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The Waiver Wire 9/25

Week 4 is upon us, folks, and if you need some players to target, I have some suggestions. A bunch of our players from last week’s wire broke out, including a few of my stash options. I think it’s safe to say that this will be your last chance to get Calvin Ridley. The same goes for Tyler Boyd and Mike Williams. 

If you have specific questions about your moves this week, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @Rotobahn.  I’ll be online late tonight and will do my best to get to as many of your questions as I can.

I was a little short on time today so I kept the format from this mornings article over at WEEI. All of the new additions have a asterisks. Their write-ups are in the second paragraphs under each position group.

Important Week 4 Injury situations:

  • Joe Mixon (knee)
  • LeSean McCoy (ribs)
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (knee/IR)
  • Dalvin Cook (hamstring)
  • Doug Baldwin (knee)
  • Leonard Fournette (hamstring)
  • Marcus Mariota (elbow)
  • Tyrod Taylor (concussion) 
  • Devonta Freeman (knee)
  • A.J. Green (groin)
  • Evan Engram (knee)

Let’s all pour one out for our good friend Jimmy Garoppolo. It has to be tough on the young man after waiting four years to get a starting job. Hopefully the former Patriot will be healthy and ready to go in 2019. His replacement, for now, will be C.J. Beathard, who is not a free agent to target in anything but the largest of formats. So I guess we should pour one out for the 49ers too. Mixon has a shot to return from minor knee surgery this week, but will more likely be out until Week 5 and perhaps longer. McCoy should return this week, but his rib injury is a pain tolerance issue, so keep tabs on him. Cook has a short week (he’s playing Thursday) so his hamstring is still a concern, but he’s almost a lock for Week 5 if he fails to go this time around. Baldwin has been a big loss for Seattle, and they have a chance to get him back this week, but Week 5 is probably more likely. Fournette was trending towards playing last week, but was held out. He’s a strong bet to return for Week 4. Mariota played in an emergency role on Sunday and should start this week, though he’s clearly not 100 percent. Taylor is in the league’s concussion protocol, and should be cleared this week or next, but he’s lost his job to Baker Mayfield and will return as a backup. Freeman did not practice last week, so he’s no lock to come back this week though, if you listen to him, he will. Green is a player to monitor this week. He was knocked out early in the second half and was in some legitimate pain. If he can’t go, then John Ross is worth a look. Evan Engram took a big shot to his lower leg and ended up with a significant knee contusion and a seemingly mild sprain to his MCL. He is week to week, but would seem likely to sit Week 4 out. 

Last Chance Options:

  • John Brown, WR, Ravens
  • Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
  • Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
  • Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
  • Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals
  • Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars

Brown is now, pretty clearly, the Ravens number one receiver. Jones could be the spark the Packers need on the ground, and he didn’t have a big bust-out last week, so you have a shot at him in a league here or there. He is a must-add in any format. Ekeler’s role is safe and could even expand a little. He has value in any format and is a great insurance policy for Melvin Gordon owners. Lockett has now scored in every game this season. Eifert is healthy and trending towards more involvement. Add him and ride the hot streak for as long as it lasts. Cole is now the Jaguars number one receiver. He should be owned in all leagues. All of these players are rostered in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, and those rates are on the rise, hence their last chance designations.

Top Ten Options:

  • Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
  • Mike Williams, WR, Chargers
  • Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals 
  • Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs
  • Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers
  • Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
  • Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
  • Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens
  • Antonio Callaway, WR, Browns
  • Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals
  • D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers

The Stash Options:

  • D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
  • Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals 
  • Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos 
  • Nick Chubb, RB, Browns
  • Ronald Jones, RB, Bucs
  • Hayden Hurst, TE, Ravens 
  • James Washington, WR, Steelers   
  • D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texans
  • Dez Bryant, WR, free agent
  • John Ross, WR, Bengals
  • Ian Thomas, WR, Panthers
  • Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans

I’m a big believer in stashing the really talented players before they go off. I don’t like having to bid and pray when it comes to landing difference-makers. I’d rather try to act in advance and save my money for emergency situations. The 12 options above are almost all young players who have a chance at major playing time in the coming weeks. The other trait they share is top shelf talent. I’ll get into each one of these players in my free waiver wire podcast over at Rotobahn. I recommend listening if you play in a format with 12 or more teams.

QUARTERBACKS

  • Baker Mayfield, Browns
  • Andy Dalton, Bengals 
  • Jameis Winston, Bucs**
  • Blake Bortles, Jaguars
  • Joe Flacco, Ravens
  • Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins**
  • Case Keenum, Broncos
  • Josh Allen, Bills
  • Josh Rosen, Cardinals**

Mayfield, my favorite rookie quarterback this year along with Sam Darnold, is the guy to go after in my view.  From last week’s waiver wire….  “I think he’ll be the starter within a month. From that point forward, he will kick ass and take names.”  Alright, so it happened even faster than I imagined. Mayfield replaced a concussed Tyrod Taylor just before halftime and went on to take over the game. He’s got the Raiders this week and I expect good things. Mayfield can be your starter in 12-team leagues. He’s that good, and just as importantly, he has more than enough good weapons to work with. Players like Jarvis Landry and David Njoku should be invigorated now that Mayfield is under center. Dalton is a solid starter the rest of the way, with enough good matchups to roster him in 12-team leagues.  He’s a bad streamer this week though—as he is traveling to Atlanta. Flacco is a solid replacement level quarterback, but he is on the road for the next three weeks so he’s a medium level short term streamer. Keenum gets the Chiefs this week, so he’s a viable add despite his mediocre play of late. Allen is a guy to take a flier on in deeper formats. His strong play versus the Vikings last week was unexpected and if he keeps running this much, he may end up having some weekly value, especially in plus matchups. 

Winston was an oversight form this morning’s wire. He’s probably not going to pay off until Week 6 or 7, as I told you back in August, but a strong second half is still a very strong possibility due to all the receiving talent and a schedule that lightens up. Tannehill is taking to his new scheme and they are throwing a lot right now. It could all evaporate at any moment, but for now, it looks pretty good. He’s a guy worth considering for the streamers, when the matchup is good. He visits New England this week. Rosen is a guy to take a flier on in deep formats or if he is somehow available in a multi-QB format. I thought the Cardinals took a step forward in Week 3 despite the loss. There’s some hope.

RUNNING BACKS

  • Marlon Mack, Colts
  • Javorius Allen, Ravens
  • TJ Yeldon, Jaguars**
  • Nyheim Hines, Colts 
  • Ronald Jones, Bucs
  • Nick Chubb, Browns 
  • Latavius Murray, Vikings
  • Theo Riddick, Lions
  • Chris Ivory, Bills
  • Ty Montgomery, Packers**
  • CJ Anderson, Panthers**
  • Jalen Richard, Raiders**
  • Wendell Smallwood, Eagles**

Mack leads the list because, in my estimation, he has the best shot at a lead role. Of course, he’s also nursing a hamstring injury, so he’s no lock to pay off this week. Factor that in if your needs are of the short term variety. Allen gives you strong flex appeal, but his ceiling is not very high. Hines has some value as a big play option, but he needs the Colts offense to pick it up a bit to make that threat more consistent. Jones and Chubb both have lead role talent, so stashing them makes sense if you have the bench space. Ivory and Murray both carry some value this week if the lead backs in front of them—LeSean McCoy and Dalvin Cook respectively, sit out again. Riddick is an option in PPR leagues.

Montgomery has a special skill set and it will keep him from getting pushed out of the rotation. That gives him appeal in deeper formats. Anderson is on the bye but you can see he’s meshed well with Carolina’s offense and he should continue to offer some flex appeal in deep formats. He’s also a good handcuff for McCaffrey owners in leagues with adequate roster capacity. Richard has 18 targets through three weeks and is worth a look in bigger PPR formats. Smallwood’s been playing well with Ajayi hurt, and in big leagues, he may be worth a roster spot, but it’s definitely worth knowing that he’s not far behind Clement in the pecking order. He looked like the better player last week. If Ajayi fails to stay healthy, this could become an important question/debate.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • Calvin Ridley, Falcons 
  • Tyler Boyd, Bengals
  • Mike Williams, Chargers
  • Chris Godwin, Bucs 
  • Geronimo Allison, Packers 
  • Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
  • D.J. Moore, Panthers 
  • Antonio Callaway, Browns
  • Courtland Sutton, Broncos
  • Anthony Miller, Bears
  • James Washington, Steelers
  • Ryan Grant, Colts
  • Ted Ginn, Saints
  • Rashard Higgins, Browns**
  • Paul Richardson, Washington**
  • Albert Wilson, Dolphins**
  • Tavon Austin, Cowboys**

