For the most part, I’m feeling good about my Love/Hate picks from Week 3. Admittedly, I swung and missed big time with Saints wide receiver, Chris Olave, and Bills running back, Devin Singletary. Unforeseen circumstances, coupled with talent, propelled them into top finishes for the week. The good news is that both present safe floors and are more trustworthy in starting lineups in Week 4 and beyond. With one more week under my belt, I’m back to identify a handful of players I think managers should love or hate having in starting lineups for Week 4.
Fantasy football managers should be on notice when it comes to deciding to plug said players in their lineup each week. Sometimes you don’t have a choice as options on your roster become scarce. If you do have options, though, I believe what I have to say about these players that I love and hate will help put you in a position to win your week.
Players I Love and Hate in Week 4 of the 2022 Season
Love: Russell Wilson
The Las Vegas Raiders defense is extremely fantasy friendly to opposing quarterbacks. They’re allowing 22.6 points to the position which is the fourth-highest average in the league. Over the last two weeks, both Kyler Murray and Ryan Tannehill have logged their highest point totals so far this season against the Raiders’ defense. Justin Herbert’s second-highest performance, by just 1.1 points, was scored in Week 1, as well, against the Raiders.
It’s hard to trust Russell Wilson at this point. I get it. However, his first game of the season was an emotionally charged return to Seattle and the last two matchups were against two top-five defenses versus quarterbacks in the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
Not only are the Raiders a choice matchup for him to bounce back, but they are a bottom-three run defense so far in 2022, as well. It’s going to be hard to stop both Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon in the run game while also keeping tabs on Wilson. This AFC West showdown has shootout potential with the Broncos playing as 1.5-point underdogs. I’m putting my seal of approval on starting Wilson this week when many others won’t.
Some Extra Love:
Geno Smith is a top-20 quarterback so far this fantasy football season. He has two games with over 17.0 points per game. The encouraging news for fantasy football purposes is that Seattle ran 65 plays in Week 3 after an average of 45.5 through the first two weeks. A more up-tempo offense and opportunities for Smith will have a positive impact on his value. Smith heads to Detroit in Week 4 against a Lions defense allowing the second-most points to quarterbacks through three games. Detroit is also allowing the most rushing touchdowns (6) to running backs. Seattle could utilize the run game in the red zone this weekend, but Geno Smith’s floor is extremely safe in this matchup. You can start him in 2QB or Superflex leagues.
Hate: Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
In three games last season against the San Francisco 49ers, Stafford threw five interceptions. Those five picks account for 25% of his 20 interceptions last season including playoffs. Furthermore, Stafford and the Rams averaged just 18 points per game in their 2021 matchups with the 49ers.
Through three games in 2022, the 49ers’ defense is making things very difficult for opposing quarterbacks. They’ve allowed just two passing touchdowns and a league-low 502 passing yards thus far. Matthew Stafford is an all-around better quarterback than San Francisco’s first three opponents, Justin Fields, Geno Smith, and arguably Russell Wilson. Yet, the 49ers are more familiar with Stafford and take him on this weekend in San Francisco.
Stafford led the league in interceptions last season and is tied for first so far in 2022. The 49ers will likely make Stafford throw given their stout run defense, as well. With expectations of turning the ball over, his lack of rushing upside, and an overall difficult matchup, I hate putting my faith in Matthew Stafford for a fantasy win in Week 4.
Love: Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions
Lions head coach, Dan Campbell, continues to emphasize that D’Andre Swift is going to miss Week 4. While he is still considered day-to-day, Swift is dealing with not only a lingering ankle injury but a shoulder issue, as well. The team has a Week 6 bye looming which likely means Swift is out to heal up for a Week 7 return.
That leaves Jamaal Williams as the obvious plug-and-play replacement for Swift. Even prior to the Swift injury news, one could argue starting Williams in fantasy lineups even if Swift played. Both Swift and Williams are top-eight running backs so far this fantasy football season. The Lions have one of the best offensive lines in football with the second-most points scored across the league.
Williams is tied with Nick Chubb for most rushing touchdowns (4) through the first three weeks of the season. He scored twice in both Week 1 and Week 3. He also leads the league in carries inside the 10-yard line with seven. Williams’ Week 4 opponent is allowing the second-most rushing yards and fourth-most receiving yards to running backs so far. He’s going to log a ton of touches on Sunday. Williams’ workload and matchup are enough to love plugging him into Week 4 starting lineups. I think he continues a stellar start to the season and finishes inside the top-10 on the week.
Some Extra Love:
Rashaad Penny is off to a slow start so far this fantasy football season. He’s averaging just 47 rushing yards per game and has yet to find the end zone. That changes in Week 4. I’m doubling down on the idea that the key to beating the Detroit Lions is through the run game. They’re allowing an average of two rushing touchdowns per game to running backs. Penny is a good bet to log his first of the season. He is far and away their lead back with 69.5% of the team’s carries this season.
Hate: James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
I speak for everyone when I say how happy I am to see James Robinson back playing football. Not only is he back, but he’s surprisingly dominating after tearing his Achillies last December. He’s found the end zone four times this season and is the clear-cut lead back with 25 more carries and just three fewer targets than Travis Etienne.
Up next for Robinson and the Jags are the Philadelphia Eagles. After allowing D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams to combine for 26 rushes, 172 yards, and three touchdowns in Week 1, they’ve held Dalvin Cook and Antonio Gibson to 18 carries for 55 yards and one touchdown collectively over the last two weeks.
The Eagles’ defense as a whole is one of the best in the league. They are hosting Jacksonville this weekend and are nearly favored by a touchdown. If Jacksonville is to go toe-to-toe with Philly, I expect a heavy dose of passing from last year’s first-overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars’ success in Week 4 likely leans on Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and other pass catchers more so than the running backs. Robinson is a player I love so far this season whose matchup I hate for Week 4.
Love: Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are 1-2 on the season and 1-1 with Jimmy Garropolo under center. Their Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams isn’t going to be much easier. Both the 49ers and Rams’ defenses are rock solid against the run. They’ve both allowed 201 total yards or less than running backs through three weeks. That said, I think this could be a heavy-passing affair.
With Jimmy Garropolo under center, Brandon Aiyuk is leading the team in targets with 16. He has eight exactly in each of the last two games. While Deebo Samuel also had eight last week, he figures to draw heavy attention from Jalen Ramsey this weekend. Either way, the Rams’ pass defense is allowing the second-most yards this season to opposing wide receivers. Even if Deebo has a nice day, I still think the passing volume and matchup present enough opportunity for Aiyuk to get his. He is a fringe WR3/Flex option that I love to have a big performance on Sunday.
Some Extra Love:
Elijah Moore is tied for 27th in total targets with Michael Thomas and Michael Pittman this season. However, Moore is WR59 with just 8.4 PPR points per game. New York Jets quarterback, Zach Wilson, is set to return in Week 4 sending Joe Flacco back to the bench. Moore has run 147 routes in the first three weeks but averaged a target on just 15% of them. He was targeted 25.8% of the time by Wilson on 155 routes in six games together last season. I’m not preaching for managers to start Moore in Week 4, but I think we will love what we see. Moore’s ceiling should be higher for the rest of the season with Wilson back under center.
Hate: Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
I am doing my best to ride the wave that is the 2022 Chargers offense this season. Injuries aren’t making things easy. Justin Herbert looks like he is going to continue to play through his rib injury suffered in Week 2. An injured Herbert is still probably better than backup, Chase Daniel, but every hit he takes will be a cause for concern. Additionally, one of Herbert’s best protectors, offensive lineman, Rashawn Slater, is set to miss the rest of the season to a bicep injury.
The good news for this offense is that wide receiver, Keenan Allen, is likely back in Week 4 from a hamstring injury. That is, however, bad news for Mike Williams as I believe his production falls victim to a crowded group of pass catchers. Williams is blatantly a boom-or-bust fantasy player. That’s evident by his 3.00, 25.3, and 8.5 weekly point finishes so far this season.
Williams is tied with tight end, Gerald Everett, for third in targets in L.A. That’s behind Austin Ekeler and Joshua Palmer. With Keenan Allen returning, it will be that much harder for Williams to carve out a role as he was one of seven Chargers with four exact targets in Week 1 at full strength. Their Week 4 opponent, the Houston Texans, are better than most against wide receivers so far. They’ve allowed just one touchdown to the position. As usual, you’re hoping for big plays or touchdowns from Williams in Week 4. I hate his chances at both.
Love: David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
After just 7.9 points in the first two weeks, then a big 23.9-point outburst in Week 3, it’s easy to be skeptical about Njoku in Week 4. Looking beyond the fantasy points, however, there is a lot to love.
You can’t score fantasy points if you’re not on the field. Groundbreaking stuff, I know. Well, David Njoku is on the field 90% of the time for the Cleveland Browns. Njoku is also commanding 25% of the Browns’ target share over the last two weeks with 32% last Thursday night.
Amari Cooper is the leading receiver in Cleveland, but Njoku is a legitimate threat to do what he did in Week 3 at any time with the amount of playing time he gets. Specifically in Week 4, Njoku will face an Atlanta Falcons defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to tight ends with 14.1. That’s a result of giving up the fourth-most receptions and yards to the position. I love Njoku to keep things rolling in Week 4 as Jacoby Brissett takes advantage of this matchup on the road.
Some Extra Love:
Robert Tonyan is a beneficiary of the lack of healthy pass catchers currently available in Green Bay. Wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, remains on the Injured Reserve with rookie receiver, Christian Watson, battling an injury of his own. Tonyan has seen the second-most targets in Green Bay because of this. His seven targets in Week 3 were second to just rookie, Romeo Doubs. While Doubs was the top performer last weekend, there’s no guarantee this early on that it will lead to consistent production. For Week 4, I love Tonyan’s matchup against the New England Patriots who are allowing the most touchdowns (4) to tight ends this season. They also have Brian Hoyer under center for them. Green Bay should have the ball a lot in this one. Tonyan is a strong streaming option for those in need.
Hate: Irv Smith, Jr., Minnesota Vikings
Irv Smith, Jr. and the Vikings are playing in London on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Smith is acting as a weekly streamer so far this fantasy football season. As far as streaming options go, Smith is one that I hate ahead of Week 4.
So far this season, Smith is third in targets amongst all Vikings. However, he’s caught less than half of them with some brutal drops along the way. It’s worth noting he did have thumb surgery during training camp so he may still be working back to a level of comfort and getting his timing down with Kirk Cousins.
Regardless, the Saints are a difficult matchup for tight ends. They have yet to allow a touchdown to the position with tight ends averaging just three catches for 21 yards per game against them. With Justin Jefferson, Adam Theilen, and K.J. Osborn in his arsenal, I like Cousins to look their way more across the pond. Don’t start Irv Smith, Jr. in Week 4.