Believe it or not, we are now a quarter of the way through the regular season and most fantasy leagues are probably a third of the way through their regular season. As a result, if you are in need of spot starters due to injuries, byes or just flat out suckage, it is getting harder and harder to find help on the waiver wire….but, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be scouring the waiver wire anyway.
There are still a few viable options out there and we are here to help you find a few.
NOTE: All ‘Percent Rostered’ stats are based off ESPN.com fantasy leagues.
If you are looking for a quarterback – short term or long term – you are in luck. There are still plenty of quarterbacks out there who can contribute for a week or more.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Ten:
Percent Rostered: 8.7%
Stats thru Week 4: 933 yds, 7 TD, 0 INT; 112 yards rushing
Mariota hasn’t put up a bunch of passing yards, isn’t running the ball as much as he has in the past, and it sure didn’t feel like he was having a very good year…until I looked at the rankings in my league. I was shocked to see that Mariota is a top 10 quarterback in fantasy football in terms of points per game. A big reason is his zero turnovers. Mariota has seven touchdowns to zero interceptions and zero fumbles. Not bad. Depending on your scoring, Mariota is averaging 20+ points per game and he is available in more than 90% of leagues.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Det:
Percent Rostered: 44.2%
Stats thru Week 4: 1,122 yds, 9 TD, 2 INT
Like Mariota, Stafford is a top 10 quarterback in terms of points per game, and like Mariota, that surprised me. Stafford is averaging more than two touchdowns a game, nearly 300 yards a game, and is available in more than half the fantasy leagues.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Ind:
Percent Rostered: 32.1%
Stats thru Week 4: 911 yds, 10 TD, 2 INT
Just another week with Brissett on at least one of my two lists – Waiver Wire Report or Studs, Duds, & Sleepers. His ‘percent rostered’ keeps creeping up, but it still amazes me that a guy who is averaging 2.5 touchdowns per game is still available in almost 70% of leagues. If your quarterback is hurt, underperforming or on a bye, pick up Brissett.
Like always, the running back waiver wire options are slim pickings, but below are a few options I would suggest looking into in your league and pick them up if available.
Wayne Gallman, RB, NYG:
Percent Rostered: 70.9%
Stats thru Week 4: 25 carries, 93 yds, 2 TDs, 9 rec, 79 yds, 1 TD
How does the number one ranked running back go down and his backup is only owned in 70% of leagues?? Last week, I said “Gallman is going to be the hottest guy on the waiver wire this week…and while he won’t be putting up Barkley type numbers, he will get the first crack at taking the bulk of Barkley’s work and with a Week 4 matchup against the Redskins, could be worthy of a flex start.” Well, I was right on two of those statements, but dead wrong about him putting up “Barkley type numbers.” In his first start, Gallman put up 63 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, six receptions and two touchdowns, numbers which Barkley owners would have been happy with. So if you find yourself atop the waiver wire order in one of those leagues where Gallman is still out there, pick him up and start him.
Rex Burkhead, RB, NE:
Percent Rostered: 40.2%
Stats thru Week 4: 24 carries, 112 yds, 1 TD; 14 rec, 117 yds (18 targets)
Thanks to a foot injury and James White returning to the lineup, Burkhead didn’t contribute much last week. However, but he still ranks second on the team in yards from scrimmage – trailing only Julian Edelman by six yards. And, while it is hard to gauge the usage and prospective contributions of any New England running back, I wouldn’t expect back-to-back down weeks for Burkhead. Being that he is still available in more than half the leagues, you have a good chance of picking him up. If he is available in your league, pick him up and keep him in mind for a Flex start.
Jordan Howard, RB, Phi:
Percent Rostered: 56.0%
Stats thru Week 4: 40 carries, 186 yds, 3 TD; 6 rec, 47 yds, 1 TD (9 targets)
Most of the preseason excitement was around the rookie, Miles Sanders, but through four games, Howard leads the team in rushing yards (186), yards per carry (4.7) and touchdowns (4), and as a result, should be a waiver wire target. At this point, I think it is fair to say that Howard will have a significant role in this offense.
Ronald Jones, II, RB, TB:
Percent Rostered: 41.2%
Stats thru Week 4: 50 carries, 234 yds, 1 TD; 3 rec, 71 yds,
Jones and Peyton Barber seem to keep rotating the starting and lead back role, but when it comes to production, Jones is the clear leader. Jones leads Barber in rushing yards (234 to 182), yards per carry (4.7 to 3.4), touchdowns (2 to 0) and receiving yards (71 to 26). Jones has now rushed for 70 yards or more and scored one touchdown in three of the Bucs four games. To get a lead back on the waiver wire four weeks into the season is rare.
Wide receiver is the one position where you can always find some waiver wire help throughout the season, so if you need help at wide receiver, or need a spot starter, you are in luck. Here are some of the better options this week.
John Ross, III, WR, Cin:
Percent Rostered: 79.7%
Stats thru Week 4: 16 rec, 328 yds, 3 TD (32 targets)
While he is only available in 20% of leagues and his last two weeks have been underwhelming, I have Ross on this list because he is still tied for 10th in the NFL in receiving yards, tied for 8th with three receiving touchdowns and plays on a team which likes to throw the ball – a lot -and will be down – a lot. That means he should be rostered in all leagues and is worthy of starting in most leagues.
*Note: There were reports that Ross injured his shoulder late in Monday night’s game. If true – and if serious – that could certainly impact his worthiness to be on your roster.
DJ Chark, WR, Jax:
Percent Rostered: 66.2%
Stats thru Week 4: 19 rec, 321 yds, 3 TD (26 targets)
His ‘percent rostered’ numbers keep creeping up, but he is still available in one out of every three leagues at this point, and for a guy ranked 12th in terms of receiving yards, tied for 8th in touchdowns and seeing almost seven targets a game, he should no longer be teamless in your league.
Golden Tate, WR, NYG:
Percent Rostered: 51.7%
Stats thru Week 4: n/a
Tate is returning from a four-game suspension and will need some time to find his role in the Giants new offense with the rookie quarterback, but he is historically a top 25 receiver and is available in about 50% of leagues. At this point, he is worth a flier.
A.J. Brown, WR, Ten:
Percent Rostered: 6.0%
Stats thru Week 4: 10 rec, 223 yds, 2 TD (17 targets)
Brown is a second round rookie with plenty of potential – which we have seen in two of his three weeks. With three receptions, 94 yards and two touchdowns this past weekend, Brown is worthy of a roster spot. If he starts showing some consistency, he may work himself into a good Flex option.
As always, shopping for tight ends on the waiver wire is tough – probably the toughest position to find waiver wire help, and we are going with a few deep options here.
Will Dissly, TE, Sea:
Percent Rostered: 67.3%
Stats thru Week 4: 19 rec, 181 yds, 4 TD (22 targets)
If you haven’t listened to me yet on this guy, shame on you. If you are one of the smart ones causing his ‘percent rostered’ numbers to grow, good for you. Over the last three weeks, Dissly has caught 18 of his 20 targets for 169 yards and four touchdowns, and as a result, is now ranked fifth amongst tight ends. The Seahawks don’t have a ton of options in the passing game and he and Russell Wilson look to be establishing some chemistry.
Dawson Knox, TE, Buf:
Percent Rostered: 3.7%
Stats thru Week 4: 8 rec, 144 yds, 1 TD (13 targets)
If you are going to be using Knox as a starter, it is likely because you are decimated at the tight end position. Look, it is unlikely that he is going to put up big numbers, but he should be able to contribute something during your tight end’s bye week. Knox has seen three or more targets over the last three games and racked up 143 yards and a touchdown as a result.
Tyler Higbee, TE, LAR:
Percent Rostered: 0.5%
Stats thru Week 4: 10 rec, 82 yds, 1 TD (15 targets)
Higbee, even more so than Knox, is truly a last minute option for teams with a tight end on a bye week. Your hope with Higbee is that he can get you 8-10 points on three or four receptions and 40 or so yards. The good news is, he has been seeing five targets per game, so those sort of numbers are obtainable, and seeing that he is available in 99.5% of leagues, he is likely an option for you.