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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.
Thanks to scheme and a poor Bucs defense,
Trubisky had the benefit of wide-open receivers in Wk 4.
Goff, LAR – All you need to know is that Goff is just
69 percent owned in ESPN leagues, which means there’s around 20-25%
of competitive 10-team leagues where he’s available. He should
be owned in all formats and I suspect he won’t make another appearance
in this column once his ownership level skyrockets past 85 percent
and never looks back. This is your last chance to grab the guy
who threw for 465-5-0 on Thursday night against the Vikings. His
schedule gets a little tougher the next few weeks (@SEA, @DEN,
@SF), but he is emerging as a matchup-proof stud. It makes zero
sense that Matthew Stafford has a higher ownership percentage.
Dalton, CIN – Dalton (50-55 percent owned) is coming
off a big 337-3-1 game in Sunday’s win over the Falcons, but just
lost TE Tyler Eifert for the season to a gruesome lower leg injury
that all but assures he won’t play football until late in 2019.
But there are weapons in Cincy, and Dalton gets the Dolphins next
week. If Miami safety Reshad Jones misses another game, the whole
Bengals offense gets an upgrade.
Trubisky, CHI – Trubisky (about 15-25 percent owned)
threw for 354-6-0 and rushed for 53 yards in Chicago’s blowout
win over the Bucs, showing off some of the skills that Chicago
fans have been waiting for patiently over the past couple seasons.
He should be rostered in 12-team leagues if this is his upside
in Matt Nagy’s offense. He’s on a Week 5 bye and faces the Dolphins
in Week 6.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco looked sharp on Sunday night in
Pittsburgh, leading the Ravens to a 26-14 win with 363-2-0. His
ownership is still quite low (15-20 percent) and he matches up
with the Browns in Week 5. See what Derek Carr just did to them
Carr, OAK – His 437-4-2 shows us there’s still some
upside in the Raiders’ offense, even if the OT win came at the
expense of the Browns. He finally connected for a TD with Amari
Cooper and should be busy next week against the Chargers weak
Smith, WAS – Washington was on a Week 4 bye, but Smith
is a sneaky add as he faces the Saints in Week 5.
Manning, NYG – Manning only threw for 255-1-0 and lost
a fumble Sunday. It might be time to move on from Eli and get
a backup with more upside. He just doesn’t have the protection
to throw it downfield.
Mayfield, CLE – Mayfield finished with 295-2-2 and
two lost fumbles Sunday, mixing in some good with the bad. He’ll
have a tough matchup against the Ravens in Week 5.
Beathard, SF – 298-2-2 was a lot better than I expected
out of Beathard, and it’s obvious he’s not shy about getting it
to good buddy George Kittle. This is his upside, considering the
favorable matchup with the Chargers, though the Cards aren’t a
heck of a lot better.
Michel, NE – Sony Michel (80-85 percent) is still available
in a few leagues, and brings some needed balance to this New England
offense. With Rex Burkhead out with a neck injury, he could have
a few games like Sunday’s in the hopper. Michel ran for 112 yards
and a TD on 25 carries and gets the Colts in Week 5. He needs
to be owned in all formats, and like Jared Goff, this will be
his last appearance in the column once his ownership crests past
85 percent and stays north of that figure – even when Burkhead
Cohen, CHI – Cohen is just 60 percent owned and had
a monster day (53 rushing yards, 7-121-1 receiving) despite being
started in just 1 percent of large field, full-slate DFS contests
Sunday. He’s an explosive back and a great PPR option, and he
was included in my “other RBs to consider” last week. Hopefully
some of you took advantage in H2H and daily fantasy.
Davis, SEA – I hate the Seahawks. I was prepared for
some solid Chris Carson numbers, but they were obviously less-than-truthful
about his status heading into Sunday. “Maintenance” toward the
end of the week turned into a hip injury that made him a surprise
inactive – giving Davis (101 rushing yards and two TDs; 4-23-0
receiving) a huge workload in his stead. Davis is under 1 percent
owned and worth a look in all formats after Sunday’s monster day.
