It’s time to talk about Week 4 fantasy sleepers. Whether these guys are on your roster or sitting in the pool of free agents, they have sneaky upside to help you take home a “W” in your matchups this week. Players like Trey Sermon and Peyton Barber are on the start-or-sit bubble thanks to injuries, but given their matchups, we like their chances if Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) and Josh Jacobs (toe, ankle) are out. The beauty of in-season fantasy football sleepers is we look at them through a one-week lens. Of course, all of our selections aren’t necessarily going to be weekly studs, but they have nice matchups or newfound opportunities that make them viable starts this week — and that’s all that matters.
It’s also worth noting that any of our selections could bust this week. We’re taking some chances here, as we don’t want to say anyone too obvious. (What fun is that?) You aren’t going to start these guys over consistent, proven producers, but you’re probably not searching for fantasy sleepers if your lineup is set. However, even if that’s the case, our sleepers list can help you find value in DFS, as the prices of these players should affordable.
Full disclosure: Last week was ugly for us. Our headliners Quintez Cephus and Rondale Moore were complete busts. At running back, James Conner was a hit, but James White was a dud due to injury. Teddy Bridgewater, Daniel Jones, Trevor Lawrence had some bad touchdown luck and let us down. The TE position as a whole has been atrocious, so there’s only so much we can do. Austin Hooper made our list, and although he didn’t go off, he did score a touchdown, which is all we can ask for from a sleeper at the position. Our best pick on defense was Cincinnati, and defenses against the Steelers will be very attractive moving forward.
As always, we won’t bore anyone with obvious starters, but we’ll help you identify players on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble with good matchups or enhanced outlooks in Week 4.
Week 4 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals @ Ramsn(Jackson Sparks). The Rams have a strong defense, but the recipe on offense might be feeding Edmonds in the passing game. This is more of a PPR move, but we like Edmonds this week. He’s the RB16 in PPR right now and has been steady with around 13 fantasy points in each contest. Last week against the Rams, Giovani Bernard caught nine passes for 51 yards and scored a touchdown. Edmonds could enjoy similar success here even if there’s not garbage time.
Peyton Barber, Raiders at Chargers (Vinnie Iyer). We’ll see about Josh Jacobs (toe, ankle) later this week, but Barber was getting all the key touches ahead of Kenyan Drake in a great rushing matchup against Miami and L.A. presents the same opportunity on MNF.
Trey Sermon, 49ers vs. Seahawks (Matt Lutovsky). Sermon didn’t look particularly good on Sunday night, but he managed to get into the end zone and dominated backfield snaps. If Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) is out again, we should see Sermon in a similar role. Against the Seahawks, who are allowing by far the most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs, he should find more room to run. To be fair, Derrick Henry has a lot to do with the Seahawks’ RB troubles, but Alexander Mattison and Colts backs also put up good numbers against them. If Mitchell plays, we’ll switch this pick to him, as even at less than 100 percent he should led the team in touches and have big upside.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Washington (Sparks). Ryan has been a fantasy bust at QB25, but Washington’s defense has also been a bust. What was supposed to be one of the top units in the league has been horrific after Week 1. Daniel Jones had a fair amount of success against them, and Josh Allen absolutely ripped their hearts out. We have to think this Falcons’ passing attack will eventually get on track, and this could be the perfect time for it to happen.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington vs. Falcons (Iyer). WFT’s defense is giving up a ton of points. Atlanta’s defense isn’t very good. This looks like a wacky, high-scoring duel between Heinicke and Matt Ryan.
Baker Mayfield, Browns @ Vikings (Lutovsky). Mayfield is yet to throw for multiple TDs in a game, which shows his ceiling in Cleveland’s run-heavy offense. He has more upside than usual against a Vikings defense allowing the sixth-most FPPG to QBs, though. Yes, Minnesota has faced some good QBs (Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson the past two weeks), but Mayfield could easily have a game similar to Joe Burrow’s performance against Minnesota in Week 1 (261 yards, two TDs).
Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Tyler Boyd, Bengals vs. Jaguars (Sparks). If Tee Higgins (shoulder) is out for this Thursday Night game, Boyd is pretty much a must-start. If Higgins is active, we still like him as a fantasy sleeper. Boyd leads the team with 19 targets and looks to be on his way to another nice season in PPR leagues. We know the Jaguars’ secondary is among the worst in the league, and it just traded C.J. Henderson to Carolina. Look for the entire Bengals’ passing attack to roast Jacksonville on a short week.
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots vs. Buccaneers (Iyer). Mac Jones will need to chuck a ton, and the Bucs’ defensive back injuries have them hurting most in the slot.
Antonio Brown, Buccaneers @ Patriots (Lutovsky). This isn’t just a “revenge game” for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Technically, Brown was once a Patriot, too, so don’t be surprised if he has an extra hop in his step on Sunday night. He should be back from his one-week COVID layoff, and if he is, he has as much upside as any of Tampa’s receivers.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers @ Packers (Sparks). Freiermuth looks like he’s taken over the starting tight end role in Pittsburgh and has 10 total targets on the season. He scored his first career receiving touchdown last week, and the Packers’ defense is a bottom-five team against tight ends in fantasy. JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs) and Diontae Johnson (knee) are both dealing with injuries, and even if they are active, they won’t be 100 percent. The opportunity is there for the rookie.
Dawson Knox, Bills vs. Texans (Iyer). Knox is knocking on the door for a bigger role in the passing game after scoring the past two weeks, and this feels like a game where he’ll get some good chances away from Stefon Diggs.
Cole Kmet, Bears vs. Lions (Lutovsky). Kmet will be tough to start given that he has just two catches for 11 yards the past two weeks. The Lions have been brutal against TEs, though, allowing either 78 yards or a TD to a TE in each of the first three weeks. The Bears’ offense won’t be as bad as last week, and Kmet will soon start playing a key role.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Defense
Tennessee Titans @ Jets (Sparks). Tennessee’s defense looked bad through the first two weeks of the season, but isn’t it possible that was just a result of facing Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray? They looked much better against a pedestrian offense in Week 3 (Indianapolis), so why can’t it tee off against arguably the worst offense in football? Zach Wilson will have his fair share of turnovers, and Tennessee is in the top half of the league in sacks per game (2.3)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jaguars (Iyer). Their draft and free agency investments are starting to pay off, and they have an awesome matchup at home with the added extra emotional prime-time bump.
Green Bay Packers vs. Steelers (Lutovsky). The Packers have been solid since their disastrous Week 1, posting five sacks and four takeaways. The Steelers can’t block, Big Ben can’t move, and the WRs can’t stay out of the trainer’s room. You gotta like this home matchup for the Pack.