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Titans' Washington will be priority one for this week's waivers
Some of the players listed in Athlon Sports' NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 4 may be one-week adds, some may be season-long adds and some are listed just for you to keep an eye on to stash on your roster if you have the space.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee
Here's another QB that you don't want to waste your one waiver priority spot of the week on, but he has shown he can be an adequate fantasy QB; he is currently ranked 12th among fantasy QBs. Two caveats with Hasselbeck, however: He will be without stud WR Kenny Britt the remainder of the year, but his running game is also non-existent, meaning he will continue to air it out to whatever targets he can find.
Vince Young, Philadelphia
Young has not found the field to replace Vick in the three previous games due to the hamstring injury Young suffered in the preseason. And it's uncertain whether it would be Young or Mike Kafka to replace Vick were he out. I would not waste your first waiver priority on this spot, but Young is athletic, has a good deep ball and has plenty of weapons around him (Jeremy Maclin perhaps not included this week against visiting San Francisco due to a hamstring inuury) to succeed in Andy Reid's pass-happy offense.
Colt McCoy, Cleveland
He's probably not the greatest play this week with Tennessee coming to town and then a bye coming. However, McCoy returns from the bye to get a very favorable passing schedule of Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville and Cincinnati to close out the fantasy regular season. Without the greatest of weapons in Cleveland, McCoy has scored 15 points or more each of the first three weeks. It's not great, but it's consistent.
Curtis Painter, Indianapolis
Ryan Grant, Green Bay
He's probably not available in too many leagues, but I saw him dropped in a few leagues of mine and he is available in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues. He's not the greatest of plays because of James Starks, but the same can be said for Starks. Both of them need to be held on to because they are in a high-powered offense and each of them is injury prone. It stinks that they are just insurance policies for each other, but it's better than some of the other options out there. Just a heads up if you've seen him sent back into the FA pool in your leagues.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco
Ah, the dreaded (read: expected) Frank Gore injury occurred in Week 3. Gore. He injured his right ankle and is not sure of his availability in Week 4 against the Eagles. THIS is the reason you draft Hunter late. Yes, he had 26 yards on nine carries (2.9 YPC) which is terrible, but Gore's 17-for-42 (2.5 YPC) isn't getting it done, either. Hunter added two catches for 12 yards and is a dynamic presence for the 49ers, one that coach Jim Harbaugh needs to learn to use. Hunter also scored from seven yards out. Here's hoping Harbaugh will get Hunter away from the line of scrimmage and find ways to utilize his speed in open space — you know the modern NFL instead of the pounding it into the center of the line, closing your eyes and hoping your running back pops out the other side. That way's not getting it done with an offensive line that has a lot of money invested in it.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City
I've told you to add him to your roster for the last three weeks now. The diminutive Chief is going to see a good portion of the Kansas City offense now that Jamaal Charles is on IR. He is still available in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues, 60 percent of ESPN leagues and 77 percent of NFL.com leagues. Thomas Jones proved as useless as expected against the Chargers Sunday (14 carries 31 yards), while McCluster got 14 touches for 63 yards. And touches is how you have to evaluate McCluster. He had nine carries for 45 yards and five receptions for 17 yards. That's 11.3 fantasy points in a full PPR. Todd Haley looked to McCluster just four times— all passes — in the first half as Thomas Jones wasted time. Assuming Haley looks McCluster's way earlier — I know what they say about assuming and Haley — McCluster has a real shot at breaking out this year.
Willis McGahee, Denver
It was a tough match up against the Titans as expected, but he still scored 12.9 fantasy points thanks to one of his three receptions. He also added 52 yards rushing on 22 carries. He is expected to get the bulk of the carries, as we suspected as the preseason wore down, even when a fully healthy Knowshon Moreno is active. Green Bay and San Diego are up next before the Broncos' bye, not necessarily the most appealing match ups, but his pass-catching ability still makes him a decent flex play in PPR leagues and he could roll into a decent RB2 play in the easier match ups.
Daniel Thomas, Miami
This is probably the last week he will be on this list. He should've been drafted in most leagues but a terrible preseason squashed that for many. He then was inactive in Week 1. But the Reggie Bush as lead back experiment died a quick death, and the rookie from Kansas State has started to show his worth. After a 12.2-point debut against the Texans, Thomas came back with a 20.7-point effort against the Browns. He rushed 23 times for 95 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards, including a touchdown. Bush, meanwhile, had 11 carries and one catch. See where the trend is going here. The Dolphins aren't dynamic enough to use Bush properly and Bush isn't traditional enough to be used as a lead back.
LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets
If the Jets' defense is going to continue to give up points, the Jets offense is going to have to continue to come back. And that is not done with Shonn Greene pounding the rock into the middle of the offensive line. It will be done with the pass-catching abilities of LT, who had five catches for 116 yards and 38 yards on six carries in the loss to Oakland. Pick him up and play him in games in which you think the Jets will trail — i.e. against Baltimore, New England, San Diego, Buffalo and New England four of the next six games.
Jason Avant and/or Steve Smith, Philadelphia
I wouldn't add either with a waiver priority. As a matter of fact, I would wait on news of Jeremy Maclin's hamstring injury before moving at all on either of the two. This is just a heads up. If Maclin were to miss Week 4 against San Francisco, then the door opens for either Avant or Smith. Avant has been targeted 16 times this season, catching eight for 102 yards; Smith, who didn't play in the opener, has eight targets, four catches for 56 yards. It may be a committee approach to replace Maclin if he's out, but it's a position that's been targeted 25 times to the tune of 19 catches, 260 yards and two scores through three games.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
The split between Brown and Emmanuel Sanders was what we eyed early on as the annoyance from a pass-happy offense. Well, Brown has jumped Sanders and looks to have jumped veteran Hines Ward. Brown has 23 targets, 10 catches and 156 yards to Sanders' 11 targets, six catches, 85 yards and Week 1 score. Ward has 19 targets, 12 catches, and 117 yards. It could be something that drives you crazy all season long as these three battle it out in the fantasy world to play opposite Mike Wallace, but Brown has carried his solid preseason into the regular season and looks to be having more plays called his way as opposed to the freelancing of Sanders.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants
First, Mario Manningham (concussion) has already been cleared to play in Week 4. That's fine. The Giants still need a third receiving option. Domenik Hixon is out with an ACL. There is no fantasy-worthy TE. No. 1 Hakeem Nicks has battled knee injuries and was shut down completely against the Eagles. Then there's Manningham, his concussion and his drops in the Rams game the last time we saw him. Cruz stepped in Sunday and caught three balls for 110 yards and two scores. The slot position was golden for Eli Manning when Steve Smith manned it; if Cruz slides in there or stays on the outside, he should have success for the Giants.
Eric Decker, Denver
Decker was certainly a good add from the waiver wire last week after his 24.8-point performance. But he faced a tough match up against a Titans team that still has not allowed a 200-yard passer. Decker still managed a 10.3-point day in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He had seven catches off 12 targets and the Broncos are not going to shy away from the pass as Kyle Orton is 12th in the league with 110 attempts.
Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis
If Curtis Painter is the starting QB all Colts are going to be downgraded even more than they already are. The one spot of hope may be Painter's relationship with Garcon, He caught three balls for 53 yards when Painter stepped in for Kerry Collins and finished with six for 82 in the loss to the Steelers. I'm sure many owners across fantasy have bailed on Garcon through two weeks, and they should. But it's worth keeping an eye on the relationship between Garcon and Painter.
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis
He is available in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues but is Athlon's 39-best WR with 27.7 fantasy points scored. He has 20 targets, 12 catches, 157 yards and a score through three games. Mike Sims-Walker has one more target but has not done as much with the extra look — 10 catches, 133 yards no TDs. Gibson will continue to get the looks until Danny Amendola comes back, and even then it might open things up a little more for Gibson. He has at least 50 yards receiving in each of the first three games, and with the defense getting torched, he will always have opportunities.
Donald Jones, Buffalo
We told you about him Week 1 along with David Nelson. He hasn't been the most consistent of options, but you can't ignore targets. Jones got his biggest share on Sunday when Ryan Fitzpatrick looked his way 10 times and Nelson turned it into five catches for 101 yards. That comes after 11 targets, six catches and 27 yards and a score the first two weeks combined. Fitzpatrick has four passing options off the line of scrimmage — Nelson, Jones, Steve Johnson and TE Scott Chandler to go along with RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jones is worth adding in deep leagues or if you are really getting killed at your WR spot by the likes of Kenny Britt, Jacoby Ford, Mario Manningham, etc.
Lance Moore, New Orleans
He shouldn't be on this list, but I saw he's available in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues. Perhaps he is already owned in all scoring systems where he's relevant — PPR leagues — but I'll give you some info about his season thus far anyway. After missing Week 1 with a groin and being eased in Week 2 (four targets, one catch, 6 yards), Moore blew up in Week 3 by catching all nine targets for 88 yards and a score. He will be inconsistent as a scorer each week, thanks Darren Sproles, but I think he will be the most consistent Saints WR option until Marques Colston gets back and screws it all up.
David Nelson, Buffalo
He is a top-20 receiver in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He was targeted eight times, catching six for 84 yards in the comeback win against New England. He has been targeted no less than six times, caught no less than four balls and had no less than 66 yards receiving each of the first three weeks. Also, he is still available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Sidney Rice, Seattle
He made his Seahawk debut and didn't fare too bad against a putrid Arizona secondary. He was targeted 10 times, catching eight balls for 109 yards from his former teammate in Minnesota, Tarvaris Jackson, under their former offensive coordinator with the Vikings, Darrell Bevil. Not much, if any good, has come from the Seattle offense through two weeks, so it was nice to see some spark in Week 3. I still can't advocate anything out of Seattle right now — well, the 20th anniversary deluxe edition of Nirvana's Nevermind comes out today. I do advocate purchasing that — but Rice plays Atlanta, New York Giants, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dallas, Baltimore, St. Louis and Washington over the next eight games. Six of the eight are allowing over 20 fantasy points a game to WRs through three weeks.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore
It doesn't get much better than your first three catches as a pro going for touchdowns, but that's what Smith did Sunday against the Rams. He stepped in for an injured Lee Evans, who still doesn't know when he will return from his ankle injury. The Ravens wanted to add vertical weapons for Joe Flacco so he could stop it with the check downs, and that was certainly on display Sunday. Smith was brought in specifically to be that vertical threat. One thing to keep in mind: Evans was also traded for a fourth-round pick to be that vertical threat. When he returns, the Ravens are not going to just let him ride the pine. So there might be a split of their workload, but Smith is worth the play now.
Titus Young, Detroit
He continues to get targets and is a speedy playmaker for the Lions. He went from seven targets, five catches and 89 yards in Week 2 to eight targets, four catches and 51 yards in Week 3. This is probably more of a name to keep an eye on as I don't see him being rostered in too many leagues, but as Matthew Stafford looks to lean less on his tight ends and more to other receivers not named Calvin Johnson, Young and Nate Burleson could be in for big years. The problem is: They could alternate weeks doing it, thus making fantasy owners quite angry. Keep an eye on Young and Burleson.
Nate Washington, Tennessee
He certainly paid off as the Sneaky Start of the Week for Week 3, grabbing eight balls for 92 yards and a score. He will have to do that and more from now on with Kenny Britt out for the season. I'm not sure if Washington can operate as the No. 1, but he is certainly worth the add to see if it works out. The Titans are struggling mightily in the run game and QB Matt Hasselbeck seems to have no problem going to the air. Washington has been targeted 27 times through three weeks this season, catching 21 for 258 yards and Sunday's score.
Scott Chandler, Buffalo
I still think there are safer plays at a position so deep, but the problem with them is inconsistency. I would rather look for a player that is targeted at least six times a game on average and see what he can give me. Then there's Chandler. He hasn't received over five targets a game, but all he does is score. He's no different than playing the vulture-TD grabbing RB that LenDale White or Willis McGahee has been in the past. The Bills are going to move the ball and teams keep leaving Chandler wide open in the end zone. If Ryan Fitzpatrick's going to go to him, why shouldn't you?
Randy McMichael, San Diego
Simple: He's Antonio Gates replacement and Malcom Floyd is ineffective, groin injury or not. McMichael caught four of five targets for 51 yards in Gates' absence Sunday. If Gates, the game's top tight end, is going to be a game-time decision each week, then you need to either have insurance for him on your roster, or steal someone else's insurance. The position will be an effective one for fantasy owners, you just have to know who's playing it from week to week.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville
He returned from a calf injury against the Panthers and was targeted just two times for 15 yards. I don't think he's an add just yet — hard to believe a guy with 10 TDs a year ago is still a "keep an eye on" player but he is available in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues. If healthy and motivated (here's hoping the big contract in the offseason didn't make him content), he can be a rookie QB's best friend for an offense that needs some help. MJD and Mike Thomas can't do it all, plus he plays in the AFC South and those teams aren't the greatest at defending the TE position — all were in the bottom half of the league against the position at at least seven fantasy points per game last season.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter