Published: Sept. 25, 2016 at 10:27 p.m.
Updated: Sept. 26, 2016 at 04:01 p.m.

Week 4 fantasy football waiver wire targets

The waiver wire is one of the most important keys to finding success in the world of fantasy football. I'll do my best to help you manage it and find the players who can bring you fantasy glory each and every week. If you play in a deeper, more competitive league, and all 15 of these players are already owned, be sure to check out my weekly "Deep Dive" waiver wire column (which you can read here) for some high-upside players to aim for heading into Week 4. And for those who use the Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) system, I provide a suggested spend for each player at the end of their analysis. If you have more specific FAAB questions, hit me up on Twitter.

15 Photos Total

  • Just a quick note here, as plenty of owners in more casual leagues had kicked Michael to the curb in recent weeks. After his Week 4 explosion (20 carries, 106 yards, two touchdowns), Michael has certainly earned his share of touches in this Seattle backfield. He will still lose some work when Thomas Rawls returns to full health, but until then Michael looks like a set-and-forget fantasy running back. FAAB Suggestion: 25 percent. 15

    Ryan Kang/NFL

    Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks - 66 percent owned

    Just a quick note here, as plenty of owners in more casual leagues had kicked Michael to the curb in recent weeks. After his Week 4 explosion (20 carries, 106 yards, two touchdowns), Michael has certainly earned his share of touches in this Seattle backfield. He will still lose some work when Thomas Rawls returns to full health, but until then Michael looks like a set-and-forget fantasy running back. FAAB Suggestion: 25 percent.

  • As expected, Washington worked in routinely for the Lions in more traditional offensive formations, while Theo Riddick remained the primary pass-catching back. Per Next Gen Stats, Riddick played 11 combined snaps (of 45) out of the pistol, single back, and "I" formations, while Washington played 12 snaps (of 25) in those same formations plus "Jumbo." This seems to indicate he'll be the favored between-the-tackles runner moving forward, as eight of his 10 attempts came in those packages. Washington was far more effective than Riddick on the ground against the Packers stout run defense, averaging 3.8 yards per carry to 0.9 yards per carry for Riddick, who also had 10 attempts. With another full week of starter practice reps, Washington could be set up for a breakout game next week against a Bears defense that continues to be dogged by injuries. Ameer Abdullah's uncertain status for the rest of the season makes Washington a priority target this week. FAAB Suggestion: 15-20 percent. 14

    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Dwayne Washington, RB, Detroit Lions - 2.9 percent owned

    As expected, Washington worked in routinely for the Lions in more traditional offensive formations, while Theo Riddick remained the primary pass-catching back. Per Next Gen Stats, Riddick played 11 combined snaps (of 45) out of the pistol, single back, and "I" formations, while Washington played 12 snaps (of 25) in those same formations plus "Jumbo." This seems to indicate he'll be the favored between-the-tackles runner moving forward, as eight of his 10 attempts came in those packages. Washington was far more effective than Riddick on the ground against the Packers stout run defense, averaging 3.8 yards per carry to 0.9 yards per carry for Riddick, who also had 10 attempts. With another full week of starter practice reps, Washington could be set up for a breakout game next week against a Bears defense that continues to be dogged by injuries. Ameer Abdullah's uncertain status for the rest of the season makes Washington a priority target this week. FAAB Suggestion: 15-20 percent.

  • I was going to try to save Howard for my Deep Dive column tomorrow, but his performance in primetime on Sunday Night Football forced me to add him here. It's grown more apparent in recent weeks that the Bears will, in fact, deploy a backfield committee, and Jordan Howard could be leading said committee in no time at all, especially after Jeremy Langford injured his ankle against the Cowboys in Week 3. Howard looks more explosive and powerful than Langford, showed soft hands (four catches on six targets for 47 yards), and is averaging over five yards per carry to start his young NFL career. If Langford misses time next week, Howard will be a strong play. Regardless, he needs to be added this week. FAAB Suggestion: 10-15 percent. 13

    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears - 1.3 percent owned

    I was going to try to save Howard for my Deep Dive column tomorrow, but his performance in primetime on Sunday Night Football forced me to add him here. It's grown more apparent in recent weeks that the Bears will, in fact, deploy a backfield committee, and Jordan Howard could be leading said committee in no time at all, especially after Jeremy Langford injured his ankle against the Cowboys in Week 3. Howard looks more explosive and powerful than Langford, showed soft hands (four catches on six targets for 47 yards), and is averaging over five yards per carry to start his young NFL career. If Langford misses time next week, Howard will be a strong play. Regardless, he needs to be added this week. FAAB Suggestion: 10-15 percent.

  • Despite a bunch of hullabaloo prior to kickoff when Matt Asiata was named the "starter," the Vikings backed up what they'd said earlier in the week and what the game film reveals: Jerick McKinnon is the lead back with Adrian Peterson out. McKinnon outsnapped (36 to 17), outtouched (17 to seven), and outgained Asiata out Asiata (47 to 19) against the Panthers. Of course, this isn't cause of McKinnon owners to organize a celebratory parade, because it's clear Asiata has a role and will put a cap on McKinnon's fantasy ceiling each and every week. Still, if there's a back to own from this group, McKinnon is the clear choice for now. He'll face a tough matchup again in Week 5 when the Giants come to Minnesota, but he'll be worth a shot in the flex at the very least. FAAB Suggestion: 10-15 percent. 12

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings - 39.1 percent owned

    Despite a bunch of hullabaloo prior to kickoff when Matt Asiata was named the "starter," the Vikings backed up what they'd said earlier in the week and what the game film reveals: Jerick McKinnon is the lead back with Adrian Peterson out. McKinnon outsnapped (36 to 17), outtouched (17 to seven), and outgained Asiata out Asiata (47 to 19) against the Panthers. Of course, this isn't cause of McKinnon owners to organize a celebratory parade, because it's clear Asiata has a role and will put a cap on McKinnon's fantasy ceiling each and every week. Still, if there's a back to own from this group, McKinnon is the clear choice for now. He'll face a tough matchup again in Week 5 when the Giants come to Minnesota, but he'll be worth a shot in the flex at the very least. FAAB Suggestion: 10-15 percent.

  • As was the case in 2015 when Jonathan Stewart missed time, Cameron Artis-Payne was the primary back in a crowded committee. He saw 44.8 percent of the backfield opportunities, taking his 13 total touches for 58 yards. The Panthers fell behind in this game and were playing catchup, limiting CAP's chances as he loses passing down work to Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert. Artis-Payne should be added as long as JStew is out, but owners will need to understand his limitations. A matchup against the soft Atlanta front seven next week could be a favorable spot to trot out as a low-end flex in deeper leagues. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent. 11

    Perry Knotts/NFL

    Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Carolina Panthers - 3.4 percent owned

    As was the case in 2015 when Jonathan Stewart missed time, Cameron Artis-Payne was the primary back in a crowded committee. He saw 44.8 percent of the backfield opportunities, taking his 13 total touches for 58 yards. The Panthers fell behind in this game and were playing catchup, limiting CAP's chances as he loses passing down work to Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert. Artis-Payne should be added as long as JStew is out, but owners will need to understand his limitations. A matchup against the soft Atlanta front seven next week could be a favorable spot to trot out as a low-end flex in deeper leagues. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent.

  • Darkwa filled in nicely as the early-down thumper for the Giants in Week 3 with Rashad Jennings out, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on his 10 attempts and scoring a touchdown. However, in the wake of Shane Vereen's surprising season-ending triceps injury, Darkwa just became a hot target on the waiver-wire this week. While Jennings could return in Week 5, he likely won't have a full workload, especially since his hand injury limits his ability in the passing game. Darkwa has never been much of a pass-catcher with seven career receptions on 10 targets, which could pave the way for Paul Perkins or Bobby Rainey to see some work as well. This backfield could be turning into a fantasy nightmare, but Jennings' uncertain status for a Week 4 matchup against the Vikings makes Darkwa the first add from this bunch. He's the likeliest candidate to inherit a healthy share of touches after seeing just shy of 40 percent of the backfield opportunities against the Redskins. FAAB Suggestion: 10 percent. 10

    Scott Boehm/Associated Press

    Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants - 0.1 percent owned

    Darkwa filled in nicely as the early-down thumper for the Giants in Week 3 with Rashad Jennings out, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on his 10 attempts and scoring a touchdown. However, in the wake of Shane Vereen's surprising season-ending triceps injury, Darkwa just became a hot target on the waiver-wire this week. While Jennings could return in Week 5, he likely won't have a full workload, especially since his hand injury limits his ability in the passing game. Darkwa has never been much of a pass-catcher with seven career receptions on 10 targets, which could pave the way for Paul Perkins or Bobby Rainey to see some work as well. This backfield could be turning into a fantasy nightmare, but Jennings' uncertain status for a Week 4 matchup against the Vikings makes Darkwa the first add from this bunch. He's the likeliest candidate to inherit a healthy share of touches after seeing just shy of 40 percent of the backfield opportunities against the Redskins. FAAB Suggestion: 10 percent.

