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Fantasy WR Rankings Week 4: Who to start, sit at wide receiver in fantasy football

Sporting News logo Sporting News 9/29/2021

It was another strong week for wide receivers and another reminder of how deep the position is. The studs continue to mostly come through, and the middle-of-the-pack flex options are producing boom weeks regularly. As always, we're looking for big-play threats more in standard than PPR. Of course, there's a large category of receivers who are excellent in both formats, but as we move down our Week 4 fantasy WR rankings, plenty of players stand out as better suited for one vs. the other. 

We like Josh Allen as our top QB this week, so naturally, Stefon Diggs (vs. Texans) takes the top spot in our WR rankings. We won't bore you with a bunch of obvious starters, but it's worth noting the Bills' offense is looking more like it did last year. Deebo Samuel (vs. Seahawks), Corey Davis (vs. Titans), and Ja'Marr Chase (vs. Jaguars) have juicy matchups and also move up in our rankings. Samuel has looked every part of the No. 1 WR in San Francisco, and Seattle looks like they're going to be in shootouts regularly. Davis gets his chance at revenge against the Titans, and although their pass defense looked better against Indianapolis, we're not totally sold on them moving forward, at least against high-volume WRs.


Quarterback | Running back | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Chase has a good chance at WR1 production in a matchup with the Jags. We also like the other Bengals' pass-catchers, but we'll see if Tee Higgins (shoulder) is active on a short week. Tyler Boyd is usually more of a PPR play, so Chase and Higgins (if healthy) take a spot ahead of him in standard.


Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

On the same token, DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones (@ Bengals) should be attractive flex plays, though it's unlikely all three will produce. Pick your poison. Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders (vs. Texans) should have chances to make noise this week, too, but Sanders is slightly more geared toward standard leagues 

WEEK 4 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

DeVonta Smith (vs. Chiefs), Jalen Reagor (vs. Chiefs), and Darnell Mooney (vs. Lions) highlight a group of young WRs with favorable matchups this week. The Chiefs' and Lions' pass defenses have been highly suspect this year, so any of those receivers could boom. Of course, Smith is ranked the highest among the three, as he has the highest floor and ceiling. In deep leagues, it's tough to ignore K.J. Osborn (vs. Cleveland) and Rondale Moore and Christian Kirk (@ Rams). With Jalen Ramsey covering DeAndre Hopkins, Moore and/or Kirk should see increased volume. Julio Jones (vs. Jets) has the chance to be a top-10 play if A.J. Brown (hamstring) has to miss time. Chase Claypool (vs. Packers) is easily the No. 1 WR in Pittsburgh if JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs) and Diontae Johnson (knee) are both out. Big Ben has looked awful, but Claypool has to be heavily targeted in this case. If all three are healthy, expect plenty of dink-and-dunking and high reception totals for Johnson and JuJu.

MORE WEEK 4 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder

Brandon Aiyuk (vs. Seahawks), Hunter Renfrow (@ Chargers), and Tim Patrick (vs. Ravens) also have their arrows pointing up thanks to increased usage. On the flip side, Robby Anderson (@ Cowboys), Quintez Cephus (@ Bears), and Nelson Agholor (vs. Buccaneers) are losing some luster after decent starts. Anderson has a great matchup this week, though, so he might still be in play in standard leagues, especially with Christian McCaffrey's injury possibly freeing up more targets in Carolina. 

WEEK 4 FANTASY: Start 'em, sit 'em | Sleepers | Busts

Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal have been on the sleeper/bust bubble all season, but we don't like their chances heading into Miami in Week 4. Miami's defense still has two stellar corners, and Colt's offense looks stuck in the mud under a hobbled Carson Wentz (ankles). Curtis Samuel is eligible to return from IR, so we'll see if he becomes a factor as early as this week.

We'll be updating these WR rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes and analysis.

