Waiver Wizard 2019 Week 4

By Evan Tarracciano
Evan Tarracciano

Pickups, Pickups, Pickups
For as much time as Fantasy Football owners prepare for their draft day each year, the in-season management portion sure feels overlooked and belittled. Is the draft important to constructing a successful team? Absolutely! But being savvy with trades, waiver wire claims (and budgeting, for those of us who use FAAB) along with handcuffing running backs is also a key component to reaching the playoffs.

Draft day is behind us, folks. Long behind us. And to be quite frank, the most common sort of article that Fantasy players gravitate towards each week is who they should make bids on off the waiver wire. On the Football Diehards site alone we have a number of analysts who will share their thoughts and reactions to which players they feel will step up, given the opportunity. Which author you trust the most is certainly up to you – we can offer advice and give our reasoning (hopefully backed up with facts and statistics), but at the end of the evening it is up to you to make the call on which players will benefit you the most.

Every league is different. I participate in several leagues that are absolutely cutthroat, and any semi-relevant player is already owned. My home league is a 14-team setup that starts two RBs, two WRs, a TE and THREE FLEX slots with nine bench slots – needless to say, Daniel Jones and Wayne Gallman were already taken. In other leagues, owners are more passive. Trades hardly occur, FAAB bidding rarely ever exceeds 10 percent of the total budget for any given player, and more talent is readily available to choose from in the event of an injury or BYE week.

So, what am I getting at then? Take my opinions for what they are – opinions. The names I list below you’ll find on any and all columns today. But instead of glossing over everything and only reading my recommendation on ranks and how much to bid, check out the analysis on why I think those things, and the supporting argument behind them.



Quarterback Shakeups

Daniel Jones (New York Giants) – I’ll be the first one to admit that even as a lifelong Giants fan, I didn’t expect to be writing about Jones heading into Week 4. Early expectations figured that the team would wait until at least mid-season to make the switch with Eli Manning, but after head coach Pat Schurmur saw the success that other teams had with rookie starters (aided by their mobility especially) coupled with back-to-back losses, the move was made. Thankfully. Jones is an ideal fit for this offense, especially since he is capable of extending plays and picking up first downs with his legs if needed. I wouldn’t label him a “running quarterback” in the model of Cam Newton or Kyler Murray per se, but he will take off when necessary, akin to a Russel Wilson. The Giants still have plenty of capable talent to provide Jones assistance even after the loss of Saquon Barkley in Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate will be returning from suspension in a week’s time. The fact that Barkley was injured
so early and Jones led the team to victory regardless proves that he’s an upside play even without the All-World back behind him. Owners who are looking for assistance heading into the bye weeks or are experiencing poor quarterback play should look to add him immediately.

Should be owned in all formats and viewed as a back-end QB1 starter moving forward.

Kyle Allen (Carolina Panthers) – Word came out earlier today that Cam Newton is actually nursing and rehabbing a LisFranc injury, meaning that he will miss more time than initially expected. Allen is beloved by Panthers fans and has received his fair share of praise, especially given his propensity to throw downfield accurately, something that Newton has traditionally struggled with. Those who watched his performance against the Arizona Cardinals noticed that he spread the ball around effectively to Greg Olsen, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel – good news for all involved. Allen’s shelf life is limited compared to Jones above, as head coach Ron Rivera has already stated that Newton will be the team’s unquestioned starter once he is fully healthy. When that is exactly is anyone’s guess. The upcoming matchup against the Houston Texans is enticing given that they rank in the bottom 10 in yards allowed through the air each week (277.7, to be exact), and they are also inept at creating turnovers. As a short-term play
Allen is worth considering.

Should be added as a BYE week replacement and short-term stopgap in most formats or by Cam Newton owners.





Running Back Additions

Rashaad Penny (Seattle Seahawks) – Yes, I understand that Penny is owned in more than 50 percent of leagues, so my analysis here will be brief. Chris Carson has a fumbling problem, and although coach Pete Carroll gave a public endorsement of Carson moving forward, it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see Penny more involved once he is fully recovered from the hamstring strain that kept him off the field in Week 3. In the early going he has a much higher YPC average than Carson (5.0 vs. 3.5) and is also an adept receiver. This will be much more of a 50/50 split moving forward.

Should be owned in all leagues already, but is the top priority at the position if somehow available.

