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Fantasy Football Today: The toughest lineup dilemmas for every Week 4 game

Written by on October 1, 2021

Praise be to the football gods, because we keep getting really fun Thursday night games. Last night’s matchup looked pretty boring on paper — Bengals? Jaguars? On national television? — but the Jaguars finally looked like they knew what they were doing on offense, while Joe Burrow had his best passing game of the season as the Bengals snuck just past them to go to 3-1 to open the season.

It was a pretty good game for Fantasy, too! Well, for most everyone. Not so much for Marvin Jones, who failed to make much of an impact as Trevor Lawrence threw it just 24 times. And D.J. Chark suffered a serious ankle injury that seems likely to keep him on the sidelines for a significant amount of time. Joe Mixon suffered a less serious ankle injury, but it’s still something to monitor moving forward — and that may not even be the biggest concern for him at this point. 

I cover all of that in my recap of the game, including the biggest takeaway, a big winner, and a loser coming out of this game. It’s our first final of Week 4, and if you started the week off slow, you’ll need to make up ground. 

That’s where my Week 4 game previews come in, featuring answers to the toughest lineup decisions you’re facing, plus what to watch and injury updates for every team. And if that doesn’t answer all of your lineup questions, send them my way at Chris.Towers@CBSi.com with the subject line “#AskFFT” and they’ll get included in my Sunday morning mailbag — plus, you can catch the Fantasy Football Today YouTube stream Sunday morning at 11:30 am where Adam Aizer and I will be answering all of your lineup questions before the games. 

Get ready for Week 4 with all of our preview content here:  

And here’s what the rest of today’s newsletter has in store to help you get ready for Week 4:

  • 🏈TNF Fantasy Recap: Bengals 24-Jaguars 21 
  • 🔍Week 4 Game Previews: Vegas notes, lineup decisions, and injury updates

🏈TNF Recap: Bengals 24, Jaguars 21

A surprisingly fun game with a bunch of breakout performances — and some unfortunate injuries:

  • The big takeaway: James Robinson might be a must-start player again. Sure, he benefited from Carlos Hyde being out with a shoulder injury, surprisingly, but Robinson had 21 touches to Hyde’s eight in Week 3, so Week 1’s more even split was clearly the outlier. Robinson scored two touchdowns and once again ran the ball well as the Jaguars lead back. Hyde has a bigger role than anyone on the Jaguars a year ago, so maybe you can’t count on Robinson to be among the league leaders in touches per game again, but we saw the Jaguars offense at its best today, and it included a heavy dose of Robinson. 
  • Winner: In addition to Robinson, Laviska Shenault Jr. came away looking a lot better in this one. D.J. Chark left with a fractured ankle, an injury that figures to cost him significant time, and Shenault was Trevor Lawrence’s top target in this one, hauling in six passes for 99 yards on seven targets — all of which led the team. Shenault actually saw some downfield throws in this one, too. Marvin Jones may take on more of the downfield role Chark was filling, and while he could be useful in that role, Shenault may be in line to be the No. 1 option. Though it’s worth noting, frustratingly, that he didn’t play a much bigger snap share in this game than he had in previous games, and even came off the field at a few points for Jamal Agnew and Tavon Austin. Urban Meyer continues to frustrate. 
  • Loser: Joe Mixon left this game late with an ankle injury that Zac Taylor said after the game was a minor one, so hopefully with the extra time off he’ll be fine for Week 5. But I’m starting to give up hope on my dreams of Mixon being a true three-down back — mostly because the Bengals just aren’t using him that way. He has one target in each of the last three games, and while the rushing volume remains strong — 16 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown Thursday — if that’s all he’s doing his upside is capped. This is incredibly frustrating after it seemed like Mixon was finally going to get the chance to be an elite Fantasy player, but I’m thinking he’s more like a low-end No. 1 RB the rest of the way.  

🔍Week 4 game previews

There’s something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. This week, however, there are so many unanswered questions that it’s hard to settle on just one thing for each game. Here’s a look ahead at every Week 4 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, some lineup help and one thing to watch for from each game:

All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook. 

Chiefs at Eagles

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Chiefs -7; 54.5 O/U 
  • Implied totals: Chiefs 30.75-Eagles 23.75

The Eagles running game was completely sidetracked in Week 3, managing just 62 yards in a loss against the Cowboys. Will the Chiefs high-powered offense be able to do the same?    

  • Toughest lineup decision: Miles SandersStart. To be clear, I’m not saying this with my whole chest, as he’s RB23 for me for Week 4. However, I don’t think the Eagles are going to completely abandon the running game in this one like they did last week, I’m actually pretty pleased with Sanders’ role in the passing game so far, as he has more targets than Kenneth Gainwell and has been more effective, too. Sanders isn’t a must-start, but you probably don’t have multiple better options at this point. 
  • What we’re watching for: That Eagles running game is a big one — Jalen Hurts is Jamey’s Start of the Week, but it’s going to be tough to live up to that standard if he isn’t productive running the ball. It would also be nice to see Devonta Smith get going — he has just 44 yards in two games since his breakout Week 1. He has 40.4% of the Eagles intended air yards for the season, but he and Hurts have to get on the same page on these deep balls. On the Chiefs side, we want to find out whether their faith in Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Week 3 was real, or if it was just a short-term, “We’ve still got your back,” kind of move after his backbreaking fumble in Week 2. He’s around the lower end of the RB2 tier for me for this week, but I acknowledge last week could have been the start of something bigger. 
  • Injuries: There aren’t any specifically Fantasy-related injuries to speak of from these two teams, but the Eagles do have three starting offensive linemen on the injury report, with left tackle Jordan Mailata expected to miss the game. We’ll keep an eye on that. It could make Hurts’ life more challenging if they are shorthanded along the line.

Giants at Saints 

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Saints -7.5; 42 O/U
  • Implied totals: Saints 24.75-Giants 17.25

The story on the Saints so far is, they’re going to try to slow the game down, limit possessions, and grind out wins. It has resulted in two wins by more than 25 points, and their defense has created seven turnovers, including six interceptions. Daniel Jones has only one turnover so far, which is amazing, but can he keep that up?    

  • Toughest lineup decision: Kenny Golladay Start. While I certainly understand concerns about the Giants offense and Golladay’s place within it, this feels like the perfect spot for a breakout, even against what has been a very good Saints defense. Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both seem unlikely to play while dealing with hamstring injuries, which means Golladay almost certainly has to see a larger role than what he’s had so far. Jones needs to be more willing to push the ball down the field than his current 7.7% rate of passes 20-plus yards down the field, which means he has to be willing to risk turnovers, naturally. But if the Giants have any hope of moving the ball in this one, that’s going to have to be part of the game plan. 
  • What we’re watching for: Beyond Golladay, I want to see Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley more involved in the passing game. Engram actually had a 17.1% target share in Week 3, and while I know everyone has pretty much given up on him, there’s a chance he can be a starting-caliber tight end moving forward, especially while the Giants are short-handed. Barkley got seven targets in Week 3, and if that’s how he’s going to be used moving forward. It’s not a question of if he’s going to be a top-10 RB rest of season, it’s whether he’ll be top five. On the Saints side, it would be nice to see them throw the ball more than 22 times, which is their season high to date. I love the workload Alvin Kamara is getting in the running game, but a classic eight-catch game would be nice to see, too. 
  • Injuries: Sterling Shephard/Darius Slayton (hamstring) — At this point I’m not expecting either to play in Week 4, and I’m not overly optimistic about their chances for Week 5, given how hamstring injuries tend to linger. 

Titans at Jets

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Titans -7; 44 O/U
  • Implied totals: Titans 25.5-Jets 18.5

The Titans are 2-1, but they really haven’t looked great this season, and they’ll likely be down their two superstar wide receivers in this one. They’ve also been bottom 10 in passer rating allowed in each of the past two years. Is this finally an opportunity for the Jets to stay competitive? 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Ryan Tannehill – Sit. It’s a great matchup for Tannehill, but I just can’t trust him if he’s playing without his top two receivers. If Julio Jones or A.J. Brown is cleared to play, then Tannehill probably belongs in the mid-range QB2 discussion, but in a one-QB league, you probably have better options. . 
  • What we’re watching for: It’ll be interesting to see if any of the Titans peripheral passing game options steps up. Chester Rogers‘ 13 targets are tops among the non-Jones/Brown receivers, while Nick Westbrook-Ikhine stepped up late in Week 3 with both out. I’m not starting any of them outside of DFS, but there is certainly an opportunity here. On the Jets side, it would be nice to see Michael Carter play in a game script where the Jets don’t immediately have to abandon the run. 
  • Injuries: Julio Jones/A.J. Brown (hamstring) — It seems like Brown’s injury might be more serious, but at this point I’m not anticipating either to play … Elijah Moore (concussion) — Moore missed practice Wednesday and Thursday and seems to be trending toward an absence this week. We could see Jamison Crowder make his season debut if he is cleared from his groin injury, and I would expect he will step into the starting lineup in the slot and has some sleeper appeal. 

Panthers at Cowboys

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Cowboys -4.5; 51.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Cowboys 28-Panthers 23.5

The Cowboys have held their last two opponents to 17 and 21 points, but they’ve surrendered 300 yards passing in each game at 7.7 yards per attempt. They have forced eight turnovers, but if they can’t keep that up, this defense might get exposed. And Sam Darnold and the Panthers are surprisingly well equipped to do it, even without Christian McCaffrey.

  • Toughest lineup decision: Tony Pollard — Sit. There is, understandably, a lot of excitement about Pollard, who ranks 19th at running back in PPR scoring right now. But I’m just not sure you can trust him to keep this up. He’s been targeted just eight times in three games and is clearly running behind Ezekiel Elliott, even in his increased role. The Cowboys like to get him involved, but he’s touched the ball on half of his snaps so far this season, and that’s a pace that probably can’t continue. He’s a nice guy to have around, but he’s a sell-high candidate right now. It’s also worth noting that Pollard was absent from Cowboys practice Thursday due to a personal matter, though it’s not clear if there is any reason to think he won’t be available to play Sunday. 
  • What we’re watching for: The Cowboys have been surprisingly run-heavy over the last two weeks, with Dak Prescott throwing the ball just 53 times. He averaged 44.4 attempts per game in 2020 and 37.3 in 2019, so is this just a short-term blip or the start of a fundamental change in how this offense works? If the Panthers can stay competitive, we’ll get a better sense of that. On the Panthers side, we want to see how they use Chuba Hubbard in McCaffrey’s absence — remember, Mike Davis was a must-start Fantasy option last year filling in for McCaffrey. I’m viewing Hubbard as a top-20 RB in PPR. I’m also willing to give Robby Anderson one more week to see if he can get going before I consider dropping him. The coaching staff has mostly said all the right things about getting Anderson involved, but he’s been relegated to usage as a deep threat almost exclusively so far. 
  • Injuries: Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) — McCaffrey is almost certainly out this week, and I would guess next week as well. But he should be back for Week 6, given that the Panthers opted not to put him on IR. 

