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Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Football: Week 4 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 4

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Week 3 of the 2013 season is nearly done, with the Denver Broncos taking on the Oakland Raiders Monday night. That means many fantasy football results for the week remain undecided, since a notable (and high-scoring?) Bronco (Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, etc.) has not played yet in what looks like a very favorable matchup.

As is the case each year, injuries and underachievement has had a significant effect on fantasy owners in 2013. Now Week 4 brings the first bye week of the season, with the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers idle and notable players like Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton unavailable. So having good roster depth takes on even greater importance over the next several weeks, and making tough decisions on who to add and drop is vital regardless of what your league’s standings say at this point.

With my waiver wire recommendations for this week, I have again focused on players and team defenses that are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues right now. This week that means running back Willis McGahee, who was signed by the Cleveland Browns late last week, does not make the cut (51% ownership). But be sure to check your own league to see if McGahee is available, and even though his production was dismal in his season debut on Sunday (nine yards on eight carries) those that need a running back should consider adding him.

As we head toward a potentially pivotal week for fantasy owners, even at this still early stage of the season, here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 4.

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Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

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Smith threw for 273 yards and ran for 32 yards on 11 carries in Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles, though he did not account for a touchdown in the game. But he still has not thrown an interception this season ahead of some favorable matchups, starting in Week 4 against the New York Giants, who have allowed seven passing touchdowns (eight total touchdowns) to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. A tougher-looking matchup comes after that against the Tennessee Titans, but things get easier again against the Oakland Raiders in Week 6. Smith will not become an elite fantasy quarterback, but he should not be overlooked as a QB2 in 12-team leagues.

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Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans

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Locker threw for 299 yards with one touchdown against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, and he also added five carries for 68 yards and a touchdown. He has a stretch of tough matchups coming against the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers from Week 4-Week 7, but Locker’s mobility adds to his fantasy value and should not be overlooked for those who need a QB2 in 12 and 14-team leagues.

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Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets

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Powell had 27 carries for 149 yards and two catches for nine yards against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, as Chris Ivory left the game early with a hamstring injury. Ivory’s status for Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans is up in the air right now, and with his injury history Powell is line for a significant role for the foreseeable future. It’s hard to rely on any Jet for consistent production, but Powell remains fairly widely available (46 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues) and is fast becoming a viable RB2 or RB3 in 12-team leagues.

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Isaiah Pead, RB, St. Louis Rams

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Pead had just six carries for 20 yards Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, but he also had seven receptions for 43 yards with Daryl Richardson sidelined by a foot injury. With a short week coming ahead of Week 4’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Pead looks likely to be the Rams’ No. 1 running back in a tough matchup. Beyond that Richardson’s status is unclear, so Pead has a chance to take over as the starter permanently and at is at least roster-worthy in 12-team leagues right now.

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Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots

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Dobson had seven catches for 52 yards in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he has now been targeted 20 times in two games played. With the status of Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola up in the air going forward, the rookie could continue to see plenty of looks from Tom Brady. Dobson should not be added with the idea of having him start on a weekly basis, but as bye weeks get going he can be a good depth piece in deep leagues.

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Davone Bess, WR, Cleveland Browns

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Bess had seven receptions (on 10 targets) for 67 yards against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3, and he now has 17 catches this season. He appears to have usurped Greg Little on the depth chart, and should remain a top target for whoever the Browns have under center going forward. Don’t look for a bunch of touchdowns and yardage from Bess, but he is a solid addition in PPR formats.

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Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Miller made his 2013 debut Sunday night against the Chicago Bears, and had three receptions for 35 yards. It may take a few games before Miller is back to playing a full complement of snaps for the Steelers as he works his way back from a torn ACL, but simply being back in uniform puts him back on the fantasy radar. Owners in 12-team leagues can consider adding him as a TE2.

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Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins

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Reed filled in for an injured Fred Davis (ankle) on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, and had five receptions (on six targets) for 50 yards in the game before leaving the game with a quad injury. The rookie now has at five catches in two of three games this season, with a touchdown in the other game, and seems to be taking over as Washington’s No. 1 tight end. Be sure to monitor reports on his injury, but Reed is well worth adding in 12-team leagues if he will not be out long-term. Just be aware that Washington has a bye in Week 5.

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Caleb Sturgis, K, Miami Dolphins

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Sturgis went 2-for-2 on field goals (a 46 and 50-yarder) and 3-for-3 on extra points on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, and he now has at least eight fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in all three games this season. A tough matchup is coming Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints, who have allowed seven fantasy points (ESPN scoring) to opposing kickers and just two total field goal attempts (one make) so far this season. But I expect next Sunday’s game to be high-scoring and Sturgis to see ample opportunities. After that an easier matchup is on the slate in Week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens, who have allowed at least seven points to an opposing kicker in all three of their games this season. The Dolphins have a bye in Week 6, but Sturgis is worth adding as a bye week fill-in over the next two weeks.

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Kansas City Chiefs Defense

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Kansas City put together an excellent defensive performance in Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles, as they allowed 16 points and forced five turnovers (including an interception return for a touchdown) while sacking Michael Vick six times. Now they will take on the struggling New York Giants, who were shut out by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and have now turned the ball over 13 times in three games. After that some favorable-looking matchups will come against the Tennessee Titans (Week 5), Oakland Raiders (Week 6), Cleveland Browns (Week 8) and Buffalo Bills (Week 9). The Chiefs’ defense is currently available in over two-thirds of Yahoo! leagues, but that is sure to change significantly this week.

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Indianapolis Colts Defense

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The Colts simply shut down the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3, allowing just seven points and 254 yards of offense along with three sacks and two turnovers forced. Now a very favorable matchup is coming in Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have scored just 26 offensive points in three games. Things get tougher after that, with matchups against the Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos in Week 5-Week 7, but the Indianapolis defense is a great one-week play for Week 4.