Week 4 QB Rankings, Projections and Analysis
Week 4 Quarterback Sleepers
Week 4 Start N' Sit
Week 5 Waiver Wire Tips



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Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Photo of Philip Rivers © Greg Buch
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By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
This is how we rank the QBs for Week 4 of the fantasy season. Our rankings aren't just based on name value or past performance - each week we take a comprehensive look at the match-ups and each QBs past performance and factor that into our projections. Just click on the links to read our rationale behind the ranking. The ratings are based on a standard league where 25 passing yards equal 1 point, passing and rushing TDs equal 6 pts. and INTs or fumbles deduct 2 points.

QB Rankings
  1. Drew Brees
  2. Philip Rivers
  3. Colin Kaepernick
  4. Matt Stafford
  5. Aaron Rodgers
  6. Matt Ryan
  7. Ben Roethlisberger
  8. Tony Romo
  9. Nick Foles
  10. Jay Cutler
  11. Kirk Cousins
  12. Andrew Luck
  13. Cam Newton
  14. Teddy Bridgewater
  15. Ryan Tannehill
  16. Eli Manning
  17. Alex Smith
  18. Geno Smith
  19. Tom Brady
  20. Derek Carr
  21. Blake Bortles
  22. Joe Flacco
  23. E.J. Manuel
  24. Jake Locker
  25. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  26. Josh McCown
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
Paying attention to the match-ups each week can help you identify less heralded players with the upside to surprise and help you avoid some potential land mines. This is our list of players we expect to surpass expectations, along with a few stud QBs who may fail to deliver:

Start
Colin Kaepernick
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick's averaged just over 16 fantasy points a game and, thanks to his running ability, delivered a surprisingly nice performance last week against a tough Arizona Cardinals defense. This Sunday he's got a dream match-up at home against an Eagles defense that gives up a boatload of points to opposing QBs (18.4 on average so far this season). I'm expecting a lot of aerial fireworks in this game and wouldn't hesitate to start Kaep over more heralded QBs.

Philip Rivers
Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Photo of Philip Rivers © Greg Buch
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Rivers rejuvenated his career and has taken up where he left off, averaging 19 fantasy points a game so far this season. He has a killer match-up at home against a Jaguars defense that would have trouble covering most SEC teams. They're giving up 19.0 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs and will be making a cross-country road trip to boot. This one should be a blow-out and the only risk you run is that the game gets out of hand and the Chargers keep the ball on the ground. However, with Mathews and Woodhead both out, I believe they'll lean more on their passing game.

Tony Romo
Cowboys QB Tony Romo
Romo, who's been averaging just 12 fantasy points a game, has been up and down like a yo-yo so far this season. I will give him credit for one thing: this year he's been saving his best for late in games when it counts, whereas in years' past that was usually when you saw him make bone-headed turnovers. The Cowboys have found a new identity and are running the ball a lot more than they usually do - and it's been working. However, this week's opponent the Saints, have been pretty solid against the run but have had all kinds of problems defending the pass. They're allowing a very generous 18.3 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs. I'm expecting this should be a high-scoring game and won't be surprised if the Cowboys lean a little more on Romo than they have been, especially if the Saints are successful in shutting down or limiting DeMarco Murray. Don't be afraid to start him if your QB1 has a tough match-up.

Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger's name doesn't come up frequently when you mention elite fantasy quarterbacks, as the Steelers love to run the ball. However, their opponent this week, the Buccaneers, have been better against the run, allowing just 3.8 yards per carry, than the pass. They've been allowing 18.6 fantasy points a contest to opposing QBs so far this year so I'm looking for Big Ben to have one of his better performances. I just don't see the Bucs hanging with the Steelers in Pittsburgh so there should be scoring a plenty for the home team.


Sit
Andrew Luck
Colts QB Andrew Luck
Luck's been the top-scoring fantasy quarterback so far this year, averaging almost 26 points a game, so you're probably not going to bench him. However, if your QB2 is also a stud, you might consider doing so. His first 3 opponents, the Broncos, Eagles, and Jaguars, have all been great match-ups with secondaries that allow a ton of passing yards. This week he has a home game against one of the stingiest secondaries out there. The Titans have allowed just 13.3 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs and held a red-hot Andy Dalton to just 169 yards and an INT (had he not scored on a freak receiving TD, his fantasy output would have been in the single digits).

Tom Brady
Patriots QB Tom Brady
Three weeks into the season and Tom Brady is trailing QBs like Austin Davis and Derek Carr in fantasy scoring. I'm sure a lot of owners who spend a mid-round draft pick on him are holding onto him hoping the Patriots offense returns to its glory days but I'm not so optimistic. The Patriots problems are endemic and I don't see a short-term fix. Brady's not getting the kind of pass protection he enjoyed in year's past, his young receivers haven't always been on the same page (aside from Julian Edelman), and the line is failing to create holes for the running game. This week his match-up is okay, on the road against a Chiefs team that allows 15.8 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs but I'll need to see Belichick find a solution to a missing Logan Mankins before I'd consider starting Tom Terrific.



Ryan Tannehill
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill gets one more week to prove he deserves the starting quarterback job in Miami. He should be extra motivated and has sleeper potential against a Raiders team that's allowing 19.5 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs. Tannehill's worth starting if you're desperate for a QB. This will be a long road trip for him, as the game's in London, but it'll be an even longer road trip for the Raiders defense.

Teddy Bridgewater
Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater gets the start for an injured and largely ineffective Matt Cassel. He's looked good in pre-season action and played decently last Sunday against the Saints but we still don't know how he'll fare in regular season action. This week's opponent, the Falcons, are allowing 19.1 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs, so it's a nice home match-up if you want to roll the dice on the unknown and his running ability should limit your downside somewhat. I'd consider starting him if you're in a bind due to the bye week.

Eli Manning
Giants QB Eli Manning
Manning looked like a whole different quarterback at home against the Texans (I could swear I was watching Peyton not Eli). He threw for 234 yards with 2 TDs and actually played a mistake-free game with no turnovers. Whether it's a sign of things to come or an aberration is difficult to say, but it looked to me like coach Tom Coughlin has now gotten this team motivated to play their hearts out for him. Let's face it, Eli isn't an elite QB who can carry a team on his back. He needs a solid run game to be effective, since he tends to make a lot of mental mistakes when he tries to do too much. If the Giants can run the ball effectively again in Washington, I think Manning has another nice game. He's worth considering if your QB1 has a bye week coming up.

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer
Photo of Carson Palmer © Greg Buch
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By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
Don't get too discouraged if your draft didn't work out as you planned. Fantasy success isn't the exclusive result of a solid draft - often it's the in-season waiver wire moves that determines who makes it to the post-season. We've got some hot tips for you that should help you improve your roster and catch up to those lucky sons-of-guns who always seem to draft the right players:

Must Adds

Carson Palmer
A lot of owners dropped Palmer either when he got injured and was replaced by Drew Stanton or prior to the bye week. He should be healthy this Sunday and has a dream match-up against a Broncos defense that's allowing 21.0 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs. He's a solid QB2 for this match-up and I would have him ranked higher if it weren't a road game. He's owned in just 6.6% of ESPN leagues, so pick him up if you're in need of a QB.

Joe Flacco
Our must adds this week include a pair of veteran quarterbacks who are lingering on your waiver wire because everybody knows you can't teach an old dog new tricks. However, if you boldly ignore this old adage, you may find one of these unloved QBs helps carry your team to a fantasy championship. Over the last four seasons between 40-50% of the top 10 fantasy QBs were new faces that weren't in the top 10 the prior year. Flacco has something he hasn't had in recent years, a true #1 receiver, and the Ravens have found a running game, which they've sorely lacked previously. Defenses can no longer just double-team Torrey Smith and ignore Baltimore's inefficient ground game. Believe it or not, Flacco's currently the 10th-highest scoring fantasy quarterback, and comes off a game where he shredded a tough Panthers secondary for 327 and 3 TDs. He's got favorable match-ups coming up against the Colts and Buccaneers, who've allowed the 12th- and 7th-most fantasy points to QBs this year. He's owned in just 18.8% of ESPN leagues so should be readily available and he won't cost you even a fraction of the $20 Million a year he's costing the Ravens.

Eli Manning
Don't look now but Eli Manning is the 7th-highest scoring fantasy quarterback so far this season, thanks in part to a fine performance against a poor Redskins secondary, which he shredded for 300 yards and 4 TDs. I'm still not sure I trust him entirely to not make the mental mistakes that have plagued his career but it is evident that Tom Coughlin has found whatever hot buttons needed pushing to straighten out this Giants offense. He's got two nice match-ups coming up against a Falcons team that allowed rookie Teddy Bridgewater to throw for 317 yards this past Sunday and an Eagles team that's allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to QBs so far this year. If Eli can avoid the turnovers that made him a fantasy bust last year, it's worth remembering he's been a top 10 fantasy QB twice in the last 5 years. If you're hurting for a QB2, he's worth picking up. He's currently owned in 42.7% of ESPN leagues but that number should go up a little bit after his performance on Sunday.

Watch List

Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater saw his first taste of NFL action, replacing an injured Matt Cassel on Sunday, and showed why he was a first round pick, delivering a mistake-free game with 344 yards and a TD. Nonetheless, it was the Falcons, so forgive me if I don't rush to pick him up on the basis of that performance. He faces a Packers defense that's been stingy to opposing QBs, allowing just 14.6 fantasy points a game. This road game should serve as a good barometer of whether he has value as a QB2 going forward. He's currently owned in just 10.0% of ESPN leagues but I expect that number to increase greatly, as many fantasy owners will look at his stats from Week 4 and forget it was just the Falcons.

Mike Glennon
I've never been a big fan of Glennon but he has a pair of talented wideouts at his disposal and cemented his role as the new starter for Tampa Bay after his gritty performance, leading the Bucs to a stunning last-second victory over Pittsburgh. I'd adopt a wait-and-see attitude with him for now. His next game is against the Saints, who've been very kind to opposing QBs this year, allowing almost 20 fantasy points a game. I'll reserve judgement on Glennon until I see how he fares against Baltimore in Week 6.

Drops

Blake Bortles
I don't have any big names for the drop list this week but if you added the rookie Bortles, expecting him to work some magic with Jacksonville's miserable offense, it's time for a reality check. Bortles was uninspiring to say the least against a Chargers team that's been allowing almost 17 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs. He threw for 253 yards with just 1 TD and 2 interceptions. The Jaguars have one of the weakest receiving corps in the league and no running game to lean on, as they're finding out Toby "The Turtle" Gerhart doesn't have the jets to be a feature back in this league.

Derek Carr
Carr's only owned in 2% of ESPN leagues so this advice probably doesn't apply to you, but if you picked him up hoping he'd rejuvenate a stale Raiders offense, it's time to admit that dog ain't gonna hunt. The Raiders are averaging an NFL-low 12.8 points a game, are on bye this week, and Carr injured his knee and ankle. Do you really need any more reasons to drop him?

E.J. Manuel
Manuel's, who's posted the 2nd-lowest QBR of any quarterback so far this year, has been benched for Sunday's showdown with Detroit in favor of Kyle Orton, so you can safely drop him. As for Orton, he's strictly a caretaker QB who'll be asked to do a lot of handing off and not turn the ball over. I don't see him turning into Drew Brees anytime soon, especially with the talent the Bills have in the backfield. Not to mention he'll be facing a Lions' pass defense that's allowed the second fewest passing yards this season.

Trade Bait
shark eating bait fish
Eli Manning
If your league is like a lot of the ones I've played in, there's always an owner or two frothing at the mouth over that week's scoring leaders. He'll add whichever players turned in the week's hottest performances. So if you have a higher waiver priority, why not pick up a career QB2/Flex like Eli Manning and dangle him in front of the owner as trade bait? There's no guarantee of success but if you're lucky, you just might be able to exchange a waiver wire castoff for a more reliable player who can help you in your quest for a fantasy championship. I'd try proposing a trade for a solid player who's underperforming, such as Cam Newton, LeSean McCoy, Eddie Lacy, Keenan Allen, or V-Jax.

Don't Believe the Hype

Alex Smith
Smith's uncharacteristic 3 passing TDs against the a stout Patriots pass defense that's been allowing the lowest passing yards per game in the league vaulted him into 11th in scoring among fantasy QBs. However, the Chiefs are a run-first offense with the league's best pair of RBs and perhaps the least impressive receiving corps around. This will probably be his best output of the season, so enjoy it while it lasts. He's currently still available in 15% of ESPN leagues but I wouldn't add him unless you've got an extremely deep bench.