by Nick Ercolano
September 24, 2018
Week 3 is in the novels, so we're looking at snatching the gold mines off of the waiver wire for Week 4 of fantasy football. Let's get it. This list will only be composed of players owned in 55% or less of Yahoo leagues.
1. Derek Carr - Oakland Raiders
- Yahoo Ownership: 38%
With the conclusion of Week 3, Carr currently sits 4th among QBs in passing yards (936) and in attempts (111), and 3rd in completion rate (80.2%). He hasn't thrown for less than 288 yards in any of his three matchups, garbage time or not, he's getting the volume and padding the stats. He's missed Cooper on a few TDs, Cook was tackled on like the half-yard-line on Sunday, so Carr's numbers could & should be even better. He's done this against the Rams, @ DEN and @ MIA, who combine for an 8-1 record in the early szn and a 9:16 TD:INT ratio. It doesn't get particularly easier, as he'll face an underrated CLV defense at home before traveling to LAC, but I'm a fan of streaming QBs playing at home and I think Carr will be plenty good enough to stream in Week 4.
- Next three matchups: CLV, @LAC, SEA
- Use #1 Waiver Wire: No
- FAAB Spend: $3-5
2. Andy Dalton - Cincinnati Bengals
- Yahoo Ownership: 33%
I'm shocked to see Dalton available in this many leagues. Depending on what A.J. Green's (groin) status is, Dalton could be a great or mehhh pick up right now. Green is obviously an enormous difference maker for the Bengals when he's in the lineup. But, as opposed to other years, Dalton is actually getting help from other weapons, in the form of his RBs catching passes, Tyler Eifert & Tyler Boyd.
Dalton currently sits at QB9 in fantasy football through three weeks. He gets a fantastic slate of games over the next five weeks. He travels to the dome in Atlanta where the Falcons absolutely depleted defense just allowed nearly 400 yards of passing to Drew Brees, and it's now back-to-back weeks the Falcons have surrendered more than 335 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns to QBs (Newton, Brees). They were already without standout playmakers Keanu Neal & Deoin Jones and now have lost their underrated CB in Ricardo Allen to a torn achilles. It's brutal, but it'll be a defense to attack in fantasy. Miami isn't going to be easy anymore, but they're at home, then they face PIT at home, at KC and TB at home. He's the best long-term play on this list if you're a streamer.
- Next three matchups: @ATL, MIA, PIT (@KC, TB)
- FAAB Spend: $5-8
3. Case Keenum - Denver Broncos
- Yahoo Ownership: 25%
Keenum has a miserable Week 3, throwing for under 200 yards for the first time this year, with 0 touchdowns and one interception, but that was probably to be expected given the environment, at Baltimore against a tough pass defense.
However, Keenum gets a Week 4 matchup at Arrowhead that puts him right back into streaming consideration and he'll probably flirt with top-12 numbers as they take on the scorching hot Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. KC has now scored point totals of 38, 42 and 38 in their 3 wins, but have also allowed 28, 37, 27 in that span and the single most FPs allowed the opposing QB. It's the sole reason Keenum is on here, and I doubt I'll regret come Monday.
The average QB has totaled 386 total yards and 3 touchdowns against the Chiefs in 2018.
- Next three matchups: KC, @NYJ, LAR
- FAAB Spend: $4-5
4. Eli Manning - New York Giants
- Yahoo Ownership: 18% Owned
Sunday injected a bit of life back into the Giants bloodstream, with their 27-22 win on the road against the Texans, led by a 25-29 (86.2%) 297-yard, 2-touchdown game from Eli. Some will say Eli byke, others will write it off. What I do know is that the Giants have a home game against the Saints in Week 4. Clearly, the Saints aren't the pass defenses people expected to see in 2018. They just let Matty Ice pick them apart to the tune of 374 passing yards and five touchdowns. So, in 2-of-3 games so far, the Saints defense has allowed an opposing QB to throw for over 370 yards and at least 4 touchdowns (Fitzpatrick & Ryan).
The Giants also benched Erek Flowers yesterday, a move that was about two years overdue. I'm not sure how much that actually helped the line, considering J.J. Watt was credited with 5 QB hits and 3 sacks by himself, but it can't possibly be a bad thing.
Brees will continue doing his thing, so Eli will be forced to throw a ton in this one. It's a one-week pickup considering they travel to Carolina then take on the defending Superbowl champion Eagles in Week 6, but he's a Week 4 streamer.
- Next three matchups: NO, @CAR, PHI
- FAAB Spend: $2-4
5. Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens
- Yahoo Ownership: 14%
I guess it's time the fantasy peoples start taking Joe Flacco seriously. All summer we heard he was going to be ready to roll, and he's done just that. Flacco is a top-12 fantasy QB through three weeks, with very little volatility to his performances, which are something we come to expect from him, but a new weapons group and a renewed motivation following the first round selection of Lamar Jackson has Flacco back to being ELITE. What's notable is this:
With the resurgence of John Brown and real group of weapons around him, Flacco is airing the ball out. Something he's done 0 of over the last three years. Through three weeks, Flacco has attempted 16 deep passes (per PFF), the 4th highest in the NFL, completing 6 of them (43.8%) for 180 yards (4th in NFL). That puts him on pace for over 85 deep passes on the year. He had 47 all of the last season.
Flacco now has 889 passing yards and 6 passing touchdowns on 129 passing attempts through three weeks:
He's definitely looking like the favorite to be this year's (2017) Alex Smith. Smith, similar situation, low aDOT, drafted a backup QB, extra motivation, played his ass off. Same thing here with Flacco.
In Week 4, Flacco travels to Pittsburgh, where we know that offense & Big Ben play infinitely better at home, so it could be another high-scoring, high-volume passing game for Flacco.
- Next three matchups: @PIT, @CLV, @TEN
6. Baker Mayfield - Cleveland Browns
- Yahoo Ownership: 11%
Oh man, I know I said Dalton was the best long-term pickup, but Baker actually is. And I know I'm going wild over a 1H sample-size, but I really believe that everything points to Baker being a superstar in this league. I'm sure he'll have his ups-and-downs throughout his rookie year, but I'm almost positive that will come with a multitude of QB1 performances along the way. He's not just a streaming option, but I think he's someone, who if he can find a groove, might become an every-week fantasy starter by the end of the year. Stop me if you think I'm going crazy. Please. I might die on this hill, but I think it's a good one to die on.
Baker travels to Oakland, who are allowing the 3rd highest YPA (8.7) and a 6:1 TD:INT ratio. They just allowed 289 passing yards and 3 scores to Ryan Tannehill (admittedly, most of that wasn't him - YACity).
- Next three matchups: @OAK, BAL, LAC
- Use #1 Waiver Wire: Yes (in 2QB leagues & deeper leagues, no in 1QB and 14 team or shallower leagues, but needs to be added every where).
- FAAB Spend: $8-12
There's almost nothing on the wire with running backs. All of the handcuffs that could've been played last week, Latavius, Clement, Gio, Yeldon are all highly owned now, so you'll just have to keep an eye out on the starter injury situations for those respective players.
And before we get into the RBs - plug Patreon.
1. Suck Allen - Baltimore Ravens (will be listed under Javorious)
- Yahoo Ownership: 35%
I'm not sure while he's still un-owned. Y'all know I hate him, but this Ravens offense has been good, and Allen is a big part of it and will continue to be. As will Alex Collins, but they're both must-own players and I can't sit here and confidently say I'd rather own Collins over Buck. Buck has now scored in 3 straight games and added a fourth score on Sunday through the air. Allen now sits as FRB15 in STD and RRB11 in PPR leagues.
Collins has out-carried the 4th year, non-hip-moving mf out of USC, 34-16, but Allen has doubled Collins' target total (16-8). I mean, I'm not gonna get into how Collins has a higher catch %, a nearly double YPT and YPR number than Allen, and almost triple his YAC because it doesn't matter. All that matters is how he's going to be deployed. Allen now has 3x as many GL carries as Collins (6-2) and has been in on 82% of BAL's GL snaps, Collins just 27%. Week 3 was the first time Buck out-snapped Collins but now has a 111-104 advantage on snaps for the year.
David Johnson has just 12 more total snaps on the year than Buck Allen.
- Next three matchups: @PIT, @CLV, @TEN
- Use #1 Waiver Wire: Yes
- FAAB Spend: $12-15
2. Marlon Mack - Indianapolis Colts
It's still not a good situation here for Mack, and it's very concerning as he's now missed most of the Indy's summer and 2-of-3 regular season games with what is a foot/hamstring issue right now (hamstring during summer) + and the fact that having the "running back in an Andrew Luck-led offense" isn't necessarily a great selling point, Jordan Wilkins hasn't done anything to run away with the job - so, Mack, when healthy will get a chance to do just that. He's just a stash at this point, and definitely not someone you're throwing into your lineup even if he's active for Week 4. Jordan Wilkins hasn't been terrible, but he would've needed to be great to push Mack out of the picture when he returns. I wouldn't be surprised if Mack misses Week 4 too, but he's someone like I said, you can stash, and hopefully over the 2H of the year, when he's healthy, and Andrew Luck is slinging it more, can be an asset down the stretch.
- Next three matchups: HOU, @NE, @NYJ
Since I create this column prior to MNF, Chris Godwin are obvious candidates to be on this list, owned in just 41% of leagues still.
1. Calvin Ridley - Atlanta Falcons
- Yahoo Ownership: 44%
THE WR1 in Atlanta, had his coming out party in Week 3. The Falcons first-round selection went fuckin nuts, catching 7-of-8 targets for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. In just this game, he tied the total number of TDs Julio had all of 2017. After an embarrassing Week 1, it looks like ATL have somewhat fixed their RZ woes, and it looks like it doesn't include the involvement of Julio Jones. Julio now has the same number of RZ targets as Ridley does (3), but Julio hasn't caught a single pass down there yet, while Ridley has turned 2-of-3 into TDs. He now has 4 TDs over the Falcons last two games, and this red-hot offense isn't likely to slow down anytime soon given the state of their defense and all the injuries. The Falcons have given up 67 points to their opponent's over the last two weeks.
It's a tiny sample-size here with Ridley, but Ryan is looking to Ridley down the field far more often then Julio and it's likely because the opponent's given so much attention to Julio - which will continue to be the case and a major asset for Ridley.
The great part is that he has room to grow, too. He's only playing on 61% of Atlanta's offensive snaps, compared to 81% and 79% for Julio and Sanu. If the rookie keeps up anything close to these types of performances, they'll have no choice to but to start using him over Sanu in 2WR sets.
- Next three matchups: CIN, @PIT, TB
2. Ted Ginn Jr. - New Orleans Saints
- Yahoo Ownership: 36%
A week after saying that they needed to get the rookie Tre'Quan Smith more involved, they did exactly not that. He saw the same number of snaps in Week 3 as he did in Week 2. However, Cameron Meredith returned and played in 43% of New Orleans' snaps, 33% for Smith. But, Ginn is still the WR2 here, both the snap count, usage and production tell that story. Ginn had a couple of uncharacteristic drops in Week 3, but still managed to see 6 targets, find the EZ via his legs, and finish with double-digit 0.5PPR FPs.
He's a boring, medium/high-floor WR in fantasy - that gives you the every week high ceiling given his speed. His 14.5 aDOT is still far and away the highest on the team. He leads the team, by more than double the next closest WRs in deep-ball targets from Brees.
- Next three matchups: TEN, NYJ, @KC
- FAAB Spend: $5-7
3. Geronimo Allison - Green Bay Packers
Same reason he was on here last week, high-floor, medium-ceiling WR3 in Rodgers offense. Allison has at least 64 receiving yards in all three games this year and caught his second touchdown on the year, boosting him up to WR24 in 0.5 PPR on the year. The interesting thing with Allison, just like with Ridley, is there is room to grow. Adams and Cobb are both playing on 95% of GBs snaps, Allison sitting at 75% - but Allison, most people might not know this, leads the GB WRs in yards (209). Where he also leads the team is in aDOT - with a 13.4 aDOT. He has become Rodgers' preferred deep target to Adams (8.4) and Cobb (6.4). He definitely won't be taking over as the starter in 2WR sets, but as the primary deep threat for Aaron Rodgers, he's becoming a really solid high-floor, high-ceiling player. Cobb is more of an outlet, short slot target for Rodgers, while Adams is the clear favorite target and EZ target, but Allison will continue gaining trust with Rodgers on those deep balls as long as he keeps converting. Rodgers and the Packer offense now get a great slate of games for their passing offense after starting with a brutal slate against CHI, MIN, @WAS.
- Next three matchups: BUF, @DET, SF
- FAAB Spend: $10-12
4. Antonio Callaway - Cleveland Browns
With Baker coming off the bench, this entire offense gets a major upgrade. Callaway has left nearly 150 receiving yards and 2-3 touchdowns on the field this year, from underthrows from Tyrod. Callaway was at fault, as you can see here, for a drop that was a beautifully placed deep ball from Mayfield, but the opportunities should continue to roll in for the talented rookie. Callaway now has 14 targets over the last two weeks, with an insane 18.6 aDOT, 6th highest over that span.
Also over the last two weeks, he owns a 38% air yard share on the Browns (per AirYards.com) and a gorgeous 21% target market share.
- FAAB Spend: $12-15
5. DeVante Parker - Miami Dolphins
- Yahoo Ownership: 30%
Yeah, ew I know. Parker made his 2018 debut in Week 3, catching 2-of-3 targets for 40 yards. He immediately became a near full-time player, seeing the field for 75% of the team's snaps. That number should increase going forward. The 3 targets weren't great, but what was promising was his aDOT of 23. He may never develop into the WR1 people had hoped for, but he will take away deep looks from Stills and could develop into a really solid deep threat for the 3-0 Dolphins.
- Next three matchups: @NE, @CIN, CHI
- FAAB Spend: $3-4
6. Tyler Boyd - Cincinnati Bengals
- Yahoo Ownership: 16%
We don't know the extent of A.J. Greens groin injury yet, but if he misses time, it should be a boost to Boyd's target share - although it inversely could hurt him because Green has seen so much shadow coverage fro the opposing team's best CBs. Boyd, a week after I put him on this list, went off again in Week 3 at Carolina, catching 6-of-7 targets for 132 yards and a touchdown. Boyd now has back-to-back top-12 fantasy finishes in Weeks 2 and 3.
Boyd has been far out-snapping John Ross and any Cincy weapon outside of A.J. Green on the year, and is the clear-cut WR2 in an offense that has bounced back in a big way, which many predicted. He's run over 69% of his routes from the slot in 2018, which could be good news if Green misses time, they might keep him in there and let someone like John Ross handle the opposing teams top CB. Either way, with a great slate of games over the next five weeks, Boyd has firmly placed himself in the WR3 conversation and will flirt with WR2 status if Green does miss any time.
- Next three matchups: @ATL, MIA, PIT (@KC, TB)
- FAAB Spend: $8-10
In tonight's game, you're watching out for what's going on for the Pittsburgh side, they have a couple of TEs that could be very fantasy relevant in Jesse James and Vance McDonald. James has been the stat stuffer so far, but McDonald made his debut last week, and he's the one with upside, he's the one we were getting excited about in the summer. He returned last week and ran five fewer snaps than James did and saw the same number of targets. McDonald is the much more natural athlete and receiver.
1. Jack Doyle - Indianapolis Colts
- Yahoo Ownership: 53%
Guys, you can't be letting this happen - and I know you're probably like, omg this guy with fucking Jack Doyle. If I'm in a league, where I'm hurting at TE, like I'm streaming, and Doyle is available - I'm shelling out a pretty penny for him. I know the production isn't there yet, especially from the TD POV, when you look at Ebron, but in my mind, Doyle is still the TE to own here when he's active, 100%. Prior to Week 3, Doyle led the team, not just TEs, but the entire Colts offense in snaps. He out-snapped Ebron 136-53 in that span, and Doyle had an 18% target market share over the first two weeks, 6th among all NFL tight ends.
With Doyle out for Week 3, Ebron was in a great spot to blow up, but managed just 5 catches on 11 targets for 33 yards. But, another testament to Luck's continued usage of the TEs, and considering he wasn't the guy throwing the last deep ball in the game on Sunday, Brissett came in, Luck clearly doesn't have full strength in that shoulder and will continue to throw underneath to the TEs. And INCLUDING Week 3, where Doyle didn't play, Doyle has run a total of 81 passing routes in 2018, compared to just 34 for Ebron.
Assuming Doyle is healthy, he's in a great spot to breakout in Week 4, against a HOU defense that got killed by Gronk in Week 1 and just allowed a 3-39-1 game against the Giants back-up TE Rhett Ellison.
- Use #1 Waiver Wire: Yes (If TE needy)
- FAAB Spend: $15+
2. Tyler Eifert - Cincinnati Bengals
- Yahoo Ownership: 50%
He's still far from an every-down player, but the 65% snap share was the highest rate of 2018 season for Eifert. It was also by far his best fantasy game up to this point, catching 6-of-8 targets for 74 yards.
Eifert is another Bengals weapon that will benefit should A.J. Green miss any time. Over their next five weeks, the Bengals get literally five matchups in which the TE position can exploit in fantasy.
If Green misses Week 4, Eifert should be considered a top-12 option at the position as the Falcons will be without their top coverage LB in Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal.
- Next three matchups: @ATL, MIA, PIT (@KC, TB).
- FAAB Spend: $7-10
3. Ben Watson - New Orleans Saints
I'll keep throwing him on this list as well. Another boring, but useful day from Watson brought about 71 yards and 5 catches. Most people want no part of Watson and I get it, but I'm here to tell you, despite him being ike 91 years old, he's still got it. I mean look at these catches he was making yesterday. Brees clearly trusts him and I think he'll continue to get looks. Watson's 15 targets are tied for 11th most among NFL TEs in 2018 and his 86% catch rate is 2nd among all TEs that have double-digit targets.
He gets a Giants defense who after being a literal black hole for the TE position in fantasy in 2017, have allowed the single fewest FPs to the position, but it's because they've literally faced no one. This week, Ryan Griffin caught two passed for 44 yards, I expect Watson to have another 8+ PPR fantasy points and he's due for a TD one of these Sundays.
- Next three matchups: @NYG, WAS, BYE
- FAAB Spend: $2-3
4. Ricky Seals-Jones - Arizona Cardinals
- Yahoo Ownership: 22%
He's on this strictly because Josh Rosen has taken over at the QB position. RSJ's 17% target share through three weeks is 7th among NFL TE's, but he's caught just 8-of-15 targets on the year, but has 0 drops so it was either bad throws or good defense that's held him down.
I tried looking back at Rosen's stats from 2017, but college doesn't really track targets, but what I did find was that their TE, Caleb Wilson, who is extremely highly rated among PFF, played in UCLA's first 5 games in 2017, before missing the rest of the year with a foot injury. In those first five games, just 5 games, Caleb Wilson caught 38 passes for 490 yards. In 5 games. Maybe it was Wilson being that good, maybe Rosen likes the TE. But it can't get much worse then Bradford. So I'm looking forward to see what RSJ does with Rosen under center.
- Next three matchups: SEA, @SF, @MIN
5. Mark Andrews - Baltimore Ravens
- Yahoo Ownership: 1%
One last guy I'm quietly liking more and more is Mark Andrews from the Baltimore Ravens. In what was kind of an absurd draft for the Ravens, Andrews was their third round pick out of Oklahoma, following their first round investment into fellow TE Hayden Hurst. The 25-year old, Hurst, has yet to resume practicing after undergoing a foot procedure back in August. He's expected to miss more time.
This hasn't opened the door for the other 9 TEs on the roster to make an impression. The production had been pretty even between Andrews, Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams up to this point, but Andrews is starting to pull away in the receiving aspect - now leading the TEs in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns on the young season.
For those of you that don't know much about the rookie, this is the blurb RotoWorld wrote about Andrews after being drafted:
Despite being out-snapped by both TEs on the year, Andrews has run the most routes of all three, 55, Boyle 45, Maxx 33. He's more of a stash and hope, but given his college pedigree and his usage in the pass game, Andrews easily has the highest ceiling in an offense that's looking like it should far outperform expectations.
- FAAB Spend: $1-2
I've gott say, I've been pretty money with my streamers so far this year. And last week was good, I went Carolina, Cleveland and Miami who finished as D/ST7, 8 & 10.
Again, I will repeat this every week - when streaming a defense, I look for three things - favored to win, home teams with a low over/under.
1. Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo Bills
- Yahoo Ownership: 29%
- Over/Under: 45
- Line: GB -10 (per 5dimes.eu)
This is a very easy one for me. Yes BUF balled out, but let's be real here. GB was my favorite streamer in Week 1, they delivered, and have done so in both home games this year. In Week 2, even while allowing 29 points to MIN, they scored 11 fantasy points and clearly get things done in Lambeau. It should be no different in Week 4 at home versus Buffalo.
They also play SF at home in two weeks, who obviously no longer have Jimmy G, so you can roster them for both games.
So, of course, you need to drop some players to make room for these new guys - it would make sense for me to list some of them here. And guys, this isn't one-size-fits-all, it depends on your league size and team needs:
Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky
Alfred Morris, Theo Riddick, Tarik Cohen, Rashaad Penny, Duke Johnson, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones,
Some guys I'd like to hang onto but wouldn't be the worst to drop: Derrick Henry (yet to score 6 FPs in a game). Jamaal Williams, couldn't get it done without Aaron Jones and now in a real 3-way timeshare, and probably the least talented of the three. Peyton Barber, depending on MNF.
Pierre Garcon, Dante Pettis, Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, Rishard Matthews, Josh Doctson, Phillip Dorsett, Michael Gallup
September 27, 2018
Deciding to pick up rsj and dropping ither Vance or najoku?… I have callway
starting and may put Mayfield in with some matchups I also already and dj and he’s same team as rsj …
by Nick Ercolano
September 18, 2020
by Nick Ercolano
September 14, 2020
by Nick Ercolano
August 26, 2020
Animal makes a case for why Andy Isabella could be the better pick over Christian Kirk.