Injured Barkley tests RB depth
Week 4 of fantasy football can be subtitled, “Life Without Saquon” for owners who must reset their running back depth after losing the Giants star to a high ankle sprain.
It’s also another week without Cam Newton, which translates to a heavy workload for Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.
The initial bye week means the Jets and 49ers are sidelined. Most owners won’t feel a great loss.
Start: Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts: His average of 228 passing yards per game is pedestrian, but Brissett has thrown multiple TD passes in each of his first three games. He faces a Raiders defense that has yet to make an interception and is 28th overall in opposing passer rating at 116.8.
Sit: Jameis Winston, QB, Bucs: The Rams are No. 3 in fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs (6.85 PPG). Winston threw for 380 yards and three TDs vs. the Giants last week, but averages a paltry 2.5 air yards per pass attempt.
Start: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions: He’s become a high-volume back who could have his breakout game at the expense of the Chiefs, who allow a leaguehigh 6.2 yards per carry. Johnson averages 17.6 touches per game, and his pass-catching skills are underrated.
Sit: Nick Chubb, RB, Browns: The Browns’ anemic offensive production won’t improve against the Ravens, who are No. 7 in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to RBs. Chubb has just one TD in his first 69 touches from scrimmage.
Start: Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants: Big Blue will become big on the pass without Barkley. Enter Shepard, who pulled in seven of a team-best nine targets from rookie QB Daniel Jones for 100 yards and a score in last week’s win over the Bucs. He should exceed double-digit targets against a Redskins pass defense that allows 46.90 fantasy points and 2.7 TDs per game to WRs.
Sit: Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots: The 11 targets in Week 3 is encouraging, yet much of those came after Julian Edelman was injured. The big-play potential is there, but Gordon remains too much of a risk to play. Well, that and the Bills are sixth in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to opposing wideouts.
Start: Will Dissly, TE, Seahawks: Quickly a favorite of Russell Wilson, Dissly, who has three TDs in the last two games, gets the best assignment of anyone this week at his position: a date against the Cardinals, who are last in defending tight ends.
Sit: Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers: Week 1 appears it was a mirage, as Graham has all of two targets the last two games. The Eagles do a serviceable job in defending tight ends, but Thursday night’s game will likely center around Aaron Rodgers lighting up an Eagles pass defense ranked 29th in fantasy points against WRs.
Start: John Ross, WR, Bengals: The speedster is finally being effectively utilized, evidenced by his 22.5 yards per catch and six big plays, the latter ranks him tied for second in the NFL. Ross is also seventh in the league with 152 yards after the catch.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com