Week 4 is the start of a critical part of the season for fantasy owners-bye weeks. If you’ve done a good job of strengthening your roster and make the right lineup decisions, it’s a stretch you can use to put yourself into your fantasy playoffs. If you’re not ready or thin at positions, it can be the start of your team’s ultimate demise.
Make sure to set your lineup correctly for this week which will be difficult especially at wide receiver. There are only two teams on their bye’s, but they are the Panthers and the WR-stacked Packers. The Packers take two or three starters off the board, but there are still plenty of receivers to roll with coming into week 4.
In this post you can find our top 20 for week 4 based on the composite rankings of myself and Leo Howell who also covers fantasy football for Fansided. These would be the WR1 and WR2 in ten-team leagues that would be in the starting lineup in most leagues.
If you have a question or comment on the rankings or want to know who I’d start on your team send it to me on twitter @ZT_Sports or write it in the comments at the bottom of the post. I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can.
Here’s our top 20 wide receivers for week 4:
1. Dez Bryant-Dallas Cowboys
Leo and I have a lot of disparity in our WR rankings, but we do have a unanimous #1 this week. Dez Bryant didn’t have a great game last week catching four passes for just 38 yards. He did save his fantasy day with a score, and was mostly just a afterthought since DeMarco Murray was demolishing the Rams rush defense. This week, that should change as Bryant and the ‘Boys face the Chargers struggling secondary. The Eagles, Texans, and Titans have all produced a 100+ yard receiver against San Diego, and the Chargers don’t have anyone who can match up with Bryant. He should also see some more targets coming his way if Miles Austin isn’t able to play the week.
2. Calvin Johnson-Detroit Lions
Megatron drops to #2 on this list, even though he wasn’t second in either my or Leo’s rankings. We had the next two guys as our second options, but the average put Johnson into the second slot. He and the Lions face the Bears who he’s struggled against in the past. He’s still an elite WR1 option as he’s reminded us the last two weeks with 13 catches total for 231 yards and three scores. The Megatron vs Peanut Tillman matchup will be a great one to watch this week in this NFC North slugfest.
t3. Demaryius Thomas-Denver Broncos
The question with Thomas-and all of the Broncos receivers-is “Who will Peyton Manning throw the ball to this week?” Thomas was targeted 11 times last week finishing with 10 catches for 94 yards although he wasn’t able to find the end zone. The Eagles secondary is a mess, and with the Broncos getting more plays if Phily go “hurry up” Thomas should have plenty of chances to make plays on Sunday. He and the Broncos whole passing game make great plays this week.
t3. Brandon Marshall-Chicago Bears
Marshall didn’t have a huge game last week catching just five passes for 52 yards, but will look to bounce back against a struggling Lions secondary. Last year, Marshall has 11 catches for 123 yards in his two games against the Lions finding the end zone once. Marshall is still the go-to receiver for Jay Cutler, and he’s a WR1 against the Lions in what should be a NFC North shootout.
5. A.J. Green-Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have looked good in the first three games of the season, and the last two weeks they’ve done it largely without A.J. Green. Green has been held under 50 yards for two straight weeks, but expect him to break out this week against the Browns.
6. Wes Welker-Denver Broncos
Welker has a touchdown in every game he’s played for Denver and has been targeted at least eight times in every game. Welker has 19 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown and continues to be money in the slot for Denver. Philadelphia is a great matchup, so get Welker in your lineup no questions asked.
7. Reggie Wayne-Indianapolis Colts
The Colts come off their big win in San Francisco and get a game against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has gotten trounced all season and Indy will be able to get what they want against the Jags this week. Wayne hasn’t found the end zone since week one but is still a solid start this week given his matchup. Leo has him much higher than I do putting him all the way in the top three above Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. I agree that he has that potential, but I don’t think the game will be close enough that the Colts will throw that much and see him more as a borderline WR1 start.
8. DeSean Jackson-Philadelphia Eagles
Jackson had a tough week against the Chiefs but is still the number two scoring receiver in ESPN Standard scoring. He’s a solid WR1 against the Broncos as Michael Vick and the Eagles try to keep up with Peyton. Jackson has 359 yards in three games catching 19 passes on 31 targets.
9. Pierre Garcon-Washington Redskins
Garcon and the Redskins travel coast-to-coast to take on the Raiders who will be on a short week after an ugly loss on Monday Night Football at Mile High. Garcon has been targeted 13 times in each of the last two weeks and has finished with eight catches in both those games. Garcon is the primary target for Robert Griffin III and is the best playmaker in their offense so far this season. Look for plenty more passes coming his way as the Redskins look to get in the win column this week.
t10. Julio Jones-Atlanta Falcons
Jones is getting the targets and yards to keep him a WR1 this week in a showdown with the Patriots. My colleague is a little lower on him than I am, which slides him into this tie. However, the Patriots haven’t faced an elite talent on the outside like Jones and he will e a challenge for a secondary that hasn’t really been stretched yet. Jones is coming off of back-to-back 100+ yard games drawing 27 targets against the Dolphins and Rams. With Roddy White still playing through a high-ankle sprain, Jones should get plenty of chances to make plays on Sunday Night Football.
t10. Vincent Jackson-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
V-Jax is another nice option as long as he is able to give it a go against the Cardinals this week. He left early against New England last week with a rib injury and is considered day-to-day. Assuming he plays, Jackson should find some room to run against Arizona as Tampa goes for their first win this week at home in Tampa.
12. Victor Cruz-New York Giants
Cruz and the Giants would like to quickly forget last week’s dismal showing in Carolina. Before his three-catch, 25 yard disappointment last week, he had back-to-back 118-yard games. The Chiefs defense is solid and after last week Cruz is better played as a WR2 than as your top option.
13. Marques Colston-New Orleans Saints
Colston has been consistent through three weeks going for between 63-71 yards in all three games. This week Colston is a WR2 in a tough matchup against the Dolphins secondary.
14. Anquan Boldin-San Francisco 49ers
Boldin has been far from consistent after a huge week one. He put up a total dud against the Seahawks catching just a pass for seven yards, but did fare better Sunday against Indy with five catches for 67 yards. He’ll have a quick turnaround against St. Louis on Thursday, but the Rams defense looked horrible last week against Dallas and has allowed the sixth most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. He has upside, but Thursday Night Football hasn’t been kind to fantasy owners, so proceed with caution with Boldin as a WR2.
15. Josh Gordon-Cleveland Browns
Gordon paid instant dividends for patient owners who held him through his suspension. He finished his first game of the year with ten catches for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. He and Brian Hoyer will be hard pressed to duplicate that performance against the tough Bengals D, but Gordon is a solid WR2 according to both Leo’s rankings and my own.
16. Torrey Smith-Baltimore Ravens
Smith gets consistent targets-at least nine in each of the first three games-and has put up solid yards-92, 85, and 92. He hasn’t been able to find the end zone yet for the Ravens, but the Bills defense was shredded by the Geno Smith and the Jets, so I think Torrey is in for a big week against the Bills this week.
t17. Eric Decker-Denver Broncos
Yes, Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense is running well enough to get a tight end in the top ten and three receivers in the top 20. They have a great home matchup against the Eagles as mentioned above, and Decker is coming off his best game of the season finishing with 133 yards and a touchdown against Oakland Monday.
t17. Julian Edelman-New England Patriots
Edelman converted all seven of his targets into catches as he went for 44 yards against the Bucs. This week, Edelman may find more room if Gronk comes back to draw some defensive attention as the Patriots visit the Falcons. Atlanta’s secondary has struggled, and I expect there to be plenty of passing yards coming on both sides in this one.
19. Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown’s one-handed catch on Sunday Night Football was highlight reel material and helped him on his way to a monster game catching nine passes for 196 yards and a pair of scores. He and Big Ben face the struggling Vikings secondary which should give him another big day this week making him a WR2 with serious upside.
20. Andre Johnson-Houston Texans
Johnson has a tough matchup against Seattle, but is a favorite target of Matt Schaub. He has avoided serious injury the last two weeks even though he’s left the game early in both weeks. The matchup is brutal, but I still think Johnson is a low-end WR2 for the week.
Honorable Mention: Mike Wallace-Miami Dolphins, Larry Fitzgerald-Arizona Cardinals, Golden Tate-Seattle Seahawks