Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 4
9/28/15; Updated: 9/29/15 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business, but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious selections to help your team from week to week while you strive to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Andy Dalton, CIN – He’s still available in about 20-25 percent of fantasy leagues, and he’s already thrown eight TD passes this a season after a 383-3-1 performance in a comeback win over the Ravens. I’ve always been a huge Dalton fan, and I just don’t understand why he’s still out there on even shallow-league waiver wires. He’s a solid QB1 option facing the Chiefs in Week 4.

Marcus Mariota, TEN – Okay, so even though he’s not necessarily a shoo-in for Canton, the 367-2-2 performance shows he can and will throw the ball when he needs to. Both of the picks he threw against Indy were costly, but he’s in command of the Titans offense and his mobility should improve as he recovers from a minor ankle injury.

UPDATE: Reports out of Tennessee have the Titans brass “torn” about Mariota’s role as a rusher, since he’s having so much success in the pocket. He’s a legitimate dual threat and has huge upside once his legs are under him in the NFL. He’s playing better than Colin Kaepernick, who scouts compared him to during his days at Oregon for his straight-line speed and quick-twitch ability. He’s on a Week 4 bye.

Tyrod Taylor, BUF – Convinced yet? Taylor now has 714-7-3 through three games and is sporting a 116.1 QB rating. He’s only owned in about 50-70 percent of fantasy leagues and offers as much upside as any QB you’ll find on the wire.

Michael Vick, PIT – With Ben Roethlisberger (MCL sprain) out for at least the next four weeks, the Steelers turn to Vick – though he’ll mostly be asked to deliver short, accurate passes to Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown and let them carry the offense. Still – yards after the catch count as passing yards, and if you lost Big Ben, Vick (0-5 percent owned) might be the highest-upside option available in your league.

UPDATE: Roethlisberger’s injury also contains a bone bruise, and his timetable is leaning more toward the six-week figure. Vick isn’t going to be asked to replicate the starter’s style, according to Mike Tomlin. There’s still some big-play upside, but turnovers are a legitimate concern and Vick is more of a QB2 facing the Ravens in Week 4.

QB Updates

Derek Carr, OAK – Carr completed 20-of-32 for 314-2-0 in the win over Cleveland. In the right matchup, he’s a serviceable QB2 with upside.

Blake Bortles, JAC – If it wasn’t garbage time, Bortles 242-2-1 line would have looked a lot worse. While there’s a possibility for a decent game against the Colts dinged-up secondary next week, Bortles is too unpredictable to trust in season-long fantasy.

Teddy Bridgewater, MIN – With Adrian Peterson carrying the load vs. San Diego, Bridgewater (121-0-1) took a back seat and wasn’t a fantasy factor.

Johnny Manziel, CLE – McCown started – and lost, relegating Manziel to another week in limbo.

UPDATE: Even with McCown’s hand “a little swollen,” the Browns don’t expect to start Manziel in Week 4. Of course, this could all change amid the dysfunctional web of misfiring synapses that characterizes the Cleveland braintrust.

Brandon Weeden, DAL – Weeden was called on to game manage rather than QB, but completed 22-of-26 pass attempts for 232 yards and no scores. He threw a second-half INT and made some bad second-half throws. There’s plenty of room for improvement against the struggling Saints next week.

Luke McCown, NO – Speaking of the Saints, the offensive line played well enough to give McCown all kinds of time and plenty of chance to rack up yardage on short throws (310-0-1), but he just doesn’t have the ability to make teams pay. He’ll likely be more aggressive facing the Cowboys on Sunday.

UPDATE: An optimistic Drew Brees is testing out his injured shoulder this week and if the “strength and functionality” has returned, he could play against the Cowboys. Stay tuned.

Running Backs

Karlos Williams, BUF – Williams (about 50 percent owned) could be one of the top adds this week after a third straight game with a TD. He added 12 carries for 110 yards in the win over Miami. With LeSean McCoy still nursing a hamstring injury and open to the possibility of resting for a week or two, Williams could see an increased workload and more scoring opportunities in the next couple of weeks (vs. NYG in Week 4; @TEN in Week 5).

UPDATE: Early reports have McCoy “unlikely” to play in Week 4 against the Giants, giving Williams entry into RB1 consideration facing a weak defensive front seven. If you’re struggling at RB and Williams is available, this could be your week.

Darren Sproles, PHI – He’s not available in too many league (10-15 percent) and is tough to trust, but when the game plan involves Sproles (17 rushing yards, TD; 6-19-0, PR TD, he’s an explosive fantasy contributor with enormous upside. He’ll continue to split time with Mathews as long as DeMarco Murray (hamstring) remains out.

