Some of the players listed in Athlon Sports' NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 4 may be one-week adds, some may be season-long adds and some are listed just for you to keep an eye on to stash on your roster if you have the space.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.
Quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee
Here's another QB that you don't want to waste your one waiver priority spot of the week on, but he has shown he can be an adequate fantasy QB; he is currently ranked 12th among fantasy QBs. Two caveats with Hasselbeck, however: He will be without stud WR Kenny Britt the remainder of the year, but his running game is also non-existent, meaning he will continue to air it out to whatever targets he can find.
Vince Young, Philadelphia
Young has not found the field to replace Vick in the three previous games due to the hamstring injury Young suffered in the preseason. And it's uncertain whether it would be Young or Mike Kafka to replace Vick were he out. I would not waste your first waiver priority on this spot, but Young is athletic, has a good deep ball and has plenty of weapons around him (Jeremy Maclin perhaps not included this week against visiting San Francisco due to a hamstring inuury) to succeed in Andy Reid's pass-happy offense.
Colt McCoy, Cleveland
He's probably not the greatest play this week with Tennessee coming to town and then a bye coming. However, McCoy returns from the bye to get a very favorable passing schedule of Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville and Cincinnati to close out the fantasy regular season. Without the greatest of weapons in Cleveland, McCoy has scored 15 points or more each of the first three weeks. It's not great, but it's consistent.
Curtis Painter, Indianapolis
Ryan Grant, Green Bay
He's probably not available in too many leagues, but I saw him dropped in a few leagues of mine and he is available in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues. He's not the greatest of plays because of James Starks, but the same can be said for Starks. Both of them need to be held on to because they are in a high-powered offense and each of them is injury prone. It stinks that they are just insurance policies for each other, but it's better than some of the other options out there. Just a heads up if you've seen him sent back into the FA pool in your leagues.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco
Ah, the dreaded (read: expected) Frank Gore injury occurred in Week 3. Gore. He injured his right ankle and is not sure of his availability in Week 4 against the Eagles. THIS is the reason you draft Hunter late. Yes, he had 26 yards on nine carries (2.9 YPC) which is terrible, but Gore's 17-for-42 (2.5 YPC) isn't getting it done, either. Hunter added two catches for 12 yards and is a dynamic presence for the 49ers, one that coach Jim Harbaugh needs to learn to use. Hunter also scored from seven yards out. Here's hoping Harbaugh will get Hunter away from the line of scrimmage and find ways to utilize his speed in open space — you know the modern NFL instead of the pounding it into the center of the line, closing your eyes and hoping your running back pops out the other side. That way's not getting it done with an offensive line that has a lot of money invested in it.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City
I've told you to add him to your roster for the last three weeks now. The diminutive Chief is going to see a good portion of the Kansas City offense now that Jamaal Charles is on IR. He is still available in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues, 60 percent of ESPN leagues and 77 percent of NFL.com leagues. Thomas Jones proved as useless as expected against the Chargers Sunday (14 carries 31 yards), while McCluster got 14 touches for 63 yards. And touches is how you have to evaluate McCluster. He had nine carries for 45 yards and five receptions for 17 yards. That's 11.3 fantasy points in a full PPR. Todd Haley looked to McCluster just four times— all passes — in the first half as Thomas Jones wasted time. Assuming Haley looks McCluster's way earlier — I know what they say about assuming and Haley — McCluster has a real shot at breaking out this year.
Willis McGahee, Denver
It was a tough match up against the Titans as expected, but he still scored 12.9 fantasy points thanks to one of his three receptions. He also added 52 yards rushing on 22 carries. He is expected to get the bulk of the carries, as we suspected as the preseason wore down, even when a fully healthy Knowshon Moreno is active. Green Bay and San Diego are up next before the Broncos' bye, not necessarily the most appealing match ups, but his pass-catching ability still makes him a decent flex play in PPR leagues and he could roll into a decent RB2 play in the easier match ups.
Daniel Thomas, Miami
This is probably the last week he will be on this list. He should've been drafted in most leagues but a terrible preseason squashed that for many. He then was inactive in Week 1. But the Reggie Bush as lead back experiment died a quick death, and the rookie from Kansas State has started to show his worth. After a 12.2-point debut against the Texans, Thomas came back with a 20.7-point effort against the Browns. He rushed 23 times for 95 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards, including a touchdown. Bush, meanwhile, had 11 carries and one catch. See where the trend is going here. The Dolphins aren't dynamic enough to use Bush properly and Bush isn't traditional enough to be used as a lead back.
LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets
If the Jets' defense is going to continue to give up points, the Jets offense is going to have to continue to come back. And that is not done with Shonn Greene pounding the rock into the middle of the offensive line. It will be done with the pass-catching abilities of LT, who had five catches for 116 yards and 38 yards on six carries in the loss to Oakland. Pick him up and play him in games in which you think the Jets will trail — i.e. against Baltimore, New England, San Diego, Buffalo and New England four of the next six games.
Jason Avant and/or Steve Smith, Philadelphia
I wouldn't add either with a waiver priority. As a matter of fact, I would wait on news of Jeremy Maclin's hamstring injury before moving at all on either of the two. This is just a heads up. If Maclin were to miss Week 4 against San Francisco, then the door opens for either Avant or Smith. Avant has been targeted 16 times this season, catching eight for 102 yards; Smith, who didn't play in the opener, has eight targets, four catches for 56 yards. It may be a committee approach to replace Maclin if he's out, but it's a position that's been targeted 25 times to the tune of 19 catches, 260 yards and two scores through three games.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
The split between Brown and Emmanuel Sanders was what we eyed early on as the annoyance from a pass-happy offense. Well, Brown has jumped Sanders and looks to have jumped veteran Hines Ward. Brown has 23 targets, 10 catches and 156 yards to Sanders' 11 targets, six catches, 85 yards and Week 1 score. Ward has 19 targets, 12 catches, and 117 yards. It could be something that drives you crazy all season long as these three battle it out in the fantasy world to play opposite Mike Wallace, but Brown has carried his solid preseason into the regular season and looks to be having more plays called his way as opposed to the freelancing of Sanders.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants
First, Mario Manningham (concussion) has already been cleared to play in Week 4. That's fine. The Giants still need a third receiving option. Domenik Hixon is out with an ACL. There is no fantasy-worthy TE. No. 1 Hakeem Nicks has battled knee injuries and was shut down completely against the Eagles. Then there's Manningham, his concussion and his drops in the Rams game the last time we saw him. Cruz stepped in Sunday and caught three balls for 110 yards and two scores. The slot position was golden for Eli Manning when Steve Smith manned it; if Cruz slides in there or stays on the outside, he should have success for the Giants.
Eric Decker, Denver
Decker was certainly a good add from the waiver wire last week after his 24.8-point performance. But he faced a tough match up against a Titans team that still has not allowed a 200-yard passer. Decker still managed a 10.3-point day in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He had seven catches off 12 targets and the Broncos are not going to shy away from the pass as Kyle Orton is 12th in the league with 110 attempts.
Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis
If Curtis Painter is the starting QB all Colts are going to be downgraded even more than they already are. The one spot of hope may be Painter's relationship with Garcon, He caught three balls for 53 yards when Painter stepped in for Kerry Collins and finished with six for 82 in the loss to the Steelers. I'm sure many owners across fantasy have bailed on Garcon through two weeks, and they should. But it's worth keeping an eye on the relationship between Garcon and Painter.
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis
He is available in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues but is Athlon's 39-best WR with 27.7 fantasy points scored. He has 20 targets, 12 catches, 157 yards and a score through three games. Mike Sims-Walker has one more target but has not done as much with the extra look — 10 catches, 133 yards no TDs. Gibson will continue to get the looks until Danny Amendola comes back, and even then it might open things up a little more for Gibson. He has at least 50 yards receiving in each of the first three games, and with the defense getting torched, he will always have opportunities.
Donald Jones, Buffalo
We told you about him Week 1 along with David Nelson. He hasn't been the most consistent of options, but you can't ignore targets. Jones got his biggest share on Sunday when Ryan Fitzpatrick looked his way 10 times and Nelson turned it into five catches for 101 yards. That comes after 11 targets, six catches and 27 yards and a score the first two weeks combined. Fitzpatrick has four passing options off the line of scrimmage — Nelson, Jones, Steve Johnson and TE Scott Chandler to go along with RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jones is worth adding in deep leagues or if you are really getting killed at your WR spot by the likes of Kenny Britt, Jacoby Ford, Mario Manningham, etc.
Lance Moore, New Orleans
He shouldn't be on this list, but I saw he's available in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues. Perhaps he is already owned in all scoring systems where he's relevant — PPR leagues — but I'll give you some info about his season thus far anyway. After missing Week 1 with a groin and being eased in Week 2 (four targets, one catch, 6 yards), Moore blew up in Week 3 by catching all nine targets for 88 yards and a score. He will be inconsistent as a scorer each week, thanks Darren Sproles, but I think he will be the most consistent Saints WR option until Marques Colston gets back and screws it all up.
David Nelson, Buffalo
He is a top-20 receiver in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He was targeted eight times, catching six for 84 yards in the comeback win against New England. He has been targeted no less than six times, caught no less than four balls and had no less than 66 yards receiving each of the first three weeks. Also, he is still available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Sidney Rice, Seattle
He made his Seahawk debut and didn't fare too bad against a putrid Arizona secondary. He was targeted 10 times, catching eight balls for 109 yards from his former teammate in Minnesota, Tarvaris Jackson, under their former offensive coordinator with the Vikings, Darrell Bevil. Not much, if any good, has come from the Seattle offense through two weeks, so it was nice to see some spark in Week 3. I still can't advocate anything out of Seattle right now — well, the 20th anniversary deluxe edition of Nirvana's Nevermind comes out today. I do advocate purchasing that — but Rice plays Atlanta, New York Giants, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dallas, Baltimore, St. Louis and Washington over the next eight games. Six of the eight are allowing over 20 fantasy points a game to WRs through three weeks.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore
It doesn't get much better than your first three catches as a pro going for touchdowns, but that's what Smith did Sunday against the Rams. He stepped in for an injured Lee Evans, who still doesn't know when he will return from his ankle injury. The Ravens wanted to add vertical weapons for Joe Flacco so he could stop it with the check downs, and that was certainly on display Sunday. Smith was brought in specifically to be that vertical threat. One thing to keep in mind: Evans was also traded for a fourth-round pick to be that vertical threat. When he returns, the Ravens are not going to just let him ride the pine. So there might be a split of their workload, but Smith is worth the play now.
Titus Young, Detroit
He continues to get targets and is a speedy playmaker for the Lions. He went from seven targets, five catches and 89 yards in Week 2 to eight targets, four catches and 51 yards in Week 3. This is probably more of a name to keep an eye on as I don't see him being rostered in too many leagues, but as Matthew Stafford looks to lean less on his tight ends and more to other receivers not named Calvin Johnson, Young and Nate Burleson could be in for big years. The problem is: They could alternate weeks doing it, thus making fantasy owners quite angry. Keep an eye on Young and Burleson.
Nate Washington, Tennessee
He certainly paid off as the Sneaky Start of the Week for Week 3, grabbing eight balls for 92 yards and a score. He will have to do that and more from now on with Kenny Britt out for the season. I'm not sure if Washington can operate as the No. 1, but he is certainly worth the add to see if it works out. The Titans are struggling mightily in the run game and QB Matt Hasselbeck seems to have no problem going to the air. Washington has been targeted 27 times through three weeks this season, catching 21 for 258 yards and Sunday's score.
Scott Chandler, Buffalo
I still think there are safer plays at a position so deep, but the problem with them is inconsistency. I would rather look for a player that is targeted at least six times a game on average and see what he can give me. Then there's Chandler. He hasn't received over five targets a game, but all he does is score. He's no different than playing the vulture-TD grabbing RB that LenDale White or Willis McGahee has been in the past. The Bills are going to move the ball and teams keep leaving Chandler wide open in the end zone. If Ryan Fitzpatrick's going to go to him, why shouldn't you?
Randy McMichael, San Diego
Simple: He's Antonio Gates replacement and Malcom Floyd is ineffective, groin injury or not. McMichael caught four of five targets for 51 yards in Gates' absence Sunday. If Gates, the game's top tight end, is going to be a game-time decision each week, then you need to either have insurance for him on your roster, or steal someone else's insurance. The position will be an effective one for fantasy owners, you just have to know who's playing it from week to week.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville
He returned from a calf injury against the Panthers and was targeted just two times for 15 yards. I don't think he's an add just yet — hard to believe a guy with 10 TDs a year ago is still a "keep an eye on" player but he is available in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues. If healthy and motivated (here's hoping the big contract in the offseason didn't make him content), he can be a rookie QB's best friend for an offense that needs some help. MJD and Mike Thomas can't do it all, plus he plays in the AFC South and those teams aren't the greatest at defending the TE position — all were in the bottom half of the league against the position at at least seven fantasy points per game last season.
The good news for Cowboys fans and fantasy owners alike is that it appears Tony Romo's lung has healed, increasing his chances of playing Monday night against the Redskins. This, however, does not guarantee that he will play because it doesn't change the fact that his rib is still broken. Just ask DeAngelo Hall.
Should you start Beanie Wells this week against the Seahawks?
Update: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenthnt said on Friday that Beanie Wells will be a gametime decision this Sunday against the Seahawks. This is not good news, as Beanie was expected to be fine after tweaking his hamstring. The Cards play at 4:15 so most of your lineup will have to be set by the time his game starts. Do yourself a favor and look elsewhere this week. Beanie may not be worth the headache against an already solid run defense.
Pick up these four guys on your fantasy football team to get you through Cedric Benson's three game suspension
Cedric Benson is a moron. At least that's how his fantasy football owners feel about him right now. Benson, who served five days in jail during training camp for two misdemeanor assault convictions that happened during the lockout.
Just when he started to get his career on track (he was a bust on the Bears), he now can't seem to stay out of trouble. He's now been served a three game suspension for a violation of the NFL's conduct policy.
So what does that mean for your fantasy team? It looks like Benson will miss weeks 4, 5 and 6 (he's going to appeal, but we know how those usually go.) So, if you own Benson, you need to find one or two stop-gap players to get you through his missed time.
If You Own Benson, Pick Up These Players To Get You Through His Suspension
Larod is dealing with a injured hand, but it doesn't seem to be serious. What's more important about the Caridnals backfield is that Beanie Wells missed practice due to a tweaked hamstring. Once Larod's hand is fine (which should be soon), he will step into the starting role there. Beanie has already showed that the Cardinals can move the ball on the ground and if LaRod gets the nod (hey, that rhymes), then he may be a steal that starts for the rest of the year. Week 4: At home against the New York Giants Week 5: At Minnesota Week 6: Bye
From a fantasy perspective, the Redskins backfield is a mess. But Helu is getting more and more touches each week as the current starter Tim Hightower has been passable, but not exceptional. While Helu has looked great in both running and receiving. If Helu keeps getting the ball more and more, he will be getting starter touches by weeks 4-6, and the Skins go against two defenses soft against the run in that stretch (unfortunately, they also have a bye, so you'll need a little more duct tape to make your team work.) Week 4: At St. Louis Rams Week 5: Bye Week 6: At home against the Eagles
This is sort of the "duh" pick as he's Benson's backup in Cincinnati. But you need to go and handcuff him right now because the Bengals are going against three poor teams in weeks 4-5 and could turn into a nice fantasy payoff when a career backup puts up starter numbers. Bernard Scott has never really wowed anyone, but this may be the ideal situation for him to fill-in for Benson and do a little more than tread water. Week 4: At home against Buffalo Week 5: At Jacksonville Week 6: At home against Indianapolis
With Matt Forte being the center of the Bears running and passing game, Barber will not put up huge yardage numbers. But he is coming back from an injury and will be suited up week 4-6. All week Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has heard it from fans and media to not abandon the run, so he will be a little more conscious of the Bears running game in the next few weeks. Forte will get the bulk of the load, but Barber is a guy who can come in and steal a few touchdowns from time to time. He would be a gamble play, but if you're desperate for someone, he may be one of your best options who could sneak a few cheap touchdowns. Week 4: At home against Carolina Week 5: At Detroit Week 6: At home against Minnesota
Don't you wish fantasy football sites would just tell it like it is?
It’s only Week 3 of the fantasy football season and there have already been a ton of huge injuries and potential busts. Yet every Sunday morning when you check in before kickoff, all you get from your fantasy site is a bunch of bland match-up projections and quotes from that player’s local paper. Forget that. Your site should tell the truth about your highly drafted players. Here’s what we think it would look like if you got honest evaluations on your best players.
Rashard Mendenhall for Josh Freeman and Ahmad Bradshaw? My starting QB is Jay Cuter and my backup is Kyle Orton. — @Will_Chaklos on Twitter
I would hold on to Mendenhall. Freeman is the No. 24 fantasy QB in Athlon's scoring format (6 point TDs, 1 point for 25 passing yards) with 31.88 points having faced Detroit at home and Minnesota on the road, even trailing by 17 against the Vikings. Mike Williams has been all but non existent (5-46-1 on 14 targets through two games) and no other weapon has emerged for Freeman. Bradshaw is enticing, but Brandon Jacobs is not going to go away anytime soon. You might want to find a better QB backup. Cutler is liable to get flattened behind a still questionable offensive line, and who knows if Orton can hold his starting job all year with clamoring for last year's first-round pick Tim Tebow coming from the Orange Crush fanbase.
