Just two weeks into the 2020 fantasy football season, some owners are already having to rebuild their teams from scratch. Thanks to countless injuries to key players in Week 2, the fantasy world has been turned upside down. Owners are having to adjust on the fly and find worthwhile streamers, sleepers, and new starters. At this point in the week, most of the “must-have pickups” of the week have been grabbed, but ahead of the post-Week 3 waiver period, it’s important to look ahead at potential free-agent streamers for Week 4 and consider grabbing them now before your leaguemates get to do so next week.
Admittedly, it’s tough to drop players that you’re confident in, and at this point in the season, you may have a lot of those. Still, it’s important to project into the future. So, if you’re still holding onto a player that rarely starts and is dealing with an injury, like Christian Kirk, it could make sense to drop them to pick up a guy like Jeff Wilson Jr., who could emerge as the new backfield leader for the 49ers.
Yeah, these moves are just educated guesses, and they don’t always work out. But when they do work out, these players can be big-time difference makers, as you won’t have to use a waiver claim or spend more in FAAB while sweating out the waiver process.
Even two weeks into the season, there are numerous players on the waiver wire that can make a big impact. It’s good to approach pickups with some level of skepticism, especially if a player is producing at a seemingly unsustainable clip, but it’s also important to take a chance on calculated risks. For example, the Allen Lazard’s and Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s of the world may not produce every week, but they’re in a good offense with a great quarterback and could catch some scores. Other players may get a high volume of opportunities to make plays (like Mike Davis, Russell Gage, Adam Humphries) or simply have good matchups upcoming (like KJ Hamler and Michael Pittman Jr.)
Even if you don’t want to make a move yet, it’s still important to know who is out there. One of these guys will almost certainly emerge with a solid Week 3 performance and end up being one of the top Week 4 waiver wire pickups. As always, if there’s someone out there that you like, don’t hesitate to grab them.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist
Reminder: This list was put together in the lead-in to Week 4, looking forward to the players that could be waiver-wire targets to scoop before the season starts to use in future weeks. If you have a roster spot to play with, these are options you could pick up early to beat the waiver buzz.
All these players are below 50-percent ownership on Yahoo unless otherwise specified.
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watchlist: Quarterback
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (48 percent ownership)
All Minshew has done to start the season is average 256 passing yards and three touchdowns per game while going up against two divisional opponents with solid defenses (Colts, Titans). Minshew has looked great, doesn’t turn the ball over, and should be a high-end QB2 and streaming option barring any regression. The Jaguars face a porous Bengals defense in Week 4, so Minshew could work his way into QB1 territory in that matchup — or at least get close to it.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (46)
Mayfield often finds success against teams that have trouble rushing the passer. In Week 4, Mayfield will be facing a Cowboys team that has just two sacks in two games this season. He can be a solid streamer and might have a chance to post another game with 250-plus passing yards and at least two TDs.
Justin Herbert, Chargers (12)
In his debut against the Chiefs, Herbert threw for over 300 yards and totaled two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground. He showed very well considering that he only learned minutes before the game that he would be starting. The Chargers are facing the Buccaneers in Week 4 and the Saints in Week 5, but Herbert could be a great streamer beyond that, as the Chargers take on the Dolphins, Jets, and Jaguars the following three weeks.
Jeff Driskel, Broncos (1)
Driskel may seem like an odd recommendation, but he’s taking on the Jets in Week 4 in a short week. Driskel is mobile, and the Jets have allowed 11.5 fantasy points on the ground to QBs this year through two games. Driskel may be able to work himself into QB2 territory because of his scrambling upside in a great matchup.
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watch List: RB
Devonta Freeman (48) | Dion Lewis (32) | Wayne Gallman (5)
It’s unclear exactly how the Giants backfield will shake out after Saquon Barkley’s knee injury. Freeman is the biggest name here, but he was just signed by the team this week. Lewis is the veteran-most player of the group while Gallman has been with the Giants the longest. It’s anyone’s guess, so feel free to grab one of the available Giants backs and stash them until a pecking order is established.
Mike Davis (40)
With Christian McCaffrey (knee) out at least three weeks (and likely more) with a high-ankle sprain, Davis will be the lead back in Carolina. The only other option on the roster, at the moment, is Trenton Cannon, who is more of a receiving back. While Reggie Bonnafon could get the call up from the practice squad, Davis figures to see most of the carries in the Panthers backfield. He may not do well in a tough matchup with the Chargers this week, but he could be a low-end RB2/volume-based flex play in Weeks 4 and 5 against the Cardinals and Falcons, respectively.
Kerryon Johnson (37)
Detroit’s running back rotation is tough to figure out, but Johnson got the first five carries in Week 2 and turned them into 20 yards and a TD. All three top backs on the team — Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and D’Andre Swift — have a chance to emerge as the backfield leader, so all should be on fantasy rosters. Feel free to pick up Johnson if you’re hurting at the RB position.
Myles Gaskin (29)
This may surprise some, but Gaskin is leading the Dolphins in total carries (18) and total rushing yards (86). Jordan Howard may continue to be a TD vulture (he has 13 carries for 11 yards but two TDs), but Gaskin seems to be emerging as the top all-around RB on the team, as he also has 10 catches on the year. He may not be an exciting lead back, but he can be trusted as a PPR flex play in certain matchups.
Damien Harris (25)
Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead are averaging 3.3 and 2.6 yards per carry, respectively, for the Patriots. That won’t cut it in what should be a ground-dominant offense helmed by Cam Newton. Harris (hand) can be activated off IR following Week 3 and if the Patriots choose to do that, he could quickly emerge as the team’s top between-the-tackles RB. Harris was having a great camp until a broken bone in his hand sidelined him to start the season. He may be a hot commodity on the waiver wire after Sunday’s games, so try to pick him up before people realize that he may soon return.
La’Mical Perine (4)
Frank Gore handled 21 carries against the 49ers in Week 2. How long can that last? The Jets will eventually turn to their younger back with Le’Veon Bell (knee) out and most of their receiving corps banged up. Perine could start to see more work against the Colts in Week 3 and could work his way into flex territory for a Thursday night clash with the Broncos in Week 4.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (3)
With Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee) out, Jerick McKinnon is expected to be the lead back for San Francisco. However, he has missed each of the last two seasons with knee injuries, so the 49ers could opt to give him a smaller workload than expected. The main beneficiary, if that happens, will be Wilson Jr., who scored four times on just 27 carries last year. He could have a chance to score against his next two opponents, the Giants and Eagles.
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watch List: WR
Allen Lazard, Packers (46) | Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers (37)
It’s stunning that both Lazard and Valdes-Scantling are under 50 percent owned. Sure, the Packers just faced a couple of weak secondaries in the Vikings and the Lions, but both were very productive and have a lot of TD upside because they’re playing with a rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers. With a juicy Week 4 matchup against another weak secondary, the Falcons, Lazard and MVS could both be top-36 WRs, especially depending on the health of Davante Adams (hamstring).
Corey Davis, Titans (42) | Adam Humphries, Titans (3)
Even in Week 1 when A.J. Brown played, Davis was the preferred target of Ryan Tannehill. He has racked up 13 targets and has at least 100 receiving yards or a TD in each of his two games. It’s a small sample size, but Davis has WR3/flex ability especially if Brown (knee) continues to miss time. Humphries (13 targets, 11 catches, 95 yards, 1 TD) is also a solid add, especially in PPR formats.
Russell Gage, Falcons (38)
Gage has the second-most targets on the Falcons behind only Calvin Ridley, and he has racked up 15 catches for 160 yards and a TD on the year. Julio Jones (hamstring) is questionable this week and may not be 100 percent if he plays, and that will give Gage even more opportunities to become a hot waiver-wire pickup. Grab him now and trust him as a flex play considering that the Falcons love to throw the ball on offense (and have to throw a lot anyway because they’re frequently down).
N’Keal Harry, Patriots (36)
Harry is emerging as Cam Newton’s second-favorite target with the Patriots, as evidenced by his 12-target, eight-catch, 72-yard performance against the Seahawks. Harry has the size (6-4) needed to be a TD threat and gets to take on a couple of beatable secondaries in Weeks 3 and 4, the Raiders and the Chiefs. He is dealing with an ankle injury though, so keep an eye on that.
Golden Tate, Giants (36)
Tate was efficient in his first outing of the year and caught five passes for 47 yards. He also nearly had a TD at the end of the Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Bears. Sterling Shepard (toe) is now out along with Saquon Barkley (knee), so Tate should be in line for more targets moving forward.
Preston Williams, Dolphins (33)
Williams may have only three catches on the year for 67 yards, but it’s not for a lack of targets. He has seen 12 total and should continue to be an important part of the Dolphins’ game plan. The yardage and TDs will come soon, especially with the team facing the Jaguars, Seahawks, and banged-up 49ers in consecutive weeks.
Keelan Cole, Jaguars (21) | Laviska Shenault, Jaguars (20)
Speaking of teams with favorable matchups, the Jaguars are taking on the Dolphins without Byron Jones on Thursday night and then get to face the Bengals in Week 4. Their passing game is already very efficient and should have a chance to be better. Cole leads the team in targets with 12 and TDs with two, while Shenault has 15 total touches (seven rushing, eight receiving) for 119 yards. Both have considerable upside given how well Minshew has played so far, and DJ Chark’s chest injury only makes them more attractcive.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (20)
At 37, Fitzgerald is still seeing plenty of targets, as he has gotten 12 in his first two games. He should have a chance to get even more if Christian Kirk misses time with a groin injury and given his Week 4 matchup with a struggling Panthers defense.
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (16)
Parris Campbell is on IR after suffering a knee injury, so that should open up some opportunities for Pittman, the Colts’ second-round pick. He could work his way into flex territory thanks to an easy schedule featuring games against the Jets, Bears, Browns, Bengals, and Lions in the upcoming weeks.
Chase Claypool, Steelers (9)
Claypool isn’t getting a lot of targets, but he has caught all five of them for 127 yards. That includes an 84-yard TD that showed off his explosive ability. If he earns more playing time in a loaded Steelers offense, he could emerge as a quality deep threat given his unique combination of size and speed.
KJ Hamler, Broncos (3)
With Courtland Sutton (knee) out, Hamler has an opportunity to earn more playing time in the Broncos’ offense, and he kickstarted his career with three catches and 48 yards in Week 2. It will be hard to trust him with Jeff Driskel at QB, but a Thursday night game against the Jets in Week 4 could let the speedy second-rounder burst onto the scene in impressive fashion.
Week 4 Waiver Wire Watch List: TE
Logan Thomas, Washington (30)
Through two games this season, Thomas is tied for the lead on the Washington Football Team in targets with 17 and he has grabbed a TD. Considering the team’s lacking weapons, he should continue to see a high volume of targets, which makes him a consistent, matchup-based streamer. He plays the Ravens in Week 4 before a nice four-game stretch against the Cowboys, Giants (twice), and Rams.
Jack Doyle, Colts (17) | Mo Alie-Cox (5)
We saw the upside of the Colts’ tight end room when Alie-Cox led the team with five catches and 111 yards against the Vikings last week. Indy has a great schedule upcoming with games against the Jets, Bears, Browns, Bengals, and Lions so Alie-Cox can be started if you’re needing a TE. And once Doyle (ankle) comes back healthy, he should be a potential TE1 if he gets enough volume.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (14)
With Blake Jarwin (knee) out for the season, Schultz emerged as one of Dak Prescott’s favorite targets against the Falcons. He racked up nine catches for 88 yards and a TD on 10 targets. Schultz is playing the Browns in Week 4, the team allowing the most fantasy points per game to the tight end position. Grab him now if you need a streamer for that contest.
Jordan Reed, 49ers (12)
We’re still waiting to see if George Kittle (knee) will return to the field in Week 3. If not, Reed will get the start and will have a chance to build on his two-TD performance from Week 2. Reed is taking on the Eagles in Week 4, and they just allowed Tyler Higbee to score three times, so it may be worth stashing him just in case the 49ers decide to be extra cautious with Kittle.
Drew Sample, Bengals (4)
With C.J. Uzomah (knee) out for the season, Sample will be Joe Burrow’s new top TE target. So far, tight ends have soaked up 21 of Burrow’s 94 targets, and Sample caught seven passes for 45 yards last week. Sample could be a PPR monster if Burrow keeps looking his way, so it’s best to grab him before he really takes off.
Jordan Akins, Texans (3)
In Week 1, Akins caught both of his targets for 39 yards and a TD. In Week 2, he caught all seven of his passes for 55 yards. The third-year player seems to be developing a strong rapport with Deshaun Watson, so if he can continue to earn the trust of his QB, he may have enough volume to be relevant at the position.
Week 4 defense streamers and sleepers
Arizona Cardinals (40) | Week 4 opponent: @ Panthers
Philadelphia Eagles (38) | Week 4 opponent: @ 49ers
Denver Broncos (36) | Week 4 opponent: @ Jets
Seattle Seahawks (33) | Week 4 opponent: @ Dolphins
It looks like all the best and readily available, streaming options in Week 4 will be road teams. The Cardinals will get a chance to take on a Panthers offense that could be one-dimensional without Christian McCaffrey, so feel free to bank on Chandler Jones pressuring Teddy Bridgewater into some mistakes. The same can be said for the Eagles, who will take on the injury-ravaged 49ers, who might be starting Nick Mullens at quarterback again. If Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is healthy, Philadelphia might not be a recommended play, but if Mullens is starting, it should find some success.
The Broncos are one of the more intriguing streaming options on the slate. Yes, they’re missing quite a few players on both sides of the ball, but they’re taking on what is arguably the NFL’s worst team on a short week. That should end up being a win for them, especially pending the health of the Jets’ top receivers (Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder).
Finally, the Seahawks round things out in a matchup against the Dolphins. Miami has some good weaponry, but Seattle is strong in the back seven and Ryan Fitzpatrick is prone to throwing interceptions. This is a matchup when the Seahawks should be able to make a splash play or two.