Running Backs Waiver Wire - Week 4 Pickups and Adds

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Week 3 saw things revert back to normalcy in the fantasy world. Just kidding, it was a ****ing mess. Not so much in the running back world, though. The studs were mostly studs, except for the one that got to play the Jets. The early waiver wire pickups have mostly paid off, except the one that got the Jags in London. Overall, not too many surprise performances from unknown RBs but there are always some interesting names to consider on the waiver wire.

This article will aim to highlight Week 4 waiver wire adds for running backs, players that you should consider targeting on your league's waiver wire if available. Running backs will be split up into three tiers - from most desirable, to most desperate. I will also include RBs at the bottom of this list that you might consider cutting in order to make room for your new additions.

Once you're done here, be sure to read about even more Week 4 waiver wire analysis columns, with in-depth analysis for all fantasy-relevant positions.

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Frontrunners for Week 4 - Waiver Wire Running Backs

This group consists of running backs that I would strongly recommend adding if they are available on your waiver wire. Some are more viable for PPR formats, so take note of that. These players have either earned a greater workload due to injury/performance issues or have shown that they can be weekly contributors to their NFL teams. All players listed have 50% or less ownership levels across Yahoo leagues.

Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles - 4% owned

LeGarrette Blount woke up in Week 3, running for more yards (67) than he had in the first two weeks combined (47). That would seem to be a bad sign for Smallwood, but his usage was actually higher than Blount and he wound up with more rushing yards too (71). The main reason is that Darren Sproles, who may have suffered a broken arm, left the game early. He joins Donnel Pumphrey as another pass-catching RB that could hit IR for the Eagles. A suddenly crowded backfield just shrank significantly. While Smallwood has limited experience in the role and only caught six passes all of last year, he is better suited for the job than rookie Corey Clement, who might not be trusted on passing situations just yet because of blocking responsibilities. Plus, in four years at Wisconsin, he had a high of 14 receptions in a full season. Over seven full NFL seasons, Blount has never caught more than 15 passes total and he's obviously suited to be an early-down back. By default, Smallwood could increase his PPR value and become a valuable flex play each week.

Jamaal Charles, Denver Broncos - 33% owned

Charles is still the backup in Denver, or is he? He's proving effective enough in the change-of-pace role that he suddenly is out-carrying C.J. Anderson (9-8 in Week 3). Charles scored his first touchdown as a Bronco on a 12-yard scamper against the Bills. He only rushed nine times, but maintained his all-time elite Y/A average by putting up 56 yards on those attempts and is over five yards per carry over the first three weeks. It will remain a timeshare as long as Anderson is healthy and he won't get as much goal-line work, but Charles is the type of back that doesn't need a short field to score, as he proved once again.

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints - 40% owned

Another timeshare without a clear resolution in sight, Kamara is third in line for carries and only rushed twice in Week 3. Why is he on this list? Like his idol, Marshall Faulk, Kamara is going to be just as heavily involved in the passing game and showed he has the speed to take it to the house. He picked up 37 yards on two attempts, including his first NFL touchdown on a 25-yard burst down the sideline. If you're in a full-PPR league with flex positions, he is at least worth owning.

 

In The Running - Week 4 Waiver Wire Running Backs

This group consists of running backs widely available on the waiver wire who aren't must-adds, but could be worth stashing or streaming if the frontrunners are already taken in your league.

Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals - 46% owned

He hasn't played yet this week, so this is speculation based on pure opportunity. Johnson wasn't in the team's plans, but he could already supplant Kerwynn Williams as the lead back with another decent performance. Yes, we're not even shooting for good here, just decent. Williams has a 2.3 Y/A average in 14 carries, while Johnson is at 4.0 Y/A in 11 carries. Not a huge sample size, but if one RB has the track record to fall back on, it's clearly Johnson. You won't be excited to have him on your roster, but he could be the running back with the best path to a relatively high market share of carries available.

Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens - 2% owned

It's usually receivers that pile up garbage time stats on the losing side of a blowout loss, but not this week for Baltimore. In fact, it's usually Jaguars that excel in garbage stats, but they put a hurting on the Ravens in London and took all starters completely out of the equation. Collins ripped off a couple of long runs and collected 82 yards on nine attempts. He's had issues with ball security, but John Harbaugh seems intrigued by his potential and may give him more run in the coming weeks.

Branden Oliver, Los Angeles Chargers - 2% owned

Oliver is the only real backup of interest in the other Los Angeles, so if Melvin Gordon's injured knee flares up again then he becomes of interest immediately. Oliver won't present nearly the same ceiling as Gordon, but he will be a presence in the passing game regardless. For now, consider him a handcuff worth considering if you're a Gordon owner.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Tolbert (4% owned), Giovani Bernard (19% owned), C.J. Prosise (18% owned)

 

Dark Horses - Week 4 Running Backs Waiver Wire

This group consists of running backs who are strictly desperation plays. They could serve as a bye week fill-in, short-term injury replacement or weekly lottery ticket.

Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles - 1% owned

I'd love to be more excited about Clement's sudden appearance in the Eagles' backfield and touchdown run in Week 3, but it's way too early for that. Clement was only on the field for seven snaps, compared to 43 for Wendell Smallwood and 22 for LeGarrette Blount. If Darren Sproles does indeed have a broken arm, it could open up an opportunity, but Smallwood is more likely to see passing down work given his experience level. It's best not to get overzealous about the rookie right now.

Corey Grant, Jacksonville Jaguars - 0% owned

London games often produce strange results and this week was no exception. Grant, the fourth RB on Jacksonville's depth chart heading into the regular season, was the leading rusher against Baltimore. He turned six carries into 75 yards, expanding his already-healthy 4.6 career Y/A. He's clearly no threat to Leonard Fournette's bellcow status, but he could parlay his recent production into an expanded role as the backup. If nothing else, he's worth a bench spot in dynasty leagues.

D'onta Foreman, Houston Texans - 19% owned

When you tie your QB in rush attempts and the third-string TE for targets, it's usually not a good sign. In Foreman's case, it shows steadily increasing usage that presents an opportunity for value down the road. Foreman only mustered 25 yards on his eight carries, but made two big gains in the passing game and wound up with 65 yards. He is not known as a strong receiver, so it would be a mistake to think he'll be an asset in PPR leagues. He could be used a great deal if Lamar Miller goes down with injury, making him a decent handcuff. He doesn't need to be owned otherwise in redraft leagues, but is one to watch.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Breida (3% owned), Mack Brown (1% owned), Shane Vereen (22% owned)

 

Also-Rans - Time To Say Goodbye

This group consists of running backs who don't need to be owned. They aren't necessarily must-drop players, but if you need the roster space for one of the above players, don't hesitate to cut bait in order to chase upside.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 63% owned

The Muscle Hamster will make his return in another week, so the window for Rodgers to be a fantasy starter is closing fast. The running game has been non-existent in Tampa, as Rodgers only managed 15 yards on five carries in Minnesota. You don't need to drop him just yet, but it might be worth throwing him into a trade to get something back before he becomes obsolete.

Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals - 23% owned

Joe Mixon isn't exactly running away with the job and this remains an ugly three-back committee. That alone is enough to make Hill an avoid, but add in his mediocre performances and you can't justify playing him even if you own him in a really deep league. He carried a season-high seven times in Week 3 and only managed 23 yards, which is three short of his high in Week 1. 3.4 yards per carry isn't going to cut it.

Dion Lewis, New England Patriots - 6% owned

Even with Rex Burkhead out, Lewis only saw three targets and two carries in a high-scoring game. He'll hang around and make a token appearance in the box score, but he hasn't had a truly fantasy-relevant game since October of 2015.

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis