ goal-to-go and goal-line rush attempts.
  • Saints have the sixth-toughest defensive PassEPA (5.01), while the Buccaneers have the fourth most-favorable RushEPA (-4.13).

Commanders at Eagles, 1 p.m.

  • Eagles have the top rush defense, shown in the highest defensive RushEPA (19.97) but are league-worst against tight ends (-20.13).
  • D’Andre Swift is an RB1. Yes, there is risk that the Eagles ruin things any given week, but Week 3 showed that it’s highly unlikely without a Swift injury.
  • A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are one of four pairs of teammates with 100+ AirYD/G (Davante Adams/Jakobi Meyers, Keenan Allen/Mike Williams, Puka Nacua/Tutu Atwell).
  • Brian Robinson has the seventh-highest RB Touch% (74.6) despite being the only other running back besides Derrick Henry with 70%+ of the touches but under 10.0 TmTGT%.

Vikings at Panthers, 1 p.m.

  • Alexander Mattison has increased his YPR (3.1-3.5-4.7), YBContact (0.64-1.25-1.90) and receiving numbers each week.
  • Only the Broncos are worse than the Panthers in RushEPA (-9.71 for the Panthers).
  • Jordan Addison and Tank Dell are the only two Top 20 receivers without 75%+ of the Routes and 20%+ of the TmTGT.
  • Jonathan Mingo ran just 17 routes in Week 3, as DJ Chark returned to a top-two role with Adam Thielen.

Steelers at Texans, 1 p.m.

  • Nico Collins shifted to three-wide receiver sets only in Week 3, but at least the Texans run 11-set/three-wide the fifth most (84.5%).
  • It doesn’t look like it, but, Najee Harris has a higher YPC (3.97/3.24), Explosive Run% (11.4/0.0) and YAC/ATT (3.14/2.71) than Jaylen Warren. But Warren has 15.8 TmTGT% to Harris 5.9 with 16-12-101-0 receiving.
  • Calvin Austin worked ahead of Allen Robinson, who was only used in three-wide, and Austin tied George Pickens with 22.2 TmTGT%.
  • The Texans and Steelers rank first and third for least (toughest) YBC at 0.28 and 0.45.

Raiders at Chargers, 4 p.m.

  • Like Dillon, Joshua Kelley has failed as a lead runner. His missed tackles forced were just 0.13 per attempt with the fifth-lowest YAC per rush (min 5 rushes) at 1.50.
  • Mike Williams vacates 22.0% of the team target share and 31.5% of the air yards. Joshua Palmer leads the team in AirYD/TGT at 11.92 with Williams second at 11.81. Quentin Johnston in limited work has 7.13.
  • Josh Palmer has 61.5% of the snaps to 23.4% for Quentin Johnston, which was 84.6% Palmer and 30.8% Johnston in the fourth quarter last week.
  • Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers rank third and fifth in Route TGT% (min 10 targets), though now Aiden O’Connell or Brian Hoyer could be under center this week against a defense allowing the second-highest YPRR (1.95, Broncos 2.00) and highest YPR (13.49, Bears 12.72).

Patriots at Cowboys, 4 p.m.

  • Patriots and Cowboys rush defenses are tough — the Cowboys have the fourth-lowest Missed Tackles Allowed per Rush (0.14) and Patriots seventh (0.18).
  • The Jets are third with just 0.12 MTA/Rush, which is when the Patriots evened the workload between Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott, making us wonder if stronger defenses mean more rushes and more sharing.
  • The Cowboys defense runs the most man coverage in the league (41.5%), with Kendrick Bourne being the only receiver grading out inside the Top 75 against man (39th).

Cardinals at 49ers, 4 p.m.

  • The 49ers have the third-toughest PassEPA and second-toughest specifically against the slot. Rondale Moore is the Cardinals’ primary slot receiver and has only played in three-wide.
  • James Conner has 76.3% of the RB Touches (fifth), and he has 18.6, 16.6, 9.5, 12.5, 21.5 and 16.6 in his last six games, all without Kyler Murray.
  • Brandon Aiyuk is the top-graded wideout against man coverage (92.5) and Deebo Samuel is the seventh-highest against zone (86.1). The Cardinals use man coverage just 18.8% of the time.

Chiefs at Jets, SNF

  • The Jets are fourth-worst in rushing YBC (0.55) and Zach Wilson leads the league with being pressured on 52.1% of his dropbacks.
  • Garrett Wilson is the only receiver with 31.0%+ TmTGT not to be targeted at least 29.5% of his routes or has at least 239 yards (22.2 and 165). He also has 28.1 TGT% to 20.9 and 36.7 TmAirYD% to 27.8 with quarterbacks not named Zach Wilson than with him.
  • No Chiefs receiver has more than 12.3 TmTGT%, but Justin Watson is averaging 13.2 YD/TGT with 31.3 TmAirYD% while Rashee Rice jumped to the Week 3 lead with 18.9 TmTGT%.

Seahawks at Giants, MNF

  • Zach Charbonnet has seen his role grow weekly, and the Giants have allowed the sixth-highest Explosive Run% (6.1) — runs going for 15+ yards.
  • The Seahawks have stuffed the sixth-highest percent of runs (54.3%) with the seventh-toughest RushEPA (13.28).
  • Saquon Barkley sounds like he’s trying to play this week, but it’s a high-ankle sprain, so waiting — even for a less than 100% Barkley — likely isn’t the wisest unless you’re in need of a home run play.
  • Daniel Jones has been pressured on 46.7% of his dropbacks with just 7.2% of his attempts going for 20+ AirYards (29th).
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba has only run 64.0% of the routes for the Seahawks.

WEEK 4 FANTASY FOOTBALL SLEEPERS

These are sleepers (and we do it DuckTales and Darkwing Duck style — “Woo-oo” is worthy of the risk in most leagues, and “Dangerous” is if you need a Hail Mary). They will not mimic my rankings 100%. This is about chasing upside and often carries more risk — put simply, they are upside plays you might consider over a solid floor option.

Woo-oo Worthy

  • QB: Brock Purdy, SF
  • RB: Javonte Williams, DEN
  • WR: Gabe Davis, BUF; Josh Palmer, LAC
  • TE: Luke Musgrave, GB

Let’s Get Dangerous

  • QB: C.J. Stroud, HOU
  • RB: Roschon Johnson, CHI
  • WR: Kendrick Bourne, NE; DJ Chark, CAR
  • TE: Cole Turner, WSH

WEEK 4 BUY LOW, SELL HIGH

Buy Low

  • QB: Justin Fields, CHI; Trevor Lawrence, JAX
  • RB: Derrick Henry, TEN; Javonte Williams, DEN; Breece Hall, NYJ
  • WR: DeAndre Hopkins, TEN; Jerry Jeudy, DEN; Jahan Dotson, WSH

Sell High

  • QB: Kirk Cousins, MIN
  • RB: Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane, MIA; Kyren Williams, LAR
  • WR: Mike Evans, TB; Courtland Sutton, DEN

FUN WITH RANKINGS!

After seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, I called it perfect and the best movie of 2023. I was so pumped by it that I couldn’t wait to watch it again with my nephew seeing it for the first time this past weekend. So, what better fun with ranks topic than the TMNT villains. I’m skipping Shredder (obvious No. 1) and Krang (obvious No. 2) and starting with the rest.

Top 10 TMNT Villians (not named Shredder or Krang)

  1. Bebop and Rocksteady — Once you take away Shredder and Krang, who else could take the top spot? They’ve been morons, they’ve been fierce foes and nearly killed Donatello, and they’ve been in the original cartoon, video games, movies and more. Iconic duo.
  2. Karai — So skilled, she can fight all of the turtles at once, and I don’t want to spoiler anyone who didn’t watch the 2012 animated series — best ever! watch it! — but she has one hell of a backstory twist and a character arc that roots for her to change as much as she struggles to do so (and painful twist forcing her “evil” again).
  3. Hun — Was originally a hulking giant man and then Bruce Lee-style design in the 2012 series (again, awesome version), but Hun leads the Purple Dragons and even rivals Shredder and the Foot Clan in power — fighting against them at times too.
  4. Baxter Stockman — Not just responsible for mutant advancement, he uses cybernetics to create weapons, machines and more, and there are variations of him from the mutant fly, to having his own cybernetics to a combination of both.
  5. Leatherhead — I can’t decide if I like the Cajun, Gambit-like version from the original cartoon or the newer, super-smart one from 2012. Either way, he’s fought with and against the Turtles many times and is among the toughest to take down.
  6. Dogpound (Rahzar) — I’m combining these, mainly because the 2012 series did. Dogpound is a mutated version of a Chuck Norris-like character, as the 2012 series references those days as they did with Hun (Bruce Lee). Dogpound is eventually mutated a second time into Rahzar, which is a werewolf with razor claws who still has immense combat skills.
  7. Triceratons — Not mutants like the Turtles but actually an alien race that looks to dominate the universe. Pretty badass-looking and go toe-to-toe (or horn-to-shell) with the Turtles — and hold their own.
  8. Rat King — The 2012 series made him the stuff of nightmares, but he’s a telepath controlling rats, even using Splinter against the Turtles. Mixing the super soldier version with the 2012 horror one would rival Shredder atop the ranks.
  9. Alopex — A bit off the well-known radar, Alopex is just cool. She’s an arctic fox and sister of Tiger Claw who ends up having a relationship with Raph (yay!), is a total badass assassin and wears her brother’s tail as a belt after cutting it off when she tried to kill him. Alopex turns good like Leatherhead but has troubles with the Turtles at times as she toes the line of good while leading her own clan.
  10. Tiger Claw — One of the cooler villains, Tiger Claw is… a tiger… and assassin with power to rival Shredder but done in by inexperience.

Honorable Mention

  • Slash — Also like Leatherhead, Slash ends up a friend of the Turtles but has differing backstories — even a pet to Bebop and Raphael in the 80s and 2012 series, respectively, turning into a massive turtle with a mace. Slash, when on the good side, is part of the Might Mutanimals (Leatherhead, Mondo Gecko, Rockwell and others).
  • Lord Dregg — Another alien on this list, he’s been the “big bad” when Shredder and the Krang have been done in (gone, thought dead, etc.) and has his group of expendable baddies in the Technogang.

WEEK 4 FANTASY FOOTBALL PROJECTIONS

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨 These can differ from my rankings, and my ranks are the order I’d start players outside of added context, such as, “Need highest upside, even if risky.” Also, based on 4-point TDs for QB, 6-point rest, and Half-PPR

Download Link Added Thursday


WEEK 4 FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨

  • There is no perfect widget out there, sadly, still. I know many view this on your phone, but 1) use the rankings widget on a PC/laptop/etc. if possible or 2) open in your phone’s browser, especially for Android users, to get the scrolling to properly work.
  • Updated regularly, so check up to lineups locking.

(Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)


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