Hines, IND – The rookie had just four carries for 10
yards, but he exploded for 9-63-2 on 11 targets from Andrew Luck
in Sunday’s OT loss to Houston. My mistake was not starting him
in one 12-team PPR league as my RB2 over Peyton Barber, who’s
essentially useless these days. Hines is just 15-20 percent owned
and makes a fine grab off the wire in PPR formats.
Chubb, CLE – The Browns have some interesting offensive
weapons, and now we have a revelatory game from Chubb (15 percent
owned in ESPN leagues), who gashed the Raiders on a couple of
huge runs, busting out for 105 yards and two scores on just three
(three!) carries. The Browns need to get him more involved.
Jones, GB – Jones was in my RBs to consider as well,
and he’s about 50-60 percent owned right now heading into Week
5 waivers. His 11 carries for 65 yards and a TD (plus 1-17-0 receiving)
in his second game back from suspension should vault him past
75 percent ownership this week, regardless of the crowded RB committee
in Green Bay.
Yeldon, JAC – Yeldon is just 45-50 percent owned but
is getting a lot of work with Leonard Fournette out. He had 52
rushing yards and a TD on 18 carries, adding 3-48-1 receiving
in the win over the Jets Sunday. He’ll be a solid flex play against
the Chiefs next week.
UPDATE: Given what we saw Denver
RBs do against the Chiefs run defense on MNF, Yeldon is looking
like a bona fide RB2 in this matchup if Fournette remains out.
Johnson, DET – Johnson is no longer available in the
vast majority of leagues after last week, and he finished Sunday
with 55 yards and a late TD on 9 carries. He’s far from a three-down
back who’ll see a huge workload, but he’s a guy who should be
owned in all formats.
Carson, SEA – See the Davis piece above. Carson was
out Sunday and we’ll have to monitor the hip injury moving forward.
Ekeler, LAC – Ekeler is disappearing from waiver wires
as well. On Sunday he rushed eight times for 25 yards and added
2-21-1. He’s been very effective despite limited work this season,
hauling in 13-163-2 on 14 targets and rushing for 188 yards on
28 carries over four games.
Allen, BAL – Allen has been quietly productive this
season but had a quiet game Sunday night with 2-17-0 receiving
and 30 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Davis, TEN – Don’t give me a hard time for leading
with a guy who’s about 75-90 percent owned, but Davis had a monster
game (9-161-1 on 15 targets) and he’s still out there in a few
leagues. He and Marcus Mariota are finaly clicking and connected
for Davis’ first career TD in the stunning upset of the Eagles.
He’s a solid WR3 moving forward.
Moncrief, JAC – Two weeks ago I recommended adding
Westbrook, and the talented wideout erupted for 9-130-1 in the
win over the Jets. He lost a fumble but racked up 13 targets from
Blake Bortles. Next week the Jags face the Chiefs, which all but
guarantees more offensive upside for both him and Moncrief (10
Boyd, CIN – Boyd (owned in about 70-90 percent of fantasy
leagues after a huge ownership spike last week) was targeted 15
times by Dalton and finished with 11-100-0 Sunday in a game that
saw a season-ending injury to Eifert and Bengals WR john Ross
pull up with a soft-tissue injury that clouds his status for next
week. Boyd has 36 targets through four weeks and 26-349-2 on the
season, warranting ownership in all formats moving forward.
Crowder, WAS –UPDATE: Paul Richardson is dealing
with a shoulder injury that will require maintenance, and Washington
faces the Saints in Week 5. Crowder is still available in about
30-60 percent of leagues, depending on size and format, and he’s
been relatively quiet so far this season. With his ability to
move around and win the ball on shorter routes, he’s firmly
in place as a WR3 and could break out this week.
