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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 4
9/24/18; Updated: 9/25/18 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.

Jimmy Garoppolo

The 49ers lost RB Jerick McKinnon and will now push forward with C.J. Beathard at quarterback.


Derek Carr, OAK – Carr (just 20-25 percent owned) was more effective Sunday than he would have been if Miami safety Reshad Jones had been active, but the veteran QB is starting to form some rapport with WR Jordy Nelson and is an obvious QB2 pickup for fantasy owners who just lost Jimmy Garappolo (suspected torn ACL). Carr threw for 345-1-2 on Sunday and the Raiders get more desperate for wins, he’ll throw even more.

Alex Smith, WAS – Smith’s Week 3 was not exciting (220-2-1) but he notched a win over the Packers, added 20 rushing yards and didn’t turn the ball over. He’s probably a safer option than Carr and Manning in terms of his statistical floor, and there’s still some upside in the right matchup. He’s a sneaky option on the waiver wire this week because Washington gets a Week 4 bye, but the veteran QB should build on Sunday's effort with a more aggressive game plan once his team returns to action in Week 5 to face the Saints.

Eli Manning, NYG – Perhaps benching OL Ereck Flowers was a good first step for the Giants, who beat Houston 27-22 on Sunday, with Manning (10-15 percent owned) throwing for 297-2-0 on 25-for-29 passing. Eli isn’t a flashy option but could also fill the void on fantasy teams looking for a backup QB.

Baker Mayfield, CLE – We’ll learn a lot more about Mayfield when he’s given the starting reins in Week 4 against the Raiders, but the rookie looked sharp on throws into tight spots. He’ll be popular on the waiver wire this week. He’s 5-10 percent owned but that number could easily triple and approach 50 percent heading into the Week 4 games.

C.J. Beathard, SF - With Jimmy Garoppolo (ACL) likely done for the year, Beathard is next up on the depth chart. His 55 percent completion rate along with 4 TDs and 6 INTS in six games last season doesn't inspire confidence. I would avoid Beathard and hope the 49ers take a shot at Colin Kaepernick.

Other QBs to consider: Case Keenum, Dak Prescott, Ryan Tannehill


Andy Dalton, CIN – The Bengals dropped their first game, losing 31-21 to the Panthers, and Dalton ended up with four picks, two of which can be dismissed as not his fault. But, the 352-2-4 line made him a viable fantasy QB despite the turnovers. Unfortunately, A.J. Green left the game early with a groin injury and Joe Mixon is still on the shelf, seriously hindering Dalton’s upside in next week’s matchup with the Falcons.

UPDATE: With another defensive back down for the count (Ricardo Allen heading to IR with a torn Achilles), the Falcons secondary is in shambles. Dalton’s matchup is solid even if he’s missing A.J. Green this week.

Blake Bortles, JAC – Bortles completed 21-of-34 passes for 155 yards and rushed for 27 yards on five carries in Sunday's 9-6 loss to the Titans. The Jags get the Jets next week in what could also be a low-scoring game, and the offensive inconsistency makes Bortles hard to trust.

Joe Flacco, BAL – Flacco (7-10 percent owned) threw for 277-1-0 in the win over Denver and has a more favorable matchup in Week 4 against the division rival Steelers. He’s worth a look in 12-14 team leagues.

Running Backs

Kerryon Johnson, DET – It’s safe to say that some impatient fantasy owners probably dropped Johnson after a quiet first two weeks where he ran for just 61 yards, because his ownership was sitting around 65-75 percent before Sunday night’s game with New England. But, his work was limited in those weeks and his Week 3 numbers (101 rushing yards on 16 carries; 2-9-0 receiving) showed he can tote the rock as Detroit’s lead back. He needs to be rostered in all formats.

Chris Carson, SEA – Like Johnson, Carson’s first two lackluster weeks likely found him on a few more waivers wires than is appropriate for a player with his level of opportunity. The 24-year-old is healthy is owned in about 70-75 percent of leagues, is able to shoulder a big load and has no clear-cut back that’s outperformed him in the Seattle backfield. He out-touched Rashaad Penny by an overwhelming 34-3 margin and finished with 102 yards and a TD on 32 carries (adding 2-22-0 receiving) in the win over Dallas. With Penny in Pete Carroll’s doghouse after botching a handoff in the first half, we could be seeing a lot of Carson in Week 4 in a favorable matchup against the Cards.

