Welcome back, IDP Nerds. Are you ready to wrap up the first month of the season? The NFL season keeps humming along, and we are already three full weeks into our fantasy football season. We came in strong last week with 73.3% accuracy, our strongest week of the young season. Our season total now stands at 59.34%. We have rebounded well after a poor opening weekend. I’m excited to bring you all the best start and sit recommendations for Week 4 action.
Check out the teams putting together the start/sit columns this season. Follow us, friend us, and tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!
- QB: Mike Hicks (@DroptheMikeFF) – Changing the Call
- RB: Jake Oliver (@DarthDbacks) – The Cutback
- WR: Tristan Cook (@THEtristancook) – Slant Pattern
- TE: Steven Pintado (@CoachStevenP) – 12 Formation
- FLEX: Evan Brown (@FFEVanlution) – Let’s Talk About Flex
- IDP: Jon Glosser (@Glosser13) – IDP Start/Sit
NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc., and are pulled from Fantasy Pros consensus expert rankings.
Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Travon Walker DL, Jacksonville Jaguars
Travon Walker is coming off two double-digit performances in his first three games. The Jaguars EDGE rusher has been overshadowed by the success of Aidan Hutchinson, who was taken in the same draft. Walker draws a nice matchup in week three, playing in the Jaguars’ home away from home in London.
Travon Walker will have a good opportunity for a big week against the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed three top 12 DL performances this young season. Walker has posted just one sack through three games, but his nearly 84% defensive snap share is the best among Jacksonville’s defensive line. Walker has some history on his side, with 2 of his career 4.5 sacks coming against NFC opponents. Fire up the former #1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft in your lineups with confidence this week.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
Kader Kohu DB, Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins defense has the luxury of playing with the lead more often than not due to their explosive offense. Kader Kohu has been solid to start the season, ranking tied for 35th in fantasy points among defensive backs. The Dolphins cornerback is playing outstanding football and averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game this season. He ranks in the top 30 NFL cornerbacks in solo tackles and targets. He’s a must-start in CB-required formats this week against the Buffalo Bills; he recorded 10 points or more in each matchup with them last season.
Denver Broncos @ Chicago Bears
Alex Singleton LB, Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos defense was flat-out embarrassed a week ago, allowing 70 points to the Miami Dolphins offense. The Broncos’ defense was dealt an even bigger blow, with LB Josey Jewell being ruled out for Week 4. For those of you who have followed me in the past, you know what time it is; it’s officially Alex Singleton week. The veteran linebacker is a tackle machine, especially in a full-time role with Jewell out of the lineup. The Broncos LB has played 80% of the snaps this season but averages 7 tackles per game. This could be a double-digit tackle week for Singleton as the Denver defense looks to rebound against a struggling Chicago Bears offense.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Juan Thornhill DB, Cleveland Browns
Juan Thornhill will suit up for his third consecutive game after returning from injury to start the season. He’s played over 96% of the defensive snaps in both games. Unfortunately, he’s spent most of his time at deep safety. Thornhill has played 76 of his 99 snaps at deep safety this season. His tackle numbers are just not reliable enough to justify starting him. The former Kansas City Chiefs defensive back has just 12 fantasy points this season. This should be another tight division game, as we’ve come to expect from the AFC North teams. The matchup on paper could come back to bite us on this one, as the Ravens have allowed over 50 tackles to the safety position this season. I’m going with my gut here and sitting Thornhill with better options at the DB position.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans
Sam Hubbard DL, Cincinnati Bengals
The former Ohio State Buckeye is getting some love this week. The defensive line position is more stacked than ever, especially with the MFL platform finally going to a true position for IDP leagues. Hubbard remains a safe play at DL with his consistent tackle floor. Hubbard has recorded at least 60 tackles in his last four seasons.
The Bengals defensive front feasted last week with six sacks against the Los Angeles Rams. Hubbard recorded his first sack of the season as he finished second on the team in tackles. He’s recorded eight pressures in three games and has the luxury of playing with Trey Hendrickson to have many one-on-one opportunities. The Tennessee Titans are second worst in the NFL, allowing 4.3 sacks per game this season. This should be another plus matchup for the Bengals’ defensive front.
Los Angeles Rams @ Indianapolis Colts
Byron Young DL, Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams appear to have found a good one in rookie EDGE rusher Byron Young. The University of Tennessee product has at least one-half sack and four tackles in all three games this season. Young has the best pressure rate amongst the Rams EDGE defenders this season. He continues to play a healthy amount of snaps and has finished with double-digit fantasy points in every game. The Indianapolis offensive line is dealing with injuries and has allowed, on average, three sacks per game in 2023. Keep riding the hot hand of the rookie and get him in your lineups for Week 4.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Joe Tyron-Shoyinka DL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Tyron-Shoyinka has been a boom-or-bust fantasy performer throughout his early career. The Buccaneers pass rusher has been big-play dependent, with 27 of his 40 fantasy points this season coming in one game. He’s also accounted for two sacks but just eight tackles on the season. He has a decent matchup this week with the New Orleans Saints offensive line, who have allowed 4 sacks per game this season. I’m just concerned that he has a very good chance to bust in Week 4 without a sack. Joe Tyron-Shoyinka only collected 9 total fantasy points in two games against Tampa Bay last season. I would stay away from this matchup at all costs.
