Waiver Wire Week 4: Grab Bortles, Bridgewater for bye replacements
While there were fewer injuries in Week 3, plenty of news around the NFL will still impact the fantasy football waiver wires this week. Not only did some new starters make an impact, but several teams are on a bye week, which means pickings will be slim.
Each week, we’ll share 8-12 players we think are worth a look in standard fantasy football leagues based on performance and upcoming matchups. Each of these players listed are owned in fewer than 30 percent of CBS Sports, ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (Owned in 12 percent of CBSSports leagues, 3.5 percent of ESPN leagues and four percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- When Matt Cassel left Sunday’s game against the Saints with several broken bones in his foot, the Teddy Bridgewater era began in Minnesota. While he didn’t dominate the game, he also didn’t come apart (12-of-20 passing for 150 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions). He ran six times for 27 yards, but it’s important to note he slid often -- and sometimes too early. However, Bridgewater faces a weak Falcons defense in his first NFL start, suddenly making him a reasonable bye-week replacement.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (14 percent, 1.7 percent and six percent) -- Bortles, now the official starter in Jacksonville, is worth a look but isn't a legitimate starting option yet. The Jaguars WR corps could be a top-10 unit as soon as next year, but the offensive line and the running game have issues. He’s worth a look, but isn’t a legit starting option yet.
Keep an eye on: Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon and Tennessee’s Zach Mettenberger
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (seven percent, 1.6 percent and eight percent) -- With Bernard Pierce sidelined with a thigh injury in Week 3, the rookie out of Coastal Carolina received the most touches out of the Ravens backfield against Cleveland, and I expect the Ravens to use him in a similar fashion going forward. (However, Justin Forsett will still see a lot of action as the third-down back, no matter who starts.) Taliaferro impressed his coaches, and he gives this team a new identity to rally around.
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (25 percent, 1.2 percent and 18 percent) -- Speaking of rookie running backs who moves up the depth chart after a star is suspended… McKinnon will still be the player this team leans on in the future -- especially in the passing game -- even though Matt Asiata played well on Sunday.
Keep an eye on: Kansas City’s Joe McKnight.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (nine percent, 0.4 percent and two percent) -- With Marqise Lee (hamstring) inactive and Allen Hurns (ankle) listed as the backup, the Jaguars used Robinson opposite from Cecil Shorts (hamstring) against the Colts. Most importantly, once Bortles entered the game, he targeted Robinson the most, throwing to him eight times for six receptions and 73 yards -- in the second half alone. Granted, it was mop-up time, so the Jaguars were throwing it frequently -- but do we expect anything different in the future?
John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (11 percent, 1.8 percent and eight percent) -- The speedy rookie has outperformed fantasy veteran Larry Fitzgerald through the first three games, catching two touchdown passes in Week 3, but it’s difficult to see that trend continue. He has proven to be relatively reliable, catching nine passes on 15 targets -- a better ratio than both Fitzgerald (10/21) and Michael Floyd (11/24) --, and he’s the big play type of receiver you want as a fill-in for weeks with six teams on byes.
Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (22 percent, 0.7 percent and 15 percent) -- Jones was a popular WR3 in offseason mock drafts until he broke his foot in mid-August. He was excellent last season, even with limited snaps, and once he gets up to speed again, he’ll be a fantasy asset. He’s expected to return from injury in Week 5, after Cincinnati's bye this week.
Keep an eye on: Cleveland’s Miles Austin, Indianapolis’ Donte Moncrief and San Francisco’s Stevie Johnson.
Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens (25 percent, 5.9 percent and 27 percent) -- The Ravens can’t catch a break -- TE Dennis Pitta is out for the season with a broken hip, giving Daniels a larger role. The veteran in Gary Kubiak’s offense scored two touchdowns in Week 2, and he’s a suggested pickup if your starter (Jordan Cameron or Julius Thomas) is on a bye.
• Keep an eye on: Indianapolis’ Coby Fleener and Buffalo’s Scott Chandler.
Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers (28 percent, 6.2 percent and 26 percent) -- The 10-year vet has been perfect on eight field goals and seven extra points this season. With six teams on bye, the owners of Brandon McManus, Steven Hauschka and Greg Zuerlein should battle for Suisham’s services.
Chargers Defense (24 percent, 4.2 percent and 12 percent) -- While other defenses have much better matchups (Dolphins, Steelers), they’re owned in just over 30 percent of CBS leagues. San Diego, however, hosts the Jaguars in Week 4, and Jacksonville has allowed the most fantasy points to defenses through three games already.