Austin Ekeler, LAC – I own him in a couple leagues and have been pleasantly surprised at his effectiveness despite a lack of volume. He’s a must-own in all formats given his latent value and the fact that he’s still getting some looks in this potent offense. At times, Ekeler (50-60 percent owned) looks just as good as Melvin Gordon and would also be an immediate RB1 should Gordon ever miss time.

Javorius Allen, BAL – UPDATE: Allen’s value is largely tied to his TD production, but he does make a few catches each game and his ownership level is still remarkably low for a guy with rushing TDs in three consecutive games. Other than Alex Collins between the 20s, there’s nobody to stand in his way until Kenneth Dixon returns from IR.

Other RBs to consider: Sony Michel, Tarik Cohen, Aaron Jones, Wendell Smallwood, Marcus Murphy, Jalen Richard (PPR), Ty Montgomery (PPR)


Giovani Bernard, CIN – Bernard rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and caught 5-of-9 targets for 25 yards in the Bengals' Week 3 loss to Carolina. Mark Walton, who barely made the team, touched the ball just once, so it appears that Bernard is the workhorse while Mixon remains on the shelf. There is an outside chance that Mixon will return for Week 4 against the Falcons, but it looks, for now, as if Bernard will be on the RB1 radar given his pass-catching ability and role in a Mixon-less backfield.

UPDATE: It’s still ambitious to think that Mixon could return in Week 4, so plan on Bernard at least getting plenty of passing down work and being flex-viable.

Chris Ivory, BUF – The veteran back rushed 20 times for 56 yards and hauled in 3-70-0 in the Bills’ unexpected Week 3 win over the Vikings. If LeSean McCoy (ribs) remains out, Ivory should get the starting nod and most of the work going forward. He’s never been known as a receiving back so the latest dimension of utility should be a promising one for those who grabbed him last week. Fortunately, he’s still only 5-10 percent owned and should be popular this week as the Bills head to Green Bay.

UPDATE: No word on McCoy’s status for the tilt with Green Bay, but it’s likely they give him at least another week off.

Corey Clement, PHI – Clement didn’t quite seize the opportunity with Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles out, rushing for just 56 yards on 16 carries and adding 3-19-0 in a win over Indy. Stay tuned to see where the Eagles backfield depth is at heading into the Week 4 tilt with Tennessee.

UPDATE: Clement’s value takes an obvious hit with both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles slated to return this week.

James White, NE – White rushed four times for 37 yards and added 3-14-1 receiving but could be looking at more snaps on passing downs moving forward with Rex Burkhead dealing with a neck injury.

Bilal Powell, NYJ – Powell (60-65 percent owned) hasn’t been as statistically productive as TD vulture Isaiah Crowell the first few weeks but rushed for 73 yards on 14 carries in Week 3. This appears to be a hot hand-type of offensive role with Crowell leading the way, especially near the goal line.

Marlon Mack, IND – Mack was out for Week 3 against the Eagles with foot and hamstring injuries.

UPDATE: The Colts released Christine Michael this week, hinting that they believe Mack is ready to return to action.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Mike Williams, LAC – The talented Williams posted a 4-81-2 in the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to the Rams, taking full advantage of Travis Benjamin's absence with a couple scores. The first came on a diving end-zone catch that should help boost his visibility moving forward, as well as his ownership rate, currently hovering in the 30-40 percent range. Williams fought with back injuries much of last season and is finally healthy and showing some of the upside that made him a highly coveted NFL prospect at Clemson. Even with Benjamin coming back, Williams should be owned in all 12-team leagues.

Chris Godwin, TB – UPDATE: Godwin wasn’t perfect Monday night (he did have a costly fumble) but the talented receiver finished with 5-74-1, the TD being an athletic catch in the end zone in crunch time. He’s getting regular red zone looks and this offense is simply too high-powered not to have each of its rotating components rostered in 12-team leagues. I feel bad for telling someone NOT to acquire Godwin earlier in the comments, but I had a hard time seeing how a third WR on a team that rotates its receiving personnel would have consistent value. After watching him play Monday night, I understand why his 35-40 percent ownership rate is climbing.

Jordy Nelson, OAK – Nelson is owned in about two-thirds of fantasy leagues and is coming off a huge Week 3 performance (6-173-1 on 8 targets). He did most of his damage early with a couple monster catches and seems to finally be clicking with Carr. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues and has plenty of upside facing the Browns in Week 4.

Tyler Lockett, SEA – I really liked Lockett’s prospects heading into Week 4 but couldn’t pull the trigger on starting him on one 12-team league. He responded with 4-77-1 in the win over Dallas and should have excellent WR3/4 value, albeit TD-dependent value – while Baldwin is out. He’s owned in about 65-75 percent of leagues, so if he’s still available, you’d better jump on it.

Christian Kirk, ARI – The rookie was clearly Josh Rosen’s favorite target, hauling in 7-of-8 targets for 90 yards in Sunday’s Week 3 loss to the Bears. If Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) continues to struggle and Rosen gets the starting nod moving forward, Kirk will be a WR3/4 option without the upside of a more experienced WR on a team without much offensive potency.

TE Tyler Eifert, CIN – UPDATE: Eifert is owned in just 40-60 percent of leagues, and the recent injury to A.J. Green makes him a viable addition in plenty of formats. He snagged 6-74-0 on Sunday and his snap count continues to grow. As long as he’s healthy, he’s a solid low-end TE1.

TE Dallas Goedert, PHI – The rookie TE was actually benched last week, but made a huge splash with Carson Wentz under center, going for 7-73-1 on 7 targets in the Week 3 win over Indy. Perhaps he’ll fill the Trey Burton role in the offense and move into the TE1 conversation before long. He’s universally available in fantasy leagues.

TE Vance McDonald, PIT – UPDATE: I’m kicking myself for dropping him after a couple weeks in one of my 12-team leagues (even though I have Gronk), because he would have been a great flex play instead of Rex Burkhead and would have notched me a win in Week 3 with his Monday night heroics (4-112-1; including a devastating stiff-arm that flattened Chris Conte on his 75-yard TD catch-and-run). I’d like to hit undo and get him back, but that 10-15 percent ownership rate is going to skyrocket.

Sterling Shepard, NYG – Shepard is owned in about 70 percent of fantasy leagues but could still be out there in shallow formats. He’s a talented receiver who benefits from coverage of Odell Beckham and his target volume should increase if TE Evan Engram (knee) misses any time.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Geronimo Allison, Tavon Austin, Antonio Callaway, Albert Wilson, Cameron Meredith, Jakeem Grant, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, TE Vernon Davis


Calvin Ridley, ATL – Wow. Ridley went off for 7-146-3 on 8 targets and added a 9-yard rush, making him the top scoring WR in fantasy during Week 3 despite being 40 percent owned and starting in just 5-10 percent of fantasy leagues against the Saints. He’s definitely worth WR3/flex status heading into Week 4 facing the Bengals and needs to be owned in all formats following his breakout.

Tyler Boyd, CIN – It was a good week for some of my WR recommendations, with Boyd going for 6-132-1 in the loss to Carolina. His ownership (20-25 percent) should skyrocket this week after TDs in consecutive weeks, and the matchup with Atlanta is a favorable one. Keep an eye on Green’s status as his absence could boost Boyd’s target volume.

UPDATE: Green said he expects to play Week 4, but we’ll have to wait until the injury report for a clearer picture. Either way, Boyd has been playing well.

Keelan Cole, JAC – Cole disappointed with just 5-40-0 on 9 targets in a low-energy loss to the Titans. This offense is very difficult to predict and that makes Cole a volatile WR3/4 moving forward.

Kenny Golladay, DET – Golladay continued his breakout season with 6-53-1 on 7 targets from Matthew Stafford Sunday night, getting more snaps in two-WR sets for the Lions. He’s a WR3 with WR2 upside heading into Week 4 against the Cowboys.

Dede Westbrook, JAC – Westbrook had 3-31-0 and shares similar upside with Donte Moncrief, the Jags other main receiver alongside Cole. For now, he’s only an option in deeper formats and as a dart throw in DFS.

TE Jesse James, PIT – UPDATE: James was relatively quiet (1-7-0) on Sunday with McDonald drawing most of Big Ben’s TE targets. He’s on the watch list for now.