Watch Jake Trowbridge AKA Matthew McConaughey’s Top Waiver Add for Week 4!
No movie references or sarcasm this week. The fantasy football community lost someone truly beloved in Mike “Tags” Tagliere this week. As I sat on my bed and scrolled through my timeline on Saturday, I saw so many people thanking him for assisting them with their fantasy teams and how much he’ll be missed on podcasts. I also saw the messages from people in the fantasy sports industry who Tags helped get their start or was there to be a sounding board when needed. I never had the chance to meet him in person but I’ve heard from many people who knew and loved him well. The same people remembering and mourning are the ones who have encouraged, guided, and helped me. Tags never got to hear how much he was appreciated to the degree of what people are saying now. So let me encourage you, whatever you do in life, whether it be a stay-at-home dad, high school principal, or fantasy analyst: tell the people who have helped and encouraged you how much you love them and how much their help has meant to you. None of us know how long we have on this earth, but what we do know is how to say thank you. So while it might be too late, thank you Mike Tagliere for being a beacon in this industry and helping so many people. Thank you for your positivity which has rubbed off on so many of your listeners, colleagues, and fellow analysts. Your legacy is an everlasting ripple in this industry and you will be missed.
My goal is to keep it simple with the waiver wire recommendations in terms of layout. I will include player, team, roster percentage, free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) dollar amount (in percentage) I would use on the player, and of course a little background on why the player is being suggested. The players will be listed by position in order of priority. The threshold I work with is generally less than 50% rostered in leagues. I also want to provide you something quick and easy to pull up while making your waiver claims on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. At the bottom of every article, you will find the “wavier cheat sheet.”
QUARTERBACK – You’ll be pulling from a shallow pool this week with a pair of resident members of the waiver wire column.
53% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Derek Carr has three straight games of over 380 passing yards and multiple touchdowns. It is the type of production you look for in a starting quarterback. Many are talking of this being the Carr breakout, but it might have started last season when he finished the year with over 300 yards passing in four of his last five games. Eight weeks is admittedly a small sample size, but it looks like coach John Gruden finally has confidence and happiness in his seventh-year quarterback. Carr is available in roughly 45% of leagues, so those in shallower leagues should go out and grab him. This may be your last chance.
22% Rostered | 6% of FAAB
I am not fully sold on Sam Darnold just yet for the rest of this season. However, the next three weeks he has matchups against the Cowboys, Eagles, and Vikings. It is hard to not to see more great production in those games. Whether it be with his arms or his legs, Darnold has two touchdowns in each of his three games this year. He has also been over 300 yards passing in two of those three games. Even though he has three rushing touchdowns, he is not of the “Konami Code” class with only seventeen rushing yards on the season. The injury to star running back Christian McCaffrey last Thursday will likely have Darnold leaning on his receivers more with one of them hopefully being the surprisingly lost Robby Anderson. I’m not using much FAAB (free agent accusation budget) on Darnold, but if I started my season off with Matt Ryan, Trevor Lawrence, or Ben Roethlisberger I am looking to make an inexpensive switch at least for the next three weeks.
RUNNING BACK- The consensus number one pick is out for at least three weeks leaving some hunting on the waiver wire for temporary replacements.
25% Rostered | 50% of FAAB (more for McCaffrey managers)
The consensus number one player in fantasy, Christian McCaffrey, has gone down with a hamstring injury and it is hard to not feel a bit panicked. His backup being unproven rookie Chuba Hubbard doesn’t ease many of those fears. Hubbard did have a good performance towards the end of last Thursdays’s game against the Houston Texans. Forty-two of Hubbard’s fifty-two yards came in the final two series of the game when the Panthers had a fifteen-point lead. The good news, if you want to bestow such a name on the news, is McCaffrey was not put on the injured reserve and is expected to miss about three weeks. The Panthers next three matchups aren’t absurdly difficult with a weakened Dallas defensive line, the Eagles, and the very 2021 vulnerable Vikings on the slate. Hubbard is worth a good portion of your FAAB if you are the McCaffrey manager and the maximum 40% if you are not. There is always a chance of injury reoccurrence. According to Doctor of Physical Therapy Adam Hutchinson, “reoccurrence rates jump to 25%” when the player misses three of more games.
Cordarelle Patterson|Atlanta Falcons
61% Rostered | 20% of FAAB
Mike Davis out carried Cordarelle Patterson on Sunday, but with the injury to Russell Gage the wide receiver designation is what came out to shine. I am not even sure why I put him in the running back column this week. Still Patterson put up another week of double-digit fantasy points hauling in six receptions for eighty-two yards and twenty yards rushing. The totals were good enough for 16.2 PPR fantasy points, a step down from his 23.9 performance in Week Two, but still respectable. The Falcons have a matchup with the Washington Football Team in Week Four. The matchup on paper is tough, but the Football Team’s defense has looked like a shell of its 2020 self. I’ll expect another good PPR performance from Patterson this week.
16% Rostered | 12% of FAAB
The Buccaneers backfield was one of the biggest question marks of the offseason. Who ever had the “Tom Brady as leading rusher on the Bucs for Week Three” is a very rich person this morning. Please send help. I am currently writing this from the service center of a car dealership and the way they are laughing at their desks: Its not going to be cheap. Anyways, Giovani Bernard didn’t have a single carry on Sunday, yet I am still recommending you add him for Week Four’s marquee matchup against the Patriots. Even though he had no carries, Bernard led the team in targets and receptions adding a touchdown for a total of 20.1 PPR fantasy points. The Buccaneers secondary is struggling and it appears Bernard has the passing downs back role locked up should they find themselves in catch-up or shoot out situations. Bernard was attended to on the field at the end of his touchdown run, but walked off on his own power.
7% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
Peyton Barber had a very good game against the Dolphins on Sunday rushing for 111 yards on twenty-three carries with a touchdown. He had over double the total touches of teammate Kenyan Drake, but I’d still drag my feet on adding the six-year veteran. It was the most productive game for Barber since Week Ten of the 2018 NFL season when he was the lead back for the Buccaneers. Since then he has played for three teams and only had one game over 85 yards. Josh Jacobs could be back sooner than later. He participated in team drills last week even though he was inactive on Sunday. If you have a hole because of Jacobs, I’d say go and grab Barber, but managers looking for more long-term help should look elsewhere.
WIDE RECEIVER- Some repeat offenders return to highlight the wide receivers available on your waiver wire for Week Four.
23% Rostered | 25% of FAAB
Tim Patrick will be the player I add in most leagues this week and it doesn’t have as much to do with his five receptions for eighty-five yard performance against the Jets. Well maybe it does a little. Patrick has been in the waiver article each week this season and now his roster percentage should climb with the news of KJ Hamler’s season ending hamstring injury. If you didn’t grab him before this week, you may have to spend up a little. Even at times when this receiving group was crowded this season, Patrick was seeing at least four targets per game with only one of those not being converted for a reception. The Broncos will face a Ravens defense who have given up 35.4 points per game to wide receivers in 2021.
26% Rostered | 20% of FAAB
Even if you take the two touchdowns off his stat sheet, Emmanuel Sanders had a very encouraging game on Sunday. In fact, the entire Bills offense relieved some stress from this humble writer. Sanders caught five of his six targets for ninety-four yards and the previously mentioned two touchdowns. He was technically third on the team in targets but did more with his than either Cole Beasley or Stefon Diggs. The Bills have an excellent three weeks ahead on the schedule with meetings against the Texans, Chiefs, and Titans. The Bills offense should be good to go from here on out and Sanders looks to be an important part of it.
11% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Hunter Renfrow is currently the most targeted wide receiver on the Raiders offense. The slot receiver for the Raiders has been targeted no less than six times per game and turned those targets into sixteen receptions for 204 yards. His value lies mostly in PPR leagues where he is averaging 14.1 fantasy points per game. He is garnering many of the short area targets with both Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs drawing all the attention downfield. The most difficult run of the Raiders schedule is about to begin, but Renfrow should provide managers good production even in tough matchups.
37% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Marquez Callaway was one of the most popular late draft season sleepers for 2021 fantasy football drafts due to the injuries of Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith. Well, it looks like Callaway has finally awoken from his slumber and has come to play. In Week Three, he commanded 23% of his teams targets which he turned into four receptions for forty-one yards and a touchdown. Obviously not league winning numbers, but he is trending in the right direction. His next two matchups are against teams who have given up 92 yards per game to opposing number one wide receivers and two total team receiving touchdowns per game.
23% Rostered |7% of FAAB
Whether it be because of his play or inactivity, to say Sammy Watkins is unpredictable is an understatement. With the injuries to rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman and a laundry list of Ravens running backs, Watkins has found himself with the most consistent workload of the past few seasons. In each game he has managed four receptions with an average of 17.3 yards per grab. He can get you by should you need a WR3 or injury replacement for a week with names like Sterling Shepard, Diontae Johnson, and Juju Smith-Schuester trending towards sitting in Week Four.
0% Rostered | 2% of FAAB
I’d be remiss not to mention Josh Gordon, who just signed a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. I am personally not adding him except in the deepest of leagues. I’ve chased this rainbow time after time with no pot of gold at the end to show for it. Landing with the Chiefs though is really intriguing. Patrick Mahomes has not really been able to find a solid receiving option outside of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Once Gordon inevitably gets called up from the practice squad we will see what he has, but it has been eight years since we saw any meaningful production out of him.
Receiver is always deep, so here are a few more players rostered in less than 25% I would recommend rostering on your bench:
TIGHT END- The streaming options on the waiver wire this week offer
Tyler Conklin | Minnesota VIkings
4% Rostered | 5 % of FAAB
Tyler Conklin had the best game of his 2021 season much to the joy of Vikings fans everywhere. In a victory over the Seahawks, Conklin had seven receptions for seventy yards and one touchdown. There are two big mouths to feed in the Minnesota passing game with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, but the last three weeks have shown a third option can see production with the emergence of KJ Osborn. In Week Three, Osborn saw a season low two targets while Conklin doubled his normal four a game to eight. The reason I still like Conklin even though things may appear to be crowded is his next two matchups are against two of 2020’s poorest performing teams against tight ends. In 2021, those numbers aren’t looking much improved with the Browns and Lions have giving up an average of thirteen fantasy points per game to tight ends. Conklin is also getting 89% of the tight end targets for the Vikings and has a 100% red zone catch rate.
8% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
The Steelers are dealing with another high-profile injury to wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuester. I mentioned Freiermuth last week in the column and he came through this week with the Steelers’ only receiving touchdown. While his yardage and receptions were low, fellow tight end Eric Ebron failed to bring in any of his three targets and has now been out targeted by Freiermuth two out of the last three weeks. With his receivers going down and his accuracy throwing downfield coming into question once again, Roethlisberger could start looking more for Freiermuth. The Steelers also pay the Packers next who have given up the second most points to tight ends in 2021.
6% Rostered | 4% of FAAB
Dawson Knox has scored red zone touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. I’m betting on him making it three in a row next week when he faces the team giving up the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends this season. For those streaming tight end week to week (you crazy animals), Knox is the best bet at getting you over fifty yards and a touchdown who is widely available on the waiver wire.
New Orleans Saints
48% Rostered | 3% of FAAB
Marshon Lattimore was back on the field for the Saints in Week Three after missing Week Two. The Saints are once again the top scoring defense / special teams in fantasy football with double digit points in two out of three weeks. In Week Four they face the New York Giants who are coming off an underwhelming back-to-earth performance by quarterback Daniel Jones. The Giants also look to be without both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton leaving Kenny Golladay in for a Lattimore sized headache. The Saints are fantastic against the run, so I also see it being a bad week for Saquon Barkley who still doesn’t look completely back up to speed.
15% Rostered | 1% of FAAB
The Titans draw the New York Jets free bingo space in week four. If you are streaming your defense or DST position, you can find few better matchups. The Jets have given up double digit points two of the last three weeks and are allowing the second most fantasy points to the position.