Check out the most
popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands
of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on
your waiver wire this week by using the MFL
Power feature at FF Today. Just input your
league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.
The 49ers lost RB Jerick McKinnon and will
now push forward with C.J. Beathard at quarterback.
Carr, OAK – Carr (just 20-25 percent owned) was more
effective Sunday than he would have been if Miami safety Reshad
Jones had been active, but the veteran QB is starting to form
some rapport with WR Jordy Nelson and is an obvious QB2 pickup
for fantasy owners who just lost Jimmy Garappolo (suspected torn
ACL). Carr threw for 345-1-2 on Sunday and the Raiders get more
desperate for wins, he’ll throw even more.
Smith, WAS – Smith’s Week 3 was not exciting (220-2-1)
but he notched a win over the Packers, added 20 rushing yards
and didn’t turn the ball over. He’s probably a safer option than
Carr and Manning in terms of his statistical floor, and there’s
still some upside in the right matchup. He’s a sneaky option on
the waiver wire this week because Washington gets a Week 4 bye,
but the veteran QB should build on Sunday's effort with a more
aggressive game plan once his team returns to action in Week 5
to face the Saints.
Manning, NYG – Perhaps benching OL Ereck Flowers was
a good first step for the Giants, who beat Houston 27-22 on Sunday,
with Manning (10-15 percent owned) throwing for 297-2-0 on 25-for-29
passing. Eli isn’t a flashy option but could also fill the void
on fantasy teams looking for a backup QB.
Mayfield, CLE – We’ll learn a lot more about Mayfield
when he’s given the starting reins in Week 4 against the Raiders,
but the rookie looked sharp on throws into tight spots. He’ll
be popular on the waiver wire this week. He’s 5-10 percent owned
but that number could easily triple and approach 50 percent heading
into the Week 4 games.
Beathard, SF - With Jimmy Garoppolo (ACL) likely done
for the year, Beathard is next up on the depth chart. His 55 percent
completion rate along with 4 TDs and 6 INTS in six games last
season doesn't inspire confidence. I would avoid Beathard and
hope the 49ers take a shot at Colin Kaepernick.
Dalton, CIN – The Bengals dropped their first game,
losing 31-21 to the Panthers, and Dalton ended up with four picks,
two of which can be dismissed as not his fault. But, the 352-2-4
line made him a viable fantasy QB despite the turnovers. Unfortunately,
A.J. Green left the game early with a groin injury and Joe Mixon
is still on the shelf, seriously hindering Dalton’s upside in
next week’s matchup with the Falcons.
UPDATE: With another defensive
back down for the count (Ricardo Allen heading to IR with a torn
Achilles), the Falcons secondary is in shambles. Dalton’s
matchup is solid even if he’s missing A.J. Green this week.
Bortles, JAC – Bortles completed 21-of-34 passes for
155 yards and rushed for 27 yards on five carries in Sunday's
9-6 loss to the Titans. The Jags get the Jets next week in what
could also be a low-scoring game, and the offensive inconsistency
makes Bortles hard to trust.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco (7-10 percent owned) threw for
277-1-0 in the win over Denver and has a more favorable matchup
in Week 4 against the division rival Steelers. He’s worth a look
in 12-14 team leagues.
Johnson, DET – It’s safe to say that some impatient
fantasy owners probably dropped Johnson after a quiet first two
weeks where he ran for just 61 yards, because his ownership was
sitting around 65-75 percent before Sunday night’s game with New
England. But, his work was limited in those weeks and his Week
3 numbers (101 rushing yards on 16 carries; 2-9-0 receiving) showed
he can tote the rock as Detroit’s lead back. He needs to be rostered
in all formats.
Carson, SEA – Like Johnson, Carson’s first two lackluster
weeks likely found him on a few more waivers wires than is appropriate
for a player with his level of opportunity. The 24-year-old is
healthy is owned in about 70-75 percent of leagues, is able to
shoulder a big load and has no clear-cut back that’s outperformed
him in the Seattle backfield. He out-touched Rashaad Penny by
an overwhelming 34-3 margin and finished with 102 yards and a
TD on 32 carries (adding 2-22-0 receiving) in the win over Dallas.
With Penny in Pete Carroll’s doghouse after botching a handoff
in the first half, we could be seeing a lot of Carson in Week
4 in a favorable matchup against the Cards.
Ekeler, LAC – I own him in a couple leagues and have
been pleasantly surprised at his effectiveness despite a lack
of volume. He’s a must-own in all formats given his latent value
and the fact that he’s still getting some looks in this potent
offense. At times, Ekeler (50-60 percent owned) looks just as
good as Melvin Gordon and would also be an immediate RB1 should
Gordon ever miss time.
Allen, BAL –UPDATE:
Allen’s value is largely tied to his TD production, but
he does make a few catches each game and his ownership level is
still remarkably low for a guy with rushing TDs in three consecutive
games. Other than Alex Collins between the 20s, there’s
nobody to stand in his way until Kenneth Dixon returns from IR.
Bernard, CIN – Bernard rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown
on 12 carries and caught 5-of-9 targets for 25 yards in the Bengals'
Week 3 loss to Carolina. Mark Walton, who barely made the team,
touched the ball just once, so it appears that Bernard is the
workhorse while Mixon remains on the shelf. There is an outside
chance that Mixon will return for Week 4 against the Falcons,
but it looks, for now, as if Bernard will be on the RB1 radar
given his pass-catching ability and role in a Mixon-less backfield.
UPDATE: It’s still ambitious to think that Mixon could
return in Week 4, so plan on Bernard at least getting plenty of
passing down work and being flex-viable.
Ivory, BUF – The veteran back rushed 20 times for 56
yards and hauled in 3-70-0 in the Bills’ unexpected Week 3 win
over the Vikings. If LeSean McCoy (ribs) remains out, Ivory should
get the starting nod and most of the work going forward. He’s
never been known as a receiving back so the latest dimension of
utility should be a promising one for those who grabbed him last
week. Fortunately, he’s still only 5-10 percent owned and should
be popular this week as the Bills head to Green Bay.
UPDATE: No word on McCoy’s status for the tilt with Green
Bay, but it’s likely they give him at least another week
Clement, PHI – Clement didn’t quite seize the opportunity
with Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles out, rushing for just 56 yards
on 16 carries and adding 3-19-0 in a win over Indy. Stay tuned
to see where the Eagles backfield depth is at heading into the
Week 4 tilt with Tennessee.
UPDATE: Clement’s value takes an obvious hit with both
Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles slated to return this week.
White, NE – White rushed four times for 37 yards and
added 3-14-1 receiving but could be looking at more snaps on passing
downs moving forward with Rex Burkhead dealing with a neck injury.
Powell, NYJ – Powell (60-65 percent owned) hasn’t been
as statistically productive as TD vulture Isaiah Crowell the first
few weeks but rushed for 73 yards on 14 carries in Week 3. This
appears to be a hot hand-type of offensive role with Crowell leading
the way, especially near the goal line.
Mack, IND – Mack was out for Week 3 against the Eagles
with foot and hamstring injuries.
UPDATE: The Colts released Christine Michael this week, hinting
that they believe Mack is ready to return to action.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Williams, LAC – The talented Williams posted a 4-81-2
in the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to the Rams, taking full advantage
of Travis Benjamin's absence with a couple scores. The first came
on a diving end-zone catch that should help boost his visibility
moving forward, as well as his ownership rate, currently hovering
in the 30-40 percent range. Williams fought with back injuries
much of last season and is finally healthy and showing some of
the upside that made him a highly coveted NFL prospect at Clemson.
Even with Benjamin coming back, Williams should be owned in all
Godwin, TB –UPDATE:
Godwin wasn’t perfect Monday night (he did have a costly
fumble) but the talented receiver finished with 5-74-1, the TD
being an athletic catch in the end zone in crunch time. He’s
getting regular red zone looks and this offense is simply too
high-powered not to have each of its rotating components rostered
in 12-team leagues. I feel bad for telling someone NOT to acquire
Godwin earlier in the comments, but I had a hard time seeing how
a third WR on a team that rotates its receiving personnel would
have consistent value. After watching him play Monday night, I
understand why his 35-40 percent ownership rate is climbing.
Nelson, OAK – Nelson is owned in about two-thirds of
fantasy leagues and is coming off a huge Week 3 performance (6-173-1
on 8 targets). He did most of his damage early with a couple monster
catches and seems to finally be clicking with Carr. He should
be owned in all 12-team leagues and has plenty of upside facing
the Browns in Week 4.
Lockett, SEA – I really liked Lockett’s prospects heading
into Week 4 but couldn’t pull the trigger on starting him on one
12-team league. He responded with 4-77-1 in the win over Dallas
and should have excellent WR3/4 value, albeit TD-dependent value
– while Baldwin is out. He’s owned in about 65-75 percent of leagues,
so if he’s still available, you’d better jump on it.
Kirk, ARI – The rookie was clearly Josh Rosen’s favorite
target, hauling in 7-of-8 targets for 90 yards in Sunday’s Week
3 loss to the Bears. If Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) continues
to struggle and Rosen gets the starting nod moving forward, Kirk
will be a WR3/4 option without the upside of a more experienced
WR on a team without much offensive potency.
Eifert, CIN –UPDATE:
Eifert is owned in just 40-60 percent of leagues, and the recent
injury to A.J. Green makes him a viable addition in plenty of
formats. He snagged 6-74-0 on Sunday and his snap count continues
to grow. As long as he’s healthy, he’s a solid low-end
Goedert, PHI – The rookie TE was actually benched last
week, but made a huge splash with Carson Wentz under center, going
for 7-73-1 on 7 targets in the Week 3 win over Indy. Perhaps he’ll
fill the Trey Burton role in the offense and move into the TE1
conversation before long. He’s universally available in fantasy
McDonald, PIT –UPDATE:
I’m kicking myself for dropping him after a couple weeks
in one of my 12-team leagues (even though I have Gronk), because
he would have been a great flex play instead of Rex Burkhead and
would have notched me a win in Week 3 with his Monday night heroics
(4-112-1; including a devastating stiff-arm that flattened Chris
Conte on his 75-yard TD catch-and-run). I’d like to hit
undo and get him back, but that 10-15 percent ownership rate is
going to skyrocket.
Shepard, NYG – Shepard is owned in about 70 percent
of fantasy leagues but could still be out there in shallow formats.
He’s a talented receiver who benefits from coverage of Odell Beckham
and his target volume should increase if TE Evan Engram (knee)
misses any time.
Ridley, ATL – Wow. Ridley went off for 7-146-3 on 8
targets and added a 9-yard rush, making him the top scoring WR
in fantasy during Week 3 despite being 40 percent owned and starting
in just 5-10 percent of fantasy leagues against the Saints. He’s
definitely worth WR3/flex status heading into Week 4 facing the
Bengals and needs to be owned in all formats following his breakout.
Boyd, CIN – It was a good week for some of my WR recommendations,
with Boyd going for 6-132-1 in the loss to Carolina. His ownership
(20-25 percent) should skyrocket this week after TDs in consecutive
weeks, and the matchup with Atlanta is a favorable one. Keep an
eye on Green’s status as his absence could boost Boyd’s target
UPDATE: Green said he expects to play Week 4, but we’ll
have to wait until the injury report for a clearer picture. Either
way, Boyd has been playing well.
Cole, JAC – Cole disappointed with just 5-40-0 on 9
targets in a low-energy loss to the Titans. This offense is very
difficult to predict and that makes Cole a volatile WR3/4 moving
Golladay, DET – Golladay continued his breakout season
with 6-53-1 on 7 targets from Matthew Stafford Sunday night, getting
more snaps in two-WR sets for the Lions. He’s a WR3 with WR2 upside
heading into Week 4 against the Cowboys.
Westbrook, JAC – Westbrook had 3-31-0 and shares similar
upside with Donte Moncrief, the Jags other main receiver alongside
Cole. For now, he’s only an option in deeper formats and
as a dart throw in DFS.
James, PIT –UPDATE: James was relatively quiet
(1-7-0) on Sunday with McDonald drawing most of Big Ben’s
TE targets. He’s on the watch list for now.