This week’s “Thursday Night Football” game (Broncos at Jets (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network) features two winless teams with offenses that have a lot of problems. It might sound like a game to mostly avoid when making your Week 4 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em decisions, but there are some good sources of production if you know where to look.
Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer is here to help with the early lineup calls to make in your seasonal leagues of varying depths, as well as provide single-game DFS tips:
Broncos: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: RB Melvin Gordon
Gordon is coming off a horrible game against the Bucs’ tough defense (14 touches, 38 yards) after finding his way into the end zone with similar solid scrimmage results in Weeks 1 and 2. The Jets just were destroyed all around by the 49ers and Colts with running backs. Gordon should go off with a big week, especially with the Broncos’ major QB limitations. Phillip Lindsay has a good chance to return from his toe injury, but Gordon should still dominate touches.
Start: TE Noah Fant
The Jets also struggled against the 49ers’ Jordan Reed and the Colts’ Mo-Alie Cox. With more inexperience at quarterback and no Courtland Sutton (knee), Fant should remain a big security blanket all over the field. With their linebacker and safety holes, the Jets aren’t capable of matching up with his size and athleticism.
Sit: WRs Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler
Jeudy has been slow to produce out of the gate and hasn’t exactly jumped at his rookie chance to replace Sutton as the No. 1. Hamler was hampered by a hamstring early and might see an expanded role soon, but that’s unlikely to be this week.
Sit: QB Brett Rypien
Rypien, the nephew of Washington Super Bowl 26 MVP Mark Rypien, is replacing Jeff Driskel, who replaced an injured Lock (shoulder), because newly signed Blake Bortles isn’t quite ready to start in Pat Shurmur’s offense. Let’s hope you shouldn’t have to resort to a second-year undrafted QB making his first start in any league — even if he is playing the Jets.
Sit: K Brandon McManus
He still has the cool “Usual Suspects” last name, but he should be far off your radar for this game and most others.
Start: Broncos defense/special teams
There are a number of solid plays in 12-team leagues to play ahead of the Broncos, but after the Colts turned in a monster performance against the Jets in Week 2, even an injury depleted Denver defense can get some streaming consideration. Just temper your expecations. Denver is more likely to squeeze out 10 points as opposed to getting something close to 20.
Jets: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Sit: RB Frank Gore
The whole Jets’ running game is boring without Le’Veon Bell (hamstring). Adam Gase continues to trot out the 37-year-old future Hall-of-Famer when he should be looking more at La’Mical Perine. Well, it sounds like Gase might not be making those types of decisions anymore should the Jets lose.
Start: WR Jamison Crowder or WR Braxton Berrios
You can “slot” in whoever starts as the main target on inside routes into your lineup in deeper leagues as a low-end WR3 if you are desperate. Crowder has a chance to return from his hamstring injury, but if not it would be more of a busy Berrios.
Sit: QB Sam Darnold
Nick Mullens and Dwayne Haskins have more fantasy appeal than Darnold at the moment, and that’s saying something. Only his counterpart Rypien is a worse QB3 option.
Sit: WR Chris Hogan
Hogan had a nice Week 2 but he was blanked in Week 3. Poor guy probably misses those good times in the AFC East with Tom Brady and the Patriots. You can’t trust him playing as the top outside receiver for Breshad Perriman (hamstring) again.
Sit: TE Chris Herndon
If one more Jets beat reporter hypes up Herndon to us one more time, he still would disappoint.
Start: Jets defense/special teams
Here’s another deep-league-only dice roll, as the Broncos and Jets combine easily to give up the most fantasy points to defenses. At least New York looks OK in the pass rush.
Sit: K Sam Ficken
His last name sounds like what one uses to curse out how awful the Jets have been under Gase this season.
Broncos-Jets DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday night
Captain: RB Melvin Gordon ($16,500)
FLEX: TE Noah Fant ($9,000)
FLEX: WR Jamison Crowder ($8,200) or WR Braxton Berrios ($7,200)
FLEX: D/ST Broncos ($5,600)
FLEX: WR Tim Patrick ($5,000)
FLEX: D/ST Jets ($4,000)
No surprises here. Captain Gordon — we love the sound of that. Noah has a chance for “two by two” touchdowns in this game. Whoever starts in the slot for the Jets is the only worthwhile choice from their offense.
Two defenses are not better than one, usually, but that’s in games that don’t involve two bad offenses. We’ll turn to Patrick, and not Jeudy or Hamler, as a young veteran to produce something again.
Sure, we did leave quite a bit of money on the table, especially if it’s Berrios in for Crowder, but do we really want either quarterback in there? No.