​Fantasy WR Rankings Week 4: Who to start at wide receiver

Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring

Rank Player
1 Stefon Diggs, BUF vs. HOU
2 Cooper Kupp, LAR vs. ARI
3 Tyreek Hill, KC @ PHI
4 Davante Adams, GB vs. PIT
5 D.J. Moore, CAR @ DAL
6 Calvin Ridley, ATL vs. WAS
7 Terry McLaurin, WAS @ ATL
8 DK Metcalf, SEA @ SF
9 Adam Thielen, MIN vs. CLE
10 Keenan Allen, LAC vs. LV
11 Deebo Samuel, SF vs. SEA. Samuel had his quietest game of the year thus far, yet still drew 10 targets for five catches and 52 yards. Brandon Aiyuk looks like he's poised to return to fantasy relevancy, but Samuel stays as the No. 1 WR in SF in a matchup with a Seattle, who has been bad against the pass when facing formidable WRs.
12 Allen Robinson, CHI vs. DET. If Robinson doesn't produce here, it will be tough to keep him ranked any higher than a mid-level WR2. However, the matchup is strong, as Detroit's pass defense is awful. They 'held' the Ravens' pass-catchers in check according to the box score, but that was mostly due to three huge drops by Marquise Brown. Robinson actually drew 30 percent of Justin Fields' attempts last week, so brighter days are ahead if Chicago can get it going on that side of the ball.
13 Chris Godwin, TB @ NE. New England has been strong against WRs so far this year, but the top receiver they've faced is probably Corey Davis. If Antonio Brown is active this week, Tampa Bay has at least three or four options scarier than anyone they've seen. As always, it's tough to know who will be the top target on any given week in this offense, but Godwin has been the most consistent of the bunch. As usual, he and Mike Evans are must-starts, but we'll monitor Brown moving forward.
14 Tyler Lockett, SEA @ SF. Lockett has been a boom-or-bust play in the past, and he turned in his first bust performance of the year in what was supposed to be a great matchup with Minnesota. He only caught four passes (on four targets) for 51 yards and lacked a single big-play catch. It seems he's often dependent on those big plays, so he's trending toward being more viable in standard leagues. Still, his upside is No. 1 overall WR, so it's tough to rank him any lower. Maybe it was just one bad game, so we'll see moving forward. Monitor his knee injury, too.
15 Julio Jones, TEN @ NYJ. With A.J. Brown likely out with a hamstring injury, A.J. Brown is the top pass-catcher for Tennesee by a mile. This game could get ugly, but Jones should have a monster game from the opening kickoff.
16 Brandin Cooks, HOU @ BUF. Buffalo neutralized Terry McLaurin in Week 3 and has been tough against wide receivers overall. This is a scary matchup for Cooks, especially with Davis Mills running the offense in Houston. However, he dominates target, catches, and yards for Houston. He quite literally is the offense. Even if Mills misses him a bunch, there should be plenty of chances for Cooks to generate fantasy points. He's averaging 10.6 targets and 100-plus yards per game. Even against Carolina, he came up big. For now, we'll put him in the category of matchup- and QB-proof.
17 Ja'Marr Chase, CIN vs. JAX. We told you to temper expectations with Chase this preseason, but he's been dynamic in his first three NFL games. He's caught 11 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns. Those stats obviously appeal more toward standard leagues, but he's a must-start either way. If Tee Higgins (shoulder) misses Thursday night's game, Chase has WR1 upside. Jacksonville's secondary is atrocious, and they just traded one of their starting corners to Carolina. His quarterback should be highly motivated for a game between the last two No. 1 overall picks in the draft.
18 DeAndre Hopkins, ARI @ LAR. Hopkins' rib injury is obviously affecting him. Against Jacksonville, he caught just three-of-six targets for 31 yards. This is obviously nowhere near the level of play we expect from D-Hop, and he'll likely get Jalen Ramsey shadow coverage against the Rams. Still, this could be a shootout, and Hopkins could easily make us look silly and have an explosive game. After all, two different receivers have had good games in each of the past two weeks against L.A. For now, we'll temper expectations given all of the concerns. At this point, Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk, or A.J. Green all draw starting consideration in your lineups. This offense can support between four and six players on offense on any given week.
19 Justin Jefferson, MIN vs. CLE. Jefferson finally picked it up in Week 3, and Minnesota's offense is clicking on all cylinders. Cleveland had no luck containing Brandin Cooks or Tyreek Hill, so it seems they don't have answers for a team's No. 1 WR. Jefferson does have more target competition than we thought, so his ceiling is a tad lower than most viewed it in the preseason.
