Waiver Wire - Week 4
Last week the NFL was ravaged by injuries across the board and it created one of the largest waiver wire periods I can remember being a part of. If you came away with a W after losing a Saquon or CMC or being without Michael Thomas or Davante Adams or Julio then kudos to you. Given the lack of conditioning and the ramp up for this season that these players had to deal with, we are experiencing some major soft tissue issues. I tried to advise that you all needed to be more fluid this season in your attempts to navigate the uncertainty especially in fantasy football, and thus, the waiver wire will be more important than ever. Maybe you need to bolster your wide receiver depth or replace an injured running back — either way, I‘ve got you covered. This is my Weekly Waiver Wire Whisper column in which I will give you my take on some stash/start worthy players that are rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues. That is the cutoff, so please don’t slide all in my mentions on Twitter about how I could possibly leave off Mike Gesicki (84%), or Deebo Samuel (72%), or even Joshua Kelley (66%) from this article.
Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks, Rostered in 19% of Yahoo leagues
One of the biggest storylines to emerge from week three is not only Chris Carson’s injury but the nature in which he was tackled by Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill. Hill grabbed Carson’s leg and spiral tackled him forcing a twist of his knee and causing Carson to exit Sunday’s game. On Monday, an MRI revealed that Hyde’s knee had all ligaments intact and he suffered a mild knee sprain. This will vault the veteran Carlos Hyde into the starting lineup. Make no mistake, Hyde will be a rental as the Seahawks have been “letting Russ cook,” but with matchups against the Dolphins and Vikings over the next two weeks, Hyde will be an excellent plug and play RB2.
Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots, Rostered in 12% of Yahoo leagues
With Damien Harris on the short-term IR, James White away from the Patriots for personal reasons, and Sony Michel not looking as sharp as a starting running back should, Rex Burkhead finds himself on our list after a three touchdown performance against the Raiders on Sunday. Rex finds himself coming in as the change of pace RB for the offense but his work in the red zone and as a receiver are what make him valuable to this offense and an intriguing waiver add this week. No Patriots running back comes close to Cam’s 11 rushes in the red zone so far this year but it is Rex who has 5 carries in the red zone himself and his 17% target market share is the highest amongst New England running backs. Rex will be a risky add and start but with a matchup against the powerful KC offense up next you could see him be a big part of the game plan.
Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers, Rostered in 23% of Yahoo leagues
Wilson could be the shortest rental on this list but with Jerrick McKinnon coming out of Sunday’s game with a rib injury and Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman still working back from injury, Wilson could have some staying power for the next couple weeks. If he is still on your waiver wire snag him up and spot start him over the next couple weeks.
Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons, Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues
It feels like in fantasy football if a player scores a touchdown he is almost a lock to be talked about in the waiver column. That brings us to Brian Hill who scampered in for a 35 yard score on Sunday against Chicago and looks to be Todd Gurley’s direct handcuff. He now has worked into 27% of the teams rushing market share and has been the more effective Falcons running back with a 5.6 YPC compared to Gurley’s 4.0 We are all aware of Gurley’s arthritic knee and it being the main reason the Rams moved on. Should anything happen to Gurley, Brian Hill would be a must add and you can get ahead of the curve by stashing him on your bench if you are able.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots, Rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues
Fantasy Football talking heads this offseason favored Damien Harris to lead the Patriots and take over for Sony Michel as the team’s top rusher. He was said to be more utilized in the passing game and therefore could be a much more valuable fantasy asset. Harris had surgery on his hand/finger right before the season opener and was sent to the short-term IR and could be called back up any day now. If you have the roster spot and the RB thirst, swoop up Harris as a stash before your league-mates.
Travis Homer, Seattle Seahawks, Rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues
Travis Homer’s volume will increase over the next two weeks and should Chris Carson’s knee injury linger and/or Carlos Hyde show to be ineffective, Homer would see even more work. As the running back position thins out during the course of a fantasy football season you could
Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears, Rostered in 46% of Yahoo leagues
A favorite breakout candidate of my partner Johnny “Game Time” Hicks, Anthony Miller caught a game-winning touchdown on Sunday against the Falcons. More important for Miller and those who choose to invest in him was who was tossing that TD to him. Nick Foles has officially taken the reigns of this Bears offense and I predict this will mean big things for Miller and his truthers. Foles has a career of loving the slot WR and Miller has now run 85% of his routes from the slot. This is a match made in heaven and you should be looking to add Miller as a nice fill-in with season-long upside, especially if you have Julio, Adams, or MT on your roster.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs, Rostered in 31% of Yahoo leagues
Mecole Hardman’s quarterback is Patrick Mahomes and his head coach is Andy Reid. Those things alone should be enough to entice you in fantasy football prospects but he also has ungodly speed. Hardman runs a 4.33 40 yard dash, and he showcased that speed this past Monday night against a tough Baltimore secondary as he turned 6 targets into 4 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. His 49 yard touchdown was a thing of beauty and he nearly had another long touchdown but could not secure it through the ground. Sammy Watkins did make it back from a concussion to play in this game but it was encouraging to see Hardman assert himself as a threat in this passing attack and he needs to be added because his upside is of the league-winning nature.
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings, Rostered in 34% of Yahoo leagues
The Vikings first round pick in the 2020 NFL draft was Justin Jefferson. With Stefon Diggs leaving town for Buffalo, Jefferson became a popular name for fantasy football experts to breakout in 2020. His perceived target share and ability to dominate in the slot in college was all part of what became a nice profile for his 2020 fantasy outlook. Jefferson proceeded to then struggle in training camp and lose his starting role early on in the season to the likes of Olibisi Johnson. Either way, after a quiet two weeks, Jefferson exploded on Sunday against the Titans. Justin Jefferson nearly doubled Adam Thielens five targets with nine of his own and led the Vikings in receiving yards and scored a touchdown behind a massive 25 yards per reception. If Jefferson is to break out in 2020, this was his official coming out party. Snag Jefferson now, but understand that he is a rookie and his game could have maddening inconsistency from week to week.
Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers, Rostered in 29% of Yahoo leagues
After seeing minimal involvement in his debut week two, Brandon Aiyuk had an excellent game in week three against the Giants. He rushed three times for 31 yards and caught five of his eight targets for 70 yards. With Deebo Samuel and George Kittle working their way back from injury, the door has opened for the rookie wide receiver to make his mark on this passing attack and it seems that Nick Mullens liked looking his way. You should keep in mind that the volatility of the 49ers offense could render Aiyuk useless on any given week especially if their studs can get healthy but he is a weapon and Shanahan should find ways to use him.
Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals, Rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues
We all wanted Christian Kirk to be a thing. We knew that if Kliff Kingsbury could get this offense truly rolling then the second receiving option could be very valuable for fantasy football. After Kirk was forced to miss Sunday with injury, it was Andy Isabella who scored twice and had the second most receiving yards on the team. Isabella had a nice long reception last week and cashed in again this week. He provides a deep ball threat to this offense and should be added this week for the chance at some real season-long upside.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues
Chase Claypool is a rookie and could be inconsistent but I love his size, speed, and upside in this offense. With Diontae Johnson leaving this game with a concussion, Claypool got 4 targets. He only caught one of them but it was a 24 yard reception. This is a week after Claypool had a monster 84-yard TD reception against the Broncos. Claypool has the juice and size to do damage in this league and for this team especially if Diontae Johnson or JuJu Smith-Schuster were to miss any extended amount of time.
Braxton Berrios, New York Jets, Rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues
My disdain for having to write about players on bad teams kept me from putting Braxton Berrios on last week’s waiver column but after back-to-back performances I have to mention him here. In an injury riddled receiving corps, Berrios now has back-to-back weeks with 50 yards and a touchdown. If you are finding yourself desperate Berrios can be flexed in most weeks, while Crowder and Perrimen try to get back from nagging injuries.
Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders, Rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues
The most explosive dad-bod in the NFL, Hunter Renfrow had himself a day on Sunday against the Pats. Renfrow caught 6 of 9 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown and while the uptick in usage was likely due to the Patriots doubling Darren Waller and taking him out of the game plan, you could convince yourself that Renfrow has the chemistry with Carr and the other WRs are nursing injuries.
Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts, Rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues
My pick for last week’s #1 TE waiver add is back on the list this week and it may be your last chance to snag him. Cox followed up his week two 111 scoreless yard performance by posting 52 yards and a touchdown on just three catches. Now, Jack Doyle is a big piece of this team’s offense especially as a blocker in the run game, but it is quite clear what Cox can do after the catch and with injuries to Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. and underwhelming production from T.Y. Hilton, Mo Alie-Cox should continue to see looks and you should look putting a claim in on him this week.
Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys, Rostered in 32% of Yahoo leagues
Another repeat waiver wire tight end, Dalton Schultz had a decent day against the Seahawks on Sunday. Even though he was going up against Seattle’s secondary and the likes of Jamal Adams, Schultz caught four of six targets for 48 yards at an impressive 12.0 ypr average. With the pass-funnel defense that Dallas has put out on the field this year, Schultz can be added and streamed with confidence until further notice.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins, Rostered in 7% of Yahoo leagues
This year’s QB14 in most formats is coming off back to back multiple touchdown outings and will now at the very least face a Seattle defense that is hemorrhaging fantasy points through the air. He is a matchup-dependent streaming QB but we have seen this story before and Fitz has put up gaudy numbers for us in the past.
Nick Foles, Chicago Bears, Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues
Nick Foles came into Sunday’s game to replace the struggling Mitch Trubisky and only led three consecutive touchdown-scoring drives to lead the Bears to victory over the Falcons. The Bears have a tough schedule coming down the pipes facing some high powered offenses in the Colts, Buccaneers, and Rams, but these matchups likely mean they will require some higher volume performances from Foles and that could spell fantasy success. If you are hurting for QB, give Foles a look.