There are a lot of insanely tough calls to be made in fantasy football each week. In week four, they get even harder when you factor bye weeks into the mix. Some awesome names won’t be around to help you win this week, so you’ll have to decide between the lesser of two evils in a lot of cases, or simply figure out what guy in a pool of options has the best chance to produce for you.
Injuries, roles, matchups and talent all need to be considered, and ultimately you need to make a decision. For specific bye week help, be sure to check out my week 4 bye week replacements column (I’ll be doing it weekly). For the tough calls, I’ve put in the time and research to see what fantasy owners are largely struggling with in terms of tough calls, and narrowed it down to these ones for week four:
Blake Bortles (Jaguars) vs. Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings)
Bortles has the bigger arm and seems to be a little more ready to give this whole “quarterbacking” thing a go. Bridgewater should check down a little more and ironically take fewer deep shots despite his system begging for it. I think both could be OK this week, but Bortles is probably going to have to throw a ton and I was impressed by his production in just one half of play last week.
Alex Smith (Chiefs) vs. Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins)
Tannehill has the better matchup, but his head coach is an idiot. I kind of hate both of these guys this week, as Smith can be solid but he gets the #1 ranked Pats pass defense. At least he’s at home.
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) vs. Tom Brady (Patriots)
Tom Brady has been painfully spare and Big Ben is pretty much right there with him. However, Roethlisberger is at home against a Buccaneers defense that just gave up 56 points, while Brady is on the road and has been less impressive through three weeks. I think Roethlisberger is the better bet this week.
Philip Rivers (Chargers) vs Colin Kaepernick (49ers)
This is probably the biggest quarterback matchup of the week, as both of these guys have dream matchups at home. I think if you want pure upside, you should go with Kap. However, Rivers has been by far the more impressive passer through three weeks. He also has the more desirable matchup, overall. I think both do amazingly this week, but I’d rather have Rivers in my fantasy lineup this week.
Reggie Bush (Lions) vs. Chris Ivory (Jets)
Bush finally made noise last week, but both of these guys have brutal matchups and share the rock. I think the Jets get Ivory the ball more than Chris Johnson in week four, however. He’s also the more aggressive runner between these two guys and will see more shots at goal-line carries than Bush. Bush has the explosive factor, but unless you’re in a PPR league, the call is easily Ivory.
Alfred Blue (Texans) vs. Knile Davis (Chiefs)
If Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles are both out, the answer is easily Davis, who has been insanely productive as KC’s main man. However, since we don’t know what’s happening with injuries just yet, Blue has the early lead due to having a better shot at a big role. If only one had to sit, it’d probably be Foster.
Khiry Robinson (Saints) vs. Matt Asiata (Vikings)
Both of these guys have very solid roles. Asiata is probably the pick in PPR formats, as Khiry just won’t see targets much (if at all), while Robinson is your man in standard thanks to 18 carries in week three and suspected goal-line work. His team is also less likely to fall behind 40-0, so he’s a much safer option in that regard.
Fred Jackson (Bills) vs. Toby Gerhart (Jaguars)
I’m not sure how Jackson keeps doing it, but he keeps producing, seemingly every damn week. I do think Gerhart gets it going to a certain degree this week thanks to Bortles starting, but Jackson is still a way more reliable option.
DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) vs. Anquan Boldin (49ers)
Both of these guys have surprisingly been very solid over the first three weeks. However, you can only pick one heading into week four. I really like Boldin this week and think he’ll do some serious damage at home against an awful Philly defense, but the Texans have been talking about getting Hopkins the ball even more. I think he has more upside this week.
Keenan Allen (Chargers) vs. Roddy White (Falcons)
Both of these guys are slightly banged up but should be active and could have a shot at putting up elite production. Allen is my pick, though. He’s had a brutal three-game run of matchups to start the year and finally he gets the sorry Jaguars at home. This is the week to rely on him.
T.Y. Hilton (Colts) vs. Kendall Wright (Titans)
Wright hasn’t been the stud we’d hoped he’d be, and a lot of that has to do with Jake Locker failing. Locker might not even play this week, so Wright could be downgraded even more. Hilton is banged up and has a tough matchup against Tennessee’s #2 pass defense, but he has the better QB and the better shot at producing in this matchup.
Dwayne Bowe (Chiefs) vs. Torrey Smith (Ravens)
Bowe draws Darrelle Revis in coverage this week, while Smith has done nothing and faces the Panthers. Since they’ve both been pretty spare, it might be best to roll with the guy not facing Revis in week four.
Travis Kelce (Chiefs) vs. Owen Daniels (Ravens)
Daniels is the locked in starting tight end with Dennis Pitta out for the year, but he didn’t do anything last week and isn’t a very explosive player. Kelce scored last week and should be integrated only more and more in KC’s offense. He has much more upside in week four.
Vernon Davis (49ers) vs. Martellus Bennett (Bears)
This one comes down to health. If active and actually close to 100%, Davis (ankle) could be huge against a bad Eagles pass defense. Bennett is a mighty fine play against the Packers, too, but narrowly loses out to a healthy Davis. If this is your toughest decision, you’re in for a good week.
Antonio Gates (Chargers) vs Zach Ertz (Eagles)
Gates can be hit or miss, but he was a huge hit in week two and this week he gets the Jaguars. Ertz bombed last week and now he’s on the road against the Niners, who tend to play the tight end fairly well. Ertz is the more explosive play, but Gates might be the smarter one.