Fantasy: Five early waiver wire targets for Week 4

Early Waiver Wire targets for Week 4

By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)

The early and afternoon slate of Sunday NFL games has come to a close, and as usual, there are a ton of storylines to think about. Below are five early Week 4 waiver targets who could help your fantasy team.

NOTE: These players are rostered in 40% or less of ESPN leagues.

Chuba Hubbard (RB, Carolina Panthers)

Hubbard is the obvious home-run waiver add of the week, as his fantasy value could skyrocket with Panthers starting RB Christian McCaffrey out multiple weeks. When McCaffrey left in the second quarter of Carolina’s matchup with Houston, Hubbard stepped up, ending up with 11 carries for 52 yards along with three catches for 27 yards in the receiving game. This was a very encouraging stat line for Hubbard, a fourth-round rookie seeing his first meaningful NFL action, and it was clear that the coaching staff favors him over veteran backfield mate Royce Freeman.

Hubbard’s schedule over the next few weeks is also very favorable, with matchups against Dallas, Philadelphia, the Vikings, and the Giants on tap. Hubbard is a player worthy of a good portion of your season-long FAAB budget, and RB-needy teams should consider going all-in on the rookie out of Oklahoma State.

Kirk Cousins (QB, Minnesota Vikings)

Don’t look now — Cousins, who was the fantasy QB11 through the first two weeks of the season, is currently sitting as the QB6 on the week with two games left to play. The Vikings were able to secure their first victory of the season against Seattle, and with it came another good performance for Cousins, who passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns with a stellar 78.9% completion percentage. With three straight games of 22+ fantasy points, Cousins has officially left the streaming category, and he now becomes a player who should be rostered in most leagues, as well as someone who can be played with confidence in a favorable matchup.

Sammy Watkins (WR, Baltimore Ravens)

Watkins produced solid numbers in Weeks 1 and 2 of this year, and today was no different, as he caught four passes for 68 yards on seven targets against the Lions. Watkins has received at least seven targets in every game so far this year, and he’s had 26.8 half-PPR fantasy points so far despite not yet scoring a touchdown.

Fellow WR Rashod Bateman, who has missed the start of the year with a groin injury, has an unclear status for Week 4, but even if he does play, he may not be heavily involved, due to it being his first career NFL game. Bateman, who was a first-round pick, will eventually get acclimated into this offense, making Watkins best as a short-term pickup, but for now, Watkins’ target share means that he is certainly worth a stash on your bench.

Tim Patrick (WR, Denver Broncos)

Patrick has been quietly productive for a long stretch dating to the middle of last year, and his future outlook looks much more favorable with the news of fellow WR K.J. Hamler’s knee injury. Hamler left Sunday’s game against the Jets early with the injury, and his status is unknown, making Patrick well worth a waiver pickup.

Patrick has 12 catches and two touchdowns so far this year, and he’s scored double-digit fantasy points in all three weeks so far, piling up 98 yards on five catches in Week 3. With Jerry Jeudy also out for the foreseeable future, Patrick will have an opportunity to take a consistent starting WR role with this team, which could end up paying major dividends for his fantasy value.

Zach Pascal (WR, Indianapolis Colts)

It was another week with a solid target share for Pascal, but unfortunately, he couldn’t capitalize, reeling in just two of his seven targets from QB Carson Wentz. Despite his poor showing in Week 3, Pascal still totals 34.7 half-PPR points on the year, and he’s been helped by red zone targets, with three touchdowns already in 2021. That’s not bad for the former undrafted free agent. Pascal has 18 targets through the first two weeks of the season, and he should continue to be involved in the future, making him worth an add for those who need WR help.

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 2   

It is waiver wire time!

By: Rishi Patel

Welcome to this new NFL column where I will be preaching my advice about which fantasy players you should pluck off your waiver wire each week during this NFL season. My name is Rishi Patel, I’m a sportswriter who’s dabbled across many sites and hopes to be the king of fantasy football advice one day.

During each NFL season, there are usually sleepers that emerge who you should pick up off the waiver wire due to various reasons, such as better performances than expected, injuries, etc. It’s important to make good use of the waiver wire as players from here could sometimes be good depth and even a starter for your team in critical stretches. Let’s look at some players you should consider for this week:

Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills

Veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders is no longer a fantasy stud, but he could certainly remain in the flex conversation going forward after putting up four receptions for 52 yards on eight targets in Week 1 with his new team, the Buffalo Bills. The veteran should be in contention for the WR2 role behind Stefon Diggs as the season progresses. He’s worth adding for now and potentially starting down the road if he shows out. 

Mark Ingram II, Houston Texans

The Texans have quite a jumbled backfield with a few backs fighting for touches, but Mark Ingram stood out in Week 1. Is he a starting play going forward? That’s probably something that doesn’t have an answer as we will have to wait and see if he takes the majority of touches in the coming weeks.

But he did well in Week 1 as he had 26 carries for 85 yards and a score. Meanwhile, Phillip Lindsay had only eight carries and David Johnson had three. Ingram’s a great player to stash on your bench for now. 

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

Mitchell will be one of the most popular pickups this week given that 49ers starting RB Raheem Mostert will be out for the season with a knee injury. When Mostert went down in Week 1, the rookie out of Louisiana stepped up big and took 19 carries for 104 yards and a score. 

Mitchell is a good candidate for the RB1 role going forward after this performance. He’s worth picking up in fantasy and could eventually become a good starting play if he shows consistency. For now, it’s best to add him only. 

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Look, the calls for Trey Lance may keep picking up as the season progresses, but Jimmy G had a thing or two to show during Week 1’s close win over the Lions. The embattled QB put up 314 yards and a score on 68% completion. As long as the QB plays efficiently and turnover-free, it would be hard for coach Kyle Shanahan to bench him. Jimmy G. could certainly warrant streaming consideration if he plays like this in the upcoming games. 

Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions

Former Packer Jamaal Williams, though expected to be the RB2 in Detroit behind D’Andre Swift, played like a RB1 in Week 1. Williams took nine carries for 54 yards and a score (compared to Swift’s 11 carries for 39 yards) and also chipped in in the passing game to the tune of eight receptions for 56 yards on nine targets. While Swift did have 65 yards receiving as well, the numbers for the two backs were more similar than many may have thought.

If Williams can keep up these types of numbers in the passing and rushing game, he would be a decent flex play each week. For now, he’s worth adding to your bench. 

Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals

While it’s evident QB Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins are studs for Arizona, the team will need another WR to step up and play at an elite level. While Christian Kirk shined in Week 1, he hasn’t really stood out during his brief NFL career, but rookie Rondale Moore could start off his career with a bang.

Moore finished Week 1 with four receptions for 68 yards on five targets and looked fantastic in his NFL debut. While it remains to be seen if he can keep up these numbers, he’s certainly worth adding as depth. 

Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos

The Broncos suffered a huge blow when Jerry Jeudy went down with a high ankle sprain in Week 1’s win over the Giants. Now, Jeudy will be out for roughly four to six weeks and Denver needs another WR to step up alongside Courtland Sutton.

The likely candidates to do that are Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler. While none of these guys had a standout performance (Patrick: 4/39/1 and Hamler: 3/41/0) in Week 1, it’s expected both of these guys will see more targets now that things will be opened up a bit. Both are worth stashing right now. 

Why the Broncos have the most underrated wide receiver core

Broncos WR core is very underrated

By: Jordan Anders

Looking back at the 2020 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos took two wide receivers with their picks in the first and second round. Their first pick was Jerry Jeudy from Alabama, picked 15th in round one, then KJ Hamler from Penn State picked 46th in round 2. Adding depth in the wide receiver core was important last year and after the 2020-2021 season, the two rookies have a promising career in Denver.

After a season-ending injury to the Denver Broncos top wide receiver Courtland Sutton last season, it was up to Tim Patrick and rookies to carry the offense. Combining Patrick’s, Jeudy’s, and Hamler’s experience they got last season with more touches and Sutton’s comeback season he’ll have this year, this group is, unfortunately, being overlooked.

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick had a breakout season last year in his third year in the NFL and with the Broncos. As far as the numbers, Patrick caught 86% of his contested targets 20+ yards downfield, first among all wide receivers. After missing half of the 2019 season due to an injury, he came back to lead the Broncos in receiving touchdowns. On top of that, last year he had 0 drops on 74 targets. Patrick had 6 touchdowns and 33 first downs on 742 receiving yards. Tim Patrick not only took a huge jump last season compared to his first two but he stepped up in the absence of Sutton.

Jerry Jeudy

With a 4.46 40 yard dash and quite frankly the best route runner in the league, Jerry Jeudy is a star in the making for this team. Connections between Jeudy and Broncos quarterback Drew Lock weren’t the greatest last season, but Jeudy was still able to put up numbers with the targets he got. Jeudy had 52 receptions and 3 touchdowns to combine with 856 receiving yards. This off-season, if Jeudy and Lock work a lot on building their connection and Jeudy can work on not dropping the ball, Jeudy could have an amazing upcoming season.

