As if we needed anymore to handle there is a new wrinkle coming our way this week, the start of the byes. The good news is that there are just two teams (the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers) who will be taking the week off, so that means limited spots on our roster to fill. Of course, that is not our only intention with the waiver wire, as it is a never ending battle to improve our team. We were lucky, well Saquon Barkley owners will beg to differ, that Week 3 was escaped without many major injuries. After the carnage we saw last week it’s only fair, right?
As a quick reminder we try not to repeat players here on a week to week basis, and the focus is on those owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues, that are on our radar this week. Let’s take a look at some of those players:
Daniel Jones – QB – New York Giants
You had to know that Jones was going to make the cut this week, right? In the majority of leagues where just one quarterback makes it into your lineup things are different, but the rookie’s debut is something that should be on your radar before we add in the fact that Jones did a decent portion of it, including the comeback and game winning drive, without Barkley. In the first half Jones showed flashes, but it was hard for him to really find his footing as the Giants’ offensive line didn’t give him much time to throw. The second half was a different story, and he ultimately was 23 for 36 passing with 336 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 28 yards and two more touchdowns.
Jones made some legit throws, and he also showed the ability to make things happen with his legs but I wouldn’t bank on two touchdowns every week. There are likely better options either on your team or the waiver wire so try not to overreact, but he did show that he deserves to be an NFL quarterback (even taking into account the inevitable speed bumps).
Kyle Allen – QB – Carolina Panthers
At least for one week I was wrong. Entering Sunday’s games I wasn’t giving Allen much in the way of respect, and while the Cardinals defense does deserve some level credit for Allen’s performance we can’t entirely overlook it either. As he led the Panthers to victory, he was a very efficient 19 of 26 passing for 261 yards and 4 TD. It goes without saying that it won’t be an every week pace, and things are going to get tougher against the Texans next week, but it is nice to see what Allen is capable of.
Kirk Cousins – QB – Minnesota Vikings
I try to mean what I say when there are likely better options on the waiver wire than Jones, but Cousins isn’t it. That’s not to say Cousins isn’t a legit NFL quarterback, but it certainly has been a slow start to the season for the Minnesota signal caller. If you are looking to make a move at the quarterback position I would stay away from Cousins, even though he has the name recognition. It is clear that the Vikings’ offense is built around Dalvin Cook, and as Minnesota put up 31 points on Sunday Cousins completed just 15 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. Through three games he has thrown for 502 yards and three touchdowns, and at this point, he really isn’t worth a bench spot. So then why bring him up here? Quite simply remember that seasons are cyclical, and just because Cousins is a familiar name I’m staying away.
Wayne Gallman – RB – New York Giants
With Barkley being sidelined, I’m not sure whether Gallman or Jones is less shocking. It is clear that Gallman is the handcuff to Barkley, so that part is settled. As the Giants were playing from behind once Gallman entered the game he carried the ball just five times for 13 yards, but he is all New York has behind their superstar. He entered Week 3 with 41 yards on the season, and while he has yet to make an impact in his NFL career the touches and workload should be there.
Ronald Jones – RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How much more does Jones need to do? For the second time in three weeks he outplayed Peyton Barber, actually out-touched him too, so we shall see what Week 4 brings. The issue is that he will be facing the Rams, but that shouldn’t keep you away from the second year back for the remainder of the season. Jones got the afternoon started with a 41 yard reception, and he improved on the 4.9 yards per carry he was averaging entering the game as he picked up 80 rushing yards on 14 carries. Barber had just two less touches, but he didn’t make quite the same impact his teammate had as he gained 48 yards on 13 carries. It is clear that Jones is the more talented option, and after taking him in the second round last season Tampa Bay has invested in him as well. The tools are there, both for Jones and the Buccaneers’ offense, but he/they just need to put it together.
Darrel Williams – RB – Kansas City Chiefs
If you want to talk about a messy, unclear situation, we bring you the Kansas City Chiefs backfield. We know how explosive the offense is and how much fantasy production is there for consumption, but if only we knew who was going to carry the ball next week. As of now lets assume that Damien Williams is sidelined again. That then brings us to LeSean McCoy, who is clearly the other option, but that is only if he stays healthy. Entering the week, McCoy was dealing with an ankle injury, and before he ultimately had to exit for the afternoon he made his impact felt by carrying the ball eight times for 54 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 26 yards and another touchdown.
Early in the week it’s unclear what, if anything, we can expect from McCoy this week, so that brings us to Darrel Williams. Another thing we do know is that he, not Darwin Thompson, is the handcuff to own. After McCoy’s exit Williams certainly didn’t disappoint, as he gained 62 yards and nine carries while also adding 47 yards on five receptions. If you have the space Darrel Williams is worth the addition.
Marquez Valdez-Scantling – WR – Green Bay Packers
Talk about being technical and sneaking in just under the wire, but 49.1% is under 50%, so here we are with the Packers’ number two receiver. Entering this week he was dropped in about 9% of leagues, but it is clear where he stands in Aaron Rodgers’ pecking order and he needs to be owned. Through three games he has been targeted 21 times, catching 13 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. That includes his best game of this season last week against Denver, as he caught six passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Mecole Hardman – WR – Kansas City Chiefs
Hardman is simply too fast and the Chiefs offense too good for me not to bang the drum here. From a reception standpoint he had a quiet game on Sunday (against a Baltimore defense that is not a push over) as he caught just two passes. However those two passes went for 97 yards as the rookie showed off his explosive speed with an 83 yard touchdown catch. This week, instead of dealing with the rain on a grass surface, Hardman gets to face the Lions indoor and on turf. Let’s just say it should be a fun Sunday for Kansas City.
Diontae Johnson – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers
Entering the week the Steelers were honest about Johnson’s role, and he ultimately was targeted six times. It was just one game but he did appear to have chemistry with Mason Rudolph, and Pittsburgh is looking for a receiver opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster so why not? Johnson caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, and that brings his production for the season up to seven receptions and 94 yards. The third round pick in last year’s draft is certainly worth a closer look.
Jason Witten – TE – Dallas Cowboys
After sitting out a year while being “retired”, Witten hasn’t really missed a beat. With 10 receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns, it has been a modest season production wise, but as far as tight ends go you could do a lot worse. The main thing is the fact that Witten has already found the end zone twice, and that is where the true value for tight ends lie.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings: