Week 4 fantasy football waiver-wire targets

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What. A. Week. From the Rams-49ers shootout on Thursday night to the final whistle of the Redskins' surprise upset of the Raiders, we were all witnesses to the breathless spectacle of football in near peak form. Upsets (how about those Bears!). Surprise performances (Case Keenum!). Not surprising performances (that Tom Brady sure is good at football). And overtime thrillers (Aaron Rodgers ftw!). All of this brought us the ecstasy and agony of fantasy football as well. Plenty of people (myself included) benched struggling players like Russell Wilson or DeMarco Murray, only to watch them ball out. Alas, there's no crying in fantasy football. So wipe those tears off your keyboard and get ready for Week 4. Below are 15 players to target or search for on the waiver wire.

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1

Jamaal Charles, RB, Broncos


All week I was pounding the table to not sell high on C.J. Anderson, who appeared to be sliding into a rare workhorse role in today's NFL. Well, despite being on the field for 27 fewer plays than Anderson, Jamaal Charles tied him in touches with 10 and found the end zone. Charles looked good, too, showing his trademark quickness and vision on several jump cuts that felt straight out of 2013. This workload split could revert back to Anderson's favor in a week, but Charles is starting to get more work in a potent offense. He needs to be rostered this week. (Percent owned: 22.4, FAAB suggestion: 15 percent)

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2

Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins


Chris Thompson was a hot add this past week after he scored three touchdowns on 13 touches in the first two games. Somehow Thompson followed that up with yet a masterful performance versus the Raiders. His final stat line was outrageously impressive too, as he notched 188 yards and a touchdown on 14 touches. Thompson continues to make plays, and with Rob Kelley still banged up and Samaje Perine getting injured in this game, the Redskins could start giving more opportunities to Thompson. He'll be a solid flex option next week against the Chiefs. (Percent owned: 44.9, FAAB suggestion: 30 percent)

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3

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks


For now, Chris Carson remains the Seahawks' featured back. That didn't amount to a whole hell of a lot on Sunday (52 total yards), but Carson at least led the way in playing time (56 percent) and found the end zone. The Titans do have a strong run defense though, and the Seahawks were playing from behind, so game script was not on Carson's side. Things could get easier next week, though, when Carson and his birds fly back to Seattle and welcome the Colts to town. (Percent owned: 31.6, FAAB suggestion: 30 percent)

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4

Branden Oliver, RB, Chargers


This add is more of a precautionary one, as Melvin Gordon aggravated a knee injury he suffered previously during their loss to the Chiefs. It was Branden Oliver filling in the most, seeing 31 plays to Gordon's 33. Gordon owners will want to add Oliver this week for sure. The Chargers take on the Eagles in a 4:05 p.m. ET game, so the options to replace Gordon if he's a late scratch will be thin. (Percent owned: 0.2, FAAB suggestion: 5 percent)

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5

D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texans


Lamar Miller remains the leading back in Houston, but D'Onta Foreman is coming for more work. The rookie saw eight carries to Miller's 14, but is running hard and did work in the passing game, too, taking his two receptions for 65 yards. He's not a viable start yet, but he should be rostered and stashed in as many leagues as possible. (Percent owned: 1.9, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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6

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles


Darren Sproles is believed to have suffered a broken arm on Sunday, which could force Wendell Smallwood into a bigger role. He led the backfield in with 40 plays to LeGarrette Blount's 22, and saw two targets in the passing game as well. He and Blount each saw 12 carries as well, with Smallwood getting the edge in yardage (71-67) but Blount getting into the end zone. Smallwood isn't a special talent, but opportunity is the name of the game in fantasy football, so look to add the West Virginia product this week if your fantasy backfield needs reinforcements. (Percent owned: 2.1, FAAB suggestion: 10-15 percent)

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7

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals


Joe Mixon and Willie Snead (featured next) are owned in TONS of leagues and probably yours too, but I did get plenty of questions throughout the week about picking these two up, as frustrated owners were dropping them to replace injured players. Mixon led the Bengals backs in every category save touchdowns, as Giovani Bernard was the one to hit paydirt against the Packers. Mixon is clearly the most talented back of this bunch though and it appears new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has recognized this. If someone in your league was foolish enough to drop Mixon, make a move for the rookie now. (Percent owned: 84.1, FAAB suggestion: 40 percent)

