We’re on to Week 4 of the fantasy football season, and that means some fantasy owners might feel like they’re facing must-win scenarios. You can live with starting 1-2, but 1-3? Not good (and we won’t even get into 0-4). Your turnaround has to start now, and that may be hard for teams devastated by injuries. As such, those owners will want to look for some streamers and sleeper picks to help improve their lineups. Thankfully for them (and their start ’em, sit ’em decisions), there are plenty of injury replacements available and favorable matchups to target.
Normally, you see a lot of younger, unknown players qualify as sleepers, but this week features a mix that includes plenty of veterans. Latavius Murray, Carlos Hyde, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matthew Stafford, and Austin Hooper have all been around the block, but they should have a chance to exploit their solid matchups. Elsewhere, you might not be as familiar with Olamide Zaccheaus, Mo Alie-Cox, and Robert Tonyan, but they could be worth trusting in good matchups with more volume potentially coming their way.
Speaking of good matchups, it looks like we’re a fan of the Dolphins-Seahawks game. The Packers-Falcons game also falls into that category, as two high-powered offenses could have a chance to turn some of their lesser-known receiving weapons into stars once again.
Last week’s sleeper list didn’t work out all that well, but Antonio Gibson did find the end zone while Joe Burrow had another nice game. Unfortunately, top sleeper RB Joshua Kelley and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling ended up busting along with the likes of QB Mitchell Trubisky and TE Drew Sample. Hopefully, things will go a bit better this time around.
Week 4 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Latavius Murray, Saints @ Lions (Jacob Camenker). Alvin Kamara got a ton of attention for what he did to the Packers on Sunday night, but overlooked is the fact that Murray out-carried Kamara 12-6 on the day. Murray will continue to see his fair share of touches between the tackles and could put up good numbers against a Lions defense that has allowed 439 rushing yards to RBs this season, good for third most in the NFL.
Alexander Mattison, Vikings at Texans (Vinnie Iyer). The Vikings need to keep running big -time to win a game, and he should give Dalvin Cook additional support in a plus matchup late.
Carlos Hyde, Seahawks @ Dolphins (Matt Lutovsky). This is obviously dependent on Chris Carson’s status. If the knee injury he suffered late last week keeps him out, Hyde makes for a great streamer against a Dolphins defense that was just gashed by James Robinson. Travis Homer might have some PPR appeal, too, but Hyde will handle the bulk of the work and he’s a capable enough runner and receiver to put up numbers.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins vs. Seahawks (Camenker). In back-to-back games, Fitzpatrick has avoided turnovers and thrown multiple TDs. He’ll be asked to throw a lot on Sunday against a Seahawks team that is by far the worst in the league against the pass (430.7 yards allowed per game). Fitzpatrick could end up posting massive numbers. There’s always some concern with interceptions, but feel free to ride with him in what should be an offensive shootout.
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. Saints (Iyer). Stafford got Golladay back last week in a win and now will celebrate by putting up his best game of the season opposite Drew Brees at home.
Baker Mayfield, Browns @ Cowboys (Lutovsky). The Browns are a running team, but Mayfield has managed two touchdown passes in each of the past two games. Dallas has the fifth-worst pass defense (277 yards allowed per game), and a good enough offense to turn this one into a shootout. Mayfield will be forced to pass to keep up, and he should have success.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Olamide Zaccheaus, Falcons @ Packers (Camenker). The Falcons were without Julio Jones (hamstring) last week and lost Russell Gage (head) early on in the contest. That opened up opportunities for Zaccheaus to catch passes from Matt Ryan. Zaccheaus hauled in four receptions for 41 yards but was just overshot by Ryan on a pass that should’ve gone for a long TD. If either Jones or Gage (or both) is out Monday night against the Packers, Zaccheaus could end up being a WR3/flex option with big-play upside. He may not be a well-known name, but he’s someone to stash on your bench in case you need him.
Mecole Hardman, Chiefs vs. Patriots (Iyer). You know the Patriots will be focused on trying to contain Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, opening the door for the young speedster to keep pushing for a breakout.
Preston Williams, Dolphins vs. Seahawks (Lutovsky). Seattle is allowing 47.9 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to WRs. Let that sink in. Eventually, that number will come down, but DeVante Parker and Williams are the kinds of big, athletic WRs who give the Seahawks fits. Expect both to do well this week.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts @ Bears (Camenker). Alie-Cox has become Philip Rivers’ favorite target and is averaging a whopping 18.1 yards per catch so far. In Week 2, he logged over 100 receiving yards. Last week, it was an even 50 and a score. He should have a chance to do some damage against a Bears defense that has been middle-of-the-road against TEs.
Robert Tonyan, Packers vs. Falcons (Iyer). They’re really using him more with Davante Adams (hamstring) ailing, and the matchup is brilliant assuming Aaron Rodgers keeps trusting Tonyan’s big, athletic frame to make plays.
Austin Hooper, Browns @ Cowboys (Lutovsky). Hooper has been an afterthought through three weeks, instead watching rookie Harrison Bryant haul in a TD in Week 3. It’s about time Cleveland got its big offseason acquisition involved, and the Cowboys are the perfect team to do it against. Dallas is allowing 10.9 FPPG to TEs. That includes touchdown to Hayden Hurst and Jacob Hollister, as well as over 60 yards to Greg Olsen.
Week 4 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses
New York Jets vs. Broncos (Camenker). I’m not one to recommend anything about the Jets this year, but they are the home team on a short week playing against a quarterback who has nine career pass attempts in Brett Rypien. The Jets may be able to slow down the Broncos in what could be a sloppy game, so if you need to take a flier on a defense, they might be worth a shot.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Patriots (Iyer). Cam Newton looks headed to an overall clunker, and the Chiefs were very effective against Lamar Jackson last week with pressure.
Denver Broncos @ Jets (Lutovsky). On the one hand, the Jets can’t be as bad offensively as they were last week against the Colts. Other the other…they’re probably gonna be pretty bad. Denver’s defense hasn’t done much this year, but weird things tend to happen on Thursday nights — especially when the Jets are involved.