Skip to main content

Quick Grades Week 4 (Fantasy Football Start or Sit Advice)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Oct 2, 2020

Another week, another crazy storyline in the NFL. Last night’s Jets/Broncos game proved to be a much better showing than we expected, as Sam Darnold and Brett Rypien made some entertaining plays, Melvin Gordon ran wild, and there was even a Joe Flacco sighting. Tennessee and Pittsburgh has been postponed due to an outbreak of COVID among the Titans’ ranks, and the game will not be played in Week 4. After a devastating Week 2 full of injuries, Week 3 was thankfully more healthy, though there are still some notable names out of action in Week 4. Chris Carson‘s status is up in the air, Michael Thomas is out again and Davante Adams both have a a chance to return to the field.

Once the season begins, the most difficult part of any fantasy manager’s week is start or sit decisions. These lineup choices can make or break a week, but unfortunately, not everyone has time to sit down and read lengthy fantasy advice articles. That’s where Quick Grades comes in. Each week of the football season, I’ll be providing a condensed and easily digestible chart of grades for over 250 fantasy-relevant players based on the following four criteria:

Fantasy Ability
Despite a tough matchup, Christian McCaffrey took a screen pass 90 yards to the house last week

Expected Volume
Zach Ertz is always heavily targeted as one of Philadelphia’s top pass-catching options

Matchup
Tyreek Hill got loose for 200 yards against Cincinnati’s porous secondary

Surrounding Talent
Sam Darnold has one of the weakest receiving corps in the league

Each of those criteria will be graded on a scale of 1-25, with the cumulative total resulting in a final grade (A+ to F) and a recommendation based on that grade. The criteria are weighted differently based on position, so it’s not a direct 1-for-1 conversion. Surrounding talent refers to offensive line for RB, quarterback play for WR and TE, and skill-position talent for QB.

The players are sorted by grade in descending order with the highest grades at the top and the lowest at the bottom. The highest-graded players receive A+ (Must start), and the lowest receive F. However, there are varying degrees of the F grade, and some players with this grade are flex plays, desperation plays, Hail Mary plays, or should remain on your bench, depending on the grade and position.

I’ll also include D/ST grades, and just like the skill-position players, there will be four criteria used for grading on a scale from 1-25, and final grades will be from 1-100. The four criteria for a D/ST grade are: Matchup, Turnovers, Sacks, and Points Allowed.

The charts are screenshots of a spreadsheet, but the link to the original can be found below. Because players are not searchable within the sheets in this article, they’ve been added to the bottom of the page so that they can be searched and referenced quickly. In addition to the player grades, I’ll provide:

  • Start of the Week: A player outside of the elite, weekly must-starts who could have a big week
  • Stream of the Week: The best player who will likely be available on your waiver wire
  • Deep-League Stream of the Week: The best player who is less than 5% rostered in Yahoo leagues
  • Fade of the Week: A notable player who could be in for a let-down performance
  • Tough Calls: Two similarly valued players who may give fantasy managers difficult decisions

Link to Full Quick Grades Document

It’s easy to see that an ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grade makes a player a must-start, but it might not make sense at first glance why some players are rated ‘C’ or worse and still have ‘Start,’ ‘Strong Start,’ or ‘Flex’ attached to their names. Because of all the different variables that go into a player’s performance in any given week, only those players with the absolute highest potential, best matchup, and strongest talent get ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grades. Therefore, even solid plays will earn grades that may appear sub-optimal on the surface, but it’s all relative from position-to-position. The hard cutoff is 50 for every position, as grades lower than this will earn a ‘Desperation’ or ‘Hail Mary’ tag in every situation.

Now that I’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the grades. Best of luck in all your matchups this week, and if you have any questions, please hit me up on Twitter @ZaktheMonster.

Note: As always, remember to check back on FantasyPros ahead of kickoff to get the latest injury news. I’ll provide “what-if” grades in the event that an injured player doesn’t suit up, but otherwise, these grades assume full health at the time the article is published on Friday morning. 

Import your team to My Playbook for instant Lineup & Trade advice >>

Running Backs

The top-graded backs for Week 4 shouldn’t be a shock, as studs Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, and Aaron Jones make up the top three. Rookie breakout James Robinson makes it inside the top-10 ahead of guys like Miles Sanders and James Conner as the former continues his ascent.

Start of the Week: Mike Davis

Stream of the Week: Rex Burkhead

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Giovani Bernard 4% rostered

Fade of the Week: Adrian Peterson

Tough Calls: Kenyan Drake hasn’t broken out yet, but a big game could be in the works against Carolina’s exploitable run defense. Meanwhile, Josh Jacobs has been huge for Las Vegas thus far but draws a more difficult matchup in Buffalo. Drake has been given a healthy workload thus far, and this is the week his volume should pay dividends, giving him a slight edge over Jacobs.

* If Chris Carson is out, Carlos Hyde becomes a ‘D+ Start’
* If Kareem Hunt is out, Nick Chubb becomes an ‘A Must Start’
* With Cam Akers ruled out, both Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown get slight boosts, but neither moves up or down in grade
* With Leonard Fournette ruled out, Ronald Jones remains a ‘D+ Start’

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams looks set to return for MNF, so he’s the highest-graded wideout of the week. Julio Jones should also be available, and he and Calvin Ridley round out the top-5 here.

Start of the Week: Brandin Cooks

Stream of the Week: Preston Williams

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Nelson Agholor 1% owned

Fade of the Week: Keelan Cole

Tough Calls: Tyler Lockett grades out just a tenth of a point better than Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, as Seattle’s offense has been unstoppable this season, and the ‘Hawks get a great draw with Miami.

* If Davante Adams is out, Marquez Valdes-Scantling becomes a ‘C+ Strong Start’
* With Michael Thomas out, Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith both become a ‘D Flex’
* If Will Fuller is out, Brandin Cooks moves up in grading but remains a ‘C+ Strong Start’
* All of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage are dealing with injuries, and their statuses should be monitored closely
* Christian Kirk is not graded, but if he plays, he becomes an ‘F Desperation’
* These grades assume DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are out

 

Quarterbacks 

No surprises here, as this week’s top-graded QB is the MVP favorite in Russell Wilson. The last two years’ MVPs come in just behind him, while Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers round out the top-5 thanks to big seasons and quality matchups.

Start of the Week: Joe Burrow

Stream of the Week: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Nick Mullens 2% rostered

Fade of the Week: Derek Carr

Tight Ends

With George Kittle set to return this week, the top-5 are the usual suspects, with all of Kittle, Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and Mark Andrews making up the group. There are some interesting plays among lower-rostered tight ends, including a potential smash spot for Robert Tonyan against Atlanta.

Start of the Week: T.J. Hockenson

Stream & Deep-League Stream of the Week: Robert Tonyan 3% rostered

Fade of the Week: Jimmy Graham

Tough Calls: It’s tough to bet against Travis Kelce, but New England has been solid against tight ends this season, and Darren Waller gets the edge here. He’ll likely see enormous volume with Bryan Edwards out and Henry Ruggs a longshot, so he ends up as the top-graded tight end, just ahead of Kelce.

*With Jared Cook out, Adam Trautman moves onto the list as an ‘F Desperation’ play

 

D/ST

The 49ers face a struggling Philly team and earn the top grade of the week here. The rest of the top-5 should all be familiar in the Rams, Ravens, Buccaneers, and Colts.

Start of the Week: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stream of the Week: Arizona Cardinals

Fade of the Week: New England Patriots

Player Search, Find

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Quarterback

Tight End

D/ST

  • San Francisco 49ers B Strong Start
  • Los Angeles Rams B Strong Start
  • Baltimore Ravens B Strong Start
  • Indianapolis Colts B Strong Start
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers C+ Start
  • Seattle Seahawks C Start
  • New Orleans Saints C Start
  • Buffalo Bills D+ Start
  • Arizona Cardinals D+ Start
  • Chicago Bears D+ Start
  • Los Angeles Chargers D+ Start
  • Carolina Panthers D Desperation
  • New York Giants D Desperation
  • Cleveland Browns D Desperation
  • Kansas City Chiefs D Desperation
  • New England Patriots D Desperation
  • Cincinnati Bengals F Desperation
  • Washington Football Team F Desperation
  • Dallas Cowboys F Desperation
  • Jacksonville Jaguars F Desperation
  • Green Bay Packers F Desperation
  • Philadelphia Eagles F Bench
  • Las Vegas Raiders F Bench
  • Miami Dolphins F Bench
  • Atlanta Falcons F Bench
  • Houston Texans F Bench
  • Minnesota Vikings F Bench
  • Detroit Lions F Bench

Import your team to My Playbook for instant Lineup & Trade advice >>


SubscribeApple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests