Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
We break down the numerous fantasy football waiver wire possibilities heading into Week 4 of the 2012 season.
Week 3 was totally crazy and what a fitting ending on the Wilson-to-Jennings TD. Now that we're three weeks in, we can start to draw some conclusions on a team's identity and also how defenses stack up. Let's take a look at some players that might be worthy of scooping off the waiver wire heading into Week 4:
It can be tough to know who to cut, so if you're not sure, you can follow me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher and ask.
Jake Locker- All that talk of the decline of CJ2K (on pace for 240 rushing yards) is actually legitimate after three games and it looks like the Titans are going to be a pass-first offense. Locker has some nice weapons around him with Kenny Britt looking healthy, Kendall Wright getting targets and Nate Washington as a nice deep threat. The U.W. product won't be an option next week against the Texans, but he has a decent shot to be a QB1 for the rest of the year.
Bottom line: Locker should be owned in all leagues.
Christian Ponder- It took Christian Ponder about a year, but he's starting to look like a starting-caliber QB. Only Matt Ryan has a completion percentage better than Ponder's 70.1 and the former Seminole ranks fifth in passer rating with 104.9. Percy Harvin just continues to make plays for him, with five of Harvin's nine receptions were thrown to him behind the line of scrimmage. He's also going to get Jerome Simpson back and he's armed with a schedule that has Detroit, Tennessee and Washington over the next three weeks. There's a lot to like here.
Bottom line: He should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Shaun Hill- Shaun Hill lit it up on Sunday. He entered the game with 1:18 left in regulation and put up huge numbers to the tune of 172 yards and two TDs on his 10-of-13 passing. That was good for a 157.9 passer rating (just missed a 158.3 by 0.6 completion percentage). Matt Stafford isn't a lock to play next week and Hill might be able to produce big numbers against a weak Minnesota secondary.
Bottom line: He should be owned by any owner that has a QB concern this week.
Mikel LeShoure- Yeah, Kevin Smith didn't even get a touch or target in the entire game. LeShoure needs to be owned in all leagues. It's pretty simple.
Andre Brown- Another completely obvious add even though Bradshaw could play on SNF.
Ryan Williams- The Cardinals have a pretty good defense. What complements a good D? A strong running game to shorten the game. Football 101 aside, Williams looked pretty good on Sunday with his 13 carries for 83 yards. Beanie Wells has turf toe and he's almost certainly going to be a game-time decision Sunday against the Dolphins. While the Dolphins have been impressive in stopping the run, Williams will still be an RB2 with Wells out of the lineup.
Bottom line: Williams should be owned in all leagues.
Bilal Powell- If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen me rip Shonn Greene at every chance possible. He's terrible. He has no vision and even if he did see a cut-back lane, his skills prevent him from hitting it. He isn't even breaking tackles anymore. He's a lame-duck back. On Sunday Greene received 53 snaps compared to the 35 snaps of Bilal Powell. Rex Ryan said on Monday that Greene is going to continue to lose even more work and this could be a straight split as soon as this week. Joe McKnight is also going to get some touches, so owners that get 10 yards per point for return yards might consider him. As for Powell, he will offer some upside down the line and is more of a roster stash.
Bottom line: Powell should be owned in some 12-team and all 14-team leagues.
Tashard Choice- The prospects for Choice took a hit on Monday afternoon as Fred Jackson said he was at close to 75 percent, according to Adam Schefter. It gets worse. Chan Gailey said he hasn't ruled out C.J. Spiller for Week 4, so there are potentially two guys blocking Choice from seeing a featured load. The former Cowboy was the featured back after C.J. Spiller sprained his A/C joint and turned his 20 carries into 91 yards.
Bottom line: He should still be picked up in all leagues, but don't use a high waiver claim on him.
Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas- Reggie Bush has no structural damage to his knee and he has a chance to play against the scorching hot Arizona defense. Miller and Thomas are far from must-add status in even deep leagues, but it still deserves our attention. Daniel Thomas played 42 snaps on Sunday while Miller logged just 17. Miller, a rookie, has a lot of learning to do and with a rookie under center, blitz protection is paramount. While we know which player has better knowledge, we also know that Miller is a much more talented back. Daniel Thomas is slow, has fumble issues, doesn't hit holes hard and isn't effective in the passing game. Miller should have a huge learning curve in practice this week with Bush likely being limited at best. Miller is the preferred add in deeper leagues for his higher upside.
Bottom line: Miller is a nice roster stash in deeper leagues and Thomas is an add in some 14-team leagues.
Shaun Draughn- Peyton Hillis sprained his ankle on Sunday which allowed Jamaal Charles to get a career-high 33 carries. The rookie out of UNC received seven carries for 22 yards in his least productive outing of the year. Through three games, he has a 5.9 YPC on 18 carries. The talent doesn't really jump off the page with a 40 time of just 4.6 and doesn't really have open-field quickness. When it's all said and done, Hillis has been hurt quite a bit in the past two years and Draughn should flirt with double-digit carries without the Madden boy. He's also one Jamaal Charles misstep away from being number one on the depth chart.
Bottom line: Draughn is a stash in 14-team leagues.
Ronnie Hillman- Knowshon Moreno can go in the "bust" section now. The first-round pick was a healthy scratch after he showed his turnover propensity and lack of elusiveness on Monday Night Football vs. the Falcons. Ronnie Hillman is a nice fit for the Denver offense on passing downs.
Bottom line: Hillman is a high-upside roster stash in 16-team leagues.
