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Waiver Wired

Waiver Wire: Week 4

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to the 4th edition of Waiver Wired for the 2017 season. It was a relatively quiet week for injuries, but Darren Sproles did suffer both a broken arm and a torn ACL against the Giants. It is a tough injury which will end his season and possibly his career – he was reportedly considering retirement. The Eagles have options in the backfield to replace him, but picking the correct one each week may prove difficult. Elsewhere, Doug Baldwin picked up a groin injury in the midst of his Week 3 breakout. While the issue is reportedly not “serious,” he looks questionable heading into the week. The same is true of Kelvin Benjamin, who suffered what looked like a gruesome knee injury early against the Saints but reportedly avoided any structural damage. Michael Crabtree also suffered a chest injury on Sunday night, but again there is not much information about the severity. Hopefully we get some clarity early in the week.

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are no longer must-owns, recommended adds are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list consists of players who are worthy of a roster spot if possible, and deep cuts are players owned in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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The Drop List
QB: Cam Newton
RB:
Adrian Peterson, Paul Perkins
WR:
Marvin Jones, Nelson Agholor
TE:
Austin Hooper

The top of last week’s drop list did not go well, with both Bilal Powell and LeGarrette Blount finding the end zone and Eli Manning throwing for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. I still remain pessimistic about Manning, although his matchup with the Bucs this week looks enticing considering the injuries they are dealing with, and Powell still is in a three-way timeshare on a bad team. Blount is a different story, however, with Darren Sproles out for the year with a torn ACL and broken arm. As for this week, I am not shying away despite the misses. Newton is a hold if possible, but he is clearly not right and entering a stretch of four road games in the next five weeks without Greg Olsen and perhaps Kelvin Benjamin. None of the matchups are intimidating, but he just was terrible at home against the Saints. At best he is a bench stash. If Peterson is not going to get more than nine carries or play more snaps than Alvin Kamara in a blowout, then it is fair to question if he will ever be usable. Jones has yet to surpass three catches or 40 yards this season. Hooper has seen two targets in each of his first three games and has just two career games with more than three.

 

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Quarterbacks
1. Tyrod Taylor
2. Deshaun Watson
3. Andy Dalton
4. Jay Cutler

Running Backs
1. Wendell Smallwood
2. Jamaal Charles
3. D’Onta Foreman
4. Chris Johnson
5. Andre Ellington
6. Samaje Perine
7. Alex Collins

Wide Receivers
1. Marqise Lee
2. Kenny Britt
3. Devin Funchess
4. Sterling Shepard
5. Paul Richardson
6. Tyler Lockett
7. Jaron Brown
8. Rashard Higgins
9. Allen Hurns
10. Robert Woods
11. Geronimo Allison

Tight Ends
1. Evan Engram
2. Jared Cook
3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
4. Cameron Brate
5. Ben Watson
6. Ryan Griffin

Defense/Special Teams
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Atlanta Falcons
Looking Ahead: New York Giants

Kickers
1. Ryan Succop
2. Dustin Hopkins
3. Brandon McManus
Looking Ahead: Graham Gano

QUARTERBACKS
1. Tyrod Taylor, Bills – Owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
The main concern for Taylor this week is his propensity to struggle on the road. Since joining the Bills, Taylor has averaged over four fewer fantasy points on the road than at home, and the offense laid an egg in Carolina Week 2. The Falcons are not a prohibitive matchup, however, and his rushing floor at the very least makes him a safe streamer. If the game script works out, he could be much better than that.

2. Deshaun Watson, Texans – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
Watson had his best game as a pro in the most unexpected place in Week 3, and now he comes home for a great matchup against the Titans, who just gave up 373 yards and four touchdowns to Russell Wilson. Like Taylor, Watson’s rushing floor – he has 108 yards and a touchdown on the ground in two starts – makes him a fairly safe fantasy option, and this matchup gives him some upside if he continues to play well.

3. Andy Dalton, Bengals – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jumping back on the Dalton bandwagon does not feel like a safe decision, but the matchup against the Browns is too good to ignore. Despite playing Joe Flacco and Jacoby Brissett in two of their three games, Cleveland has given up the fifth-most points to quarterbacks, and they still would be just middle of the pack without Brissett’s two rushing touchdowns. With the offense showing relatively well under new OC Bill Lazor, Dalton at least deserves a look.  

4. Jay Cutler, Dolphins – Owned in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues
I know. Cutler was bad against the Jets, but he was good Week 2 against the Chargers and gets to face the Saints this week in London. Cam Newton’s disastrous day aside, the Saints are still a defense to target for opposing passing games, and game script should force Cutler to throw more than usual. That makes him a plug-the-nose streaming option.  

Watch List: Jared Goff is coming off a great performance and has an even better matchup against the Cowboys, but he has yet to throw 30 passes in a game this season. It is hard to be a real fantasy asset with that kind of volume without rushing production, which Goff will not provide. That should make him a volatile option all season…DeShone Kizer is clearly going to have some big fantasy games this season and will be a DFS tournament option all year, but he is also likely to post some absolute clunkers along the way. In better matchups and in weeks without as many streaming options, he will be worth a look, but neither is really the case this week…Sam Bradford would once again be an option if he is healthy, but there is really no way to know at this point if that will be the case…Blake Bortles played his best game in a while and get the Jets this week, but chasing touchdowns with a bad quarterback on a run-first team seems like a poor decision…Brian Hoyer had himself a game on Thursday night, but he had 292 yards and zero touchdowns total the first two weeks. Rolling him out on the road against the Cardinals is not an enticing idea.

~RUNNING BACKS
1. Wendell Smallwood, Eagles – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
LeGarrette Blount found the end zone, but Smallwood played 21 more snaps, saw one more touch, and is a better fit for Darren Sproles’ former role than anyone currently on the roster. Blount will be the better bet for a touchdown each week, but Smallwood has a real chance to lead the backfield in touches and should be a more consistent fantasy asset. He will be usable in a pretty good matchup with the Chargers this week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Jamaal Charles, Broncos – Owned in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues
The excitement about Charles is understandable after he found the end zone for the first time as a Bronco, but it is important to note he saw just 10 touches for the third game in a row and did not play a larger snap share than usual against the Bills. Perhaps that changes with him looking good, but it is also possible Denver is content using Charles for just 10 touches a game in an attempt to keep him healthy all year. His upside as one of the best backs of the last decade makes him an add, but it is possible he never gets the necessary touches to be a consistent starting option in standard-sized leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. D’Onta Foreman, Texans – Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
Lamar Miller still looks like the clear lead back, but Foreman has 12 and 10 touches in back-to-back weeks while playing around a quarter of the snaps. That workload makes him more than just a handcuff in deeper leagues, and it is possible he continues to push for more work.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Chris Johnson, Cardinals – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
5. Andre Ellington, Cardinals – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
I am still operating under the assumption Johnson will remain the lead back, but Ellington played more snaps and was more effective on Monday night. Unfortunately, Ellington has struggled to hold up physically under a starter’s workload in the past, making it unlikely he will get the lead job to himself, and the Cardinals’ below-average offensive line matched with a timeshare might make this a backfield to avoid altogether. With eight catches in two games, Ellington looks like the better bet in PPR formats.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

6. Samaje Perine, Redskins – Owned in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues
Chris Thompson has earned the No. 1 moniker in Washington’s backfield, but Perine still would be in line for work – assuming he is healthy – if Rob Kelley is forced to sit again. That gives him speculative value in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

7. Alex Collins, Ravens – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
It looks like Terrance West is healthy, but Collins still got work with the first-team offense on Sunday and once again dominated in garbage time. The chance that performance earns him more playing time early in the game makes him worth a speculative add in deep leagues, but it is likely he remains the least valuable member of a three-way committee.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Even assuming his toe injury is minor, Matt Forte is in a committee on one of the worst offenses in the league…Orleans Darkwa very well could see more work if his back injury turns out to be minor, but does it really matter in this offense? This just looks like a situation to avoid…Thomas Rawls played just one snap. Eddie Lacy played zero. This is Chris Carson’s backfield…With the Giants almost abandoning the run, perhaps Shane Vereen takes over the backfield. Still, it is tough to see him as anything more than a PPR option. The same is true of C.J. Prosise, Alvin Kamara, and Giovani BernardRex Burkhead’s health is in question, and he has yet to establish a fantasy-worthy role…Both Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are exciting backs, but neither is getting enough touches to be useful in fantasy right now, and they would cannibalize each other even if Marshawn Lynch went down.

Deep Cuts: There does not appear to be much reason for worry about Melvin Gordon’s status this week, but Branden Oliver is an add for any nervous owners…Corey Clement played just seven snaps Week 3, but it is certainly possible he takes on a bigger role with Darren Sproles out for the season...The Giants cannot keep rolling Paul Perkins out there, and Orleans Darkwa could be hurt. Could Wayne Gallman get a chance? To be fair, the most likely outcome is the Giants just give up on the run…Mike Tolbert saw 11 more carries and should have had a touchdown…Damien Williams looks like Jay Ajayi’s handcuff, but Kenyan Drake played more snaps Week 2, likely because of game script…Elijah McGuire continues to get snaps in the Jets’ backfield…With the Jaguars looking to be run-heavy, Chris Ivory should see more work than the average handcuff.  

~WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Marqise Lee, Jaguars – Owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is quantity over quality on the receiver wire this week, with none of these guys really standing out as great adds. Lee is tops because he has seen 19 targets the last two games and looks like the clear No. 1 with Allen Robinson gone, but it is difficult to get really excited about a player in the Jaguars’ passing offense. Still, he should provide value during the upcoming bye weeks.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Kenny Britt, Browns – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
Britt was not in the drop list last week because there was always a chance he would come back to life with Corey Coleman out. Catching just 3-of-10 targets might not really qualify as a resurrection, but it was still better than anything we had seen from him to this point, and many of those missed connections were not catchable balls. If he continues to see this target share, he should produce.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Devin Funchess, Panthers – Owned in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues
Funchess is an add because Kelvin Benjamin’s injury looked like one which will keep him out at least a game or two even with the positive reports, but he is not someone to spend really any FAAB dollars on. Even with 10 targets against the Saints, he managed just four catches for 58 yards and has now caught 46 percent of his career targets. This is starting to look like a passing game to avoid.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Sterling Shepard, Giants – Owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Brandon Marshall added in the offseason, volume looked like it would be a concern for Shepard, but that does not seem like it will be a problem with the Giants having to throw nearly 40 times a game. Shepard probably is not going to see 10 targets every week and certainly is not going to have 77-yard touchdowns in every game, but he is worth adding in most leagues to see how the Giants' receiver corps shakes out.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Paul Richardson, Seahawks – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
6. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – Owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Neither of these guys is really a usable fantasy option if Doug Baldwin is healthy, but that may not be the case this week. Richardson got the targets last week and has two touchdowns in as many games, but Lockett had the better game in Week 2. Choosing between them if Baldwin sits will be basically a coin flip, but both will be worth consideration in deep leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

7. Jaron Brown, Cardinals – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
While J.J. Nelson had been the one producing, Brown was quietly seeing the snaps and targets to be a fantasy factor himself. He finally capitalized with a touchdown on six targets Monday night, and he was just inches away from a couple other big plays including another score. With John Brown out indefinitely, Jaron could turn into a useful option in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

8. Rashard Higgins, Browns – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is not time to give up on Higgins despite a disappointing follow-up to his Week 2 breakout. He still played 52 snaps, the same number as Britt, and saw six targets against the Colts. Perhaps he falls further behind Britt and even Ricardo Louis – who is worth a look in very deep leagues – this week, but for now he is a hold where possible.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

9. Allen Hurns, Jaguars – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hurns has two touchdowns the last two weeks, and that will certainly earn him love from the fantasy public. He has just 10 targets over that span – nine fewer than Lee – however, and has looked clearly behind Lee in the pecking order. In what the Jaguars hope will be a low-volume passing game, Hurns is just a deep-league option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

10. Robert Woods, Rams – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Woods is a speculative add in deep leagues with the possibility Sammy Watkins is forced to miss a game because of his concussion, but that does not seem particularly likely with 10 days to recover. Even if Watkins sits, Woods has flopped several times in the past as the No. 1 option – which he may not even be with Cooper Kupp around – and Jared Goff has yet to throw 30 passes this season.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

11. Geronimo Allison, Packers – Owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
Allison made the play of the game in overtime and saw eight targets with Randall Cobb sidelined in Week 3, but it looks like Cobb will return this week after being listed as limited on Monday. If he doesn’t, Allison will be worth a look in deeper leagues against the Bears.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Robby Anderson got his long catch against the Dolphins, but he has 76 yards on his other eight catches through three games. Jermaine Kearse is still the best bet in this passing game…Corey Davis is still a hold if possible, but it is tough to call him a must-own in a crowded receiver group with an uncertain timeline for return…Mohamed Sanu is still an option in deeper leagues, but he has failed to hit 50 yards in two of three games, suggesting he is headed for a similar season as last year despite an uptick in targets…With the Bears hiding Mike Glennon as much as possible, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, and the rest of the pass catchers are nothing more than deep-league stashes…Taylor Gabriel’s touchdown was reminiscent of what he showed last season, and the six targets were good to see. Still, he will need to string together a few good performances before I buy in

Deep Cuts: Josh Doctson showed what he can do on Sunday night, and he played two more snaps than Ryan Grant. If he can stay healthy, he could make some noise…Juju Smith-Schuster appears to have taken over the No. 3 job for the Steelers. While that may not return consistent fantasy value, he could have some big games in this offense…Taywan Taylor played a season-high 26 snaps with Corey Davis out. A great talent, he just needs opportunity…If Michael Crabtree is not healthy, Seth Roberts could have a bigger role and is a favorite of Derek Carr in the red zone…It sounds like Will Fuller could return this week, and Mike Williams should not be far behind…Curtis Samuel played a season-high 36 snaps, seeing five targets and taking his only carry 31 yards. Even if Kelvin Benjamin is healthy, the Panthers need more explosiveness in their offense, and Samuel can bring that…Bruce Ellington had a good game in New England and is a quality receiver, but it is tough to really invest with Fuller on the way back...Travis Benjamin had a touchdown in Week 1 and 100 yards on eight targets on Sunday, but he had just one catch against the Dolphins and just four targets in the opener. Especially with Williams coming back, Benjamin will be a boom-or-bust option. 

~TIGHT ENDS
1. Evan Engram, Giants – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
With no running game to speak of, the Giants will have to throw early and often, and that means targets for Engram even with Odell Beckham back to full health. The rookie saw seven looks against the Eagles, and he now has 19 through three games. With the Bucs decimated by injuries on defense and specifically at linebacker, Engram could be in for a good outing.

2. Jared Cook, Raiders – Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
Even in a bad game overall for the offense, Cook paid off fantasy owners with a touchdown. He now has 17 targets through three games and has been shockingly efficient with the work. Perhaps that changes and this house of cards comes crashing down, but the Raiders likely will have to rely heavily on him this week against the Broncos, who are much weaker against tight ends than receivers.

3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jets – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
In his first game back from suspension, Seferian-Jenkins saw six targets in a game Josh McCown threw just 23 passes. Now the Jets get a defense which shuts down perimeter players but has given up yards and touchdowns to tight ends. It is tough to go all in on any Jets pass catcher, but ASJ has the talent to make the most of his opportunities.

4. Cameron Brate, Bucs – Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brate is a scary proposition after seeing just seven targets total through two games, but he did find the end zone against the Vikings and has a great matchup this week against the Giants, who tend to funnel targets to tight ends. It is looking like Brate will be something of a touchdown-or-bust player, but the matchup gives him streaming appeal this week.

5. Ben Watson, Ravens – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Watson saved his fantasy day with a touchdown, but there was not much he could do with Joe Flacco imploding. His quarterback’s poor play is the main concern, but the matchup against the Steelers is not great either. Even so, the volume should be there most weeks, and that is worth something.

6. Ryan Griffin, Texans – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Griffin’s Week 3 performance may end up being just a flash in the pan, especially with Stephen Anderson hanging around and Will Fuller on the way back, but the Titans just gave up 125 yards and a touchdown to Seahawks tight ends. Griffin is more of a deep-league play, but there are worse options.

Watch List: Again, Vernon Davis’ value as a streamer depends on Jordan Reed’s status, which, unfortunately, is impossible to know early in the week. If Reed is out, Davis will be at the top of this list…It would be understandable to chase Marcedes Lewis’ three touchdowns, but he had zero catches on four targets entering the game. If this is the start of an insane run, I will just have to miss out…Zach Miller should see a lot of targets when the Bears are forced to throw, but picking out those games may prove difficult…The Patriots have surprisingly given up some fantasy points to tight ends early in the year, but the Ed Dickson fantasy experiment looks like a failure…Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas are not going to get much if they do not get a touchdown. David Njoku looks like he will be in the same boat as a rookie, but at least he has two touchdowns in as many games…Charles Clay has a pretty good matchup in Atlanta, who has really benefited from tight-end drops so far this season, but his upside appears to be 50 yards and a touchdown…Jermaine Gresham saw nine targets Monday night, but he has surpassed 50 yards twice since 2014.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Owned in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues
Coming off a dominating performance in London, the Jaguars get to face off with the Jets Week 4. The game is in New York and the Jets performed well against the Dolphins on Sunday, but this is a prime matchup for a very good defense.

2. Cincinnati Bengals – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
I usually try to avoid road teams, but like the Jaguars, the Bengals are in a great spot in Cleveland. DeShone Kizer has thrown six interceptions in the last two games and taken 10 sacks this year.

3. Atlanta Falcons – Owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Falcons have only forced two turnovers this year, but they have nine sacks through three games, and the Bills traditionally struggle offensively on the road.

Looking Ahead:
Perhaps Philip Rivers rights the ship this week, but if not, the Giants will be a good play at home against the Chargers in Week 5.

KICKERS
1. Ryan Succop, Titans – Owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
Succop has attempted at least three field goals in every game, and the Titans’ offense looks like it is going to be able to score on anyone.

2. Dustin Hopkins, Redskins – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
While he misses his fair share, Hopkins has continued to see a lot of attempts early this season. He has three in each of the last two games.

3. Brandon McManus, Broncos – Owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
McManus has attempted just six field goals this season, but the Raiders have already faced nine, the most in the league. He should get on track this week.

Looking Ahead: Graham Gano is getting a lot of opportunities early in the year, and he will get to kick indoors at Detroit in Week 5. 

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.