Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire players who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Our favorite players are broken down in Top Targets and the best secondary options are in our Going Deeper sections. We’ll also list any players at the top of each position who are above the 50% threshold — or are household names — and are still widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
Be sure to check out our weekly Waiver Wire podcast for more analysis. We’ll also have Streaming articles every Tuesday that focuses on the top quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses for the upcoming week(s).
Note: The initial Waiver Wire article writeup will be posted every Monday evening, followed by in-depth updates Tuesday, and continued additions/updates Wednesday.
Hansen’s Top-15 Options
Note: For these rankings, John Hansen leans on players who are available in at least 40% of Yahoo leagues and who also saw a favorable development for their fantasy values last week. Some players are better long-term picks up, and some are better for just this week or the short term.
- Damien Williams (Chi, 6%)
- Trey Lance (SF, 30%)
- Dawson Knox (Buf, 46%)
- Darnell Mooney (Chi, 38%)
- Dalton Schultz (Dal, 33%)
- Sam Darnold (Car, 37%)
- Michael Gallup (Dal, 47%)
- Latavius Murray (Bal, 48%)
- Daniel Jones (NYG, 31%)
- Samaje Perine (Cin, 2%)
- AJ Green (Ari, 28%)
- Curtis Samuel (Was, 41%)
- Hunter Renfrow (LV,11%)
- Randall Cobb (GB, 6%)
- Malcolm Brown (Mia, 6%)
Trey Lance (SF, 30%) — Lance’s time may be starting after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a calf injury in Week 4, which knocked him out for the second half. The #3 overall pick stepped into the lineup and completed 9/18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns and he added 7/41 rushing for 20.4 FP in 30 minutes of action against the Seahawks. The 49ers were not planning on playing Lance anytime soon, and we saw why in Week 4, since Lance was quite shaky. But he also ran a lot and he will continue to run a lot. The 49ers do have a bye coming up in two weeks (@Ari, bye, Ind, @Chi), but Lance should be viewed as a potential top-12-14 option when he starts going forward because of his rushing upside. That includes this week against the Cardinals in what could be a high-scoring affair. However, while Jimmy G said after the game that he thinks the injury will keep him out for a couple of weeks, there’s some hope that he may be able to practice this week and possibly play Week 5. We’ll see, but the writing is already on the wall for Jimmy G. UPDATED: 10/5
Sam Darnold (Car, 37%) — Darnold has scored 33.5, 25.3, 19.9, and 20.1 FP and he’s averaging 8.1 YPA overall in his first four starts with the Panthers. He had his most difficult game with the Panthers in Week 4 with two interceptions, but he still produced a monster fantasy game against the Cowboys. He completed 26/39 passes for 301 yards (his third straight 300-yard game), two TDs, and two INTs, and he scored his fourth and fifth rushing TDs of the season with 6/35/2 rushing. Darnold’s improved cast makes him more intriguing for fantasy than he ever was in New York (even without Christian McCaffrey for the foreseeable future), and he’s certainly been helped by D.J. Moore’s emergence as a top-flight WR. Darnold has taken advantage of a soft opening schedule, but his schedule will stay soft moving forward (Phi, Min, @NYG, @Atl) so he could settle in as a top-15 option. Eventually, WRs Robby Anderson and Terrace Marshall will start contributing, and CMC should miss only one more game in Week 5.
Daniel Jones (NYG, 31%) — Jones has been his normal, inconsistent self through the first three weeks of the season, and he came up a bit small as soon as the masses trusted him enough to play him against the Falcons in Week 3. With most fantasy owners backing off in Week 4, Jones bounced back in a difficult spot with 27.8 FP against the Saints. He completed 28/40 passes for 402 yards (10.1 YPA), two touchdowns, and one INT and he added 4/27 rushing. It was his first 400-yard passing game of his career and even his INT was on a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half. Jones has thrown for 267, 249. 266, and 402 yards with 4 TD passes so far, and he’s run for 27, 95, 29, and 27 yards with 2 TDs on the ground. That’s an average of 296/1 passing and 44/.5. That’s good for 24 FPG, which was QB6 on the season pending MNF. He’s still a volatile mid-QB2 option despite his consistency so far, and he has some tougher matchups looming over the next four weeks (@Dal, LAR, Car, @KC), but he’s built some trust since he’s showing some signs of development in his third season. It would be nice to get his guy Sterling Shepard back quickly, plus Darius Slayton, but rookie Kadarius Toney did surprisingly well in Week 4.
Taylor Heinicke (Was, 6%) — He’s got a ton of moxie, and good things tend to happen when he extends plays with his legs, which he does a lot, and Heinicke will be the starter in Washington through at least the early part of November. In Week 4, he led his second dramatic comeback victory in the last three weeks, and he’s now posted 21+ FP in each of his first three starts. Heinie completed 23/33 passes for 290 yards and three TDs and he added 5/43 rushing for 27.9 FP against the Falcons. Heinicke doesn’t run just to run, and when he moves, he keeps his eyes downfield, something Terry McLaurin obviously loves. He is clearly moving up in the world into the mid-QB2 conversation, but his schedule is on the more difficult side over the next four weeks (NO, KC, @GB,@Den). He also may be without Logan Thomas (hamstring) for a week or two (he’s considered week-to-week), but at least he got Curtis Samuel back in Week 4.
Justin Fields (Chi, 42%) — According to Matt Nagy, Fields will not retain the top spot on the depth chart when Andy Dalton (knee) is set to return. Of course, Dalton’s injury could “linger” for weeks, giving Fields a chance to show what he can do. He played much better in Week 4 with a much better game plan against a weak Lions’ defense. He completed 11/17 passes for 209 yards with one INT and he dropped some dimes down the field to Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson. His lack of attempts was disappointing, but their commitment to the running game helped him. The biggest disappointment was that he ran just three times for nine yards. Fields is a limited passer at this stage of his career and he’s not going to cut it for fantasy if the Bears aren’t going to design more run plays for him moving forward — he has just 6/21 rushing in his two starts. Fields is more of a bench stash than a usable fantasy option at this stage, especially if Nagy is going to insert Dalton back into the starting lineup once he’s healthy. But Nagy is also a guy who admitted to giving up the play calling to OC Bill Lazor in Week 4 and then said, despite it being Lazor’s gameplan, that “everything goes through me.” Okay, buddy, if you say so. Eventually, Fields will settle in as the clear QB1, and he will eventually run because it’s too much a part of his game.
Mac Jones (NE, 25%) — Jones was regressing early in the season after a promising opening performance with his YPA average slipping each of the last weeks (7.2>6.2>5.3), and he had a rough go in Week 3 against the Saints, completing 30/51 passes for 270 yards, one touchdown, and three INTs against a strong Saints’ defense. He also lost his trusted check-down receiver James White to a potential season-ending hip injury, but Jones did not waver in Week 4 in one of the most high-profile regular season games in history. He was 31/40 passing, a healthy 77.5% clip, for 275/2. He did throw an INT, but he was actually making guys better, and it was great to see both his TEs find the endzone. Jones’ schedule over the next three weeks (@Hou, Dal, NYJ) offers some hope that he can assert himself some more, and other than two tough matchups with the Bills, his overall schedule is promising.
Jared Goff (Det, 13%) — Goff could be the king of garbage-time production this season, and he’s topped 18+ FP in three of his first four games. He completed 24/38 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns but he was credited with two lost fumbles in their loss to the Bears in Week 4. Goff is scrambling a little more this year, and he’s going to have to throw it 35+ times a game most weeks, so he’s definitely in the conversation as a top-20 option for now. His upcoming schedule looks fairly difficult on paper (@Min, Cin, @LAR, Phi), but other than his old team the Rams, it’s really not that scary overall based on the current numbers.
Ben Roethlisberger (Pit, 37%) — Big Ben did toss a 45-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson on the first drive of the game before doing little else for the final 55 minutes in Week 4, so he continued to look similar to the underwhelming player he was in 2020, which is bad news for this Steelers’ offense. He completed 26/40 passes for 232 yards (5.8 YPA), one TD, and one INT against the Packers.. Roethlisberger’s receiving corps and Pittsburgh’s overall passing volume will elevate him in some matchups in the weeks ahead (Den, Sea, bye, @Cle), but Big Ben is looking like a low-end QB2 unless he becomes more efficient as a downfield passer (i.e.: most likely never again). He’ll likely need a time machine to accomplish that so he has the potential to post some real stinkers if he doesn’t get passing volume in a given week.
Carson Wentz (Ind, 12%) — Wentz doesn’t have much fantasy appeal as he plays through two different ankle injuries, which has limited his ability to run (he had just 5/8 rushing in Week 4). But you have to give him credit for hanging tough in what has turned out to be a shaky situation in Indy, given all their OL injuries. He completed 24/34 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns in Indy’s first victory of the season against the Dolphins. Wentz is still a low-end QB2 in the upcoming weeks (@Bal, Hou, @SF, Ten) since his supporting case isn’t great and he has just eight rushing yards the last two weeks. They don’t have their bye until Week 14, but Wentz’ ankles can improve while he plays, and he does click well with Michael Pittman. Indy otherwise has a large and diverse group of weapons in the passing game to produce decent numbers.
Jacoby Brissett (Mia, 2%) and Tua Tagovailoa (Mia, 16%) — Brissett will start for at least this week against the Buccaneers before Tua (fractured ribs) is eligible to return from the injured reserve in Week 6. Brissett has played miserably in his two starts, including in Week 4 when he completed 20/30 passes for 199 yards (6.6 YPA) and two TDs in a loss to the Colts, and the offense is a mess. He’s his usual slow and sluggish self, but he’s a streaming option in Superflex/two-QB leagues this week against the Buccaneers. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tua is expected to return in Week 6 so he’s worth stashing now as a low-end QB2 with a friendly schedule in Weeks 6-9 (@Jax, Atl, @Buf, Hou).
Jameis Winston (NO, 40%) and Taysom Hill (NO, 2%) — The Saints have one fantasy-relevant option right now in Alvin Kamara, and he didn’t even see a target in their Week 4 loss to the Giants. Winston has fallen below 14 FP in his last three games after throwing five TD passes in the season opener against the Packers, and he’s yet to attempt more than 23 passes in a single game. Taysom Hill has also vultured three rushing touchdowns in the last two games so you’ll have to be desperate to play Winston in the upcoming weeks (@Was, bye, @Sea, TB). In fact, if Jameis keeps this up, they may pull the plug on him and go with Taysom, who can at least manufacture offense with his legs. On the positive side, there’s no talk of Taysom getting a shot, and they should get WRs Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith back out of their Week 6 bye.
Zach Wilson (NYJ, 11%) — Wilson’s career is off to a rough start with eight INTs in the first four games, but he broke into the win column with his best performance as a pro in Week 4. He completed 21/34 passes for 297 yards (8.7 YPA), two TDs, and one INT against the Titans. Wilson isn’t getting much help from his offensive line with LT Mekhi Becton (knee) out of the lineup, but he looked more comfortable with Jamison Crowder finally in the lineup. Wilson has another beautiful matchup looming this week before his Week 6 bye (@Atl, bye, @NE, Cin), but his current state of play makes him just a low-end option in Superflex/two-QB leagues. He should get Elijah Moore back in Week 5, at least.
Drew Lock (Den, 1%) — Denver’s hot start to the season took a turn for the worse with Teddy Bridgewater leaving their Week 4 matchup with a concussion. Bridgewater has an outside shot of playing this week against the Steelers, but he’s in the concussion protocol and the Broncos will likely have to start the erratic Lock for at least the next week. As usual, Lock looked extremely shaky in relief against the Ravens, completing 12/21 passes for 113 yards (5.4 YPA) and one INT. Lock should be viewed as a volatile fill-in option in Superflex/two-QB formats against a solid Steelers’ defense. UPDATED: 10/5
Damien Williams (Chi, 6%) — Williams has been working as a passing-game complement behind David Montgomery to open the season, and he’ll be elevated into the lead runner role for as long as Montgomery is out of the lineup, which now looks to be until November 21st, after their Week 10 bye, since Montgomery suffered a serious knee sprain that will knock him out 4-5 weeks. Since they have that Week 10 bye, it seems likely he will be rested until after Week 10. Williams actually scored a four-yard touchdown before Montgomery’s touchdown in Week 4, but 44 of his 70 scrimmage yards came after Montgomery left the lineup for good. Khalil Herbert had 3/7 rushing on the final drive of the game in a 10-point game so it appears that Williams is firmly ahead of the rookie. Williams has high-end RB2 potential in a near every-down role for as long as Montgomery is out of the lineup, and as long as Williams is healthy himself. He suffered a thigh bruise on Sunday, but is expected to be okay. UPDATED: 10/5
Latavius Murray (Bal, 48%) — Murray should be scooped up if he’s still sitting out on your waiver wire after the Ravens deactivated Ty’Son Williams and elevated Murray to the lead runner role before Week 4. He responded with a solid 18/59/1 rushing (3.3 YPC) against a good Broncos run defense, playing 62% of the snaps, while Le’Veon Bell (27%) and Devonta Freeman (9%) combined for just 5/15 rushing. Murray does not have a single pass target yet, but he has scored in three of four games. He’s a low-end RB2 option for as long as he’s the lead runner, but he needs some targets to make him less TD-dependent, and he eventually needs to show some explosiveness to safely keep this job. One thing that would help is getting OT Ronnie Stanley back.
Samaje Perine (Cin, 2%) — Joe Mixon was diagnosed with a low-grade ankle sprain that will leave him week to week, per our guy Adam Schefter. That means he could miss a week or two. Perine saw his only touches of the game in crunch time and he produced a 15-yard catch and 3/7 rushing. Perine is the clear handcuff, and he did catch 11 of 12 targets in 2020 and 3 of 4 in 2021, but they do like rookie Chris Evans in the passing game. Evans has caught each of his three targets this season for a solid 40 yards and should be in the mix behind Perine if Mixon is out. Even if Mixon improves and plays this week, his owners shouldn’t screw around and they should pick up Perine as insurance just in case his injury is worse than the team is letting on. Keep in mind Mixon missed 10 games with a “foot” issue last year.
J.D. McKissic (Was, 39%) — McKissic is still involved as the team’s hurry-up/passing back and he has some standalone value in potentially pass-heavy scripts. It also doesn’t hurt that Washington’s defense has taken a step back this season so the Football Team is playing in more shootouts. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a 30-yard, catch-and-run pass on his way to 5/44/1 receiving and 7/15 rushing on 40% of the snaps. Antonio Gibson’s fantasy owners want him to own the entire backfield, but that is not happening with McKissic still being an excellent hurry-up option, so consider adding him in PPR formats.
Kenneth Gainwell (Phi, 29%) — Gainwell is the second back to own in Philly behind Miles Sanders, and he’s carved out some standalone value based on his usage as the team’s hurry-up/passing back. Gainwell saw heavy work in Week 4 with the Eagles playing in a negative gamescript, posting 3/31/1 rushing and 6/58 receiving on eight targets (17% share) with a solid 39% of the snaps. Boston Scott has been completely invisible in this backfield, and Nick Sirianni doesn’t seem particularly interested in featuring Miles Sanders drafted by the previous coaching staff, every week. Gainwell has been between 31-39% of the snaps every week, and there’s still some room for his role to grow. For now, Gainwell can be considered as a flex/RB3 option in games that could feature pass-heavy scripts.
Malcolm Brown (Mia, 6%) — The lifeless Dolphins’ offense demoted Myles Gaskin (23% snap share) in favor of Brown (67%) for at least Week 4. Brown finished with just 8/23 rushing and he caught his only target for four yards, while Gaskin totaled just 2/3 rushing without a target. Gaskin had been above a 50% snap share in each of the first three weeks so we’ll find out this week if this was a one-off decision or if the Dolphins have made a switch at the top of their RB depth chart. Brown has seen his snap share grow in each of the last three weeks (12%<41%<67%) and it’s notable that he saw his highest share in a game in which the Dolphins for much of the game. Brown isn’t a sexy option and he’ll need to convert at the goal line to come through for fantasy most weeks, but he’s a player who should be added in most formats just in case he’s going to see more than 50% of the snaps going forward.
Jeff Wilson (SF, 13%) — HC Kyle Shanahan said on Sept. 20 that Wilson’s return will likely be earlier than expected, and he could even return as early as Week 7, which would have him missing only five games (they have a bye Week 6). He could easily have value by the end of October if you can stash him on your bench or in an IR spot for the next couple of weeks.
Marlon Mack (Ind, 13%) — Mack and the Colts have mutually agreed to seek a trade so he’s worth a speculative add just in case he would land on an RB-needy team. The Colts tried to showcase him in Week 4 after they made him a healthy scratch the week before, and he finished with 10/22 rushing (2.2 YPC) and 1/1 receiving on two targets. Mack hasn’t shown a whole lot in his limited opportunities behind a banged-up O-line, but he’s still worth a bench stash in deep leagues just in case he gets an opportunity to start elsewhere. One wonders if the Ravens may place a call.
Brandon Bolden (0%, NE) — Bolden took over as the team’s passing back after James White (hip, IR) went down with a position-best 25 snaps in the second half against the Saints in Week 3. In Week 4, Bolden played a serviceable 32% of the snaps and did have 6/61 on 6 targets, but he ran only 8 routes. Damien Harris surprisingly ran 17 (2/20 on 2 targets). At least JJ Taylor had only 4 snaps and 1 carry and 1 target. Bolden is more of a desperation addition in deeper PPR formats just in case he keeps his role as the team’s passing back still, but they also made Rhamondre Stevenson inactive again in Week 4, so Bolden is the next best thing in the backfield behind Harris.
Wayne Gallman (Atl, 0%) — Gallman finally got in a game for the Falcons in Week 4 and, while he played only 10 snaps, he had six carries and a target on his 10 snaps. He’s looked good running the ball between the tackles dating back to last week, and they may be looking for a spark in this backfield above and beyond Cordarrelle Patterson, since Mike Davis has been underwhelming. Gallman is guaranteed nothing, though, so he’s more a stash-and-hope guy for larger leagues where there’s nothing on the waiver wire.
Khalil Herbert (Chi, 0%) — We know that David Montgomery (knee) will be out 4-5 weeks, if not until Week 11 due to their bye week coming in at Week 10. Damien Williams is the guy, but he also suffered a thigh injury in Week 4. If Williams is out, Herbert would have to be the guy, and he should get touches no matter what as long as Montgomery is out. Herbert, the rookie out of Virginia Tech, impressed the coaches this summer with his reliability, and his burst, and he’d likely get 15+ opportunities if the top two guys are out and 6-8 per game if Williams plays. UPDATED: 10/5
Best Handcuff Stashes
Darrel Williams (KC, 11%) — Clyde Edwards-Helaire has steadied the ship after a rocky start to the season, but it’s not a bad idea to stash Williams just in case his play moves back in the wrong direction. It’s clear that Williams is a favorite of Andy Reid so he’d get the first crack to lead this backfield ahead of Jerick McKinnon if anything happens to CEH.
Peyton Barber (LV, 6%) — With Josh Jacobs back in action in Week 4, Barber for now falls back as only a handcuff. He came up big for the Raiders in Week 3 with 23/111/1 rushing (4.8 YPC) in a victory over the Dolphins and even caught three passes for 31 yards. Jacob is an injury waiting to happen, and they do already hate Kenyan Drake, who did play 20 snaps in Week 4 but who got only one opportunity. UPDATED: 10/5
Alex Collins (Sea, 1%) — Collins is getting some run next to Chris Carson — he posted 10/44/1 rushing in Week 4 — and he’d likely be the team’s primary runner if anything happened to Carson this season, especially with Rashaad Penny (calf, IR) quickly becoming an afterthought.
Jaret Patterson (Was, 1%) — Patterson, a UDFA out of Buffalo, would take over as the team’s lead runner if Antonio Gibson is forced to miss time at any point with J.D. McKissic working in passing situations.
Carlos Hyde (Jax, 14%) — Hyde is the distant second to James Robinson in Jacksonville’s backfield after Travis Etienne’s season-ending foot injury in August. Hyde isn’t a usable fantasy piece but he could creep into the low-end RB2 picture if anything happens to Robinson.
Rhamondre Stevenson (NE, 12%) — Inactive again in Week 4 even with James White out, but if Damien Harris goes down, the rookie should be in for a large role.
Laviska Shenault (Jax, 58%), Henry Ruggs (LV, 54%), Emmanuel Sanders (Buf, 58%), Sterling Shepard (NYG, 61%), Christian Kirk (Ari, 61%), Tim Patrick (Den, 45%), Mecole Hardman (KC, 50%), Rondale Moore (Ari, 54%)
Darnell Mooney (Chi, 38%) — Mooney’s ownership plummeted after Justin Fields’ disastrous debut in Week 3, but, uh, we told you he was good. The second-year WR showed his upside playing with the rookie quarterback in Week 4, and that is in line with our information from the preseason that Fields and Mooney were making great progress together. Mooney had a 64-yard reception and three different catches of 20+ yards on his way to 5/125 receiving on seven targets in Chicago’s victory over the Lions. Mooney may be a bit volatile if Fields remains Chicago’s starter moving forward, but he actually might not be. He has a solid 26% target share, and he’s been more consistent than Allen Robinson. We loved Mooney this summer because we thought Fields’ downfield accuracy would unlock him, and it took only two starts from Fields to see that plain as day. We’re also not concerned about their addition of WR Jakeem Grant, who is only going to help in the return game and possible challenge for the WR3 role. UPDATED: 10/5
Michael Gallup (Dal, 47%) — Gallup is eligible to come off the IR this week off of the calf injury he suffered in Week 1. He was given a 3-5 week timeline for his injury so he could be ready to play as early as this week against the Giants. Amari Cooper is playing through hamstring and rib injuries so Gallup could step right back into a prominent role as soon as he’s activated. Gallup is a WR4 once he returns to the lineup and he has WR3 potential playing in Dallas’ potent passing attack, so scoop him up if he’s been dropped.
AJ Green (Ari, 28%) — Green isn’t dead just yet with 13+ FP in three straight games. Coming off his first 100-yard receiving game since 2018, Green backed it up with 5/67/1 receiving on six targets against the Rams, scoring on a 41-yard bomb to open the scoring for the undefeated Cardinals. Green may keep improving as he gets more reps in with Kyler Murray, who is throwing the rock extremely well to open the season, but he could be a bit inconsistent since he’ll be competing with Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore most weeks for secondary targets behind Hopkins. Green has seen a good, but not great, six targets in every game to open the season, but he’s been much more efficient to open this season (16.5 YPA, 63% catch rate) and he was second on the team in snaps in Week 4 with 86%. He’s in one of the league’s best offenses, so he’s in the WR4 picture until proven otherwise.
DeVante Parker (Mia, 38%) — Parker has been solid but unspectacular through the first three weeks of the season with 4+ catches and 40+ yards in each game. He finally busted through with a big game in Week 4 with Will Fuller leaving early with a hand injury, posting 4/77/1 receiving on nine targets (30% share) with 90% of the snaps. Rookie Jaylen Waddle is already becoming the face of this passing attack and Fuller’s role will only continue to grow (if healthy), but Parker still is the “No. 1” WR here. He will be an unsexy WR4 moving forward, but his prospects will improve once Tua Tagovailoa returns, which is expected in Week 6.
Curtis Samuel (Was, 41%) — Samuel had a relatively quiet Washington debut in Week 4 after battling a groin injury the entire summer through the first three weeks of the season. He played only 37% of the snaps but caught all four of his targets for 19 yards against the Falcons in his first action with Taylor Heinicke. Samuel should continue to improve with more reps and more opportunities, and he should be needed in the next couple of weeks if Logan Thomas (hamstring) is looking at a multi-week injury.
Hunter Renfrow (LV,11%) — Las Vegas’ passing game funnels through Darren Waller, but Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, and Renfrow are getting opportunities as the secondary options for Derek Carr, who before Week 4 was playing at a high level to open the season. Edwards is fourth among this group in targets, and as much as we know they like him, Carr isn’t looking for him much, so he can be dropped in leagues where there’s usually WR talent available. Ruggs’ usage has been promising, but he’s also volatile and big-play depdencent. Renfrow has 5+ catches and 45+ receiving yards in each of Las Vegas’ first four games, and he’s currently WR21 in PPR leagues with 14.7PPG. Renfrow doesn’t have the fantasy ceiling that Edwards and Ruggs have, but he’s going to be the most consistent of the three options. UPDATED: 10/5
Randall Cobb (GB, 6%) — Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring, IR) will be out of the lineup through at least Week 6, meaning Cobb and Allen Lazard will have bigger roles for at least the next two weeks (@Cin, @Chi). Cobb led the Packers in receiving with 5/69/2 on six targets (17% share) against the Steelers in Week 5, while Lazard mustered just 2/33 receiving on three targets. The problem with Lazard might actually be that he’s too good of a bocker. Cobb showed in Week 4 that he has plenty of potential with his boy Aaron Rodgers in one of the league’s best passing attacks. In fact, it’s not inconceivable that Cobb winds up being the second best receiver on this team behind Davante Adams. We’ll keep an eye on the snaps, though, as Lazard played 79% of the snaps in Week 4 and Cobb only 46%.
