Fantasy Football Week 4 Waiver Wire
Fantasy football is funny, isn’t it? We spend all this time analyzing the data and consuming advice all for it to be thrown out the window by a third-string running back outplaying the $14.5 million starter. Of course, Kenyan Drake was only starting because Josh Jacobs was out. Nonetheless, Drake was supposed to be the Raiders’ lead back. I’ll have more on Barber and Drake in a second, but I just wanted to reiterate the unpredictability of fantasy football.
Data gives us a better idea of what *could* happen, but in the end, we never know what *will* happen. Fantasy sports are just a way for us to try to predict the future. Maybe that’s why it’s so fun to play. It’s even better when you correctly predict a player’s success. Although, I’m willing to bet not many people were high on all the players in my column today. If you need some depth, you should consider these players.
As always, reach out on Twitter @ZachCohenFB for more advice!
Sam Darnold (QB - CAR)
Week 3 Stat Line: 25.26 points, 304 passing yards, 2 rushing TD
Would it be a Darnold article without an Adam Gase reference? Since escaping the cold hard clutches of Gase and the Jets, Darnold has averaged 21.1 points en route to being QB11. While he has looked good, let’s not forget the Panthers have played the Jets and the Texans—two teams who may be drafting pretty high in April. Darnold‘s next two games against Dallas and Philadelphia should be a bit more challenging, though the fourth-year quarterback definitely deserves a roster spot at this point.
Taylor Heinicke (QB - WSH)
Week 3 Stat Line: 21.38 points, 212 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD
It’s only a matter of time before Hollywood gains the rights to Heinicke’s story. Despite starting the season behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Heinicke has posted two straight 20-plus-point performances since becoming the starter. He hasn’t been the most accurate passer, but the fantasy gods have still been in his favor. I don’t know how long Heineke can be the QB15, though his hot start may last another week with a matchup against Atlanta’s less-than-inspiring defense on deck.
Names to watch: Jacoby Brissett
Sony Michel (RB - LAR)
Week 3 Stat Line: 10.9 points, 67 rushing yards, 3 catches on 4 targets, 12 rec. yards
I’m sorry if you need a running back this week—or any week, for that matter. Good ones rarely pop up on the waivers. Michel is no exception. So why’s he on here? Because he just saw 20 of the Rams’ possible 24 carries. If Darrell Henderson remains out, then Michel is a must-add. Just don’t get your hopes up with Michel because Los Angeles doesn’t really need him. He’s better than most waiver pickups, though, as he played on most of the Rams’ early-down snaps against a tough Tampa Bay defense. Michel may be worth a start next week if Henderson can’t play against Arizona.
Chuba Hubbard (RB - CAR)
Week 3 Stat Line: 10.9 points, 52 rushing yards, 3 catches on 5 targets, 27 rec. yards
Surely, Hubbard will be a hot commodity this week, right? After all, he led Carolina in touches after Christian McCaffrey went down with a hamstring injury. The rookie also led Panthers’ running backs in snaps. But let’s not forget about Royce Freeman, because the Panthers didn’t forget about him. Freeman saw six carries to Hubbard’s 14, a strange enough allocation in itself. If I had to guess, Freeman will be a thorn in the side of Hubbard fantasy managers. Hubbard is still definitely worth a pickup, though, especially if McCaffrey misses multiple games.
Peyton Barber (RB - LV)
Week 3 Stat Line: 23.2 points, 111 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 3 catches on 5 targets, 21 rec. yards
As with the other two running backs featured in this column, this suggestion is also contingent on an incumbent starter’s injury. The expectation coming into this game was Drake being the Raiders’ primary back. However, with Jacobs sidelined, it was Barber who led the backfield in carries, snaps, and targets. That led to a pretty big day, one which Barber can replicate next week against the Chargers. You should pick him up if you need short-term running back depth.
Names to watch: Giovani Bernard, Royce Freeman
Emmanuel Sanders (WR - BUF)
Week 3 Stat Line: 26.4 points, 5 catches on 6 targets, 94 rec. yards, 2 TD
Here’s a surprise: Sanders actually led the Bills in snaps and routes run. Okay, he only saw three more snaps and ran one more route than Stefon Diggs, but that should be encouraging enough to scoop him up. Anytime you can grab a piece of a top passing offense, you should do it. While Sanders didn’t crack 10 points in his first two games, he established a steady floor thanks to his usage. Now that we’ve caught a glimpse of his ceiling—a massive 26-point performance— you should be targeting Sanders immediately. He gets a lovely matchup against Houston in Week 4.
Hunter Renfrow (WR - LV)
Week 3 Stat Line: 18.7 points, 5 catches on 6 targets, 77 rec. yards, 1 TD
We all knew this offense would run through Darren Waller, but how about that production from Renfrow? He has quietly been the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver through three weeks. He was used as Las Vegas’ WR3 on Sunday—WR4 if you include Waller—so his upside is a bit limited. But he’s averaging a steady 14.1 points per game. It certainly helps that the Raiders lead the NFL in passing yards following Sunday’s games. Renfrow is more than deserving of a roster spot, so you should put in a claim for him if you need a wide receiver.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR - TEN)
Week 3 Stat Line: 13.3 points, 4 catches on 4 targets, 53 rec. yards, 1 TD
Talk about a breakout performance. Prior to Week 3, Westbrook-Ikhine had just five catches in his one-year career. It wasn’t until A.J. Brown went down with a hamstring issue that Westbrook-Ikhine stepped up big time. Based on snap count, he became the Titans’ WR1. Tennessee didn’t throw the ball much, so that explains why Westbrook-Ikhine and Julio Jones led the team with four targets apiece. But after Brown left the game, it became clear Westbrook-Ikhine was Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target. If it weren’t for a fumble, Westbrook-Ikhine may be a hotter name in fantasy. He’s a good player to add as long as Brown doesn’t suit up.
Mecole Hardman (WR - KC)
Week 3 Stat Line: 12.5 points, 3 catches on 4 targets, 33 rec. yards, 1 TD
I feel like the fantasy football community has a love-hate relationship with Hardman. He’s constantly labeled as the next breakout receiver. I wouldn’t say he had a breakout performance in Week 3, but he did enough to hopefully put himself back on your radar. He scored double-digit points for the second straight week and played 30-plus snaps. While I still have the same reservations about Hartman as I did prior to the season—he’s basically just a WR3 in an offense that prioritizes Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce—you should keep an eye on him. For what it’s worth, DeMarcus Robinson deserves some consideration as well despite less production.
Names to watch: Anthony Miller, Kalif Raymond, Olamide Zaccheaus, Ray-Ray McCloud, Josh Gordon
Dawson Knox (TE - BUF)
Week 3 Stat Line: 14.9 points, 4 catches on 5 targets, 49 rec. yards, 1 TD
I had Knox here last week, so I won’t spend too much time on him. His production on Sunday was on par with his season averages thus far, and he scored on top of that. Knox may be a top-15 fantasy tight end to own right now.
Tyler Conklin (TE - MIN)
Week 3 Stat Line: 20 points, 7 catches on 8 targets, 70 rec. yards, 1 TD
I named Conklin as a deep sleeper player prior to the season on Jaime Eisner’s live rankings show for TDN Fantasy, so forgive me for tooting my own horn. In all seriousness, you should want to see a bit more before you scoop up Conklin. Yes, he’s now a top-10 tight end thanks to his 20-point game against Seattle. But hey, you take what you can get with the position. He was second in targets and was Minnesota’s clear TE1. Add him to your watchlist.
Names to watch: Pat Freiermuth, Austin Hooper
- Feb 07, 2023
- Feb 07, 2023