Chris Johnson, ARI – Only 65-75 percent owned despite locking down the starting job after Week 1, Johnson is experiencing a second life in Arizona. He racked up 110 yards and two TD on 22 carries in Week 2 against the 49ers.

Ryan Mathews, PHI – Mathews looked better in Week 3 than Murray did in the previous two games, and the Eagles notched their first win of 2015 behind a solid performance from Sproles and 108 rushing yards from Mathews.

UPDATE: While Chip Kelly must answer for the huge contract he gave Murray and will likely continue to give him the most carries when he’s healthy, Mathews has earned more work going forward and is an effective weapon in the Eagles’ system.

Antonio Andrews, TEN – He was behind the enigmatic Bishop Sankey and Dexter McCluster on the depth chart, but played a big role (49 rushing yards, TD) during Week 3. Andrews (0 percent owned) is worth adding in 12-team leagues.

Andre Williams, NYG – I’m back on the Williams (25-35 percent owned) bandwagon after he saw most of the snaps in the win over Washington. Although he tallied just 29 yards on 14 carries, he’s getting goal line carries and is a much more complete back.

Thomas Rawls, SEA – Rawls (about 1 percent owned) saw most the word after Marshawn Lynch (calf) left with what is being described as a minor hamstring injury, rushing for 104 yards on 16 carries. With Lynch’s injuries piling up and Fred Jackson long in the tooth, we could see a lot more of Rawls in the coming weeks as the Seahawks plan for the future.

UPDATE: Lynch underwent an MRI on his hamstring and will be re-evaluated later this week. He’s considered day-to-day but has an extra day of rest heading into Monday night’s tilt with Detroit. Rawls is worth a pickup in all formats, as we really don’t know the extent of Lynch’s soft-tissue injury.

Lance Dunbar, DAL – After a 10-100-0 game in Week 3, Dunbar needs to be owned in all 12-team PPR leagues. He’s a reliable option for Weeden and he was involved even before Tony Romo got hurt. Pick him up and utilize him as a high-floor flex option in PPR leagues.

RB Updates

Matt Jones, WAS – Another lost fumble on Thursday night may mean the big bruiser (6-2, 231) loses some touches back to Alfred Morris. Jones’ touches were cut in half during the Week 3 loss to the Giants.

UPDATE: Jay Gruden told reporters this week that Jones’ ball security issues won’t make the team “shy away” from giving him carries, but that the rookie is working on protecting the ball by holding it tighter. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Jones is worth a look as a flex option this week facing the Eagles, even if his upside is slightly limited.

James Starks, GB – UPDATE: Eddie Lacy (ankle) still got the start, but Starks rushed 17 times for 32 yards and caught a pass for 19 yards in the win over Kansas City. Lacy actually gained more yards (46) on fewer touches and Starks remains largely a handcuff with Lacy healthy.

Isaiah Crowell, CLE – He managed just 36 yards on 10 carries versus the Raiders, but remains a viable risk-reward flex option in deeper leagues.

Dexter McCluster, TEN – McCluster’s lone meaningful contribution was a 35-yard reception. He ran five times for 7 yards against the Colts.

Devonta Freeman, ATL – I don’t think anyone expected Freeman to run the ball 30 times against the Cowboys, let alone rack up 141 rushing yards and 3 TDs on the ground. Tack on 5-52-0 and you have the biggest fantasy output of 2015 thus far.

Montee Ball, FA – Ball remains unsigned following the third week. It’ll obviously take a few more big injuries to necessitate someone taking a shot on the 24-year-old Wisconsin alum.

Shane Vereen, NYG – Thursday was a disappointing night for Vereen, who rushed six times for 23 yards and was held without a catch after a drive-killing drop during the second half.

Bilal Powell, NYJ – Even with Chris Ivory nursing groin and quad injuries, Powell couldn’t get much going on the ground (10 carries, 31 yards) against the Eagles tough front seven, though he did pile up 7-44-0 receiving with the Jets trailing and in passing mode. He’s still fantasy relevant, even if he’s a low-ceiling play.

UPDATE: Todd Bowles expects Ivory to be “good to go” against the Dolphins, which lowers Powell’s prospective value this week.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Kendall Wright, TEN – Believe it or not, Wright is still available in about 15-20 percent of fantasy leagues (and was only started in about 25 percent of leagues in Week 3) and has a high ceiling as a fantasy WR3. He caught 7-95-1 on a team-high 12 targets Sunday and Mariota seems to trust him implicitly as a third-down option.

