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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.
Hoyer, CHI – Hoyer has played well in Cutler’s stead
and turned in a 302-2-0 performance Sunday in the win over Detroit.
He could remain the starter moving forward, and is worth a look
in deeper formats – especially facing the Colts and their banged-up
secondary in Week 5 and the Jaguars in Week 6.
UPDATE: John Fox seems to consider
Hoyer a much better option than Cutler, and he alluded to Hoyer
keeping his starting job regardless of Cutler’s thumb health.
Lynch, DEN – Lynch filled in for Trevor Siemian after
a non-throwing shoulder injury forced the Broncos starting QB
out of action Sunday. Lynch (0-10 percent owned – mostly in dynasty
leagues) had some bad throws but finished with 170-1-0 on 14-for-24
passing. He might be worth a start facing the Chargers if Siemian
can’t go, and early reports have him missing a game or two.
UPDATE: HC Gary Kubiak acknowledged that while Siemian's injured
left shoulder was “very sore” on Monday, he’d
be the starter if healthy in Week 5. Fantasy owners should consider
him day to day and possibly look elsewhere. The Broncos may be
hopeful that Siemian will be able to play against the Falcons
but he won’t get much practice in. The QB position in this
matchup could be a longshot GPP pick in DFS, but may be something
Keenum, LAR – Okay, I’m paying attention. Keenum has
managed to develop a very productive relationship with Brian Quick,
and the two connected for a couple scores en route to a 266-2-0
(fumble lost) day for the Rams QB. He’s almost universally available
and faces BUF/@DET/NYG the next three weeks before a Week 8 bye.
Only viable in deeper leagues, Keenum is not a great signal caller
but could have some value in two-QB formats.
Anderson, CAR – Cam Newton’s concussion will require
passing through the protocols, which means we could see Anderson
in Week 5 against the Bucs. Anderson moved the ball effectively
and tallied 172-2-2 with a 2XP (albeit in garbage time during
Week 4), and the Bucs pass defense leaves quite a bit to be desired.
It’s a situation worth monitoring.
UPDATE: Newton will have an extra day to get ready, and the notoriously
tight-lipped Ron Rivera didn’t have much to say regarding
his starting QB’s status. Anderson will be worth a look
against the Bucs if Newton cannot go.
Stanton, ARI – Carson Palmer left Week 4 with a concussion
and is a longshot to take the field Thursday with the quick turnaround.
Stanton had one his best games as a pro in Week 3 against the
49ers in 2014, but is probably best left on the bench even if
he gets the call.
Cousins, WAS – Cousins turned in a solid performance
in the win over Cleveland with 183-3-1, and Matt Jones had his
best game since Week 10 of last season, which was one of the reasons
the QB didn’t have to throw for more yardage. The three TDs were
a season high, and next week’s matchup at Baltimore shouldn’t
discourage you from plugging him in again.
Prescott, DAL – Once again, Prescott was poised and
steady, and has yet to turn the ball over through four games as
a pro. He completed 23-of-32 passes for 245-2-0 Sunday but should
have his biggest test next week against the Bengals. It’s not
a recommended fantasy matchup unless it somehow turns into a shootout,
so we could be looking at a low-floor/high-ceiling sort of projection
for Dak – not a bad strategy for a large-field GPP in DFS.
Wentz, PHI – The Eagles were on a Week 4 bye, and have
a decent matchup in Week 5 versus the Lions.
Siemian, DEN – As mentioned above, Siemian was carted
into the locker room after he suffered a shoulder injury against
Tampa Bay and did not return. He completed 5-of-8 passes for 68
yards and a TD before he left and is highly questionable for Week
UPDATE: See the update on Siemian in the Paxton Lynch blurb above.
