Adam Levitan

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wire: Week 4

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Normally, we see lots of interesting waiver adds at the wideout and tight end spots. More of them play each week so there are more chances for injury, more chances for breakouts and more of them on the wire. This week is unique because most of the best adds are at the running back spot.

It’s a chance for owners grasping at straws to get a little depth on their roster as we head into the bye weeks. As always, I’m far more likely to burn FAAB money or waiver priority on a running back than any other position – especially if I think a running back will have longer-term value.

On to the assets. Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $250,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 4. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

1. Terrelle Pryor
2. Ryan Tannehill
3. Jake Locker
4. Geno Smith

Running backs
1. Bilal Powell
2. Pierre Thomas
3. Brandon Bolden
4. Isaiah Pead
5. Danny Woodhead
6. Jacquizz Rodgers
7. Jason Snelling
8. Christine Michael
9. Andre Ellington
10. Jonathan Dwyer
* Willis McGahee is owned in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’d be my No. 8 add if he’s available.

Wide Receivers
1. Ryan Broyles
2. Stephen Hill
3. Santonio Holmes
4. Kendall Wright
5. Nate Washington
6. Cordarrelle Patterson
7. Donnie Avery

Tight Ends
1. Heath Miller
2. Coby Fleener
3. Charles Clay
4. Scott Chandler
5. Brandon Pettigrew
6. Rob Housler

Defense/Special Teams
1. Titans
2. Chiefs
3. Colts

1. Robbie Gould
2. Caleb Sturgis
3. Steven Hauschka
* Garrett Hartley is owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’d be my No. 1 add if he’s available.

1. Terrelle Pryor, Raiders – Owned in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues
In last week’s Waiver Wired, I discussed how Terrelle Pryor should not be cut despite a poor statistical game against the Jaguars. He showed why on Monday night. With the Raiders predictably in comeback mode, Pryor completed 19-of-28 passes for a career-high 281 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran four times for 36 yards. The impressive passing performance prompted former NFL scout John Middlekauff to say that Pryor is more polished in the pocket at this point in his career than Cam Newton was four games into his NFL career. If Pryor (concussion) gets cleared in time for a Week 4 matchup with the Redskins, he’ll be a top-14 option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s a hat trick bonanza for Ryan Tannehill – he’s been featured in Waiver Wired for three straight weeks and he has the Dolphins at 3-0. The scary part is that the one-time college wideout keeps getting better. Tannehill’s completion percentage has risen in each of the first three weeks and now sits at 66.4, 9th-best in the NFL. He hasn’t even used his underrated legs yet. Last year, Tannehill ran for 211 yards with two touchdowns. This year, he has run for just 11 yards and no scores. Tannehill is a better fantasy backup than Philip Rivers, Alex Smith, E.J. Manuel and Andy Dalton among others.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Jake Locker, Titans – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jake Locker has the two things fantasy owners covet in a sleeper quarterback: Running ability and arm strength. He put that combo on display against the Chargers in Week 3, throwing for 299 yards and rushing five times for 68 yards with a touchdown. The problem is that gems like this have been few and far between as he’s often uncomfortable going through reads and inaccurate in a muddied pocket. Perhaps he’s finally turning a corner. Locker has no interceptions this season and his 58.6 completion percentage is a career-high. Owners looking short-term should note brutal spots against the Jets, Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers over the next four weeks. Owners looking further ahead should note Locker faces the Jaguars in Week 10 and Week 16 (fantasy Super Bowl week). He also gets the Raiders in Week 12 and the Colts in Weeks 11 and 13.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

4. Geno Smith, Jets – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
If Santonio Holmes is actually going to show up at 100 percent and Stephen Hill isn’t going to drop easy passes, Smith is set up for some success. Just don’t expect anything like Week 3, when Smith took advantage of an injury-ravaged Bills defense to the tune of 331 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and an 8-yard touchdown run. He’s just too raw to sustain production like that. Smith does get a good matchup in Week 5 (when Robert Griffin III and Ben Roethlisberger are on a bye) as the Jets will play in Atlanta. There’s some shootout appeal there.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 16-team leagues

Watch list: Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, Mike Glennon – Whoever is playing quarterback for the Browns will have no running game with Trent Richardson gone. They will have some serious weapons in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. … Mike Glennon’s chance in Tampa could be coming sooner rather than later. Josh Freeman is 0-3, he’s in the final year of his contract and his 59.3 passer rating is dead last in the leagues.

Editor’s Note: For more waiver thoughts and news from around the league, follow Adam Levitan, Rotoworld Football and our dominant News Page.

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Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan

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