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NFL Week 4 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em

  • Sit Cam Akers: The Rams face a tough 49ers defense that will leave Los Angeles in a lot of passing situations and make Akers ineffective when he does run.
  • Start Chris Olave: This will likely be true every week from now on, but Olave should have a particularly strong performance this week.

Deciding who to start or sit can be as easy as looking at the PFF rankings and starting the player ranked higher. This start’em, sit’em column digs a step deeper, looking into why someone you might typically start might not have a good week, or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, it’s the usual starters who should star, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

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Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Carr is ranked 12th in fantasy points by a quarterback so far this season.
  • That increases to eighth-best when excluding Week 1.
  • The Raiders have the fifth-best wide receiver corps according to our wide receiver rankings, which is a big part of Carr’s success.
  • Las Vegas is only a slight favorite this week, which should keep them passing late in the game.
  • Carr hasn’t reached expectations yet this season, in part due to a lack of big plays.
  • He was one of 10 quarterbacks last season with over 1,000 passing yards coming on deep targets.
  • He has completed just three of 14 deep targets this season, with two interceptions.
  • The Broncos allowed the second-most deep touchdowns last season at 11.
  • Denver hasn’t been tested deep much this season, but they are still without All-Pro safety Justin Simmons, who is on injured reserve.


Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
  • Stafford is only 23rd in fantasy points scored so far this season.
  • He is tied for the league lead in interceptions with five and tied for seventh in sacks taken with nine.
  • His big-time throw rate over the last two seasons has been 9.5% against defenses in man and 4.8% against zone defenses. Similarly, his turnover-worthy play rate is a low 1.9% against man and increases to 4.3% against zone.
  • The Rams face the 49ers, who have been the third-most zone-heavy defense so far this season.
  • Los Angeles has the most challenging matchup this week according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • San Francisco has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • The matchup is expected to be one of the lowest-scoring of the week.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Brady ranks 28th in fantasy points for a quarterback this season, which is third-lowest among quarterbacks who have started each week.
  • His offensive grade of 72.4 is the lowest for him out of all 16 seasons PFF has data on the veteran. 
  • Brady's top six wide receivers have all shown up on the injury report in recent weeks.
  • His offensive line has also been decimated by injury.
  • Both Kansas City’s pass rush and coverage have been above average this season.



Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans
  • Pierce has run for 11 first downs over the last two weeks, the most for any running back.
  • He ranks in the top five in rushing attempts, yards after contact and avoided tackles during that time.
  • The Texans face the Chargers, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
  • Los Angeles would typically be big favorites against Houston, but the Chargers have a long list of injuries, bringing the spread closer than we would typically expect.
  • This will allow Houston to keep running throughout the game rather than needing to stick with the passing game late.


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