Texans at Bills

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Bills -16.5; 47 O/U
  • Implied totals: Bills 31.75-Texans 15.25

Uh … the Bills should probably win this one. 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Zack Moss — Sit. Ultimately, these kinds of calls come down to what your lineup looks like, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where I would be enthusiastic about starting Moss, even with his strong production the past two weeks. I just don’t trust the Bills offense to continue to create this many Fantasy points for the running backs, and I still expect Moss to largely split work with Devin Singletary. I would start him over any of Baltimore’s running backs, as well as Damien Harris, but he’s not a top-36 RB for me. 
  • What we’re watching for: Well, how the Bills use their running backs will be interesting to watch in a game where they should win pretty handily. Both Moss and Singletary will probably need a touchdown to have a good Fantasy game, but there should be no shortage of red-zone opportunities. It’s just a question of whether they’ll get the ball there. I’d also like to see the Bills really get Stefon Diggs going — he hasn’t been bad, but it’s been a frustrating start. And I’ll also want to see Davis Mills continue to get Brandin Cooks involved against a defense that has done a pretty good job over the past few years of limiting big plays in the passing game. I am treating Cooks as a top-24 WR and likely starting him pretty much everywhere. 
  • Injuries: There are no Fantasy relevant injuries to report at this time. 

Lions at Bears

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Bears -3; 42 O/U
  • Implied totals: Bears 22.5-Lions 19.5

It’s actually kind of surprising to see the Bears favored here — somehow, the Lions offense has actually looked a lot more functional than theirs. Of course, the Lions defense might be able to make any one of Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, or Nick Foles look a lot better. 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Allen Robinson Start. It’s been a rough, rough start for Robinson, who has been held back by poor quarterback play but who also dropped a touchdown in Week 2, lest you think it’s all external factors. But Robinson has a long track record of excellence while playing with bad quarterbacks, and the matchup against the Lions should be exactly what he needs to get going. 
  • What we’re watching for: Of course, if Robinson can’t get going in this one, it’s going to be hard to trust him against anyone, and the fact that we really have no idea who is going to start at QB for the Bears does not instill a lot of confidence as I write this. Dalton has been practicing on a limited basis while Justin Fields was a full participant Wednesday and Thursday. I’m expecting Fields to start and play better than he did in Week 3, but I’m also losing faith in Matt Nagy’s willingness and ability to adjust his offense to take advantage of Fields’ strengths. I want to see some creativity from this offense. On the Lions side, I want to see T.J. Hockenson get more involved in the offense after he was targeted just twice in Week 3. Coach Dan Campbell acknowledged the team has to be more “creative” in getting Hockenson involved in the offense. 
  • Injuries: Andy Dalton (knee) — Dalton has been limited at practice, while Fields (thumb) has been a full participant. Nagy did reiterate Tuesday that Fields is the backup to Dalton, but that was after saying Foles was in consideration to start at the beginning of the week. I’m expecting Fields to start, but it wouldn’t be totally shocking if Nagy decided he prefers Foles in his offense at this point. . 

Browns at Vikings

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Browns -2.0; 51.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Browns 26.75-Vikings 24.75

If these two teams had their druthers, there would probably be 70 carries between them in this game. The Vikings have had a tough time stopping anyone this season, a continuation of last year’s trend, though they’ve also had to play the Cardinals and Seahawks in the past two games, which is a tall task for any defense. Right now, the Browns look like clearly the better team, but this could be a game with few possessions, making it tough to pull away. 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Odell Beckham Start. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be viewing Beckham as a starting-caliber player at this point in the season, but he returned and played 47 out of 57 and nearly every pass play before the Browns sat him for most of the fourth quarter. With Jarvis Landry on the sidelines, Beckham was targeted on 29% of Baker Mayfield’s pass attempts, and that might be the norm more often than not moving forward. He looked good, and I’m ranking him inside of the top 24 at wide receiver.   
  • What we’re watching for: Obviously, I’ll want to see the Browns continue to use Beckham as they did in his debut, because he might be the only Fantasy relevant option in this passing game. It’ll also be interesting to see how they use Kareem Hunt — he didn’t play much in the first quarter with Demetric Felton handling a few pass plays but still ended up having a huge game. Does Felton represent a risk to his opportunities moving forward, or was that just a one-quarter thing? On the Vikings side, Kirk Cousins has played at a very high level in the early going, and if he can continue that against this matchup, it might be time to trust him as a top-12 QB moving forward. 
  • Injuries: Dalvin Cook (ankle) — Cook missed Week 3 and Alexander Mattison had a huge game as a result. The matchup is a bit tougher this time around, but if Cook is out, Mattison is going to be a top-10 RB for me in the standings. However, Cook, did practice Wednesday and Thursday on a limited basis and seems to be trending toward playing. He’s a top-five RB if he starts, obviously. 

Colts at Dolphins

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Dolphins -2.0; 42.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Dolphins 22.25-Colts 20.25

On one side, you have a hobbled quarterback trying to play through injuries to both ankles who averaged 5.24 yards per attempt in Week 3 against a defense that has ranked in the bottom 10 in yards per pass attempt allowed over the last two seasons. On the other side, you’ve got a backup quarterback who is averaging 4.3 yards per attempt this season and has a 12-21 record as a starter. And that guy’s team is favored. 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Myles GaskinStart in PPR. And you might be starting him in non-PPR, too, but you probably don’t want to. Gaskin hasn’t been playing near the same role he did last season when he was one of the surprise stars of the season, and last week he played just 52% of the snaps for Miami. Malcolm Brown is taking him off the field in some passing situations and near the goal line, limiting Gaskin to a pretty uninteresting role for Fantasy. Still, there aren’t many running backs you can trust these days, and he does have at least five targets in each game, so he’s ranked between 20 and 24 for me in both formats.  
  • What we’re watching for: How does Carson Wentz look? That’s the biggest question for the Colts after he was clearly limited in a pretty dispiriting showing against the Titans in Week 3. If he still isn’t comfortable planting and moving in the pocket, not much else is gonna matter. That being said, it would be nice to see Jonathan Taylor more involved after seeing his touches decrease in each of the last two games. On the Dolphins side, it would be nice to see Gaskin trusted in more situations, but I’m not counting on that yet. So we want to see Jacoby Brissett look a little more comfortable in his second start and maybe start to push the ball down the field a bit more. He has plenty of weapons, but Week 3 saw an offense too heavily tilted toward short area targets. You can’t move the ball consistently that way in the NFL
  • Injuries: Jonathan Taylor (knee) — Taylor has been limited through the first two days of practice, but this isn’t expected to cause him to miss the game, though obviously we’ll keep an eye on him over the next few days just to make sure … Jack Doyle (back) — Doyle has not practiced through Thursday and looks to be at serious risk of missing this one. Doyle has 14 targets through three games, and his absence could mean an expanded role for Mo Alie-CoxWill Fuller (chest/elbow) — Fuller was upgraded to a limited participation in practice Thursday, a good sign for his chances of playing this week. I like having him stashed, but I’m not starting him yet. 

Washington at Falcons

  • Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
  • Line: Washington -1; 47.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Washington 24.25-Atlanta 23.25

Here’s a matchup of two of the more disappointing teams in the league. For Washington, it’s been a porous defense that has let them down, while Atlanta’s offense just hasn’t looked explosive so far. What happens when a moveable object meets a stoppable force?     

