Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 4
And just like that, three weeks of the NFL are in the books. While the first two weeks gave us some “must-add” waiver-wire players, this week was a bit more subdued and really just changed the positioning of some depth players and preferred handcuffs. That said, there is still some vacated opportunity due to injury/ineptitude moving forward to be especially aware of.
Don’t forget that this is a great opportunity to take advantage of those who are starting out 1-2 and 0-3 with some trade deals. Now, let’s head onto Week 4, shall we? Ownership levels discussed here are taken from Yahoo leagues.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
Wendell Smallwood (PHI – RB): 6% owned – 6% FAAB (in PPR)
I don’t particularly enjoy buying into this backfield right now, but there’s no doubting that plenty of work just opened up with Darren Sproles’ season-ending injuries. LeGarrette Blount did well to reassert himself as a plodder, but there’s no way that he becomes a pass-catcher of any sort. Corey Clement showed some nifty moves and will likely step into 5-8 touches per game, but Smallwood is poised to best fill Sproles’ shoes in this offense. Those in PPR leagues shouldn’t be too shy going into a road date with the Chargers.
Devin Funchess (CAR – WR): 20% owned – 4% FAAB
Despite Cam Newton’s horrible, no-good showing in the cushiest of matchups against the Saints in Week 3, Funchess managed to catch four of his 10 targets from Cam for 58 yards in a game that Kelvin Benjamin exited early. For now, Benjamin’s injury is being reported as minor and the MRI showed no structural damage in that left knee of his, so now it’s all down to how he responds to treatment. With Greg Olsen already out and Christian McCaffrey incapable of totaling 25 targets, Funchess is a likely candidate for double-digit looks yet again in a great spot against the Patriots in New England. And if Benjamin does play, he’s unlikely to be 100% and the matchup remains solid, albeit with a shaky-at-best QB.
Paul Richardson (SEA – WR): 11% owned – 4% FAAB
Richardson caught two-of-seven targets for 30 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Titans, as the results were serviceable even though the day could’ve been much better if Russell Wilson found him on some of the longer targets. Doug Baldwin was the clear-cut No. 1 option for Wilson, with Jimmy Graham coming alive as well, but Baldwin also checked out early with a groin injury. The injury isn’t thought to be serious, but Richardson would still be a solid play in a premier Week 4 matchup against the porous Colts even if Baldwin plays, and he’d become a great play if Baldwin sits.
Charles Clay (BUF – TE): 22% owned – 1% FAAB
Once again, Clay proved to be a high-floor, mid-range TE in Week 3 as he hauled in his six targets for 39 yards and a trip to the end zone against Denver. His range of outcomes is fairly narrow and skewed toward the floor side — I doubt an 8-75-2 day is in his future — but some rosters need floor more than upside, and tight end is a particularly good spot to work in some safer points. And if we were going to talk Clay’s upside, we’re likely to see what that looks like in a strong Week 4 matchup against the Falcons at their dome.
D’Onta Foreman (HOU – RB): 17% owned – 1% FAAB
The good news is that Foreman showed us why he’s a coveted talent, catching two balls for 65 yards and rushing it eight times for 25 more yards. He was the recipient of a ridiculous throw by DeShaun Watson after he eluded four pass-rushers, but really I just liked how he looked in open field and how he looks decisive in the trenches. Lamar Miller is still the 1A here and Foreman isn’t going to help most anyone without an injury to Miller, but he would move the needle if given a chance with, say, 15 steady touches per game.
Robby Anderson (NYJ – WR): 20% owned – 1% FAAB
Anderson finally showed he had a pulse in 2017 by turning in a 69-yard touchdown to fuel a three-catch, 95-yard day against the Dolphins. The Jets offense is not one we like to target and it’s tough to see them supporting more than one player at best, with Jermaine Kearse being the guy in Weeks 1 and 2. If you can make it through a poor Week 4 look against Jacksonville, Anderson and the Jets get to take on the Browns and Patriots in the following two weeks. If you were ever going to throw his dart, this is the time to do it.
Geronimo Allison (GB – WR): 9% owned – 1% FAAB
Allison caught six of his eight targets for 122 yards, with 72 of them coming on a fantastic catch-and-run in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal. Randall Cobb couldn’t go against the Bengals and so Allison easily slid into the three-wide sets for the Pack, which could be the case again on Thursday against the Bears on a short week. If Cobb had a full extra week to recover then I wouldn’t consider Allison much more than a stash, but it’s entirely plausible that he plays yet again in a plus matchup.
Vernon Davis (WAS – TE): 8% owned – 1% FAAB
In a bit of breaking news, Jordan Reed got hurt and couldn’t play in Week 3. While Reed houses plenty of talent when healthy, the durability is severely lacking. Enter: Vernon Davis, who went and caught all five of his targets for 58 yards and a score. Perhaps Washington will hold Reed out in Week 4 with their bye coming in Week 5 so that he can really get healthy for the rest of the year, which would make Davis a solid option against the Chiefs — who suffer without Eric Berry able to shadow TEs — next week for the TE-needy.
Alex Collins (BAL – RB): 2% owned – 1% FAAB
Collins would only tote the rock nine times in an ugly blowout loss to the Jaguars but ended up with 82 yards (much of which was in garbage time after the day was lost). The Ravens were ineffective all over the place, but Marshal Yanda’s absence up front was ground zero for it as Terrence West and Javorius Allen did very little. Collins had generated some buzz up in Seattle once upon a time (a little Chris Carson before Chris Carson, so to speak) and could carve out a role in this backfield.
Deep League Targets – <10% owned
Orleans Darkwa (NYG – RB): 7% owned – 1% FAAB
Darkwa had to leave the Giants’ Week 3 loss to the Eagles early due to a back injury, but it wasn’t before he notched 33 yards on seven carries and a catch. That doesn’t sound like much, but Paul Perkins only logged 30 yards on 11 total touches throughout the game as both runners try their best to do anything behind this sad offensive line. Darkwa should get a chance to at least split carries in Week 4 against a beaten-up Buccaneers defense that just lost Lavonte David.
Mack Brown (WAS – RB): 0% owned – 1% FAAB
Another preseason darling that some DFS players who hit the grind early will be familiar with, Brown stepped in late for Washington once Samaje Perine — who was already the fill-in for Rob Kelley (ribs) — went down with a hand injury. Brown would put up 27 yards on six carries and while everyone is rightfully showering Chris Thompson with praise, he’s not built to be a workhorse at all.
Perine really didn’t do anything to stand out and if Kelley can’t go in Week 4 against the Chiefs in a gross road matchup, then Perine could either further slip in the ranks or if he also can’t go, then Brown has a chance to impress in a tough audition. This is only for the very desperate, but I know you’re out there.
Ryan Griffin (HOU – TE): 1% owned – 1% FAAB
Griffin hadn’t recorded a reception through Houston’s first two games, but he racked up 61 yards and a touchdown on five catches (six targets) against the Patriots in a near-upset with C.J. Fiedorowicz on the shelf. The Texans are still without Will Fuller to complement DeAndre Hopkins on the outside (Braxton Miller isn’t up to speed as a WR yet), which means Griffin and the running backs really flesh out this offense and its mid-range pass attack. Before Houston’s Week 7 bye, they’ll face the Titans, Chiefs, and Browns — not a bad setup.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ – TE): 4% owned – 1% FAAB
All of those positives that we listed for Robby Anderson’s matchups go for Seferian-Jenkins as well, who played on 48-of-63 snaps in his 2017 debut despite the reports from Todd Bowles and the Jets that he wasn’t in shape and on shaky footing. Will Tye is no threat (he played 22 snaps) and ASJ should be a towering presence over the middle for this “offense” as it lurches forward into some solid matchups. The fact that he saw six targets off the bat in a game the Jets were actually in control of is a great sign, relatively speaking, and paints him as useful in deeper formats.
Branden Oliver (LAC – RB): 2% owned – 1% FAAB
Oliver carried the ball eight times for 16 yards and caught four-of-six targets for another 18 yards against the Chiefs in Week 3, logging more touches than usual given Melvin Gordon being banged up. While Gordon looks like he won’t be in much danger to miss Week 4 against the Eagles, fantasy owners will want to monitor the bone bruise and likely add Oliver as an insurance option given they play in the late slate on Sunday. Don’t expect much, but a warm body with a starting opportunity goes a long way in a pinch.