NFL Week 4 Preview: Fantasy football advice, betting tips and matchups to watch

2RXCNEH Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) runs for a long gain during the second half of a NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

• Bet Lions -1: Injuries to key players are always tough to overcome, but they are even more difficult on a short week. The Packers were saved by a backdoor cover last week because Saints QB Derek Carr went down, but they won’t be so lucky this week.

• Fade Packers QB Jordan Love: Aaron Jones (hamstring), David Bakhtiari (knee), Elgton Jenkins (knee) and Zach Tom (knee) are all questionable, leaving the Packers with a hobbled running game and down three starters on the offensive line. Remember: Detroit ranks top-eight in total pressures this season, with 61.

• Get ahead of the game: PFF's Best Bets Tool uses PFF data to uncover the biggest edges in the betting market. Click here to see the best bets for this week.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

WR:CB Matchup Chart


Detroit Lions (-1.5) vs. Green Bay Packers

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Lions TE Sam LaPorta vs. Packers LB Quay Walker

The connection between LaPorta and Jared Goff is starting to flourish. LaPorta put on a fantastic performance against the Falcons in Week 3, finishing with eight receptions for 84 yards and a score off a double move that left the entire defense lost in its wake. The Lions deploy LaPorta in a number of ways, which will leave the Packers linebacker Quay Walker (80.7 coverage grade) in a tough spot. To make matters worse, the Pack will be without De’Vondre Campbell (ankle), who has earned 81.0-plus coverage grades in each of the past two seasons.

FANTASY FADE: Packers QB Jordan Love

This week bodes particularly poorly for the young passer, given the Packers' injury report on a short week. Aaron Jones (hamstring), David Bakhtiari (knee), Elgton Jenkins (knee) and Zach Tom (knee) are all questionable, leaving the Packers with a hobbled running game and down three starters on the offensive line. Remember: Detroit ranks top-eight in total pressures this season, with 61.

FAVORITE BET: Lions -1.5

Injuries to key players are always tough to overcome, but they are even more difficult on a short week. The Pack were saved by a backdoor cover last week because Derek Carr went down, but they won’t be so lucky this week. Since Dan Campbell’s hiring in 2021, the Lions hold the league-best record against the spread (25-12).

PFF's Best Bets Tool uses PFF data to uncover the biggest edges in the betting market. Click here to see the best bets for this game.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence vs. Falcons FS Jessie Bates III

This may not be a traditional matchup to watch, but it’s undoubtedly the most exciting. The addition of Bates has drastically improved what was one of the most generous secondaries in the NFL last season. Currently, he’s tied for the league lead in interceptions (3) and taking on one of the best young passers in the league. The Falcons play closed coverages at a high clip (45.7%), putting Bates in high-leverage situations. Unfortunately for them, Lawrence thrives when faced with closed coverages, earning a second-best 90.2 passing grade against them this season.

FANTASY FADE: Jaguars RB Travis Etienne Jr.

The Falcons' run defense has been better than the box score may indicate and ranks 15th in yards allowed per carry. But the advanced stats tell a different story, with the Falcons ranking in the top six in run-defense grade (76.8) and expected points added (EPA) allowed play. Etienne may be coming off a good outing vs. Houston — the NFL’s lowest-graded run defense — but don’t expect the same this week.

FAVORITE BET: Falcons +3

It’s tempting to lean toward Lawrence and the Jags having a bounce-back week, but given their trends since the start of 2022, it’s hard to trust them here. Since last season, the Jags have been favorites seven times and have covered just twice. Atlanta may not elicit fear, but they should get respect.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) vs. Houston Texans

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Texans WR Tank Dell vs. Steelers CB Patrick Peterson

As Dell gains notoriety around the league, he will surely see more high-profile matchups. This week features one with 13-year vet Patrick Peterson, who has earned a 72.7 coverage grade this season. The Steelers' corners don’t travel, which could generate a generous matchup for Nico Collins against Levi Wallace, who has struggled mightily. Last week, Dell took advantage of the Jags to the tune of five receptions, 145 yards and a score to go with three catches of 15 or more yards.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Texans WR Nico Collins

As Marcus Mosher perfectly projected last week, fading Collins in his matchup with Tyson Campbell was a sound play. But this week is shaping up differently. As mentioned above, Collins is poised for a big day. Since the start of last season, Levi Wallace hasn’t set a high standard for his coverage ability, earning a sub-60.0 coverage grade. Wallace will surely get some safety help, but that may not be enough, given the promising play and quick reads from C.J. Stroud in his first three games.