Kadarius Toney (NYG, 3%) — Both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton left Week 3 early with hamstring injuries, and the Giants finally got their first-round pick involved with them out of the lineup in Week 4. He finished 6/78 receiving on nine targets in a tough matchup against the Saints. He could go back to a secondary role as soon Shepard and Slayton are healthy enough to return (they weren’t placed on the IR), but Toney’s performance in Week 4 warrants more reps moving forward. Toney is worth a stash since he’s loaded with talent and upside, and the Giants may feel compelled to get the talented Toney involved in the offense moving forward.
Jamison Crowder (NYJ, 19%) — Crowder saw his first action of the season in Week 4 after missing the first three games of the season with a groin injury, and he instantly stepped into a significant role as Zach Wilson’s security blanket in the middle of the field. He finished 7/61/1 receiving on a team-best nine targets (26% share) in their victory over the Titans. It’s tough to get too excited about Crowder since he struggles to string together multiple healthy weeks in a row, and this receiving corps will get crowded once Elijah Moore returns from his concussion. Still, Crowder is clearly going to be active in the underneath areas of the field for his struggling rookie quarterback.
Rashod Bateman (Bal, 25%) — Bateman returned to practice from the injured reserve list after having core-muscle surgery in mid-August, but the Ravens weren’t quite ready to activate him in Week 4. He’ll likely make his NFL debut this week against the Colts as long as he doesn’t have any setbacks in practice. The first-round pick is more of a bench stash since he’ll slot into the #3 receiver spot, at best, in a limited passing attack behind Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown, and he’ll be battling it out with Sammy Watkins for weekly targets.
Sammy Watkins (Bal, 22%) — Watkins is off to a solid start with his new team, posting exactly four catches with 7+ targets in each of his first four games with the Ravens. He finished with 4/49 receiving on seven targets against the Broncos in Week 4, and he’s now scored between 8.4-10.8 FP in each of the last three games. First-round pick Rashod Bateman (core-muscle surgery) is likely to make his NFL debut this week, so Watkins’ healthy role to open the season could be cut into moving forward.
Jalen Reagor (Phi, 21%) — Reagor is the #2 WR for Jalen Hurts in the early going behind just rookie DeVonta Smith, but Quez Watkins has also made some noise as the team’s slot WR. Reagor flopped in Week 4 against the Chiefs with just a nine-yard catch on his only target, and he’s now totaled just 16.9 FP in the last three games after posting 16.9 FP in the season opener. The 2020 first-round pick is off to a better start in his second season, but he’s clearly behind DeVonta, Dallas Goedert, and Zach Ertz in a sporadic passing attack.
Josh Gordon (KC, 4%) — He’s back. Again. The Chiefs signed him to their practice squad, but he could be elevated at any time, even leading up to Week 5. It’s clear the Chiefs are underwhelmed with their wideouts not named “Tyreek,” so on the chance Gordon pops in this incredible situation, he’s worth a stash. It’s just not happening for Mecole Hardman.
Van Jefferson (LAR, 5%) and DeSean Jackson (LAR, 9%) — HC Sean McVay finally unleashed D-Jax in Week 3 against the Buccaneers, as he went for 3/120/1 receiving on five targets. Jefferson has been running ahead of Jackson in three-WR sets, and he bounced back with a team-best 6/90/1 receiving on six targets (15%). Cooper Kupp is dominating targets in the early part of Matthew Stafford’s tenure in Los Angeles so Jefferson and D-Jax are going to be volatile secondary options in this passing attack.
Zach Pascal (Ind, 23%) — Even if you contain Zach Pascal, he’ll probably score on you. Pascal has worked with Michael Pittman in two-WR sets ahead of Parris Campbell this season. He managed 4/44 receiving on five targets against the Dolphins in Week 4, which is the second straight week he failed to hit double-digit FP without a touchdown. He’s yet to hit 45+ receiving yards in a game this season, but he’s at least seen 5+ targets in every game. He’s shown a strong rapport with Carson Wentz in the early going so he’s worth a look in deeper formats since it looks like he’ll be active every week, especially down by the goal line.
K.J. Osborn (Min, 18%) — The Vikings are playing with three WRs on the field more this season with Irv Smith (meniscus) and Kyle Rudolph (free agency) out of the picture. Osborn has cemented himself in the #3 WR role with his play in the early part of the season, but he’s come crashing back to earth the last two weeks (5/52 receiving on nine targets) after leading the Vikings in receiving through the first two games. He’s played well enough to be considered for a roster spot in deeper formats, but Osborn has fallen back into a more distant #3 receiver role behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. He’ll battle it out with Tyler Conklin for 4-6 targets each week moving forward.
Kalif Raymond (Det, 1%), Quintez Cephus (Det, 16%), and Amon-Ra St. Brown (Det, 3%) — Good luck picking which Lions WR to use for fantasy while Tyrell Williams (concussion, IR) is out of the lineup through Week 5. Raymond 75% of the snap in Week 4) has seen the most consistent playing time and it’s translated into fantasy success the last two weeks with 9/114/2 receiving on 16 targets. Cephus (87% of the snaps Week 4) has posted double-digit fantasy production in three of the first four games, and rookie slot WR St. Brown (72% of the snaps in Week 4) finally got into the act in Week 4 with 6/70 receiving on a team-high eight targets (21% share). It’s probably best to avoid the Lions’ WRs in all but deeper formats, but T.J. Hockenson has cooled off a bit to open up some production for these WRs.
James Washington (Pit, 1%) — For those truly desperate for help, Washington could be viable against the Broncos this week if Chase Claypool (hamstring) is forced to miss another game. He posted a solid 4/69 receiving on five targets in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Packers in Week 4.
Josh Reynolds (Ten, 0%) and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (Ten, 10%) — Reynolds (9, 18% share) and Westbrook-Ikhine (8, 16%) led the Titans’ WRs in targets in Week 4 with both A.J. Brown and Julio Jones out of the lineup with hamstring injuries. They’ll be desperation options this week against the Jaguars if Brown and Jones miss yet another game, and they’ll move into secondary roles as soon as Tennessee’s studs are back in the lineup.
Dawson Knox (Buf, 46%) — Knox’s role has been growing since the start of the season, and it culminated in his breakout performance in Week 4. He posted 5/37/2 receiving on eight targets (27% share) against the Texans with a healthy 81% of the snaps, as he scored on a 25-yard post route and on a one-yard scramble play. Knox should have some down weeks playing in a loaded receiving corps, but it’s clear he’s turned a corner in his third season and he’s going to be a factor most weeks in one of the league’s best passing attacks. It is very possible that we’re looking at a real breakout season from Knox, who has been a lot more reliable and who has the trust of Josh Allen big time. This is your last chance to pick him up after his ownership rose dramatically before Week 4.
Dalton Schultz (Dal, 33%) — Schultz is sharing the position in Dallas with Blake Jarwin, which is always a risky proposition for fantasy, but he’s clearly emerged as a trusted target for Dak Prescott with 6+ targets and 10+ FP in three of his first four games. He posted 6/58/1 receiving on eight targets (36% share) and 79% of the snaps against the Panthers in Week 4, which gives him 12/138/3 receiving and 43.8 FP in the last two weeks. Jarwin also scored a touchdown in Week 4 on three targets, and he’s likely to vulture some production going forward, but Schultz needs to be rostered and started (on most teams) for as long as his connection with Dak remains red-hot.
Hunter Henry (NE, 42%) — Our intel was that Jonnu Smith would be the man in the Patriots passing attack, and it’s not like he hasn’t been a factor, since he’s third on the team with 16 targets. But Henry has outplayed him so far and in Week 4, he out-snapped Jonnu 40 to 28. Of course, they both scored, but once again Henry out-did Jonnu, turning 5 targets into 4/32/1 with Jonnu getting 3/14/1. Henry should remain a big factor, especially with James White out for the season.
Jared Cook (LAC, 48%) — He keeps going, and going, and going and is now 10th on the season in TE targets with 23 and receptions with 16. He caught 6-of-7 targets in Week 4 for 70 yards and a TD, but he did play only 52% of the snaps with Donald Parham (52% in Week 4 as well) also scoring. Cook will be targeted more certain weeks depending on the matchup and how defenses are playing them, but he did have a TD taken off the board in Week 3, so he could have scored in three of their four games, meaning he always has a chance to do something notable. UPDATED: 10/5
Zach Ertz (Phi, 26%) — No one wants to use a TE on a team with two active targets at the position, but this is a TE-centric offense in Philly and Ertz is a factor. Ertz is heating up with 10/113/1 receiving on 15 targets for 27.3 FP in the last two weeks after a sluggish start to the season with just 3/40 receiving on four targets for 7.0 FP. He has a chance to make a decent impact any given week, and he could emerge as an active goal-line target for Jalen Hurts — he had a touchdown nullified by penalty in Week 4. Ertz will be prone to down weeks playing next to Goedert, but he’s back in the high-end TE2 conversation and there’s still an outside chance he’s traded to a TE-needy team before the trade deadline on Nov. 2.
Dan Arnold (Jax, 4%) — Jacksonville had a major need at TE and they wanted a weapon for their rookie quarterback in the middle of the field so they swung a deal for Arnold before Week 4. He caught both of his targets for 29 yards against the Bengals, and he promisingly played 32% of the snaps right out of the gates despite having just two days to prepare for his Jaguars’ debut. Arnold, a former college WR and hurdler, can line up all over the formation and he can produce at all levels of the field. His role should only continue to grow in this receiver-needy offense after D.J. Chark went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 4, so he could develop into a mid-TE2 option.
Tyler Conklin (Min, 13%) — Conklin is Minnesota’s new top TE after Irv Smith suffered a season-ending meniscus injury in the preseason. Conklin got off to a slow start with just 6/56 receiving through the first two weeks, but he broke out in Week 3 with 7/70/1 receiving on eight targets with K.J. Osborn finally taking a backseat. Like the rest of the Vikings’ passing attack, Conklin struggled against the Browns with just 4/18 receiving on six targets (16% share) against the Browns with 83% of the snaps. Osborn has been a revelation as the team’s #3 WR (63% of the snaps Week 4), which has limited Conklin’s role in the passing game, but they should battle it out for 4-6 targets each week moving forward.
