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Week 4 Fantasy Matchups: Bullish on Giants WRs, Jones, Crabtree, & Ginn

Looking a the matchups every mid-week, here are sleeper wide receivers for whom fantasy football owners and DFS sleeper hunters should try to make room in their Week 4 lineups.

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You are not benching Calvin Johnson against the Seahawks, even though the matchup stinks against Richard Sherman; but you will bench Mike Wallace against Aqib Talib because the matchup stinks. The variable is simple: Johnson is still good enough to be considered matchup-proof at the moment, but Wallace is a bad fantasy play on any week, let alone this one.

Someone in a grayer area is Allen Robinson who has a bad matchup against Vontae Davis and the Colts. But the Jaguars should be down big early and throwing a lot, and Robinson is averaging nine targets per game--to Allen Hurns' five--from a quarterback who has not displayed reason to believe he can adjust to coverage. Consult expert rankings, computer simulations, and your gut on problems like this.

My goal here is to help the Julian Edelman, Kendall Wright, Davante Adams, DeSean Jackson,  Jeremy Maclin, and Allen Robinson owners and DFS dumpster divers find a sleeper to insert into their lineups for Week 4.

Here are guys you can maybe target cheaply in a trade or still find in free agency:

Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle at Bills

By all measurables and eye tests, the Bills are among the most efficient defenses in the NFL. No one has tried to run on them, they're allowing low yardage per pass, and forcing tons of turnovers. The Giants don't have anyone who can run successfully, Eli Manning is outside the top ten in yards per attempt, and he is due for a disastrous three-INT game because Eli.

What opposing WRs are doing is accumulating yardage in bulk, as Buffalo has given up the third-most fantasy points to WRs in all formats. And it isn't just primary WRs like T.Y. Hilton, Julian Edelman, and Jarvis Landry:

Secondary & Tertiary WRs vs. Bills

Week

Player

Targets

Receptions

Yards

TDs

1

Donte Moncrief

11

6

46

1

1

Andre Johnson

10

4

24

0

2

Aaron Dobson

8

7

87

0

3

Rishard Matthews

10

6

113

2

3

DeVante Parker

7

3

46

0

Cruz is returning from a very rehab process and we have to believe that the Giants would not put him at risk. They have lost over a full year of gameplay from him, so what would another week or two be? We have to believe that Cruz will be re-inserted into the lineup to be utilized, lining up all over the place. All of those targets to those WRs listed in the chart weren't completely targeted by design; we have to believe that this this is largely what the Bills defense is giving teams, and that could make for a great season debut for Cruz.

Cruz said he was definitely playing this week, but aggravated his calf in Wednesday's practice, left the field, and didn't return. His status is unknown. If he's out, replace his name with Rueben Randle in this blurb.

Marvin Jones vs Chiefs

The Chiefs showed on Monday night that they have a horrendously exploitable secondary. Even if you want to chalk that up under "Packers are awesome", bear in mind that Nate Washington had six catches for 105 yards and Cecil Shorts had four for 57 in Week 1. That, in Week 2, Peyton Manning looked for Emmanuel Sanders all game, throwing to him 14 times; and Sanders had eight catches for 87 yards and two TDs. That before he got 139 yards on Monday night against the Chiefs, James Jones had only game of 85 yards or more since October 2013.

Jones is clearly healthy and has been targeted more than Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard (13:8:7) over the last two weeks. Jones has 11 TDs in his last 14 games, dating back to 2013. Andy Dalton wants to go to Jones and he should have plenty of opportunity to do so this week.

Michael Crabtree vs Bears

Vegas has both of these teams scoring in the 20s, despite Jimmy Clausen calling the shots for Chicago. The Raiders have scored 74 points in the last two weeks, throwing 78 times, and Derek Carr is 6th in the NFL in adjusted net yards per attempt. The Bears are 26th in net yards per attempt allowed and have a terrible secondary.

The risk to starting Crabtree is mainly that the Raiders build a huge lead and put the game on Latavius Murray's back to kill clock. Or that Amari Cooper's matchup is also so juicy that of less than 30 pass attempts, he usurps 15 targets. But Crabtree actually has more targets than Cooper through three weeks (33:31), so both should be great volume plays. Crabtree is a better contrary an DFS play.

Allen Hurns at Colts

Only eight WRs have 60 or more receiving yards in all three games of the 2015 season: Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, and--yep--Allen Hurns. It's weird and no one in their right mind would include him with those names in any other sentence, but there is something to be said for being a deep threat on a team which will have to pass a lot against a Colts secondary that is terrible--outside of Davis, who should be stuck on Robinson.

Eric Decker torched the Colts for 97 yards and a TD in eight catches in Week 2. Percy Harvin lit them up for 79 and a TD in five catches in Week 1. It was only the third time since October 2012 that Harvin had cracked 59 yards. So why not gamble on Hurns?

Ted Ginn, Jr. at Buccaneers

Cam Newton has had some of his best games against Bucs head coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in his career when they were head coaches of the Bears and Vikings, respectively:

Cam Newton vs. Lovie Smith
Date Comp-Att Yards TD INT
10/2/2011 27-46 374 1 1
10/28/2012 20-39 314 0 2
Cam Newton vs. Leslie Frazier
Date Comp-Att Yards TD INT
10/30/2011 22-35 290 3 0
10/13/2013 20-26 242 3 0

His 305 yards per game are notable, as Newton only averages 300 against the Cardinals, Bears, Packers, and Eagles over his career, so he should be slinging it well and that benefits Ginn. As much as starting Ginn feels icky inside, he is second to Greg Olsen on the Panthers in targets (22), receptions (10), and receiving yards (188). It is not a huge share of the offense, but it is third to Olsen and Jonathan Stewart with the next most used receiving option being Devin Funchess' ten targets.

The Bucs have given up 88 yards per game and two TDs to #1 WRs through the first three weeks. Ginn had a TD in Week 2 against a good Texans secondary and put up 93 yards with a near-TD in Week 3 against the Saints. There is a chance that Ginn has a decent yardage day where a touchdown makes him a great play.

Ty Montgomery at 49ers

Davante Adams is definitely out for Week 4 and beyond with a high ankle sprain. This bodes for monster volume to go Randall Cobb's way and an escalated role for James Jones, but Montgomery played the same amount of snaps as Cobb and Jones in Week 3 (66) and scored on a target inside the 10-yard line. Any WR on the field with Aaron Rodgers that often should be owned in all formats.

After an embarrassing performance  by the Vikings against them in Week 1, the Niners were lit up by the Steelers and Cardinals in the last two weeks. Darrius Heyward-Bey had 77 yards and a TD, Markus Wheaton had 67 yards, and John Brown had 62. You could do worse than Montgomery as a desperation flex play in PPR.