FAVORITE BET: Steelers -3

This is an uncommon matchup between two struggling units, featuring the league’s lowest-graded run defense against the league’s lowest-graded offensive line. While true, the Texans' run-stuffing ability (32.3 run-defense grade) pales compared to the Steelers' run-blocking ability (51.0 run-blocking grade). Najee Harris is more talented than his recent performances, but if this matchup doesn’t get the running game going, nothing will.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool you can use to help set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage or the individual defenders.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts (-1.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Rams WR Puka Nacua vs. Colts CB Kenny Moore II

After three games, opposing defenses are finally starting to figure out how to slow Nacua down, a task easier said than done. By his standards thus far, Nacua had a slightly down day this past week, grabbing just five catches for 72 yards. This week, Moore is tasked with covering the versatile Nacua. While his coverage grades have been a mixed bag throughout his career, Moore is coming off his best single-game coverage grade in over 18 games.

FANTASY FADE: Rams RB Kyren Williams

On paper, Williams may be the fifth-highest scoring back in fantasy, but that may be a bit misleading as to his overall volume share and efficiency. While Williams has found the end zone three times in as many games, he has yet to exceed more than 3.8 yards per carry in any game. In Week 3, Williams failed to pass the goal line and was left with just 8.5 fantasy points. Meanwhile, the Colts defense has improved much since last season, ranking top-10 in run-defense grade, EPA allowed per play on the ground and negatively graded run snap percentage.


The Rams continue to find themselves gifted with points, closing as the underdog in each game this season. So far, they stand at a strong 2-0-1, following a backdoor push this past week in Cincinnati. While Anthony Richardson returned to practice this week, he hasn’t quite learned not to put himself in harm’s way yet, which could spell disaster with a vicious all-world defender like Aaron Donald breathing down his neck. Minshew is a capable backup, but it’s never easy to win a game if you have to blow up your game plan mid-game because your young QB got folded.

Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) vs. Carolina Panthers

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Panthers DI Derrick Brown vs. Vikings C Garrett Bradbury

After going down with a back injury in Week 1, Bradbury has a chance to return to the lineup this week, just in time to contend with a freight train in the middle of the Panthers defense. Brown has been outstanding in the middle over the last two seasons, while Bradbury’s struggles have been well-documented. Since entering the league, Bradbury has just once exceeded a season pass-blocking grade above 44.0. This would have been a mismatch on a good day, but the lingering injury adds further difficulty.

FANTASY FADE: Panthers WR Adam Thielen

The question surrounding who’s under center for the Panthers can’t be ignored here, as they looked far more stable with Dalton this past week. Thielen had his best game of the season, with Dalton peppering him with 14 targets, and he finished as WR3 with 31.5 fantasy points. With Young returning to practice in full, it’s hard to trust Thielen to have a repeat outing. Add in the fact that Josh Metellus (72.9 coverage grade) has been playing well out of the slot this year and should see Thielen often.

FAVORITE BET: Vikings -4

Both of these teams are yet to cover a game this season — they are a combined 0-4-2 against the spread — but the Vikings have shown a lot of promise in close games against teams that possess a bit more firepower than the Panthers. Since the start of last season, the Vikings have a 2-0-1 ATS record as a road favorite. Pair that with Justin Jefferson looking uncoverable, and it’s difficult to envision the Panthers keeping pace in this one.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints (-3)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Buccaneers WR Mike Evans vs. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore

This matchup needs no over-explanation, but we might as well for the Swifties who find themselves flooding into the NFL landscape. Seemingly, every time these two take the field together, it ends in punches and ejections. The tension isn’t the only draw between these two, though, as both have been impact players since entering the league, routinely grading among the league’s best.

