We’re in the fifth week of the NFL season, and if your rosters look like mine, the injuries and inefficiencies are starting to pile up. That can leave you in a position of trying to maximize your potential from every lineup spot every week. So, let this column be your help as I recommend sitting and starting from all four positions each week. But first, let’s review the suggestions offered in Week 4.
For transparency purposes, we’ll measure quarterbacks and tight ends against Top 12 finishes (QB1 and TE1), and we’ll measure running backs and wide receivers against Top 24 finishes (RB1-2, WR1-2). All finishes come from Fantasy Pros PPR scoring leaders lists found here.
QB: Derek Carr, QB24 miss. I expected a high-scoring game and got that in a way. Carr came in averaging more than 400 yards a game, but the Chargers held him in check.
RB: Najee Harris, RB6 hit. The Steelers’ offense has struggled, but Harris has been a star. That continued in Week 4.
WR: Mike Williams, WR104 miss. Williams came into Monday’s game red hot. While Herbert stayed that way, Williams caught one pass for 11 yards…
TE: Noah Fant, TE8 hit. Fant caught six passes and a touchdown on Sunday, delivering on his promise.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, QB29 hit. Big Ben hasn’t looked like a good bet, and that was the case in Week 4.
RB: Damien Harris, RB51 hit. I wasn’t sold Harris would return solid value in Week 4, and he didn’t against a stout Tampa Bay front.
WR: Diontae Johnson, WR5 miss. I thought Johnson would suffer along with Ben and the passing game, but he was rock solid.
TE: Eric Ebron, TE37 hit. Ebron’s time as the TE to roster in Pittsburgh is over.
Start: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
About: I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I do. After Week 1, I was urging caution on Atlanta, but Ryan and the Falcons are finding a groove. He was QB3 in Week 4 as Cordarrelle Patterson continues to soar. Heading to London and playing the uneven Jets, I think that continues. I moved Matt Ryan up into my Top 12 for the week, so I’m hopeful.
Sit: Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
About: Lance was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, so people are excited about his prospects. But most agreed Lance was a raw prospect, something we saw in Week 4 when he came in for Jimmy Garoppolo. He threw a couple of touchdowns but also had several throws wide of the mark. On Sunday, provided Jimmy G. is out, he will get the start in Arizona against the lone undefeated team in the league, one that pushed MVP candidate Matthew Stafford and forced a couple of turnovers. We’ve seen rookie QBs struggle as they acclimate to the NFL this season, and I’d expect the same for Lance.
Start: Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
About: Edmonds has been on a tear this season. He is RB12 through four games, providing great pop on the ground and in the passing game for the Cardinals. This week he gets the San Francisco 49ers, a decent team but not one that will stifle the skills of Edmonds. He should be in your starting lineups.
Sit: Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins
About: For as good as Edmonds has been, Gaskin has become a non-factor. While many hoped he’d return RB2 value as the guy in the Miami backfield, the reality of that hasn’t proven accurate. Gaskin is RB39 on the season and carried just two times for three yards in Week 4 without seeing a single target. Malcolm Brown got more carries while Salvon Ahmed had carries and more targets. Not a great sign, and the Dolphins get the Buccaneers in Week 5. Gaskin doesn’t belong in your starting lineup.
Start: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
About: In 2020, Moore was the third-best receiver in Carolina as both Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel finished above him. It didn’t make sense given his talent, and we’ve seen that course correction in a big way in 2021. Moore is WR4 on the season and has been the favorite target of Sam Darnold. Even with Christian McCaffrey in the lineup, Moore is a weapon you can rely on. That won’t change in Week 5.
Sit: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
About: This one hurts me. I love Sutton and his talent, and his Week 2 explosion gave me hope that he was in for a big season. The Broncos’ passing game has been too unpredictable, and with the team possibly starting Drew Lock, on the road in Pittsburgh, I’m not confident in Sutton. I have him as WR40 this week. Again, I love the talent, but I don’t trust getting WR2 production.
Start: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
About: Heading into the season, the question was what the split would be between Schultz and a healthy Blake Jarwin at tight end, and if the position would be fantasy relevant given the Cowboys’ other weapons. So far, the answer is a resounding nod in the direction of Schultz, who is TE4 on the season. He has 20 receptions and three TDs on the season and has developed a great rapport with Dak Prescott.
Sit: Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans
About: Heading into the season, some were bullish on Firkser and his prospects for 2021. So far, it hasn’t materialized. He has appeared in two games, catching six passes for 42 yards. I like the receptions, but his role in the Tennessee passing game is far from certain. He isn’t a reliable enough option to guarantee a good return even at a variable position.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.