Carroll County Times

Fantasy football: Waiver wire advice heading into week 4

We still have Monday Night Football between the Broncos and the Raiders before week 3 is over, but it's not to soon to start thinking about putting in your fantasy football waiver claims. Here are a list of some players you might be considering who are available in at least one quarter (25 percent) of fantasy football leagues (per Yahoo fantasy sports).

Get 'em while you can
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WR Josh Gordon (30 percent availability in Yahoo leagues ). If Gordon is available in your league, go put a claim in for him RIGHT NOW. He won't have the same success he did against the Vikings porous secondary, but he's got elite talent if he can keep his head on straight. And clearly, there will be volume. The Browns are going to have to chuck the ball a ton right now.
RB Bilal Powell (54 percent). To everyone's surprise, the Jets offense isn't the most anemic in pro football. To no one's surprise, Chris Ivory is hurt. That means Powell is likely in line for a big workload. He responded to that against Buffalo with 149 yards on the ground.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers (64 percent) and Jason Snelling (84 percent). Both performed well in a tough match-up against Miami while filling in for Steven Jackson. Expect more of a time share from these two until Jackson returns and you should get decent production out of them. I personally like the lesser-owned Snelling more, because he gets goal line carries and catches the ball too. He had more of both than Rodgers against the 'Fins.


Worth a look
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (28 percent). Trent Richardson looked pretty ordinary running with the Colts offense, the same as he has in Cleveland, to the point you are starting to wonder if this guy really has "it." Meanwhile, Bradshaw was terrific against the 49ers. I think as long as he's healthy, he'll at least be part of a timeshare while T-Rich is still learning the Colts offense. He might be on waivers in your league if impatient owners cut him when the Richardson trade went down. He's also a good buy-low candidate, or, if you own Richardson, try to get him as a handcuff.
RB Fred Jackson (35 percent). CJ Spiller's knee injury apparently was a thigh injury and doesn't seem like it's anything to worry about. If I'm a Spiller owner, I'm more concerned about how ineffective he's been and how good Jackson has looked. Long-term, he's obviously not as valuable as Spiller. In the meantime, he's worth rostering and the occasional spot start.
WR Kembrell Thompkins (41 percent). He's getting more comfortable and caught two touchdown passes, but still only made 3 catches on 7 targets. Still, he's catching passes from Tom Brady, and that makes him every bit as intriguing as he was in the summer. He's worth an add in deep leagues.
TE Heath Miller (74 percent). With so many tight ends putting up impressive numbers, you may not want to tie yourself to one on a bad offense coming off a serious injury, but Miller was the Steelers' leading receiver last year and looked good in limited action Sunday night.
WR Santonio Holmes (90 percent). It helped that Holmes was playing a backup corner, but he did have a nice game. He's a veteran that rookie Geno Smith could lean on, however, and you could do a lot worse for a WR3 bye-week fill-in during the next few weeks.

Don't be fooled
RB Isaiah Pead (87 percent). Daryl Richardson logged just one snap against Dallas re-aggravating a foot injury suffered in practice, and Pead took the bulk of the snaps. He wasn't terribly impressive though, and has the 49ers on a short week. A former 2nd round pick, Pead now has the opportunity to snatch the starting job with a strong performance, but I think once Richardson is healthy, I think he'll go back to being a role player.
WR Donnie Avery (89 percent). He blew up against the Eagles secondary, especially in a PPR with seven catches. Don't expect this regularly from Avery. It was his most productive week since 2008. Two-thousand-and-eight.
WR Brandon LaFell (90 percent). The Panthers receiver has been teasing us with his potential for years. He still only had 3 catches, just two of them went for touchdowns against the putrid Giants secondary. Let someone else waste a roster spot on him.
RB Jonathan Franklin (90 percent). The rookie from UCLA might be one of the buzziest waiver wire adds this week after a 104-yard performance out of nowhere, but with the Packers going on the bye and the real-life football fact that Franklin fumbled away a win, don't expect him to be in line for many touches once Eddie Lacy is back in Week 5.


Speculative adds
RB Le'Veon Bell (38 percent). The Steelers' rookie practiced in full for the first time last week and could make his season debut Week 4 in Minnesota or Week 6 after the Steelers' bye at the latest. Pittsburgh needs a spark in the running game and Bell is who they are counting on. He's going to get every opportunity to be an every down back, and if you haven't figured it out by now, those guys are very valuable in fantasy football because there just aren't many of them.
WR Justin Blackmon (60 percent). Blackmon was suspended the first 4 games of the season and will return in Week 5 against St. Louis. Use the aforementioned Josh Gordon as a case study. Blackmon finished with 25 catches for 308 yards and two scores down the stretch of 2012, and like Gordon, he will benefit from a rule change that allows suspended players to practice with the team, so he won't have much rust to shake off. Add him now before he blows up like Gordon did.

Keep your eye on
WR Stephen Hill (94 percent). If Hill can become a bit more consistent, he could easily be a WR2 with upside in most fantasy leagues. He's still young, and definitely has big play ability, he's just very raw. He's worth a spot on the end of your bench if you have room.
QB Jake Locker (94 percent). The third-year signal caller has some tough match-ups coming up, but should be on your watch list if you're in a deep league and need a quarterback fill-in during the upcoming bye weeks. While he isn't a very efficient quarterback (58 percent completions) he has yet to turn the ball over and adds value with his ability to scramble (68 yards in Week 3).
QB Brian Hoyer (98 percent). After a tough week 4 match-up against Cincinnati, Hoyer faces some friendly secondaries with Buffalo, Detroit and Green Bay on the slate in weeks 5 through 7 and he's going to have to throw a ton. He's worth marking on your watch list.