Week 4 saw our path get rocky and full of pitfalls as multiple players tested positive for COVID-19 and some games were postponed with tentative rescheduling. The waiver landscape became even more crucial than ever with not only injuries to deal with but also alternates for postponed games. There isn’t a lot to splurge on this week, but as we have seen bench depth may be more important in 2020 than any other season.
I group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.
NEW FEATURES – I have made the FAAB suggestion a percentage of whatever your budget is instead of raw dollars. I also separated the quarterback section into suggestions for single and multi-QB formats.
This went to press before both MNF games.
Single QB – A rookie upstart should now be considered in any format
Justin Herbert (5%) – Sunday’s performance put Herbert on the redraft single QB map. He has now started 3 games in the NFL and is averaging 300 yards passing in each game and showing considerable accuracy completing over 70% of his passes. The kicker for Herbert is the upcoming schedule: @NO, NYJ, @MIA, Jax, LV. All five matchups in a row are ripe for fantasy points, and I would be happy to start him as a back end QB1 until proven otherwise.
Superflex / 2QB – No QB injuries opened up new long term starters
Brian Hoyer (10%) – I would really only add Hoyer if you lost Cam Newton as he can be a bridge until Cam is clear from COVID protocol. Early reports are saying he may only miss this week as long as no further complications. But it would be good to prepare for needing a QB in week 5 as well. In a vacuum I have no real interest in Hoyer as anything more than a desperation start if you have no one else.
RB – One potential league winner headlines an otherwise lackluster group
Chase Edmonds (15-20%) – Starter Kenyan Drake exited Sunday under his own power but did not return to the game. In his stead, Edmonds showed his versatile skill set on the ground but also catching 5 passes for 24 yards and a TD. This is a league winning-type add in fantasy leagues. Keep an ear to the ground for Drake updates, but if you don’t hear anything I would be aggressive and assume Edmonds is good for at least a few weeks as a RB1/2. The 50% suggestion would be if Drake is tagged for an extended absence.
D’Ernest Johnson (15-20%) – News Monday confirmed a fairly serious knee injury for Nick Chubb. The expectation is that he will miss 6 week (plan for 8), and Johnson is the next man up behind Kareem Hunt. The third year player caught 72 passes out of the backfield in college and will spell Hunt in this offense. Coach Kevin Stefanski wants to use 2 backs and Johnson can be a FLEX option while Chubb is out.
Justin Jackson (10-15%) – Austin Ekeler suffered what appeared to be a severe leg injury and could barely make it on to the cart. Jackson would be the next man up in this backfield, but he is no Ekeler substitute. Joshua Kelley probably takes more of a feature role in the short term, but there’s a place for Jackson here. Treat him as bench depth or desperation flex while Ekeler is out.
Damien Harris (10%) – Close to being activated, Harris should step in and get 10-12 carries for the Patriots. If he proves to be more effective than Sony Michel, I’d expect he earns more work going forward. Additionally, Michel went on IR Monday afternoon, leaving the early down work up to Harris. If you can snag him now on the low, Harris will pay dividends later in the season.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn (5-10%) – With LeSean McCoy out, Vaughn saw the field and even got into the endzone. His score put the Bucs up for good and it was a nice catch where he had to bully two defenders to break the plane. Until Fournette comes back, Vaughn is now the defacto third down back and that is useful in a Tom Brady offense. Ronald Jones will keep the majority of the work, but Vaughn’s skill set compliments Jones.
WR – Some of these guys should have been picked up last week, but you may have a second chance
Tee Higgins (25%) – For the second week in a row it appears like the X WR torch has been passed ahead of schedule. Higgins saw 7 targets and one carry, coming down with 4 catches and 90 total yards. A.J. Green got 5 targets, but could only muster 1 reception for 3 yards. The Cincinnati legend continues his terribly inefficient year and the rebuilding Bengals have no real reason to force the ball to Green. If he’s available, snag Higgins and enjoy the rookie’s ascension.
Brandon Aiyuk (15-20%) – He had a monster day in week 3 with almost everyone else hobbled but it wasn’t enough to get him rostered on 50% of ESPN teams. As I write this, Aiyuk just took a screen pass 38 yards for a score and legitimately hurdled the last defender to hit paydirt. I think the seal is broken on this explosive first round pick, and Kyle Shanahan has no choice but to get him more involved.
Hunter Renfrow (15%) – Due to receiver attrition, Renfrow finds himself as the second option behind Darren Waller. As long as he’s the only game in town, Renfrow can offer solid PPR floor with his 8-10 targets per game.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (10%) – With Lazard out most of the season post-core surgery, MVS can shine as the main target opposite Davante Adams. He probably won’t be a 10 target beast, but can take any pass to the house. A fill in at WR3 or bench stash for now.
Scotty Miller, Justin Watson (10%) – While Godwin is out (1-3 more weeks) these two receivers will continue to ham and egg behind Mike Evans. Miller is certainly more explosive and can break off big gains while Watson is a reliable slot man. The target tree got pruned again with O.J. Howard going down for the rest of the season with an Achilles tear. Either of these guys are startable in a pinch.
Tim Patrick (5%) – With Courtland Sutton out for the year and K.J. Hamler going down early, Patrick seized the opportunity and saw the team high in targets (7) which he turned into a career game of 6-113-1. The former undrafted free agent has a fun athletic profile, but has yet to make much of an impact on the field. Noah Fant will also be missing for a while so Patrick will see an uptick in snaps and presumably targets in the short term.
Tre’Quan Smith (5%) – With Michael Thomas on his way back, Smith’s time is probably coming to an end. However, he found the endzone twice in week 4 and if you need a plug and play receiver, add him and hope MT needs more time.
Laviska Shenault (5%) – There is not a lot of buzz going around despite his best game as a pro. He’s earning the coaches’ trust and on pace for 116 total targets and carries in his rookie season. A hamstring tweak will keep him under the radar, and make him a good cheap add and stash.
Darnell Mooney (3%) – The former Tulane standout has been creeping up the pecking order and new starter Nick Foles gave him a season high 9 targets in week 4. He now has more targets on the season than Anthony Miller and his deep speed fits well with the tendencies of Foles. I wouldn’t get too excited but there’s some opportunity here for Mooney and the QB change bodes well.
Isaiah Ford (1%) – It pains me to admit this but Preston Williams just isn’t cutting it. Ford has out targeted him in the last 3 games 21-10. Playing primarily in the slot, he has quietly been a useful piece of this Dolphins’ passing attack. Boasting a truly elite prospect profile, the former 7th rounder seems to have carved out a role. This is an offense that will be throwing a lot and Ford is an interesting bench piece.
TE – one underrated player scored again and can help many teams
Dalton Schultz (5%) – It’s fantasy malpractice to have Schultz on your league’s waivers after this week. The Cowboys are a high volume, fast paced offense attached to a terrible defense. Schultz is not Travis Kelce, but with the dearth of tight end option, he needs to be rostered.
Albert Okwuegbunam (1-3%) – Noah Fant’s understudy gets a chance to shine earlier than expected. He is a workout warrior who destroyed the combine which we like for fantasy tight ends. Denver was getting Fant heavily involved so AlbertO has a good chance to have a fantasy relevant stint.
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