Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Week Four

This was perhaps the craziest Sunday in what is already one of the crazier seasons in the NFL. Last week, we talked about the few remaining undefeated teams, and I predicted the Falcons and 49ers in the NFC Championship, with the winner overcoming the Texans in the Superbowl. Two of my three favorites are now two of the three only remaining undefeated teams. The 49ers can beat the Packers and Lions but naturally fall to Christian Ponder and the Vikings – what?!? Fans in Arizona are clamoring that they’re team is the bee’s knees of the NFC West. The Cardinals defense looks incredible, but I still maintain that the Niners will clean up in their six divisional games.

On to the adds of the week!

1. Mikel LeShoure (DET RB) 57%
Oh crap. We apologize for our love of Kevin Smith because we really bit the big one here. Despite Kevin Smith’s impressive first two weeks, some reports indicated that the Lions wanted to get Mikel LeShoure double digit touches in his first game back from suspension. We were skeptical. Then, shockingly, reports indicated that LeShoure would start the game. Even more shockingly, LeShoure received 26 carries while Kevin Smith got 0 touches. LeShoure’s 100 yards, TD, and 4 catches show he’s holding onto this job. If he’s available, LeShoure is the top add because in just one day he’s skyrocketed into the featureback role on an explosive offense. Unfortunately, if you don’t want to wait around another week to see if Smith still has any role, you can drop Smith now. L

2. Ryan Williams (ARZ RB) 36%
When Beanie Wells left this game banged up, the prophecy was fulfilled as Ryan Williams overtook Wells as the guy in Arizona. In many of my drafts with fantasy “gurus,” Williams was drafted early, sometimes even before Wells. So I was shocked to see that Williams is only owned in 36% of Yahoo leagues. In any case, it’s time for the rest of y’all to add him. Williams proved he deserves this opportunity, running for 83 yards on 13 carries, good for a stellar 6.4 YPC, compared to 2.3 YPC for Wells. Whether or not Wells misses time, you need to add Williams because he could eventually become their clearcut featureback.

3. Andre Brown (NYG RB) 65%
Last week, we made Andre Brown and David Wilson top pickups of the week. It turns out one is a superstar and the other is droppable in all leagues. In Ahmad Bradshaw’s absence, Brown went wild for the G-Men, rushing the ball 20 times for 113 yards and 2 scores, while adding 3 catches for 17 yards. If you had the big brass balls to insert this waiver wire pickup into your lineup in spite of his track record of absolutely nothing, you were handsomely rewarded with 25 fantasy points.

Bradshaw has been medically cleared to practice and there’s a good chance he’ll be active in Week 4 against the Eagles. Still, it’s likely Brown has earned himself a role in this offense. David Wilson clearly is not developed enough yet, so it’s going to be some mix of Bradshaw and Brown going forward. It’s possible that Carolina’s run defense is pretty awful and that Bradshaw remains the more talented back on this squad, but we’re sure to see them both see carries in the future. Whether it’s 80:20, 50:50, or 20:80, it remains to be seen, but either way, Brown’s emergence is bad news for Bradshaw owners and good news for you if you’re able to nab Brown in your league.

As for Ramses Barden, I’m not using a roster spot on him until and unless he’s able to produce while Hakeem Nicks is active.

4. Martellus Bennett (NYG TE) 76%
If this guy ain’t owned yet, you need to get on this. He’s scored in all three games so far, with 6 catches and 73 yards in Thursday Night Football. He will continue to be a big target for Eli, especially in the endzone.

5. Daniel Thomas (MIA RB) 13%
Well after over a year of health, Reggie Bush is back to being Reggie Bush, as he left Sunday’s game with a knee injury. His tweets (“Praise the Lord!”) following an MRI indicate that Bush has avoided a serious injury, but he could still miss some time. After Bush’s exit, Daniel Thomas saw 19 carries for 69 yards (good for a 3.6 YPC) and a TD. Meanwhile, Lamar Miller saw only 9 carries. The coaches don’t love Thomas, but they don’t yet trust Miller. (Miller was in the wrong place when Tannehill went to give him a handoff.) So should Bush miss some time, this looks like Daniel Thomas’s gig. I’ve liked Daniel Thomas since his rookie year, and it hasn’t worked out yet, but he at least has a chance now to put up some fantasy numbers, so add him if you can.

6. Bilal Powell (NYJ RB)
We liked Powell as a deep sleeper in the preseason, and after Sunday, it’s possible there’s a changing of the guard coming. Coach Rex Ryan said it’s “possible” Shonn Greene will lose snaps to Greene going forward. Greene managed a miserable 2.1 YPC on 19 carries against the Dolphins. Meanwhile, Powell rushed 10 times for a 4.5 YPC. Powell also saw 5 targets to 2 targets for Greene. It’s also key to analyze when those touches came – Greene started this game as the featureback, btu the team looked to Powell more and more as the game went on, trusting him when it really mattered in overtime. Powell’s statline certainly doesn’t light up the fantasy scoreboard this week, so be sure to add him now while he’s cheap, in case he takes over next week.

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7. Tashard Choice (BUF RB) 10%
Within just 3 weeks, Buffalo is down to their 3rd RB. At the moment, reports indicate that both C.J. Spiller (shoulder) and Fred Jackson (knee) have a chance to play in Week 4. But it’s certainly possible that Tashard Choice gets at least one chance to carry the load. Buffalo must have some kinda O-Line, because everybody’s able to run behind it. Choice ran the ball 20 times for an impressive 91 yards, and could put up similar numbers if he gets the chance again next week. Choice is especially valuable if you’re a Spiller or FJax owner, but anyone and everyone should give him an add while we wait on the practice reports from this backfield.

8. Greg Olsen (CAR TE) 51%
We liked Olsen in the preseason, and were perhaps to quick to write him off after just two bad games to start the year. In our Hot or Not column, we let you down by predicting that Brandon LaFell would excel while Olsen would take a backseat. It was the exact opposite on Thursday, as Olsen absolutely dominated Cam Newton’s attention, with 14 targets, 7 catches, and 98 yards. Meanwhile, LaFell was only able to haul in 1 of his 5 targets. Don’t drop LaFell yet, but take a long look at Olsen if you’re in the market for a TE.

9. Leonard Hankerson (WAS WR)
Hankerson was an inconsistent but talented deep threat last year. Now, with Pierre Garcon still sidelined, Hankerson could be the Redskins’ new primary target. His 7 targets tied Fred Davis for the lead, and “Hank” as I now call him, caught 4 balls for 56 yards. Coach Shanahan announced on Monday that Hankerson has earned himself a permanent starting spot going forward, even once Garcon returns. Through the first 3 games, Hank has 6 catches, 124 yards, a score. He has not had a “breakout” stat-line yet, so add him now and wait for that breakout game to come.

10. Kyle Rudolph (MIN TE) 39%
Rudolph was a preseason deep sleeper on a lot of lists, and he came through big in the Vikes’ upset of the 49ers. Rudolph’s 6 targets were 2nd only to Percy Harvin’s. Rudolph hauled in 5 catches for 36 yards and 2 TDs. The talent and opportunity are there, so be sure to add Rudolph if you could use a TE.

11. Jake Locker (TEN QB) 38%
Locker has put up some serious numbers so far this year. Against the Lions, Locker threw for 378 yards and 2 TDs, 0 Interceptions, and scrambled 4 times for 35 yards. Kenny Britt appears close to 100% so it’s perfectly conceivable that Locker keeps this production up.

12. Heath Miller (PIT TE) 41%
Miller caught a TD in each of the first 2 games but his mediocre track record had us yawning until he really stepped up. Through 3 weeks, Miller’s redzone success is becoming a trend that’s hard to ignore. Against Oakland, Miller caught 8 balls for 60 yards and 2 scores. Ben Roethlisberger obviously trusts Miller so add him to the slew of serviceable TEs.

13. Lance Ball (DEN RB)
With McGahee banged up and Knowshon Moreno a healthy scratch, Lance Ball got 7 carries for just 16 yards against this dominant Texans D. Still, if McGahee misses time, this could be Ball’s gig so give him a try if you need a quick stopgap option at the RB spot.

14. Brandon Stokley (DEN WR) 2%
Old reliable! Stokley is not a young buck, but he is Peyton Manning’s go-to guy when he needs to move the chains. Demaryius Thomas is wildly talented but also unpolished, prone to mistakes and drops, so Stokley’s targets could continue to increase from here. In Week 3, Thomas caught just 3 of his 11 targets, while Stokley caught all 6 of his targets for 73 yards and a score. It’s hard to imagine this offense supporting three viable WRs, but it’s possible, so deep leaguers should go get Stokley now.

15. Danny Woodhead (NE RB) 4%
After two solid weeks of play, Stevan Ridley took a backseat to Danny Woodhead against the Ravens. They were equally ineffective, but Woodhead got 15 carries compared to 13 for Ridley. It appears Woodhead won’t just be a special teams guy this year, and he could see some serious work depending on the situation, so deep leaguers can pick him up.

For more of Brett’s fantasizing and a funny podcast, check out www.theffmvp.com.