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8

Willie Snead, WR, Saints


As I did last week, I'm simply putting Snead here to remind you that some owners could have dropped him in your leagues, as his ownership percentage has fallen in back-to-back weeks. Snead will likely take loads of playing time from either Ted Ginn or Brandon Coleman, and could become a fantasy factor right out of the gate against the Dolphins in Week 4. (Percent owned: 65.1, FAAB suggestion: 10-15 percent)

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9

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants


As Matt Harmon noted in the Week 4 Targets and Touches report (a must-read), the Giants focused on getting the ball out of Eli's hands quickly this week (2.01-second time to throw). This could be part of why Sterling Shepard turned in such a great performance (seven catches, 133 yards, one touchdown). Shepard led all Giants wideouts in playing time, and his role as the predominant slot receiver (89 percent of his snaps came there), he is one of Manning's first reads on quick throws. If the Giants continue this type of offensive strategy next week against a seriously banged up Buccaneers defense, Shepard could be in a position to repeat for fantasy purposes. (Percent owned: 15.2, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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10

Travis Benjamin, WR, Chargers


Shepard just ripped up the Eagles secondary from the slot position (six catches, 123 yards, one touchdown from the slot), and next up they face Travis Benjamin. The speedster for the Chargers is typically known as just a deep threat, but he's been operating in the slot a lot this year and he's been producing, catching two passes for 70 yards from the slot this past week. Running in the slot means he'll largely avoid the Eagles' stellar exterior cornerbacks, and he could rack up more yardage as a sneaky deep sleeper. We also know the big play remains in his arsenal as he caught a deep touchdown in Week 1 against the Broncos. (Percent owned: 4.6, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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11

Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks


Doug Baldwin suffered a groin strain against the Titans, and Paul Richardson has now caught touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. He also leads the team thus far with 14.1 air yards per target, adding an explosive element to his range of outcomes if he can haul in a deep pass. Next up for the Seahawks is a get-right game against the Colts in Seattle. The Colts have been attacked deep throughout the season, and if Baldwin is at all limited or ruled out, Richardson and Tyler Lockett will be must-adds and starts in Week 4. (Percent owned: 2.4, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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12

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers


Kelvin Benjamin suffered a knee injury in the team's Week 3 loss to the Saints, which by default puts Devin Funchess on the waiver-wire radar. He's a low-upside add for right now, though, as while his volume could increase (though Benjamin's injury isn't believed to be serious), the Panthers offense simply isn't right at the moment. Starting receivers from volatile, unproductive passing attacks is a dangerous gambit in fantasy football (just ask anyone who chased Jermaine Kearse's Week 2 production this week). Still, Funchess is worth an add in case Cam Newton and this offense get right soon. (Percent owned: 1.9, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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13

Benjamin Watson, TE, Ravens


This wasn't quite the game we expected from Benjamin Watson across the pond, but he found the end zone, and for tight ends this year, that's really all we can ask for. The Baltimore offense was a mess against the Jaguars but will look to bounce back against the Steelers at home in Week 4. (Percent owned: 11.8, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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14

Charles Clay, TE, Bills


Charles Clay authored a nice bounce-back game this week, grabbing a touchdown from Tyrod Taylor on one of his six targets (he caught all six). To date, Clay owns nearly 23 percent of Taylor's targets, a sizeable amount for a tight end, especially in a run-first offense. He's also found the end zone twice in three weeks and should pretty much be a weekly play at this point in fantasy's most volatile and unpredictable position. (Percent owned: 13.3, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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15

Jared Goff, QB, Rams


Jared Goff is coming off the game of his career and has 10 days to prepare for a road trip to face a Cowboys secondary that was most recently shredded by Trevor Siemian (22 of 32, 213 yards, four touchdowns, one interception). This is, of course, not counting Monday Night Football as I publish this column on Sunday nights, but the fact remains Goff is starting to cook in Sean McVay's offense, and with extra time to prepare should be able to produce against the Cowboys for those in need of a quarterback streamer. (Percent owned: 2.5, FAAB suggestion: 1-5 percent)

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