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Working the Wire: Steve Smith is Back!
We are a quarter of the way through the NFL season with Week 4 all but in the books. Teams and tendencies are starting to become more predictable. It’s time to find some depth on the waiver wire as Bye Weeks start to really challenge fantasy owners. The right claims now can have you looking pretty heading into the playoffs. Who should your top priorities be this week? Let’s take a look!
Bye Weeks: Chiefs, Saints, Jaguars, Seahawks
Steve Smith | WR | Baltimore Ravens
(63% owned in Yahoo)
Steve Smith is proving his fantasy worth yet again this season and becoming someone owners can rely on. Joe Flacco leans on Smith and consistently looks Smith’s way including 11 targets in each of the last two games. A 37-year-old WR coming off of an Achilles injury shouldn’t be able to do the things Smith is doing but here we sit. With bye weeks coming hard and fast, Smith is a must add in leagues where he is available. The Ravens will continue to throw in an effort to stay in games and there is no reason to assume Smith won’t continue to be involved.
Michael Thomas | WR | New Orleans Saints
(55% owned in Yahoo)
Michael Thomas is garnering a reliable role with the New Orleans Saints with quarterback Drew Brees showing his faith by targeting him 20 times in the past two weeks. Thomas has found the end zone each of the past two weeks as well. There is some reason for concern with Thomas however with this production coming with Willie Snead banged up. He is still worth an add even with a reduced role if you’re in need of WR help. New Orleans has an awful defense and their offense will be forced to throw early and often. The Saints do have a bye this week so look elsewhere if you need an immediate fill in.
Kevin White | WR | Chicago Bears
(53% owned in Yahoo)
Kevin White is becoming a target monster with the Bears. He has 29 targets in the last three weeks. The explosive playmaking we saw during White’s time at West Virginia hasn’t come to fruition yet but that should be coming soon. He is producing solid numbers for his owners especially in PPR leagues. White did leave Sunday’s game against the Lions with an ankle injury and did not return. Pay attention to the news out of Chicago to see how bad it may be. He could be a nice stash that pays off down the stretch if you can afford to be patient.
Quincy Enunwa | WR | New York Jets
(37% owned in Yahoo)
I’m going to keep recommending Quincy Enunwa in this column until he is highly owned. He produced again this week despite facing a tough Seattle defense. He caught six of his seven targets for 60 yards. Eric Decker has a partially torn rotator cuff that will keep him out for an extended period. Enunwa has a role in this offense and will be a reliable option for fantasy owners. The Jets have a nice schedule ahead including the Browns, Ravens and Dolphins. Enunwa should feast on their secondaries.
Terrance West | RB | Baltimore Ravens
(28% owned in Yahoo)
The Baltimore Ravens backfield seems to have found a feature back at least a week anyway. Justin Forsett was a healthy scratch against the Oakland Raiders which gave Terrance West a chance to have all the carries. He produced 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. The Ravens face a Redskin defense that was ran all over by Isaiah Crowell this week. West is absolutely worth an add if you need help this week. How long he will be “the guy” is not clear but if he keeps running over defenses, the Ravens will feed him.
Kenneth Dixon | RB | Baltimore Ravens
(25% owned in Yahoo)
I know I suggested picking up West from the very same backfield but get a jump on future waiver wires and add Kenneth Dixon. Avoid having to blow all your FAAB or the high waiver priority allows you to get a jump on your leaguemates. Dixon has the skills to be a true three down back and could be back as early as next week. West will be the feature back next week but Dixon will get a chance if he stumbles. Pick him up if you have flexibility at the end of your roster.
Cameron Artis-Payne | RB | Carolina Panthers
(32% owned in Yahoo)
I know Cameron Artis-Payne has not looked great since getting the role from an injured Jonathan Stewart but I still think he is worth adding. The Panthers face the Buccaneers and the Saints over the next two weeks. Both defense have been ran all over this season and the Panthers should be able to do much of the same. If you need a RB to play in the next two weeks he could be worth a play. The opportunity should be there and the fantasy points should follow.
Fozzy Whittaker | RB | Carolina Panthers
(24% owned in Yahoo)
Fozzy Whittaker has a defined role in the Panther offense as the pass catcher out of the backfield. He is a player who garners targets including an impressive 9 on Sunday against the Falcons. Carolina’s defense looks to have dropped off from last season and will force the offense to shoulder more of the load. Whittaker provides a decent floor in PPR leagues with upside.
James White | RB | New England Patriots
(27% owned in Yahoo)
The New England Patriots are going to get Tom Brady back for Week 5 and James White is going to be fantasy relevant especially in PPR leagues. With Brady the Patriots are a team that throws the ball over 75% of the time. White should see the field a ton with Brady back and have a ton of targets headed his way. White was a valuable PPR option last season after taking over for Dion Lewis, finishing as a RB2 in five of seven weeks. Add him for some RB depth especially in PPR.
With Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Blake Bortles all on a Bye in Week 5 I figured I would recommend a two widely available quarterbacks to use this week. If Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, or Derek Carr are available then look that way before these names. I also love Jameis Winston this week against a Panther defense that was carved up by Ryan in Week four.
Joe Flacco | QB | Baltimore Ravens
It hasn’t been pretty this season for Joe Flacco but he has been producing for fantasy owners. The Ravens have been slow starters and have gotten behind in the past couple game. This is good news however for people who play him. It forces him to throw the ball all over the yard and rack up the stats. This week he face a Redskins defense that is allowing 291 passing yards per game. Flacco should put up 250ish yards and two touchdowns in this game.
Ryan Tannehill | QB | Miami Dolphins
While Ryan Tannehill is an awful NFL quarterback he can be one fantasy owners can count on. Much like Flacco, Tannehill relies on junk time to produce. This week he faces a Titans defense that has been better but one that is still pretty bad in the secondary. He should be a solid replacement that produces 200 plus yards and finds the end zone once or twice.