NFL Waiver Wire: Week 4 Deep Dive

NFL Waiver Wire: Week 4 Deep Dive

This article is part of our NFL Waiver Wire series.

We're back for another go after we saw injuries across multiple positions pile up in Week 3. That takes away some of the luxury of stashing players, but there's still flexibility due to lack of byes. Despite some bad news, we also saw some potential breakout performances worth noting now before their waiver/FAAB value significantly increases.

Quarterback

Matt Ryan vs. Titans (17 percent ESPN)

Ryan hasn't gotten off to a good start in his tenure as Colts' starting QB, but draws a matchup against one of the poorer secondaries in the league.

Ryan Tannehill at Colts (16 percent ESPN)

Setting aside his disaster at Buffalo, Tannehill has put together a few serviceable starts. The Colts represent another suspect secondary, so expect a respectable stat line in Week 4.

Geno Smith at Lions (10 percent ESPN)

Coach Pete Carroll appears to be ready to live up to his word to let Smith throw more often as he attempted 44 passes in Week 3. Game script may not dictate that strategy against what will likely be a depleted Detroit offense, but I like Smith because of the elite pass catchers at his disposal.

Zach Wilson at Steelers (seven percent ESPN)

Wilson is set to make his debut in his sophomore season. I wouldn't expect an inspiring result, but he's surrounded by a talented group of skill-position players. He's more of Superflex/2QB option at this point.

Jacoby Brissett at Falcons (three percent ESPN)

Brissett has been surprisingly effective as a starter. He's a

We're back for another go after we saw injuries across multiple positions pile up in Week 3. That takes away some of the luxury of stashing players, but there's still flexibility due to lack of byes. Despite some bad news, we also saw some potential breakout performances worth noting now before their waiver/FAAB value significantly increases.

Quarterback

Matt Ryan vs. Titans (17 percent ESPN)

Ryan hasn't gotten off to a good start in his tenure as Colts' starting QB, but draws a matchup against one of the poorer secondaries in the league.

Ryan Tannehill at Colts (16 percent ESPN)

Setting aside his disaster at Buffalo, Tannehill has put together a few serviceable starts. The Colts represent another suspect secondary, so expect a respectable stat line in Week 4.

Geno Smith at Lions (10 percent ESPN)

Coach Pete Carroll appears to be ready to live up to his word to let Smith throw more often as he attempted 44 passes in Week 3. Game script may not dictate that strategy against what will likely be a depleted Detroit offense, but I like Smith because of the elite pass catchers at his disposal.

Zach Wilson at Steelers (seven percent ESPN)

Wilson is set to make his debut in his sophomore season. I wouldn't expect an inspiring result, but he's surrounded by a talented group of skill-position players. He's more of Superflex/2QB option at this point.

Jacoby Brissett at Falcons (three percent ESPN)

Brissett has been surprisingly effective as a starter. He's a game manager for the Browns, but has scored mid-teens fantasy points in the last two weeks and is another lower-end quarterback in a positive matchup.

Cooper Rush vs. Commanders (two percent ESPN)

Rush has shown the ability to air the ball out if needed. The problem is that the Cowboys have run the ball with the lead and are likely to enjoy an advantage for much of the game.

Andy Dalton vs. Vikings (zero percent ESPN)
Teddy Bridgewater at Bengals (zero percent ESPN)

This duo can be listed together because the starters on their respective teams are battling injuries. They are the clear backups and would be viable in 2QB or Superflex leagues.

Running Backs

Craig Reynolds vs. Seahawks (four percent ESPN)

D'Andre Swift is likely out for at least Week 4, but he's battling a few injuries that could sideline him for a substantial portion of the season. Jamaal Williams will step into the lead role, but Reynolds will operate as the change-of-pace back.

Justice Hill vs. Bills (one percent ESPN) 

Hill seems to have taken command of the second RB role in Baltimore after an impressive showing at New England. Mike Davis played only one offensive snap and Kenyan Drake was inactive. We'll have to reassess the Baltimore backfield once Gus Edwards can return from a knee injury, but for now Hill is a valuable add to stash – or start on an emergency basis – behind J.K. Dobbins.

DeeJay Dallas at Lions (one percent ESPN)

Travis Homer was placed on injured reserve with a rib injury, opening a spot in the infuriating three-way split backfield in Seattle.  Don't expect immediate production, but Dallas makes for a reasonable stash.

Eno Benjamin at Panthers (seven percent ESPN)

James Conner is healthy and remains the clear lead back in Arizona. Benjamin could still have a role as a pass catcher as he ran 12 routes and was targeted four times last weekend.  

Dontrell Hilliard at Colts (11 percent ESPN)

Hilliard isn't taking the top role in the Tennessee backfield without an injury, but he's displayed explosiveness when given a chance this season. That's particularly true as a receiver – a role Derrick Henry doesn't excel in – as he's averaged 20.8 yards per catch on four receptions.

