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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Cousins, WAS – Cousins, who is owned in about 75-85
percent of fantasy leagues, was dropped by a fed-up owner during
waivers in my 14-team league and acquired by another owner the
minute he became a free agent at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. I
wish it had been me that snagged him, as the Washington QB threw
for 296-2-0 in a win over the Giants in Week 2. Cousins isn’t
a sure thing in any week, but he’s got a bevy of explosive weapons
and this is a passing team that will fall behind opponents. He
needs to be owned in all formats and gets the hapless Browns in
Prescott, DAL – Prescott had an efficient game Sunday
night, throwing for 248-1-0 on 19-for-24 passing and adding 36
rushing yards and a TD on the ground. With Tony Romo nearing a
possible mid-season return, the rookie may not be the QB following
the Cowboys’ Week 7 bye – but he’s got an excellent matchup in
Week 4 against the Niners and is a top streaming option.
UPDATE: Despite Dez Bryant’s
apparent knee injury, Prescott seems adept at distributing the
ball to all his receivers and could be a top 10 fantasy QB in
Week 4 (@SF).
Wentz, PHI – Wentz was the reason the aforementioned
owner dropped Cousins, and while the rookie signal caller improved
to 3-0 after a 301-2-0 performance in a stunning blowout of the
Steelers, the Eagles are on a bye in Week 4. Wentz is just 25-40
percent owned, percentages that are sure to increase even in a
Siemian, DEN – Siemian (just 5-15 percent owned) was
a top fantasy QB in Week 3, throwing for 312-4-0 in the win over
Cincinnati. He’s clicking with Emmanuel Sanders and keeping Paxton
Lynch waiting in the wings. Undefeated as a starter, Siemian is
a must-own in two-QB leagues and takes his talents to Tampa Bay
for Week 4, a plus matchup that warrants consideration in all
Gabbert, SF – If you’re looking for a spot starter
in Week 4 in two-QB leagues or feel like rolling the dice on a
good matchup, Gabbert takes on the Cowboys in San Francisco –
where he beat the Rams in Week 1. While he struggled in Seattle
last week, this may be an opportunity for Gabbert to follow a
similar narrative to Brian Hoyer on Sunday night, when the veteran
backup threw for 317-2-0 during the loss to Dallas.
Bradford, MIN – Bradford completed 18-of-28 passes
for 171 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota's 22-10, Week 3 win
over the Panthers. He’s a mid-range QB2 option in Week 4 facing
the Giants on Monday night.
Tannehill, MIA – The Dolphins squeaked out an OT victory
over Cleveland and Tannehill threw for 319-3-2 with a lost fumble.
He’s a risk-reward streaming option next week facing the Bengals.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco disappointed in a favorable matchup
(214-0-2; 12 rushing yards, TD), which is pretty much standard
procedure at this point. Next week likely portends a similar fate
as the Ravens get the Raiders at home. But this week nobody will
be on him and he’ll probably throw six TD passes.
Hoyer, CHI – If Cutler (thumb) misses Week 4, Hoyer
(1-5 percent owned) could also be used in two-QB leagues, as a
desperation spot starter or GPP tourney stab in DFS against the
Jordan Howard's role is set to expand with
Jeremy Langford wearing a walking boot on his ankle.
Howard, CHI – Jeremy Langford was carted off with an
ankle injury on Sunday night, vaulting Howard into must-own territory
in all-formats. The powerfully built rookie impressed in limited
duty against the Cowboys, rushing for 45 yards on nine carries
and adding 4-47-0 on six targets. At just 15-50 percent owned
(there’s a huge disparity depending on waiver process and whether
or not players can be added after Sunday afternoon lock), he’ll
be the top RB add of the week and can be a workhorse for the Bears
as they search for an offensive identity.
