IDP Start em, Sit em – Week 4 (2022 Fantasy Football)
Thursday Night Football gave us a highly anticipated matchup that was looking like the start of yet another budding AFC quarterback rivalry. Tyreek Hill and Eli Apple provided us with some entertainment in the lead-up to the game and did not disappoint. On the defensive side of things, there were some IDP fireworks, most notably Vonn Bell exploding with two interceptions and Eli Apple getting torched by Tyreek Hill. However, all thoughts are instead with promising young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who suffered scary head and neck injuries during last night’s game. He did manage to be released from the hospital and was cleared to fly home with the team, so it appears that he avoided some of the most negative outcomes. Looking ahead to this weekend, we will take a look at five players fantasy managers should do their best to plug into their lineups and five others who are better left on benches despite promising upside. Let’s dig in.
Greg Rousseau (DE – BUF)
At this point, no one needs to be told to start Greg Rousseau. He was strong again in Week 3, tallying two solos, one assist, 1.5 sacks, and two tackles for loss. He is now at 3.5 sacks on the season and has a sack in every contest. Von Miller continues to talk up his young protege, and Rousseau appears to be having his development hastened thanks to his proximity to an all-time great. Rousseau is now worthy of DL1 consideration and is just that for a tasty matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Running quarterbacks always present extra sack opportunities, and after Deatrich Wise had a three sack performance last week, the Bills defensive front is expected to have a sack party. It is time to treat him as a DL1 option, especially when he is playing so well and has a great matchup. The DL5 overall to this point of the season, Rousseau should extend his sack streak to four games in a row this Sunday afternoon.
Donovan Wilson (S – DAL)
Donovan Wilson is the DB3 overall after a monster Week 3 that saw him record nine solos, two assists, one sack, one tackle for loss, and one pass defended. Wilson has had a strong start to the season and has elevated himself into the DB2 conversation. He is playing an every snap role for the Cowboys and should continue to produce for fantasy managers this week against the Washington Commanders. Washington has been solid on paper in terms of limiting fantasy points to the position, but deeper analysis reveals that this is largely due to an absence of big plays over a small sample. Washington has allowed an average of 4.6 solos to five of the six safeties they faced this season. Start Wilson as a DB2 option for Week 4.
Josh Bynes (LB – BAL)
Old reliable Josh Bynes was back at it in Week 3, recording eight solos, two assists, one interception, and one pass defended. Bynes has seen his snap percentage increase every week this season, a sign that the veteran defender may have earned a more stable role going forward. This puts him in the LB3 discussion for a Week 3 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo has allowed just the 19th most points to the position but does offer plenty of tackle opportunities due to their ability to extend drives. The Bills ran 92 plays in Week 3 and could look to control the time of possession again this weekend. Start Bynes as an LB3 option where needed.
Darius Harris (LB – KC)
Darius Harris played a near every snap role with Willie Gay serving the first game of his suspension, propelling him from an LB3 option to the LB2 discussion. He had seven solos, six assists, and one tackle for loss on 87 percent of the snaps against the Indianapolis Colts and is expected to hold off Leo Chenal as long as he is playing well. Harris is more familiar with the defensive scheme than the rookie, and it is obvious the team has more trust in him, especially when dealing with negative gamescript. He has a tough Week 4 matchup against Tampa Bay, a team that has limited opposing linebackers to the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game, making him more of a low-end LB2/high-end LB3. Harris will be locked in as an LB2 option next week against Las Vegas.
Jacob Phillips (LB – CLE)
Jacob Phillps is a starter with Anthony Walker lost for the season, and if his production in his extended playing time last week is any indication, he is going to be an upside LB3 who can be an LB2 during the byes. Phillips recorded two solos, five assists, one sack, and one tackle for loss on 78 percent of the snaps. He would be in the LB2 conversation if not for the presence of Sione Takitaki, a player who has made 20 starts for the Browns over the last two seasons while the team dealt with injuries to Phillips and other members of the linebacking corps. Phillips has a plus matchup this weekend against an Atlanta Falcons team relinquishing the 13th most fantasy points to the position. View him as an LB3 with LB2 upside.
Isaiah Simmons (LB/S – ARI)
Isaiah Simmons has struggled this season, totaling just 31 snaps over the last two weeks. He has failed to top 35 percent of the snaps following his disastrous Week 1 performance in which he got burned multiple times but even worse was lost, not knowing his own assignment, despite donning the green dot to call the defensive plays. There is no way to tell if or when Vance Joseph will turn back to his ‘STAR’ linebacker, so fantasy managers will need to keep him glued to benches for the time being. He has some LB4 appeal simply because of talent, but you can definitely find 48 better options for Week 4.
Darrick Forrest (S – WAS)
As expected, Forrest saw his snaps scaled back with Kam Curl returning to the lineup. Forrest did manage 49 percent of the snaps, with Curl playing 87 percent, so they will indeed share the field together at times, along with Bobby McCain. Forrest played the majority of his snaps in the box or near the line of scrimmage but still saw some looks at free safety. Washington should look for ways to keep Forrest involved, but it is going to take an injury to get him back anywhere near the DB1 level he was playing at with Curl sidelined. Deep leaguers should keep him rostered, but Forrest should remain on benches for the foreseeable future. If he proves he can continue to produce on half of the snaps, he may become a DB3/4 option for the byes.
Lewis Cine (S – MIN)
This may belong in the ‘no, duh’ category, but Lewis Cine’s confusing rookie campaign continues. It makes some sense that the Vikings do not feel their first round pick is ready for a starting job. Many players take time to transition to the pros. However, when the team’s star safety Harrison Smith was ruled out for Week 3 due to a concussion, the expectation was that Cine would see some sort of role. That was not the case. Cine, who saw just one defensive snap in Week 2, played zero in Week 3, instead spending all of his time with the special teams units. Harrison Smith is practicing in full, which means both Cine and Josh Metellus are no longer worth consideration for Week 4 lineups. Cine should see a role at some point this season, but it has become clear that they are in no hurry to give their first round pick snaps until he proves he is overwhelmingly ready.
D.J. Wonnum (DE/LB – MIN)
Wonnum has a sack in two of three games this season but is not a recommended play against New Orleans. Wonnum has not topped 44 percent of the snaps all season, making him a risky play against a Saints defense that has surrendered the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing edge rushers. Wonnum has some upside for the byes but should be avoided even in deeper leagues for his Week 4 matchup in London.
Arnold Ebiketie (DE – ATL)
Ebiketie has seen his snaps increase every week, peaking at the 66 percent he saw in Week 3. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, he has not yet been able to follow up on the sack he tallied in his NFL debut. He totaled just three solos and two assists over the last two weeks and is going to be hard to trust before the byes hit. The snap increase is great to see, but until he is more active as a run defender, he is going to be totally sack-dependent. He is a DL4 option for deep leaguers, but for those who are required to start less than four DL options every week, he should be left on benches. The opportunity is there for Ebiketie to take advantage of, but we need to see some consistency out of players worthy of DL3 consideration.
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