Week 4 Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Can the Broncos Bounce Back and Start Scoring Fantasy Points?

Based on numberFire's Week 4 fantasy football projections, which players are must-starts, considerations, or preferable sits?

Another season of fantasy football, another trove of start-or-sit scenarios to answer.

It's not just enough to draft the right team and make the right moves off the waiver wire, no. We all know that. We also have to make sure that we are starting the right players each week.

Of course, we have our studs, anchors, and the players we're starting virtually no matter what. We don't need anyone to tell us to start Jonathan Taylor.

But, the further down the lineup we go, the more those questions trickle in.

Then again, no player is a "must-sit" in every scenario, and perhaps the WR3 you've been plugging in each week may have a better alternative.

To answer the question, "Should I sit Player X," depends on the answer to the question, "Who can you start instead?"

That's why I like to switch up the typical start-or-sit column format. I'm going to be listing out all relevant fantasy football players each week and bucketing them into tiers.

Take some of the guesswork out of setting our lineups weekly, I'll be leveraging thousands of slate simulations that are based on numberFire's player projections with dynamic measures for variance, such as quarterback rushing, running back receiving, and receiver target depth.

The results will boil down to three tiers: players we should be confident about starting, players we can consider starting whenever we don't have better alternatives but who aren't must-plays, and players we should try to bench whenever we do have better alternatives (i.e. players listed above them on the list).

These players are listed in order of frequency of hitting the stated threshold (i.e. QB12, RB24, WR24, and TE12 performances), and higher on the list means more startable.

The groupings reflect a 12-team, single-quarterback league with the following hypothetical in mind: if I had other viable options on my bench or the waiver wire, should I start this player this week?

Players not listed should be presumed sit-worthy in a shallow or standard-sized league, and all fantasy points references and rankings reflect half-PPR scoring.


Start With Confidence
- Josh Allen at BAL (72%)
- Jalen Hurts vs. JAC (70%)
- Lamar Jackson vs. BUF (62%)
- Patrick Mahomes at TB (51%)
- Justin Herbert at HOU (51%)
- Joe Burrow vs. MIA (50%)
Consider If Needed
- Aaron Rodgers vs. NE (46%)
- Kyler Murray at CAR (43%)
- Derek Carr vs. DEN (41%)
- Daniel Jones vs. CHI (41%)
- Jared Goff vs. SEA (40%)
- Marcus Mariota vs. CLE (40%)
- Tua Tagovailoa at CIN (38%)
- Russell Wilson at LV (38%)
- Tom Brady vs. KC (37%)
- Mitch Trubisky vs. NYJ (37%)
- Kirk Cousins at NO (36%)
- Matthew Stafford at SF (36%)
- Geno Smith at DET (35%)
Bench If Possible
- Cooper Rush vs. WSH (34%)
- Jacoby Brissett at ATL (31%)
- Carson Wentz at DAL (29%)
- Trevor Lawrence at PHI (29%)
- Matt Ryan vs. TEN (27%)
- Ryan Tannehill at IND (27%)
- Justin Fields at NYG (26%)
- Davis Mills vs. LAC (26%)
- Baker Mayfield vs. ARI (26%)
- Jimmy Garoppolo vs. LA (25%)
- Jameis Winston vs. MIN (24%)
- Zach Wilson at PIT (23%)
- Brian Hoyer at GB (12%)

Injury Notes
- Mac Jones is not projected to play due to an ankle injury. If he does play, he's in Tier 3.

The second tier this week is quite large because there are only a handful of locks and because a lot of games this week project to be low-scoring matchups.

It's disheartening to see Kyler Murray in Tier 2, but he should probably see more rushing attempts soon. He's averaged 4.3 carries for 21.7 yards per game, so there's a lot of room to grow. This week, rushing will be a bit tough, however. The Carolina Panthers rank 10th in overall defense, based on numberFire's adjusted metrics. Against quarterbacks, they've seen 16 carries for just 36 yards and rank top-10 in rushing success rate allowed to quarterbacks through three weeks. Though Murray could be a trendy "sit" candidate against a moderately tough matchup, that'd be selling him short for this week.

Jared Goff streamers from a week ago were given an efficient outing from a passing standpoint, but he had just a single touchdown to show for it. This week, teams can keep rolling with Goff in most circumstances against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle ranks 31st in adjusted passing efficiency allowed and are a top-three matchup, according to my composite rankings.

Russell Wilson and Tom Brady have gotten off to incredibly slow starts, and their managers are definitely aware.

There are viable streaming options in comparison to these two, yet they are still Tier 2 options. Wilson faces the Raiders, who are just 29th in adjusted pass defense, according to numberFire's metrics. He has already faced two top-12 units but did play a bottom-tier pass defense, as well. In his lone start against a weak pass defense (Week 1 against Seattle), Russ had the kitchen up and running and threw for 340 yards.

Brady will have Mike Evans back in the lineup this week and is in a game that could turn into an offensive shootout against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City ranks 12th in adjusted pass defense but has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in each game so far this season.

Running Back

Start With Confidence
- Christian McCaffrey vs. ARI (81%)
- Saquon Barkley vs. CHI (80%)
- Jonathan Taylor vs. TEN (78%)
- Joe Mixon vs. MIA (73%)
- Derrick Henry at IND (71%)
- Nick Chubb at ATL (70%)
- Cordarrelle Patterson vs. CLE (69%)
- Austin Ekeler at HOU (67%)
- Najee Harris vs. NYJ (66%)
- Aaron Jones vs. NE (65%)
- Dalvin Cook at NO (65%)
- Alvin Kamara vs. MIN (62%)
Consider If Needed
- Leonard Fournette vs. KC (59%)
- Jamaal Williams vs. SEA (59%)
- Jeff Wilson vs. LA (56%)
- Antonio Gibson at DAL (55%)
- Josh Jacobs vs. DEN (55%)
- Javonte Williams at LV (55%)
- James Conner at CAR (52%)
- Ezekiel Elliott vs. WSH (51%)
- A.J. Dillon vs. NE (49%)
- David Montgomery at NYG (48%) [if healthy]
- Dameon Pierce vs. LAC (47%)
- Miles Sanders vs. JAC (46%)
- James Robinson at PHI (46%)
- Khalil Herbert at NYG (41%)
- Tony Pollard vs. WSH (40%)
Bench If Possible
- Rashaad Penny at DET (39%)
- Michael Carter at PIT (38%)
- J.K. Dobbins vs. BUF (38%)
- Breece Hall at PIT (36%)
- Melvin Gordon at LV (35%)
- Damien Harris at GB (35%)
- Devin Singletary at BAL (34%)
- Rhamondre Stevenson at GB (33%)
- Kareem Hunt at ATL (33%)
- Chase Edmonds at CIN (32%)
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire at TB (32%)
- Raheem Mostert at CIN (31%)
- Travis Etienne at PHI (30%)
- Darrell Henderson at SF (30%)
- Cam Akers at SF (29%)

Injury Notes
- D'Andre Swift is not projected to play due to a shoulder injury. If he plays, he rates out just under 60%.
- David Montgomery is day-to-day. If projected at full health, he has a 48% top-24 probability. Herbert is a high-end Tier 2 play without Montgomery and a low-end one with him.

Although the arrow is down on Javonte Williams from the start of the season, he's far from a panic "sit" recommendation. Williams has seen more of a timeshare than most had hoped: he has played on 55.3% of the Denver Broncos' offensive snaps this season while averaging 12.3 carries and 7.0 targets for an average of 84.3 scrimmage yards. Notably, the targets are elevated because of his route-running involvement (51.3% of the team's drop backs). The Las Vegas Raiders are a middling rush defense and have allowed 21 catches on 26 targets for 193 yards and a touchdown to backs already. Only three teams have faced more running back targets.

Despite how good Tony Pollard has looked and played, Ezekiel Elliott has also been efficient. numberFire's metrics have Elliott at a 55.0% rushing success rate and Pollard at 46.4%. Elliott has effectively held a 60/40 snap rate split over Pollard in each and every game thus far. While Pollard's stock is on the rise and he's a borderline start candidate if you need him, Elliott is far from done for those who need sturdy running back production.

Dameon Pierce's Week 2 role (62.7% snap rate) stuck in Week 3 (60.7%) and likely proved his Week 1 involvement (27.9%) irrelevant. Pierce, in two games with an expanded role, has averaged 17.5 carries and 1.5 targets for 89.0 scrimmage yards. He also has handled 61.1% of the team's red zone rushes and targets available in that sample.

Wide Receiver

Start With Confidence
- Cooper Kupp at SF (81%)
- Deebo Samuel vs. LA (73%)
- Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. SEA (71%)
- Davante Adams vs. DEN (69%)
- Stefon Diggs at BAL (67%)
- Justin Jefferson at NO (65%)
- Ja'Marr Chase vs. MIA (63%)
- Tyreek Hill at CIN (58%)
- Mike Evans vs. KC (56%)
- Jaylen Waddle at CIN (54%)
- Mike Williams at HOU (53%)
- D.K. Metcalf at DET (52%)
- Michael Pittman Jr. vs. TEN (52%)
- A.J. Brown vs. JAC (51%)
Consider If Needed
- CeeDee Lamb vs. WSH (49%)
- Diontae Johnson vs. NYJ (48%)
- Tee Higgins vs. MIA (44%)
- Courtland Sutton at LV (43%)
- Amari Cooper at ATL (42%)
- Brandin Cooks vs. LAC (42%)
- DeVonta Smith vs. JAC (41%)
- Christian Kirk at PHI (41%)
- Chris Olave vs. MIN (41%)
- Drake London vs. CLE (41%)
- D.J. Moore vs. ARI (40%)
- Tyler Lockett at DET (37%)
- Jerry Jeudy at LV (35%)
- Marquise Brown at CAR (35%)
- Gabe Davis at BAL (35%)
- Keenan Allen at HOU (33%) [if healthy]
- Michael Thomas vs. MIN (31%) [if healthy]
- DeVante Parker at GB (30%)
Bench If Possible
- Terry McLaurin at DAL (29%)
- Garrett Wilson at PIT (28%)
- D.J. Chark vs. SEA (28%)
- Rashod Bateman vs. BUF (28%)
- Chase Claypool vs. NYJ (27%)
- Allen Lazard vs. NE (26%)
- Curtis Samuel at DAL (26%)
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling at TB (26%)
- Allen Robinson at SF (25%)
- Richie James vs. CHI (24%)
- Julio Jones vs. KC (23%)
- Adam Thielen at NO (23%)
- Brandon Aiyuk vs. LA (22%)
- Elijah Moore at PIT (22%)
- Jakobi Meyers at GB (22%) [if healthy]
- Donovan Peoples-Jones at ATL (20%)
- Darnell Mooney at NYG (20%)

