There's a new allotment of intriguing fantasy football options in town.
This early in the season, owners are constantly surprised by players that emerge from nowhere to deliver significant fantasy value. Those who wait too long could miss their chance to capture another piece of their championship puzzle.
At this point, it's safe to assume Joique Bell, Julian Edelman and Julius Thomas has found homes across the board, but the following options could be dangling loose in some formats. Now is a good time to give them a good, hard look.
Here are some waiver-wire choices for your consideration as Week 4 creeps closer to kickoff.
QB Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
What a difference the opponent can make.
Against the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers, Locker amassed 273 passing yards while completing 56 percent of his passes. Those teams sit on top of the AFC in terms of passing yards allowed.
As a reward for grueling through such difficult matchups, Locker received a Week 3 treat in the San Diego Chargers, who have already surrendered more than 1,000 passing yards as the league's most futile secondary. Locker took the opportunity to show he is no slouch.
The third-year quarterback went 23-of-37 for 299 passing yards and a touchdown. Just as important for fantasy managers, he compiled 68 yards and another touchdown with his legs.
Locker quietly ran for 291 yards through 11 games last season, which placed him sixth among all quarterbacks. He's not Cam Newton, but Locker could make an impact on the ground similar to Russell Wilson, who gained 489 rushing yards and four scores during his rookie campaign.
That makes him a solid No. 2 with the potential to finish as a top-15 fantasy signal-caller. His schedule doesn't lighten up soon, as he faces the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in his next four games. But those who can tough out that stretch will see him face the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars (twice) and the Arizona Cardinals during the latter portion of the season.
RB Bilal Powell, New York Jets
Even before Bilal Powell accomplished anything, a starting job should have been enough to assure him nearly universal ownership.
Yet even after a massive ownership hike, Powell still remains available in 20 percent of ESPN leagues. Are they all dead already? Are they all six-team leagues?
The 24-year-old Louisville alum is much more than a mere placeholder for New York. He has turned the same amount of carries (52) into two more yards (226) than first-round mainstay Jamaal Charles. He has also thrown in 66 receiving yards on eight catches.
If Powell didn't have everyone's attention, he sure does now after running for 149 yards against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Only eight running backs have received more carries, and just six have produced more rushing yards than Powell. Accept that the Jets are not the crime scene everyone anticipated, and let Powell strive under an offense that made Shonn Greene a 1,000-yard rusher.
WR Donnie Avery, Kansas City Chiefs
It was only one game, and wide receivers are notoriously erratic. Do we really want to invest in Donnie Avery so soon?
Probably. He gave the Philadelphia Eagles fits on crossing routes, reeling in seven catches for 141 yards in the Kansas City Chiefs' Week 3 victory.
While most receivers in his position deserve a wait-and-see approach, Avery gets to skip the line because of Kansas City's schedule. This Sunday, Kansas City faces a New York Giants team that hit rock bottom on Sunday.
Cam Newton might as well just have waved his hand at the Giants' pass rush and told them to "just bring it," because those jabronis came nowhere close to touching the quarterback all day. With Steve Smith battered, Newton lifted Ted Ginn and Brandon LaFell to notable fantasy days.
The Chiefs then get the Titans next week and the Raiders the following Sunday. The Chargers (twice), Washington Redskins and Raiders again come later in the year, so Avery can have some fun this season if he remains a prominent fixture in Andy Reid's game plan.
TE Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
Jordan Cameron isn't owned in nearly 12 percent of ESPN leagues. Seriously, what is going on in those things?
This is super obvious, as everyone should know that a tight end with 269 receiving yards and four touchdowns through three games is a monster. If I were to re-rank players today, Cameron would come in as the No. 3 tight end behind Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
I'm going to move on quickly as 88 percent (probably more) of readers know this already. But for those 12 percenters in ESPN formats, come on already. Get Cameron and find a better league next season.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense
Through three games the Chiefs have allowed 34 points, forced nine takeaways and collected a league-high 15 sacks. They also have turned two turnovers into touchdowns.
With the attention directed toward Tamba Hali, Justin Houston has been a revelation with 7.5 sacks while Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry form a tight secondary. As a unit they rank eighth in total yards allowed.
Finding the right fantasy defense is all about playing the matchups. Remember that part from Avery's section about Kansas City's schedule? It's even more relevant here. I avoided mentioning the Cleveland Browns above because their defense is tough as nails, but does anybody really expect Brian Hoyer to keep rolling all year? The Chiefs get to face him, too.
The Carolina Panthers sacked Eli Manning seven times in a shutout last Sunday, so Kansas City makes a great start this weekend.
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