FANTASY FADE: Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield

A change of scenery has done Mayfield well. Since arriving in Tampa, Mayfield has produced sizable improvements in regard to his grading, seeing a nearly 27-point increase over his overall grade last season. While that’s encouraging, he faces a tough matchup with a Saints defense that ranks in the top five in interceptions (4th), forced incompletions (1st  and completion percentage allowed (2nd).

FAVORITE BET: Under 40.5

Bucs vs. Saints may not be looked at with the same reverence as Steelers vs. Ravens or Eagles vs. Cowboys, but when these teams meet, they go to war. In their seven matchups over the last three years, they’ve hit the over just twice. This season, they’ve hit just one over combined, which came against a far more generous defense — Chicago — than either of these teams possess.

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Washington Commanders vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Commanders Edge Chase Young vs. Eagles LT Jordan Mailata

Young hasn't quite asserted his dominance over the league like many thought he would, hovering around a 70.0 defensive grade since 2020. He’s made strides in his game this season, especially as a pass-rusher, where he’s accumulated 10 total pressures and a 19.4% pass-rush win rate in two games. This week, Young faces off with one of the league’s elite tackles in Jordan Mailata. Mailata has graded above 81.0 in each of the last three seasons and is among the best players at the position. He is a fitting test for the former second-overall pick.


Smith may not have popped this past week against the Bucs, but this week poses a much more promising matchup. Opposite of Smith, A.J. Brown will likely see a lot of Kendall Fuller, the league’s third-highest-graded corner. That leaves Benjamin St-Juste tasked with coverage duties on Smith. Through three games, St-Juste has surrendered over 1.03 yards per coverage snap and an open-target percentage of over 53%.

FAVORITE BET: Eagles -7.5

The last time these two teams matched up, the Commanders handed the Eagles their first loss of the season. Rest assured, the Eagles haven’t forgotten about this and will be out for blood on Sunday. Over a touchdown favorite may seem like a tough cover on its surface, but with the added context that this Eagles team is 8-3-1 ATS at home since the start of last season, with three of those covers coming from lines of seven or more, it’s very feasible.

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills (-2.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Dolphins Edge Bradley Chubb vs. Bills LT Dion Dawkins

Chubb is off to a slow start to the season, showing relative ineffectiveness rushing the passer (59.2 grade) and stopping the run (53.7 grade), which could present an issue this week going against one the most consistent left tackles in the league. A 6.4% pass-rush win rate won’t cut it against Dawkins, who is amid a career-high in pass-blocking efficiency, especially in a game that projects to have a huge number of dropbacks.

FANTASY FADE: Raheem Mostert

This may sound crazy, given how well Mostert has played this season and how the Bills defense has underperformed against the run, but the game flow isn’t favorable this week. This game is projected to be a track meet between two of the league’s most dangerous receiving tandems. Pair that with the fact that De’Von Achane erupted for over 200 on the ground, and it’s not unlikely that the workload will be shifted moving forward.


Going over on a huge total like this isn’t usually a sound play, but this matchup is a boat race in the making. These two offenses look as good as they have in a long time. Together, they combine for over 73 points per game, which is obviously a bit skewed due to the 70-point outburst by the Dolphins last week. But throw that game out, and they still surpass this total by almost seven points on average.

Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) vs. Tennessee Titans

Matchup to watch: Titans DI Jeffery Simmons vs. Bengals LG Cordell Volson

Volson had a tough day this past week, matched up with Aaron Donald. He finished the day with a 0.0 pass-blocking grade, allowing pressure on over 9% of his 54 pass-block snaps, bringing his season grade to just a 5.2. This has been a theme for Volson, who hasn’t surpassed a 32.4 grade this season. This week, he’s again staring down the barrel of another difficult matchup, this time with Jeffery Simmons, who has 11 pressures and a pair of sacks this season.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Bengals WR Tee Higgins

Higgins is seeing the target share you would hope for — 19 over the last two games — but he just hasn’t been able to finish. That should eventually regress to expectation, and this week is an excellent opportunity. The Titans are a mixed bag in the secondary, with quality graders like Sean Murphy-Bunting (84.1 coverage grade) and struggling graders like Kristian Fulton (37.2). Expect the Bengals to attack Fulton with both Higgins and Chase often.

FAVORITE BET: Titans +2.5

These teams have had similar schedules and results to this point in the season. Both scored just three on Cleveland and lost some close games late. The difference between them has been their expectations and, in turn, their performance against the spread. The Titans have covered twice this season. On the other hand, the Bengals have yet to cover a game, yet find themselves as road favorites.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool you can use to help set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage or the individual defenders.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns (-2.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Browns Edge Myles Garrett vs. Ravens LT Patrick Mekari

The viral clip circulating league media this week of Tennessee following Garrett from side to side with a pair of tight ends in hopes of blocking the All-Pro will live forever in the minds of the football world for a long time. This week, the tall task of blocking Garrett goes to Mekari, who has seen a precipitous drop in pass-blocking grade, falling from 79.0 in Week 1 to 55.8 this past week. And it very well could see another dip this week.

FANTASY FADE: Browns running backs

Without Nick Chubb headlining this backfield, there isn’t much comfort found with the rest of this Browns RB room. Since the injury, three backs and three receivers have all logged carries, with Pierre Strong Jr. finishing as their leading rusher in Week 3. Deshaun Watson's improved play as of late should also shift the offensive philosophy away from the run game, further adding to the uncertainty.


This Browns defense may be the most impressive unit in the league through three weeks. They’ve allowed just 10.7 points per game — the best in the NFL — and vastly outclass every team in EPA allowed per play. At home, they allowed just six total points and 236 total yards of offense. Needless to say, the Ravens will have their work cut out for them here.

Denver Broncos (-3.5) vs. Chicago Bears

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Bears WR D.J. Moore vs. Broncos CB Pat Surtain II

Given how poorly the season has gone for these franchises, there aren’t many high-profile matchups in this one, although Moore vs. Surtain certainly fits the bill. A season ago, Surtain graded as one of the league’s elite cover corners, while Moore’s move to Chicago was supposed to catapult this Bears offense into relevancy. This game won’t be pretty, but these two won’t disappoint.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Broncos QB Russell Wilson

Russ may be finding some rhythm after a pair of solid performances in the box score the last two weeks — or at least he’s throwing the ball a ton. He’s averaging 43 dropbacks per game, surpassing 300 yards in each of the last two, and ranks fifth in big-time throw percentage. This week, he faces a Bears defense that is fresh off allowing 41 points and over 450 yards of offense to the Chiefs.


Despite the offensive woes of these teams, it’s hard to get past the combined 76.0 points per game allowed between the two. Everyone saw what the Dolphins were able to do to the Broncos, and while the Bears are far from that level, this should be a spot where they can make some strides in their offensive production.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Raiders WR Davante Adams vs. Chargers CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Adams hit full-stride last week with a massive game against the Steelers, totaling catching 13 of his 20 targets for 172 yards and a pair of scores. Samuel had a slow start to the season but found his footing this past week, producing three forced incompletions vs. the Vikings. Samuel will need to find that level again if the Chargers hope to slow down Adams.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Raiders RB Josh Jacobs

Jacobs hasn’t been able to get much going this season, but this may be the matchup to breathe new life into this run game. The Chargers defense has struggled against the run since the start of last season, this year ranking 29th in run-defense grade (44.8) and last in negatively graded run-snap percentage (74.7%).

FAVORITE BET: Raiders +5.5

While they possess a talented roster, the Chargers haven’t been able to finish games this season. If the Raiders can get Jacobs and Adams involved early and control the pace, this game should be much closer than the spread would indicate.

New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys (-7)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cowboys Edge Micah Parsons vs. Patriots LT Trent Brown

Possibly the positional matchup of the week. Brown and Parsons have set the standard in their disciplines, with each grading in the top five at their respective positions. This season, Brown has allowed just a pair of pressures and one sack in two games, while Parsons has put up over 15 pressures and four sacks.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Patriots TE Hunter Henry

While the Dallas defense hasn’t allowed much production to tight ends, the players tasked with stopping them haven’t graded well. Damone Clark, Leighton Vander Esch and Jayron Kearse all sport sub-60.0 coverage grades this season. That will be a problem against Henry, who has five-plus receptions, 50-plus yards and a touchdown in both games outside of the state of New York.

FAVORITE BET: Patriots +7

After the Cowboys' showing last week against the Cardinals, it’s tough to trust them with a touchdown spread against a team that rarely fades like the Pats. While they didn’t cover against the Eagles or Dolphins, the Pats were in those games late. They may not pull the upset like the Cardinals, but this one will be close late.

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Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers (-14)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: 49ers EdgeNick Bosa vs. Cardinals RT Paris Johnson Jr.

The top-10 pick in this year’s draft just got done facing down Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence this past week, where he didn’t grade terribly well (44.9 pass-block grade). Now he comes up against reigning defensive player of the year Nick Bosa and the vaunted Niners pass rush. To put the Niners' pass-rushing prowess into perspective, they have five of the top 30 pass-rushers in win rate this season.

FANTASY FADE: Cardinals HB James Conner

Conner has been getting the volume to facilitate the production needed for a top-five fantasy back — he is tied for third in carries (51) — but this week, he comes up against the buzzsaw that is the 49ers. The Niners rank near the top of the league in a variety of run-defense metrics, including run-defense grade (71.7), fewest missed tackles (8) and positively-graded play rate (71%).

FAVORITE BET: Under 44.0

The Cardinals may have caught the Cowboys by surprise last week, but you can bet the Niners won’t take a division rival lightly. The Niners have allowed just one over this year, which came on the road to a Rams offense that has produced at a significantly higher clip than the Cardinals'.

Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) vs. New York Jets

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Chiefs TE Travis Kelce vs. Jets LB Quincy Williams

Kelce hasn’t erupted on the field in his usual fashion, but it’s only a matter of time for one of the highest-graded players at any position of the last decade. This week’s matchup with Quincy Williams may prove to be a difficult task. Williams’ 90.8 coverage grade is the best in the NFL among linebackers, nearly five grading points above the next player. He will be tasked with slowing down the future Hall of Famer, really putting that grade to the test.

FANTASY FADE: Jets WR Garrett Wilson

As amazing a talent Wilson is at the position, the situation with Zach Wilson under center is not ideal, and his matchup this week comes against one of the top coverage corners of 2023. Trent McDuffie has been outstanding so far in his second season, ranking second in coverage grade (89.9) and allowing just 0.67 yards per coverage snap.

FAVORITE BET: Chiefs -9.5

The Chiefs proved last week they are too explosive for underperforming offenses to keep up with, and the Jets undoubtedly fall into that category. While they managed to rally in Week 1, they’ve since scored just 10 points in each of the last two games. Getting this game under two touchdowns is out of respect to the Jets defense, but in the end, that won’t be enough to keep this one within 10.

Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants (-1.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf vs. Giants CB Deonte Banks

Nothing says “welcome to the NFL” like standing across from Metcalf. Banks will have his work cut out for him, as his transition to the pro game has had difficulties, and he's earned just a 54.7 coverage grade. Metcalf’s contested catch ability — second-most since last season (24) — paired with his ability to separate is a tough ask for even savvy vets.


Banks isn’t the only Giant struggling in coverage this season. As a unit, they have the fourth-highest open target percentage (63.9%), second-fewest coverage stops (13) and third-highest EPA allowed per play. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also allowed a 15-plus-yard pass almost once every five pass plays.

FAVORITE BET: Seahawks +1.5

The Giants have not covered a game this season but find themselves laying points to the Hawks at home. On the other hand, Seattle has covered their last two, including an outright win on the road against the Lions in Detroit. Ultimately, the Hawks' passing game is just too much for the Giants to manage right now.

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