By ADAM PFEIFER
Well, Kirk Cousins surely paid off. Bobby Rainey?
Not so much.
This week, finding sneaky options to start in your fantasy league is even more crucial than ever because Week 4 signals the start of the bye weeks. Six teams are off this Sunday, and there are a ton of big name fantasy contributors missing. But with so many injuries surrounding the NFL at the moment, it becomes a tad bit easier to find viable options to start in fantasy land. Let's get started. I mean, Week 4 does kick off tonight, after all.
Week 4 byes: ARI, CIN, CLE, DEN, SEA, STL
Teddy Bridgewater vs Atlanta Falcons- I have been vocal about my love for Teddy this week. Coming into the draft, I thought he was the most NFL-ready passer available, and I'm glad to see him under center. In limited action last week, he certainly didn't wow anyone, but was calm, cool and collected, three things Bridgewater has always been when in the pocket. I love his matchup this week against a weak Atlanta defense that has surrendered 387 total yards per game to this point, the fifth-most in the league. Opposing quarterbacks are also averaging a strong 263 yards per game against the Falcons, the 8th-most in football. The game is in Minnesota, which is good for Teddy. So far this season, Atlanta hasn't recorded a sack away from home, and during their three games, have only sacked the quarterback 2.86 percent of the time, one of the lowest rates in football to this point.
Fred Jackson @ Houston Texans- Jackson was a top-12 fantasy back last year, but through three weeks, doesn't seem to be anywhere near that same pace. He is currently seeing less than 30 percent of the Bills' team carries, but he still has a major role in this offense. According to Pro Football Focus, FJax is the 12th-best blocking running back in the league right now, which means he will always be on the field on passing and third downs. In fact, despite seeing fewer carries, Jackson has made up for it by doubling C.J. Spiller's passing down snaps. I like him a lot this week against a Texans defense that just surrendered a career-high 176 rushing yards to Rashad Jennings and on the season, are allowing 141.7 rushing yards per game. Jackson will get the goal line work, and in a week where Giovani Bernard, Marshawn Lynch and Montee Ball are unavailable, Jackson is a top-20 back.
LeGarrette Blount vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers- This is if you are really, really desperate, but Blount saw the garbage time work last week against a very good Panthers run defense, scampering for 118 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. This play is a bit volatile, considering Blount never saw more than four carries in a game prior to Sunday night. Still, the matchup is good, as Tampa Bay could be without inside linebacker Mason Foster and defensive lineman Gerald McCoy in this one. Pittsburgh could be ahead for the majority of this game, and with the way Le'Veon Bell is playing, they will want to keep him fresh for the entire season. Don't sleep on Blount if you are desperate. The Bucs are allowing 125 rushing yards per contest thus far.
Carlos Hyde vs Philadelphia Eagles- Hyde still isn't taking over, and Frank Gore isn't going anywhere, but the 49ers are still interested in using him more on third downs and goal line situations. He already has two touchdowns this year and his averaging a solid 4.5 yards per carry. After a week where they absolutely abandoned the run, look for San Francisco to pound the rock a lot more this week, and the matchup is strong. Philadelphia has allowed multiple running back touchdowns in two consecutive weeks and this game should be fairly high-scoring.
Andre Holmes vs Miami Dolphins- With Rod Streater sidelined with a broken foot, the Raiders will be rolling with Holmes to fill the void. Dennis Allen likes Holmes, saying that they are confident he can make big plays for the team when he's out there. He and quarterback Derek Carr have developed good chemistry during practices before Carr was even the starter, so that should help.
Markus Wheaton vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Wheaton is averaging a healthy 6.6 targets per game through three weeks, and has looked like a completely different receiver than he did during the preseason. He could have a nice outing against a Tampa Bay secondary that is allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers through three weeks, coughing up 13.3 receptions per game to team wideouts.
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