Each week, this article will take a look at some of the top waiver claims available in most leagues. We will go position by position, using the following rating system, with each player ranked against others at their position:
4 Stars: Must add player: likely to be a season long difference maker
3 Stars: Strong add: this player is likely to have value all season as a spot play
2 Stars: Short term add: this player could be a good short-term starting option
1 Star: Spot starter: matchups make this player a good spot start candidate
0 Stars: Don’t bother: this player is not worth adding
All players featured here are owned in less than 50% of Y! and ESPN leagues.
Most weeks I will not be able to include recommendations from the Monday Night games in the main column. I usually get to work by 7 AM EST, so I essentially have to choose between updating this column and sleep. Sleep will win out most Mondays, but be sure to check the comment section Tuesday evening for any additional recommendations.
QUARTERBACK – The fantasy universe was again rocked by another massive QB injury. This time, Big Ben Roethlisberger will send his owners scampering to the wire to find a replacement for the next four weeks.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills: ★★★★
Taylor has appeared on this list every week, but this is the first time he has earned 4 stars. This is also the last time he will be listed here. Taylor is the 4th best QB in standard leagues, and I have run out of reasons to doubt him. He amassed an impressive week 3 box score despite playing with a large lead against a tough defense. With the Giants at home next week, it is time to dial Taylor up.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: ★★★
While Carr has not quite had the same level of success as Taylor, I think he could still end up outproducing him over the course of the season. He has a nice complement of weapons and will be among the league leaders in pass attempts. He looks like a high-end QB2 to me.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: ★
For those looking for a budget option, the Jaguars play in Indianapolis in week 4. Against a bad defense where they are likely to be playing from behind, big numbers could be forthcoming.
RUNNING BACK – Overall, production from the RB position has been quite disappointing so far. Amid a steady stream of dud games from expected early round studs, there really have not been very many waiver wire grabs. Here are the best from this week.
Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills: ★★★★
Karlos Williams is a must add after scoring for the third consecutive game and severely outplaying a hobbled McCoy. McCoy may end up resting for a week or two, but even when he returns Williams has assured himself of a flex worthy role with an absurd per carry average of 7.75 yards.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens: ★★★
This one is more about Forsett than it is about Taliaferro. Forsett has really struggled and Taliaferro appears to be the red zone back. Zo was limited this week after sustaining a foot injury in week 2, but his role could be expanding soon.
Antonio Andrews, Tennessee Titans: ★★
The Titans backfield seems like one to avoid due to weekly uncertainty, but Andrews looks to be the lead guy for now. That is worth a waiver claim in most formats, but owners should avoid starting him anytime soon. Sankey appears to have fallen out of favor.
Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks: ★
Rawls will not have a long-term role, but he is worth the add in case the Hawks decide to rest Lynch for week 4. He was clearly running ahead of Fred Jackson last week.
WIDE RECEIVER – As RB production continues to grow more and more unpredictable, WRs keep on shining. The WR pool is quite deep, so there will always be some decent matchup plays available on the wire. Here are the top dogs from week 3.
Leonard Hankerson, Atlanta Falcons: ★★★
Hankerson seems to have passed Roddy White on the depth chart. Hank was only targeted 6 times last week, but White has gone two consecutive weeks without catching a pass. When teams eventually go to extreme measures to slow Julio Jones, Hankerson will be the primary beneficiary. He is a worthwhile flex consideration this week against Houston.
Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals: ★★★
Production will be inconsistent at times, but Jones has big time talent and a knack for finding the endzone. If he is available in your league, consider making the add.
Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins: ★★
I worry about Matthews’ role in the offense long-term, but for now he is producing and worthy of your attention. While Tannehill has struggled, the Dolphins still throw enough to support 3 or 4 fantasy options. Right now, Matthews appears to be the second option, but look for that to change as Devante Parker carves out a larger role.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars: ★
Hurns is not going to be a worthy fantasy option most weeks outside of deep leagues, but he should be on owners’ radar this week. The Colts secondary has one stud cover guy and a bunch of burn victims. Vontae Davis will likely spend most of the game covering Robinson, which should leave Hurns to roam free. I love him as a one week streamer play and low-cost DFS start.
TIGHT END – Despite week 3 duds from a couple of notables like Tyler Eifert and Martellus Bennett, tight ends continue to produce at a high level. There are still some solid options available on the wire in many leagues.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: ★★★★
With many of the young guns performing so well, many owners have given up on Gates. Now is the time to pounce if you need a TE. Gates won’t replicate last year’s numbers, but he will produce in the redzone and do enough to warrant starting in most leagues. Act now, because everyone will be thinking about him after week 4.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills: ★★
Clay appears to be building rapport with Tyrod Taylor after notching TDs in back to back games. Clay faces the Giants this week and could be in for another good game. Jordan Reed repeatedly ran free last week against the G-men and could have had a monster game if not for a couple Cousins under-throws.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – Matchups are everything when looking at DSTs. The best strategy is to pick on opponents with poor QB play and/or inadequate offensive line play. Thanks to a rash of QB injuries, there are a couple decent options for week 4.
Dallas Cowboys: ★★
Dallas had been pretty good defensively before week 3. They got away from their identity a little bit, but they are a good bet to bounce back in New Orleans if Brees continues to sit. With Luke McCown under center, look for the Cowboys to shut down the Saints’ run game and force McCown to beat them through the air.
Cincinnati Bengals: ★★
The Bengals can rush the passer and stop the run. They appear to be legitimate contenders, so they should score some fantasy points as the season moves along. This week’s matchup against the Chiefs is not the best, but we could be looking at a low scoring slugfest.
Oakland Raiders: ★
This pick is not for the faint of heart, but man the Bears looked awful last week. The hope here would be that the Bears will stop themselves, because the Raiders don’t exactly offer a ton of resistance.
KICKER – If you are streaming kickers, it is important to get one from a team likely to win. Nothing can ruin a fantasy box score quicker than negative game flow for your kicker.
Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers: ★★
Gano is a solid kicker playing for a team that is a heavy favorite to win this week. This is what you want!
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders: ★★
The Raiders have been scoring points lately, and Janikowski happens to have a great matchup in Chicago. I like his chances to produce in week 4.
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