As the season moves forward, the waiver wire options only get thinner and thinner for fantasy football owners. Right now is a crucial time to add free agents and waiver pickups before early-season sleepers and breakouts turn into mainstays on other teams’ rosters. There are still some guys worth watching, as target shares and running back position battles are still pressing forward. Our waiver wire watchlist for Week 4 will help you identify those guys before Week 3 even starts. Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Alexander Mattison, and Austin Hooper are some of the hottest names right now who are widely available. If Bridgewater and Darnold continue playing at high levels, Mattison takes over for an injures Dalvin Cook, or Hooper keeps leading the Browns in targets, then these guys could be scooped up in a hurry.
Some leagues don’t have enough roster spots to necessarily take advantage of “planning ahead,” but for those in leagues that do (or if you have players on IR or useless players you want to cut), our week-ahead watchlist will be helpful every week. Grabbing a player or two before the weekend when they’re still free agents can pay off big time if those players have good games. Your spot in the waiver order is valuable, and you want to save it as long as possible. At the very least, it’s good to have a list of names of players to watch on Sunday so you can monitor snap share and targets/touches, and it’s always smart to claim streamers at positions like TE or D/ST before there’s competition for them.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist
Reminder: This list was put together in the lead-in to Week 3, looking forward to the players who could be popular waiver-wire targets ahead of Week 4. If you have a roster spot to play with, these are free-agent options you could grab early to beat the waiver buzz.
All these players are below 50-percent ownership on Yahoo unless otherwise specified.
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watchlist: Quarterback
Jameis Winston, Saints (52)
Winston had a disastrous performance in Week 2 at Carolina, but it’s too early to completely give up on him. Carolina evidently has a top-notch defense, and the Saints’ skill players will eventually get healthy. They play New England in Week 3, so we’re not advising you to roll him out there, but he has a date with the Giants in Week 4, followed by Washington, Seattle, Tampa, Atlanta, and Tennessee — all statistically solid matchups.
Derek Carr, Raiders (45)
What Carr has done so far this season is seemingly going underappreciated. He’s the No. 9 fantasy QB (24.6 fantasy points per game) and leads the league in passing yards (817). To make this more impressive, he’s done this against the Ravens and Steelers. While the Ravens pass defense doesn’t look all that impressive, isn’t it possible they’ve just played two elite offenses in Kansas City and Las Vegas? Carr has more upside than you think going forward, and that includes Week 4 against the Chargers.
Rookies Trey Lance, 49ers (36) and Zach Wilson, Jets (12)
Mac Jones is off this list for now, as it’s apparent he’s strictly going to be a game manager moving forward. Justin Fields is now be too heavily owned after being named the Bears starter (at least for one week).
However, Lance continues to drop in ownership as people grow impatient with him not being the starter for San Francisco yet. For those who can afford the roster spots, he’s still worth the stash. Just imagine having a dual-threat quarterback in the Kyle Shanahan offense when the fantasy playoffs roll around. Wilson looked awful against New England, throwing four interceptions to zero touchdowns. Didn’t we expect that, though? Still, the Jets will be playing from behind a lot this year, and a matchup with the Titans comes in Week 4, who will be as generous as any pass defense in the NFL this year. Plus, Corey Davis “revenge game.”
Daniel Jones, Giants (36)
Jones has averaged 24.5 FPPG thus far, and it’s hard to believe he’s just 36-percent owned heading into a Week 3 matchup with Atlanta. With his rushing floor, he might turn out to be matchup proof, so even a Week 4 date with the Saints isn’t too intimidating. If Saquon Barkley gets healthy, perhaps the Giants will turn down the dial on Jones rushing attempts, but he’s always going to be a threat to scramble. He’s quietly the QB5 in fantasy up to this point.
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos (26)
There seems to be some lag here with Bridgewater. He hasn’t been the classic ‘dink-and-dunk’ quarterback that we usually associate him with. In fact, he’s fifth in the league with 701 air yards through two weeks. He plays the Jets in Week 3, so it’s a surprise he’s still available in most leagues. Moving forward, he plays the Ravens, Steelers, Raiders, and Browns. These aren’t the sexiest of matchups, but his production has been good enough so far that it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he still has solid games when the competition picks up.
Sam Darnold, Panthers (19)
Don’t shoot the messenger, but Darnold has looked good. It can be weird to adjust to, but he’s been a top-15 fantasy quarterback through Weeks 1 and 2. You might be thinking this is just due to having weak opponents thus far, and you might be right. However, the weak opponents are going to keep coming. After taking on Houston in Week 3, he’ll face Dallas, Philadelphia, Minnesota, New York (Giants), and Atlanta. It’s not until after that stretch of games that he’ll play a defense we know is good (New England).
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watchlist: RB
Michael Carter (54); Tevin Coleman (14); Ty Johnson (9), Jets
Carter somewhat impressed in Week 3 vs. New England, wracking up 88 yards on 13 touches. Against a solid defense, 6.7 yards/touch is more than you can ask for. Does this mean he’ll separate himself from Johnson and Coleman moving forward? We don’t know, but it’s not out of the question. The Jets play Tennessee and Atlanta in Weeks 4 and 5, so we could have something here with Carter. Like usual, keep an eye on all three of these RBs, as any could lead the team in carries in a given week. Coleman was that guy in Week 1; Johnson got the nod by one over Carter in Week 2.
James White, Patriots (54)
James White is a perfect flex option in PPR leagues. He’s caught 12 passes on 13 targets thus far and is Mac Jones’ security blanket, just like he was for Tom Brady. Satelite backs are often matchup-proof, as they get easy yards on dump-downs.
Zack Moss, Bills (52)
Moss got 10 touches in Week 3, but he only produced 34 yards. However, he did score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He’s been a disappointment thus far this year, but keep an eye on him. His usage could increase moving forward, although that’s not a guarantee. Devin Singletary has been the clear early-game lead back thus far.
David Johnson (45); Phillip Lindsay (37), Texans
Nothing much has changed with Johnson and Lindsay, but the Texans are going to continue to use them along with Mark Ingram. This will be a fluid situation, so they’ll likely continue to be on our watchlist, especially with Ingram being a constant injury risk.
Top RB Handcuffs: Alexander Mattison, Vikings (52); JD McKissic, Washington (37); Kenny Gainwell, Eagles (33); Tony Jones Jr., Saints (19); Darrel Williams, Chiefs (10); Jacques Patrick, 49ers (5)
Using a roster spot on handcuff RBs is never sexy, but it can surely pay off. Guys like McKissic, Gainwell, Jones, and Williams have some standalone value, as they get receiving work or carries to supplement their team’s starting RB. Mattison doesn’t get enough work to have standalone value, but Dalvin Cook is already dealing with an ankle injury, and the Vikings have made it clear they aren’t cutting back Cook’s workload, so the potential for further injury is there. Jacques Patrick is simply on the list because he’s a 49er running back. Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) and Trey Sermon (concussion) are questionable this week, and they already have an RRBC approach in San Francisco. We lost Tony Pollard on our list because he is now 72-percent owned. Any of these guys could shoot up soon, too.
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watchlist: WR
Cole Beasley (51); Emmanuel Sanders, Bills (23)
The Bills’ passing offense hasn’t looked great thus far, but Beasley and Sanders have drawn 17 and 14 targets, respectively. If the offense picks up, either of these guys could have huge weeks any given Sunday.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals (52)
There is plenty of work to go around in the Cardinals offense, even when they blow people out like in Week 1 vs. Tennessee. DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore are heavily owned, and Kirk will be, too, if he has a nice performance at Jacksonville.
Nelson Agholor, Patriots (48)
Agholor has 10 targets over the first two weeks and is the primary deep threat for Mac Jones. He faces a tough matchup in Week 4 vs. Tampa Bay, but he’s worth monitoring to see if New England picks up its passing volume against better teams.
Henry Ruggs (46); Hunter Renfrow (9), Raiders
Derek Carr leads the league in passing yards, so naturally, these guys are worth watching. Darren Waller obviously dominates targets, but someone else has to be involved, too. Renfrow and Ruggs are second and third on the team in targets, with 16 and 12, respectively. Ruggs had a breakout performance with five catches for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers, so we’ll see if he can carry the momentum. Renfrow is a high-floor, low-ceiling guy that has a similar usage of a satellite back.
Darnell Mooney, Bears (45)
Mooney is tied for the team lead in targets (15) with Allen Robinson, so he’s an attractive waiver or free-agent target. We don’t know if Justin Fields is going to be good, but we have to think Mooney’s upside is raised with the QB change. If he flourishes in Week 3 with Fields, he’ll be one of the hottest names on the waiver wire heading into Week 4.
Marquez Callaway, Saints (45)
Callaway has been disappointing thus far, but in Week 1, the Saints attempted just 20 passes, and in Week 2, their entire offense got shut down, including Alvin Kamara. His ownership will likely drop after this week, too, as they play on the road at New England. That said, this offense should eventually find its footing, and the schedule moving forward shouldn’t be so tough. He still remains as the No. 1 WR here.
Jalen Reagor (24); Quez Watkins (2), Eagles
Reagor and Watkins might see a spike in ownership after they play Dallas on Monday Night Football, but they’re still likely to be attainable heading into Week 4. They have tough matchups beyond this week (Panthers and Buccaneers), but someone has to emerge as the No. 2 WR for Jalen Hurts. Reagor is more attractive in PPR, while Watkins is probably a pure standard-league watchlist candidate.