  • Toughest lineup decision: Kyle PittsStart. I mean, look: Who are you going to start instead? Pitts’ usage has been undeniably disappointing, and it’s starting to look like the “Don’t draft rookie tight ends” narrative was correct. But he’s still incredibly talented, he’s still playing plenty of snaps (84% in Week 3!), and that alone makes him worth starting. He’s going to have a breakout game eventually.
  • What we’re watching for: I want to see Matt Ryan start to push the ball down the field. Take some risks. No quarterback has thrown the ball 20-plus yards down the field less often than Ryan, who has attempted just two such passes out of 117 passes, and he’s the only quarterback to throw fewer than 10% of his passes 15-plus yards. That’s held Pitts and Calvin Ridley back, and their respective upsides will be tied to Ryan’s willingness to take those chances. On the Washington side, can Taylor Heinicke keep the mistakes to a minimum without hindering his ability to make plays? 
  • Injuries: Antonio Gibson (shin) — Gibson was a new addition to the injury report Thursday and he didn’t practice, which is always a concern. The extent of the injury is not yet known at this point, but you now have to prepare for at least the possibility that he won’t be able to go Sunday. J.D. McKissic would see a larger role, but he probably wouldn’t get more than 10 carries, so rookie Jaret Patterson from Buffalo could see a nice boost in value. He’s worth adding if you need running back help … Curtis Samuel (groin) — Samuel is officially still on IR, so he hasn’t been included in the practice reports, but he is practicing this week. It’s not clear if he’s been moving at full speed, but this is good news as he works his way back from the injury that derailed his training camp and start of the season. I wouldn’t count on him in Week 4, but I’m trying to add him wherever I can … Russell Gage (ankle) — Gage is trending toward missing his second game in a row as he has not practiced yet this week. 

Cardinals at Rams 

  • Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
  • Line: Rams -4; 55 O/U
  • Implied totals: Rams 29.5-Cardinals 25.5

This might be the game of the week, as these two explosive offenses face off. The Rams seem like they have the edge because of the strength of their defense, but Arizona’s ability to spread the field and get the ball out quickly could negate some of the Rams strengths. 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Robert WoodsStart. This shouldn’t be a tough decision, but I know we’re going to get a lot of questions about Woods. Look, I understand, he’s been disappointing so far, and that’s been holding your team back. but Woods is still getting a solid target share with more downfield targets than he got, and he’s in a better offense. You have to think he and Matthew Stafford are going to figure this out at some point, right? I’ll go down with this ship.       
  • What we’re watching for: Well, I’d sure like to see Stafford and Woods get on the same page. It’ll also be interesting to see how the Rams use Darrell Henderson, assuming he is cleared to return. So far, it has been all Henderson at RB when healthy, and all Sony Michel when Henderson has been out. Will Michel mix in more with Henderson coming back from injury? On the Cardinals side, you’d sure like to see the Cardinals lean on DeAndre Hopkins more often in this one, and I have a feeling they might if they find themselves in a situation where they really need a play. They’ve been in few of those positions so far this season.        
  • Injuries: Darrell Henderson (ribs) — Henderson has practiced on a limited basis both Wednesday and Thursday, and I’m expecting him to return Sunday. That isn’t guaranteed, obviously, and if he isn’t able to play, Sony Michel would be a borderline top-12 RB for me this week. 

Seahawks at 49ers

  • Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
  • Line: 49ers -2.5; 52 O/U
  • Implied totals: 49ers 27.25-Seahawks 24.75

Neither of these teams has looked quite right yet, but this one especially features some interesting strength vs. weakness matchups. The Seahawks have given up 465 yards on the ground so far, most recently getting torched by Alexander Mattison; that bodes well for the 49ers running game to get on track. On the other side, the 49ers have given up five touchdowns with just one interception so far, which obviously presents some issues against Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, and DK Metcalf

  • Toughest lineup decision: Trey Sermon Sit. I’m not writing the rookie off, but he just didn’t look particularly impressive in Week 3, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that he was inactive in Week 1 and then didn’t play in Week 2 until the 49ers were down three running backs. He has a chance to carve out a bigger role this week if Elijah Mitchell doesn’t play, but I just don’t have much faith in him unless he finds the end zone. And he’s definitely not worth starting if Mitchell plays.
  • What we’re watching for: On the 49ers side, we’re still trying to figure out what the passing game hierarchy looks like. Brandon Aiyuk was much more involved in Week 3, but he was also still clearly third in the hierarchy; will that continue moving forward? The Seahawks side doesn’t really have a lot of questions at this point — as long as their receivers are healthy. 
  • Injuries: DK Metcalf (foot)/Tyler Lockett (hip) — Metcalf was added to the injury report Thursday, while Lockett went from a full practice to a DNP. These are both new issues for them, and while I haven’t seen any specific reason to be alarmed yet — but coach Pete Carroll doesn’t talk to the media Thursday — it’s certainly worth watching … George Kittle (calf) — Kittle has yet to practice this week as a result of this injury, and while it was downplayed earlier in the week, clearly there has to be some concern about his status for Sunday now. Start making alternate plans now just in case. I would see if Dalton Schultz is available first … Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) — Mitchell has been limited both Wednesday and Thursday, so while there’s a chance he plays, I’m not counting on it at this point. 

Ravens at Broncos

  • Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
  • Line: PICK; 45 O/U
  • Implied totals: Ravens 22.25-Broncos 22.25

The Broncos sit at 3-0 while ranking 12th in points scored and first in points allowed. Of course, they’ve also played the easiest schedule in the league so far, so the Ravens are going to be their first real test. Surprisingly, Vegas seems to be buying in — though maybe Lamar Jackson’s back injury is playing a role. 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Ty’Son Williams Sit. I don’t know how I could possibly give you any other answer. Could Williams get 15-plus carries, find the end zone multiple times, and be a superstar this week? Sure! But he just had five carries for 22 yards and one target in a much easier matchup against the Lions while playing his usual allotment of snaps. Williams may have a good day, but you can’t trust him. 
  • What we’re watching for: Well … will the Ravens actually use Williams this week? I’m also interested in seeing how Marquise Brown bounces back from his three drops last week that helped the Lions stay in the game. Does Lamar Jackson still trust him as his go-to option? Brown was targeted just once in the second half after the drops — and that ball was picked off. I’m starting Brown as a top-30 guy if Jackson plays, but it feels a bit risky, admittedly. On the other side, I want to see the Broncos passing game continue to roll — and I’d like to see Courtland Sutton be the centerpiece of it like he was in Week 2’s breakout. 
  • Injuries: Lamar Jackson (back) — So, Jackson has now missed two straight days of practice as a result of this injury, which makes it awfully hard to ignore. The Ravens have downplayed its severity, but if he doesn’t practice Friday, it’ll be a real concern. Start making alternate plans right now — Taylor Heinicke might be my preferred target on waivers among players who are widely available … Melvin Gordon (ribs/lower leg) — Gordon has been limited both Wednesday and Thursday, but it doesn’t seem likely to keep him out for Sunday’s game at this point. Keep an eye on it …        

Steelers at Packers

  • Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
  • Line: Packers -6.5; 45.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Packers 26-Steelers 19.5

Even if the Steelers are at full strength, it’s hard to feel confident in their ability to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and co.  

  • Toughest lineup decision: Chase Claypool — Sit. I started the week with Claypool ranked as a top-20 WR, but I’ve dropped him outside of the top 36 with Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster looking more likely to play. He’s still coming off the field in two-WR sets when everyone is healthy, and I just don’t have faith in this offense supporting that many receivers. If Smith-Schuster isn’t able to play, Claypool would probably move into the top 30, so keep that in mind. Of course, that is if Claypool plays. 
  • What we’re watching for: Can the Steelers figure out anything on offense? Matt Canada’s new offense hasn’t sparked things, mostly because Ben Roethlisberger looks totally washed up. Can he figure out a way to make it work? The Packers have so much of their total production tied up in Aaron Jones and Davante Adams that there really aren’t many questions on their side.   
  • Injuries: Diontae Johnson (knee)/JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs)/Chase Claypool (hamstring) — Yep, they’re all on the injury report. Johnson practiced in full Thursday and looks like he’ll be back, while Smith-Schuster and Claypool were both limited and are more questionable. Claypool being a mid-week addition to the report is something to watch, especially because it’s a hamstring injury, which can be especially tricky … Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) — Valdes-Scantling hasn’t been able to practice this week, so don’t be surprised if he’s sidelined. Allen Lazard makes for a nice DFS flier … Aaron Jones (ankle)/A.J. Dillon (back) — Both were limited Wednesday, and these are new injuries for this week, so it’s worth watching. I haven’t seen any reason to think Jones won’t play, but make sure you’ve got a backup just in case. 

