As we head into Week 4, the waiver wire pickings will start to thin out. That’s because things are starting to come into focus, but it’s also because the bye weeks are starting. This week, only the Patriots and Titans are off, but that number swells to four teams in Week 5. The time to bolster your roster is now. Don’t wait until the bye week is actually upon you, as the prime talent may have been snatched up by then.
Every league has a team or two with, let’s call them, out-of-date rosters. They’re still hanging on to players who should have been given up on long ago. There’s a guy in one of my leagues who still has Reggie Wayne on his team. Don’t be that guy. Get to work on your depth now if you haven’t already.
As always, I will be adding additions to my free agent target list throughout the day as I continue to work through all of the Week 3 games. You can get a look at these deep options later on this afternoon in Rotobahn’s expanded waiver wire. It’s totally free, so check it out if you compete in a big league.
The ownership rates for each player were sourced from Yahoo!.
Marcus Mariota, Titans, 70 percent
He’s a great pickup if he is still around in your league. He’s been great so far with three straight quality starts to open his career and the scary part is that he hasn’t used his legs to create points yet. That is certainly coming at some point. This guy moves like a running back, but he one thing you need to keep in mind is that he’s got a bye this week.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills, 39 percent
Can he keep it up? Who knows, but I love quarterbacks who can score with their feet and their arms, and Taylor has shown an ability to do that. He has weapons in the passing game and he is using them so far. He can make plays downfield with guys like Percy Harvin and Sammy Watkins and he is supported by a strong ground game. The elements for consistent fantasy success are in place. No way should he be on any waiver wires at this point. He needs to be owned.
Andy Dalton, Bengals, 53 percent
It’s the weapons. Dalton is a passable quarterback, but he has a stable of talented running backs who all catch the ball well and can make yards after the reception. He has tall athletic receivers who can score from anywhere on the field and, this year, he has Tyler Eifert adding an element at tight end. Dalton should be a consistent weekly producer. Go get him.
Derek Carr, Raiders, 25 percent
He has real weapons this year with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. He also has some talent behind him in the backfield in the form of Latavius Murray. Carr has a nice home matchup with the Bears this week, so he can help you in the short-term if you are looking to stream, but he is also a solid QB2 in larger formats.
Michael Vick, Steelers, 3 percent
He looked very mediocre last week and that may not change going forward. Vick’s been not so great for a few years now, but you have to respect his talent and the amazing situation he now finds himself in. By Week 5, Vick will have Martavis Bryant’s back and at that point Pittsburgh will be fully loaded at the skill positions. If Vick can just play decent football his fantasy numbers could be very, very good. He’s a short-term (4-6 weeks) solution for those who have lost Tony Romo or Ben Roethlisberger. He can also solve a bye week problem, particularly during Weeks 5-8.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons, 63 percent
Dion Lewis, Patriots, 74 percent
Matt Jones, Washington, 66 percent
All of the above players would be considered priority pickups if they happen to be available. I’m listing them despite them being fairly obvious, because the ownership rates indicate that they could be available.
Karlos Williams, Bills, 25 percent
He’s a guy with freakish talent as I said back in our predraft rookie reports. He’s obviously made big strides since the Bills drafted him because he looks better right now than he ever has. If Williams is available in your league, he is a great short-term target because there’s a good chance that LeSean McCoy misses a game or two with his hamstring injury. Williams has RB1 upside this week at home vs. the Giants.
Ryan Mathews, Eagles, 55 percent
He ran very well against the Jets and there’s no way this guy should be available in so many leagues. Picking him up is a must if you own DeMarco Murray, but it’s good business whether you own Murray or not.
Antonio Andrews, Titans, 1 percent
If you play in a deep league, this may be a move for you. Andrews was finally active in Week 3 and he responded with a score, but it was his workload that really caught my eye. Andrew got 12 carries and that was more than twice as much as Bishop Sankey received. This could be a changing backfield and Andrews is certainly worth going after in all 12-team leagues.
Duke Johnson, Browns, 34 percent
This is more of a PPR recommendation right now, but Johnson has the talent to excel in all formats if the Browns can get their offense going. Johnson is currently splitting time with Isaiah Crowell, but as he settles in he could take more of the job. He’s a high-quality stash and a flex option in deeper PPR leagues.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks, 2 percent
Marshawn Lynch has a hamstring injury that may require a week off. If that ends up being the case, Rawls is a nice option for Week 4. If you own Lynch, you will want to go after Rawls preemptively unless you happen to have a really deep running back situation. If you have a Week 4 bye crunch, Rawls is a good guy to go after.
Lance Dunbar, Cowboys, 17 percent
Dunbar is already a viable player in large PPR leagues and he should be rostered there for sure. In smaller leagues, Dunbar is a player to use on an as-needed basis. He’s also a decent guy to roster if you are leaning on Joe Randle.
Alfred Blue, Texans, 23 percent
He may not be a hot pickup if good news breaks on Arian Foster, but Blue sure looks like the guy to own behind Foster, who breaks down fairly often. If your league has good sized benches and you can handcuff your running backs, Blue is a guy to go after if you are a Foster owner.
Stevie Johnson, Chargers, 78 percent
Donte Moncrief, Colts, 78 percent
Travis Benjamin, Browns, 69 percent
Like I said with the backs, all of the above players would be considered priority pickups if they happen to be available in your league. I’m listing them even though they are fairly obvious targets, because the ownership rates indicate that they could actually be available.
Marvin Jones, Bengals, 20 percent
He’s looking better and better. Jones’ targets have grown each week — peaking at eight in Week 3. He is feasting on second corners and single coverage. Teams have to lean on A.J. Green and they have to respect the running game. Eifert is also putting stress on defenses. All this adds up to good news for Jones, who should continue to be a WR3 option as long as he stays healthy. He has clearly pulled ahead of Mohamed Sanu in the battle for the number two receiver job in Cincinnati.
Michael Crabtree, Raiders, 49 percent
Crabtree will play second fiddle to rookie Amari Cooper all year, but he will have plenty of good weeks. He’s already been targeted 33 times this year and his quarterback, Derek Carr, is playing better ball in his second season. Crabtree should be rostered in most leagues and he is playable on most weeks. His appeal is greater in PPR formats.
Dorial Green-Beckham, Titans, 17 percent
He looks like he is slowly taking the gig on the outside. Green-Beckham is a little raw, but he is a freakish red zone presence and he has the size and speed to make plays downfield. With the way Mariota is throwing the football, Green-Beckham is a player to add. Note that he does have a Week 4 bye. The good news on that is that rookies often get to play catch up during the bye week. He could be getting even more snaps and looks by Week 5.
Rueben Randle, Giants, 28 percent
Randle finally got going last week and I think he has a chance to keep it up if his knees stay healthy. The return of Victor Cruz, which should happen this week will open up space outside for both Odell Beckham and Randle. The other inside options have not been getting it done. His Week 4 matchup at Buffalo is nothing to get excited about, but the Giants have a favorable schedule overall.
Rishard Matthews, Dolphins, 33 percent
He’s hot enough to pick up and ride for a few weeks, but his play is not likely to be sustainable. Miami is bringing DeVante Parker along slowly, but he should start cutting into Matthews’ reps as could Kenny Stills. There are a lot of receivers in Miami. Still, for now, Matthews is playing well and has value. Just be careful with him this weekend. He’s playing in London against a tough Jets secondary.
Brian Quick, Rams, 25 percent
He’s a stash and his ownership rate is down to 25 percent. This may be the time to add Quick if there are no other great pickups out there. He has the potential to be a weekly fantasy starter and the Rams have a history of slow rolling players. In Quick’s case, it makes some sense, since he is coming off of a major shoulder injury. Don’t be surprised if the Rams offense becomes the Quick and Todd Gurley show in a few weeks.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins, 20 percent
The time to grab him off the wire is now. Parker is a very nice talent and after seeing only a single target through the first two weeks, he was thrown at seven times in Week 3 against Buffalo. He may be about to take off and you’ll want to get him before the big game happens. It probably won’t be this week against the Jets, but you never know. Parker is talented enough to be a weekly starter and let’s be honest, a few more losses and the Dolphins will start selling the future to a fan base that is close to a revolt. If this guy stays healthy, he’s going to play a lot.
Ty Montgomery, Packers, 6 percent
The key here is the health of Davante Adams, who re-tweaked his ankle on Monday night. The Packers have a short week thanks to the Monday game so Adams could have a tough time getting ready. Montgomery is a nice hedge for those who depend on Adams and he could be a 1-week solution for those who need bye week help. Montgomery may be a pickup for later in the week, but he’s a guy to watch because of the Aaron Rodgers factor. Right now, Rodgers’ third option has more value than a typical second option.
Leonard Hankerson, Falcons, 12 percent
He’s basically a co-starter with Roddy White at this point and when you look at the way Julio Jones is dominating, you have to think there will be more and more opportunities for those who play around him. Hankerson is worth rostering in all 12-team leagues and he’s very much on the 10-team league radar as a streaming option.
Allen Hurns, Jaguars, 10 percent
Hurns is a guy with real talent and he is making the most of his opportunities this year. He doesn’t see the ball enough to have major upside, but he is a nice guy to have around during the bye weeks if you play in a big league. He’s a bye week streamer in smaller formats.
Ted Ginn, Panthers, 9 percent
He’s not yet a guy to pick up in smaller leagues but Ginn’s current rate of production feels real. He’s getting regular snaps and targets and making more intermediate plays than we’ve seen in the past. That makes him a viable weekly option because we all know he can hit the big play and Cam Newton can throw it a mile. I’m liking Ginn as a bye week option in all leagues if you are in need.
Eric Ebron, Lions, 50 percent
He’s a guy to pick up in all leagues. Ebron is an improved player. He’ll still drop a ball here and there, but he is consistently making plays and he in very much involved in the offense. And, it’s obviously a pass-first offense at this point.
Julius Thomas, Jaguars, 69 percent
He may return this week, but he could also end up coming back Week 5. Either way, Orange Julius makes a very nice add if he is available or if he gets dropped by a desperate owner with bye week problems. Thomas is injury prone, but he’s also a guy who can put up some solid numbers when he is healthy. Stash him now and he might pay off soon.
Charles Clay, Bills, 18 percent
His role has been growing and he has found the end zone two weeks in a row. The emergence of Tyrod Taylor is giving new life to players like Clay and Robert Woods. Clay has a nice home matchup against the Giants this week.
Crockett Gillmore, Ravens, 45 percent
He may have value the rest of the way, but he is no lock to play on Thursday night due to a calf injury that caused him to miss the second half of last week’s game. His value is for down the road, so be careful with him in smaller leagues.
Gary Barnidge, Browns, 0 percent
He had a breakout game last week and when you look at the situation with the Browns’ passing game, you see a team desperate for places to throw the ball. He’s a tight end to add in deep formats and a tight end to watch in all formats.
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