Tim Patrick, Broncos (23)
Patrick has scored two touchdowns in two weeks, and Jerry Jeudy (ankle) will be out for at least another few games. Teddy Bridgewater has been money so far this year, so Patrick has flex appeal. He’ll likely be behind Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant in targets, but he’s obviously no stranger to the end zone.
Zach Pascal, Colts (22)
Pascal has three receiving touchdowns already this year, and it’s like no one cares. Yes, the Colts’ offense can be ugly at times, but in standard leagues, Pascal has been a nice fantasy asset thus far. Carson Wentz’s injury issues certainly muddy the waters for him, though.
Quintez Cephus, Lions (13)
Cephus has drawn 13 targets through Week 2, trailing only D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson for the team lead. He’s also scored two touchdowns and put up 75 yards. With Tyrell Williams (concussion) for at least the next three games, Cephus will continue to be the No. 1 WR for Detroit. On paper, the Lions offense doesn’t look good, but they’ve been competitive and they’ll be in garbage time a lot.
Possible IR Steals: Curtis Samuel, Washington (34) T.Y. Hilton, Colts (18); Rashod Bateman, Ravens (14); Tre’Quan Smith, Saints (3)
All of these guys are eligible to return in Week 4, and they’re highly available in a lot of leagues. Samuel can easily step in as the No. 2 in Washington and has the most upside of anyone on this list. Hilton and Smith can easily stake claim in their team’s No. 1 WR spot, as there aren’t many capable WRs around them. Bateman is interesting. The Ravens’ passing attack looks much better this year, and besides Marquise Brown, they haven’t had a lot of stellar individual performances. Bateman was a first-rounder for a reason — the talent is there.
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watchlist: TE
Austin Hooper (49); David Njoku (7), Browns
The Browns’ passing attack isn’t sexy, but one or both of these guys are going to have to step up in the absence of Jarvis Landry (knee), who is out for at least three weeks. Hooper and Njoku actually lead the team in targets with eight apiece. With Odell Beckham easing back into football after an ACL tear, either could reasonably be the No. 1 option in the passing game for at least a short time. They’ll face the Vikings, Chargers, Cardinals, and Broncos over the next four weeks after their Week 3 matchup with Chicago.
Jared Cook, Chargers (47)
With no other WR stepping up behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams for LA, Cook has seen the third-most targets from Justin Herbert. He has 13 targets through two weeks — well above the average tight end this season. He even had two touchdowns called back last week due to penalty, so he’s also a priority in the red zone. He’s not just a streamer candidate, but a season-long option moving forward.
Cole Kmet, Bears (36)
Similar to Mooney, Kmet’s upside looks to be raised as Justin Fields takes over the starting job for the Bears. He’ll play the Lions, Raiders, and Packers in Weeks 4-6, so he’s an attractive option to stream. If he plays well enough, he may even be a season-long answer at a weak position in fantasy.
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers (7)
We’re going out on a limb here, but it could be time for Freiermuth to break out and take over the starting tight end role in Pittsburgh. Week 4 would be a great place to start, as the Packers have given up three touchdowns to tight ends over the first two weeks of the season and figure to get roasted by George Kittle this week.
Week 4 defense streamers and sleepers
New Orleans Saints vs. Giants (49)
We’ll see if the Saints’ defense bounces back after being shredded by Carolina, but we like their chances to harass Daniel Jones in Week 4.
Indianapolis Colts @ Dolphins (42)
The Colts’ defense has looked less than impressive thus far, but they’ve faced Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford in their first two games. We have confidence that they’ll bounce back and are a top streaming offense in Week 4, whether it’s Tua Tagovailoa or Jacoby Brissett starting for Miami.
Chicago Bears vs. Lions (28)
The Bears’ defense looked better in Week 2 vs. Cincinnati, and although the Lions’ offense hasn’t looked bad thus far, Chicago is by far the best defense they will play up to this point.
Miami Dolphins vs. Colts (19)
We like the Dolphins’ defense for the same reason we like the Colts defense’. Whether Carson Wentz (ankles) plays or not, he’ll be banged up. If he doesn’t play, Jacob Eason or Brett Hundley will get the starting nod. With all the talent on defense for Miami, they should feast on the Colts’ offense.
Tennessee Titans vs. Jets (8)
Yes, the Titans’ offense looks awful, but they have played two of the best offenses in football. They did hold Russell Wilson and the Seahawks to just six points in the second half in Week 2, so we’ll see if they can carry that momentum. Their pass-rush is much improved this season, charting five sacks through two games, and Zach Wilson is liable to have a few turnovers any given week.
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