Week 4 Waiver Wire: Top Adds, Drops and Long-Term Fantasy Sleeper Targets

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants in action against the Detroit Lions during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Unlike for teams in the NFL, an 0-3 start doesn't have to doom the playoff hopes for fantasy football owners.

With the 2017 regular season still at a relatively early stage, the waiver wire can be a great source of value. Owners are still feeling out whether a player's hot start is a sign of things to come or an unsustainable stretch of excellent performances in an otherwise mundane season.

Below are a few players who could potentially help arrest any slide to start the year and some others whose values have fallen over the past three weeks.


Week 4 Waiver-Wire Targets

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns

Samaje Perine, RB, Washington Redskins

Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants     

Alex Smith has rarely moved the needle from a fantasy perspective, but that could change this year. Through three games, he has thrown for 774 yards and seven touchdowns, and the Kansas City Chiefs may have the best set of playmakers they've assembled since Smith arrived.

Travis Kelce is still one of the game's best tight ends, while Tyreek Hill is fulfilling the potential he showed last season. Kareem Hunt still has ways to go to match the prime years of Jamaal Charles, but Jordan Howard and Ezekiel Elliott demonstrated in 2016 that rookie running backs can be elite fantasy producers.

Expecting Smith to maintain his current pace may be unrealistic. At the very least, though, he should continue to be a QB1 option.

The return of Odell Beckham to full health could be an example of a rising tide lifting all boats. Beckham caught nine passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns in the New York Giants' 27-24 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sterling Shepard also had seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. The NFL shared a replay of his touchdown reception in the fourth quarter:

While Beckham will command the most targets of any Giants receiver, his presence could also have a positive effect for Shepard. With the opposing defense focused on stopping Beckham, the second-year wideout may have more space in the secondary.

Some fantasy owners will have soured on Shepard following his mediocre production in the first two weeks (nine catches, 67 yards), making him a solid buy-low candidate.


Players to Drop, Week 4

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons      

Three weeks in, the Eddie Lacy experiment has yielded little for the Seattle Seahawks. He had three yards on five carries in the opening week of the season before being inactive in Week 2. Despite being activated for Sunday's 33-27 defeat to the Tennessee Titans, Lacy didn't take a single snap.

There's the obvious question about whether Lacy is capable of being a feature back in the Seahawks offense.

Head coach Pete Carroll sure made it sound like he sees Lacy as the secondary option on the ground.

"We didn't get a chance. We ran about six or seven times in the first half," he said when asked about Lacy's lack of carries, per Seahawks Wire's Liz Mathews. "Chris [Carson] was doing fine. We were going to see how far we could go with Chris and then see if we had Eddie coming off the bench but it just never got to that."

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

And beyond Lacy's lack of playing time, the Seahawks' offensive line has been a nightmare at times. Seattle is 20th in adjusted sack rate and 25th in adjusted line yards, according to Football Outsiders.

Lacy was a Pro Bowler and won the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2013 and eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards again in 2014, so it's understandable why fantasy owners are waiting for him to turn things around.

But it's hard to see how things could've started worse for Lacy in Seattle.


Long-Term Fantasy Sleepers

Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears

D'Onta Foreman, RB, Houston Texans

Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers

David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns

ESPN.com's Cian Fahey perfectly encapsulated Jared Goff's start to the 2017 season:

Goff has thrown for 817 yards, five touchdowns and an interception through three games, but the Los Angeles Rams' opponents rank 29th, 12th and 14th in pass defense. The second-year passer hasn't faced a murderer's row in terms of secondaries.

And things can turn quickly for young quarterbacks. Carson Wentz was the toast of the NFL last year and he quickly fell back to earth for the remainder of his rookie year.

Should Goff's improvement carry on through the next few weeks, he'd be well worth a spot on your bench.

Like quarterback, tight end is a position that can often be addressed on the waiver wire. Every year, a few tight ends emerge from relative fantasy obscurity to become a valuable starter.

David Njoku could be the next example. The Cleveland Browns rookie caught his second touchdown in as many weeks in Sunday's 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Njoku only has seven receptions for 59 yards, so his fantasy output so far has been largely dependent on his two touchdown grabs. And for that reason, only the most desperate fantasy owners should look to add him now.

It will be interesting to see if his role in the Browns offense grows, giving him more targets and providing more stability to his fantasy potential.


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