Chris Rainey- We're digging deep here, but Rainey is kind of on the radar in leagues as deep as the Mariana Trench. Rainey got more snaps than Jonathan Dwyer and is probably going to be a heavy favorite for most of the third-down snaps by the time Rashard Mendenhall gets back on the field. He also is the Pittsburgh return man for those of you that are rewarded in that department.
Bottom line: Rainey is just on the radar for now.
Donnie Avery- Avery is back yet again as an add and this time it's an even stronger case. He led all WRs in snaps for the Colts and now Austin Collie is going to miss the rest of the season. Fantasy owners shouldn't pay too much attention to the two catches by Avery and look at the nine targets. He's a big injury risk, but there's a ton of upside since Andrew Luck is currently tied for fourth in attempts.
Bottom line: Avery should be owned in all leagues.
Leonard Hankerson- Hankerson was quiet in his start at the X with just four catches for 56 yards. It should get better though. Pierre Garcon could be out another week and Hankerson would be the split end once again. Hankerson has also played well enough to gain a starting job at the Z even when Garcon does come back. Garcon isn't the best route runner in the league and Hankerson has an excellent shot to be the team's best possession receiver. It's also worth noting that the Skins losing Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan on defense and Robert Griffin III might have to sling it.
Bottom line: Hankerson should be owned in 12-team leagues.
Jerome Simpson- The Vikings are excited to have Simpson. Even though when asked about Simpson's suspension ending Percy Harvin said "Let's party," I'm confident in saying the Vikings aren't planning on getting drugs delivered to Lake Minnetonka for Cap'n Smoot II. Joking aside, Simpson becomes a nice fit to the offense in Minnesota. He can stretch the field and should open things up for Percy and the boys. He starts off with a plus matchup this week against Detroit and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him turn in a big game. He's a risky play, but fantasy owners should make a preemptive add for his upside with Christian Ponder looking very good.
Bottom line: He should be owned in some 12-team leagues.
Andrew Hawkins- We knew someone would have to step up as the second option with A.J. Green. Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and Armon Binns got some headlines in the offseason, but it looks like Andrew Hawkins and his 5'7", 180-pound frame is the clubhouse leader as we're three weeks into the season. The Bengals and their passing attack are showing some strides as they currently rank second in the NFL in passer rating (Atlanta). There might be enough balls to go around for Hawkins to have enough value as a WR3 in favorable matchups.
Bottom line: He should be owned in some 12-team leagues.
Derek Hagan- Darrius Heyward-Bey is expected to have a full recovery from the viscous hit by Ryan Mundy. The Raiders are really going to miss DHB and their receiving is extremely young besides Hagan. After the injury to DHB, Hagan and Denarius Moore lead the team in targets with four each while no other receiver even received a target at all.
Alshon Jeffery- Speaking of guys with a case of the drops, Brandon Marshall has been struggling to catch the ball. Alshon Jeffery had his most complete game of his career Jeffery saw 23 percent of Cutler's targets in just his third game. He played 53 of the 72 snaps and is getting close to the 75 percent he needs to have consistent value.His arrow is pointing up.
Bottom line: He will be tough to start, but there's a lot of upside in 12-team leagues.
Jeremy Kerley- Kerley continues to make plays for the Jets. He now has three TDs on the season and has 61 receiving yards per game. Stephen Hill is "iffy" for Sunday's game and Kerley will likely get some more snaps against the Niners. He's a shot in the dark for now.
Bottom line: Kerley is a boom-or-bust roster stash for owners that might need a WR for Week 4.
Travis Benjamin and Josh Gordon- Gordon was a deep-league option that was mentioned at the end of Week 1 and he's back for Week . Pat Shumur said that the Browns are going to shake things up at WR with Greg Little having arguably the worst hands in the league. Little has two bad drops in his 16 targets and Sunday may have been the last straw. Gordon can stretch the field and it will take him some time to get acclimated in the NFL, but there's upside here. Benjamin is slightly ahead on the value meter by playing more snaps than Gordon. Sunday's game against the Ravens certainly won't be useful for fantasy owners. Although, the Week 5 matchup against the Giants could make Gordon or Benjamin a bye-week replacement for owners in deep leagues.
Bottom line: These guys are just on the radar for now and should not be started against the Ravens on Thursday.
T.Y. Hilton- It's not quite time to buy into Hilton just yet. Sure, 113 yards on four receptions and eight targets is enough to move the needle, but it's a very tiny sample size. The beauty of owning Hilton lies not only in the upside of being Andrew Luck's (fourth in pass attempts) third receiver, but Hilton would gain even more value should the 33-year-old Wayne or the oft-injured Donnie Avery go down. Avery is definitely the add, but Hilton is on the radar at the very least.
Bottom line: He's more of a roster stash.
Kyle Rudolph- He's a legit TE1 and should be owned in all leagues. A lot of Vikings in this edition.
Heath Miller- Three TDs in the last two games in pretty good. I'd still rather have Rudolph.
Jacob Tamme- Tamme finally is starting to develop a connection with Peyton Manning. Peyton "Two Million Pizzas" Manning targeted Tamme 10 times and completed just three of them. There should be better things on the horizon. He's a TE2.
Anthony Fasano- Fasano is definitely going to be the leader in end-zone targets for Tannehill.
Dwayne Allen- Got a lot more snaps than Coby Fleener and could be a sneaky pickup in two-TE leagues or as a bye-week replacement.
Jordan Cameron- Five catches and seven targets put him on the grid. Browns changing their plan at WR could help him too.