Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 4 Targets to Pursue
Though a controversial Week 3 just finally wrapped up Monday night, we are just a couple of days away from the Week 4 slate opening on Thursday.
For fantasy football owners across the world, that can only mean one thing: waiver wire time.
A rash of injuries has plagued owners throughout this young season, and Week 3 was certainly no stranger. Early breakout stars Reggie Bush and C.J. Spiller both went down with injury, leaving their teams (and your team) with a ton of questions going forward.
For that reason, let's take a look at some guys you must grab on the waiver wire heading into Week 4 action.
Bilal Powell (RB, New York Jets)
While it is unclear how much the Jets' offensive line is at fault, you can say one thing without equivocation: Shonn Greene is no longer a very good NFL running back.
A supposed breakout sleeper, the fourth-year back has averaged just 2.8 yards per carry thus far and has seemingly lost his entire burst going through the hole. Never a world beater, Greene has just two rushes of longer than 10 yards in his 57 carries this season.
Going forward, that should mean a huge increase in workload for Powell, who got 10 carries for 45 yards last week against the Miami Dolphins.
In his second season out of Louisville, Powell does not exactly carry top-notch speed himself. Nonetheless, if Greene continues being ineffective, Rex Ryan will have no choice but to make a permanent switch at running back.
Go grab Powell on your waiver wire now and stash him until that happens.
Daniel Thomas (RB, Miami Dolphins)
Though many feared the worst when Dolphins starting running back Reggie Bush went down with a knee injury on Sunday, there is no structural damage, and he could even play in Week 4, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Regardless, grabbing Thomas is an absolute must for any Bush owner or simply someone who wants to put said owner in a tenuous position this week.
A second-year back out of Kansas State, Thomas was effective but unspectacular in Week 3 against the Jets. In his first real opportunity of 2012, he ran for 69 yards and a touchdown, but his long carry was just nine yards.
Considering that history of mediocrity and the Dolphins' tough matchup against the Arizona Cardinals this week, make sure to keep your expectations limited. Thomas is a short-term fix who may not have much value past this week, but there are only 14 weeks in a standard fantasy regular season.
If you had Bush or you (unfortunately) still have to start Chris Johnson every week, there are a lot worse guys to find out on the waiver wire than Thomas.
Kyle Rudolph (TE, Minnesota Vikings)
Catching four passes including a touchdown on Minnesota's opening drive, it looked apparent from the very beginning that Rudolph was on his way to a career-best day on Sunday.
The targets slowed down mightily as the game went along, but that did not matter to his fantasy owners. A second-year star out of Notre Dame, Rudolph's only other catch after the first drive was for two measly yards—and a touchdown.
The Vikings tight end finished with five grabs for 36 yards and two touchdowns, and it seems likely that a high percentage of his ownership value going forward will be touchdown-based. However, it does seem like Rudolph and quarterback Christian Ponder have a strong relationship that should keep those coming.
With the talent at tight end pretty shallow this season, dropping your current second-tier guy for Rudolph could pay massive dividends going forward.
Mikel Leshoure (RB, Detroit Lions)
I mentioned Leshoure last week as someone who was a must-own coming off his two-game suspension, and his breakout game on Sunday is making that call look pretty good so far.
The second-year back out of Illinois ran for a well-documented 100 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown, but it was his four catches for 34 yards that seems most promising. Considering the Lions' offense is always going to be based on a pass-first attack, seeing Leshoure be part of the passing game should at least keep him relevant when the carries are not there.
Going forward, he should be a borderline No. 2 fantasy running back and a must-start every week at your flex position.
However, there was at least some cause for concern going forward. While Leshoure is certainly a must-own in all formats, he did lack a noticeable explosion on Sunday. Detroit's run blocking left something to be desired, but a long of 12 yards won't cut it going forward.
Nevertheless, he has seemingly emerged as the No. 1 back for the Lions. That alone makes him worthy of an add.
Tashard Choice (RB, Buffalo Bills)
Thus far in 2012, owning a Buffalo Bills running back has been the ultimate gift and curse.
Though Fred Jackson came into the season as one of the most underrated values on most fantasy draft boards, a knee injury in Week 1 gave way to C.J. Spiller, who continued his abject dominance from late in last season.
With a strong scheme and offensive line in front of him, Spiller had amassed 308 yards on just 33 carries before injuring his shoulder on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
As we head into Week 4, those injuries leave Choice as the Bills' only healthy back heading into a tasty matchup against the New England Patriots on Sunday. The fifth-year back out of Georgia Tech looked great last week, compiling 99 total yards on 22 touches, and could be in line for even more touches this week.
There is some talk of Jackson making a miraculous comeback in time to battle his heated inter-division rival (via ESPN). Nonetheless, Choice is worthy of a flier in all formats based on potential alone.