Fantasy Football Week 4: Waiver-Wire Options at Each Position
Going into the season, I expected Lions running back Mikel Leshoure to outproduce backfield mate Kevin Smith, even though Leshoure had two big things working against him. Not only was Leshoure returning from a torn Achilles that sidelined him for the entirety of his rookie season, but his professional debut was delayed by two weeks due to league discipline for a pair of marijuana-related arrests this offseason.
That said, there was absolutely no way that I expected Leshoure to have 30 more touches (26 carries and four receptions) than Smith (zero) in Week 3. In addition, Joique Bell had nine touches.
With his healthy workload, Leshoure produced for fantasy owners that took a shot on starting the big back. He finished the game with 100 rushing yards and a touchdown and added 34 receiving yards on his four receptions.
If Leshoure is available in your fantasy league, submit your waiver claim for him now. However, he won't appear on this week's list of waiver-wire suggestions since he appeared on last week's list (see link below).
For a player to appear on this list, he needs to satisfy two criteria: (1) he is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues or less and (2) he was not on last week's waiver-wire list. And, of course, he's worth adding to your squad(s).
Here are some players to consider adding to your roster (Yahoo! league ownership in parenthesis):
QB - Jake Locker, Titans (39 percent)
Going into last week's matchup against the Lions, it seemed as though Locker was no longer a lock (no pun intended) to maintain the team's starting job. After the game, however, that was no longer in doubt.
Locker set a career high with 378 passing yards to go along with two touchdowns and no interceptions. In addition, he ran the ball four times for 35 yards. As one of the league's most athletic quarterbacks, the second-year signal-caller has eight carries for 67 yards this season.
While he has a tough matchup this week against the Texans, Locker and the Titans should find themselves trailing in many matchups with the need to air it out.
RB - Ryan Williams, Cardinals (37 percent)
With Beanie Wells suffering yet another injury (toe), Williams took advantage of the opportunity and gained 83 yards on 13 carries against the Eagles in Week 3. Before this past week's game, Williams had struggled with only 22 yards on 18 carries.
Coming out of college, however, the Cardinals were high on Williams and used a top-40 pick on him. Especially if Wells misses a game or two (or more), Williams should take this opportunity and run with it, although this week's matchup vs. Miami (64.7 rushing yards allowed per game, third in NFL) is not ideal.
RB - Tashard Choice, Bills (11 percent)
Choice could be a decent pickup if you need a running back to play this week. That depends, however, on the status of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. While Spiller seems unlikely to play, he has not ruled himself out. On the other hand, Jackson is expected to return to practice this week, which means he also has a shot to be active for this week's matchup against the Pats.
RB - Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, Dolphins (14 and three percent, respectively)
Although Reggie Bush left last week's matchup with a knee injury, he is describing it as "just a bruise" and says that he is "working hard to get back for this week" (via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post). If Bush does not play, however, it would obviously boost the fantasy value of both Thomas and Miller.
Thomas led the team in carries (19) last week and scored one of the team's two rushing touchdowns. If Bush is out, I would expect Thomas to get the largest share of the workload. Miller is much more dynamic, however, and has averaged nearly six yards (5.9) per carry on his 19 career rushing attempts.
RB - Bilal Powell, Jets (four percent)
I don't expect much from Shonn Greene or Powell in Week 4 against the 49ers, which is nearly a blanket statement for any running back facing the team's toughest run defense. That said, Powell has looked at least as good as Greene (not saying much, I know) this season. Powell had a season-high 10 carries last week against the Dolphins and has averaged more than a yard per carry more than Greene (2.8 YPC) this season. It certainly would not be a surprise if Powell started to get more touches than Greene.
WR - Alshon Jeffery, Bears (36 percent)
After scoring in the team's opener, Jeffery has yet to score another touchdown, but his biggest source of fantasy value is his potential to do some damage in the red zone. With good size (6-3, 217 pounds) and great hands, Jeffery has the upside of leading the team in receiving touchdowns this season. Through three games, he has nine receptions for 132 yards and a score, but I expect his targets to continue to increase as the season progresses.
WR - Jerome Simpson, Vikings (12 percent)
Running back Adrian Peterson, receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Kyle Rudolph provide the Vikings with a talented trio of skill-position players, but they have lacked an outside receiver than can stretch the field. With Simpson just completing his three-game suspension, he has the potential to fill that void within the Vikings offense.
WR - Leonard Hankerson, Redskins (six percent)
With Pierre Garcon out for a second game in a row, Hankerson led the team's receivers with four receptions for 56 yards. He now has six receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown in his past two games. Even when Garcon returns, Hankerson has the potential to be a solid fantasy producer.
WR - Jon Baldwin, Chiefs (13 percent)
In the preseason, I was higher on Baldwin than most and he has certainly disappointed his fantasy owners up to this point. That said, Baldwin has great size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) and athleticism (42-inch vertical).
After a slow start in the preseason and no receptions in the opener, Baldwin has six receptions for 98 yards in the past two games. Plus, he nearly made a highlight-reel grab in the back of the endzone last week. With the shoulder injury to Dexter McCluster, Baldwin could see his targets increase.
Plenty of the other receivers on last week's list (Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins, Donnie Avery, etc. are worth adding as well.
TE - Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (42 percent)
Nothing personal against stud tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, but I typically wait to draft a tight end and this past season was no different. There were several players at the position that I liked late and Rudolph was one of them. A big target with great hands and decent athleticism, Rudolph has three touchdowns in the past two weeks.
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