The Waiver Wire – Week 4
The year of the injury has been hitting teams hard since week 3 of the pre-season and if you hadn’t felt the injury pain thus far the chances you got affected in week 4 are high! With another week under our belts, the fantasy bug that has been running through the league continued as Melvin Gordon, Doug Baldwin, Michael Crabtree, and Kelvin Benjamin all left their respected games with injury and all might be questionable to play in week 4. Darren Sproles who was also hurt this week has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL & broken arm. With yet another week that saw big name fantasy options go down, you are forced to look to the waiver wire for replacement help.
We have no time to wallow in self-pity or beat ourselves up over poor starting lineup choices in week 3 (I SHOULD HAVE STARTED HOWARD!). No, it’s time to put your waiver claims in and go win your week 4 matchup!
As a disclaimer, all players must be owned in less than 60% of ESPN or Yahoo leagues. Ownership percentages are in parenthesizes. Below I have ranked the top 3 adds at each position with a bonus player or two sprinkled in throughout. Let’s not waste any more time and dive right into this week’s top waiver adds!
Andy Dalton (ESPN 15% / Yahoo 45%) – The red riffle might be back and just in time for a juicy matchup on the road against the Browns. The NEW offensive seemed to be in a much better rhythm against the Pack as Dalton was able to score a decent 16 points in standard scoring and had zero turnovers. The Browns are coming off a loss in Indy in which Jacoby Brisset touched the secondary for 259 yards 1 TD & 2 rushing TDs. Dalton has a shot to be a QB1 in week 4.
Blake Bortles (ESPN 2% / Yahoo 12%) – Oh man, oh man BB is back & looking better than ever. Bortles looked amazing on Sunday posting the “never saw that coming” performance (next to Keenum) of the weekend. 4 TD’s and the best stat only 6 incompletions against what was considered the best defense in football. With the Jets on deck, Bortles has as good a shot as ever this season to duplicate a top 10 QB finish in week 4.
Jared Goff (ESPN 7% / Yahoo 12%) – Goff and the Rams looked amazing Thursday night (22 of 28 / 292 yards / 3 TD’s / 0 INTs) and are an exciting team to watch. The only reason I don’t have Goff higher on this list is the upcoming schedule, @Dal, Sea, @Jax, Ari, Bye, @NYG, Hou, @Min. That is as brutal a QB schedule as you can find against some of the leagues best defenses. I am hesitant to see how Goff looks on the road against a playoff team this Sunday and at home vs Seattle. Goff looks much better in year 2 but this stretch will tell us if he is just beating up on bad competition or is a legit quarterback we need to take seriously.
*Bonus: Case Keenum (ESPN 1% / Yahoo 1%) – HOLY smokes Case Keenum looked like 2001 Kurt Warner on Sunday! At the time of writing this, Keenum has the 3rd best QB performance of week 3 with only Wilson & Brady above him. If you started Case Keenum you are the man! Bradford could be back this week but another home game is on deck against Detroit so it’s not a bad swing for the fences play if Bradford can’t go. Not the ideal matchup but this offense looks like one of the best in football when playing at U.S. Bank stadium – Home vs Road Splits
(6 to 0 passing TD’s, 355 to 146 passing yards per game, 80% to 52.6% completion percentage, 2 wins vs 0 wins)
Wendell Smallwood (ESPN 2% / Yahoo 5%) – Smallwood was in on 43 of the Eagles 76 offensive snaps and had 21 more snaps than Blount. With the news that Sproles will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL & broken arm, Smallwood is most likely to take over the starting role for the Eagles. Week 4 and you can add a starting RB, that is Elite! If you are need of RB help Smallwood should be your #1 target. His floor is safe with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and should see 12 to 15 carries a game. Another name to remember is Donnell Pumphrey as his workload will increase as a rotational player for Smallwood and help on 3rd down.
Duke Johnson Jr. (ESPN 98% / Yahoo 52%) – With Corey Coleman sidelined with a hand injury Duke Johnson’s role increased and he showed immediate production. Seeing the field on 40 snaps, Johnson was only out snapped by Isiah Crowell by 1. His ability to catch passes means he has a safe floor and could be thrust into the #1 RB duties with an injury or continued poor play by Crowell. Johnson is a great waiver grab with tremendous upside. A no-brainer in PPR leagues hence the 98% ESPN ownership.
Alvin Kamara (ESPN 10% / Yahoo 40%) – Another dynamic pass-catching back, Kamara plays in one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and has out snapped Adrian Peterson in every game this season (31 to 17, 17 to 16, 17 to 14). This tells me his role is locked in as the satellite back plus for the Saints and showed off his running ability with a beautiful 25-yard touchdown to seal the win on the road in Carolina. Kamara is steadily moving in the right direction and is destined to be an every week flex option.
*Bonus: Jamaal Charles (ESPN 21% / Yahoo 33%) – Jamaal Charles scored a touchdown!!! It has been great to see Charles back in action and so far he has looked ok. With small workloads, Charles has been able to rush for 40+ yards in all 3 of the Broncos games. Charles is not someone I would use a waiver claim on but is an interesting FA grab in leagues with deeper benches.
