Week 4 Quick Grades (2022 Fantasy Football Start or Sit Advice)
Welcome to Week 4, friends. As always, we’re here to provide you with some Quick Grades (or Start/Sit Grades, if you prefer) for the week.
We tapped into our consensus projections and rankings and Derek Brown’s weekly Primer to generate this week’s Quick Grades. See below for the results and accompanying notes.
Week 4 QB Start/Sit Grades
|5||A||Patrick Mahomes II||KC||TB|
Kirk Cousins: Cousins might currently be the QB14 in fantasy, but he’s easily a top-12 option this week. The on-paper matchup looks difficult for Cousins at first as New Orleans has held quarterbacks to the sixth-lowest success rate and 13th-lowest EPA per dropback. When we dig deeper, this is a plus matchup for Cousins. New Orleans has converted into a zone-heavy defense, preferring to drop back and keep everything in front of them. Their starting corners have been deployed in zone coverage on 59-64% of their snaps. They have also given up on rushing the passer with extra defenders. New Orleans has the fourth-lowest blitz rate and ranks 30th in pressure rate. Cousins will have ample time to dice up the Saints’ zone. Over the last two seasons, he’s ranked top 14 (14th, seventh) in completion rate and top-ten in passer rating (third, 10th) against zone coverage.
Marcus Mariota: Despite the pace concerns, this game has sneaky shootout potential. With hapless secondaries on both sides, Mariota must keep pace with Brissett. Mariota falls into the strong streaming option bucket this week as the QB13 in fantasy points per game. His legs have remained a major benefit for his fantasy success as he ranks fourth in carries per game, sixth in rushing yards, and first in red zone carries. Mariota has been pushing the ball downfield, ranking 11th in deep attempts and third in air yards per attempt. The Browns have the eighth-highest explosive pass rate allowed. They are also 12th in EPA per dropback, passing touchdown rate, and yards per attempt given up. Mariota has seen the eighth-lowest pressure rate this year and should get clean pockets against a defense that ranks 21st in pressure rate.
Carson Wentz: Last week Wentz turned back into a pumpkin against the Eagles’ defense. He was the QB30 for the week with an anemic 4.9 yards per attempt and a 58.1% completion rate. This week could be more of the same. Dallas is sixth in pass defense DVOA allowing the fourth-lowest passing touchdown rate and fifth-lowest yards per attempt. The Cowboys are only 22nd in pressure rate, but Wentz has seen the ninth-highest pressure rate this season. Wentz is 27th in pressured accuracy rating and 28th in pressured catchable pass rate. Wentz is a volatile QB2 with an extremely low floor.
Zach Wilson: The Jets second-year quarterback will make his season debut after suffering an injury in the preseason. But I would temper expectations substantially if you think that the Joe Flacco offensive game plan – No.1 in the NFL in pass attempts – will carry over with Wilson at QB. Wilson’s most pass attempts in a game last season was 42. He averaged just under 30. Flacco is averaging just under 52 attempts per game. Expect the Jets to try and establish the ground game, so leave Wilson on waivers in 1QB leagues.
Davis Mills: The Texans quarterback has been horrible to start this season. He ranks dead last in passing EPA (-23.6). Even in 2QB-formats, I’d consider sitting him on the bench. Even against a banged-up Chargers defense. His 58.5% completion rate from a clean pocket (3rd-worst) tells you all you need to know. Even if LA isn’t generating pressure without Joey Bosa, Mills probably won’t take advantage.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.
Week 4 WR Start/Sit Grades
|8||A||Michael Pittman Jr.||IND||TEN|
|9||A||Amon-Ra St. Brown||DET||SEA|
|43||C||Allen Robinson II||LAR||SF|
|48||C||Richie James Jr.||NYG||CHI|
|53||C-||D.J. Chark Jr.||DET||SEA|
|67||D||Marvin Jones Jr.||JAC||PHI|
|72||F||Equanimeous St. Brown||CHI||NYG|
|95||F||David Sills V||NYG||CHI|
|110||F||Laviska Shenault Jr.||CAR||ARI|
|133||F||Phillip Dorsett II||HOU||LAC|
|138||F||Keelan Cole Sr.||LV||DEN|
|158||F||Velus Jones Jr.||CHI||NYG|
|161||F||Demetric Felton Jr.||CLE||ATL|
|163||F||James Proche II||BAL||BUF|
|165||F||Stanley Morgan Jr.||CIN||MIA|
|172||F||Jason Moore Jr.||LAC||HOU|
Brandin Cooks: Davis Mills‘ struggles have had a trickle-down effect on Brandin Cooks‘ fantasy production. Because even though the Texans No. 1 wide receiver is seeing a high-end 28% target share, he ranks outside the top-50 in half-point scoring. In fact, no WR has performed worse versus expectation than Cooks (-17.8) as his efficiency numbers have suffered to open the year. But I’d expect somewhat of a bounce-back effort from the savvy veteran versus a reeling Chargers defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs this season.
D.J. Moore: D.J. Moore has run a route on 100% of Baker Mayfield‘s dropbacks this season, but ranks outside the top-40 in routes run. He has 88 receiving yards and seven catches on 18 targets (six per game). Sooner or later, Moore is going to produce but his fantasy ceiling remains low in a Panthers offense that ranks second-to-last in plays per game (54.3). Their sluggish pace has made it tough for Moore to take advantage of his team-leading 23% target share. But this matchup against a fast-paced Cardinals offense (second in plays per game) figures to provide the exact push Moore back into starting lineups. Their poor pass defense – last in adjusted yards allowed per pass attempt – lends itself to rolling the dice with Moore in Week 4. I guarantee you no waiver wire WR will be on the field more in a plus-matchup than Moore. Keep the faith.
Diontae Johnson: Diontae Johnson owns a 33% target share (5th) through the first 3 weeks of the season. No other Steelers WR has higher than an 18% target share (Chase Claypool). He has a super-high floor every week, but no ceiling attached to Mitchell Trubisky. It does work in Johnson’s favor that the Jets are tied for the league-lead in TDs allowed to WRs (2/game) and overall passing TD percentage. As the team’s target hog he has a solid chance of hitting paydirt.
Rashod Bateman: Bateman was extraordinarily efficient through the first two weeks of the season, making big plays despite not having an every-down role on offense. The production was not sustainable based on how much he was playing and it finally caught up with him in Week 3. He played 62% of the snaps – but didn’t score and saw just four targets. But he was still super efficient – two catches for 59 yards. And his 79% route participation was actually an increase from Weeks 1-2 (72%). Anytime you can buy low on a WR attached to Lamar Jackson, you do it very willingly. Bateman currently ranks third in the NFL in yards per route run (3.11) among WRs with at least 15 targets. Start him as fantasy WR3 against the Bills defense that has allowed two different WRs to surpass 100 receiving yards this season .
Robert Woods: Among Titans pass catchers, Woods is No. 1 with 78 pass play snaps, 71 routes, 16 targets, nine receptions and 137 yards. In a bad pass offense, someone needs to be the No. 1 receiver, and right now that guy is Woods. With zero touchdowns and even zero red zone targets, Woods has zero upside, especially since the Colts are No. 27 in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers (22.8 per game). Woods is desperate WR4/flex play.
Darnell Mooney: Darnell Mooney led all WRs in Week 3 with a 38% target share. It still didn’t matter with Mooney finishing the week as the WR78 catching 2 passes for 23 yards. Mooney’s alpha usage won’t matter till the Bears extend an effort to throw more. And that doesn’t seem likely based on the success they have had rushing the football at the league’s highest rate. The Giants have also been stingy versus opposing WRs allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position this season.
Christian Kirk: A change of scenery has done absolute wonders for Christian Kirk, who leads the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 25% target share through the first three weeks. He’s emerged as Lawrence’s go-to target, running 77% of his routes from the slot. He ran a route on 98% of Lawrence’s dropbacks in Week 3, which is the exact usage we want from our WRs because it provides a super-high floor. The matchup versus cornerback Avonte Maddox in the slot isn’t a cakewalk – PFF’s 8th-highest graded cornerback this season – but it’s the volume you are chasing with Kirk. Maddox has allowed the most catches among the Eagles elite trio of cornerbacks.
Zay Jones: Jones was a popular waiver wire pickup this week, after an 11-target outing in Week 3 that turned into 10 receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown. He ran a route on 80% of dropbacks splitting time both out wide and in the slot. However, I am concerned about the matchup here when Jones is tasked with winning on the outside. As previously noted, the Eagles boast three top-tier cornerbacks with their best two – James Bradberry and Darius Slay – defending the perimeter. They rank fourth and third respectively in the lowest passer rating generated when targeted in coverage this season. Therefore I’d be bearish on thrusting Jones into my Week 4 starting lineup. We are just one week removed from a 3 catches for 23 yards outing for Jones in Week 2.
Week 4 RB Start/Sit Grades
|23||B-||Jeff Wilson Jr.||SF||LAR|
|33||C||Travis Etienne Jr.||JAC||PHI|
|36||C||Melvin Gordon III||DEN||LV|
|39||C-||Darrell Henderson Jr.||LAR||SF|
|45||D-||Ken Walker III||SEA||DET|
|46||D-||Mark Ingram II||NO||MIN|
|89||F||Benny Snell Jr.||PIT||NYJ|
|93||F||Pierre Strong Jr.||NE||GB|
|114||F||Ronald Jones II||KC||TB|
|117||F||Patrick Taylor Jr.||GB||NE|
Rashaad Penny: This backfield is an utter mess. Over the last two games, Penny has averaged 10.5 touches and 42 total yards. He’s played 69% of the snaps in two of three games, with at least 12 carries and 60 rushing yards in each of those contests. Penny sees the bulk of the work and nearly all of the red zone work. While he has the highest route run rate, he’s mediocre at earning targets. He’s been effective with his workload ranking 23rd in yards after contact per attempt and 24th in PFF’s elusive rating, but not nearly as explosive as last year. The Lions are a nice matchup for him on the ground. Detroit allows the highest rushing success rate, seventh-highest rushing EPA, and eighth-highest explosive run rate. Penny is a decent RB3/flex play. If he gets 15 carries and can take one to the house, he may sneak into RB2 territory this week.
Derrick Henry: With just 3.6 yards per carry, Henry is not quite his former self, but he has had 20-plus carries in two of three games, and last week he saw surprising usage as a pass catcher, getting a career-high six targets, which he converted into 5-58-0 receiving. All totaled, he has 250 yards and two touchdowns through three games, which makes him the No. 12 fantasy running back with 13.2 points per game. He hasn’t had a full-blown “King Henry” game yet, but it’s hard to be huffy with a guy averaging 20.3 opportunities per game. Still, the Colts’ defense is No. 2 in rush DVOA (-40.9%) and might get back All-Pro LB Shaquille Leonard (back) this week. Henry is a low-end RB1.
Saquon Barkley: Saquon Barkley played 91% of the snaps on Monday night, totaling 18 touches for 126 yards and a rushing TD. Barkley’s 95% backfield opportunity share ranked second to only Leonard Fournette in Week 3. Top-3 fantasy RB ROS and a dark horse to finish as the RB1 overall in Week 4. The Bears defense ranks second-to-last in rushing yards per game allowed this season (157.0).
Khalil Herbert: David Montgomery left Week 3 with an injury, opening the door for one of my favorite RBs, Khalil Herbert, to absolutely smash. The second-year RB rushed for 157 yards on 20 carries with two TDs. Also added two catches for 12 yards, while running a route on 56% of dropbacks. Including Week 3, Herbert has never rushed for fewer than 75 yards in a game he has played at least 50% of the snaps. His average output in those games is just over 100 rushing yards per game (5-game sample size). Montgomery has rushed for 75 yards-plus 5 times since the start of 2021. He’s an auto start and a fringe fantasy RB1 if Monty’s injury forces him to miss Week 4. The Giants’ run defense ranks third in rushing yards allowed per game to RBs (126.3) at 5.6 yards per carry.
Miles Sanders: Sanders’ ceiling is always going to be limited by his lack of work at the goal line and as a receiver. Sub-50% route participation with a mobile QB isn’t going to cut it, even with his effectiveness and workload as a rusher. I’d be slightly concerned that this could be a disappointing day for the Eagles running back versus a Jaguars run defense that hasn’t allowed more than 60 rushing yards to a running back this season. Back-end RB2 for Week 4.
James Robinson: James Robinson put together another RB1 performance in Week 3: 20 touches for 116 yards and 1 TD (58% snap share, 53% route participation). He’s strung together three straight top-8 finishes in half-point scoring with back-to-back 20-plus touch workloads. There’s no denying he’s the Jags featured back and he has excelled in his recovery from the Achilles injury in late December. Fantasy managers should expect the production for Robinson to continue on the ground versus the Philadelphia defense, who is more vulnerable versus the run than the pass. Their defense ranks 29th in run defense EPA. Admittedly, it is a slightly inflated number due to D’Andre Swift‘s massive Week 1, so the matchup is more neutral than a “smash spot” for JRob. Besides, fantasy points for RBs are driven by volume and that is what Robinson has been getting the last two weeks.
Travis Etienne Jr.: Don’t overlook the usage by second-year RB Travis Etienne Jr. who saw steady work with 16 touches for 75 yards on a 43% snap share in Week 3. Simply put, you want to acquire pieces of this ascending Jags offense and ETN’s perception as the No.2 back makes him attainable. As for Week 4, you’d like to see Etienne further progress as part of the team’s passing game, assuming they find themselves in a negative game script. But because the route participation continues to favor Robinson over Etienne (56% to 35%), it’s tough to start Etienne as an RB2 until he actually takes on the receiver role. He’s in the RB3 range as he has been all season, but he’s far from a must-start FLEX option.
Week 4 TE Start/Sit Grades
|17||D||Irv Smith Jr.||MIN||NO|
|62||F||Donald Parham Jr.||LAC||HOU|
Hunter Henry: After finishing as the TE9 in half-PPR fantasy scoring in 2021, Henry has been a nonfactor for the first three weeks of 2022, drawing only five targets and producing 3-28-0. Henry has played 14 more snaps than Jonnu Smith this season, but Smith has six more targets and four more receptions. Henry simply isn’t playable in any fantasy format right now.
Albert Okwuegbunam: A hyped late-round sleeper in fantasy drafts, Okwuegbunam has disappointed this year. He’s No. 2 on the Broncos with 78 routes — but No. 4 with 10 targets, which he has “leveraged” into 6-45-0 receiving. The Raiders are No. 6 in most fantasy points allowed to tight ends (13.8 per game), so he has some theoretical upside, but Okwuegbunam is impossible to trust as anything more than a grasping TE2.
Tyler Higbee: The season is off to a good start for Higbee. His 24 targets rank second on the Rams and third among all TEs. He’s averaging 57 yards per game and 7.1 yards per target. He’s currently the TE10. But the 49ers are a tough matchup. They’re giving up a league-low 1.6 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, who have thus far combined for five receptions and 23 yards. The 49ers were also stingy to TEs last season, although Higbee managed to score three touchdowns against them in two regular-season games. Consider Higbee a low-end TE1.
Mike Gesicki: Gesicki isn’t playable with his current snap rate. In Week 3, he only handled a 5% target share with a 31.8% route run rate. Sadly this isn’t far off his full season marks of 5% and 50%. Bench him until these rates climb (if they do).
Irv Smith Jr.: While Smith has seen his route run rate climb to 60.4% over the last two weeks with a 17.1% target share, with this matchup against the Saints, he’s nothing more than a TE2. New Orleans has been tough against tight ends for multiple seasons, and 2022 isn’t any different. They are third in DVOA against the position with the fourth-fewest receptions and second-lowest receiving yards allowed.
Juwan Johnson: Johnson is a deep league streamer only. The matchup is amazing, and he gets a bump with Thomas out. Minnesota is 28th in DVOA against the position giving up the tenth-most receptions and ninth-most receiving yards. Johnson has seen his route run rate decrease each week from 82.1% down to 57.1% last game. With his 11.6% target share, he is more of a trap than a treasure if the routes are taking a hit.
Week 4 D/ST Start/Sit Grades
|1||A+||Green Bay Packers||GB||NE|
|4||A-||San Francisco 49ers||SF||LAR|
|6||B+||Los Angeles Rams||LAR||SF|
|7||B||Los Angeles Chargers||LAC||HOU|
|9||B-||New Orleans Saints||NO||MIN|
|10||B-||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB||KC|
|12||C+||New York Giants||NYG||CHI|
|22||D-||Kansas City Chiefs||KC||TB|
|24||F||New York Jets||NYJ||PIT|
|29||F||New England Patriots||NE||GB|
|30||F||Las Vegas Raiders||LV||DEN|
Week 4 K Start/Sit Grades
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – 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.