Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 4


Fantasy Waiver Wire Week 4

fantasy-football-waiver-wireIf you were able to beef up your lineup with some of the suggestions for the Week 3 waiver wire, you probably had  a good slate of games. Several of those players produced nice results last week and many are still widely available in the vast majority of public leagues.

That’s what can make presenting a weekly waive claims article challenging. Often the public is slow to move on guys who keep playing well. But we can’t keep writing up the same guys week after week. I’ll try to approach each week by suggesting new names, but also reminding readers that have hesitated that previously-explored players might still be available.

As a reminder, those pesky bye weeks start this week, so most leagues will start seeing an increase in waiver activity. Let’s take a look at some player that can help you improve your chances of a win in Week 4.

Week 4 bye: Green Bay, Philadelphia


Joe Flacco

ESPN 24% owned; FAAB 5%

Flacco was underwhelming in Week 3, despite a tasty matchup with the Jacksonville defense. I actually expect Flacco’s availability to increase as fantasy owners react to his 214-yard, 2 INT showing. He’s not somebody that you want starting every week, but Joe Flacco has proven to be a decent streaming option when the Ravens play favorable opponents. Baltimore’s Week 4 foe is just that- an Oakland Raiders secondary that has allowed the most passing yards in the league and is surrendering just under 29 fantasy point per game to opposing QB’s. Flacco is worth a minimal bid if you find yourself needing a bye week replacement.


Carson Wentz

ESPN 19.3% Owned; FAAB 5%

The Philadelphia Eagles are on a bye in week 4, but if you’re in need of a quarterback you may want to be pro-active and pickup Wentz now. Through three weeks of the 2016 NFL season, Philadelphia Eagles’ No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz isn’t just the highest-graded rookie QB in the league, but he’s the best-rated QB period, with a PFF grade of 90.2 on our 0-100 scale (link)

Trevor Siemian

ESPN 5% owned; FAAB 5%

After a 4-TD breakout game, expect Siemian to be one of the most added players throughout the fantasy landscape this week. Siemian has improved in each of Denver’s three games and surprised many with a career-best effort in Denver’s Week 3 victory in Cincinnati. The Broncos’ Week 4 opponent, the Tampa Bay Bucs, are a bottom-10 fantasy defense, making Siemian a desirable streaming option this week. But looking at the upcoming schedule for Denver and each of the team’s next three games (@TB, vs. ATL, @SD) all look very appealing from a fantasy perspective. Siemian might be a nice fantasy QB over the next month.

Brian Hoyer

ESPN 2% owned; FAAB 3%

If you’re an Aaron Rodgers owner looking for a cheap, short-term solution for Green Bay’s bye week, Brian Hoyer might be just what you’re looking for. Hoyer isn’t without his faults, but what he can do is produce quality fantasy numbers in short stints. Pressed into action last week, Hoyer threw for 317 yards and pair of scores in Dallas. The Week 4 matchup is even better. The Bears host a Detroit Lions defense that has ceded 10 touchdown passes already on the young season- the most in the NFL. Hoyer isn’t going to help you as a weekly starter, but he looks like an intriguing bye week fill-in for Week 4.

Running Backs

Jordan Howard

ESPN 16% owned: FAAB 14%

jordan-howardYou’ll see a recurring theme of rookie RB’s being popular pickups this week. Much-maligned starter Jeremy Langford was carted off the field late Sunday and Jordan Howard looks most likely to step up as the potential starter in Chicago. At 5.6 yards pet tote compared to Langford’s 3.7, Howard has already flashed upside in limited work. Now he should get the chance to see an extended role and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the rookie capture the starting job, even if Langford recovers from his high ankle sprain soon. Howard is worth a fairly aggressive waiver bid this week.

Dwayne Washington

See what I mean about rookie rushers? Ameer Abdullah might be lost for the season and if Week 3 taught us anything about Detroit’s rushers it was this: Theo Riddick isn’t a runner. Riddick’s 10 carries for 9 yards showed why he is best utilized as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Moving forward, Washington should do the heavy lifting for Detriot’s potent attack and will certainly be the No. 1 choice in short yardage situations. Detroit’s Week 4 opponent, Chicago, looks like a bottom-10 run stopping unit and makes Washington a decent flex play or bye week replacement for Week 4. Washington is a dark horse candidate to finish with 6-8 rushing TD’s as long as he can hold onto his role.

Orleans Darkwa

ESPN 5% owned; FAAB 9%

Rashad Jennings sat out Week 3. In his place, Darkwa and Shane Vereen more or less had an even time share and both scored. But Vereen (triceps) is now lost for the season and Darkwa looks like the best bet to take over the passing down and change-of-pace work behind Jennings, who is expected back. Bobby Rainey and my preseason hero Paul Perkins could also eventually work themselves into the mix and are worth adding in really deep leagues. But in 12-team leagues, Darkwa should have weekly flex value moving forward and is worth a moderate bid on the waiver wire.