Marqise Lee (ESPN 33% / Yahoo 47%) – I wrote about Lee last week as someone to target and even though he didn’t score in the London massacre against the Ravens he and Borles looked great and he was targeted 7 times in the first half. They never targeted him in the second half and that’s because Bortles was only asked to throw the ball 7 times in that half. He is the clear #1 receiver in this offense and the volume alone is worth the rostering.
Sterling Shepard (ESPN 31% / Yahoo 35%) – This is a tough one because I love Shepard’s skill set but the Giants offense outside of the fourth quarter on Sunday has been atrocious. Shepard led the WR unit in snaps (68) and gobbled up 77 of his 138 receiving yards on a beautiful catch and run that he took to the house. The inconsistency of the offensive and constant presence of OBJ as the clear volume play makes it hard to move Shepard any higher in waiver priority.
Kenny Britt (ESPN 96% / Yahoo 44%) – It’s good to see ESPN owners never lost faith in Compton Kenny and with the loss of Coleman Britt was able to step up and led the team in targets in week 3 and found the end zone. Not a prolific offense to attach yourself to Britt is a fringe WR 3 but feels like more of a flex play the rest of the season but should see nice volume until Coleman returns.
*Bonus: Geronimo Allison (ESPN 1% / Yahoo 9%) – Filling in for the injured Randall Cobb, Allison hauled in 6 of his 8 targets for 122 yards Sunday. In a short week (Thursday Night Football vs the Bears) Allison might once again be called to fill in for Cobb if he still can’t go.
*Potential Injury Add: Paul Richardson (ESPN 2% / Yahoo 11%) or Tyler Locket (ESPN 35% / Yahoo 41%) – With Doug Baldwin going down with a groin injury (severity unclear at time of writing this) it is safe to say both Richardson and Lockett will see increased volume if Baldwin is unable to play Sunday at home vs the Colts. After the offensive was finally able to get going in Tennessee on Sunday, this looks like a great time to buy real estate in the Seahawks passing attack, especially if Baldwin is to miss significant time. Of the two it looks like Locket has taken back the #2 duties at least in snap share but Richardson has seen more consistent targets and has found the end zone in back to back weeks.
*Grab Me NOW before I blow up: Josh Doctson (ESPN 33% / Yahoo 6%) – Over the last 3 weeks his snap rate has increased (31%, 41%, 53%) and his touchdown grab Sunday night showed you why he was the Redskins 1st round draft pick last year. I believe Doctson is the missing piece to the Redskins puzzle and think it’s he, not Terrelle Pryor who may have the best fantasy upside for the remainder of the season.
ATTENTION – *Don’t get fooled by the 3TD performance Marcedes Lewis had. He hadn’t caught a single pass before Sunday and is not likely to duplicate that performance again this season. Just to show you how rare this performance was, Lewis hadn’t scored a touchdown since week 2 of last season. To really blow your mind, prior to Sunday’s performance in London, Lewis had only scored 3 touchdowns over the past 3 seasons combined! Don’t chase the points!*
Jared Cook (ESPN 26% / Yahoo 40%) – Cook was the only highlight from the Raiders awful performance Sunday night. Cook once again saw 6 targets, caught 4 and was able to find the end zone on a beautiful catch and run. Cook is the top TE target and is the clear #1 option in a pass-heavy attack for Oakland.
Cameron Brate (ESPN 6% / Yahoo 40%) – Brate has a great matchup against the Giants this week who have given up a touchdown and 40 yards receiving or more in all 3 of their games this season. Brate is still seeing RZ targets and has as good a shot of any waiver TE option to find the end zone this week.
Charles Clay (ESPN 7% / Yahoo 21%) – Clay found the end zone for the 2nd time this year in an upset win over the Broncos at home. With a road test, this weekend against the Falcons, Clay is a difficult stream option but this is what the Tight End Position has come to in 2017.
Defenses to Stream
Jacksonville Jaguars (ESPN 89% / Yahoo 43%) – Playing the Jets at home after another dominating performance.
Cincinnati Bengals (ESPN 59% / Yahoo 19%) – Fantasy defenses are averaging 13.66 points when playing the Browns.
Atlanta Falcons (ESPN 16% / Yahoo 30%) – In Buffalo’s lone road game they were held to 3 points and gave up 3 sacks. The Falcons should be able to pin their ears back once this game gets out of hand.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ESPN 15% / Yahoo 30%) – Bucs at home vs Eli, yes, please! I don’t trust the Giants offense and think the Buccaneers get back on track even without Lavonte David who has a high ankle sprain.
Kickers to Stream
Phil Dawson (ESPN 4% / Yahoo 14%) – 49ers have given up double-digit scores twice so far this season. Arizona at home should be able to move the ball into FG range routinely.
Brandon McManus (ESPN 4% / Yahoo 49%) – The Broncos head back home and Oakland was one extra point away from allowing 3 straight double-digit performances.
Ryan Succop (ESPN 9% / Yahoo 25%) – The #1 kicker in fantasy football! A divisional game against Houston inside the dome. Has a great opportunity to continue his hot start of 3 straight 12+ point performances.
That will do it for Week 4 of The Waiver Wire. Do you need EVEN more fantasy advice? You can find us on Twitter @TFFGurus or feel free to email us at TrophyTime@TFFGurus.com. I will see you all next Tuesday for another edition of The Waiver Wire. Best of luck this week and remember championships are won on the waiver wire!