League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 4

Three weeks of the NFL season are in the books, and now there is a much better indication of what to expect each week from most players … just kidding.

What we do know, however, is that bye weeks have started, and the quarterback position is being shaken up. Whether by injury in the case of Jimmy Garoppolo, a change in direction as with the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals, or a conundrum like in Tampa Bay with Jameis Winston returning from suspension, the quarterback position is just as difficult to get a handle on as running back or receiver.

Perhaps the most curious case of a quarterback dilemma for fantasy owners is Andrew Luck. After missing all of the 2017 season with a shoulder injury, rust was something many expected to see in the early goings of the season. However, the greatest concern is his shoulder rather than rust. Not only does Luck rank last among starting quarterbacks in air yards per completion at 3.4 yards, but he also has thrown a pass more than 50 yards yet this season. Add in the fact that the Indianapolis Colts turned to backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett to air out the Hail Mary attempt at the end of the Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and perhaps it’s time to worry about Luck’s ability to throw the ball down the field.

Drafted at a discounted price, Luck was expected to be a set-it-and-forget-it QB1 this season. While he may still produce solid numbers with a short-passing approach, the absence of a vertical passing game not only limits his fantasy upside but also that of receiver T.Y. Hilton.

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But it’s not just Luck who has placed owners in a bind when it comes time to set lineups. Those who drafted players such as David Johnson, Amari Cooper, Larry Fitzgerald or LeSean McCoy are likely stressed out and wondering how to weather the storm this season. With trades not expected to result in an adequate return on investment, many are forced to just hope sunny days are on the horizon for these players.

To help replace the lineup value lost either with injuries, busted draft picks or byes, here are some players to target on the waiver wire who can help a fantasy team register a victory in Week 4 and perhaps beyond.

Quarterbacks

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Eli Manning

(ownership: 10% on ESPN, 18% on Yahoo)

  • Eli Manning and the New York Giants host the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. After getting torched by the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Ryan this season, the Saints defense is a target for those looking to stream offensive pieces. The most notable streaming assets are quarterbacks and deep-threat receivers. Fitzpatrick connected with DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans on long touchdowns, Tyrod Taylor hit Antonio Callaway for a long score against the Saints, and Ryan torched them with Calvin Ridley. Look for Manning to use Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard to test the Saints over the top with favorable results likely.

Others To Place Claims On: Ryan Tannehill (8% ESPN, 8% Yahoo), Andy Dalton (29% ESPN, 33% Yahoo)

Drop

Jimmy Garoppolo

  • Affectionately known as Jimmy GQ, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 and is out for the season. In redraft leagues, he can be cast back into the free agent pool.

Others To Place On Waivers: Tyrod Taylor (34% ESPN, 15% Yahoo), Mitchell Trubisky (22% ESPN, 15% Yahoo)

Running Backs

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Jalen Richard

(ownership: 5% on ESPN, 3% on Yahoo)

  • This is not the sexiest pickup to ever make in fantasy football, but Jalen Richard can be a serviceable PPR asset. As the main receiving back for the Oakland Raiders, who often fall behind in games, Richard gets plenty of targets late in games. Garbage time points count the same as those scored in the first quarter.

Others To Place Claims On: Nyheim Hines (9% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)

Drop

Rex Burkhead

(ownership: 78% on ESPN, 84% on Yahoo)

  • Appearing to fall out of favor in the New England Patriots backfield, Rex Burkhead has also seen injuries strike him hard this season. After suffering a knee injury in the preseason which he is playing through, Burkhead injured his neck in Week 3. Aside from being banged up, Burkhead has totaled just 117 total yards on 27 touches through three games. He also has been targeted just six times in the passing game despite the Patriots being so thin at receiver. After losing running duties to rookie Sony Michel and pass-catching work to James White, Burkhead can be dropped for a running back who has more opportunity.
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Others To Place On Waivers: Latavius Murray (78% ESPN, 73% Yahoo), Rashaad Penny (62% ESPN, 56% Yahoo)

Wide Receivers

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Calvin Ridley

(ownership: 41% on ESPN, 44% on Yahoo)

  • After going without a catch on two targets in the opener, Ridley was expected to receive an expanded role in the Atlanta Falcons’ offense. It turns out those reports were completely true. Ridley has turned 13 targets into 11 catches for 210 yards and four touchdowns in the last two games. While his three-touchdown performance in Week 3 is most certainly an anomaly, Ridley appears to be a featured weapon in a Falcons offense that now loves to air out the football. Ridley is the top waiver wire target this week.

Others To Place Claims On: Tyler Boyd (24% ESPN, 16% Yahoo), Antonio Callaway (17% ESPN, 33% Yahoo)

Drop

Chris Hogan

(ownership: 94% on ESPN, 93% on Yahoo)

  • Chris Hogan was expected to be a solid WR2 while Julian Edelman was out for the first four games of the season. However, the former Buffalo Bills receiver is an afterthought in the New England Patriots offense, drawing just 14 targets in three games and catching only half of them. With Edelman returning soon and the newly acquired Josh Gordon getting acclimated to the offense, Hogan can be placed on the waiver wire.

Others To Place On Waivers: Robby Anderson (72% ESPN, 55% Yahoo), Pierre Garcon (75% ESPN, 70% Yahoo)

Tight Ends

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Geoff Swaim

(ownership: 0% on ESPN, 0% on Yahoo)

  • The tight end position remains the most difficult to navigate in fantasy this season. While talented options have flashed and disappeared on a week-to-week basis (looking at you, Jake Butt and Will Dissly), the most important thing to look for is a tight end who is on the field almost the entire game. Geoff Swaim has played more than 90 percent of the snaps for the Dallas Cowboys this season. While the Cowboys passing game has been downright lousy, being on the field for pass-catching opportunity can be a good way to try to chase down some fantasy points at a position that, overall, has been pretty weak this season.
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Others To Place Claims On: Benjamin Watson (29% ESPN, 44% Yahoo), Dallas Goedert (2% ESPN, 2% Yahoo)

Drop

Eric Ebron

(ownership: 55% on ESPN, 69% on Yahoo)

  • Among the leaders in fantasy scoring at tight end through the first two games, Eric Ebron is a touchdown-dependent option whose playing time is sparse when starter Jack Doyle is healthy. If Doyle is able to return to action this week, Ebron can be placed on the waiver wire. Doyle missed the Indianapolis Colts’ Week 3 contest with a hip injury, which allowed Ebron to start and play more than half the snaps for the first time this season. He garnered 11 targets in the contest but hauled in just five of them for 33 yards. While 8.3 PPR points is serviceable at the tight end position, that kind of volume will not be there for Ebron when Doyle is in the lineup.

Others To Place On Waivers: Charles Clay (28% ESPN, 18% Yahoo), Jesse James (33% ESPN, 49% Yahoo)

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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at Sports Talk Line
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook