Fantasy: Waiver Wire - Week 4
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Every Monday during the season, theScore's Justin Boone runs down the recommended waiver wire pickups.
Roster percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Free Agent Budget (FAB) amounts are set off a $100 salary cap. Only players rostered in less than 50% of leagues are considered.
Sam Darnold, Panthers
Darnold makes his second straight appearance as the featured quarterback in this space after throwing for 304 yards and rushing for two touchdowns against the Houston Texans on Thursday.
He's now finished as the QB16, QB14, and (entering Monday) QB5 in fantasy through three weeks - placing him 11th overall on the year.
Needless to say, he's thriving in Joe Brady's system and surrounded by strong position talent for the first time in his career.
You could make an argument that his soft schedule is at least partially responsible for the early season success, but he gets another choice matchup in Week 4.
We'll have to wait to see what the Dallas Cowboys do against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, but if the first two weeks are any indication (379 passing yards to Tom Brady and 338 passing yards to Justin Herbert), Darnold should have no problem flirting with QB1 numbers yet again.
Streaming options: Taylor Heinicke at ATL (6% rostered), Jameis Winston vs. NYG (46% rostered)
Risky streaming options: Jacoby Brissett vs. IND (2% rostered), Daniel Jones at NO (45% rostered), Zach Wilson vs. TEN (11% rostered), Teddy Bridgewater vs. BAL (28% rostered), Jared Goff at CHI (16% rostered)
Long-term stash: Trey Lance (34% rostered)
2QB/Superflex long-term stashes: Cam Newton (2% rostered), Taysom Hill (3% rostered)
Chuba Hubbard, Panthers
Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss multiple weeks with a hamstring strain, but the Carolina Panthers seem as though they don't plan to put him on injured reserve (which would cost him at least three games).
In his absence, the team turned to fourth-round rookie Hubbard, who delivered 79 yards from scrimmage on 14 touches, including three receptions. Though he didn't find the end zone, Hubbard severely out-snapped third-stringer Royce Freeman 40 to 11 and ran 20 routes to the veteran's four.
Few matchups will be as favorable as the Texans just were, so keep that in mind when projecting Hubbard's fantasy outlook as the temporary starter. However, we saw journeyman Mike Davis post top-12 fantasy numbers in this offense when CMC missed time last season.
For now, you should treat Hubbard as a top-20 fantasy option until McCaffrey returns, and remember that hamstring injuries can linger or be easily aggravated when a player comes back. I'm aggressively targeting Hubbard in the leagues which I wasn't already stashing him.
Freeman (1% rostered) should also be picked up in deeper leagues.
Alex Collins, Seahawks
Chris Carson sat out big chunks of the second half on Sunday with a reported hamstring issue.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Monday it was due to cramps, which would be a sigh of relief for Carson and his fantasy managers.
Let this serve as a reminder to fill your bench with capable backup running backs who are one injury away from producing. In Seattle, Collins is holding down that spot while being sprinkled in as a runner. Meanwhile, Travis Homer (0% rostered) serves as a passing-down option.
If Carson misses time, this would likely be a committee with Collins taking over as the lead back.
Don't spend anything significant to get him, but stash Collins until we see Carson's practice participation this week.
Zack Moss (54% rostered) is the second-best RB add this week if he's available in your league.
High-upside backups like Damien Williams (6% rostered), Kenneth Gainwell (35% rostered), and Tony Jones Jr. (18% rostered) should be rostered in most leagues.
Flex options: Peyton Barber at LAC (7% rostered), Giovani Bernard at NE (16% rostered), J.D. McKissic at ATL (39% rostered), Carlos Hyde at CIN (14% rostered), Ty Johnson vs. TEN (10% rostered)
Dart-throw flex options: Malcolm Brown vs. IND (7% rostered), Jeremy McNichols at NYJ (1% rostered), J.J. Taylor vs. TB (1% rostered), Brandon Bolden vs. TB (0% rostered), Demetric Felton at MIN (6% rostered)
Other backups to roster: Marlon Mack at MIA (5% rostered), Darrel Williams at PHI (10% rostered), Justin Jackson vs. LV (5% rostered), Salvon Ahmed vs. IND (2% rostered), Jake Funk vs. ARI (2% rostered), Larry Rountree vs. LV (8% rostered)
Injured reserve stashes: Darrynton Evans (3% rostered), Anthony McFarland Jr. (1% rostered), Jeff Wilson Jr. (19% rostered)
Deeper stashes: Jaret Patterson at ATL (1% rostered), Samaje Perine vs. JAX (1% rostered), Chris Evans vs. JAX (1% rostered), Gary Brightwell at NO (0% rostered)
Emmanuel Sanders, Bills
Despite entering the season with a foot issue that caused him to miss some practice time in the summer, Sanders has played the most snaps of any Buffalo Bills receiver - holding a slight edge over star Stefon Diggs.
Though Diggs has a massive advantage in terms of target share, Sanders is tied for the team lead in receiving yards and has scored the most receiving touchdowns. A big reason for that was his blowup performance against the Washington Football Team this week that resulted in five catches, 94 yards, and a pair of trips to the end zone.
It was only a matter of time after Sanders began serving as a full-time player and seeing steady opportunities through the first two weeks. If Sanders and Josh Allen are now on the same page, the 34-year-old wideout has a chance to reach top-24 fantasy value in one of the league's most dangerous passing attacks.
Tim Patrick, Broncos
Patrick is back at it this season. With Jerry Jeudy sidelined, he notched stat lines of 4-39-1 and 3-37-1 to open the year versus the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively.
Unfortunately, fantasy managers didn't listen to our recommendation and instead allowed him to remain unrostered in 77% of leagues, missing out on his five-catch, 98-yard performance in Week 3.
You're only hurting your teams at this point. Go and get Patrick before he makes you regret it even further.
Josh Gordon, Chiefs
Immediately upon him being reinstated by the league, it was announced Gordon is signing with the Kansas City Chiefs.
There aren't many landing spots that would be more interesting for a player who's let us down time after time over his career, but Kansas City is one of them.
Though a 30-year-old Gordon has no chance of regaining the superstar potential he displayed back in 2013, anyone who can earn a regular role in a Patrick Mahomes-powered offense warrants consideration on our rosters.
If he can stick around and avoid any further suspensions, Gordon might turn into a flex option with big-play upside. Just keep your expectations low if you plan on stashing him.
Flex options: DeVante Parker vs. IND (39% rostered), Marquez Callaway vs. NYG (37% rostered), Hunter Renfrow at LAC (11% rostered), Bryan Edwards at LAC (17% rostered), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine at NYJ (0% rostered)
Risky flex options: Darnell Mooney vs. DET (45% rostered), A.J. Green at LAR (15% rostered), Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. PIT (10% rostered), Sammy Watkins at DEN (23% rostered), Terrace Marshall at DAL (14% rostered), Nelson Agholor vs. TB (44% rostered), Quintez Cephus at CHI (29% rostered), K.J. Osborn vs. CLE (29% rostered), Jalen Reagor vs. KC (25% rostered)
Dart-throw flex options: James Washington at GB (1% rostered), Kadarius Toney at NO (2% rostered), Cedrick Wilson vs. CAR (1% rostered), Quez Watkins vs. KC (2% rostered), Zach Pascal at MIA (26% rostered), Van Jefferson vs. ARI (6% rostered), DeSean Jackson vs. ARI (2% rostered), Kendrick Bourne vs. TB (1% rostered), Olamide Zaccheaus vs. WAS (0% rostered)
Dart-throw flex option (if healthy): Elijah Moore vs. TEN (28% rostered)
Injured reserve stash: Rashod Bateman (14% rostered), Curtis Samuel at ATL (34% rostered)
Deep bench stashes: Donovan Peoples-Jones at MIN (2% rostered), Anthony Schwartz at MIN (2% rostered), Ray-Ray McCloud at GB (0% rostered), Tyler Johnson at NE (0% rostered), Gabriel Davis vs. HOU (6% rostered), Kalif Raymond at CHI (0% rostered), Anthony Miller at BUF (0% rostered), Collin Johnson at NO (0% rostered), Chester Rogers at NYJ (1% rostered), Freddie Swain at SF (1% rostered), Dee Eskridge at SF (1% rostered), Jaylen Guyton at KC (0% rostered), Josh Palmer at KC (1% rostered)
Evan Engram, Giants
Engram had a miserable return to the field, catching just two passes and fumbling one of them away.
It's enough to deter anyone from rostering him ... and yet, if you look at the other waiver wire choices at tight end, you'll be resigned to the fact that Engram is the best option.
Focusing on the positives, he was able to play 56% of the Giants' snaps in his first game of the season and saw six targets.
That volume could rise with receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton likely set to miss time with hamstring injuries. While they're out, New York's offense will revolve around Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, and Engram.
And as we mentioned last week, prior to a disappointing 2020 campaign, Engram averaged the seventh-most fantasy points among tight ends in half PPR scoring during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. That came after a standout rookie year in which he finished as the TE5 overall.
If you're searching for a difference-making tight end on the waiver wire, you're likely out of luck. But Engram is the best long shot available.
Risky streamer options: Tyler Conklin vs. CLE (4% rostered), Dawson Knox vs. HOU (10% rostered), Austin Hooper at MIN (49% rostered), Hunter Henry vs. TB (46% rostered), Dalton Schultz vs. CAR (3% rostered)
Dart-throw streamer options: Cole Kmet vs. DET (34% rostered), Pat Freiermuth at GB (8% rostered), Dan Arnold at CIN (4% rostered), Tommy Tremble at DAL (0% rostered)
Week 4 streamers
Favorable upcoming schedules: Titans DEF (14% rostered), Packers DEF (14% rostered), Raiders DEF (47% rostered)