Forget about Sundays, fantasy football championships are won on Tuesdays. I’ll be providing you with weekly advice for navigating what could often be an intimidating waiver wire claim process. It’s a fun mix of deep stashes, dynasty roster changes, and FAAB suggestions. If you enjoy this article or want to discuss any of the players with me-I’m always happy to engage with readers and fellow dynasty degenerates on Twitter, @Top2Matt.
Josh Rosen (Owned in 2.8% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
I wrote about Rosen in Week 3, and I don’t like doubling up on players in these articles, but Rosen has been promoted from Stash to Target after a successful first week as starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. Rosen’s stat line may not jump out at you (15-27) 180 yards and 1 TD but his performance exceeds the mediocrity that it suggests. Rosen threw with both power and accuracy and improved over the course of the game, clearly finding comfort with Kirk, Fitzgerald, and Chad Williams. Rosen kept the Cardinals on the field for 52 snaps, their most in the last 3 weeks and worked David Johnson into the game for the first time this season; Johnson totaled 111 total yards and 1 TD on 22 carries and 3 receptions. Rosen just missed out on a 3 touchdowns debut: he had a near touchdown called back after Chad Williams’ second foot failed to stay in bounds and had a wide-open pass dropped by JJ Nelson. You missed your shot to get Rosen too cheap; pay up at 10-15% of your FAAB if you need a QB and want to guarantee you get a guy that can contribute now and moving forward.
Ito Smith (Owned in 2.1% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Stash
Smith saw 10 touches for the 2nd time in the last three weeks. In Week 4, he rushed for 35 yards and a touchdown on 7 carries (5 yards/carry) and caught all 3 of his targets. Smith should fly under the radar (bird joke intended) this week with news that Devonta Freeman is set to return in Week 5. Freeman, however, seems to be falling into a pattern of injury-making Smith a possible flex play later this season. Additionally, Tevin Coleman is on the last year of his contract, and Atlanta is already paying Freeman’s huge contract ($9 million cap hit in 2019). This suggests Coleman will finally have the chance to be an RB1 and get as such in the offseason to a team desperate for running back upside (see: Jerrick McKinnon). That leaves Smith as the RB2 in Atlanta, and that comes with all the perks which make Coleman a valuable dynasty player now. Smith is an investment, but one that can pay big. I think given the Freeman news, you can grab Smith for 5% of your FAAB budget. Also, watch for him to be dropped after the initial waivers run this week-letting you nab him for free.
Mike Davis (Owned in 0.1% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
Davis is the third Seattle running back to contribute in Seattle this year; making it very clear that the only thing Carroll knows about his backs is that he hasn’t yet found his guy. Davis, however, made a strong case for the starting role: running for 101 yards and 2 TDs on 21 carries in addition to catching all 4 of his targets for 23 yards. Carroll was clearly impressed, coming out on Monday and suggesting that even with Chris Carson healthy, Davis would have a role moving forward. It’s not hard to imagine Davis and Carson splitting work, either, in Week 4 Seattle rushed the ball 30 times and in Week 3 they ran it 36 times. Just 29 of those carries, over 4 weeks, belong to their first-round pick Rashaad Penny (92 yards, 0 TDs). I’m willing to spend 5-10% of my FAAB on the upside that comes with Davis.
Rashard Higgins (Owned in 0.8% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
Antonio Callaway (owned in 32.5% of ESPN Leagues) is getting all of the hype behind Jarvis Landry this season. Higgins, however, is much more efficient so far: Higgins has caught 13 of 19 targets (68%), compared to Callaway’s 10 receptions on 24 targets (41.7%). Higgins also has more yards than him (178 to 155) and is averaging more yards per target (9.4 to 6.5). In his first full start, Baker looked toward Callaway a lot but was disappointed by connecting just 3 times on 9 targets. Higgins, however, proved more dependable; catching 4 of 5 targets for 61 yards. Higgins should be cheap, and you shouldn’t have to pay more than 2-5% of your FAAB budget to buy this potential WR2 in Cleveland.
Keke Coutee (Owned in 0.4% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Priority
I’ve been hype on Coutee, like very hype, to the point where I’m kind of convinced that I’m accountable for the majority of the 0.4% of teams he is rostered on. The former Texas Tech standout slot receiver perfectly complements the deep play threats of Fuller and Hopkins. It was Coutee, in his first game active this season, who led the team in targets in Week 4. He caught 11 of 15 targets for 109 yards. I’ll stop myself from gushing anymore, but this isn’t a one-time flash in the pan; Coutee fits this system perfectly and be a PPR stud value this season. You shouldn’t have to spend more than 5-10% of your FAAB budget to get him, but I wouldn’t blame you if you did overspend.
C.J. Uzomah (Owned in 0.1% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
With Tyler Eifert out for the season with a gruesome ankle injury, the natural reaction is to go and buy Tyler Kroft-the fantasy darling from the 2017 season (42 receptions, 404 yards, 7 touchdowns). Uzomah, however, has outproduced Kroft this season. The 6’4” 260 pounds 4th-year man out of Auburn has made an early impact on this re-charged offense: catching 7 of his 8 targets for 74 yards and a touchdown. That’s compared to Kroft’s 4 receptions on 5 targets for 36 yards. Uzomah has found himself on the field more often that Kroft too: In Week 1 he out snapped Kroft 36% to 17%, in Week 2 37% to 34%, and in Week 3 35% to 21%. While your league mates are chasing the past, focus on the present and save money on Uzomah; you should be able to get him for less than 10% of your FAAB budget.
Rhett Ellison (Owned in 3.7% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
Ellison became a popular target in Week 4, as news broke that Engram’s ankle injury will leave him out of action for multiple weeks. Ellison’s Week 3 performance (3 receptions on 3 targets for 39 yards a 1 TD) helped spur interest. In Week 4 he came out and caught 3 of his 5 targets for 29 yards and did see some goal-line opportunities. Ellison’s value, however, sustains even once Engram returns. Even with Engram on the field, Ellison saw 29% of Week 1 snaps, 24% of Week 2 snaps, and 54% of Week 3 snaps. Ellison’s blocking ability is essential to the Giants’ efforts to offset their horrific offensive line. They’ve seen protecting Manning is the top priority and having Ellison as an additional blocker is essential; getting him on the field more. You should still be able to get Ellison for no more than 5% of your FAAB budget.