Fred Davis or Owen Daniels at TE in a non-PPR — Chris Kaschok on Athlon Sports Facebook
If this is for this week, I would go with Fred Davis as the Cowboys' secondary is battered by injury, as well as the Dallas offense. The Cowboys are allowing the fifth-most points to TEs through two games. Houston takes on a Saints team this week that is fifth-best against the TE so far, having allowed just four catches for 57 yards and no scores to the position, including a shutout against Dolphin TEs last week.
For the season, you would think that Daniels being the No. 2 target in the past for QB Matt Schaub would make him the pick here. However, Daniels has been targeted just seven times, catching four for 37 yards and a score. If Davis stays on this pace, he will have 88 catches for 1,528 yards by season's end. Although that is doubtful, he is certainly more reliable than Houston's Owen Daniels right now. Davis has 13 targets for 11 catches, 191 yards and a score through two games. We've been waiting for Davis to emerge for years now, and even with the presence of Chris Cooley, it looks like this is the year he will do so.
I lost Jamaal Charles and Felix Jones. I have Dexter McCluster. Should I use my waiver pickup on Thomas Jones or Choice? Someone already has DeMarco Murray. It's a PPR. — Mike Crowther on Athlon SportsFacebook
Vibes in KC are terrible and the schedule is brutal. McCluster could work out because the Chiefs should trail a lot and he can be versatile as a pass catcher and RB. Choice and Murray may split the load if Jones is out, but I'm not sure how long Jones will be out, if at all.
Is it time to cut ties with Austin Collie? — Riq Gandolfi on Athlon Sports Facebook
I really, really wanted to say yes and then QB Kerry Collins targets Collie 10 times in Week 2 after having looked his way just three times in the season opener. Of course, Collie only caught three of those 10 targets for 24 yards and was zeros across the board in Week 1. The Colts should trail this week against the Steelers, and Collie should be able to find some room to work. If he doesn't get it done this week, then I would move along. But if you have a much, much better option in mind right now, go ahead and pull the trigger. Also addressed in the "When do you drop a player" feature.
Ryan Fitzpatrick in three career games against the Patriots: 3 TDs, 6 INTs, 676 yards, 2 lost fumbles and 8 sacks against? Bench? — @AthlonBraden on Twitter
Start. The Bills got down early to a depleted Raiders team last week before scoring the monster comeback victory on the arm of Fitzpatrick. Yes, the Patriots have won each of their first two games easily, but that doesn't mean anything in regards to fantasy for the opposition. Chad Henne threw for 416 yards and two TDs and a INT in the opener and Philip Rivers threw for 378 yards, two scores and two INTs in Week 2. Fitzpatrick has thrown for 472 yards, seven scores and two picks in two games; no reason to think he'd slow down now.
I am in a PPR League with 12 teams and we start 10 players. I want to know which player would you start in your Flex Position? Danny Woodhead, Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Robert Meachem, Roy Helu?
I have Felix Jones as a starter also, I am a little worried about how much playing time Felix will get on Monday Night. Do you think it’s safe to start Felix Jones? — James Wood, via email
It's Robert Meachem for me. I can't trust Woodhead or Spiller due the inconsistency in touches, and Helu may be closer to getting a heavier workload, but that's not a risk you can take this week with the Redskins playing on Monday night.
Meachem has been targeted 12 times in two games, catching nine balls for 80 yards and two scores. This should be a back-and-forth game between the two high-powered offenses, and Meachem should have plenty of opportunities.
Ingram has not been able to get it going yet after tough match ups against the Saints and Bears, and now he gets a Texans team that is third-best against fantasy RBs so far this season at 11.9 fantasy points per game and no TDs allowed. Ingram should be able to get it going after this week, but I'd sit him one more time.
As far as Felix Jones, all indications are that he will play on Monday. Now how good a match up it is, with Miles Austin out, Tony Romo injured and Dez Bryant having missed the last game, is another question. Washington has allowed the 10th-most points to fantasy RBs so far, so that's enticing, but you have to wonder how much the Skins can key on him with injuries elsewhere to the Cowboys. Plus, it's not like Jones has been that great this year, either — 96 total yards, four catches and one score.