Week 4 Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

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It turns out that the unlikely Thursday night shootout between the Rams and 49ers was just a sign of things to come, as Week 3 opened with an odd 44-7 shellacking of the Ravens by the Jaguars in London. No, you’re not chasing Marcedes Lewis, but it’s nice to see Blake Bortles alive, eh? Seattle is now the Chris Carson show and Joe Mixon looks to be getting a real chance under Bill Lazor’s offense in Cincinnati. Most of us need deeper adds than that, though, so here we are! Unfortunately, there isn't much to see here, so don't be afraid to let others reach and drop 5+ FAAB bucks. As a wise robot in a fantastic 1980s movie once said, "the only winning move is not to play." I still like these guys, but don't break the bank.

Below are my Week 4 waiver wire pickups, or free agents to consider adding to your fantasy football teams. I provide information on players that are owned in roughly 35% of Yahoo leagues or less, so that you can make an educated decision about who to add to your squad.

Be sure to also check out our positional waiver wire analysis columns, with in-depth analysis for all options heading into Week 4. Now let’s look around the league at many names who are worth mentioning as Week 4 approaches.

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Quarterbacks - Week 4 Waiver Wire

DeShaun Watson (QB, HOU) - 14% owned (1% FAAB)

Watson’s best game in the NFL forced Tom Brady and the Patriots up against the fence, though the reigning champs would pull out the win in the end. It was a truly impressive day as the rookie threw for 301 yards (he threw for a combined 227 in his first two games) while chipping in 41 more on the ground with two passing TDs and two interceptions.

The Patriots did their usual deal of taking away DeAndre Hopkins, but Watson was able to make do with the likes of Ryan Griffin and D’Onta Foreman out of the backfield. If you haven’t seen the play where Watson eluded four pass rushers and found Foreman for a 31-yard gain then I suggest you do so. Week 4 against the Titans could be another big spot, as that defense just allowed Seattle’s passing game to get back on track after a woeful start.

DeShone Kizer (QB, CLE) - 9% owned (1% FAAB)

It’s going to be a bad habit to analyze a quarterback after facing this current iteration of the Colts defense -- especially one with 47 pass attempts -- but the rookie showed some important things here. He overcame eight drops to post 242 passing yards with two touchdowns alongside three interceptions, but the big draw is the seven rushes for 44 yards and a ground score.

He’s rushed the ball at least five times in each of his first three pro games and has scored in two of them, which gives him some nice floor despite the questionable play through the air. While the Bengals looked better in Week 3, they’re still scuffling a bit and are now coming off of a terrible OT loss to the Packers. Week 5 against the Jets is another bright spot, despite Jay Cutler’s best Jay Cutler impersonation on Sunday.

*I like Jared Goff (12% owned) but his next four weeks before the Rams’ Week 8 bye is: @DAL, SEA, @JAX, ARI. That doesn’t read well.

 

Running Backs - Week 4 Waiver Wire

Jamaal Charles (RB, DEN) - 33% owned (3% FAAB)

Charles only touched the ball 10 times but parlayed that into 57 total yards and a touchdown against the Bills. Even though C.J. Anderson has run well, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and the Broncos seem to be making this more of a 50-50 split to allow each runner to be at full strength. Charles has notched between 9-10 carries in each of his first three games and is now averaging 5.1 yards per carry, making him one of the better “1B” RBs in the league that would be a premier play if something were to happen to CJA.

D’Onta Foreman (RB, HOU) - 17% owned (2% FAAB)

As we spoke about in the Watson blurb, Foreman was the recipient of two big passing plays for 65 yards, the bulk of which were yards after the catch. Lamar Miller is still the starter and Foreman only grabbed 25 yards on eight rushing attempts, but Foreman is showing strength and determination in his runs and is another handcuff worth owning given his potential and skill set.

Orleans Darkwa (RB, NYG) - 7% owned (1% FAAB)

We’re going to need to keep an eye on the health reports on Darkwa, who was forced from the Giants’ Week 3 loss to the Eagles with a back injury but had totaled 33 yards on eight touches (seven carries, one catch) before exiting. Paul Perkins would end up with 30 yards on 11 touches in the loss, as Darkwa continues to look like the superior runner behind a questionable-at-best O-line. While this stable has Giants fans yearning for the days of Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward, Darkwa could have some intrigue in a Week 4 matchup against a beat-up Bucs defense if he’s healthy.

Alex Collins (RB, BAL) - 2% owned (1% FAAB for West/Allen owners)

We can’t ignore a guy like Collins putting up 82 yards on just nine touches, even if it was largely in garbage time and on another continent. Terrance West didn’t look effective and Javorius Allen is primarily a pass-catching back, so it’s not inconceivable that Collins carves out some value as a between-the-tackles RB who could see goal-line work for this team. However, Marshal Yanda isn’t coming back in 2017 (which hurts that type of the runner the most) and being involved in a committee on this offense isn’t likely to yield much consistent value. Week 4 against the Steelers will likely require Allen the most. It’s the same story for Philadelphia’s Corey Clement, really (though Collins has a bit more going for him for fantasy value).

Mack Brown (RB, WSH) - 0% owned (1% FAAB for Kelley/Perine owners)

Brown has yet to translate his preseason studliness (he averaged 5.8 yards per carry in '16) into regular-season results but may just get a chance to work in Week 4 against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium if Rob Kelley (ribs) still can’t go and Samaje Perine’s hand injury turns out to be something serious. Brown came in at the end of the game after Perine was hurt and rushed for 27 yards on six carries, though obviously, Sunday night’s trouncing of Oakland was the Chris Thompson show first and foremost.

While Thompson looks great, the Redskins still need someone else back there to ease the workload, let alone handle the short-yardage duties. This is a very deep flier but if Brown shines and forces Washington to re-think their backfield over the Week 5 bye, then a dream date with the San Francisco defense awaits in Week 6.

 

Wide Receivers - Week 4 Waiver Wire

Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG) - 35% owned (4% FAAB)

The shimmering recommendation of Darkwa earlier should illustrate how lowly the Giants running game is thought of, but it's no secret that their entire offense is aerial at the moment. Shepard may have gotten most of his 7-133-1 statline on one 77-yard TD, but it's still one hell of a statline for a talented player. Perhaps Eli Manning and company are ready to recognize Shep as the true No. 2 receiver and Brandon Marshall as the No. 3, with Shepard operating well out of the slot as Eli's hot read. Given the amount of time Ereck Flowers and that O-line gives Manning to throw, the slot is a very important receiver in this offense. With a date against the Bucs, who have seen better days, on tap for Week 4, we could be seeing the resurgence of an emerging receiver in this game. Hopefully, they continue to feed the talent and really let Marshall fade a bit.

Devin Funchess (WR, CAR) - 20% owned (4% FAAB)

I was extremely low on Cam Newton and wasn’t afraid to speak about it early on, and his arm has done nothing but reaffirm the worries. If you listen closely, the football practically goes “quaaaaack” as it flies out from his hand. That is part of why Funchess only caught four balls on 10 targets for 58 yards, but we can’t ignore that Kelvin Benjamin is hurt and Newton isn’t even that effective of a runner anymore. Carolina’s RB stable and defense are still solid, but with Greg Olsen also out heading into a Week 4 matchup at Foxboro, the Panthers are going to need Funchess. I like his chances of seeing double-digit targets yet again, even if Benjamin is fine.

Paul Richardson (WR, SEA) - 11% owned (3% FAAB)

Richardson could only covert two of his seven targets into catches, notching 30 yards and a touchdown in a 33-27 loss to the Titans in Week 3. It was still encouraging for Seattle to see their offense start clicking, and Richardson has now found paydirt in back-to-back weeks despite totaling just four receptions in that span. While it seems that we can’t really bank on him for much, his day could’ve been much bigger if Russell Wilson could’ve found him on some of those longer targets. Doug Baldwin is dealing with a groin injury and at this point we can’t be sure of his status going into a cupcake matchup against the Colts in Week 4, meaning Richardson could be in for a perfect storm of circumstances for the receiver-needy next week.

Geronimo Allison (WR, GB) - 9% owned (2% FAAB)

With Randall Cobb out, Allison stepped up as the No. 3 receiver for Aaron Rodgers and the Pack to nab six-of-eight targets for 122 yards. Of course, 72 of those yards came on an epic scamper in overtime that would end up sealing the comeback victory. Geronimo has the talent to be a flex play in most 12-team leagues as a part of this offense, and the big thing moving forward into a Week 4 date with the Bears is the short week. Without a full extra week to recover, Cobb may not be able to suit up, which would leave Mr. Allison as a healthy play yet again. Beyond that, you’ll likely need another injury though.

Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ) - 20% owned (1% FAAB)

I don’t want this to come off like I suddenly expect Anderson to reclaim his glorious end-of-2016 form, but Sunday’s 3-95-1 line highlighted by a 69-yard touchdown does remind us that the guy can play ball a little. It was nice to see him show some improved rapport with Josh McCown, though averaging six targets per game in this offense isn’t ideal with the higher bar we set for WRs. Week 4 against Jacksonville is a bad spot, but Weeks 5 and 6 against the Browns and Patriots could line up nicely for more desperate owners.

 

Tight Ends - Week 4 Waiver Wire

Evan Engram (TE, NYG) - 38% owned (2% FAAB)

Engram has now racked up 19 targets across his first three games with yardage totals between 44-49 in each contest. While he couldn’t follow up Week 2’s touchdown with another, we can’t forget that he was one good tackle from a two-score game against Detroit and looks to be an integral part of this passing game. That didn’t mean much until this week, but things look somewhat back to normal with Odell Beckham Jr. being healthy. Philadelphia is a good defense and NYG found their footing late, and they’ll face a Bucs team that was just eviscerated by Case Keenum next week so Engram could be a decent flex play.

Charles Clay (TE, BUF) - 20% owned (2% FAAB)

Clay isn’t going to jump off the page, but did his thing in Week 3 by catching all six of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. He’s averaging six targets per game and is a steady contributor and a safety option for Tyrod Taylor, but isn’t likely to have performances that move the needle much more than this. For many of you, that’s perfectly fine. With a sweet Week 4 matchup against the Falcons (in Atlanta, no less) on deck, Clay will be a solid low-end TE1 play.

Vernon Davis (TE, WSH) - 8% owned (1% FAAB)

With Jordan Reed out, Davis stepped up and showed that he's still got plenty in the tank by catching five balls for 58 yards and a touchdown, though the free-throw celebration afterward didn't count for anything fantasy-wise. Reed is perpetually hurt so even if he bounces back and plays in Week 4 against the Chiefs, there's a good chance he gets hurt again soon. Davis is a viable TE1 streamer if Reed can't go, making him relevant.

Ryan Griffin (TE, HOU) - 1% owned (1% FAAB)

Griffin benefited from a gutted Houston TE corps and a plus matchup against the Patriots in a perfect gamescript situation, catching five-of-six targets for 61 yards and a touchdown in Foxboro. With many defenses likely to key in on DeAndre Hopkins and force the Texans to beat them elsewhere, Griffin could see roughly six targets a game moving forward and be a serviceable plug-and-play TE in Week 4 against the Titans, Week 5 against an Eric Berry-less Chiefs and Week 6 against the Browns.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, NYJ) - 4% owned (1% FAAB)

Seferian-Jenkins wasn’t in the best shape coming off his two-week suspension to begin the season, but the Jets aren’t really in a position to be picky and rolled him out there immediately. ASJ would log five catches for 31 scoreless yards on six targets, which is a pretty nice look total for the first game back. The Jets are now 1-0 with ASJ suited up, so perhaps he’s just a lucky charm? In all seriousness, he won’t be a good play in Week 4 against an electric Jaguars defense, but Week 5 against the Browns and Week 6 against the Patriots could make for some fun. Week 8 against the Falcons is another plus matchup (with a Week 7 rematch with the Dolphins wedged in there) for those speculating on strength-of-schedule data.

 

Early Defensive Streaming Candidates

  • JAX (@NYJ) - 42% owned
  • ATL (v. BUF) - 30% owned
  • CIN (@CLE) - 19% owned

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis