Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 4 and beyond


Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 4 and beyond

Don't do it. Don't fall into the trap.

Marcedes Lewis set the fantasy world on fire with three tuddies in London early Sunday morning before the Noon games even kicked off. 

It means next to nothing going forward.

Lewis was a complete nonfactor prior to that game, with zero catches on four targets in Weeks 1 and 2 combined. He is a not a big part of the Jaguars offense and until he proves he can approach those numbers again, Lewis does not need to be owned. 

The larger point is making sure you're not getting too caught up in one week of action. If you pick up a guy who's had an awesome stretch of games or one awesome game, that doesn't always translate to moving forward and obviously it's the future we're worried about with every fantasy transaction.

But even if Lewis isn't a legit option moving forward, there are plenty of guys who are worthy of your waiver claims this week:

1. Wendell Smallwood, RB, PHI

The hottest add this week, Smallwood figures to play a BIGwood (nailed it) role in the Eagles offense moving forward. Darren Sproles is done for the year and Smallwood played 57 percent of the snaps in Week 3 even with Sproles healthy to begin the contest. The Eagles did rediscover the fact they have LeGarrette Blount on the roster and he rushed for 67 yards and a TD, but Smallwood will be the receiving back and he also outperformed Blount on 12 carries (71 yards). He's the top back on the market (owned in only 2 percent of leagues) and could be a difference-maker moving forward.

2. Sterling Shepard, WR, NYG

The Giants offense is broke no more. Odell Beckham Jr. is back in a big way and while Brandon Marshall is starting to emerge on the opposite side of the field from OBJ, Shepard is proving there's room for him in this offense, too. Manning won't throw 47 times every week, but Marshall caught 8 balls on 11 targets (but for only 66 yards; 8.3 ypc) while Shepard hauled in 7 passes on 10 targets for 133 yards and a TD. That makes 22 targets in three games for Shepard plus two games with 7 catches. But keep in mind, he'll have those clunkers where he catches only 2 balls for 23 yards (like he did in Week 2).

3. D'Onta Foreman, RB, HOU

We keep saying it, but Foreman needs to be picked up in all leagues, not only 5 percent. He's emerging as an integral part of the Texans offense and rattled off 90 yards from scrimmage Sunday on 10 touches. Most of those came on receptions of 34 and 31 yards, but he's proven more effective and explosive than Lamar Miller this year and it may not be long until he's THE guy in Houston. 

4. Orleans Darkwa, RB, NYG

This comes with a huge caveat: Darkwa left Sunday's game with a back injury and his status moving forward is in question. But if he's deemed healthy, it's possible he takes the Giants backfield job and runs with it (pun intended). Paul Perkins has not impressed at all and before he left Sunday's game, Darkwa led the Giiants backfield with 33 total yards on 8 touches. It's clearly not a fantasy performance that jumps off the page, but eventually somebody's gotta take over that job and provide some value.

5. Geronimo Allison, WR, GB

Randall Cobb was out, so cue the Geronimo Allison hype train. The Illinois product didn't even play in Week 1 and corralled only 22 targets in 2016, his rookie year. But he broke out in a big way this past weekend, hauling in 6 of 8 targets for 122 yards, including a 72-yard play. Allison doesn't provide much value when Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams all play, but if you're really hurting for receivers, he could be a one-week filler if Cobb misses Week 4, too.

6. Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ

Jermaine Kearse was the most intriguing waiver add in the Jets offense last week, but he secured only 3 catches on 3 targets while Anderson stole the show with 95 yards and a TD on 6 targets (though only 3 catches). The Jets offense is a muddled mess in both real life and fantasy, so neither Kearse nor Anderson are exactly safe options, but in deep leagues or if you're desperate, both guys could be longshot plays capable of big games.

7. Taylor Gabriel, WR, ATL

Gabriel was a forgotten man in drafts this fall, but he turned in one of the best WR performances of Week 3 when he caught 5 balls for 79 yards and a tuddie. Remember, this is the guy who scored 7 TDs last season, all coming in a 7-week span toward the end of the fantasy season. He only had 6 targets in the breakout game and had just 7 coming into Week 3, but Gabriel is an intriguing boom-or-bust option and should be owned in more than 8 percent of leagues.

8. Ryan Griffin, TE, HOU + Vernon Davis, TE, WAS

Neither Griffin nor Davis would be worthy of owning if injuries were turned off like a real-life Madden game. But since Houston's C.J. Fiedorowicz is done for the year and Washington's Jordan Reed is currently banged up, both backup tight ends have become interesting fantasy options. They each scored a TD in Week 3 and could be fillers again moving forward if you're desperate (and if Reed sits once again).

9. Bruce Ellington, WR, HOU

It may surprise football fans, but Ellington is actually in his fourth NFL season after netting only 19 receptions in three years in San Francisco. But he looks like he is the No. 2 guy in Houston behind DeAndre Hopkins. Ellington netted 7 targets in Week 3, catching 4 of those for 59 yards and a TD. He likely won't become a difference-maker in fantasy, but you could do worse at the end of your bench than a guy who lines up opposite Hopkins and is on the field for almost every one of his team's offensive snaps.

10. Jamaal Charles, RB, DEN

He's starting to look like the Jamaal Charles of old. After racking up 56 rushing yards on 9 carries, the 30-year-old veteran now has a hearty 5.1 yards per carry average, which is not a far cry from his 5.4 career mark. Charles has had 10 touches in all three games this year and could carve out a bigger role for himself moving forward. After all, it's not like C.J. Anderson is running away with the job as bellcow back in Denver's backfield.

BONUS. Jake Elliott, K, PHI

No, you shouldn't use a waiver pick on a kicker, but Elliott set an Eagles franchise record Sunday and may be the next big kicker in the NFL. Not bad for a kid from Western Springs, Ill.

Bears ’18 offseason dramatically different from ’17 but with difficult money-management issues looming


Bears ’18 offseason dramatically different from ’17 but with difficult money-management issues looming

About this time a year ago the Bears were setting up for the annual NFL beauty pageant in Indianapolis, sitting with the No. 3 pick in the 2017 draft and with myriad roster decisions to address with both that draft and free agency. Because of the Bears’ lofty draft position, even more scrutiny and attention swirled around the college prospects (Deshaun Watson, Jamal Adams, Solomon Thomas, not enough on Mitch Trubisky as it turned out, a testimonial to GM Ryan Pace’s ability to keep a secret).

But what was developing in free agency was arguably of even greater significance in what was then the short term, at least for John Fox, as it turned out. And the changed landscape this year bodes considerably better for Pace and the Bears. At least in one important respect.

First, a perspective from last year’s pre-Combine period...

Because of the unsettled quarterback situation – the Bears were working toward Mike Glennon and cutting Jay Cutler two weeks later – and concerns about a possible lame-duck situation for Fox, free agents and their agents were willing to look at the Bears but only if the Bears would pony up excessive guaranteed dollars. The worry any time a coach is heading into a tipping-point year is that if things go badly, the coach and staff are gone, and the resulting changes will alter the job situation of that particular veteran player.

So the likes of cornerbacks A.J. Bouye or Stephon Gilmore opted for less total money from Jacksonville and New England, respectively, because the Bears weren’t offering higher guarantees to compensate for the uncertainty.

(One of the reasons then-President/CEO Michael McCaskey stated to this reporter for firing Mike Ditka after the 1992 season was a concern over the negative pall Ditka cast over playing for the Bears as the NFL prepared for the 1993 start of free agency. A quarter-century later, Pace didn’t fire Fox because of free agents’ aversion to Fox, but the overall wasn’t making Pace’s job any easier.)

Would Alshon Jeffery have stayed if...

On a slightly different tack: Would Alshon Jeffery have given the Bears a more receptive look had the quarterback position been addressed sooner in the Fox/Pace tenure? Jeffery took less from the Eagles in a one-year prove-it deal, not because Philadelphia was so much warmer than Chicago, but in large part because of where the offensive arrow was pointing in Chicago with Fox, Dowell Loggains and an unsettled quarterback situation.

Not insignificantly in the Jeffery case: Jeffery had four choices – Bears, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Philadelphia. The Colts weren’t sure about Andrew Luck, coming off shoulder surgery and ultimately missing all of ’17. The Vikings were resting then on brittle Sam Bradford, whose knee broke down early, and Case Keenum wasn’t CASE KEENUM at that point. The Bears with Loggains and Glennon? Jeffery didn’t go with Philadelphia, Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz only for the money, which did come anyway.

The Bears have “fixed” all of those issues in the year that’s played out since Jeffery signed with the Eagles almost concurrent with the Bears moving on from Cutler. None of that matters now in the least with Jeffery, Bouye, Gilmore or any other options that demanded too much guaranteed money or spurned the Bears back then, but it does matter going into the run-up to free agency over the next couple weeks.

Why this in fact matters more than the draft is that, while sound organizations are grounded in quality drafting, the reality is that in virtually every offseason, more starters for that season are acquired via free agency than the draft. Last year’s draft centerpiece was Trubisky, though he wasn’t supposed to start last season. But free agents Glennon, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, Quintin Demps and Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright were.

The money pit

Longtime Bears and NFL personnel chief Bill Tobin once remarked back in the beginning of free agency, “Just because you pay a guy $2 million doesn’t make him a $2-million player.” That still applies, adjusted for inflation. And that could make this free agency dicey for the Bears.

Because price isn’t always determined solely on quality; it’s a matter of supply and demand. And while the Bears are among those with the greatest estimated space under the projected cap of $178 million, the others way up on the list include Cleveland, Indianapolis, the Jets, Houston and Tampa Bay – all teams with five or fewer wins in ’17 and expected to be the most aggressive in using free agency to fix gaping holes. The Bears have a lot of money to spend, but so do a whole lot of others.

Meaning: A lot of dollars will be chasing a select few players, which will make some of them overpaid, not unlike Glennon was last offseason (how many apparently better options were there?) or a couple of others, who will be paid like $2 million players even if they aren’t, adjusted for inflation.

The result is another offseason of brinksmanship for Pace, this time in need of better results than his first three free agencies if the outcome for his second head coach is to be better than it was for his first.

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry


Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

The Bears are looking for an upgrade at wide receiver this offseason, and there may be one available.

The Dolphins used the franchise tag on wide receiver Jarvis Landry on Tuesday, in a move that many believe signals the team's desire to deal him instead of losing him in free agency for nothing.

Landry put up excellent numbers last season, catching 112 passes for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the league in catches and was fourth in touchdown receptions but was just 17th in yards. His yards per reception ranked 108th of 139 qualifying players.

Still, it's no secret he'd be an upgrade for the Bears at wide receiver. Though they'll get Cam Meredith and Kevin White back from injury, the corps largely struggled and didn't give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky much help.

Luckily, they may be interested in Landry, per's Ian Rapoport.

"There are a couple teams that we should keep an eye on as far as a potential Jarvis Landry landing spot......the Chicago Bears are looking for receviers," he said.

Rapoport also mentioned the Titans, Panthers and Saints as options for Landry. The franchise tag will pay Landry about $16 million before he becomes a free agent in 2019 (or has the franchise tag used on him again).