The top six options on this list all scored in Week 3, with Williams finding the zone twice and Ridley a whopping three times! There’s just so much to like at receiver right now, and some of these guys are available in larger formats, which is nice. Ridley is obviously this week’s big ticket item and for good reason. Hopefully you stashed him last week as I suggested in this space. The same goes for Williams, who is now looking like the second option for the Chargers, after Keenan Allen. Boyd has clearly passed John Ross in the pecking order and looks like he has a role we can count on going forward. He’s a great add in PPR formats. Lockett will have season long value, but is even more appealing while Doug Baldwin is out. Godwin is clearly a staple in the Bucs’ offense now and can be started every week in 12-team PPR leagues. He’s one injury to Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson away from being a weekly starter in 10-team PPR leagues. Godwin is going to be around a long, long time. His routes are crisp and he has great hands. Allison caught another touchdown pass in Week 3 and is looking more and more like Aaron Rodgers’ number two option. Moore is the elite rookie who is still waiting for take off. I suggest you go get him now while he is on his bye week. I will be very surprised if he doesn’t have a bigger role once Week 5 rolls around. 

Higgins is a good technical receiver and that’s going to ply well with Mayfield. He could end up having significant value in large PPR leagues, especially if Antonio Callaway tanks, which not out of the realm of possibility. Richardson’s ownership rate is down after a slow start and a week on the injury report, but he ended up having a nice Week 3, and is worth a roster spot in 12-team leagues. Wilson looks really good so far and if not for the deep depth chart, I’d say his ascension to major snaps is imminent. The thing is, DeVante Parker is back and he looked good. Danny Amendola will have a role and so will Jakeem Grant. Kenny Stills is established. So Wilson could still go a number of ways, just like Miami. All of these guy are worth roster spots in 14-team leagues. Austin is showing off big play ability but as has always been the case, he’s just not playing enough. He’s worth a roster spot in big leagues because they use him when he’s in there and he makes big plays. 

TIGHT ENDS

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars
  • Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals
  • Dallas Goedert, Eagles
  • Austin Hooper, Falcons
  • Hayden Hurst, Ravens
  • Vance McDonald, Steelers
  • Jonnu Smith, Titans**
  • Jake Butt, Broncos**
  • Ben Watson, Saints**

Seferian-Jenkins has a starting role and will be a red zone option every week. Seals-Jones is playing in an offense searching for weapons and caught a touchdown in Week 3. He’s worth a look in 12-team leagues and is on the watch list in smaller ones. Goedert took a huge step forward in Week 3 by playing 67 percent of the snaps and scoring a touchdown. He is a great option in Week 4 if Alshon Jeffery misses another game. Hurst is a fifty/fifty proposition for Week 4, but he should return in the next week or so and could slip right into a prominent role. With tight end quickly becoming a problem position in fantasy, he could be a wise preemptive pickup. McDonald made a huge play on Monday night and could be on the verge of taking over the lead role for the Steelers. He’s worth a look in all formats for his upside, but makes the most sense in 12-team leagues. 

Smith is caught up in a stormy offense right now—with no healthy QB since he’s entered the fray. Things will calm down, and when they do, Smith should start to produce. Roster him now in deeper formats, and get ahead of the curve. Butt’s snaps are slowly rising and I think he’ll be the lead tight end by midseason. In really deep formats, he’s worth a preemptive add. Watson has value and has been in some tough matchups recently, but keep an eye on Josh Hill, who out-snapped Watson by four snaps in Week 3. In super deep leagues, Hill could be a speculative add. He does have some talent and Watson’s age can creep up at any time. Again, it’s something to keep an eye on.