20 Mike Williams, LAC vs. LV. You'll see this a lot in our articles this week, but we love this game for fantasy football. It should be a pass-heavy shootout, and Williams is playing as consistently as we've ever seen him (or thought was possible). He's drawn nine-plus targets, racked up at least 82 receiving yards, and scored a touchdown in all three of his games this season. We think he'll continue to ride the hot hand with Justin Herbert at the helm of the offense.
21 CeeDee Lamb, DAL vs. CAR. Carolina's defense has looked good, but that didn't stop Brandin Cooks and Corey Davis from having nice fantasy days against them. Jaycee Horn is out with a foot injury, so this could be the week the Panthers' defense gets exposed. During Weeks 1 and 2, Lamb totaled 25 targets for 15 receptions and 185 yards. Of course, he has to compete with Amari Cooper for targets, but we know there will be plenty to go around in this offense. It's tough to know which Cowboys' WR will perform better on a given week, but they're ranked close for a reason and can both put up WR1 numbers together,
22 Mike Evans, TB @ NE. See Chris Godwin.
23 Amari Cooper, DAL vs. CAR. See CeeDee Lamb.
24 Corey Davis, NYJ vs. TEN. It might be time to question whether the Titans' secondary is as bad as last year or they just ran into Rusell Wilson and Kyler Murray in Weeks 1 and 2. They're not susceptible to just any matchup as we saw in Week 3 vs. Indianapolis. Their pass rush, third-down defense, and many other defensive statistics have improved from last year, so we can't just expect Davis to be a top-10 WR this week. The Jets' offense is horrific, so even though Davis is the No. 1 WR there, his upside is limited. All that said, it still is a decent matchup, and Davis will be motivated against his former team.
25 Marquise Brown, BAL @ DEN. Brown is on the verge of a breakout season, he should've had at least two touchdowns last week along with another big play, but his hands failed him. Regardless, he's getting open and Lamar Jackson is putting the ball in the right spots. For now, he's easily the No. 1 option in the passing game. Denver allowed nice fantasy performances from Sterling Sherpard and Marvin Jones, so Brown could be next in line.
26 Courtland Sutton, DEN vs. BAL. Sutton has been up and down to start the season, but the Broncos haven't had to pass regularly going against weak competition. Denver has now played three teams with a combined 0-9 record. Week 4 should be different as Baltimore rolls into town. Sutton leads the team with 20 targets, and when the passing volume picks up, double-digit targets is easily attainable. However, we'll temper expectations a little bit, as he'll often be covered by one of the league's best corners, Marlon Humphrey.
27 DeVonta Smith, PHI vs. KC. We'll see how he performs against a suspect defense in Dallas, but we know Kansas City's defense is awful. Smith is the No. 1 WR in Philly, and the more he and Hurts jell together, the better the connection will be. The same goes for Jalen Reagor and to a lesser extent, Quez Watkins, who's a boom-or-bust standard-league play given the matchup.
28 Odell Beckham Jr., CLE @ MIN. OBJ showed some good signs in his season debut -- his first action since he tore his ACL. He saw nine targets and caught five of them for 77 yards. He'll continue to get better as the season goes on, but we know this isn't a high-volume passing attack. Minnesota does present a nice matchup for him, though.
29 Robert Woods, LAR vs. ARI. Woods has started slow out of the gate, but he still is second on the Rams with 19 targets, so brighter days could be ahead. Is there a better time to start his success with Matthew Stafford than a potential shootout with the Cardinals? This has to be the week, right?
30 Antonio Brown, TB @ NE. We'll see if AB is active after he tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but if he does play, this figures to be a tough matchup. As always though, at least one of the Bucs' WRs will have a nice fantasy day, and perhaps Brown will be the third Bucs star to have a nice "revenge game."
31 Sterling Shepard, NYG @ NO. Shepard (hamstring) will likely be "questionable" heading into the matchup with New Orleans, but with Marshon Lattimore (thumb) still getting up to full speed, Shepard has a chance to continue his early-season success if he plays.
32 Diontae Johnson, PIT @ GB. Johnson (knee) will be questionable heading into the game with Green Bay, but we know he's going to get an absurd number of targets if he plays. In his absence, Najee Harris got 19 targets, and the Steelers passed 58 times. He should return as the top guy in the passing game as soon as he's back.
33 Marvin Jones, JAX @ CIN. Who is the No. 1 WR in Jacksonville? Right now, Jones leads the team in targets with 28, followed by DJ Chark with 22, and Laviska Shenault with 21. Thus, they are all viable flex plays when presented with a good matchup. Cincinnati has faced putrid offenses in Weeks 2 and 3, so it's tough to evaluate their passing defense. Much like some of the other WR trios in the league, it's tough to tell who will be the top guy in a certain game, but the pecking order in rankings looks similar to the pecking order in targets this week.
34 Tim Patrick, DEN vs. BAL. Patrick looked like he'd be heavily touchdown-dependent through two weeks, but in Week 3, he caught all five targets for 98 yards -- a respectable 14.8 PPR points performance. He'll face a much tougher matchup this week, so we'll lower the expectations a little bit. Still, being ranked as a WR3 is way higher than we saw him in the preseason. With Jerry Jeudy (ankle) still out, and he remains the No. 2 WR in this offense. KJ Hamler is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, so Patrick will have to pick up some of those targets, too.
35 Cole Beasley, BUF vs. HOU. Beasley is obviously more attractive in PPR, as he's back to commanding double-digit targets in the slot. Against Houston, he should get open with ease, but this game may be over before it even begins, meaning they'll take it easy in the passing game. Since his fantasy profile is built on volume, that's the concern here. If Houston somehow keeps its close, expect another monster PPR day.
36 Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. JAX. Boyd will move up if Tee Higgins (shoulder) can't go on Thursday night, but he's worth starting consideration either way. He has more PPR appeal if Higgins plays, but he's on the border of a "must-start" wide receiver if Higgins doesn't.
37 Emmanuel Sanders, BUF vs. HOU. Sanders is being littered with deep targets in a Josh Allen-led offense. What more could you ask for? Houston's defense is outmatched in every way here.
38 JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT @ GB. Smith-Schuster (ribs) will be questionable for this game, but he's always a candidate to get a bunch of short, easy targets.
39 Chase Claypool, PIT @ GB. Claypool has been disappointing so far this year, but his length and athletism could always pay off in the red zone.
40 Jakobi Meyers, NE vs. TB. Meyers leads all Patriots with 29 targets (11 more than the next closest), so he's appealing in PPR leagues especially. Mac Jones will get better, so naturally, Meyers will, too. However, don't count on that this week, as the young Patriots' offense will take on the ferocious Buccaneers' defense. Yes, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp had success against Tampa, but they're at a level well above Jones and Meyers at this point in their careers.
41 Christian Kirk, ARI @ LAR. See DeAndre Hopkins
42 DJ Chark, Jaguars, JAX @ CIN. See Marvin Jones.
43 Kenny Golladay, NYG @ NO
44 Brandon Aiyuk, SF vs. SEA. See Deebo Samuel
45 Rondale Moore, ARI @ LAR. See DeAndre Hopkins
46 Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX @ CIN. See Marvin Jones.
47 Henry Ruggs III, LV @ LAC
48 Robby Anderson, CAR @ DAL
49 Hunter Renfrow, LV @ LAC
50 Darnell Mooney, CHI vs. DET
51 Jaylen Waddle, MIA vs. IND
52 Michael Pittman Jr., IND @ MIA
53 Marquez Callaway, NO vs. NYG
54 Jalen Reagor, PHI vs. KC. See DeVonta Smith.
55 Sammy Watkins, BAL @ DEN
56 Quintez Cephus, DET @ CHI
57 Will Fuller V, MIA vs. IND
58 Kendrick Bourne, NE vs. TB
59 Zach Pascal, IND @ MIA
60 Quez Watkins, PHI vs. KC See DeVonta Smith.
61 Bryan Edwards, LV @ LAC
62 Gabriel Davis, BUF vs. HOU
63 K.J. Osborn, MIN vs. CLE
64 Nelson Agholor, NE vs. TB
65 Anthony Miller, HOU @ BUF
66 DeVante Parker, MIA vs. IND
67 Darius Slayton, NYG @ NO
68 Mecole Hardman, KC @ PHI
69 DeSean Jackson, LAR vs. ARI
70 Jamison Crowder, NYJ vs. TEN
71 Khalif Raymond, DET @ CHI
72 A.J. Green, ARI @ LAR See DeAndre Hopkins
73 Van Jefferson, LAR vs. ARI
74 Terrace Marshall Jr., CAR @ DAL
75 Elijah Moore, NYJ vs. TEN
76 Jalen Guyton, LAC vs. LAV
77 Braxton Berrios, NYJ vs. TEN
78 Deonte Harris, NO vs. NYG
79 Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB vs. PIT
80 Olamide Zaccheaus, ATL vs. WAS
81 Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, TEN @ NYJ
82 Randall Cobb, GB vs. PIT
83 Collin Johnson, NYG @ NO
84 Chester Rogers, TEN @ NYJ
85 Allen Lazard, GB vs. PIT
86 Kadarius Toney, NYG @ NO
87 Demarcus Robinson, KC @ PHI
88 Dyami Brown, WAS @ ATL
89 Marquise Goodwin, CHI vs. DET
90 Byron Pringle, KC @ PHI
91 Anthony Schwartz, CLE @ MIN

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