Injury Notes
- Keenan Allen, if healthy, is a low-end WR2 or high-end WR3 play, given the downgraded expected projection in his return.
- Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry are dealing with toe and foot injuries, respectively. If Thomas plays, he's at the bottom of Tier 2. Landry is still a sit candidate after his role evaporated due to the emergence of Chris Olave.
- If Jakobi Meyers plays, he is still a sit candidate.

It wouldn't be point-chasing to feel great about DeVonta Smith after a 169-yard game. Smith's target-per-route rate has climbed each week since the opener: 12.5%, 20.6%, and 34.3%. He now has a 29.7% target share over the past two games, narrowly beating out teammate A.J. Brown's 28.1% target share.

Chris Olave has emerged as a draft day steal after his role sprouted in Week 2. Olave has been targeted on 34.9% of the New Orleans Saints' pass attempts over the past two games. That would rank him eighth-best among receivers in that two-game sample. He's also one of six players to have greater than a 50% air yards share in that span.

At the same top-24 odds as Olave, we have fellow rookie Drake London. London holds a league-best 40.9% target share since Week 2, though the target volume is a bit down (9.0 per game) due to the offense in which he plays. Helping to make up for the lower volume is a good downfield target total: he's averaging 4.5 targets per game that are at least 10 yards downfield. Plus 1.5 red zone targets per game. He's a stud in the making.

Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy remain Tier 2 plays this week. Excluding Week 2 (when Jeudy played just 13.8% of the team's snaps), Sutton has a 23.3% target share with Jeudy at 17.8%. Jeudy was also pretty limited in Week 3 (he played just 58.6% of the snaps but ran 78.4% of the available routes). He held a viable 20.7% target-per-route rate. The Raiders rank just 22nd in pressure rate this season, according to NextGenStats, so we could see some downfield plays finally develop for this dynamic duo.

Tight End

Start With Confidence
- Travis Kelce at TB (79%)
- Mark Andrews vs. BUF (71%)
- Darren Waller vs. DEN (62%)
- Kyle Pitts vs. CLE (57%)
- Tyler Higbee at SF (52%)
- T.J. Hockenson vs. SEA (50%)
Consider If Needed
- George Kittle vs. LA (48%)
- Gerald Everett at HOU (45%)
- Dallas Goedert vs. JAC (42%)
- Dalton Schultz vs. WSH (41%)
- Robert Tonyan vs. NE (41%)
- Zach Ertz at CAR (36%)
- David Njoku at ATL (35%)
- Noah Fant at DET (33%)
- Pat Freiermuth vs. NYJ (31%)
Bench If Possible
- Evan Engram at PHI (29%)
- Dawson Knox at BAL (29%)
- Irv Smith Jr. at NO (28%)
- Mike Gesicki at CIN (28%)
- Logan Thomas at DAL (25%)
- Cole Kmet at NYG (23%)
- Jonnu Smith at GB (22%)
- Austin Hooper at IND (20%)
- Albert Okwuegbunam at LV (20%)

George Kittle churned out just 28 yards on his 5 targets in Week 3's debut. He ran a route on 81.8% of the San Francisco 49ers' drop backs and played on 92.3% of the team's snaps, though. He should see the field as much as he can handle, especially with tackle Trent Williams out. That could lead to more pass-blocking snaps, yes, but the model here still likes Kittle's chances relative to the rest of the position to be a top-12 tight end.

Robert Tonyan is coming off of a 7-target, 37-yard game and could be the solution for tight-end needy managers. But just a 41% chance to be a top-12 option seems fair. He ran a route on only 58.3% of the Green Bay Packers' routes last week and had an average depth of target of a mere 1.6 yards. He'll need to score -- or catch a lot of passes in PPR formats -- to churn out much upside at all.

David Njoku's role has become quite appealing with the Cleveland Browns. After a single-target game to start the season, Njoku has had 5 and 10 targets, respectively, since then: a 25.9% team target share in that span. This will sound made up, but that ranks second among tight ends over the past two weeks behind Mark Andrews' massive 42.9% target share.