Whole Nine Sports

Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups – Week 4

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AJ Audet
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Thankfully, we made it through week 3 without any earth-shattering injuries, major win for all owners in the fantasy realm. At this point in the season, it’s time to tilt from those guys who have not seen the field, or minimal snaps in comparison to what they were projected on the year. Let’s take a deep dive into just a few people you can add to your lineup to build for the long haul of the season.

Ryan Tannehill: 12.74

Mike Davis: 23.1

Jerick McKinnon: 16.7

Russell Gage: 4.6 (came out early due to concussion)

Anthony Miller DROP: 13.0

Rob Gronkowski DROP: 10.8

Las Angeles Chargers Defense: 4.0

These numbers are more of what we like to see out of some solid streaming options. Mike Davis and Jerick McKinnon were both outstanding off the bench as we expected in spite of some injuries to their RB1 counterparts. Gage was having a good day until he took a big hit in the end zone and didn’t come back from the locker-room due to concussion protocol. Anthony Miller and Rob Gronkowski had decent games, but don’t expect it to last, they will not be able to maintain this level of production with the amount of pass catching options on their rosters. LA Chargers didn’t work out so hot, but they didn’t play poorly, it was just a very average game.

RULES: These picks will be for players that are UNDER 40% rostered (ESPN Rankings) in standard leagues. These selections will not only be starting caliber players but will also provide bench depth for the coming’s weeks. Reminder, these players will not always be for the respective week, we plan to look ahead a bit to beat the mass pickup as the player gains notoriety or favorable matchup.  Any future projections will be noted in the body of the analysis.

Photo by: Dale Zanine

Quarterback: Nick Foles- Chicago Bears (1.5% Rostered)

Is anyone shocked that this happened? Mitch Trubisky had two *DECENT* starts to the season, and people from far and wide started praising the ground he walked on. In reality, Mitch isn’t that great. After an underwhelming first half vs. the Falcons, Matt Nagy decided to pull the wily vet out of the bullpen and unleash him on the Falcons defense. In a come from behind victory, Foles ended the game with 16/29 and 3 touchdowns, for a whopping 25.12 fantasy points in one half. Nagy has since come out naming Foles the starter moving forward, and again I ask, is anyone shocked by this? Throughout Nick Foles tenure in the NFL, he has been known to take over the starting role wherever he was rostered. Foles will be taking on the Colts in week 4, who have led the league in defense vs. the quarterback position, but this does not force me to fade Foles, they have to stay in the game somehow. With a 45.0 O/U on the game, I have a feeling that the Bears will be playing from behind, so the ball will have to move through the air. I anticipate Foles remaining the starter for the majority of the season, so pick him up now for some easier defenses come fantasy playoff time (Texans, Vikings, and Jacksonville).

Photo by: Bettina Hansen

Running Back: Carlos Hyde- Seattle
Seahawks (14.4% Rostered)

In a run first offense, the running back plays a huge role in the overall team’s success. With Chris Carson going down with a sprained knee, he’s potentially looking at a 1-2 week recover time, which will force Carlos Hyde into being the primary ball carrier. There is still potential that Carson will play through the pain, but it is unlikely with the team so close to their bye week (week 6), so the workhorse back could get some solid R&R. Hyde will take the majority of snaps from the running back, while Travis Homer will look to fill the pass catching back role during Carson’s absence. Hyde was a 1,000+ yard rusher in 2019, so expect him to make the most of this opportunity as he is a free agent going into the 2021 offseason and will be looking for another contract. Seattle takes on Miami in week 4, who is averaging 21.0 points to the starting running back position. Throughout this season, they have given up 261 yards and 3 touchdowns to teams with very mediocre running games (New England, Buffalo, and Jacksonville). Last week on Thursday Night Football you watched James Robinson (my pick from two weeks ago) thrash the dolphins defense for two touchdowns on the night. Expect Hyde to be the primary rushing back in Carson’s absence, but he is a MUCH better play in non-PPR formats, as Homer will receive the majority of passing work out of the backfield.

Photo by: Lynne Sladky

Running Back DROP: Matt Breida- Miami
Dolphins (43.3% Rostered)

Miami’s backfield has been nothing short of a hot mess to start the 2020 campaign. In a backfield filled with mediocrity, we expected Breida to receive the primary touches throughout the 2020 season. After ending 2019 with 600+ rushing yards in a three headed running back offense, Breida saw popularity in the trade market, which brought him to Miami. Regardless of all the aforementioned praise, Breida has had no opportunity to show himself while a second-year player has made the most of their opportunity. Myles Gaskin, 7th round selection out of Washington, has shown he will be the workhorse for the Dolphins offense. As Gaskin has gotten much more comfortable in the offense, you have seen Breida take less and less snaps early in the season, only totaling 15 total rushing attempts through the first 3 weeks. Miami’s upcoming schedule is a huge turn off to the rushing attack as they play Seattle and San Francisco in the coming weeks, which on average are only allowing 10.5 points to the running back position. While Miami has been in the lower half of the NFL in rushing this year, Breida is only seeing the field on 21% of offensive snaps, and it does not look like Flores plans on making that change any time soon. Brian Flores has made it well known that Gaskin is their guy moving forward, so let’s all agree to move on from Breida in the coming weeks. 

Photo by: David Berding

Wide Receiver: Justin Jefferson- Minnesota
Vikings (38.0% Rostered)

Coming into the 2020 season, I knew at some point I would be writing about Justin Jefferson’s success, it was just a matter of when he would start the breakout. Jefferson was drafted in the exact spot, to the exact team he needed in order to have an overly successful career. With Stefon Diggs shipping off to Buffalo in the offseason, there was a void alongside Adam Thielen as WR2 that Mike Zimmer needed to fill with an aggressive WR that wasn’t afraid to use physicality to win a jump ball. Throughout the 2020 season, we have seen a lot of double coverage on Adam Thielen and opposing defenses have utilized the safety to cover Jefferson, BAD IDEA. In Week 3, Jefferson used his height, athleticism and route running ability to torch the Titans secondary for 175 yards on 7 receptions and a touchdown. Jefferson has seen the field on 67.1% of offensive snaps as a rookie and is now gaining trust from Kirk Cousins as a solid target, watch for Jefferson’s snap count to increase over the coming weeks. Looking into week 4, Jetta has a positive matchup against a Texans defense who is averaging negative fantasy points on the season… Keep an eye out on the coming Vikings vs. Texans game, with Tennessee having had players and staff test positive for COVID-19, there are some potential tracing issues that could hinder this Sunday’s game. Regardless of what happens for the Vikings in week 4, Jefferson will be a long term WR2 play as once he gets hot, there’s no cooling him down (see 2019 LSU campaign).

Photo by: David Costsa

Wide Receiver DROP: N’Keal Harry-
New England Patriots (63.7% Rostered)

Harry has been hit or miss to this point in the season. Averaging just 6.3 fantasy points per game through the first three games is severely underwhelming for the big man out of Arizona State. With Cam Newton coming in to run the offense, and training on and off with N’Keal Harry throughout the offseason, we made the major assumption that Harry, the 2019 first round draft pick was going to make a splash in the new Patriots offense.  While Harry has seen 83.8% of offensive snaps (32nd in the NFL for WR’s), he has only seen 22 targets for 15 total catches. With a mobile quarterback lining up behind center for the Patriots for the first time in many years, it is tough to dictate what style offense the patriots will run on a week-to-week basis. Julian Edelman has been the clear-cut #1 Wide Receiver throughout this season as well as in past seasons, and with his consistency in the offense, I do not predict this changing moving forward. Patriots have a difficult matchup coming up in week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are in the top 10 defenses against the WR position, only allowing an average of 17 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receiver corps. Fade Harry moving forward for a budding rookie like Justin Jefferson who is in a defined offense and will have production based on snap count and target share alone.

Photo by: Miguel Aquino

Tight End: Mo Alie-Cox- Indianapolis
Colts (13.3% Rostered)

Remember when I made a big deal about the sheer size of Bryan Edwards… I WAS WRONG. Big Mo stands in at 6’ 5”, weighing 267 lbs., with 11.75” hands… For comparison purposes, his running mate Jack Doyle is 6’ 6”, weighs 262 lbs. and has only 9.25” hands… Based on sheer size alone, this man has the ability to catch anything thrown at him with frying pan sized hands. Alie-Cox (referring to as Mo from here on out) took full advantage of Doyle dealing with an ankle injury in week 2, where he put up 5 receptions for 111 yards (13.6 fantasy points). With Doyle returning in week 3, Mo was still the feature TE who went 3/3 for 50 yards and a score. During Doyle’s week 3 return, Cox saw a higher snap count and target share, where Doyle did not even see a single target. Philip Rivers coming to Indianapolis was a gift to the TE position as Rivers has favored the big pass catchers throughout his NFL Career. Mo has a favorable matchup in the coming weeks facing the Bears and Browns, who are in the bottom half of the NFL in defenses vs. the Tight End (17 and 25 respectively). Expect Mo to use his size and physicality to overpower opposing defenses in the coming weeks. With Doyle constantly dealing with injuries, and always being unpredictable and shaky in the passing game, if Mo can keep up the trajectory, he will be the TE1 option in a tight end/pass heavy offense.

Photo by: Alex Caruso

Streaming Defense of the Week: Las Angeles
Rams (28.0% Rostered) vs. New York Giants

So far this season, the Rams have had an above average defensive showing against decent teams (Dallas, Philadelphia, and Buffalo), but look for them to take it up another notch against a barren Giants offense. Jones put together an underwhelming showing (10.26 fantasy points) vs. a desolate 49ers defense, so do not expect him to bounce back against a Rams defense who has a strong pass rush (Michael Brokers, Aaron Donald, and Leonard Floyd) and even stronger secondary (Taylor Rapp, Jaylen Ramsey, and John Johnson). Daniel Jones has been a turnover machine, and should continue moving forward, so if one defensive player can capitalize on a QB mistake and take it back to the house for 6, you’re guaranteed a solid defensive score for week 4. Having held the Cowboys to 17 points and the Eagles to 19 points, I have no concerns in the Rams holding the Giants to minimal points.

Let me know your thoughts! Reach out on twitter at @AJAudet80 for discussion on the fantasy selections above. Any questions on your fantasy lineups, trades, or additional waivers pickups, hit me on twitter for advice! I look forward to hearing from you and working to build a strong fantasy community.