Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Top Week 4 Pickups
- WR Santonio Holmes, New York Jets
- RB Bilal Powell, New York Jets
- QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
- TE Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
- D/ST Kansas City Chiefs
- D/ST New York Jets
- D/ST Pittsburgh Steelers
- K Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs
- QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
- TE Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
Sometimes, you have to look for value where others are ignoring it. That should make sense to you after suffering the indignity of watching Brian Hoyer outscore the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Michael Vick, Andy Dalton and Eli Manning.
Heck, Jake Locker and Geno Smith did that, too.
For that reason, we point to the next wave of surprises in the Week 4 Waiver Wire, suggesting you look in places you didn't think you would be looking this season: the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and the irrepressible Kansas City Chiefs.
The six-part slideshow breaks down fantasy football's top waiver-wire options, including:
That last one was thrown in there just so you don't think it is all about the Jets, Steelers and Chiefs. We have all of the adds, players to monitor and the Week 3 statistical anomalies to ignore.
Quarterbacks: Add Ben Roethlisberger and Monitor Geno Smith (Seriously)
Quarterbacks to Add
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
You should not be impressed with the Steelers or Big Ben to date, but there are better days ahead. First, the focal point of Todd Haley's offense, Heath Miller (knee), returned in Week 3. That opened up Antonio Brown for a huge day against a good Bears defense. Second, rookie running back Le'Veon Bell (foot) is expected to play in Week 4, according to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer.
Big Ben threw for 406 yards and a pair of touchdowns (to Brown) Sunday night and next faces a Vikings team that made Brian Hoyer look like a fantasy superstar. If you have Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton on a bye, you might benefit from taking a chance on Big Ben, who is owned in just 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues and active in just seven percent.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Laugh all you want at Smith's arm strength or the fact he dinks and dunks in a West Coast offense for Andy Reid. He can still be a fill-in at quarterback for your bye weeks.
Dwayne Bowe is going to get started. We promise. And the woeful Giants are next up on the schedule. The Giants have allowed the ninth-most points to fantasy quarterbacks through three weeks. Smith, owned in 61 percent of CBS Sports leagues, should be good for at least 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns against that Giants secondary.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is proof we can find fantasy value in the most lowly of places. Freeman is closer to the Bucs bench than anyone's fantasy lineup right now, but he rates as a quarterback with better numbers to come.
It could start for him in Week 4 against a Cardinals defense that has allowed the fourth-most points to quarterbacks in fantasy through three weeks. There is still production to come from Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and even Doug Martin in the passing game. Freeman is going to benefit from his supporting cast eventually.
Quarterbacks to Monitor
Geno Smith, New York Jets
Smith won the battle of rookie quarterbacks Sunday afternoon, throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for a TD. Granted, he had to play a much more fantasy-friendly defense than EJ Manuel did, but he also made Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill look fantasy-viable again.
Remember, Smith is also the quarterback that made the long-forgotten Kellen Winslow look good in Week 1 against a good Bucs secondary. Smith, available in 87 percent of CBS Sports leagues, is not going to be anyone's first choice as a bye-week replacement, especially not this week against a Titans defense that has been top-10 in fantasy against quarterbacks to date, but the Jets appear to have found their quarterback.
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
We will finally admit Pryor looked pretty capable, and he did it against a good Broncos defense Monday night. While the Redskins are next on the schedule—they have given up the second-most points to fantasy quarterbacks—Pryor left Monday night's game late with a concussion. That puts his status for that favorable matchup in doubt in a short week.
Quarterbacks to Ignore
EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills
While he might have lost the rookie showdown to Smith and the Jets, Manuel has showed fairly well against three pretty good defensive teams to date: New England, Carolina and the New York Jets. All three are in the top six of fantasy against quarterbacks thus far.
Baltimore is not a great time to take a chance here, and the schedule thereafter is not that promising. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Miami, New Orleans (yes, it too), Kansas City, Pittsburgh and the Jets again can all play defense pretty well. In fact, Week 15 against Jacksonville might be the only time you truly consider starting Manuel in a one-quarterback league.
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
The surprises don't stop coming from the spunky Titans, and Locker was the biggest of them in Week 3, orchestrating a last-minute rally against the Chargers. Locker did it with his legs (68 yards rushing and a touchdown) and his arm (299 yards passing and a TD). The problem with considering him this week is he's facing that Jets defense that is fifth against fantasy quarterbacks.
Running Backs: Add Bilal Powell and Jacquizz Rodgers, Ignore Ronnie Hillman
Running Backs to Add
Bilal Powell, New York Jets
You likely ignored us when we said start Powell in Week 3 against the Bills. After 149 yards rushing, you cannot ignore Powell now. Available in 30 percent of CBS Sports leagues, Powell is the consensus No. 1 pickup in FantasyPros.com's Waiver Wire rankings.
It is not just the performance against the subpar Bills run defense, either. Tandem back Chris Ivory has another hamstring issue that reportedly will keep him out for an extended period, according to a tweet from ESPN New York's Rich Cimini.
Powell is now the lead dog for one of the most run-heavy teams in football. That Titans run defense is not threatening. Expect another 100-yard week.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons
You ignored Bleacher Report's pre-draft warnings on 30-year-old running backs and stubbornly drafted Steven Jackson. Your bad. Now, you need to make up for it by competing with the 37 percent of CBS Sports leagues that have Rodgers on waivers.
Jackson has a hamstring issue, not a thigh as originally reported, that will keep him out for more than just this Sunday night against the Patriots, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure. That sets up Rodgers as the feature back for the foreseeable future.
Sure, Jason Snelling is a sleeper in deeper formats—add him, too, especially in PPR leagues—but Rodgers was the one that got 18 carries for 86 yards against a solid Dolphins run defense. Snelling is the change-of-pace guy. Neither is a great play against a good Patriots run defense, but Rodgers is a must-own in all leagues because of his starting status for a potent Falcons offense.
Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots
The Pats were going to be a good running team, Stevan Ridley's struggles be damned. Shane Vereen (wrist) is not going to pick up the pieces, and LeGarrette Blount is a plodder who might not be good for much more than a circumstantial goal-line plunge. Bolden is the legit sleeper who emerged Sunday against a good Bucs run defense.
Bolden combined for 100 yards and was used in Vereen's pass-receiving role. If you lost Vereen and are missing his production, Bolden emerged as your alternative this week.
Willis McGahee, Cleveland Browns
The Browns' new feature back is still available in 26 percent of CBS Sports leagues. He will be a lot better than a mere eight carries for nine yards once he gets some real practice time under his belt with the run-heavy Browns. Don't consider him a viable start against a good Bengals defensive front, but his mere status makes him a must-stash in all leagues.
Running Backs to Monitor
Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks
He was supposed to work the garbage time against the Jags, but instead, the Seahawks ran the score up to the point that they decided to work tight end Zach Miller (two short touchdowns) and third-stringer Christine Michael into the mix behind Marshawn Lynch. Consider it good news Turbin wasn't wasted late against the Jags.
Turbin is still the Lynch handcuff over Michael, despite being owned in fewer CBS Sports leagues. Don't consider either of Lynch's backups viable against a good Texans run defense this week. That road game is one that will be Lynch-heavy.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
Like Turbin, we have been jockeying Hunter as one of the most underrated commodities in fantasy football right now. He proved it with a touchdown against the Colts. Thursday night, we still get another good look at Hunter's talents, albeit a time to go back to featuring Frank Gore.
The Rams were exploited by DeMarco Murray in the run game Sunday, so Gore will get a full fantasy workload. Hunter needs a Gore injury to be a true fantasy option, so stash him if you have roster space. A Gore injury is inevitable as a 30-year-old running back, right Steven Jackson owners?
Johnathan Franklin, Green Bay Packers
Despite that 100-yard performance against the Bengals, Franklin is this week's James Starks. Add him off waivers and proceed to have him take up space on you fantasy bench.
The Packers are on bye in Week 4, and James Starks (knee) and/or Eddie Lacy (concussion) can be ready to return as a starter in Week 5, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. All of the Packers running backs are in monitor mode during the bye.
Isaiah Pead, St. Louis Rams
He had everything before him Sunday when starter Daryl Richardson (foot) left after just two snaps. Pead blew it.
He is a viable sleeper in PPR formats, picking up seven catches for 43 yards, but Richardson vows to play Thursday night against the 49ers, according to ESPN's Nick Wagoner. The 49ers might be the worst team in fantasy against running backs right now, but that is fantasy fool's gold. That defense should still be regarded as a bad matchup for running backs.
Pead is nothing more than a handcuff for Richardson owners, while Benny Cunningham and rookie Zac Stacy, who was inactive Sunday, are not worth owning.
Running Backs to Ignore
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Hillman sure looked like a million bucks replacing Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball in the second half against the Raiders, rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. However, he is still No. 3 on the depth chart.
Granted, there is going to be garbage time for him, but the rookie Ball is going to take most of it in future weeks. Like Turbin, the Broncos just blew this one open so bad that they went all the way down the depth chart to keep the true backup/handcuff from injury in meaningless minutes.
Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders
Reece will get looks in PPR formats for his 45 yards receiving and a touchdown Monday night, but he needs a Darren McFadden injury to have any real fantasy value. There are enough waiver-wire options at the running-back position right now to not worry about stashing this low-ceiling fullback.
Here are the other running backs that scored touchdowns Sunday, but you should ignore them unless you are really desperate for a warm body: Jordan Todman, JAC; Alfonso Smith, ARI; Mike Tolbert, CAR; and Ronnie Brown, SD.
Wide Receivers: Add Santonio Holmes and Monitor Kenbrell Thompkins
Wide Receivers to Add
Santonio Holmes, New York Jets
Not only has Geno Smith proved capable at quarterback, but Holmes proved healthy and productive in Week 3. At a mere 20-percent ownership at CBS Sports, Holmes should be the most added player in all of fantasy.
He was good for five catches for 154 yards and a touchdown Sunday and might even rate as a starter for all leagues through the bye season. Holmes still has high-end potential, something you cannot say for any of the other wide receiver waiver-wire options this week. Add him and start him right away.
Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson rates as a starting fantasy quarterback for good reason. His points are going to come from somewhere on a weekly basis, and it won't be tight end Zach Miller. It won't even be Golden Tate, who is over-owned on CBS Sports at 83 percent.
It is going to be Sidney Rice, whom we saw as the Seahawks' No. 1 receiver all along—and that included a healthy Percy Harvin, if only because Harvin is never healthy. Rice, available in almost half of CBS Sports leagues, erupted for five catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns against the lowly Jags and now draws a Texans defense that made fantasy options Eddie Royal and Kendall Wright look starter-worthy.
Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
He has been a forgotten man in fantasy, with ownership barely over 50 percent on CBS Sports. He sure made his presence felt Monday night against the Broncos, ripping off a long touchdown and finishing with six catches for 124 yards.
Regardless of whether Terrelle Pryor (concussion) plays Sunday, you are going to want to consider Moore a starter against a Redskins secondary that has allowed the most points to fantasy receivers.
Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite the Jags' decision to turn the offense back over to Blaine Gabbert, it is time to pick Blackmon up in 30 percent of CBS Sports leagues. Blackmon is serving the final week of his four-game suspension, and he is going to be a significant fantasy contributor through the bye season.
Wide Receivers to Monitor
Kenbrell Thompkins, New England Patriots
The first two touchdowns of Thompkins' career make him intriguing, but he still isn't consistent enough to trust for Tom Brady and fantasy owners. Also, Rob Gronkowski's (back, forearm) return is going to make it far less likely Thompkins reaches the end zone in future weeks. The two touchdowns are the only reasons Thompkins scored fantasy-worthy points (three catches for 41 yards) in Week 3.
Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers
LaFell is a legit sleeper because Cam Newton needs someone to pick up fantasy points this season. Steve Smith is 34 years old, and Greg Olsen is still just a tight end. LaFell would be among the wide receivers to add if he weren't on bye in Week 4.
Stephen Hill, New York Jets
We cannot be convinced Hill's three catches for 108 yards and a touchdown will be more than a fluke going forward. Jeremy Kerley is still the second target behind Holmes for Smith and the Jets.
Donnie Avery, Kansas City Chiefs
Everyone hates Dwayne Bowe for the weakness of Alex Smith. They cannot like Avery, despite the seven catches for 141 yards Thursday night of Week 3. Those targets, receptions and yards are going to go to Bowe and the banged-up set of tight ends in future weeks. Smith is no better than 225 yards on a good week.
Jason Avant and Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles need someone to pick up the ancillary points from Michael Vick and a fast-paced Eagles offense. DeSean Jackson cannot do it all, particularly since he will be double-covered more and more. Avant had the big Week 3, but a looming shootout against the Broncos can make both Avant and Cooper sleeper plays in deeper fantasy leagues that use three-plus receivers—especially during the bye season.
Wide Receivers to Ignore
Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions
Burleson was the No. 2 receiver to Calvin Johnson in a pass-heavy Lions offense, but it wound up being a temporary situation. Ryan Broyles (knee) is going to get healthier as the weeks wear on and Kris Durham is going to get better—and now, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN reports, Burleson will be out with a broken arm from a car crash early Tuesday morning.
Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots
He has shown flashes of promise for Brady, but the Falcons have a solid secondary, Gronk is expected to return and Danny Amendola (groin) might not be far behind. Thompkins is still the second receiver in the short term to high-volume slot guy Julian Edelman, too.
Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers
He has hit some big plays for Newton, but LaFell is still the No. 2 receiver to Smith, and the Panthers are on a bye. Don't bother stashing him among your reserves.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans
The rookie reeled in the game-winning touchdown Sunday, but Jake Locker isn't good enough to make a third or fourth option a consideration for fantasy owners. We still should rank the Titans receivers in this order: Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington and then, perhaps, Hunter. Heck, Damian Williams might even have more value this season than Hunter if something happens to those guys in front of him.
Here are the other Week 3 wide-receiver surprises who don't yet crack the fantasy egg: Marvin Jones, CIN; Doug Baldwin, SEA; Robert Meachem, NO; Earl Bennett, CHI; Austin Pettis, STL; Santana Moss, WAS; Davone Bess, CLE; and Dwayne Harris, DAL.
Tight Ends: Add Heath Miller and Monitor Rob Housler
Tight Ends to Add
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
It was a weak week for the out-of-nowhere tight ends, but don't forget the fact Miller was a top-five fantasy tight end a year ago in the Todd Haley dink-and-dunk Steelers offense Ben Roethlisberger hates so much. Miller returned from reconstructive knee surgery to 35 yards receiving and will be more of a factor as the Steelers move forward in this lost season.
Miller, owned in just 32 percent of CBS Sports leagues, might not merely be a must-add—he might rate as a must-start tight end in all fantasy leagues in short order.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
Lost in the Trent Richardson trade news was the loss of Dwayne Allen (hip) for the season. It makes Fleener one of the breakthroughs at the tight-end position. If you like the surprising production of Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas and missed out on them this fall, you will like the sneaky contributions of Fleener.
Fleener didn't do much against the 49ers defense Sunday, but that puts him under the fantasy radar just enough for you to snatch him, along with his 60 yards and a touchdown that are to come against the Jags in Week 4. He is a must-start tight end this week.
Tight Ends to Monitor
Rob Housler, Arizona Cardinals
Here is one of fantasy's hidden gems. Housler has dealt with a high-ankle sprain and was just only finally active this past Sunday to minute returns (one catch for 13 yards). Housler is a wide receiver trapped in a tight end's body, and he might be just one week from a big surprise.
Don't start him against a good Bucs defense, but definitely consider him a bye-week replacement going forward. He is the next big surprise at the roller-coaster tight-end position.
Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
Like Miller above, Chandler only recently was healthy enough to contribute after reconstructive knee surgery. Chandler has had his moments in fantasy, and EJ Manuel has, too. A tight end tends to be a rookie quarterback's best friend, and there figures to be a lot of garbage time for the lowly Bills going forward. There are a lot worse options at the middling tight-end position.
Joseph Fauria, Detroit Lions
He has some unique tight-end dances and is a nephew of former Seahawk Christian Fauria, but he still doesn't get more than circumstantial looks in the red zone. Defenses pay close attention to Calvin Johnson down there, but until Fauria completely makes Brandon Pettigrew go away, you shouldn't trust Fauria in your fantasy lineup.
Tight Ends to Ignore
Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks
Chalk Miller's two short touchdowns up to the Seahawks merely giving teams something else to plan for in the red zone. When playing real teams in meaningful minutes, the Seahawks are going to put the ball in the hands of Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate—you know, good players.