Washington Commanders @ Philadelphia Eagles
Cody Barton LB, Washington Commanders
Cody Barton has been a tackle machine, taking over as the top LB in 2023. The former Seattle Seahawks LB averages 9.3 tackles per game over his first three games. He’s coming off averaging 19.75 fantasy points over his last two games. The Commanders have a division matchup with one of the most ball-control-heavy offenses in the Philadelphia Eagles. I would expect Barton to be given many opportunities again this week to be a high-volume tackler. The Eagles are one of 15 teams through three weeks who have allowed at least 50 tackles to the linebacker position. Cody Barton will make his third appearance in four weeks in the ‘Man Coverage’ article. He continues his hot play in Week 4.
Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers
Ivan Pace Jr. LB, Minnesota Vikings
The undrafted rookie LB was on a tear to start the season but failed to produce his third consecutive double-digit performance in Week 3. Ivan Pace has been an effective IDP in the first month of the season, playing alongside Jordan Hicks. He was limited to just 62% of snaps in Week 3. The matchup with the Chargers high powered passing offense forced him to play less than 40% of third-down snaps.
I expect Pace to bounce back this week against the Carolina Panthers, who will turn to the run game to protect their rookie quarterback. The rookie LB has 20 stops through his first three starts and has been an effective blitzer. It will be difficult not to see him on the field as the clear LB2 for the Minnesota Vikings for the remainder of the season.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans
Kwon Alexander LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kwon Alexander, being a top 24 LB, was not on my 2023 bingo card. The former LSU linebacker has found a home in the Pittsburgh Steelers defense and has made the most of his opportunity. Those of us who remember dynasty LB1 Kwon Alexander never thought he would still be relevant after he struggled for years.
Kwon Alexander started his career with three straight seasons over 220+ fantasy points, but since then, he’s been mostly a rotational LB. He’s struggled with scheme fit and injuries over the years but has found himself playing 64% defensive snap share this season. Kwon Alexander has averaged over 15 fantasy points per game this season. The Houston Texans have surrendered a league-high four LB1 weeks this season. I’m confident that Kwon Alexander will continue performing with his safe tackle floor this week.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers
Joey Bosa DL, Los Angeles Chargers
Very few things are more frustrating than having an elite EDGE rusher carry a questionable tag all week. Joey Bosa has tormented IDP fantasy managers for a few seasons now with his issues staying healthy. The former first-round pick has only played 29% and 34% of the defensive snaps in the past two weeks. Joey Bosa failed to practice all week, and it seems reasonable that if he plays, it will be on limited snaps. The easiest factor in making this decision was the emergence of rookie EDGe Tuli Tuipulotu, who has back-to-back 20-point fantasy performances in a reserve role. As frustrating as it is, I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting Bosa back in your lineup until he can show a full week of practice.
New England Patriots @ Dallas Cowboys
Ja’Whaun Bentley LB, New England Patriots
The veteran New England linebacker has played 100% of the snaps this season. This is a bit surprising as Bill Belichick loves to play matchups with his linebackers. It’s clear he trusts Bentley as a veteran presence in the middle of the defense. The Dallas Cowboys have allowed an average of 71.6 tackles per game in their first three games. Bentley has had at least five tackles in each game this season and remains a low-end LB3. I look for the Cowboys to try and play some ball-control offense against a tough defense. We can bank on a high-volume tackle game from Bentley once again this week.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Kei’Trel Clark DB, Arizona Cardinals
I let you down by not delivering the ‘Rookie Report’ this week in favor of the waiver wire column. Kei’Trel Clark was to be included in that write-up, but you get it anyway, as he comes in here as a start for this Week 4 divisional matchup. Clark has been a solid rookie and is coming off 40 total fantasy points over his past two games.
Kei’Trel Clark finished as the DB15 last week after playing 81 snaps against the Dallas Cowboys. I continue to have faith in starting defensive backs from the Arizona Cardinals as they are racking up fantasy points this season. The Rookie DB ranks 6th in the NFL amongst cornerbacks in targets (24), which has led to a lot of big opportunities. He should continue producing these big weeks for your fantasy teams.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets
Jermaine Johnson DL, New York Jets
The injury to Aaron Rodgers was hard enough on the Jets, but their start of the season schedule has been even more brutal. The Jets’ defense is the strength of their team, but they have seen a four-game stretch playing the Bills, Cowboys, Patriots, and now Chiefs. The matchups have not been in their favor up to this point.
The Jets’ defensive line will struggle this week against Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs offense that only allows 0.3 sacks per game in 2023. Jermain Johnson has tremendous upside, and we had some hope after a 20-point Week 1 performance. Johnson has collected only 14 fantasy points over his last two games as the Jets are rotating even more along their defensive front. Johnson will have opportunities to be in your lineup again this season, but I’d wait until better matchups present themselves.
Seattle Seahawks @ New York Giants
Jarran Reed DL, Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks big man had a monster Week 3 with two sacks en route to a 35-point fantasy performance. You guys know we also show the interior defensive lineman love around here. Jarran Reed is your start in DT-premium leagues for Week 4. The Seahawks defensive tackle averages 4.3 tackles per game this season and faces a New York Giants offensive line, allowing an average of four sacks per game. I wouldn’t anticipate Reed having a repeat performance, but he surely can hold his own and keep himself in the running for a top-six performer among defensive tackles.
Once again, I appreciate all my fellow IDP Nerds checking out this week’s column. We are in this together, trying to make the best lineup decisions to succeed each week. We will have something special for you with the IDP quarterly report next week. Until then, keep grinding away and using all the tools available to build your IDP fantasy football teams.
I look forward to checking back in with you next week. Get your IDP Nerd on and enjoy Week 4.