Evan Engram (NYG, 34%) — Engram returned to the lineup off of his calf injury in Week 3 and he’s looked extremely sluggish in his first two games. He totaled just 7/48 receiving on 12 targets in his first two contests even with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton missing with hamstring injuries. Engram theoretically has the skill set to turn it around moving forward, but it’s fair to wonder if all of the injuries at the start of his career have started to slow him down. He’ll be an uninspiring, low-end TE2 moving forward until we see some of his old explosiveness come back (if it does at all). He was only at 63% of the snaps in Week 4, so he needs more snaps and targets.
C.J. Uzomah (Cin, 2%) — Uzomah sparked Cincinnati’s second-half comeback victory over the Jaguars in Week 4, scoring two long touchdowns on catch-and-run plays. He finished with 5/95/2 receiving on six targets (19% share) after he had just 39 receiving yards in the first three games. Uzomah did tear his Achilles last season and he could be getting back to full strength with a season-best 83% snap share in Week 4. Uzomah’s huge game is likely more of a one-off performance with Tee Higgins (shoulder) returning to the lineup in Week 5, but he’s at least a player to remember if one of their big-three WRs misses time in the future.
Mo Alie-Cox (Ind, 1%) — Alie-Cox is a player to monitor after he saw an increased role in Week 4 with Jack Doyle moving to the bench (MAC had 69% of the snaps, Doyle only 30%). He finished second on the team in targets with five (16% share) and he finished with 3/42/2 receiving with two red-zone scores against the Dolphins. We’ll see if Alie-Cox continues to see a bigger role moving forward, but he’s worth a speculative add in deeper formats just in case the Colts have plans for him moving forward from Week 4.
Maxx Williams (Ari, 1%) — Williams nearly matched all of his production from 2020 (8/102/1 receiving) in Week 2 alone when he stunningly caught all seven of his targets for 94 yards against the Vikings. He went back to having a limited role in Week 3 (3/19 receiving) before popping again for 5/66/1 receiving on five targets against the Rams in Week 4 (58% of the snaps). We wouldn’t bet on Maxx remaining a consistent factor in this passing game moving forward given all of the weapons at Kyler Murray’s disposal, but he has gone for 16+ FP in two of his last three games if you want to take a flyer on him.
Younghoe Koo (Atl, 79%) - Koo started the season as a sought after kicker option. He converted on multiple field goals in Week 1, but has just one field goal per game since then. Thus, his fantasy value has dropped off with the lack of production. Look for Koo to get back on track at home against the Jets.
Mason Crosby (GB, 28%) - The Packers are playing well after their opening day debacle against the Saints down in Jacksonville. Crosby is coming off back-to-back multiple field goal outings. He should get a couple of field goal opportunities on the road against Cincinnati and might even supply you with two or three extra points as well.
Chase McLaughlin (Cle, 12%) - We listed him here last week and he produced two bonus range field goals from 48 and 53 yards while playing on the road. He travels again, this time to Los Angeles. Look for McLaughlin to get another two field goal attempts as well as two or three extra points.
Randy Bullock (Ten, 1%) - Bullock has missed two field goal attempts this year, but both are from the bonus range. While he is not a reliable kicker for fantasy owners, he does have a great matchup against the Jaguars. With the offense struggling, Bullock could get two or three field goal attempts. Keep in mind that nearly half of his attempts this year have been from the bonus range.
Patriots (NE, 58%) — I can’t blame you if you shied away from New England due to their matchup against the Super Bowl champs, but the Bucs scored just 19 points and Tom Brady was held under 300 yards while failing to throw a touchdown. This Pats unit has kept three of their four opponents under 20 points (22 PA to New Orleans), adding 10 sacks and 5 INTs along the way. You’re gonna want to get a piece of their Week Five Houston matchup and Week Seven Jets matchup, but they do have a Dallas matchup sandwiched in between for Week Six.
Cardinals (Ari, 33%) — The Cardinals had one of the more underrated units coming into the season and they’ve held up well through four weeks. After holding the potent Rams offense to just 20 points in Week Four, they’ve now held three of their four opponents to 20 points or fewer. Beyond keeping the scoring to respectable levels, they have 10 sacks, 4 INTs, 5 fumble recoveries, and a defensive TD. Next up, they face the 49ers and Browns which are middle-of-the-road matchups, but the Cardinals should be favored in both contests. After that, they’ll get an anemic and dysfunctional Houston offense.
Vikings (Min, 16%) — Mike Zimmer has made a living off of fixing his defenses quickly if there are issues. Those issues glared brightly in the first two games of the season, but we've seen a turnaround over the last two weeks. After giving up 61 points through two games, the Vikings have now held Seattle and Cleveland to under 20 points in back to back games. No matter the score, Danielle Hunter and his crew are getting their sacks. They have 13 through four games. Next, they face the Lions and Panthers before their Week Seven bye.