Coutee, HOU – After missing the first three weeks of
the season with a hamstring issue, Houston Texans rookie wide
receiver Keke Coutee (out of Texas Tech) made his debut against
the Colts on Sunday, hauling in 11-109-0 on 15 targets from Deshaun
Watson. Coutee (3-5 percent owned) is an explosive vertical threat
who works well out of the slot, and he’ll be a popular waiver
wire add this week in PPR leagues heading into a Week 5 matchup
against the Cowboys.
Gabriel, CHI – Gabriel (5-15 percent owned) has also
been a big play receiver, and he broke out with 7-104-2 in the
drubbing of Tampa Bay Sunday. He’s not the most consistent WR
available, but he’s worth a look in 12-team leagues as a WR4 with
upside in favorable matchups.
Snead, BAL – Snead finished with just 6-56-0 on 7 targets
Sunday night, but he looks as productive as Michael Crabtree in
this offense and could see plenty of targets from Flacco this
season out of the slot and on third downs. He’s owned in about
15-25 percent of leagues but is a steady WR4 option in PPR formats.
Grant, IND –UPDATE: On a short week facing the Patriots
on Thursday night, it’s very possible the Colts will be without
T.Y. Hilton, which puts Grant (10-30 percent owned) on the fantasy
radar despite limited upside. He makes sense as a low-end WR3/flex
in PPR leagues.
Brate, TB –UPDATE: The Bucs are on a Week 5 bye, but
O.J. Howard is out 2-4 weeks with an MCL sprain. That means Brate
could break into TE1 status once they return Week 5 against the
Falcons. With TE being such a difficult position to get consistent
value from, Brate (10-30 percent owned) stands out as a high-upside
short-term option. If you don’t need immediate help in Week 5
and the pickings are slim on waivers anyway, he should be a priority.
Gallup, DAL – UPDATE With a battered Ezekiel Elliott
shouldering such a heavy workload and the Cowboys faced with keeping
up with a potent Houston offense this week, it’s quite possible
that Dallas will be forced to take a few more deep shots and utilize
the services of Gallup. He’ll be tough to trust in standard
leagues, but in deeper formats and large-field DFS tournaments,
he’s on my radar as a low-owned dart throw.
Williams, LAC – I’ve been dreading a dud from Mike
Williams and this was it. One catch for 15 yards – but we’ll have
to keep an eye on the latest Travis Benjamin injury, which looked
like a reaggravation of the foot issue that’s kept him out. Stay
tuned and don’t give up on Big Mike.
Godwin, TB – Godwin had just 2-22-0 in Week 4 against
the Bears, and the Bucs are on a Week 5 bye.
Nelson, OAK – Nelson’s 5-48-1 on eight targets was
eclipsed by standout performances from Cooper and TE Jared Cook
(8-110-2), but he’s got a good floor in this offense and some
favorable upside considering his Week 5 matchup with the Chargers.
Lockett, SEA – Doug Baldwin returned to action and
Lockett finished with 5-53-0 on six targets and the Seattle running
game controlled the offensive game flow.
Kirk, ARI – Kirk (10-45 percent owned – a huge disparity
based on format and level of competition) followed up his big
Week 3 with just 4-28-0 on five targets. He’s still a solid pickup
with upside if Larry Fitzgerald is still dinged up.
Eifert, CIN – He had a nice game going (4-38-1) before
the devastating ankle injury. He’s done until 2019 at the earliest.
Goedert, PHI – Goedert’s breakout in Week 3 turned
into a measly 2-13-0 on two targets against the Titans. He’s still
on my radar.
McDonald, PIT – McDonald turned in a fine outing with
5-62-0 but lost a fumble Sunday night on a bizarre play where
Tony Jefferson just took the ball from him.
Shepard, NYG – Shepard went for 10-77-1 and looked
like Manning’s favorite target against the Saints. He’s a solid
WR4 moving forward.