Waiver Wire Watch: Week 4 Targets
The Minnesota Vikings spent Week 3 reminding their fans they are as good as any franchise at not having nice things. Their dismantling at the hands of the lowly Bills should also serve as a reminder that no matter how much we think we know, the NFL seems to find a way to rip out our heart, trample it, package it without using bubble wrap, ship it to Antarctica and bury it a mile under the ice right next to Dez Bryant’s current career prospects.
When things go sideways, it is important to remember football is a game and fantasy football is a game about a game. As frustrating as it can be to see Latavius Murray get two carries when his team was a 17-point favorite, Thursday Night Football is mere days away, ready to suck us back in with visions of fantasy points in our head. So turn that frown upside down and have a bit of fun figuring out how to spend your virtual money, aka FAAB, on a free agent or three.
Throughout this series, we will be using PPR scoring, a $100 FAAB budget and a 50% threshold for player ownership. The intro to Week 1’s edition of Waiver Wire Watch (WWW) goes into far more detail about the details. As always, John Paulsen will edit this piece and reorder/adjust the prices as necessary.
- Andy Dalton, 33% owned ($4)
- Baker Mayfield, 12% owned ($4)
- Blake Bortles, 39% owned ($2)
- Ryan Tannehill, 7% owned ($1)
- Joe Flacco, 14% owned ($1)
- Eli Manning, 18% owned ($1)
- Case Keenum, 27% owned ($1)
The first overall pick in April’s draft, Mayfield finally saw the field in the Browns’ Week 3 win against the Jets. When he entered the game with a couple minutes left in the first half, Cleveland was buried 14-0. Then, seemingly fulfilling his life's purpose, Mayfield put the team on his back and led them on a 21-3 run to secure a long-awaited victory. We must remember he is still a rookie with barely 30 minutes of experience in the regular season, but Mayfield is as talented as they come. A worthy flier, especially in the face of a matchup against the pitiful Raiders, he may end up as Cleveland’s version of Patrick Mahomes.
Last week, after I said, “It has become obvious Eli Manning isn’t going to help fantasy teams this year. He doesn’t pass the eye test and his offensive line is a grease fire in a dumpster getting hit by a train that has gone off the tracks,” somebody challenged me to watch his first two games and see if I still felt the same way. After doing just that, my opinion shifted ever so slightly. Despite the offensive line continuing to be a major problem, Eli has played better than I gave him credit for. For the first time this year, his numbers reflected that on Sunday, as he threw for 297 yards and two scores. This week the Giants are at home against a Saints’ defense that has given up 1037 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. If you have the guts to stick Eli in your lineup, there is a potential pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
While Keenum has gotten progressively worse every week, his upcoming matchup against the Chiefs’ pitifully poor pass defense makes him worth a look. We all know how explosive Kansas City is on offense, which should force Denver to throw the ball more than they would like. All of this combines to put Keenum into the high-ceiling, low-floor category of streaming options.
Still Worth a Look
Don’t let Andy Dalton’s four Week 3 interceptions fool you, because he continues to play at a high-level. Two of the four picks were inconsequential, with one being a tipped pass and the other a late-game desperation throw. The Red Rifle is off to Atlanta this week to try and keep it rolling against a defense that has allowed six passing touchdowns the last two games and just lost safety Ricardo Allen to a torn Achilles. For those keeping score at home, the Falcons are now down two starting safeties and stud middle linebacker Deion Jones.
After seeing his ownership percentage jump 12 points in the last week, Blake Bortles rewarded his new owners with an 8.9 point stinker. Happier times are ahead, with Bortles set to battle the same Jets defense that got carved up by rookie Baker Mayfield last Thursday. Better still, a premium Week 5 game against the Chiefs looms on the horizon.
Still flying well under the fantasy radar, Ryan Tannehill is averaging 21.6 PPG in 2018. To be fair, the matchups have been favorable, something that continues next week against a struggling Patriots pass defense that’s been worked by Bortles and Matt Stafford. The biggest concern I have is Tannehill's lack of attempts. He currently sits at a mere 77, which is barely 25 a game. If they don’t start throwing more, the lack of volume is bound to catch up to him.
Joe Flacco continues to play well, averaging 27/43 for 296/2/0.7 and 18.3 PPG. Facing the Steelers this week, you can expect the Ravens to be forced to throw the ball plenty, giving Flacco a realistic shot at 20 or more fantasy points.
Missed the Cut
Derek Carr (38% owned) leads this list for the second straight week as he continues to show a limited ceiling even in games where he racks up pass attempts.
Poor 49ers fans. First they lose Jerrick McKinnon, and now franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. C.J. Beathard (0% owned) is the next man up, but as his four career touchdowns against six interceptions would suggest, he isn’t good. Maybe they will give us all a reason to celebrate and trade for Tyrod Taylor.
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