Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 4

The first set of bye weeks is upon us in Week 4, and along with some key injuries and poor play, several Fantasy owners are scrambling to fill out a quality lineup.

We're about to find out who has depth on their roster and who needs the waiver wire or trades in the worst possible way.

Carolina and Green Bay are off, meaning we don't have key must-start options at our disposal this week (Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, etc ...). And with several injuries at running back (Ray Rice and Steven Jackson, for example) and a few receivers headed for tough matchups (Larry Fitzgerald vs. Darrelle Revis, Andre Johnson vs. Richard Sherman and Hakeem Nicks vs. Brandon Flowers) we could see some waiver wire additions being used as starters in Week 4.

The Top 5 most-viewed free agents on Roster Trends are Jets running back Bilal Powell (72 percent ownership), Falcons running back Jason Snelling (39 percent), Jets receiver Santonio Holmes (17 percent), Packers running back Johnathan Franklin (12 percent) and Jets receiver Stephen Hill (9 percent). Not only are the Jets a huge surprise at 2-1, they have become quite popular among Fantasy owners.

Powell should be added in all leagues where available. Chris Ivory (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 4 at the Titans, and Powell is playing well with at least seven Fantasy points in all three games this year, including 28 points the past two weeks. The Jets will lean on him against Tennessee, and he should be started in most formats as at least a flex option.

Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers (62 percent) did an admirable job filling in for Jackson at Miami, but Snelling is the better Fantasy option. He had 11 carries for 53 yards and four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers had 18 carries for 86 yards and two catches for 7 yards. Both should be considered at least flex options in Week 4 against the Patriots.

Holmes and Hill both stepped up in Week 3 to help the Jets beat the Bills. Holmes had five catches for 154 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets, and Hill had three catches for 108 yards and one touchdown on six targets. The good thing is Geno Smith looks like he can help Holmes and Hill have Fantasy relevance. The bad thing is facing the Titans this week will be tougher than facing the Bills. We wouldn't start either Holmes or Hill, but both make for good stash options in deeper leagues.

Franklin is worth adding in deeper leagues or if you own Eddie Lacy, but don't be misled by his stat line against the Bengals. Franklin had 13 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown and three carries for 23 yards. He stepped in for James Starks (knee) and ran well, but he lost a crucial fumble late in the fourth quarter.

Lacy (concussion) is expected to return in Week 5, and he will likely remain the starter. Franklin, who also suffered a foot injury, could replace Starks as the No. 2 option, but keep in mind he didn't touch the ball in the first two games. You shouldn't go overboard trying to add Franklin this week.

Editor's note: Must add is for players worth adding in all leagues. Maybe add is for players worth adding in 14-team leagues or larger. Desperation add is for players worth adding only if you're, well, desperate. The ownership percentage listed is how many leagues that player was owned in the previous week for


The Drop List for Week 4
Below are 12 players who are owned in at least 30 percent of leagues on that owners can consider dropping.
Player Own %
1. Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings 89
2. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos 87
3. Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks 84
4. Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals 81
5. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets 79
6. Lance Moore, WR, Saints 75
7. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans 73
8. Bryce Brown, RB, Eagles 72
9. Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals 72
10. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints 67
11. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants 58
12. Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals 53

Must add: Joe Flacco, Ravens (73 percent), Alex Smith, Chiefs (61 percent), Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (59 percent), Terrelle Pryor, Raiders (37 percent)
Maybe add: EJ Manuel, Bills (37 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (36 percent), Geno Smith, Jets (12 percent), Brian Hoyer, Browns (2 percent)
Desperation add: Jake Locker, Titans (15 percent), Christian Ponder, Vikings (13 percent)

We're looking at the quarterbacks from two perspectives this week: Replacements for Rodgers or Newton if you don't own a backup and guys to speculate on for the long term. For this week, we'd consider the best available guys to start in this order: Pryor, Roethlisberger, Flacco and Alex Smith. ... Pryor just had his third game with at least 20 Fantasy points in four career starts with his performance Monday night against Denver. He did suffer a concussion late in the game, but if he plays as expected in Week 4 against Washington consider him a potential starting option. ... Roethlisberger rebounded from a horrific start to the season to have a good game against the Bears in Week 3 with 406 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions with two lost fumbles. He needs to eliminate the turnovers, but he has a favorable matchup against the Vikings this week. ... Flacco faces a Bills defense that just gave up 28 Fantasy points to Geno Smith. ... Alex Smith had his first bad game of the season from a Fantasy perspective in Week 3 at the Eagles, but he faces a Giants defense that has allowed at least 20 Fantasy points to all three opposing quarterbacks this season. ... We'll continue our theme with Tannehill and Manuel that they are worth monitoring, but you don't need to add them right away in most 12-team leagues. Tannehill could be used in a pinch if needed this week at New Orleans, but he has yet to top 17 Fantasy points this year -- and don't overlook this Saints defense. We wouldn't trust Manuel against the Ravens. ... Geno Smith is also worth keeping an eye on, especially if Holmes and Hill can develop into consistent playmakers. Smith could be a decent bye-week replacement in deep two-quarterback leagues if needed against the Titans. ... Hoyer had 24 Fantasy points against the Vikings, and we hope he keeps the starting job over Brandon Weeden (thumb). Don't consider Hoyer this week against the Bengals, but if you're looking ahead, he faces Buffalo at home in Week 5. Even though it's the Thursday night game, Hoyer could be a good replacement option for Robert Griffin III's bye. ... I have no interest in Locker or Ponder even after both had more than 21 Fantasy points in Week 4. They each needed significant rushing totals to help their cause, and that's not sustainable enough to consider them as Fantasy options.

Running backs

Must add: Willis McGahee, Browns (75 percent), Bilal Powell, Jets (72 percent), Danny Woodhead, Chargers (65 percent), Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons (62 percent), Jason Snelling, Falcons (39 percent), Isaiah Pead, Rams (31 percent)
Maybe add: Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (45 percent), Michael Bush, Bears (43 percent), Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (42 percent), Kendall Hunter, 49ers (36 percent), Andre Ellington, Cardinals (27 percent), Johnathan Franklin, Packers (12 percent), Brandon Bolden, Patriots (3 percent), Alfonso Smith, Cardinals (3 percent), Mike Goodson, Jets (2 percent)
Desperation add: Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (19 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (15 percent), Mike Tolbert, Panthers (10 percent), Bobby Rainey, Browns (10 percent), Ronnie Brown, Chargers (6 percent), Jordan Todman, Jaguars (5 percent)

McGahee is worth gambling on in all leagues if you have an open roster spot. He's the running back to own in Cleveland, and he could eventually become a flex option, especially with the bye weeks. You should only add Ogbonnaya or Rainey in deeper formats. ... As we said with Woodhead last week, he should be owned in 100 percent of PPR leagues. He had seven catches in Week 3 and now has 15 catches the past two games. ... Pead could start Thursday night against the 49ers with Daryl Richardson (foot) hurt, and Pead had seven catches in Week 3 at Dallas. Like Richardson when he's healthy, Pead can start for you in PPR leagues this week. ... Owners in touchdown-only leagues should add Bush and Thomas where available. That's where their value will lie moving forward. If they don't score, their production will be minimal. ... Bolden looks like he will step into Shane Vereen's role, and he had three carries for 51 yards and five catches for 49 yards on six targets against Tampa Bay. He's definitely worth adding in PPR leagues. ... The Cardinals running game is a mess with Rashard Mendenhall likely not 100 percent with a toe injury, and it might be time to speculate on Ellington or Smith, in that order. ... If you're looking ahead and need a running back consider adding Goodson now. His four-game suspension ends after this week, and the Jets might use him right away with Ivory hurt. ... Hillman had a big game Monday night, but keep in mind he scored in the fourth quarter against Oakland with the game out of hand. He should move ahead of Montee Ball, however, after Ball fumbled for the second game in a row.

Wide receiver

Streamers for Week 4
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Steelers DST at MIN 57
Chiefs DST vs. NYG 55
Colts DST at JAC 10
Robbie Gould, K, Bears at DET 47
Ryan Succop, K, Chiefs vs. NYG 9
Shaun Suisham, K, Steelers at MIN 7

Must add: Justin Blackmon, Jaguars (70 percent), Marlon Brown, Ravens (59 percent), Denarius Moore, Raiders (51 percent), Ryan Broyles, Lions (33 percent), Mohamed Sanu, Bengals (29 percent), Donnie Avery, Chiefs (11 percent)
Maybe add: Alshon Jeffery, Bears (61 percent), Sidney Rice, Seahawks (54 percent), Aaron Dobson, Patriots (32 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (31 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (24 percent), Santana Moss, Redskins (23 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (19 percent), Santonio Holmes, Jets (17 percent), Austin Pettis, Rams (14 percent), Stephen Hill, Jets (9 percent), Ted Ginn, Panthers (2 percent)
Desperation add: Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (17 percent), Nate Washington, Titans (6 percent), Davone Bess, Browns (6 percent), Jason Avant, Eagles (3 percent), Justin Hunter, Titans (2 percent), Robert Meachem, Saints (1 percent), Earl Bennett, Bears (1 percent), Marvin Jones, Bengals (0 percent)

Like Goodson, you might want to add Blackmon a week in advance of his suspension ending. Blackmon could be a starting Fantasy option in three-receiver leagues. ... Brown faces a Bills defense that has already allowed five receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points. ... Moore and Streater face a Redskins defense that has allowed six receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points. ... Sanu gets the Browns this week, and two of the three No. 2 receivers to face Cleveland this year (Brian Hartline and Brown) have scored. ... Broyles should get a bigger opportunity with Nate Burleson (arm) out, and Broyles had his first action of the season in Week 3 at Washington. He had three catches for 34 yards on three targets, but his production could skyrocket now. ... Avery has at least seven Fantasy points in two of three games, and secondary receivers have hurt the Giants this year (Miles Austin, LaFell and Ginn). Avery is also having a better season than Dwayne Bowe. ... Jeffery and Wright look like good PPR options. Jeffery has at least five catches in two of three games, and Wright has 13 catches in the past two weeks. ... I'd rather have Wright than Washington, who will only remain consistent if Kenny Britt gets injured or possibly traded. ... Prior to scoring twice against the Jaguars, Rice had four Fantasy points combined. Buy in if you want, but I need to see more. ... Dobson led the Patriots in targets in Week 3 against the Buccaneers and finished with seven catches for 52 yards. He's only going to get better from here. ... Moss has at least seven Fantasy points in each of the past two games in a standard league, and the Redskins are relying on him with all their comeback efforts. He could be useful in deeper leagues. ... LaFell and Ginn are off this week, but both are worth a look in deeper leagues. They won't be consistent, which is the problem, but Newton needs receivers to step up outside of Steve Smith and Greg Olsen. ... Pettis has two touchdowns in his past two games. In deeper leagues, it's time to buy in because this is a passing offense, and he's entrenched as a starter.

Tight end

Must add: Coby Fleener, Colts (67 percent), Heath Miller, Steelers (30 percent)
Maybe add: Charles Clay, Dolphins (59 percent), Zach Miller, Seahawks (16 percent), Jordan Reed, Redskins (7 percent), Scott Chandler, Bills (4 percent)
Desperation add: Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (9 percent), Joseph Fauria, Lions (1 percent), Gavin Escobar, Cowboys (1 percent), Luke Willson, Seahawks (0 percent), Dion Sims, Dolphins (0 percent), Levine Toilolo, Falcons (0 percent)

Fleener should be owned in close to 90 percent of leagues. He's about to take off with Dwayne Allen (hip) out, and he's facing a Jaguars defense that just allowed two touchdowns to Zach Miller. ... Heath Miller made his season debut in Week 3 against Chicago and had three catches for 35 yards on four targets. He faces a Vikings defense that has allowed a tight end to score in all three games this year with six over that span. ... Clay had another quality game with four catches for 40 yards on six targets, but he lost a goal-line touchdown to Sims. ... Maybe Zach Miller can be like Rice and build off his two-touchdown game against the Jaguars, but we need to see more. Miller had six Fantasy points in the first two games. ... Reed hurt his knee in Week 3 against Detroit, but he was playing well again with five catches for 50 yards before getting injured. If he's OK for Week 4 at Oakland then consider him a sleeper. ... Chandler scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 3 at the Jets. He does have six targets in all three games, but we need to see more before using him in most formats. ... Escobar and Toilolo should only be owned in dynasty leagues.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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