Wayne Gallman (New York Giants) – This is another situation that has been covered to death in my Twitter timeline and in recent reports, so I’ll gloss over the information we already know. Saquon Barkley is expected to miss between 4-8 weeks with a high ankle sprain. In his absence, Gallman is expected to see the majority of touches out of the backfield, and was also on the field for all of the snaps following Barkley’s departure in Week 3. Rumors have swirled that the team will look to add a high-profile backup such as C.J. Anderson or Jay Ayaji to keep them competitive – I would strongly disagree with this sentiment. First, the team doesn’t have the cap mobility to sign either veteran to a contract larger than the veteran minimum – this largely restricts either of the aforementioned players. Second, the Giants also value someone comfortable with the playbook. Gallman may not be the flashiest and most talented player at the position, but he is a capable blocker, has reps on the field with the second-string t
eam in Jones, and has demonstrated in the past that he can handle a larger workload if necessary. Elijah Penny may come in on third downs or to spell Gallman as a change-of-pace option, but until Barkley is fully healthy, this is Gallman’s job to lose. I view him more as a low-end RB2/FLEX option than low-end RB1 like other pundits, but he is definitely worth placing a large bid on, and is widely available.

Should be owned in all leagues and formats while Saquon Barkley recovers.

Rex Burkhead (New England Patriots) – I’ll come right out and say that I wouldn’t bother going after Burkhead unless absolutely necessary. The New England Patriots backfield has long been an absolute mess than rotates a feature player each week, making it incredibly difficult to pencil one player in as the undisputed “starter”. Sony Michel hasn’t played poorly enough to lose his job, and James White was also absent last week following the birth of his child. Burkhead has played well enough to raise an eyebrow for me, but not much more. Unless I’m absolutely desperate for a FLEX, I’ll pass here.

Should be owned in 14-team or deeper formats as a FLEX. Receives a minor boost in PPR formats.

Darrel Williams (Kansas City Chiefs) – I’m including Williams here due to the situation rather than my endorsement. Despite Andy Reid traditionally favoring a one-back approach in years past, it is evident that he is comfortable with at least two or more players operating in a rotation in 2019 – a situation that obviously caps the value of all involved. Yes, the pathway is clearer for Week 4 if Damien Williams AND LeSean McCoy are both ruled out early in the week, but initial reports have McCoy on track to play, confirmed by post-game interviews with him. If McCoy is out there a similar situation to last week will present itself, with McCoy and Williams splitting touches. I don’t think that Darrel Williams has enough talent (or will see enough total touches) to supplant either McCoy or Damien Williams, so his addition to anyone’s team is truly a speculative “put down a dollar and pray” bid at best.

Can be added as a short-term stopgap at the RB position if McCoy and Damien Williams are both ruled out. Otherwise he has limited value.





Wideouts who ball out

D.J. Chark (Jacksonville Jaguars) – Similar to Penny above, I’ll keep this one brief. Chark is my top option if available, given that he is seeing the targets from Gardner Minshew that were initially expected to head to Dede Westbrook. The chemistry here is obvious, and he is a threat to find the end zone each week. A very easy early schedule has played a part in this breakout, but I’d be thrilled if he is out there to add. He’s seeing six targets each week with room for more due to the running game struggling, and this is a team that desperately needs a spark.
Should be owned in all leagues and formats, treated as a WR3.

Philip Dorsett (New England Patriots) – To be candid, I’m shocked that Dorsett’s ownership was barely above 10 percent at the time of writing this. The recent release of Antonio Brown coupled with injures to both Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman (though neither are deemed to be overly serious) make Dorsett a worthwhile option for the foreseeable future. In terms of volume, he won’t necessarily be peppered with targets (his highest mark of the season was seven last week) – yet this is a team that relies on their wideouts more than ever with no viable pass-catching tight end. Dorsett is a key piece in one of the most potent offenses in football, and most importantly he has the trust of Tom Brady in clutch situations.
Should be owned in all leagues and formats, treated as a WR3.

Preston Williams (Miami Dolphins) – It pains my fingers to actually write any sort of recommendations for this team, but the absurd amount of looks that Josh Rosen gives Williams while under center can’t be brushed aside. Long known as Rosen’s favorite target after working out together over the summer, Williams has both the size (6’5, 218 lbs.), speed and opportunity that makes his name worth mentioning. He will need to improve his propensity for drops (he had a sure-fire 15-yard touchdown that he whiffed on in Week 3) but volume alone makes this one easy to get behind. The Dolphins will be playing from behind and looking to throw the majority of 2019, and someone has to catch passes…. right?

Should be added in 14-team leagues or deeper as a FLEX flier, especially in PPR formats.





Tight Ends. Woof.

Look, there is no way of skirting around the issue here – this position is ugly. Yes, Darren Waller and Mark Andrews were great additions two weeks ago, but now both are universally owned. Will Dissly (or as I affectionally refer to him as “Whistling Dixie” tops my suggestion list for those looking for help, yet I feel that his current workload isn’t sustainable as the Seattle Seahawks will look to feed their running backs more targets out of the backfield and further incorporate David Moore. Jordan Akins of the Houston Texans is also a Hail Mary option, but has such a low volume of targets and is so heavily touchdown reliant it is difficult to make a strong endorsement here. Owners of O.J. Howard, Jared Cook or Jimmy Graham would do best by simply riding out the storm instead and hoping for a turnaround.