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Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 4


Three weeks into the season we can start to finally suss out the difference between flukes and trends. If a player has one or two unexpectedly great games to start the year, that could be a coincidence. If a player has three straight? That's a sign they're balling capabilities ought to be taken seriously.

And the same is true for players you may be holding onto that haven't lived up to expectations through these first three weeks. Sure, it could be a spate of bad matchups. Or maybe this just isn't their year and you need to move on. If you decide to officially cut bait on those downward-trending players, might I suggest scooping up some of these hidden gems?

The following players are owned in approximately 10% or fewer of Yahoo leagues, so they won't be the flashiest names on the market. But if you're looking for a good spot start for an injured player or just need some high upside lottery tickets, these are your guys. Let's look at some potential waiver wire adds in deep leagues.

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Free Agent Quarterbacks

Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints - 6% owned

I listed Bridgewater in this space last week, but since so few of you listened, he still qualifies as a deep league waiver add. In his first start since Week 17 of last season, Bridgewater proved to be a more-than-capable game manager. That term never sounds exciting for fantasy purposes, but when a game manager has two of the greatest short-yardage receivers in the NFL at his disposal, it can work pretty well. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas give Bridgewater a respectable week-to-week floor as a fill-in.

Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers - 3% owned

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has already announced that Kyle Allen will get the start against the Houston Texans this Sunday as Cam Newton rests his injured foot. Allen fired darts all day long against a suspect Cardinals Defense, racking up 261 yards and four touchdowns on the day. Houston's defense isn't nearly as thin, though the unit has given up the 10th-most passing yards in the league, just slightly better than Arizona in that category. If you need a spot start at a decimated QB position, you could do worse than Allen. With Cam evidently being a week-to-week decision, you may get more than just one more start out of him.

 

Free Agent Running Backs

Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers - 9% owned

It seems the Mike McCarthy era isn't as fully in the rearview as many wanted to believe. At least, not when it comes to the frustrating and quizzical timeshare between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Despite the obvious gap in talent, Williams saw more rushing attempts and targets than Jones in Sunday's matchup with the Broncos. It seems head coach Matt LaFleur wasn't bloviating when he said he wanted to even up the touch counts between his two backs. Outside of a few early game drives, the Green Bay offense has been unusually stifled so far this season. That should change as their schedule starts to open up, which makes Williams a reasonable flex play if the backfield split continues this way.

Wayne Gallman, New York Giants - 7% owned

Fantasy owners' worst fears were realized this past Sunday when Saquon Barkley went down with a high-ankle sprain. The heart of the Giants' offense, Barkley will miss at least a handful of weeks, though there's no distinct timetable in place for his return. Gallman didn't look great in his stead and his matchups don't get much easier in the immediate future. But based on his massive projected workload, the third-year back should be picked up everywhere.

Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs - 7% owned

Andy Reid is who we thought he was: A head coach with zero loyalty to his depth chart. With Damien Williams sidelined it was actually Darrell Williams --not Darwin Thompson or LeSean McCoy -- who led the way in rushing and receiving yards out of the Kansas City backfield. Granted, it was nearly a 50/50 split between Williams and McCoy in terms of total touches, but the discrepancy in production was noticeable. The other thing we know about Andy Reid is that he's willing to roll with a replacement running back long after his initial starter is healthy and ready to go. We saw it play out with Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt. Scoop up Darrel Williams and hope that trend continues.

 

Free Agent Wide Receivers

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills - 8% owned

No, you're not going to feel great about starting him. But yes, you should absolutely pick him up at this point. It doesn't matter what uniform he's wearing or which quarterback is throwing him the ball, Beasley is going to get peppered with targets. He's already on pace for 123 targets and 91 receptions, which would be career-best numbers for the eighth-year receiver. He's pretty much a lock for 10 points each week in PPR formats. That kind of security is nice to have in this topsy turvy game we play.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers - 4% owned

We don't know who the preferred target is Mason Rudolph behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. That simple unknown makes rookie Diontae Johnson worth a stash on your bench heading into a juicy matchup with Cincinnati on Monday Night Football. The Bengals have allowed the sixth-most points, making this a potential bounceback game for the Steelers. Johnson was just one target behind Smith-Schuster and has an opportunity to separate himself from the pack as the No 2 option.

Damiere Byrd, Arizona Cardinals - 1% owned

The supposed high-flying attack of Kliff Kingsbury and company hasn't translated to the kind of widespread fantasy relevance many of us hoped for Arizona's wide receivers. That may change as the rookie quarterback gets used to orchestrating it. If it does, Damiere Byrd should be one of the biggest beneficiaries. Byrd played more snaps than any other Cardinals receiver this past Sunday and has seen 18 targets through the first three games. The recently-acquired Michael Crabtree was even more recently released, which can only mean good things for Byrd.

 

Free Agent Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones, Cleveland Browns - 1% owned

Often with tight ends, we're left to chase either points or injuries. This week it's injuries. David Njoku was placed on IR, which means the earliest game he'll be available to play is Week 12. The Browns offense hasn't looked like a world-beating squad by any stretch of the imagination, but they definitely want to throw the ball a lot. And though fellow tight end Demetrius Harris has far out-snapped Seals-Jones, the latter is a significantly better pass-catcher. If he can wiggle his way into some more snaps, Seals-Jones could end up having some solid games down the road.

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