Here are the other tight ends who made circumstantial contributions in Week 3 but can be ignored in fantasy: Luke Willson, SEA; Gavin Escobar, DAL; Dion Sims, MIA; and Levine Toilolo, ATL.
Defense/Special Teams: Add the Chiefs, Jets and Even the Steelers
Defense/Special Teams to Add
Kansas City Chiefs
OK, it is time to stop being stubborn here. The Chiefs are a legit fantasy unit. They have talent all around with Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry, they are scoring fantasy points and have the woeful turnover- and sack-prone Giants—dead last in fantasy against opposing D/STs—next on the schedule.
Add and start the Chiefs in all leagues. Sorry we are late to the party.
New York Jets
It wasn't a great performance against the Bills on Sunday statistically, but the Titans shouldn't scare you this week, either. The Jets have emerged as one of the favorites among fantasy owners who stream D/STs, so much so they might be emerging as a set-it-and-forget-it unit.
The season looks lost, but the Vikings are next up on the schedule. Christian Ponder can make a bad defense look good. Consider this still-defensive-minded team a viable start in all leagues this week against the Vikings.
Defense/Special Teams to Monitor
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Darrelle Revis has helped change the way the Bucs play defense, and they are still one of the best in the league against the run. The Bucs aren't a great play in fantasy yet, but if you're desperate, you can consider this unit viable against the Cardinals and error-prone Carson Palmer. There are going to be some good weeks out of the Bucs D/ST to come.
Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers
The Panthers had to really open eyes against the Giants. If not for a bye week, like the Packers, you might consider these units fantasy-viable. They figure to be solid matchup plays down the road, and the fact they are getting their bye weeks out of the way here will help in formats that limit transactions.
Defense/Special Teams to Ignore
Ignore what you saw in Week 3. The Browns are still a bad football team, even if they can play a little bit of defense. The Bengals are next up in Week 4, and Andy Dalton will play conservatively here.
It will be hard to find any use for the Browns in fantasy this season, because they are going to be a heavy underdog against everyone they play, save for the home games against the Bills in Week 5 or Jacksonville in Week 13. By that time, even both of those opponents should have promising offenses clicking—the Bills because of EJ Manuel's maturation and C.J. Spiller/Steve Johnson and the Jags because of fantasy options Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon.
Kickers: Add Ryan Succop, Monitor Mason Crosby (Bye) and Ignore Dan Carpenter
Kickers to Add
Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs
Clearly, Andy Reid has turned around the Chiefs' fortunes in a hurry, and Jamaal Charles really hasn't even truly popped off yet. Succop is owned in a mere 10 percent of CBS Sports leagues, but he might rate as a must-start option against the woeful Giants, who are tied for second worst in fantasy against kickers.
Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins
The rookie continues to impress, and the Dolphins are a surprising team in the early going. Sturgis has a strong and accurate leg—he hit a 50-yarder in Week 3, something tough to do on grass and at sea level in Miami. In Week 4, the Dolphins will be in controlled conditions against a Saints defense that promises to keep the Dolphins out of the end zone.
Kickers to Monitor
Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
He is reemerging as one of the kickers to have in fantasy, mostly because of the productivity of the Packers offense. They have even found a running game! The Packers are on a bye, but if you want to set and forget your kicker position after this week, pick up Crosby before he will be the most added kicker for Week 5.
Randy Bullock, Houston Texans
Bullock finally nailed some kicks, and we have said all along that someone is going to prove fantasy-starter-worthy kicking for the Texans. Don't consider him in Week 4 against the Seahawks defense, though, even if you see it being a field-goal fest.
Kickers to Ignore
Josh Brown, New York Giants
You had good reason to consider Brown this year, thinking the Giants would have a potent offense and take part in a lot of shootouts. After all, the Giants made Lawrence Tynes the No. 1-scoring kicker in fantasy a year ago. Now, that Giants offense looks hideous. Brown shouldn't be owned in any leagues, much less his 39 percent at CBS Sports.
Dan Carpenter, Buffalo Bills
He is coming off a four-field-goal week, but the Bills could just as easily get shut out against the Ravens in Week 4. Owning a mediocre kicker who has a rookie quarterback is a bad strategy.
Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.