I’ve rebranded the classic fantasy football start sit column into “Roasts & Ghosts”. A roast is a player who is not only a clear start, but is in for a monster game. A ghost meanwhile is a player who could just be a typical sit, but also might be a star player who gives you less than you were expecting. I have a roast and a ghost for each position to help you set your best lineups for Week 4.
Before we get into this week, I want to quickly say that I hate Arthur Smith and the Atlanta Falcons for somehow ruining Kyle Pitts three games into his NFL career. I have learned that love is a lie and that I should never trust Pitts or the Falcons to do anything good. I am devastated. Also, classic Daniel Jones doing nothing in a smash spot. At least Ja’Marr Chase and the Denver Broncos’ backfield went off!
Let’s get into Week 4.
Roast: Jalen Hurts vs Kansas City Chiefs
This is a prime matchup for Jalen Hurts. The Chiefs’ pass defense ranks 28th in NEFF rating and are currently giving up over 25 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (2nd most). Quarterbacks aren’ just getting it done through the air against KC either. The Chiefs have allowed the most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns to opposing QBs to start the year.
Hurts’ two-way ability is exactly what makes him such a smash play this week. Only Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones, and Kyler Murray are averaging more non-passing fantasy points per game through three weeks. With Hurts throwing the ball well—Hurts ranks top 10 in Paddi’s QPI rating—and his elite rushing floor, he has a solid chance of finishing the QB1 this week.
Ghost: Lamar Jackson vs Denver Broncos
I was deliberating between a few different quarterbacks for this week’s Ghost. Derek Carr is taking on the Los Angeles Chargers who have been shutting down opposing QBs, while Dak Prescott faces off against the Carolina Panthers’ up-and-coming defense. Ultimately, I went with the QB facing the best defense in the NFL per NEFF rating.
The Broncos’ defense has been elite to start the year, making the most of the bad competition they’ve faced. This will be their first big test, but we’ve also seen this Baltimore Ravens’ offense struggle this season. I mean, the Detroit Lions just held Lamar to his worst completion percentage and his lowest rushing total of the year. Any quarterback going up against a defense allowing just 10 fantasy points per game has potential ghost written all over them.
Roast: Jonathan Taylor vs Miami Dolphins
I talked about both Taylor and Miles Sanders as potential bounce-back plays on this week’s starts & sits podcast. Ultimately, I’m mentioning Taylor here because I want to further comfort all the worried Taylor managers out there.
It’s been a slow start to the year for Taylor but he is firmly the Indianapolis Colts’ RB1. He has over 55% of the Colts’ rush attempts and rushing yards. He also leads the NFL in carries inside the 5-yards line (6) and is tied with Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones for the lead in red zone carries (13). The touchdown regression is coming for Taylor in a positive way.
And it’ll start this week against the Dolphins. Only the Seattle Seahawks are giving up more fantasy points to opposing backs than the Dolphins and only the Ravens are giving up more rushing touchdowns. This is the week Taylor returns to RB1 glory.
Ghost: James Robinson vs Cincinnati Bengals
I haven’t had the greatest track record picking Roasts and Ghosts in Thursday night games, but here’s to bucking trends! Robinson is coming off easily his best game of the young season. Fantasy managers finally saw the 2020 Robinson they thought they were drafting. However, much of his production in Week 3 came because the Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves with an early lead against the Arizona Cardinals.
Of Robinson’s 15 carries, 13 of them came when the Jaguars had a lead. Once the game got close, Robinson’s carries dropped drastically. The Bengals’ offense is starting to come into it’s own—they were a top-10 unit last week per NEFF—and facing the worst pass defense in the NFL likely takes the game script away from Robinson. One final nail in the coffin: the Bengals grade out as a top-5 run defense to start the year and have allowed the eighth-fewest rushing points per game.
Roast: Jakobi Meyers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There are a lot of receivers I’m particularly high on this week, but I’ve decided to get crazy with it and give myself something to root for while I watch Tom Brady dismantle my New England Patriots Sunday night. (If you don’t think Brady is throwing for 500 yards and 5 touchdowns this game, you are much mistaken. Shit, he should have been my Roast…)
No defense is giving up more fantasy points, more receptions, or more touchdowns to wide receivers than the Bucs. I have a feeling this will be a game where Tampa get up early and Mac Jones and the Patriots’ offense will have to throw their way back into it. Last time that happened (literally last week against the New Orleans Saints), Meyers came away with 9 catches on 14 targets for 94 yards. Sprinkle a touchdown into that stat line and you got yourself a high-end WR2. It’s bold, but what’s the roast category for if not boldness?
Ghost: Chase Claypool vs Green Bay Packers
It seems like Chase Claypool might yet again find himself the only healthy wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster didn’t practice Wednesday, putting their Week 4 availability up in the air. Even if Claypool is once again the Steelers’ lone healthy receiver—and sees the 15 targets he saw last week—I’m not feeling too confident starting him this week.
For starters, Ben Roethlisberger, the man in charge of getting the football to Claypool, has been the 31st ranked QB in the league per QPI. That’s objectively terrible. More so, the Packers’ secondary is starting to round into form with Jaire Alexander playing like his elite-self and rookie Eric Stokes also playing well opposite him. I have Claypool ranked as a low-end flex play this week.
Roast: Noah Fant vs Baltimore Ravens
Don’t overthink this. The Denver Broncos suffered yet another wide receiver injury with K.J. Hamler’s season ending with an ACL tear. This means the Broncos’ passing tree is down to Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Noah Fant. Fant is tied for 6th-most targets among tight ends and his 12 receptions is tied for 7th. The Ravens meanwhile have given up the most fantasy points to tight ends. Like I said, don’t overthink this Pete.
Ghost: Tyler Higbee vs Arizona Cardinals
Part of me wanted to further put out good Patriots vibes into the universe and pick Rob Gronkowski as my Ghost. But I’m willing to bet Brady is going to force-feed Gronk targets in the red zone to get him at least one touchdown vs New England. Can you tell I’m really excited for Sunday Night Football?
The Cardinals are allowing the second-fewest yards and third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends to start the year. Higbee is very much an on-or-off target for the Los Angeles Rams. He was on in both Week 1 and 3 when he saw a combined 11 targets and 10 catches. He was off in Week 2 when he saw one target for eight yards. I’ll bet Sunday brings the latter.