Fantasy Football 2014: Week 4 Waiver Claims


The first week of byes has arrived, and boy is it a doozey. With a whopping 6 teams on bye this week (Bengals, Broncos, Browns, Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks) You might find yourself especially in need of the waiver wire. Lucky for you, I’m here to help (though I really should start getting these out sooner.)

Just a quick check-in on some of the guys I mentioned last week: Donald Brown is still available in 90% on NFL leagues and needs to be added following Danny Woodhead’s season ending injury. Brian Quick, and Andrew Hawkins are all on bye this week, but if you’re not looking for a fill-in they’re still available in a ton of leagues and they’ll both continue to produce going forward. Isaiah Crowell (also on bye) is going to make it awfully tough for Cleveland to take the ball out of his hands if Ben Tate is healthy week 5. I still like Markus Wheaton, but so many of Pittsburgh’s yards have come on the ground the past two weeks it’s hard to trust him. Travis Kelce, Larry Donnell and Niles Paul are still readily available if you need them.  Now, on to some new names for this week’s waiver claims:

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers: (56% on NFL) (37.3% on ESPN) Needs to be owned in all leagues. Through 3 weeks he has 16 catches for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the run game banged up and the defense not as dominant as last year Carolina is going to need to throw a lot more than they planned, and his chemistry with Cam Newton should only improve. This week is a particularly nice match-up against a banged up Baltimore secondary, so if he’s available in your league make sure you grab him he’s a top 25 receiver this year assuming he stays healthy.

James Jones, WR, Raiders: (38.7% on NFL) (54% on ESPN) Last week I promoted Rod Streater over James Jones, but this isn’t a change of heart, Streater left week 3’s match against the Patriots early with a fracture in his foot. In his absence Jones should see more targets. There’s always the chance Andre Holmes, Denarius Moore or tight end Mychal Rivera steps up, but Jones is the natural choice and should have a solid game (or at least catch a TD) this week against Miami.

Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: (6.2% on NFL) (5.5% ESPN) Marques Colston has been invisible so far this year and Brandin Cooks has been the main benefactor, but Stills has gotten consistent looks the past two weeks (7 catches on 9 targets) but the yardage just hasn’t been there, (just 63 on the year so far.) Better days are ahead for Stills who faces Dallas this week and Tampa Bay in week 5. Both teams can and have been beat deep, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see his stats explode these next two weeks, so if you want a bye week fill-in with upside, Stills is intriguing.

Jordan Mathews, WR, Eagles: (2.9% NFL) (3.7% ESPN) You’re not going to be able to count on multiple touchdowns every week, but Riley Cooper hasn’t looked very good (and was never really a string #2 WR to begin with) And the #2 WR in Chip Kelly’s offense will have value. Yes, it was a weird game where they struggled to run the ball and Zach Ertz was held to just 14 yards, but the 49ers are another team that is easier to attack outside than up the middle, so Matthews is another interesting add who could see his value rise if he can capitalize on Sunday’s success.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars: (0.2% NFL)(0.4% ESPN) Back to back 70+ yard games have me interested. The Jaguars WR corps is a bit of a crap shoot right now, but if Robinson gets a third consecutive start this week against San Diego I think he could put up solid numbers in a game where the Jags will be throwing a bunch.

Lorenzo Talliafero, HB, Ravens: (0.2% NFL)(1.6% ESPN) This one’s a little tricky. Bernard Pierce is likely to get another chance as the “starter” for the Ravens, but Taliaferro’s impressive performance in a win against the Browns last week should earn him a role in the offense, and I like the rookies talent enough to roster him with favorable match-ups against the Colts, Buccaneers and Falcons following this weeks less than favorable match-up with a Carolina defense looking to prove week 3’s decimation at the hands of Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount was a fluke.

Alfred Blue, HB, Texans: (3.5% on NFL)(3.3% on ESPN) If you own Arian Foster Blue is a must add. He also has appeal in deeper formats or for anyone who doesn’t believe Foster will stay healthy. He’s going to be the featured back if Foster can’t play and there’s value in that, just ask Ben Tate.

Jerrick McKinnon, HB, Vikings: (1.1% on NFL)(1.2% on ESPN) Last week’s player to watch wasn’t nearly as involved as I hoped he’d be, but I’m going to say that if you’re in a tight spot, particularly in a deeper league McKinnon is a good pick-up to actually get something going against the Atlanta defense. Matt Asiata is also still available in a bunch of leagues and it might be a good enough matchup for him to do something, but it’s hard to feel good about it.

Owen Daniels, TE, Ravens: (11.7% on NFL)(5.9% on ESPN) Dennis Pitta dislocated his hip this past Sunday and had to undergo season ending surgery. Daniels doesn’t have Pitta’s speed or athleticism, but he’s still a quality pass catching TE that has had fantasy success under OC Gary Kubiak before. He should be particularly useful in the redzone, and is worth an add for anyone who wants a more proven TE than Larry Donnell or Niles Paul.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins: (21% on NFL)(29.4% on ESPN) Maybe this is an overreaction with games against Seattle and Arizona looming past this week’s match-up with the Giants, but I really like how Cousins fits the Redskins offense and is worth an add for anyone in need of QB help.

One to Watch:

Roy Helu, HB, Redskins: (1.3% on NFL)(41.5% on ESPN) Alfred Morris was back at practice Monday and today despite briefly leaving last weeks game with a knee injury. All reports are that he’ll be ready to go Thursday, but it’s a situation worth keeping an eye. And even assuming there’s no restriction to Morris’ workload this week, Helu continues to look explosive when he gets the ball and could be a bigger part of the game plan against some of the tougher defenses Washington has on the schedule.

Streaming Defense of the Week:

San Diego Chargers: (2.9% on NFL)(4.2% on ESPN) I’ve learned my lesson, stick to the team playing the Jaguars. I actually think Blake Bortles puts in a nice fantasy performance, but it won’t be pretty. The Chargers pass rush will be after Bortles all day, and should be able to generate some turnovers off the pressure and hopefully score.

Streaming QB of the Week: 

Eli Manning: (14.9% on NFL)(36.4% on ESPN) Honestly, if you picked up Cousins last week I think you can roll with him again this week, but if he’s already owned in your league and you need someone then why not the opposing QB? The Giants play the Redskins on Thursday this week and after carrying 34 times on Sunday it’s doubtful that the Giants game plan will include a heavy workload for Rashad Jennings against one of the league’s top run defenses. The Redskins also lost top cover man DeAngelo Hall from an already weak secondary, so Eli is set up for a big game. The only drawback is that it’s one of those situations that almost feels too perfect.