NFL Week 4 waiver-wire targets

This season is changing drastically week to week.

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As we approach the end of this season’s first quarter, we are starting to get a good idea as to how NFL players – especially rookies – are working into offensive schemes. In week 3, we saw the breakout of first-round pick Justin Jefferson in Minnesota. We also saw Mitch Trubisky get benched in favor of Nick Foles, who led a comeback to beat the Falcons. This season continues to change pretty drastically on a week-to-week basis, and I expect week 4 to be no different.

PPR waiver wire targets

  1. Justin Jefferson (MIN WR) – Week 3 finally saw Justin Jefferson leapfrog Olabisi Johnson in snap count. Jefferson rewarded the Vikings by turning his increased playing time into 7 catches on 9 targets for 175 yards and a TD. The talent of Jefferson has never been in question, as he is a first-round pick out of LSU. The Vikings have been severely lacking playmakers in the pass game outside of Adam Thielen. With Dalvin Cook also a main piece of the pass game, Jefferson should slide in as the number 2 or 3 option in the passing attack from here on out. He is definitely a priority add as the Minnesota defense has been abysmal to start the year and the Vikings could be playing from behind a good amount.
  1. Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR) – Aiyuk once again makes the waiver wire additions, as the 49ers are now giving him the workload we expected to see at some point this year. In his second game back from injury in week 3, Aiyuk saw 8 targets and caught 5 of them for 70 yards. He also added 3 carries for 31 yards and a rushing TD. The carries from a wide receiver in a Kyle Shanahan offense are not a fluke (see Deebo Samuel). Aiyuk is known for his playmaking ability once the ball is in his hands, so it doesn’t surprise me that Shanahan has inserted him into their scheme to get him the ball in different ways.
  1. Allen Lazard (GB WR) – Lazard went absolutely nuclear with Davante Adams out of the lineup in week 3. However, Adams should return sooner than later. You should still roster Lazard if you need wide receiver help because he is the starting slot receiver for Aaron Rodgers, who looks mighty good this year and has come out slinging the rock like his old self. Lazard will be flex worthy most weeks depending on matchups.
  1. Jimmy Graham (CHI TE) – Jimmy Graham finally popped in week 3 and it took a quarterback change for that to happen. Graham had seen just 8 targets in total from Mitch Trubisky over the first two weeks, and had only garnered 2 targets from him in the first half in week 3. Once Nick Foles came in the game, though, Graham was targeted 7 times in the second half alone. Graham was able to produce to the impressive tune of 6 catches for 60 yards and 2 TDs. Touchdowns are the name of the game for tight ends in fantasy football and, if Graham is going to be targeted heavily in the end zone, he could become a great midseason pickup. 
  1. Jeff Wilson (SF RB) – Wilson is not worth a top priority claim or a good chunk of your FAAB budget this week. Until the San Francisco 49ers started to blow out the New York Giants in week 3, Jerick McKinnon was the main guy getting touches out of the backfield. Wilson came in for mop-up duty once the game got out of hand and there was no need to risk a McKinnon injury. However, with Wilson providing a complementary skill set to McKinnon, there is a role on this offense for him – though it is likely to be small – until Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman return from injured reserve. Wilson could also have a usable goal line role, making him a better add in non-PPR leagues.
  1. Chase Edmonds (ARI RB) – This is more of a stash play than anything since Kenyan Drake is healthy, although has already had good matchups in the first three weeks of the season and has yet to live up to his production hype from last year. If Drake continues to falter, Edmonds should get more and more chances as the season goes on. Again, stash and hold Edmonds. You may not even need to use a waiver claim on him and can pick him up after the waivers run since Drake is healthy.

Non-PPR waiver wire targets

As previously mentioned, touchdowns are much more valuable in non-PPR leagues, while high volume pass catchers are much less valuable. This will change around some of the rankings for our waiver wire targets. This week’s non-PPR adds are the same as the PPR adds due to injuries around the league. However, some guys get a slight boost or downgrade due to reliance on pass catching or TDs.

  1. Justin Jefferson (MIN WR) – Jefferson should be the top add in all formats as, moving forward, he should be Minnesota’s third option on offense. The Vikings have only attempted 4 red zone passes, but 1 of those 4 did go to Jefferson.
  1. Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR) – The 49ers are going to look for creative ways to get the ball into Aiyuk’s hands, as they are limited on playmakers right now and he is among their most talented offensive players. Aiyuk has 2 red zone targets in 2 games played.
  1. Jimmy Graham (CHI TE) – Graham moves up to the third spot for me in non-PPR, as his TD ceiling goes up with Nick Foles at the helm. Graham leads the Bears in red zone targets this year with 7. Anthony Miller is the next closest on the team with 4. Graham has been a TD machine his whole career, and that talent will be back on display with Foles taking over.
  1. Jeff Wilson (SF RB) – Despite Jerick McKinnon handling most of the touches out of the 49ers backfield, it should be closer to a 50/50 split when they get into the red zone. On the season, McKinnon has 7 red zone rushes to Wilson’s 6. McKinnon also has 4 red zone targets compared to Wilson’s 2. McKinnon is still the guy here, but you can bump Wilson up in non-PPR formats because of his red zone usage.
  1. Allen Lazard (GB WR) – I don’t expect Lazard to repeat his week 3 performance, especially once Davante Adams gets back, but a top 3 option in the Packers’ passing attack should not be overlooked in any format. Lazard is tied for second on the team in red zone targets with 4, behind only Aaron Jones’ 8.
  1. Chase Edmonds (ARI RB) – See above in PPR section. Stash and hold play here.

Top streaming QB options

  1. Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA) – Another week of waiver wire adds, and another appearance of Ryan Fitzpatrick among the top options for available quarterbacks to stream. Fitzpatrick met value as suggested in week 3 when he threw for 2 TDs and ran for another. This week, he gets a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, who have been absolutely torched by opposing pass games. Part of the reason is the fact that Seattle’s offense is so good, they get out ahead of everyone, enabling opposing teams to pick up a ton of passing production in catch-up mode. The other contributing factor is their defense, which just isn’t very good to begin with. Seattle has allowed Dak to throw for 472 yards and 3 TDs, Cam to throw for 397 yards and 1 TD with 2 rushing TDs, and Matt Ryan to throw for 450 yards and 2 TDs. Sign me up for Fitzpatrick this week.
  1. Baker Mayfield (CLE) – Baker Mayfield hasn’t lived up to his first-overall-pick hype from a couple seasons ago. Luckily for us, streaming quarterbacks in fantasy football is based on the performance from a single week. In week 4, I expect Baker to have a ton of success against an injury-riddled Dallas defense that wasn’t even good when fully healthy. Mayfield could put points on the scoreboard in a hurry this week. The Cowboys have allowed Russell Wilson to throw for 315 yards and 5 TDs, Matt Ryan to throw for 273 yards and 4 TDs, and Jared Goff to throw for 275 yards (with no TDs since the Rams had an effective ground game working).

Top streaming defense options

  1. LA Rams defense – The Rams have 7 sacks in 3 games and should be able to get after Daniel Jones in their matchup with the New York Giants in week 4. The defenses facing the Giants this year have scored the most fantasy points. The Giants have only scored 16 points against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 13 points against the Chicago Bears, and – most recently – a lowly 9 points against the 49ers. Without Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, this offense is simply not good.
  1. Arizona Cardinals defense – Arizona’s front 7 has quietly been playing very well. They have recorded 3, 4, and 4 sacks in their first 3 games, respectively, for a total of 11. When you pressure quarterbacks, bad things tend to happen, like rushed throws that lead to turnovers. The Cardinals have also allowed 20 points or less in 2 of their 3 games so far. Facing a Carolina Panthers offense that doesn’t have Christian McCaffrey is a good spot to continue their success.
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