Here are my lists of players for Week 4. The rankings default to half-PPR settings, so for full-PPR or standard leagues, adjust players up or down a bit if they are particularly dependent on receiving volume or touchdowns.
Following the rankings, I’ll offer some thoughts on players of particular interest this week. Note that the rankings will update as new information dictates during the week, so please check back as games draw closer.
Bye weeks: 49ers, Jets.
4 QB names of interest
Tom Brady, Patriots (7): Fantasy prognosticators such as myself, who had Brady well outside the top 12 QBs going into the season, have been reminded for the umpteenth time not to underestimate the ageless Patriot. His strong start, however, has included home games against the Steelers and Jets and a “road” game versus the Dolphins; now Brady figures to get a much tougher test at Buffalo.
Jared Goff, Rams (8): This should be a get-right spot for Goff, as he takes on a visiting Buccaneers defense that was just strafed at home by a rookie in his first start, Daniel Jones. Going back through his past seven regular season starts (i.e., even without taking account his unimpressive playoff performance), Goff has just nine TD passes and eight interceptions, so he has to prove again that he’s worth being considered a starter in fantasy.
Daniel Jones, Giants (17): Coming off a memorable debut that made him the second-highest scoring fantasy QB of the week, Jones gets a somewhat conservative ranking, as we wait to see if consistency is also among his attributes.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (18): As with Goff, Mayfield is suddenly in a position of having to prove he’s a fantasy starter, and in his case it’s a much more surprising predicament given the preseason expectations for Cleveland’s offense. A trip to Baltimore continues a challenging stretch for Mayfield that includes road games at San Francisco, New England and Denver, as well as home games against the Seahawks and Bills.
4 RB names of interest
Dalvin Cook, Vikings (4): Through three games, Cook has been unstoppable, and he can cement his place among the ultra-elite if he tears it up at Chicago.
James Conner, Steelers (12): Heading in the other direction is Conner, who has lost his starting QB and his quickly losing the confidence of the fantasy community that he belongs anywhere near the RB1 tier.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots (27): Sony Michel gets ranked just behind Burkhead, who has outplayed his more highly touted teammate thus far and has proved, once again, that you should always — always — be the last to draft a Patriots RB.
Wayne Gallman, Giants (36): It’s no slight on Gallman to say that he has very little of the talent possessed by Saquon Barkley. After all, who does? What Gallman does have is a chance to secure a large workload in Barkley’s absence, even if (when?) the Giants add a veteran option, in an offense reinvigorated by Jones.
4 WR names of interest
Davante Adams, Packers (3): Of perhaps greater concern than his mere four catches Sunday for 56 scoreless yards, following lines of 4-36-0 and 7-106-0, was that the latest disappointment came on just four targets while Green Bay’s offense continued to look less than explosive. Aaron Rodgers said recently, though, that Adams needs to get the ball more and, given the inevitability of positive TD regression, last year’s No. 3 fantasy WR looks like a buy-low before this week’s Thursday night date with the Eagles.
Cooper Kupp, Rams (11): Coming off a torn knee ligament in November, Kupp has wasted no time in resuming his status as Goff’s favorite target, and he’s pushing for top-10 consideration.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings (29): So, 12 targets, 6 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD. That would be a solid line for Diggs if it came in one afternoon, but it’s his total through three games. His lack of usage in Minnesota’s run-first (and -second) offense makes him a candidate to be possibly benched for a matchup at Chicago.
Preston Williams, Dolphins (48): A rookie undrafted free agent on the train wreck that is the 2019 Miami Dolphins? Sign me up! But seriously, Williams is getting major playing time for a squad that will frequently be playing catch-up, and he has a connection with Josh Rosen that goes back to high school all-star events.
3 TE names of interest
O.J. Howard, Buccaneers (7): A season-high 66 yards Sunday, on three catches, was encouraging, but Howard has yet to get into the end zone or produce the huge plays that were thought to be his calling card. The jury is still very much out on his ongoing role in Tampa Bay’s attack.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (17): If Rudolph is still on any rosters, he shouldn’t be if he doesn’t do something against the Bears. The veteran has just four catches for 20 yards and has a second-round pick, Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr., pushing to supplant him.
Jared Cook, Saints (23): The Teddy Bridgewater era didn’t start well for Cook (1-7-0), who was also a dud with Drew Brees in Weeks 1 and 2. Cook is coming off a stellar season in Oakland, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for him in the Big Easy.