  • Dorsett disappointed a bit in his first game as the primary starter opposite T.Y. Hilton, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be owned in more leagues. The Chargers boast a talented young secondary that largely held the Colts passing attack in check prior to Hilton's go-ahead 63-yard touchdown. Next up for the Colts is a date with a Jacksonville secondary that's struggled to contain opposing wide receivers so far. Dorsett is a low-end flex play at worst as long as Donte Moncrief is out. FAAB Suggestion: 10 percent. 9

    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts - 5.7 percent owned

    Dorsett disappointed a bit in his first game as the primary starter opposite T.Y. Hilton, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be owned in more leagues. The Chargers boast a talented young secondary that largely held the Colts passing attack in check prior to Hilton's go-ahead 63-yard touchdown. Next up for the Colts is a date with a Jacksonville secondary that's struggled to contain opposing wide receivers so far. Dorsett is a low-end flex play at worst as long as Donte Moncrief is out. FAAB Suggestion: 10 percent.

  • While the Jets offensive output left a lot to be desired, at least the target distribution confirmed yet again that Quincy Enunwa is a big part of this New York passing attack. Enunwa led the team with 11 targets on Sunday against the Chiefs, and for the season ranks second on the team in total targets with 25. The Jets face a tough matchup in Week 4 when the Seahawks come to MetLife Stadium, but the "Legion of Boom" loses a little luster outside of Seattle. Enunwa might be a risky start next Sunday, but is a player who needs to be owned in more leagues. FAAB Suggestion: 10 percent. 8

    Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports

    Quincy Enunwa, WR, New York Jets - 18.4 percent owned

    While the Jets offensive output left a lot to be desired, at least the target distribution confirmed yet again that Quincy Enunwa is a big part of this New York passing attack. Enunwa led the team with 11 targets on Sunday against the Chiefs, and for the season ranks second on the team in total targets with 25. The Jets face a tough matchup in Week 4 when the Seahawks come to MetLife Stadium, but the "Legion of Boom" loses a little luster outside of Seattle. Enunwa might be a risky start next Sunday, but is a player who needs to be owned in more leagues. FAAB Suggestion: 10 percent.

  • In a total surprise, Pryor finished Sunday as the WR2 in all of fantasy with 23.9 points in the Browns' loss to the Dolphins. While he did get some work passing (35 yards) and rushing (21 yards, touchdown), he did most of his work through the air with eight catches for 144 yards on 14 targets. This is further proof that when it comes to fantasy, targets can often trump bad quarterback play or a struggling offense in general. Pryor's stranglehold on the Browns' passing game won't last long (Josh Gordon returns in Week 5), but at least for next week against Washington Pryor could serve as a high-upside flex option. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent. 7

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns - 2.0 percent owned

    In a total surprise, Pryor finished Sunday as the WR2 in all of fantasy with 23.9 points in the Browns' loss to the Dolphins. While he did get some work passing (35 yards) and rushing (21 yards, touchdown), he did most of his work through the air with eight catches for 144 yards on 14 targets. This is further proof that when it comes to fantasy, targets can often trump bad quarterback play or a struggling offense in general. Pryor's stranglehold on the Browns' passing game won't last long (Josh Gordon returns in Week 5), but at least for next week against Washington Pryor could serve as a high-upside flex option. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent.

  • While Crowder isn't racking up massive yardage totals, he's emerging as one of Kirk Cousins' favorite receivers. He is tied with Jordan Reed for the team lead with 25 targets, and found the end zone for the second consecutive week. A date with the porous Browns secondary in Week 4 could help Crowder keep up his hot streak. He's a much safer play in PPR formats, but should be looked at as a potential flex player this week. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent. 6

    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins - 0.9 percent owned

    While Crowder isn't racking up massive yardage totals, he's emerging as one of Kirk Cousins' favorite receivers. He is tied with Jordan Reed for the team lead with 25 targets, and found the end zone for the second consecutive week. A date with the porous Browns secondary in Week 4 could help Crowder keep up his hot streak. He's a much safer play in PPR formats, but should be looked at as a potential flex player this week. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent.

  • It looks as if Jimmy Graham is finally back. After seeing limited snaps and just one target in Week 1, Graham saw his playing time jump up in Week 2, and exploded in the stat sheet in Week 3 with six catches (nine targets) for 100 yards and a touchdown. Graham consistently hauled in difficult, contested catches against the 49ers, which is a great sign for his confidence in his surgically repaired knee. Getting an elite tight end talent like Graham back at full strength and seeing a healthy amount of targets is just what the fantasy world needed after so many injuries. Scoop up Graham if he's somehow on the waiver wire in your league. FAAB Suggestion: 10-15 percent 5

    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks - 61.2 percent owned

    It looks as if Jimmy Graham is finally back. After seeing limited snaps and just one target in Week 1, Graham saw his playing time jump up in Week 2, and exploded in the stat sheet in Week 3 with six catches (nine targets) for 100 yards and a touchdown. Graham consistently hauled in difficult, contested catches against the 49ers, which is a great sign for his confidence in his surgically repaired knee. Getting an elite tight end talent like Graham back at full strength and seeing a healthy amount of targets is just what the fantasy world needed after so many injuries. Scoop up Graham if he's somehow on the waiver wire in your league. FAAB Suggestion: 10-15 percent

  • Rudolph is making the most of his opportunities so far in 2016, turning his 26 targets into 14 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including one on Sunday against the Panthers. He's the clear-cut second option for Sam Bradford behind Stefon Diggs, and gets a fantastic matchup this week when the Giants come to Minnesota. The Giants defense is improving, but the team is still vulnerable over the middle of the field. Look for Rudolph to post another solid stat line with touchdown-upside in Week 4.  FAAB Suggestion: 5-10 percent. 4

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings - 16.2 percent owned

    Rudolph is making the most of his opportunities so far in 2016, turning his 26 targets into 14 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including one on Sunday against the Panthers. He's the clear-cut second option for Sam Bradford behind Stefon Diggs, and gets a fantastic matchup this week when the Giants come to Minnesota. The Giants defense is improving, but the team is still vulnerable over the middle of the field. Look for Rudolph to post another solid stat line with touchdown-upside in Week 4. FAAB Suggestion: 5-10 percent.

  • Ebron has been one of the steadiest fantasy scorers among tight ends so far, averaging a solid 7.6 fantasy points per game. Ebron is battling an ankle injury, but played through it Sunday against the Packers and saw eight targets, bringing in five for 69 yards. Overall, Ebron owns 16.7 percent of the Lions' high-volume passing attack, making him a relatively safe floor play each week. He's also a solid red-zone target given his 6-foot-4 frame, giving him added upside when the Lions approach the end zone. He's a weekly play at this point as long as he's healthy. FAAB Suggestion: 5-10 percent. 3

    Detroit Lions/Associated Press

    Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions - 24.3 percent owned

    Ebron has been one of the steadiest fantasy scorers among tight ends so far, averaging a solid 7.6 fantasy points per game. Ebron is battling an ankle injury, but played through it Sunday against the Packers and saw eight targets, bringing in five for 69 yards. Overall, Ebron owns 16.7 percent of the Lions' high-volume passing attack, making him a relatively safe floor play each week. He's also a solid red-zone target given his 6-foot-4 frame, giving him added upside when the Lions approach the end zone. He's a weekly play at this point as long as he's healthy. FAAB Suggestion: 5-10 percent.

  • As usual, I'll wrap up with a few streaming quarterback options for Week 5. Flacco is a good option this week as he welcomes the Oakland Raiders into his home stadium. Since 2008, Flacco averages 19.34 fantasy points per game at home, but just 16.12 while on the road. Add in that his pass-catchers are getting  healthy again (Steve Smith, Dennis Pitta, etc.) and that the Raiders have been a sieve through the air in two of the three weeks so far and it's easy to project Flacco to push for 20 fantasy points on Sunday. That's great value for a quarterback unowned in nearly 90 percent of NFL.com leagues. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent. 2

    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens - 11.3 percent owned

    As usual, I'll wrap up with a few streaming quarterback options for Week 5. Flacco is a good option this week as he welcomes the Oakland Raiders into his home stadium. Since 2008, Flacco averages 19.34 fantasy points per game at home, but just 16.12 while on the road. Add in that his pass-catchers are getting healthy again (Steve Smith, Dennis Pitta, etc.) and that the Raiders have been a sieve through the air in two of the three weeks so far and it's easy to project Flacco to push for 20 fantasy points on Sunday. That's great value for a quarterback unowned in nearly 90 percent of NFL.com leagues. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent.

  • Siemian looked to be handicapping the Broncos passing attack through the first two weeks of the season, averaging a paltry 216.5 passing yards per game, with one touchdown and two interceptions. That all changed in Week 3 when the Bengals dared Siemian to challenge them deep and he responded with a 312-yard, four-touchdown performance. It might feel like chasing points adding Siemian, but he's facing a Bucs defense that just gave up 190 yards and two touchdowns to Case Keenum and the Rams wide receivers. To date, the Bucs allow 8.27 yards per pass attempt and a 7 percent touchdown rate. If you're in a deeper league or a 2QB format, Siemian could be worth a start this weekend. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent. 1

    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Trevor Siemian, QB, Denver Broncos - 2.7 percent owned

    Siemian looked to be handicapping the Broncos passing attack through the first two weeks of the season, averaging a paltry 216.5 passing yards per game, with one touchdown and two interceptions. That all changed in Week 3 when the Bengals dared Siemian to challenge them deep and he responded with a 312-yard, four-touchdown performance. It might feel like chasing points adding Siemian, but he's facing a Bucs defense that just gave up 190 yards and two touchdowns to Case Keenum and the Rams wide receivers. To date, the Bucs allow 8.27 yards per pass attempt and a 7 percent touchdown rate. If you're in a deeper league or a 2QB format, Siemian could be worth a start this weekend. FAAB Suggestion: 0-5 percent.