Week 4 of this NFL season brings a number of wrinkles.
First, the dreaded Bye weeks begin and blow holes in our lineups. That’s right. You already need to account for the losses of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson this week. Sure, you lose Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews, but this would have been the first week to push all-in after the complete and utter domination of the Steelers.
We’ll revisit that tandem in the future.
Second, owners need to set their alarm clocks early to check out the Jaguars and Colts from England. It’s a 9:30a ET kickoff, so get some sleep, set the DVRs, and make sure that you get those starters into the mix.
Might I suggest some deeper options for roster spots and perhaps plug-in plays? As I do each week, it’s time to dial up some options in the leftover bin off of the waiver wire.
Trevor Siemian, QB, DEN: Siemian took the chirping of his top receiving options to heart and unleashed hell downfield in a high-scoring victory over the Bengals. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders feasted on the Cincinnati secondary. The Buccaneers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks on average. He’s a solid Bye replacement for Aaron Rodgers.
Jimmy Garappolo, QB, NE: How gutsy are you? They won’t be dialing up Julian Edelman for a full game, right? I know Rex Ryan wanted to get the scoop as a would-be beat reporter.
Garappolo was dominating the Dolphins before getting injured in Week 2. With Rob Gronkowski back for a bigger workload after 10 days of rest, the upside is tremendous against this weak Buffalo secondary.
Sam Bradford, QB, MIN: The Minnesota defense dialed up a big game to pace the Vikings over the Panthers. Bradford was an efficient 18-for-28 with 171 yards and one touchdown. He’s completed nearly 68% of his pass attempts thus far. It’s a difficult spot against the Giants this week (15 FP allowed per game), so Bradford doesn’t rate an automatic start. Still, his low ownership rate baffles me.
Michael Thomas, WR, NO: We gave you Thomas on the FOX Football Fantasy show Sunday morning with Willie Snead’s status up in the air. Thomas responded with an early touchdown reception in the Saints’ loss to the Falcons. The rookie has already amassed 17 receptions on 22 targets through three weeks for 185 yards with a touchdown. The O/U sits at 53 1/2 for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
Cole Beasley, WR, DAL: Beasley makes a repeat appearance on the list as well. He’s been a frequent target for Dak Prescott through three weeks, and his target count stands to grow in Week 4 against the 49ers with Dez Bryant presumably sidelined. Terrance Williams warrants a look-see for owners seeking a home run hitter (if he holds onto the ball), but Beasley is steady over the middle and sneaky in the red zone. Beasley’s amassed 20 catches on 25 touches for 213 yards.
Jamison Crowder, WR, WAS: The Washington offense still has its issues, but Crowder has quietly emerged as a frequent target for Kirk Cousins. Crowder has logged seven or more targets in each of the Redskins’ first three games, and has scored in back-to-back contests. He’s yet to break 80 receiving yards in any of these games (78 last week), but the volume intrigues me. Washington has a strong matchup in Week 4 at home against the Browns.
Dwayne Washington, RB, DET: Theo Riddick remains the lead in Detroit, but the Lions don’t want him slugging it out between the tackles. Enter Washington. He carried the ball 10 times for 38 yards last week and will be a monster option this week at Chicago.
Orleans Darkwa, RB, NYG: He’s the last man standing (though Rashad Jennings may be available in a limited capacity). Darkwa carried the ball 10 times for 53 yards with a touchdown against the Redskins. He’s strictly a volume play with hope of a goal-line touch against the stout Vikings front.
Zach Miller, TE, CHI: Miller shone in a blowout loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night. He finished as the week’s top scorer at the tight end position after catching two touchdown passes from Brian Hoyer. Miller has caught 15-of-18 passes for 125 yards this season, and figures to see volume targets as the Bears scuffle defensively.
Hunter Henry, TE, SD: Henry was a strong spot play option in Week 2 with Antonio Gates sidelined. He produced a good stat line (6-of-7 for 92 yards), but fumbled after a big reception that closed out a loss. Henry is a fantastic start this week against the New Orleans secondary with Gates still out because of a hamstring issue.