Week 4 Start ’em, Sit ’em: What to do as bye weeks start

There’s a decent chance you’ve started the same lineup for the first three weeks of the NFL season but with the bye weeks finally starting, that won’t be possible for the next few months.

The Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers are the only two teams taking a break this weekend, so there will be a definite void at quarterback with Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton needing replacing, as will a slew of wide receivers.

Here’s a look at what players to look to, as well as which players to avoid, for Week 4.



Start ’em: Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders

If healthy, Pryor makes for an interesting fantasy play, even though the Raiders are pretty bad. Photo credit: nfl.si.com

The Washington Redskins’ defense is off to a record-setting pace for futility and face a different look this weekend in Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders. Pryor did head to the locker room late in Monday night’s game with a concussion, but if he’s healthy, he’d be a solid waiver-wire addition if you’re in need of a spot start.

Again, Washington’s defense is quite bad, and Pryor has shown flashes during the early part of the season. He’s likely available in your league and has a higher upside than a lot of the crap you might find on the waiver wire. His passing numbers aren’t staggering, but when you add in what Pryor can add with his legs, it makes for an intriguing play.

Sit ’em: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Forget about the 406 yards that Big Ben put up through the air against Chicago on Sunday night and remember the fact that he also threw two interceptions and had two fumbles as well. Add in the fact that he’ll be playing in London this weekend and it equals a quarterback I’d want no part of in Week 4.

Teams have only averaged 22.3 points per game over the past six season in London, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see both the Steelers and Vikings to come up short of that this weekend.



Start ’em: Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts

Don’t let Trent Richardson scare you off. Ahmad Bradshaw received 19 carries to Richardson’s 13 in a Week 3 win against San Francisco. While that might level off into more of a 50-50 timeshare going forward, Bradshaw should still be a good deal of carries. Bradshaw has shown good burst in his short stint with Indianapolis, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and with the Colts playing the lowly Jaguars this week, there’s a good chance that they’ll be looking to wind down the clock with the running game.

Sit ’em: Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons

It might be tempting to play Rodgers in Week 4, but be weary of the Patriors’ defense.
Photo credit: atlantafalcons.com

With Steven Jackson missing time due to injury, Jacquizz Rodgers will undoubtedly be one of the hot adds in fantasy football this week. However, it’s a brutal matchup for the shifty back in Week 4. The Patriots’ Vince Wilfork is one of the best run-stuffing nose tackles in the league and Jerod Mayo is the leader of a talented linebacking corps that will try to limit Rodgers’ ability in space. He’ll be a better play in the weeks to follow, but not this week against New England.



Start ’em: Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions

Another one of the hot pickups this week, Ryan Broyles is bound to make an impact with the Lions’ offense. With the news that Nate Burleson will miss time due to injuries sustained in a car accident, Broyles will likely see more than the 17 snaps he did against Washington. Matthew Stafford is going to throw the ball quite a bit, and Calvin Johnson can’t catch all of his passes. Grab Broyles now, put him in your lineup, and save yourself the regret of missing out on him come next week.

Sit ’em: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

Two things are working against DeAndre Hopkins this week: Houston’s Week 4 opponent has some of the best cornerbacks in the league and the Texans’ No. 1 wideout, Andre Johnson, is questionable with a shin injury. Hopkins is better suited as the No. 2 wideout within the Texans’ offense and if the Seahawks can shift more focus to stopping him with Johnson hobbled or out, it will make for a miserable day for the rookie. He’s looked great on your bench to start the season, but wait another week before inserting him into your lineup.

About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.


  1. Chris, do you think we are at a stage where Vincent Brown and Ryan Mathews could be dropped? Thanks

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Unless you’re in a super shallow league, I’d say no. Ryan Mathews is the #1 back, and that’s good for something. Sure, a lot of the attention has gone to Eddie Royal in the first few games, but that’s bound to level out as the season progresses. My suggestion would be to use that logic to trade the duo, as to not have to deal with them each week, but I’d say it’s too early to cut bait all together.

  2. Chris, I have david wilson and Ahmad Bradshaw sitting i my bench. Should i start bradshaw over wilson this week?

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Yes. The Colts have the Jaguars, who are quite bad, while NYG has the Chiefs, who are solid. Plus, it’s tough to trust David Wilson yet this season.

  3. Chris, you know pryor hasn’t been cleared to practice yet? some expert

  4. Hey Chris. I need to start one of these three as a flex.
    A) Steven Ridley
    B) Stevie Johnson
    C) Ryan Broyles


    • Chris Callaway says:

      I listed Broyles as my start ’em, but that’s if you’re scrounging. Ridley is in too much of a time share, so I’d go with Stevie Johnson. I think EJ Manuel could have a good day against Baltimore.

  5. Quarterbacks – I have Flacco, but Pryor and Rivers are available. Who should I go with? Flacco hasn’t done much this year, but he’s going up against a week Bill’s secondary.

  6. I have D. Bowe and Stevie Johnson. Who would you say to start this week?

  7. Jamal Williams says:

    Chris, which two do I start as flex and WR2?
    A)Josh Gordon
    B)Steve Johnson
    C)Eric Decker
    D)Denarius Moore
    or do I pick up Ryan Broyles on waviers?

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Eric Decker and Stevie Johnson, but still pick up Broyles if you can. Better long term value this season than Moore.

  8. Jamal Williams says:

    Should I drop Vincent Jackson?

  9. Jamal Williams says:

    Chris, What do you think about the Viking wide outs or Alshon Jeffrey? (Simpson, Jennings,) Are they worth a waiver wire pick up?

    I also have Joique Bell, with Reggie Bush back healthy is he worth keeping in an 8-man league?

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