Gabbert, SF – Despite a positive matchup at home facing
the Cowboys, Gabbert turned in just 196-1-1 with 27 rushing yards,
and it’s obvious that his upside is severely limited. I’m not
UPDATE: Chip Kelly is not considering a QB change even if he
should. There’s an off chance the ARI/SF game turns into
some weird kind of shootout or that Gabbert has to play catchup
and posts passable fantasy numbers, but there’s just too
many ifs to bank on something tangible.
Terrance West got the surpirse start on
Sunday and delivered with 113 yards on 21 carries.
West, BAL – With Justin Forsett a healthy scratch for
Week 4, West (about 50 percent owned) stepped up in a starting
role and rushed for a career-high 113 yards on 21 carries, including
a 3-yard TD run. He’s not much of a passing down back, and Kenneth
Dixon (knee) is ready to return but West has a juicy Week 5 matchup
against Washington and makes an excellent short-term addition.
UPDATE: Justin Forsett has been released and the Ravens are riding
the hot hand at RB. Every indication is that West will continue
to dominate carries while Dixon gets back to full strength. The
Towson product is averaging over 5.0 YPC his last two games.
Morris, DAL – I know there aren’t a lot of viable RBs
on the wire in most leagues, and this week didn’t see multiple
starters go down with injuries like previous weeks, so I’ll just
reiterate the importance of rostering Morris (20-60 percent owned)
in all formats. He’s Ezekiel Elliott’s handcuff and gets a series
here and there to show why he’s still in the league. Morris is
a good runner still in his prime who will get some goal line work
and spell Elliott. Don’t forget about him.
Zenner, DET – Zenner (0-5 percent owned) had three
carries for 12 rushing yards and one catch for 22 yards Sunday
in the loss to Chicago but could see more work if Dwayne Washington
(ankle) is forced to miss time. Theo Riddick doesn’t handle many
of the goal line carries and isn’t built for a workhorse role.
UPDATE: Washington is dealing with a sprained foot and ankle,
and was limping in the locker room after Sunday’s game.
The Lions signed former Bucs RB Mike James to the practice squad
earlier in the week but Zenner could definitely assume a larger
role the next couple of matchups.
Perkins & Bobby
Rainey, NYG –UPDATE:
Perkins showed some flash on his touches Monday night (two carries
for 8 yards; 2-72-0 on three targets receiving), and I’ve
always had a soft spot for Rainey and his PPR value. The committee
aspect of this ragtag RB corps is frustrating and this week’s
matchup against the Packers is not a favorable spot to roll any
of these guys out. But, with the injury history of Rashad Jennings
(thumbs) and Shane Vereen on IR, there could be an opportunity
for someone to emerge. Keep this situation on the front burner
and stay tuned to Ben McAdoo’s pressers.
Howard, CHI – Howard rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries
and added 3-21-0 receiving. He’s in line for continued workhorse
role with Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey sidelined.
Artis-Payne, CAR – The Panthers just never got anything
going on the ground, and Artis-Payne finished with just 12 rushing
yards on six carries. Fozzy Whittaker blew up with 9-86-0 receiving
on nine targets and with the Panthers struggling, could get more
work because of his high usage in the passing game.
Washington, DET – Washington sustained an ankle injury
and finished with just two carries for 6 yards and 1-8-0 on one
target. It’s a shame because he was supposed to be a big part
of the Lions game plan in Week 4. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: As mentioned above, Washington feels like a longshot
to play in Week 5. We never really got a chance to see what he
could do as the lead back but he still could get his chance before
the season is out.
Smallwood, PHI – Smallwood (now up to about 30-60 percent
owned) still projects to be involved next week against the Lions.
Darkwa, NYG –UPDATE:
Darkwa rushed 12 times for 48 yards and a TD in the Giants' Week
4 loss to the Vikings on Monday night. Darkwa has value because
he’s healthy, but he’s a plodder who will struggle
to find running room against Green Bay. If the Packers jump out
to a lead and Manning starts the dump-off brigade as he did in
Minnesota, I could even see Perkins or Rainey being a better value
in PPR leagues.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Brown, ARI – The coaching staff said Brown (55-75 percent
owned) would get more targets, and they weren’t kidding, as the
talented third-year receiver finished with 10-144-0 16 targets
in Week 4. His value takes a hit if Stanton fills in for Palmer
Thursday, but he’s a high-upside WR3 and could see upward of 10
targets a game moving forward.
Woods, BUF – With Sammy Watkins on the shelf, Robert
Woods hauled in 7-89-0 on 10 targets and is they Bills No. 1 WR
from here on out. He’s a must-add in all formats and has decent
PPR upside considering his role as possession receiver to Marquise
Goodwin’s home-run-ball potential.
Tate, DET –UPDATE:
Tate is still owned in about 75-90 percent of leagues but is being
dropped at increasingly high rates. I’m seeing suggestions
all over the place that Tate is drop-worthy because of his most
recent benching (that wasn’t a benching, according to Jim
Caldwell) but I think four games is still a little early to jump
the gun and cut bait. If somebody releases Tate, he makes a fine
addition as a WR4, considering his relative health and 26 targets
through four games. Tate started slowly last season and posted
huge games in the fantasy playoffs in weeks 14 (9-60-2; 15 rushing
yards) and 15 (6-45-1).
Quick, LAR – Quick isn’t a possession receiver like
Woods, and has more in common with Goodwin’s role by comparison
– but he had 2-69-2 on five targets in Week 5 and is almost universally
available in fantasy. He’s boom-or bust in every sense of the
UPDATE: Reports emerged Monday that Jeff Fisher thinks the game
is “slowing down” for the fifth-year receiver, who
has always been bandied about as a possible breakout player. It’s
happened before with late-blooming receivers, so Quick might be
worth a waiver flier if you like the gamble.
Inman, SD – With much of the attention on Travis Benjamin,
Inman (0-5 percent owned) turned in a career game on Sunday with
7-120-1 on 11 targets from Philip Rivers. He’s got a boom-or-bust
fantasy profile, but this spike in targets in encouraging.
Celek, SF – Celek made a couple nice catches versus
Dallas and finished with 5-79-0 on five targets. He’s far from
a TE1, but there’s some value here in deeper formats.
White, CHI – White hauled in 6-55-0 on nine targets
Sunday and looks like a solid WR4 with marginal upside moving
UPDATE: We’re still waiting on the results of an MRI on
White’s ankle that forced him to leave Sunday’s game.
The Wednesday injury report should have more information, but
for now it looks like Eddie Royal could pick up a few additional
targets at Indianapolis.
Pryor, CLE – Pryor’s 5-46-1 on nine targets answered
the bell for most fantasy owners, although I started him on one
league over Will Fuller, which had me a little angry. But that’s
not Pryor’s fault, and I won anyway. Pryor now has 40 targets
through four games.
Parker, MIA – The 2-20-0 receiving line was a disappointment,
especially since I’ve been higher on Kenny Stills, who had a much
bigger game Thursday with just one catch.
Humphries, TB – What happened to Jameis Winston’s slot
guy? One catch for 4 yards isn’t going to cut it. With the offense
possibly pulling back the reins after Winston’s dismal Week 4,
this does not bode well for Mike Evans and could mean more targets
Graham, SEA – Graham’s 6-113-0 on eight targets in
Week 4 shows he’s very much a part of the offense moving forward,
and should be owned in all formats.
Rudolph, MIN –UPDATE:
Rudolph now has three solid weeks in a row at a position that
has been difficult to find consistency from this season. He posted
5-55-1 in the win over the Giants, and should be considered a
Top 10 fantasy TE moving forward.
Miller, CHI – Miller saw just three targets, but he
caught them all for a 3-31-1 line and should be on everyone’s
radar in Week 5 facing Indy.
Brate, TB – As expected, Brate saw a high volume of
targets (8) and caught 5-67-0. He’s not going away as a high-end