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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 4
9/25/17; Updated: 9/26/17 Users...
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.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Jared Goff, LAR – Goff (5-10% owned) is having a very nice sophomore season after struggling under the spineless, stubborn coaching of Jeff Fisher in his rookie campaign. He’s clicking with all his receivers, and limiting his mistakes as he learns to read NFL defenses. He’ll be tested in Week 4 against the Cowboys more than he was in Week 3 against the 49ers (292-3-0), so don’t expect QB1 numbers. But he’s got a relatively favorable schedule and the offense looks darn good.

UPDATE: The Cowboys gave up some large chunks of yardage through the air Monday night and the Week 4 matchup is shaping up to be a shootout. I’d like to have big shares of this game and just about all the obvious offensive players.

Deshaun Watson, HOU – Watson has breathed new life into the Texans offense and almost toppled the Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough, throwing for 302-2-2 and adding 41 rushing yards (albeit with two fumbles). It’s obvious the offense should be running through Watson and his lively arm and mobility rather than a feeble running game, but we’ll see if he gets the same carte blanche against division rival Titans in Week 4.

Case Keenum, MIN – Sam Bradford (knee) missed Week 3 and is still considered day-to-day, but there’s no structural damage. Keenum (less than 1% owned) was sharp as a razor in his Week 3 performance, and with a bevy of weapons we probably won’t notice too much difference from one QB to the next. In fact, Keenum’s history as a fearless chucker, along with his Week 3 success (369-3-0) might just give us a quarterback controversy none of us expected.

UPDATE: Bradford’s continued “uncertain” status for Week 4 means that Keenum has probably earned another start.

Brian Hoyer, SF – Hoyer’s huge day (332-2-1) was product of game flow and a noticeably fraught St. Louis Rams’ secondary, but we all know this can be a catalyst for big fantasy numbers. Keep an eye on Hoyer’s matchups and play him at your own risk, but it’s an easy point to concede that he should be owned in more than 1-5% of fantasy leagues for his upside alone.

UPDATE: The Cards’ defense was good enough Monday night to convince me that Hoyer isn’t a great play in Week 4. But he’s going to have value in spot starts this season.

Other QBs to consider: Tyrod Taylor (BUF), Blake Bortles (JAC), Jacoby Brissett (IND)


Philip Rivers, LAC – Rivers struggled immensely Sunday (237-0-3, 37.2 passer rating), which we knew was a distinct possibility facing a division rival that has his number. Hopefully, you read the Week 3 Shot Caller’s Report.

Trevor Siemian, DEN – Siemian’s dud (259-0-2) was bit more of a surprise, considering his effectiveness thus far this season and the injuries and sluggishness that have marked the Bills defensive efforts the first couple weeks. My buddy Josh (we call him Buff because he’s from Buffalo) told me his Bills were up to the task and would wipe the floor with Denver this week, but I had my doubts. Good call, Buff!

DeShone Kizer, CLE – Kizer is showing some dynamic playmaking ability with his legs, but he’s an inaccurate passer who’s off to a sloppy start (242-2-3; 44 rushing yards, TD). If he can mature a bit and handle the growing pains of tossing a few INTs and getting right back to work, he could be a capable fantasy QB at some point this season. Give him time.

Top pickup: The loss of Darren Sproles (ACL, arm) will open up opportunities for Wendell Smallwood.

Running Backs

Wendell Smallwood, PHI – Darren Sproles broke his arm and tore his ACL on Sunday and Smallwood received a large dose of the carries that normally go his way. With LeGarrette Blount the grinder and Sproles out for the year, Smallwood (20-30 percent owned in competitive leagues) will be a top pickup this week on the waiver wire.

UPDATE: Smallwood makes for a solid RB3/flex play this week against the Chargers, and should be owned in all formats.

Chris Johnson & Andre Ellington, ARI – UPDATE: It’s fairly simple: Johnson has handled the primary rushing duties and Ellington the passing game work, while Kerwynn Williams saw just one offensive snap on Monday night against Dallas. The only issue is that the Cards running game looks completely lost without the talents of David Johnson and CJ2K appears to be moving in slow motion compared to his younger self. It’s a situation to avoid unless this offensive line makes some big strides.

Branden Oliver, LAC – Melvin Gordon had a big first half but a knee injury made limited his availability in the second half. Gordon had 78 yards rushing on 15 carries, including an 11-yard touchdown but if he’s forced to miss any action, Oliver will take over primary duties. He’s a handcuff rather than a viable change-of-pace back, but it’s essential Gordon owners have a backup plan.

UPDATE: Gordon’s sore knee is the same left knee he had microfracture surgery on during the offseason in 2016 after his rookie year, but he said Monday the knee is “good.” HC Anthony Lynn said the situation will be monitored but he’s sure Gordon will be fine.

Alex Collins, BAL – Collins had nine carries for 82 yards against the Jaguars in London on Sunday, but most of that yardage came in garbage time. Still, with Javorius Allen and Terrance West (two mediocre backs who it wouldn’t take much to supplant) handling most of the carries in Baltimore, Collins could be a sneaky add in deeper leagues.

Other RBs to consider: Mike Tolbert (BUF), D’Onta Foreman (HOU), Corey Clement (PHI), C.J. Prosise (SEA)


Derrick Henry, TEN – There were plenty of folks who started Henry hoping for a big day, but he gained just 54 yards on 13 carries and had about the same number of touches as DeMarco Murray, who ended up playing through his hamstring injury. Henry is a valuable RB3 with some upside, but he hasn’t yet surpassed Murray.

Javorius Allen, BAL – Allen rushed eight times for 15 yards and caught 5-13-0 playing behind Terrance West on Sunday. He’s still relevant but is losing a bit of the luster he gained after a solid Week 2 performance.

UPDATE: There’s no clear workhorse in the Ravens’ backfield, but Allen could still achieve RB3/flex value this week against the Steelers.

Samaje Perine & Chris Thompson, WAS – Chris Thompson had a field day, rushing eight times for 38 and adding 6-150-1 on seven targets out of the backfield. He needs to be owned in all formats, not just PPR. Perine had 19 carries for 49 yards before a hand injury forced him out in the fourth quarter. Perine returned to the sideline with his hand wrapped, but did not return to the game.

UPDATE: Gruden said that Rob Kelley is still the “lead dog” when healthy, and it’s obvious he’s more comfortable keeping Thompson restricted to limited touches and passing down work. Perine’s fumble and hand injury further complicate things – but I’m still bullish on his chances to eventually land primary rushing duties.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Devin Funchess, CAR – Funchess is owned in about 20-35 percent of fantasy leagues, but he’ll likely see his ownership number increase after yet another Kelvin Benjamin (knee) injury and his career-high 10 targets Sunday. Funchess finished with just 4-58-0 and could be overlooked as a worthwhile waiver wire addition this week.

UPDATE: An MRI revealed no structural damage to Benjamin's left knee, but his Week 4 status is unclear, so Funchess remains a somewhat risky add.

TE Charles Clay, BUF – Clay hauled in all six of his targets from Tyrod Taylor for 6-39-1 and is about 50% owned in fantasy leagues. He can be frustrating to own because of his injury history and knack for disappearing form certain games, but Clay is one of Taylor’s most reliable receivers and should see consistent targets this season as a low-end TE1.

Paul Richardson & Tyler Lockett, SEA – UPDATE: With Doug Baldwin dealing with a groin injury, both Richardson and Lockett could see upticks in targets during Week 4 and beyond. Both remain boom-or-bust fantasy options with high ceilings and low floors heading into this week’s matchup with Indianapolis, with the risk-taker in me favoring the upside.

Sterling Shepard, NYG – It’s obvious that having a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. on the field helps Shepard’s fantasy output, giving him a little more room to work while defenses focus on the attention-hungry OBJ. Shepard converted that opportunity into 7-133-1 on seven targets Sunday in the loss to Philly. He’s owned in about 40-65 percent of fantasy leagues, depending on the level of competitiveness, and could be available in yours after a couple of quiet weeks.

TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC – Lewis had three TD receptions in London while we were doing our lineup prep, finishing with 4-62-3 in an across-the-pond shocker. Bortles isn’t the most reliable signal caller and Lewis has been known to find paydirt and then disappear for a few weeks, but I don’t see any reason not to add Lewis if nobody else is going to, especially if you’re hurting at TE and you’ve got a free roster spot.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: TE Ryan Griffin (HOU), Travis Benjamin (LAC), Adam Humphries (TB), TE Cameron Brate (TB), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ), Bennie Fowler (DEN)


Geronimo Allison, GB – Allison was overshadowed by Jordy Nelson’s big day but finished with 6-122-0, most of the yardage coming on a huge 72-yard catch in OT that set up the winning FG by Mason Crosby. If Randall Cobb misses more time, we could see Allison stay involved in this offense.

UPDATE: The short week is making Allison look like a viable WR4/flex type of play against the Bears Thursday night.

Brandon Coleman, NO – Coleman caught just one pass Sunday, an 11-yard TD from Drew Brees. He’s a TD reliant red zone target who might be fantasy bench fodder once Willie Snead returns in Week 4.

TE Coby Fleener, NO – Fleener also caught just one ball (on his lone target) Sunday and his wasn’t a TD. He’s a TE2 with upside moving forward.

WR Jermaine Kearse, NYJ – Kearse had just 3-42-0 on three targets despite a big offensive day from the Jets.

Rashard Higgins, CLE – Higgins had just 2-10-0 in Indy after a big Week 2, and there’s a crowded group of young receivers vying for attention behind Kenny Britt in Cleveland.