Fantasy Football: Week 4 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Drew Rice

The Week 4 waiver wire is open, and whether you’re in first or deep in the cellar, working the waiver wire each week is critical if you’re going to make some noise in your fantasy football league. Guys rise up depth charts because of injuries or benchings, some have mid-season breakouts, and others are still available just because they’re flying under the radar. Whatever the case, there are always valuable contributors waiting for you to claim them. I’m giving you guys who are owned in under 50% of ESPN leagues as of publication. So, check your waiver wire right after reading this and pick up a difference-maker for your fantasy squad.

Nick Foles (1.5% owned)

Will Foles start for the Bears for the rest of the season? It’s hard to say. But Head Coach Matt Nagy didn’t bench Mitchell Trubisky just for Foles to fill in for a few games. Trubisky is the guy Nagy wants to make a franchise QB and who led the team to a 2-0 start, so benching him is significant. After Foles’s impressive comeback performance in Week 3 (three touchdowns and 188 yards on 29 pass attempts) he has control over the starting job going forward.

Get you someone who looks at you like Anthony Miller looks at a QB who isn’t Mitch Trubisky. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

I also like to see that the Bears threw the ball 51 times last week. They haven’t been the most pass-happy team in the league over Nagy’s first two seasons, so if this is the start of a bigger role for the passing game, Foles becomes all the more valuable for fantasy. If you’re not happy with your QB situation, it’s worth taking a flier on Foles and waiting to see if he has another magic run in him.

Sure, he’s been a journeyman quarterback for his career, and he was god awful last year for the Jaguars, but the last time he was called upon after starting the season as a backup, he literally ended up getting a statue.

Myles Gaskin (45.8% owned)

After leading the Dolphins’ RBBC the first two weeks, Head Coach Brian Flores gave Gaskin the keys to the backfield on Thursday night, letting the second-year back take 27 touches in the win over the Jaguars. Gaskin now has 53 touches on the season, while Jordan Howard and Matt Breida have just 32 combined.

Gaskin’s first career start wasn’t particularly pretty, with his 22 carries netting just 66 yards on the ground, and Howard is a goal-line vulture. The Dolphins also have a tough slate coming up, with the Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos all sporting quality run defenses.

At the same time, fantasy is all about opportunities. Even if Gaskin settles into 15 touches per game, that’s still a hefty workload that’ll put him in the RB3/4 range for the rest of the season. He also has 16 targets so far, third-most on the team, so he’s particularly appealing for PPR.

The former seventh-rounder is still available in a little over half of ESPN leagues, but that won’t be the case after the next waiver round. Three-down backs don’t usually pop up this late into the season. Gaskin is a better option than any guy you have at the end of your bench. This is a must-add on the Week 4 waiver wire.

Carlos Hyde (14.4% owned)

Seattle’s lead back Chris Carson suffered a knee injury late in the fourth quarter after Dallas lineman Trysten Hill seemed to twist Carson’s leg at the end of the play. It looked gruesome at first, but he got away with just a minor knee sprain that will cost him a few weeks tops. The Seahawks have a bye week coming up Week 6, so Week 7 feels like a natural return point for him. Until then, Carlos Hyde will take over as Seattle’s lead back.

Hyde just turned 30 years old and he’s on his fifth NFL team, but the guy can still play! He’s coming off a 1000-yard season with the Texans and he’s been one of the 10 most productive running backs in the league over the past four seasons. Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas are the only guys behind him on the depth chart, and they have all of 39 career touches combined. Hyde will own this backfield until Carson returns.

It’s a short window of opportunity, but Hyde is still worth scooping up on the Week 4 waiver wire. Depending on how bad injuries have hurt your squad, he’s worth considering for your flex spot over the next two weeks. You could even do worse for your RB2 in standard leagues.

Alshon Jeffery (18.1% owned)

No, Alshon Jeffery won’t fix the Eagles’ disastrous season, but he may help your fantasy team! (Kate Frese/PhillyVoice)

What do the 0-3 Eagles need to get back on track? Many, many things. Any healthy body for the offensive line first and foremost, but better wide receivers is a close second on that list. Enter: Alshon Jeffery. The veteran receiver started to practice this week in a limited fashion for the first time since getting offseason surgery on his foot. He may not play in Week 4, but he’s getting close to getting back out on the field.

And he really can’t get back out there fast enough for the Eagles. Wide Receivers Jalen Reagor and Desean Jackson are dealing with ailments, while tight end Dallas Goedert, who currently leads the team in receiving yards, is going to miss significant time with an injury of his own. Just how bad is the situation for quarterback Carson Wentz? He targeted WR Greg Ward a team-high 11 times in Week 3. I doubt many of you have ever heard that name before.

Alshon hasn’t met the heights he hit with the Bears in 2013-14, but he’s been productive in his three seasons with Philly, posting 54.4 yards per game and scoring 20 times over 39 games with the Birds. He’ll immediately be the Eagles’ WR1 and the second option for that passing offense after Zach Ertz. You might have to wait another week to get him back onto the field, but that’s why this is the perfect time to swoop in and pick him up, while he still doesn’t have any significant buzz around his name. Once he returns, he’ll immediately be worth flex consideration in all formats. Grab him early on the Week 4 waiver wire.

Allen Lazard (50.9% owned)

I’m cheating here because Lazard quickly jumped over the 50% barrier, but I can’t not mention him—he’s the WR2 Aaron Rodgers deserves. With no Davante Adams in Week 3, Lazard was Rodgers’s number-one target. The undrafted third-rounder responded by securing six of his eight targets for a career-high 146 receiving yards to go along with a touchdown in Green Bay’s win over New Orleans.

Lazard was already the Packers’ second-leading receiver last season by default of all the other receivers being that much worse, but this year, he looks ready to take a big step forward. Over Lazard’s last five games going back to last season, he’s averaging 6.8 targets and 73.6 yards per game and he’s added three touchdowns over that span.

Outside of Davante Adams, no Packers wide receiver has seen more than 73 targets in a season since 2017. But that’s more a function of what Rodgers has had to work with over the past few seasons. In the mid-2010s, when Green Bay’s wide receiver room included names like Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson, Rodgers was more than happy to spread the ball around.

Adams will probably be back for Week 4, but with games against the Falcons, Texans, and Vikings coming up over the next several weeks, Lazard will have good matchups to feast on.

Don’t feel like you’re falling for fake hype after Lazard’s career night. These are the catches that good wide receivers make. You’ll need to be high up on the Week 4 waiver wire priority list or put in a big bid for him, but he’s worth it.

Jimmy Graham (16.9% owned)

People were slamming the Bears for signing Graham to a two-year/$16 million contract, considering he was awful the last two seasons in Green Bay and there were already 12,000 other tight ends on the roster. But it’s a new-look Bears offense, and it’s one I think plays in Graham’s favor.

The former all-pro is coming off a big two-touchdown game in Week 3, but with 18 targets through three games, he’s been more than just a red zone threat in this offense. That share might even get bigger now that Foles is playing at QB. Like I said in the Foles section above, Nagy might be more willing to throw the ball now that someone other than Trubisky is at quarterback. And with Tarik Cohen out for the year with an ACL tear, that’s one less high-volume target Graham has to compete with for looks. The Bears are heading into some unfavorable matchups for tight ends, but Graham is still a good TE2 option for the long-haul. He’s worth a low-priority claim.

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Episode 13