Jaylen Warren vs. Jets (five percent ESPN) 

Pittsburgh is following through on its promise to give Najee Harris more rest, and Warren is the clear second back on the depth chart. Warren has impressed the coaching staff with his work as a blocker and has also received four carries in each of his last two games.

Wide Receivers

Greg Dortch at Panthers (15 percent ESPN)
Rondale Moore at Panthers (22 percent ESPN)

Dortch has been a strong producer through three games, and A.J. Green looks doubtful for Week 4. He's certainly been helped by the absence of a few key receivers in Arizona to begin the season, but he's turned in a respectable 1.43 yards per route run. Moore practiced for the first time this season on Wednesday, albeit in limited fashion. With Green looking doubtful to go, Moore could immediately step into a role even if Dortch continues to produce.

Josh Reynolds vs. Seahawks (one percent ESPN) 

There hasn't been official word, but Amon-Ra St. Brown seems unlikely to play Sunday, which would leave Reynolds and DJ Chark as the primary outside receivers for Detroit. Check to see the health statuses of Reynolds and Chark as both are currently on the injury report. Keep Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus in mind If the entire receiving corps becomes depleted.

Richie James vs. Bears (five percent ESPN)
David Sills vs. Bears (zero percent ESPN)
Wan'Dale Robinson vs. Bears (seven percent ESPN)

Even prior to Sterling Shepard's unfortunate injury, James held a significant role. He now takes over as the Giants' top receiver, though his skills don't adequately fit that role. Sills also doesn't offer a particularly promising profile, but the targets will be there. Robinson isn't likely to be back in Week 4, but it's highly likely he'll be an upgrade to the league's worst receiving corps upon his return.

Isaiah McKenzie at Ravens (17 percent ESPN)

McKenzie has run the fourth most routes and has produced the fourth-highest target rate among the Bills receiving corps. That's not a role typically desirable for fantasy purposes, but Buffalo takes to the air at the fourth-highest clip in the league and it's never a bad idea to have a receiver attached to Josh Allen.

Ben Skowronek at 49ers (zero percent ESPN)

Skowronek has only run six routes fewer than Allen Robinson and has been targeted at a 14.6 percent rate on those routes. Robinson hasn't been inspiring and Van Jefferson is sidelined for at least two more games, so Skowronek may continue to get a significant role in the Rams offense.

Alec Pierce vs. Titans (eight percent ESPN)

Pierce saw five targets and did what we'd want to see from him as a potential fantasy producer. He logged one catch of more than 20 yards and also had a red zone target. Volume may not be on Pierce's side, but there's a path to big fantasy production based on his skillset.

Devin Duvernay vs. Bills (19 percent ESPN)

Duvernay has had an unsustainable 100 percent catch rate, 2.24 yards per route run and three touchdowns. His role isn't perfect, but he's proven to be a playmaker so far.  

Nelson Agholor at Packers (18 percent ESPN)

Now isn't the ideal time to invest in Agholor as he'll be catching passes from Brian Hoyer. In addition, Jakobi Meyers has a chance to return and that would bury Agholor down the list despite a strong Week 3 performance.

Laviska Shenault  vs. Cardinals (one percent ESPN)

Shenault only ran six routes last weekend, but ripped off gains of 67 and 23 yards on his two catches. Given how little has gone right for the Carolina offense early this season, they should look to capitalize on his explosiveness.

Tre'Quan Smith vs. Vikings (zero percent ESPN)

The Saints receiving group is also beat up, and Smith would be the candidate to step up if any of the big three of Michael Thomas, Chris Olave or Jarvis Landry is sidelined. Monitor the injury news throughout the week.

Tight Ends

Robert Tonyan vs. Patriots (17 percent ESPN)

Tonyan was dropped more than he was added this week in ESPN leagues, but he's getting more involved in the Green Bay offense every game. That's reflected in his surface stats and his routes run also jumped from 13 in Week 2 to 18 in Week 3.  

Daniel Bellinger vs. Bears (zero percent ESPN)

Bellinger has been running routes during his rookie season, but last weekend marked the first time he was targeted on multiple occasions. We've covered the depleted nature of the Giants' pass catchers, so Bellinger represents a breakout candidate.

Pharaoh Brown vs. Chargers (zero percent ESPN)
Brevin Jordan vs. Chargers (one percent ESPN)

Jordan was activated from the practice squad and caught a TD in his first game on Sunday, but Brown is still Houston's 1A option at the position. There's not much target competition, so they could have lasting value if one of them can emerge.

Juwan Johnson vs. Vikings (two percent ESPN)

Johnson lacked involvement in the Saints' offense in Week 3 and that will continue if the team's receiving corps is healthy. That may not be the case on Sunday, which would make Johnson a viable streamer.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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