UPDATE: Langford will miss 4-6 weeks with a high-ankle sprain
and with Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring) also fighting an injury,
Howard will be shouldering a huge workload over the next several
Artis-Payne, CAR – CAP, as he’s often called, rushed
12 times for 47 yards and added an 11-yard reception in the loss
to the Vikings. In the absence of Jonathan Stewart, he’ll continue
to operate as the lead back and faces the Falcons in Week 4 –
a good matchup to exploit.
Washington, DET -UPDATE:
Lions HC Jim Caldwell was upset at the offensive line for not
giving Theo Riddick more room to run against the Packers and he’s
still the more valuable back, especially in PPR leagues. But Washington
looked better as a runner in Week 3 and will assume a bigger role
moving forward. He matched Riddick’s 10 carries on Sunday
and appears to be lining up as an upside RB3/FLEX play against
the Bears in Week 4.
Smallwood, PHI – Heading into Week 3 Smallwood was
listed as the team’s No. 4 RB, but rushed for 79 yards and a TD
on 17 carries with Ryan Mathews sidelined and Darren Sproles acting
as a scatback/WR. The Week 4 bye will keep his adds low, but we’ve
seen Mathews throw away opportunities and fall out of favor before.
He’s a deep-league add with upside in a bigger role moving forward.
Kenjon Barner had eight carries for 42 yards and a TD and is also
UPDATE: HC Doug Pederson confirmed Mathews is dealing with stiffness
and swelling in the ankle he injured prior to training camp. He’ll
be back after the Week 4 bye, but will be part of a more evenly
distributed timeshare with Darren Sproles and Smallwood.
Darkwa, NYG – He’s not a versatile option and has severely
limited upside, but Darkwa (53 rushing yards and a TD on 10 carries
in Week 3) could be in line for continued work in the Giants’
offense should Rashad Jennings miss additional time.
UPDATE: Well, that escalated quickly. With the news that Shane
Vereen (torn triceps) will miss at least the next two months and
possibly the remainder of the season, the Giants will need to
cobble together a running game using Jennings – who the
team is optimistic could return for Week 4 – and a mixture
of Darkwa, Bobby Rainey and rookie Paul Perkins (listed as a healthy
scratch the first two weeks). Ben McAdoo said Perkins is “ready
to step up” but will be part of a committee.
Ajayi, MIA – Arian Foster is still week-to-week and
Ajayi had seven carries for 28 yards and a TD in Miami's Week
3 win over the Browns. This was a full-blown RBBC situation, as
Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams also saw touches.
UPDATE: Foster still isn’t ready and Ajayi played the best
of the backs in Week 3, so he might get a few more carries against
the Bengals on Thursday.
Whittaker, CAR – Whittaker (five carries for 22 rushing
yards; 5-34-0) was out-touched by CAP and remains a fringe fantasy
option with the current depth chart shakeout.
Morris, DAL – Morris rushed for 15 yards and a TD on
five carries Sunday. He’s a top handcuff to Ezekiel Elliott in
McKinnon & Matt
Asiata, MIN – Asiata rushed six times for 15 yards
in the Vikings’ Week 3 win over the Pantherd, adding a 4-yard
reception. Asiata drew the start but got out-touched 17-7 by McKinnon
and saw fewer snaps. Asiata sets up to be the frustrating goal-line
vulture to McKinnon’s versatile workhorse, making both average
RB4s with matchup-specific RB3/flex upside.
Farrow & Andre
Williams, SD – Farrow didn’t get a touch and Andre
Williams was released after the Chargers picked up Dexter McCluster
on Wednesday. With Melvin Gordon handling a heavier workload,
McCluster is a handcuff and bench stash in PPR leagues.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
White, CHI – White had a relatively pedestrian 6-62-0
in the loss to Dallas, but was targeted 14 times by Hoyer – a
sign that he’s getting more involved in the offense. Chicago offers
a venue where whomever can step up will be a big part of the game
plan, and I’m bullish about White’s prospects in 2016, based on
his size and talent.
Pryor, CLE – Pryor stepped up after the midweek loss
of Corey Coleman and busted out for 8-144-0 on 14 targets from
Cody Kessler, adding four rushes for 21 yards and a TD, and 35
passing yards after completing three of five attempts. He’s worth
adding in all formats.
Parker, MIA – Despite a productive Week 2, Parker is
still available in about 10-25 percent of fantasy leagues. He
had another solid week with 3-51-1 in the Week 3 OT win over the
Browns, and will be a frequently targeted red zone option.
UPDATE: Jarvis Landry (shoulder) was listed as a non-participant
in the Dolphins' Monday practice, but is expected to play Thursday
night. Still, Parker’s value is on the upswing.
Humphries, TB – Humphries saw 12 targets from Jameis
Winston and hauled in 9-100-0 in the loss to Los Angeles. He’s
nearly universally available but has seen his role expand recently,
as Vincent Jackson appears a little too long in the tooth for
fantasy upside. Jackson has just 9-99-0 on 22 targets through
three weeks, while Humphries has operated out of the slot and
has 18-167-0 on 25 targets (which increased each week: 5/8/12)
over the past three games.
Graham, SEA – Graham (70-85 percent owned) had his
best game since Week 6 of last season, catching six passes for
100 yards and a TD. Russell Wilson’s relative health will have
an impact in his production this season, but the veteran TE’s
knee injury appears to be behind him. He’s a low-end TE1 with
Rudolph, MIN – Rudolph has emerged as a solid TE1 option
with Bradford at QB. He finished with 7-70-1 on 10 targets and
has been targeted a total of 26 times through three games in 2016.
Miller, CHI – Miller hauled in 8-78-2 on nine targets
in the loss to Dallas, though much of that came in the second
half with Dallas out in front by a couple scores. As I mentioned,
the Bears will likely get the ball to whomever is healthy and
producing – something the unexciting but steady Miler has shown
a knack for over the years.
Brate, TB – Brate exploded for 5-46-2 following the
abrupt release of Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He won’t produce like
that every week, but should get more opportunities in the red
zone moving forward.
Diggs, MIN – Diggs missed practice Friday and had a
groin injury that may have limited him during Sunday’s game –
despite not being listed on the injury report. He finished Week
3 with 4-40-0 on seven targets.
Coleman, CLE – Coleman broke his hand in practice on
Wednesday and will miss 4-6 more weeks.
Austin, LAR – Austin had a solid Week 3 with 5-82-1
on eight targets, adding 22 rushing yards on two carries in the
win over the Bucs. He’s a WR3/4 with plenty of upside in 12-team
Dorsett, IND – Dorset failed to capitalize on the absence
of Donte Moncrief, hauling in just 3-27-0 on four targets from
Andrew Luck. He may become more involved as the season continues,
but he’s too risky to play in most formats.
Enunwa, NYJ – Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t have it in Week
3, and Enunwa’s stats (4-37-0 on a game-high 11 targets) suffered
as a result. Enunwa played through a rib injury and looked fine
fighting for extra yards during as couple of his catches.
Beasley, DAL – Beasley is turning into a steady fantasy
contributor, posting 7-73-0 and catching all seven of his targets
from Prescott. He’s assuming a Wes Welker-like role in the offense
(20-213-0 on 25 targets this season) and should be owned in all
formats, especially PPR leagues.
Crowder, WAS – Crowder is coming into his own as a
slot option for Kirk Cousins. He finished with 4-78-1 on seven
targets, including a 55-yard TD that gave Washington the lead
in the third quarter.
Tamme, ATL –UPDATE: Tamme caught 3-of-4 targets for
28 yards in the Falcons' Week 3 win over the Saints on Monday
night but remains a popular target for Ryan and the Falcons offense
moving forward. He’s looking like a high-end TE2 in Week
4 against the Panthers..
Pitta, BAL – Pitta had 6-42-0 on eight targets but
failed to find paydirt in the win over Jacksonville. He’s a low-end
TE1/high-end TE2 going forward.