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Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Carson Palmer in Week 4?

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Through three games this season, Carson Palmer is averaging 287 yards and carries a 5:4 TD:INT ratio. This is… just okay. And putting these aggregate stats together is sort of misleading. Palmer has had a two TD game, a 3 TD game, and a 4 interception game. He hasn’t had a pick and a touchdown in the same contest yet this season. However, this is a case where the numbers lie: Carson Palmer has not looked like a startable fantasy football quarterback yet this season, not even when he was shredding the Buccaneers.

Carson Palmer’s week one effort against the Patriots was mostly thanks to Larry Fitzgerald heroics, and nothing he did looked good. He couldn’t throw a halfway decent deep ball and everything seemed both errant and half a beat too slow. His week three effort was no better, getting destroyed to the tune of five sacks and four interceptions against the Bills defense who was last seen getting shredded by Ryan Fitzpatrick (he of the six picks). Sandwiched in-between there was a somewhat competent looking 304 yard, three touchdowns, zero interception performance. But that came with a sub-60% completion percentage, so even that game wasn’t any good. The long and the short of it is that Carson Palmer’s up-and-down game has relegated him thus far this season to a matchup-based play.

The one team he shredded this year, the Buccaneers, has given up a per-game average that comes out to a season-long pace of over 4400 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. This makes the average quarterback who faces the Buccaneers this year so far the rough equivalent of Aaron Rodgers’ 2014 (4381 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions). They’re bad.

Then what of the matchup? Well, the Rams have allowed about 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks so far this season, and this comes on the heels of Jameis Winston having a bounce back game against them and shredding them for 400 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. Prior to that, they had allowed only one score through two games. Granted, they played Glaine Babbert and a hobbled Russell Wilson, but the Rams were the ones who got after Wilson enough to hobble him and Gabbert was completely ineffective as the Rams were gashed by the 49ers’ running game. Gabbert and Wilson managed fewer fantasy points combined than Winston did in week three. The Rams defense is very good at getting after the quarterback and will have the underperforming Cardinals offensive line to contend with.

This is ignoring that Palmer’s #2 target, Michael Floyd, will likely be out due to post-concussion symptoms. Everything is stacking against Palmer this week, and given the streamability of the quarterback position, there are likely players on the waiver wire who can do a better job of helping you than Carson Palmer. Keep him out of your lineup, there are too many warning signs that he will only hurt you this weekend.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]