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. I’ll
also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous
LAR – Goff isn’t always the most appealing fantasy QB because
he has bad days and doesn’t typically soar to an enormous fantasy
ceiling in favorable matchups, but he’s owned in just 35-50% of
leagues heading into a matchup with the Giants. In Week 3, Goff
completed 23 of 32 passes for 321-2-1, adding a two-point conversion
and a rushing TD – solid numbers all-around.
CHI – The Bears job seems to be his now, since he wrested
the reins from Trubisky in a second half comeback victory over
the Falcons. In just one half of work, Foles completed 16 of 29
passes for 188-3-1. The Bears may not make a formal announcement
on the starter for a couple days, but Foles is worth a prospective
add in deeper leagues.
Cousins, MIN –UPDATE:
I’m including Cousins because bye weeks are starting soon
and some of you will need a solid QB for Weeks 5 and 6 –
when the Vikings get to play the Seahawks and Falcons, teams that
have yielded big points to opposing QBs. Captain Kirk is the ultimate
risk-reward play because he does have complete fantasy meltdowns
occasionally, but he’s got some excellent weapons and he’s
been efficient this season. That should be good enough to warrant
consideration in the upcoming favorable matchups.
Fitzpatrick, MIA – Fitzpatrick (5-10%
owned) notched a win over the Jaguars on Thursday with just 160-2-0
passing but added 38 rushing yards and another score. He’s still
got some magic in that throwing arm and looks forward to a favorable
fantasy matchup against the Seahawks in Week 4.
Herbert, LAC – Herbert completed
35 of 49 passes for 330-1-1 in the 21-16 loss Sunday to the Panthers
and lost a costly fumble early that the team never fully recovered
from. The rookie QB (and Chargers fans) had a scare when he was
briefly knocked out of the game after taking a shot to the ribs,
but he returned to the game not long after. The early word is
that Herbert will start again in Week 4 with Tyrod Taylor still
recovering from a punctured lung.
Tannehill, TEN – Tannehill came
back down to earth in Week 4, throwing for 321-0-1 and dashing
the hopes of fantasy owners who started him. He’ll face the Steelers
in Week 4.
Minshew II, JAC – Minshew wasn’t
very sharp on TNF, completing 30 of 42 passes for 275-0-1 and
losing a fumble. The Bengals are on deck in Week 4.
SEA – Chris Carson was injured late in the Cowboys game,
so Hyde took over and rushed 4 times for 12 yards. If Carson misses
time, Hyde would be a great waiver wire addition with Seattle facing
two favorable matchups in the next two games before their bye –
the Dolphins and Vikings. He’s a priority add even if Carson is
Burkhead, NO – I don’t know when
James White will return to football after the family tragedy that’s
kept him out the last two games, but Rex Burkhead (20-25% owned)
needs to be added in all formats. He rushed six times for 49 yards
and two TDs in the Patriots’ Week 3 win over the Raiders, adding
7-49-1 on 10 targets.
Murray, NO – Owned in just 50-55%
of leagues, Latavius Murray may not be as flashy as Alvin Kamara
or have half the upside, but he’s getting plenty of carries with
Michael Thomas out and tallied 12 rushes for 58 yards in Week
3 against the Packers. His ownership should be higher, and he’s
always a threat to vulture a TD or two.
Hines, IND – Hines didn’t yield
the entire workload to Jonathan Taylor this past week, rushing
seven times for 21 yards and hauling in 4-of-5 targets for 50
yards and a TD in win over the Jets. The versatile back looks
to be a viable RB3/flex option for PPR leagues in Week 4.
Perine, NYJ – Perine is the most
explosive back the Jets have, and he got some touches on Sunday
– rushing seven times for 24 yards and adding two catches for
negative in the loss to the Colts. He’s a speculative add with
some upside if Adam Gase gets fired.
CAR – Davis assumed the CMC role and had a solid day,
rushing 13 times for 46 yards and adding 8-45-1 on nine targets.
He’s a must-play RB2 with RB1 upside next week facing an Arizona
Cardinals team that presents a favorable matchup to opposing RBs.
Henderson, LAR – As expected, Henderson
had the biggest workload on Sunday, rushing 20 times for 114 yards
and a TD in the Rams’ Week 3 loss to the Bills. He’s now owned
in about 75% of leagues.
UPDATE: Sean McVay really likes
what he sees with Henderson, and so do the experts at PFF. He’s
going to start in Week 4 and makes for an excellent RB2 play.
Gallman, NYG – Both of these guys were awful because
the Giants are awful, and there’s really no way to predict if
one will take the lead in the coming weeks. Most of the Giants
offense will come through the passing game during negative game
scripts, and Devonta Freeman may be used more in the coming weeks.
It’s a situation to avoid.
Gaskin, MIA – Gaskin had another
big fantasy day ion TNF, rushing 22 times for 66 yards and adding
5-29-0 receiving. Jordan Howard will vulture some TDs as the goal
line back, but Gaskin is a viable RB3/FLEX option for next week’s
matchup with the Seahawks.
Wilson, SF – Both of these Niners’ RBs ate well on
Sunday, with McKinnon rushing 14 times for 38 yards and a TD (3-39-0
receiving) and Wilson carrying the rock 12 times for 15 yards
and a TD – adding 3-54-1 in the 49ers’ rollicking 36-9 win over
the Giants. McKinnon will probably be a decent RB3 play at home
against the Eagles even if Raheem Mostert returns, and Wilson
still has value if he’s out.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
GB – Lazard (35-50% owned) finally had his big day with
6-146-1 on eight in Sunday night’s 37-30 win over the Saints. If
Davante Adams remains out next week, Lazard will be a WR2 with upside
against the terrible Falcons secondary.
Aiyuk, SF – Aiyuk was on my radar
as the season started, and he had his coming out party on Sunday,
hauling in 5-70-1 and adding 31 rushing yards and a highlight-reel
score on just three carries. The rookie is owned in about 15-20%
of leagues, seems to have great rapport with Nick Mullens, and
could really flourish in the Kyle Shanahan offense. He’s a must-own
in 12-team leagues, and while he may struggle occasionally, the
burst and playmaking ability he showed in his second game portend
a special future in the league.
Jefferson, MIN – I had Jefferson
(30-35% owned) listed in my WRs to consider last week, but he
now he gets better billing after a 7-175-1 (nine targets) performance
in Week 3 against the Titans. His big day was highlighted by a
71-yard TD on a play-action pass that will have fantasy owners
looking to pry him from the wire this week. Giddy-up!
PHI – Ward, who is universally available in fantasy,
caught eight of a team-high 11 targets on Sunday, finishing with
72 receiving yards and a TD during the frustrating 23-23 tie with
the Bengals. Alshon Jeffery (foot) and Jalen Reagor (thumb) were
both inactive and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) left the game early,
so we could see an increased workload the next few weeks. Just
temper your expectations.
CIN – It looks like Burrow has found his favorite red
zone target, as Higgins (5-10% owned) hauled in 5-40-2 on nine
targets in the aforementioned tie game. Higgins and Burrow will
now team up to face a Jaguars defense that just made Ryan Fitzpatrick
look like a HOFer.
Hardman, KC –UPDATE:
Hardman (35-40 % owned) has incredible speed and elusiveness –
both of which were on display Monday night on his 49-yard TD score
before halftime. He ended up with 4-81-1 on six targets in the
34-20 win over the Ravens and is trending up as the Chiefs offense
is really clicking. He’s a fine add in 12-team leagues and
has huge upside to go along with some risk – as the Chiefs
have a ton of offensive weapons.
Isabella, ARI – Maybe it’s time
to give Andy his due. With Christian Kirk out, I thought Larry
Fitzgerald was a better fantasy play, abut I forgot about this
guy. The speedy second-year WR (who’s available in nearly all
leagues) caught all four of his targets for 47 yards and two scores
during Sunday’s 26-23 loss to Detroit. He’s made a case for an
addition in deeper leagues.
TE Rob Gronkowski,
TB –UPDATE: It
took a couple weeks for him to get acclimated, but Gronkowski
finally got loose in Week 3 and hauled in six of seven targets
(both leading the team) for 48 yards in the win over the Broncos
on Sunday. He might not be available in deeper leagues, but he’s
available in about one-third of fantasy leagues heading into Week
4. With Chris Godwin out for multiple weeks, Gronk could be a
big part of the Bucs passing game between the 20s and in the red
TE Jimmy Graham,
CHI – Owned in just 15-20% of leagues, Graham didn’t
have too many owners benefiting from his monster fantasy day Sunday,
when he caught six passes for 60 yards and two TDs (10 targets)
in Chicago’s comeback 30-26 win over the Falcons on Sunday. We
know that Foles likes his TEs, so Graham’s upside just got a huge
boost. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues moving forward.
Alie-Cox, IND –UPDATE:
With Parris Campbell out at least through the Colts Week 7 bye,
rookie WR Michael Pittman recovering form surgery to repair “compartment
leg syndrome” (which sounds awful), and Jack Doyle obviously
not 100 percent – or just not clicking with Philip Rivers
– big Mo has been a monster. The athletic former NCAA hoops
star is owned in about 5-10 % of fantasy leagues and should be
available on the wire.
Cole, JAC – Cole took a while to
get going but finished with 4-43-0 on five targets on Thursday.
He remains a fringe fantasy WR4 with some upside in certain matchups.
Smith, NO – In the absence of Thomas,
Smith has now finished second to Kamara in targets for two straight
weeks, hauling in 4-42-0 in the Saints’ Sunday night loss. His
fantasy relevance is waning.
Reagor, PHI – Thumb surgery has
him out for the next few games, buy he should be back sometime
after the IR stint. He’s safe to drop in redrafts.
Samuel, CAR – Samuel caught all
of his targets for 4-45-0, but this was the Mike Davis show. Stay
Pittman Jr., IND – Pittman was actually
forced out of Sunday’s game against the Jets with an ankle injury,
but was later able to return to the contest, finishing with 3-26-0
on four targets.
UPDATE: Pittman is dealing with
a leg injury and might be out until around Week 8. Bad news for
this rookie wideout.
Byrd, NE – Byrd had 3-27-0 on Sunday
and the other wide receivers were healthy. I got a little too
excited about him as a longshot DFS punt play.
Berrios, NYJ – All of the Jets receivers
are basically hurt, but Berrios played and caught all four of
his targets for a team-high 64 yards and a TD (the Jets’ only
one) in Sunday’s drubbing. He may be the only Jets player worth
owning right now, and that may not last.
Gesicki, MIA – I loved him heading into Week 3, and
Gesicki saved his fantasy day with a 15-yard TD catch – the only
reception made of the three targets he saw.
Smith, TEN – Smith had another solid game, finishing
with 5-61-0 on eight targets in Week 3. He’s a must-own TE in
10- and 12-team leagues.