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Free Agent Focus

Week 4 Waiver Wire Deep Dive

By Kevin Scott 11:30am EDT 9/27/22


Weeks 1 and 2 provide the most information on players we might have overlooked during draft season and point out players who are actually going to have bigger roles than we thought. That’s why I’m typically very willing to spend a good amount of my FAAB budget in those first couple weeks if players are available who I think could be potential league-winners.

As we get further into the season, starting with this waiver period, it becomes a bit more challenging to find players who are going to make a huge impact because of surprising team usage. It’s not players we overlooked in the offseason we need to focus on from here on out, but rather players whose roles are growing because of injury in front of them, or because they are improving and the coaches want to get them more involved.

Occasionally I will recommend players who have not yet popped or received additional playing time, because they are likely to very soon based on what I’m seeing on the team or based on historical factors. I have two such recommendations at the end of the article.

Here are some players I would recommend picking up in deep leagues, or at least watching closely.


Jaylen Warren, RB, Steelers

Warren is likely to be available in shallower leagues and to be dropped where he was added in many deeper leagues. I mention him here even though he only got 12 snaps on Thursday night (20%) because he looked dynamic and, in many ways, superior to Najee Harris. He only had 4 carries but took them for 30 yards, and also caught his only target.

I think the Steelers like what they see and will continue to get him the ball, even if only to give Harris a breather. If Harris goes down for an extended period, Warren will be a nice plug-in option.


Justice Hill, RB, Ravens

While many were excited about the return of J.K. Dobbins (and he did play on 43% of snaps), it was Hill who had a better game on Sunday. He played on more snaps at 48%, and went 6-60 on the ground (Dobbins went 7-23). Hill is an explosive playmaker, so if they keep splitting the snaps between these players, he could return value as a desperation flex play for now (or more if he works into more touches).

I would probably just keep an eye on this situation for now, but in very deep leagues you can add him now to see what develops. Just keep in mind that Gus Edwards might be returning soon, so he could also eat into the work of both Dobbins and Hill.


Samaje Perine, RB, Bengals

I have mentioned Perine before in this article and wanted to give him another shout out here after he played on about 1/3 of the snaps and out-produced Joe Mixon.

Perine finished with 34% of snaps and led the team in rushing with 9-47. He also caught both of his targets for 14 yards and a score.

The majority of that came in the 4th quarter with the Bengals holding a big lead and Mixon nursing a minor ankle injury.Perine still isn’t a standalone fantasy option, but it’s clear that he’s the preferred Mixon handcuff.


J.D. McKissic, RB, Commanders

I’m not excited about McKissic, but I mention him here because he played on more snaps than Antonio Gibson on Sunday — 53% to Gibson’s 44%. McKissic was at 40% in Week 1 and 46% in Week 2, so one could argue that his role is growing (more likely I think he will play more in games where the Commanders trail). Correspondingly, Gibson’s snap counts have gone 64% to 54% to 44% in the first three weeks, so his role seems to be diminishing for whatever reason.

If you went zero RB and McKissic was dropped, he is a fine addition since he was also involved in the passing game on Sunday (6-32 on 9 targets). Just keep in mind that once Brian Robinson returns, which could be soon, both players will likely play less.


George Pickens, WR, Steelers

It is unlikely that Pickens is available on many wires, but certainly he will be available in some leagues since he hasn’t produced much. He played on 76% of snaps in Week 3, which has been about his average. But he picked up 7 targets in the loss to Cleveland, his highest yet, and went 3-39. He also had one the most impressive catches in years, so he is likely to continue to see increased opportunities and should be rostered everywhere.


Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Saints

I’m not too excited about any Saints players at the moment, other than Chris Olave. (If Olave is not rostered in any of your leagues, stop reading and go pick him up.) But I mention Smith here because both Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry were nicked up in Week 3, and it was Smith who took over the most snaps as a result (finished with 61% of snaps).

He finished with 5 targets and caught 4 for 105 yards. So if either of those players misses time, Smith could be a nice fill-in if you’re facing injury issues in a deep league.


Alec Pierce, WR, Colts

Pierce played on only 45% of snaps in Week 3 but was target 5 times and caught 3 for 61 yards. Parris Campbell played on 82% of snaps but only produced 2-10 and never seems to come up big when he is targeted. QB Matt Ryan is struggling in general, so I wouldn’t go too crazy to acquire Pierce, but if the offense gets into a groove by midseason he could be a very valuable piece and might be a smart addition now if he’s on your wire.


Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Bills

McKenzie is not likely to be available on your wire since he’s on the Bills, but in many medium-sized leagues he is likely available. We must temper our excitement for his big output on Sunday (7-76-1 on 9 targets), since he still split the slot snaps evenly with Jamison Crowder (47% to 45% of snaps), but he is very likely to begin to see more and more snaps as we move along in the season.

Crowder, for his portion of the snaps, only saw 3 targets and went 1-9. McKenzie is simply a much more dynamic player, and if he starts getting more like 75% of snaps, he will be a very useful weekly option.


Josh Reynolds and D.J. Chark, WRs, Lions

Reynolds and Chark both played on 79% of snaps in Week 3. Reynolds led the team in targets with 10, finishing with 6-96, and Chark went 3-46 on 6 targets. We may see more upheaval once Jameson Williams is ready to go, and all of these snap counts will probably shift around. But for now, these players are playing a bunch and have a good rapport with Jared Goff. So in deep leagues, you can certainly pick them up in case the heavy usage continues.

Detroit notably has the highest implied total for Week 4 at 28.0 points.


K.J. Osborn, WR, Vikings

Osborn played on 75% of snaps on Sunday and was effective, catching 5 of 8 targets for 73 yards and a score. The Lions based their defensive game plan on completely taking away Justin Jefferson, and it worked (he finished 3-14 on 6 targets). When defenses do that, the Vikings must beat teams with other players, and on Sunday they did just that. Osborn will be very up and down, but in deep leagues he is a nice addition since the Vikings play in 11 personnel (3 WRs) the majority of the time.


Mack Hollins, WR, Raiders

I mentioned Hollins here last week and emphasized that once he scores, his price is going to go way up. It didn’t take long for that to come to fruition. He again played almost every snap opposite Davante Adams (97%), and tied Adams for the team lead with 10 targets (23% target share). He led the team with 8 receptions, 158 yards and a score.

This player is earning targets, is playing all the snaps, and is in a pass-happy offense. He needs to be rostered everywhere. If you did not pick him up last week it might take a big chunk of your FAAB budget, and that might not be worth it to you. But I don’t see any reason for him to not continue to produce over the rest of this season.


Jonnu Smith, TE, Patriots

I hesitate to point out any Patriots players, since this offense has been so poor and erratic. For example, Kendrick Bourne played on 18 snaps on Sunday and was second on the team with 5 targets (4-58). Similarly, Jonnu Smith played on only 32 snaps (48%) but finished 4-25 on 4 targets (12% target share).

Hunter Henry played on 70% of snaps but only saw 1 target. I don’t know why Mac Jones is not targeting certain players, but it makes it nearly impossible to know who to play. Still, with the lack of options at TE, I’ll mention Smith here. If you are desperate in a very deep league, and need a TE who will at least get snaps, Smith is an option.


Foster Moreau, TE, Raiders

Interestingly, Moreau played on 50% of snaps on Sunday. He was on the field for 21 passing plays and ran routes on 16 of them. For a second TE, that is a significant number. He also was productive on those routes, catching 3 of his 5 targets for 44 yards.

This is concerning for those who roster Darren Waller, as he only went 3-22 on 5 targets. If they split snaps at receiving TE, that obviously limits Waller’s upside. But for those desperate at TE, here is another deep option to throw out there for you.


Daniel Bellinger, TE, Giants

Bellinger looked very solid on Monday night, catching 4 of 5 targets for 40 yards. That’s good enough for a 14% target share.With Sterling Shepard likely out for significant time and the total lack of options in the New York passing game right now, this could lead to a big role for Bellinger.


** Skyy Moore, WR, Chiefs

Moore is a player I wanted to mention here, even though nothing in the usage data would suggest he is on the verge of popping. The Chiefs offense looked terrible on Sunday. They need some juice to put pressure on defenses, and Moore could certainly help with that.

So although this is purely based on narrative, if Moore is dropped in your leagues after his poor production, I would keep him stashed. I see him getting significantly more snaps and opportunities within a few weeks, because without a dynamic threat with speed and open-field ability to take a pass to the house, this offense will struggle. Moore was drafted for this purpose, so they need to get him involved as soon as possible.


** Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Giants

Robinson is likely available in more leagues than Moore, and the Giants will likely have no choice soon but to play him and involve him in a big way. Kenny Golladay has looked terrible, Sterling Shepard appears to be out for significant time, and Kadarius Toney can’t get healthy. Toney would be another name to focus on here, but Robinson seems to be a better bet to get on the field once he’s ready. He’s a sneaky pick-up ahead of that happening.


Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who has been playing in high-stakes redraft and dynasty leagues for over 15 years. He has won over $100,000 playing fantasy football. He has written for Sports Illustrated, 4for4, Fansided, FFToday, and Chiefs Wire. You can follow him on Twitter @kevinscottff, or check out his podcast called Grinding the Data.


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