Risky fantasy starts that could help you win

With each new week of the 2021 season, player outcomes seem to be getting wilder with injuries piling up on our respective rosters. Fantasy football lends itself to a fluctuation of emotions, so if you’re down after a rough Week 3, don’t fret — we have a fresh new set of games and players to make it all better.

Here is this week’s crop of wild card starts, players who could come up big for you in Week 4 — or they may not.

Carson Wentz hasn’t been very accurate — in fact, his adjusted completion percentage per PFF is currently 76.4 percent, which ranks 25th among QBs. What is encouraging to see is that Pascal got four goal-line targets last week, and that type of volume for a player who already has three scores through three weeks is worth contemplating a start.

Indy gets a Miami defense this week that has allowed the 10th-highest half-PPR points per game to opposing wideouts, yielding 32.5 per contest. If Pascal can fall into the end zone on one of Wentz’s goal-line looks this week, that’s all we need to make him worthy of a start.

Of course, 100 yards and two scores would be nice, too.

J.D. McKissic, RB - Football Team

We thought this backfield would go through Antonio Gibson this season and so far that isn’t exactly happening. Washington is still getting McKissic involved; he ran more routes than Gibson in Week 3 (19-11) and only saw six fewer snaps.

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This week’s matchup with Atlanta could feature plenty of dump-offs to McKissic, as game script could lean that way in the second half of the game. The 28-year-old has potential as a sneaky PPR play this week if you require some love in that format.

Pat Freiermuth, TE - Steelers

Recommending Freiermuth is a two-pronged approach this week (or something like that). Pittsburgh’s WR room is banged up, with both Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster nursing injuries we need to monitor. Freiermuth has seen 10 targets in three contests which he’s turned into an 8-82-1 line.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (88)
Pat Freiermuth has flashed this season. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ben Roethlisberger is clearly struggling to throw the long ball, or really any ball, and that could lead to increased TE looks. Eric Ebron is still a factor here, but he didn’t catch any of his three targets in their last contest, so we could see the rookie’s number called more in Week 4. I guess there’s a third prong here and that’s the Green Bay defense ranks 30th in fantasy points allowed to TEs so far in 2021, with an average of 16.4 half-PPR points surrendered to the position. Freiermuth could just be the dart throw you need.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, WR - Titans

This one needs monitoring, as he can only be in consideration if A.J. Brown is a no-go in Week 4. Westbrook-Ikhine took over as the starter opposite Julio Jones last week after Brown left the game with a hamstring injury eight snaps in, and posted a 4-53-1 line on four targets. The former UDFA saw the most snaps (53) and ran the most routes (25) among Titan pass catchers in Week 3.

This week he faces a Jets’ defense that has actually been solid against wideouts thus far, but if Brown is on the shelf this week, Westbrook-Ikhine could have a decent day across from an inconsistent Julio Jones.

Kendrick Bourne, WR - Patriots

Mac Jones and the Patriots' WRs are not exactly lighting the field on fire in 2021, as no new England wideout is averaging double-digit half-PPR points per game so far this season. However, things could change this week for this crew at home against Tampa Bay.

Bourne wasn’t too involved in the first two contests but saw an uptick after James White left with an injury last week. With White on the shelf indefinitely, and the Patriots backfield always a massive guessing game for fantasy purposes, Bourne could be the beneficiary of a perfect storm this week. He gets a Tampa Bay secondary that has allowed the most half-PPR points to WRs in 2021, averaging a hefty 48.6 per contest. Starting Bourne is like buying a Powerball ticket, but the good news is you may only have to get a few numbers right for any type of payout.

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