By Week 4, fantasy owners have a sense of who will help their team and who is just taking up space at the end of their bench. Week 4 also is the first of the bye weeks, with Philadelphia and Green Bay not playing. As the bye weeks start, fantasy owners need to be aware of holes in their roster. It's never too early to start thinking about the week ahead, especially when it comes to waivers.
Following Week 3, only a few players were injured and are sending fantasy owners scrambling to the waiver wire. Shane Vereen is going to miss a couple of months (likely the rest of the fantasy season) and Ryan Mathews is nursing an ankle injury, but he is on a bye this week. Here are some waiver wire options for those needing to fill their roster.
Some players that are now droppable include: Shane Vereen, Adrian Peterson, Ameer Abdullah, Tyler Lockett and Devin Funchess.
Here are players to pick up if they are available in your league:
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (21 percent owned)
He is on a bye in Week 4 so he isn't going to help the Aaron Rodgers owner. However, for owners looking for a backup quarterback or have a QB with a bye week coming up, now is the time to pick up Wentz. He has thrown a touchdown in each of his first three NFL games and he has yet to throw an interception. He's looked and played more like a veteran than a rookie, and while he has had two easy opponents (Cleveland, Chicago), his performance against Pittsburgh last week solidified him as a QB who can be a starter for fantasy leagues. In Week 5 he faces Detroit, which is another good matchup.
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears (28 percent owned)
Savvy fantasy owners picked up Howard before Week 3, not knowing that Jeremy Langford was going to get hurt, obviously, but seeing his appeal and upside decline. With Ka'Deem Carey coming back from a hamstring injury, Howard is the only completely healthy running back in Chicago (save for Tuesday’s Joique Bell signing, which doesn't affect Howard's value). Howard has given fantasy owners a small sample size, but in Week 3, he did rush for 45 yards (on nine carries) and he caught four passes for another 47 yards. In a year where a healthy running back is scarce, Howard is a must-own.
Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants (4 percent owned)
With Shane Vereen out for the rest of the fantasy season, Rashad Jennings is left as the lead running back. However, Jennings missed Week 3 with a thumb injury. The next man up is Darkwa. He ran for 53 yards in Week 3, but should have a bigger workload moving forward. Jennings could return for Week 4, which will dip into Darkwa's value, but he will still have touches. Bobby Rainey is available in almost every league, and is worth a look in deep PPR leagues as he'll handle the passing downs.
Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens (13 percent owned)
When Dixon tore his MCL in the preseason, he fell off the fantasy radar. Owners in deep leagues drafted him and have stashed him, knowing that he was likely to return in Week 4 or 5. While he may not play in Week 4, this is the time to pick him up and stash him for another week or two if you have the bench space. Dixon looked like the best running back in Baltimore and there currently isn't anyone that has taken the job and run (well) with it. He will be a starting running back when healthy and active, and may end up being a difference-maker for fantasy owners down the stretch.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns (26 percent owned)
In Week 3, Pryor rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown, recorded eight receptions for 144 yards and also went 3-for-5 as a passer for 35 yards. Pretty much the only thing Pryor didn't do was kick a field goal, although at this point, would anyone be surprised if he did that too? Pryor will earn fantasy owners points in all different ways as the Browns try to find creative ways to get their offense going. Even with Josh Gordon coming back in Week 5, Pryor should still be owned because of the value he offers. He'll take snaps at quarterback, he'll run the wildcat, and he's always an option to score a touchdown.
Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys (22 percent owned)
Through three games, Beasley is quietly averaging more than 70 yards per game. He hasn't found the end zone, but he has been a target monster for the Cowboys. Beasley has established himself as Dak Prescott’s favorite target in the early going, leading the team in that department with 25, compared to 23 for Dez Bryant and Jason Witten’s 20. Bryant is banged up (again), and if he is to miss any time, Beasley will have an even bigger role. He's not a must-add, but for teams needing a wide receiver that should provide a solid five or six points in standard leagues and double that in PPR leagues, Beasley is an option.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (44 percent owned)
With at least eight targets in each of the three games so far this season, Rudolph is becoming fantasy relevant. He has a touchdown in each of the last two games, and Sam Bradford is clearly looking for him in the red zone. Rudolph faces the New York Giants and the Houston Texans in Weeks 4 and 5 before the Week 6 bye. Most fantasy owners aren't looking for a tight end for Week 4, but Delanie Walker or Antonio Gates owners may want to pick up Rudolph in case they need him.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Terrelle Pryor photo courtesy of www.clevelandbrowns.com)