Wendell Smallwood

ESPN 1% owned; FAAB 4%

This is a speculative add, that’s why I’m only suggestion a small bid. The Eagles have a bye in Week 4, so obviously no running back you add from Philadelphia will help you this week. For fantasy purposes, the bigger problem for the Eagles’ backfield is role. With Ryan Mathews dinged up, the Eagles now look like a potential full-blown committee backfield, with Mathews, Smallwood, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner all possibly getting playing time and all possibly worth adding on the waiver wire. Mathews is most likely to retain short yardage work, and Smallwood and Barner are likely to see increases in carries. Darren Sproles should see few hand-offs but retain his valuable role in the passing game. In short, Smallwood has the most potential here and is the Eagles back that I would like to target, but the whole situation could be frustratingly hard to predict on a weekly basis.

Wide Receivers

Terrelle Pryor

ESPN 28% owned; FAAB 20%

After logging 46 and 56 snaps in each of Cleveland’s first two games, Pryor exploded up to 82 in Week 3 and produced a whopping 200 yards of offense as a receiver, runner, and even a passer. Don’t expect Pryor to have those kinds of numbers again, but he clearly looks like Cleveland’s No. 1 receiver while Corey Coleman is out and good enough to have a weekly role when Josh Gordon returns. Through three games, Pryor has 31 targets, 244 receiving yards and is the WR21 in PPR formats. While the Browns are in the QB doldrums, expect Pryor to be a ‘slash’ player who will begin to command respect as a dangerous weapon in all facets of the game. Pryor is a priority add on waiver this week and at worst should be Cleveland’s WR2 for at least a few weeks.

Jamison Crowder

ESPN 11% owned; FAAB 9%

Through two weeks Crowder is leading the NFL in red zone targets (8) while playing over three-quarters of snaps for the Washington Redskins. Quietly, Crowder is on pace for a fantastic 85/933/11 season but is being almost entirely ignored. Crowder has also scored in two straight and has a superb Week 4 matchup against the hapless Cleveland defense. With rookie Josh Doctson doing next to nothing, Crowder should maintain a decent role moving forward. He’s got legit WR3/flex value in PPR leagues.

Cole Beasley

ESPN 14% owned; FAAB 5%

If you’re looking for a WR3/flex play in PPR leagues, Beasley could be your guy. In three games, he’s proven to be QB Dak Prescott’s favorite target. Beasley’s 20 receptions are tied with Doug Baldwin for 6th-most in the NFL through three games. Beasley isn’t much of a downfield or touchdown threat, but what he can do is rack up short receptions running out of the slot- which gives him weekly value in PPR leagues.

Tight Ends

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert is owned in 76% of ESPN leagues, but if he happens to be still on your waiver wire, grab him now. Eifert is a top-5 option and head coach Marvin Lewis on Monday said that his star tight end was close to returning.

Kyle Rudolph

ESPN 40% owned; FAAB 5%

Kyle RudolphThe arrival of QB Sam Bradford to Minnesota’s passing game has had an immediate and beneficial impact to Kyle Rudolph’s fantasy prospects. Since taking over in Week 2, Bradford has relied heavily upon his tight end and Rudolph has responded with 10 grabs, 101 yards and a touchdown in each game. Outside of Stefon Diggs, the Minnesota offense is rather limited, so it’s quite possible that Rudolph will maintain a fairly significant role for the remainder of the season.

Cameron Brate

ESPN 1% owned; FAAB 5%

When the Bucs cut Austin Seferian-Jenkins, we knew Brate would see an uptick in snaps. We didn’t expect him to get a full 70 snaps, but we’ll take it. Not only did he play a ton, but Brate delivered with five catches and two touchdowns. Don’t expect those kinds of numbers again, but Brate looks like a locked-in starting tight end and has a decent Week 4 matchup with a Denver defense that has been vulnerable to pass-catching tight ends.

Hunter Henry

ESPN 12% owned; FAAB 4%

Henry already had a fairly large role in San Diego’s offense. The Chargers have been decimated by injuries and were running a lot of ’12’ sets with Henry and Antonio Gates. But Gates missed Week 3 and Henry got the start and delivered a solid 5-76 line in Indianapolis. There’s no current timetable for Gates’ recovery, so Henry looks like he’ll get the starting nod again in Week 4- when the Chargers host a putrid New Orleans defense that is traveling cross-country on short rest.

Deeper Sleepers:

  • Quarterbacks – Dak Prescott, Sam Bradford
  • Running Backs – DeAndre Washington, Kenneth Dixon, Cameron Artis-Payne, Chris Thompson
  • Wide Receivers – Quincy Enunwa, Markus Wheaton, Chris Hogan, Adam Humphries,
  • Tight Ends – Zach Miller, Jack Doyle, Richard Rodgers (bye), Jesse James

About the author

Jody Smith

Co-owner and Managing Editor of Gridiron Experts. 2012 FantasyPros Most Accurate Fantasy Expert. Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. 26 year fantasy football veteran. Featured on NFL.com, Fantasypros, Football Diehards annual magazine, local AM sports radio, podcasts everywhere and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High School.

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