The third week of the 2016 regular season is just about coming to a close, with only the Monday Night Football game remaining. Most fantasy football leagues will run their waiver wires late Tuesday or early Wednesday, but we are here to help you get a jump on the best options to consider.
We will be ranking the top five players likely to be available in your league at each of the four major positions. Some weeks there might not be five good options available, but we’ll scour for the best we can find. Additionally, throughout the week, we will update each of these articles as ownership percentages change (via Yahoo!) and news arrives.
Editor's update: Shane Vereen is out for the season. Thomas Rawls is out for as much as 5-6 weeks with a fibula injury. Tough weekend. Additionally, Wendell Smallwood led the Eagles with 17 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown after Ryan Mathews got hurt. Kenjon Barner had eight carries for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Waiver wire running back rankings, Week 4
1. Shane Vereen, New York Giants (44 percent owned)
With Rashad Jennings out in Week 3, Vereen took on an expanded role to great effect. The New York running back rushed for 67 yards and a score on 11 carries and added 28 yards on two receptions. Vereen was targeted 5 times, and his increased involvement in the offense without Jennings is great for his fantasy potential. As long as Jennings remains sidelined and/or limited due to injury, Vereen will continue to produce fantasy points.
2. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (39 percent owned) - now 45 percent owned
Sproles will always be involved in the offense in Philadelphia, and in Week 3 he showed his full potential as a shifty safety valve for Carson Wentz who can also break off long runs to the end zone. The Eagles running back caught six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown as the team’s leading receiver in Week 3. It would appear that the better the opposing team’s pass rush, the more Wentz will need to rely on Sproles as an outlet. While the Eagles are on bye in Week 4, Sproles would be a very good acquisition in PPR leagues and worth a play in standard leagues as well (depending on the matchup).
3. Fozzy Whitaker, Carolina Panthers (36 percent owned) - now 28 percent owned
Another running back that has benefited from a starter going down to injury, Whitaker was able to produce in Week 3. The Panthers faced a strong Vikings defense, but the Carolina running back was able to rush for 22 yards on five attempts and added 34 yards on five receptions. In Week 4 Whitaker faces an Atlanta defense that should be at least slightly more beatable than Minnesota. In addition, the Panthers were trying to catch up to Minnesota for most of Week 3, which provided Whitaker with fewer rush attempts than expected. While Stewart is out Whitaker is a good start, especially in PPR leagues.
4. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (24 percent owned) - now 23 percent owned
Matt Forte has had the vast majority of carries thus far in the season; however, in Week 3 Powell took on a bigger role. Powell rushed for 30 yards on four attempts and added 41 receiving yards on six catches. He also fumbled the ball once in Week 3 but still produced decent numbers in a PPR format. It’s unlikely that Forte is able to sustain his current workload and avoid injury all season, and with Powell’s usage increasing in Week 3 he may be worth acquiring now as his usage will likely increase in coming weeks.
5. Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins (16 percent owned) - now 12 percent owned
Drake may have been outperformed slightly by Jay Ajayi fantasy wise, but he looked to outperform Ajayi on the field. Drake rushed for 37 yards on nine carries and added 11 yards in the air on two receptions. Ajayi’s fantasy day was salvaged by a touchdown, but with Foster likely out for more time this season due to injury Drake could be the running back of the future in Miami. The Dolphins’ running back situation continues to be muddled, but Drake appears to be the starter and the most likely to produce fantasy value.