UPDATE: Wright is on a Week 4 bye, which means if you don’t have immediate concerns, he could be a sneaky snag this week.

Rueben Randle, NYG – He hauled in 7-116-1 on Thursday and remains just 25-35 percent owned in fantasy leagues. Eli Manning has looked much better following a terrible preseason and the Giants offense will need to rely on Randle and TE Larry Donnell with Odell Beckham Jr. seeing consistent double coverage.

Kenny Britt, STL – The Rams didn’t take advantage of the Steelers’ weak secondary, but Britt did manage 7-102-0 on 10 targets from Nick Foles in Sunday’s loss. He and fellow WR Tavon Austin will have a difficult time against the Cardinals in Week 4, but the schedule looks a lot easier after the team’s Week 6 bye.

Marvin Jones, CIN – Jones (5-94-1 on eight targets Sunday) is a tough nut to crack from a fantasy perspective, because he’s got game-breaking ability and sometimes explodes for monster stat lines. He’s owned in just 25 percent of leagues and is wildly inconsistent, but offers some upside when he’s in the game plan.

UPDATE: Ty Montgomery, GB – Davante Adams re-injured his ankle early on and didn’t make it back into the game Monday night, with Montgomery (10-15 percent owned) assuming No. 3 WR duties behind Randall Cobb and James Jones. It was nice to see the young WR haul in a TD pass, but after a couple costly penalties on the rookie, he wasn’t targeted as much. Stil, Aaron Rodgers likes to spread the ball around and Montgomery is worth adding in 12-team leagues.

TE Gary Barnidge, CLE – Universally available in all formats, Barnidge came out of nowhere with 6-105-1 on 10 targets Sunday to lead the hapless Browns. With Dwayne Bowe a healthy scratch and the entire offense looking for a viable identity, Barnidge supplies as much hope as any player aside from Week 2 standout Travis Benjamin.

TE Charles Clay, BUF – Clay’s upside is somewhat limited, and his usage against the Dolphins could have played a bit too perfectly into the narrative of the Bills stealing him away from his old team – but his 5-82-1 performance (seven targets) shows the Bills consider him a useful weapon and the offense looks more explosive than it has in years. Just 20-30 percent owned, he’s a solid TE2 with marginal upside who’s caught TD passes in two consecutive weeks.

WR/TE Updates

Allen Robinson, JAC – The Patriots game-planned to stop Robinson and it worked. The big, physical and athletic WR caught four of nine targets for 68 yards and no scores in the loss to New England.

Torrey Smith, SF – Arizona stuck Patrick Peterson on the veteran and he was held catchless in Week 3’s biggest blowout. The 49ers are lost offensively and will struggle against good defenses.

Anquan Boldin, SF – Boldin showed his age with a 2-16-0 performance, though Colin Kaepernick had the worst performance of his career on Sunday (16.7 passer rating).

Michael Crabtree, OAK – After a big Week 2, Crabtree was relatively quiet on Sunday with 4-36-0. He remains a WR3/4 with upside.

Doug Baldwin, SEA – Baldwin caught all three targets for 3-35-0 in the win over the Bears.

Leonard Hankerson, ATL – The Falcons ran a lot, and Hankerson finished with 3-45-0 and a couple bad drops. He’s still a better fantasy option than Roddy White for now.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, PIT – with Le’Veon Bell back, DHB’s usage decreased and he caught just 3-19-0 in win over the Rams. Losing Roethlisberger is going to hurt his value.

Robert Woods, BUF – Woods secured 4-38-0 on five targets in the win over Miami, and if Sammy Watkins (calf) misses time, he could see 3-4 more targets per game.

Philly Brown, CAR – His lone touch came on the game’s first offensive play – a 12-yard rush. Even after a productive Week 2 and with Jerricho Cotchery out, the Panthers don’t seem enamored with Brown right now.

Rishard Matthews, MIA – Matthews had a monster Week 3 with 6-113-2 on 10 targets from Ryan Tannehill. There are plenty of passing options at Tannehill’s disposal, but he seems to prefer Matthews on the edge and as a deep option, with Jarvis Landry handling the middle of the field.

TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL – Gillmore had a quiet game (3-40-0, 3 targets), as it became the Steve Smith/A.J. Green show in the second half.

UPDATE: Gillmore missed practice Monday and played just 31 of 75 snaps during Sunday’s game. He’s looking more like a TE2 with some upside in the right matchup, rather than a low-end TE1.

TE Anthony Fasano, TEN – Fasano hauled in just 1-26-0 with Delanie Walker back as the Titans No. 1 TE.