The Waiver Wire: Week 4
I turned 36 years old on Sunday. My birthday is the first day of fall, a season almost all New Englanders look forward to more than any other. I am not one of them. Don’t get me wrong I love what comes with the shift to the Fall. Warm apple cider, apple crisp, corn mazes, tractor rides, Halloween, warm day’s & cool nights, football (of course), and my birthday. No, my favorite season is the Summer. I love the long days and warm nights, swimming, surfing, boating till sunset, drinking until morning, outdoor concerts, wearing shorts every day of the week, and tan lines. I love the warm weather and never look forward to what follows Fall here in New Hampshire. It seems only fitting that someone who loves the Summer as much as I do would be born on the first full day of Fall.
We may not be able to pick what day our birthday is going to be or what season it will fall on but we do get to choose which player or players we feel will help make the biggest impact on our fantasy team off the waiver wire! Week 3 was a wild one filled with multiple upsets, missed fantasy production from top options in green light matchups (I’m looking at you, Stefon Diggs & Tom Brady), and some key injuries that could shake up the fantasy landscape. The biggest injury of the weekend was to Jimmy Garoppolo who tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. This injury has a ripple effect that will cap the fantasy value and expected production from all 49ers skill position players. A.J. Green hurt his hip and did not return but the hope is it’s not a serious injury and that he can go next week. Even with that being said its still an injury to monitor. The last key injury was to Evan Engram who left Sunday’s game with a knee injury and we are waiting on the results of further tests they ran yesterday to determine the severity of the injury. Engram said his knee didn’t feel right and he was seen wearing a brace on that same knee after the game.
Injuries are unpredictable. All we can do is hope to have done a good job insulating ourselves during the draft by adding depth at injury prone positions and using the waiver wire to help fill in the gaps we may have missed. As I put on my sweatpants for the long cold road ahead and with the sun already set on this fall evening, let’s dive into the top waiver wire targets for week 4.
As a disclaimer, all players must be owned by 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.
Baker Mayfield (ESPN 7% / Yahoo 12%)
I’m going to come right out and say it, I love me some Baker Mayfield and I think he is really really good! I said last week be the first to get him before anyone got to see him play. Well, that timetable was moved up due to the concussion to Tyrod Taylor suffered Thursday night. Baker was incredible helping lead the Browns to their first win in almost two years. No rookie QB has a better cast of offensive weapons around him. He may not be your week 4 starter but he is a must own in fantasy especially in leagues with deep bench spots.
Andy Dalton (ESPN 28% / Yahoo 33%)
Dalton once again graces this fine article and it’s more to do with his upcoming schedule then what he did last week even though he still was able to throw for over 350 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dalton’s next 5 weeks are as is; Week 4 @ ATL (27th YDS/G), Week 5 vs MIA (29th in YDS/G), Week 6 vs PIT (14th in YDS/G), Week 7 @ KC (31st in YDS/G), and Week 8 vs TB (32nd in YDS/G). So that’s 4 of the worst passing defenses in the league in that 5 game stretch and a secondary that once gave up 6 TD’s on 28 pass attempts. Fire up the Red Riffle!!
Ryan Tannehill (ESPN 8% / Yahoo 8%)
Tannehill is always going to be an unsexy player to start but don’t look now but Ryan Tannehill is a QB1 on this young season coming in as the QB 12 (written before the end of the MNF game). Tannehill has 7 touchdowns to only 2 Interceptions on the season but hasn’t been able to eclipse 300 yards yet this season. Concerns are two of his touchdowns came on forward shuffle passes last week and his inability to put up QB1 yardage numbers week in and week out. He does have a favorable matchup vs the Patriots this weekend in an early season battle for control of the AFC East. The Patriots are awful right now allowing 7 touchdowns through the air which ranks them only behind a handful of teams for most in the league through the first 3 weeks.
Javorius “Buck” Allen (ESPN 39% / Yahoo 27%)
Last week Buck Allen and Alex Collins had the same amount of offensive snaps (42). This week Allen out snapped Collins 39 to 35 and had 2 GL carries to Collins zero. Allen is seeing the money snaps and has been more and more invested in the Ravens game plan regardless of game script. Because of this usage, Allen now has a rushing touchdown in all three games to start the year. With a week 10 bye, Allen is a solid flex play with bye weeks kicking off this week.
Duke Johnson Jr. (ESPN 67% / Yahoo 48%)
Buy Duke Johnson now while you can! The Baker effect is taking over in Cleveland and because of his infusion into the offesnse, I expect the number of plays run per game to go up. Duke saw his snap share rise from week 2 to week 3 29 to 23 and even though the volume has been low I expect all of that to change now that Baker is behind center. Just look at how much better the offense looked in the second half vs the first half. Carlos Hyde is the #1 RB but Duke should command a higher target volume if this offense can start clicking.
Alfred Morris (ESPN 58% / Yahoo 53%)
I still don’t know which RB will be hurt the most by the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo but with Morris being available in less than 60% of both ESPN & Yahoo leagues it is not a bad flyer to take on the RB who has led the 49ers in carries each of the first 3 weeks (wk1 12 to 11, wk2 14 to 11, wk3 14 to 10). Now, Breida has been the more explosive and utilized of the two backs that is a for sure but maybe just like Hyde who saw his targets jump he Bethard started last year (8.3 tgt/g with / 3.8 tgt/g without) Morris’s number is called upon even more. Can’t hurt to take a flyer on a player who should go cheap as other fantasy owners run away from the 49ers offensive pieces.
Calvin Ridley (ESPN 40% / Yahoo 44%)
When you score 3 TDs in a game you are going to top our WR list. Thanks for making it easy for me, Calvin! Ridley scored as many touchdowns as Julio did all last year in 1 game! What I really like about going after Ridley with a waiver claim or by using FAAB money is the fact he is seeing targets. Last week he saw the 2nd most targets (6) on the team and this week he saw the most targets (8) in the team. The offensive snaps are there (123) and the Falcons are a very good passing offense. Ridley fits the system well and could be a rock-solid WR3 with a ton of upside.
Antonio Callaway (ESPN 16% / Yahoo 33%)
Baker effect player #2 Callaway is a must add this week if he is sitting on your waiver wire. I only put Ridley above because he plays in a high powered offense that is proven. Callaway has blazing speed like I made reference to last week and now he has a QB who can get him the ball and is accurate. Right now Callaway is all speed but he has the gifts to be a great WR in the NFL. It doesn’t hurt that Callaway led the team in snaps (68) & was second in targets (10) Thursday night.
Tyler Boyd (ESPN 23% / Yahoo 17%)
Heading into the season the forgotten man out in Cincinnati was Tyler Boyd after the offseason John Ross had. The third-year pro out of Pittsburgh has been exceptional early on and has become the Bengals clear #2 WR. Boyd has scored in back to back games, is second on the team in targets (26), and leads all Bengals WRs in snaps (157) after AJ missed time with an injury last week. With the soft passing schedule, the Red Rifle is going to be facing over the next 5 weeks and the potential injury to AJ Green, Boyd is a must own.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Jordy Nelson (ESPN 66%/ Yahoo 52%)
I get it Jordy went bananas on Sunday to the tune of 6/173/1 but when you look closer outside of a small window in which Jordy did all his damage he was relatively quiet the rest of the way. Jordy had 2/73/1 on the Raiders first drive and then had 139 yards only 6 minutes into the game. Miami adjusted and started covering him and things slowed down from there. The Raiders offense is not good enough to support multiple fantasy relevant players. I am fading Nelson this week and forcing him to prove to me that this was not a fluke.
BONUS: Christian Kirk (ESPN 6% / Yahoo 3%)
Just like Mayfield last week go get Kirk before anyone else in your league notices he is good and begins to get volume. Your league mates won’t look to Arizona to fill their bye week or injury needs as they have been bad so far this year. The thing that you will know that they won’t is Kirk saw the 3rd most snaps (37) last week, is 3rd in targets (14) & tied for 1st in receptions (12) on the team, and this past Sunday he led the team in targets (8). The move to Josh Rosen is huge for Kirk as he and Rosen worked a lot together all offseason. Pick him up a week early before he is number one on my list!
Tyler Eifert (ESPN 46% / Yahoo 51%)
Don’t look now but Eifert who once had 13 touchdowns back in 2015 has now led the Bengals TEs in snaps in back to back games and was tied for 2nd on the team in targets (8) this past Sunday. Eifert is an immense talent who’s last few seasons have been lost due to injuries. It looks like the Bengals are slowly working him in this season and it feels like they are going to let go of his leash any week now. Eifert is a premier TE in a potent passing game and is a must-own in all formats.
Ricky Seals-Jones (ESPN 9% / Yahoo 22%)
Arizona has been awful the first 3 weeks and RSJ’s numbers show it. RSJ has 8/71/1 on the season but just like in Cleveland a rookie QB is here to save him! RSJ’s prayers have been answered and the rookie binky that is the TE is going to see an uptick in offensive play volume and targets. The TE pool is thin so why not take a flyer on RSJ if you got the roster space and see what happens. Even in PPR leagues the floor to be a TE is still extremely low weekly.
Vance McDonald (ESPN 13% / Yahoo 12%)
McDonald just got done torching the helpless Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary and was able to produce one of the most memorable catches and run moments of the season. The play of the game was a catch and run of 75 yards for a touchdown which had one of the best stiff arms you will ever see. McDonald in all saw 5 targets and turned that into a stat line of 4/112/1. I’ve always been a big fan of McDonald’s athletic profile and if he can get the starting job away from Jesse James he has tremendous early season upside at TE.
Weel that will do it for Week 4 of the Waiver Wire. Don’t forget to get those waiver claims in and thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it. You can find me on Twitter @Trotta23. If you need EVEN more fantasy advice, you can follow us on Twitter @TFFGurus & you can find all our season-long advice at www.tffgurus.com. I will see you all next Tuesday for another edition of The Waiver Wire. Until then may the health gods be forever in your favor.