Buccaneers at Patriots

  • Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
  • Line: Buccaneers -7; 49 O/U
  • Implied totals: Buccaneers 28-Patriots 21

The revenge game of all revenge games, with Tom Brady returning to Gillette Field to face his former club for the first time. Bill Belichick may not have enough tricks in his book to win this one.    

  • Toughest lineup decision: Damien HarrisSit. Harris’ snap count has dipped in two straight games, and Week 3 seemingly confirmed he will be pretty game-script dependent — he lost significant playing time while trailing even though James White left early with an injury. The Buccaneers might have the best offense and run defense in the NFL, which lines up extremely poorly for White if he’s not going to have much of a role in the passing game.   
  • What we’re watching for: Mac Jones finally got forced into a couple of mistakes in Week 3, and this offense just hasn’t shown they have enough firepower to make up for that at this point. Jakobi Meyers does have nine and 14 targets in the two games the Patriots have lost this season, so you have to like his chances in this one — he might be the only player on the entire offense I would recommend as a starter in a 12-team league. On the Buccaneers side, with Giovani Bernard dealing with an injury, does Leonard Fournette see a larger role in the passing game?  He could be a very useful starter if that’s the case. Also, Antonio Brown had just three targets in Week 2 after a huge Week 1, and then missed Week 3 on the COVID list. So, we don’t really know how much we can trust him yet. I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to. 
  • Injuries: Giovani Bernard (knee) — Has not practiced this week and seems unlikely to play … Rob Gronkowski (ribs) — It doesn’t seem like there is much concern about Gronkowski’s status for this week, since most of the news that you find if you Google his name right now is from puff pieces on what he misses most about New England — it’s getting front row seats for Celtics games. X-rays taken earlier in the week came back negative, per reports, and Gronkowski doesn’t really need to practice to play at this point in his career, but have a replacement ready just in case — snag O.J. Howard if you want to wait until the evening inactives come in to make a decision. 

Raiders at Chargers

  • Monday, 8:15 p.m.
  • Line: Chargers -3; 51.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Chargers 27.25-Raiders 24.25

I’m actually a bit surprised at how low the over/under is for this game, given how good these offenses have been. 

  • Toughest lineup decision: Josh Jacobs Start — assuming he plays. Jacobs missed two weeks with his ankle injuries, but he returned to practice Thursday, which is a good sign. What isn’t a great sign? The fact that Jon Gruden said his status is “really questionable.” Still, I don’t expect the Raiders to clear him unless they think he’s truly good to go, so as long as he plays, I’m starting him. There aren’t many running backs who you can trust anyway, and he’ll always have a pretty good chance of finding the end zone as long as the Raiders are moving the ball well. If Jacobs doesn’t play, Peyton Barber will probably come in around 36th in my PPR rankings despite his strong showing in Week 3. 
  • What we’re watching for: On the Raiders side, I’m interested to see if Derek Carr’s aggressive style of play continues — he’s been throwing the ball down the field more often than ever since the second half of last season, and has a career-high 9.2 intended air yards per attempt to date. It’ll also be interesting to see whether he keeps spreading the ball around as much as he has, or if  On the Chargers side, it’s all about Justin Herbert and Mike Williams — both appear to have taken a step forward this season, but we’ve been tricked by apparent early-season breakouts before. Let’s just keep it rolling, huh, fellas? I’ve got Williams as a top-12 WR this week.  
  • Injuries: Josh Jacobs (ankle) — Limited in practice Thursday, but I think there’s a decent chance he plays — if the Raiders thought he would miss three games, they would’ve put him on IR, right? … Keenan Allen (ankle) — Allen was also limited at practice Thursday, and this is the first time we’re hearing about the injury, so it’s worth taking note of. Taking note is all we’re doing for now. 

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