KJ Hamler

Out of this wide receiver core, KJ Hamler saw the least amount of time on the field as the others. Despite this, Hamler has 30 receptions and 3 touchdowns on 381 receiving yards, which are great numbers for only starting 4 games and playing minutes in only 13 out of the 16 games. Expectations for Hamler going into his second year is for him to keep performing even with the limited minutes and touches, especially with a full performing wide receiver core this season.

Courtland Sutton

Going from a pro bowl year in 2019 to sitting the entire 2020-2021 season to an injury, Courtland Sutton is most certainly itching to get back. There’s no denying the connection that Drew Lock and Sutton had right away in 2019 and the numbers back it up. In 2019, Sutton had 72 receptions, 6 touchdowns, and 50 first downs. He had 1112 receiving yards while averaging 15.4 yards per reception. Courtland Sutton is very underrated as a wide receiver, no doubt he’s coming back better than ever this upcoming season whether he gets the recognition or not.

Three Potential Landing Spots For Tim Patrick: A Return to Denver?

Where Could Tim Patrick Land?

By: Teddy Ricketson

Tim Patrick is a restricted free agent coming off of a 2020 campaign with the Denver Broncos. Going undrafted in 2017 out of Utah, Patrick was signed and eventually cut by the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers before eventually landing with the Broncos. Now the 27-year-old restricted free agent is looking for a new deal and trying to use his best season of his career as leverage.

What is Patrick bringing to a team? For starters, Patrick can spread the field using his 4.47 40 speed which is great for a 6 ft. 4 receiver. He has really good hands dropping only five passes in his career with none of those coming in 2020. And, he has great field awareness proven during his four reception, 44 yard, two TD performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13. His main con is that he has found it hard to stay on the field. Even in college, he played 18 games in his career, but missed 17. If he can stay healthy, he is a cheap, reliable option that can benefit a receiving corps.

So where could/should he go?

  1. Baltimore Ravens

I know it is probably odd to pick a team that isn’t going to pass the ball all that much, but they also need more talented depth when it comes to pass catchers. Their number one receiving option is their tight end, and sure WR Marquise Brown can get down the field in a hurry, but Lamar Jackson either tucks and runs or dumps it down.

With the addition of Patrick, Jackson would have another receiver that hovers around the first down line that could draw attention away from TE Mark Andrews and Brown. Patrick’s average depth of target this season was 12.5 yards which would give Jackson a mid-point dump-off to spread out the offense.

Last season’s WR2 for the Ravens, Willie Snead, is a free agent so the Ravens should take advantage of the growth Patrick has shown with the Broncos and give a cheap deal to the player they initially signed back in 2017.

2. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons make this list because their team identity is to be pass heavy and I don’t think drafting a RB high is going to change that and make them a run-first team. Matt Ryan is going to sling the ball with whatever time he has left in the league.

Julio Jones is injury prone, but also aging and the rest of the WR unit for the Falcons young stud Calvin Ridley, and then behind him is ….exactly. Tim Patrick is not going to be a team’s WR1, but he can be an effective role player. The Falcons had the fifth-highest total drops on the season, so they could do much worse than bringing in a cheap option that can be reliable when on the field.

If Patrick can join this offense and still put up his supplemental usage numbers, or even close to it, of 742 yards and six TDs, the Falcons can use that high draft pick on a RB they desperately need, and they will actually resemble a complete offense.

3. The Detroit Lions

I would lose all credibility as a writer if I did an article about a WR and didn’t say that the Lions could use him. The ONLY WR from the 2020 Lions roster that is guaranteed to be under contract with the Lions in 2021 (barring a trade) is Quintez Cephus.

The Lions are in full rebuild mode with the Stafford/Goff trade completed with the Los Angeles Rams earlier this offseason so the age of Patrick shouldn’t bother them. Patrick, again, would be a cheap option having never made $1 million in a single season. At the very least, he is a better option than Cephus at the moment.

Patrick played at least 65% of snaps in every game this season and even though he had never had a long-term deal, he has the veteran field awareness and he could be a good option for Jared Goff as the Lions work towards the future.

Honorable Mention: The Denver Broncos

The Broncos are expected to get Courtland Sutton back and will return Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. Patrick would continue to battle for that WR3 position, but he didn’t have a *bad* year by any means.

Why not bring Patrick back to fill that role and see if he can continue to build on his recent success?

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