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Fantasy Football start/sit advice, Week 4

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We take a look at the 49ers and Cowboys for Week 4, as well as other options around the league.

The San Francisco 49ers square off against the Dallas Cowboys at 1:25 p.m. PST. This is the first bye week of the 2016 season and the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles will both be sitting this week so fantasy football owners with Packers players will be looking to fill those open positions.

Trends are starting to develop and savvy fantasy owners can always find good matchup-based value throughout the league. Fantasy owners will want to start their studs every week but fantasy trophies are won by taking calculated risks. This is my first week writing this post so let me know what you think in the comments below!

We’re back with some start/sit advice as you set your lineups for Week 4.

Quarterback

49ers-Cowboys: Given the offensive woes of the 49ers Blaine Gabbert is likely not owned in your league and should remain on the waiver wire. While the Cowboys defense has been gashed by the likes of Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, and even Brian Hoyer (filling in for an injured Jay Cutler) fantasy owners can feel safe keeping Blaine Gabbert on the bench. Dak Prescott, on the other hand, has looked serviceable as a starting-caliber NFL signal caller and has put together back to back weeks of scoring rushing touchdowns. While the Cowboys are likely to pound the rock with Ezekiel Elliot, Prescott may have a decent week. Start: None; Maybe Start: Dak Prescott; Sit: Blaine Gabbert

Other Starts: While Cam Newton had an uninspiring game against the Minnesota Vikings last week expect Newton to bounce back against a Falcon’s defense that gave up over 300 yards and three touchdowns to Drew Brees and company last week. Joe Flacco has been mediocre thus far this season but a home game against the porous Raiders defense should allow him to get back on track. Philip Rivers is without his favorite weapon this year but the veteran quarterback has five touchdowns to zero interceptions and a favorable matchup at home against the Saints.

Other Sits: Despite Matt Ryan’s hot start to the season he may have trouble finding open receivers against the Panthers stout defense. Jameis Winston had solid outings against against the Rams and Falcons but expect his performance against the Broncos to be similar to his four pick disaster against the Cardinals. It is hard to sit Ben Roethlisberger but after being held out of the end zone last week he may not fare much better under the bright lights against a Chief’s team that has not allowed quarterbacks to put up many fantasy points.

Running Backs

49ers-Cowboys: Fantasy owners should continue riding Carlos Hyde as he has proven that even when the game is out of hand the 49ers will continue to give him plenty of touches. A home game against the Cowboys should help Hyde solidify his role as an elite fantasy back. The Cowboys have shown a willingness to provide Ezekiel Elliot every opportunity in their offense and so far he has not disappointed fantasy owners. While he did not hit pay dirt last week he still accumulated 160 all-purpose yards and will continue dominating touches out of the backfield. Start: Carlos Hyde, Ezekiel Elliot; Sit: Everybody else.

Other Starts: Fantasy experts were high on David Johnson to start the season and he has flourished as a dual threat option out of the backfield in the Cardinal’s high octane offense. If Isaiah Crowell does not have a setback on his knee injury look for him to continue his hot start to the season against a Washington defense that has been abysmal against the run. Spencer Ware has filled in nicely for an injured Jamaal Charles and if Charles is held out against the Steelers expect Ware to put up respectable fantasy points. Fantasy owners should expect C.J. Anderson to bounce back from a pitiful performance against the Bengals last week as the Broncos are expected to roll the Buccaneers.

Other Sits: The Texans seem committed to Lamar Miller as their lead back but he has yet to reach the end zone in three games and has a difficult matchup against a Titans defense that has been surprisingly stout against the run thus far. It is difficult to sit either Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman but with Coleman sniping goal line carries and a tough divisional game against the Panthers, fantasy owners should not be confident starting either player. Christine Michael had a monstrous performance against the 49ers last week, filling in for an injured Thomas Rawls, but the Jets formidable defense has been a nightmare for opposing running backs to this point in the season.

Wide Receivers

49ers-Cowboys: Torrey Smith and Jeremy Kerley have combined for 217 receiving yards and one touchdown over the first three games of the season. Unless the stagnant 49ers passing attack is revitalized fantasy owners cannot trust any of the 49ers wide receivers. Fantasy owners should keep tabs on Dez Bryant’s injury news as his ability to suit up this week is in question. He has had a slow start to the season and even if he plays a knee injury could limit his production. Cole Beasley could be the main beneficiary from the Dez Bryant injury as he already seems to have good rapport with Dak Prescott. Beasley has not found the end zone yet this year but has given the Cowboys a consistent threat from the slot. With Dez Bryant on the sideline Terrance Williams put together his first decent stat line of the year, posting 88 receiving yards. If Bryant does not play this week, Williams will be slotted in as the Cowboys number one receiver. Start: None; Maybe Start: Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley; Sit: Everybody else.

Other Starts: Stefon Diggs has dominated the targets and yards in the Vikings offense and even with inconsistent quarterback play he has managed 325 received yards and one touchdown. He had a difficult week in Carolina but should bounce back against the Giants. T.Y. Hilton finally managed to get on track last week and his strong output should continue against a soft Jaguars defense. While fantasy owners should not expect Terrelle Pryor to post the same stat line as last week the Browns have shown a willingness to line him up all over the field and his value as a goal line quarterback is intriguing. In what should be a shootout against the Saints, Travis Benjamin should get plenty of looks and is always a threat to make a splash play.

Other Sits: Mike Evans is having an impressive year but with the vaunted Broncos defense around the corner don’t be surprised if he is held in check this week as the Broncos held A.J. Green to just 77 receiving yards last week. Eric Decker and Willie Snead are both dealing with injuries and Decker faces the top ranked Seahawks passing defense. Until either one has a full practice they should remain on your bench. Amari Cooper faces a tough matchup against the Ravens and while he is drawing the top cornerback Michael Crabtree has been seeing more looks over the past couple weeks. Another top wideout to consider benching is Odell Beckham since he has not caught a touchdown pass yet and he faces a difficult road test against a reinvigorated Vikings defense.

Tight Ends

49ers-Cowboys: Tight Ends have had good success against the Cowboys but with Vance McDonald unlikely to be available and Garrett Celek dealing with his own injury it is difficult to have faith in any of the 49ers Tight End options. The ageless Jason Witten is a consistent threat but has been relatively quiet the past two weeks. If Dez Bryant is not a full-go, Witten could take advantage of a 49ers defense that was mauled the past two weeks by opposing Tight Ends. Start: None; Maybe Start: Jason Witten; Sit: Everybody else.

Other Starts: Greg Olsen is a must start against a Falcons defense that has consistently been beaten by Tight Ends. Coby Fleener had a brilliant performance against the aforementioned Falcons defense to the tune of 109 yards and a touchdown and he will look to continue building his rapport with Drew Brees with a favorable matchup against the Chargers. Zach Miller finally had his breakout performance last week against the Cowboys snagging two touchdown catches and faces a Lions defense that has allowed a touchdown pass to Tight Ends every week this year.

Other Sits: Clive Walford has had a shaky start to the year and has been overshadowed by the other targets in the Raiders offense; that trend should continue against the Ravens. Martellus Bennett had a decent start to the season but with Rob Gronkowski returning and Tom Brady still sitting Bennet should be stashed until Brady returns to action. With the emergence of Jack Doyle as a red zone threat, fantasy owners should sit Dwayne Allen against a Jaguars defense that has not yielded many fantasy points to Tight Ends.

If you have other start/sit questions drop them in the comments below!