Free agent forecast: Week 4

Free agent forecast: Week 4

Roster Management

Free agent forecast: Week 4

Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale
$ $0 – $5
$$ $6 – $15
$$$ $16 – $25
$$$$ $26 – $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Quarterbacks

1 Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
There’s a chance moving on from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay was a good move. You think? Last year’s whipping boy has turned things around and is coming off the best game of his career. Goff completed 22 of 28 passes for 292 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the 49ers. Goff has weapons, a smart young coach and a strong matchup this week against a Dallas Cowboys defense hurting in the secondary. Start him if you need him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 15% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Goff is a high-end QB2 for Week 4.

1 Week Plug & Play

Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins
Cutler was terrible against the New York Jets last week. He threw for just 220 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints defense played by far its best game of the year versus Carolina, racking up four sacks and three interceptions, while holding the Panthers to only 13 points. So why would anyone want to start Cutler? This is the same Saints defense that allowed over 1,000 yards in its first two games and made Sam Bradford look like Aaron Rodgers. The NFL changes from week to week. Cam Newton is struggling right now but the Dolphins have the weapons to give the Saints defense problems. Cutler laid an egg on Sunday but don’t be afraid to go back to him when he faces a Saints defense allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Cutler will put up QB1 numbers vs. the Saints.

Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos
Last week we advised picking up Siemian but not using him. We were looking ahead to this week’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Siemian put up great numbers in his first two games but as we pointed out that was at home against two below-average pass defenses. Last week Siemian went on the road for the first time and took on a tough Buffalo Bills defense. He struggled, throwing for 259 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Now he’s back home facing a Raiders defense that just allowed 365 yards and three touchdowns to Kirk Cousins. Siemian is a strong streaming option this week if you need him.

Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Siemian is a streaming option for Week 4.

On the Radar: Jacoby Brissett (2%), Deshaun Watson (15%)

Running Backs

Rock Star Free Agent

Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
Johnson is still available in about half of leagues right now. If you play in a PPR format, pick him up. Johnson is listed as a running back but he now plays more receiver with all the injuries the Browns have at the position. On Sunday, he caught 6 of 7 targets for 81 yards and scored a rushing touchdown. Like James White of the Patriots, he’s not going to give you much on the ground but Johnson is seeing more time as the Browns slot receiver. He should be owned in most PPR leagues at this point.
Availability: Owned in ~ 55% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Johnson is a weekly Flex play in PPR formats.

LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
Blount was dropped in some leagues after barely being used in the first couple of weeks. He emerged against the Giants to run for 67 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Now with Darren Sproles out for the season, Blount should continue to see more carries going forward. He’s going to be part of a three-man rotation with Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement but Blount’s fantasy arrow is pointing back up after Sunday’s performance. Blount is worth grabbing if he’s available on your waiver wire.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Blount is a touchdown-dependent Flex play.

Injury Replacement

Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers
Melvin Gordon aggravated a knee injury in Sunday’s game and was replaced by Oliver. Oliver rushed for 16 yards on eight carries and caught four passes. Gordon returned to finish the game. Oliver should be added by Gordon owners as insurance. He’s already dealing with a knee injury that caused him to miss practice time and leave a game. Oliver isn’t anything special but he’ll come in and catch passes. Protect your investment.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Oliver is a handcuff for Gordon owners.

1 Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Jamaal Charles, Denver Broncos
Don’t look now but Charles may slowly be turning Denver’s backfield into a two-man job. Against the Bills, Charles carried the ball nine times for 56 yards and a touchdown. He saw one more carry than C.J. Anderson, who was coming off a 100-yard performance against the Cowboys. In his first three games, Charles has received 10, 9 and 9 carries. It could just be a one-week aberration but the bottom line is Charles is already seeing around 10 touches a game and that number could start increasing. Chris Thompson just burned the Raiders defense for six receptions, 150 yards and two scores. Charles is on the Flex radar this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Charles is a Flex play for Week 4 and a valuable reserve for the rest of the season.

Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles
Smallwood played 12 more snaps than Blount on Sunday. He finished with 71 yards on 12 carries and caught one pass. The Eagles are going to use all their backs but Smallwood will see more playing time now with Sproles out for the season. Blount should see most of the goal line work but there’s a chance Smallwood gets more carries. He gets a Chargers team on Sunday that just got gutted by Jay Ajayi and Kareem Hunt in back to back games.
Availability: Owned in ~ 4% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Smallwood is a Flex option in deeper leagues.

Grab & Stash

D’Onta Foreman, Houston Texans
Foreman makes the list again after seeing double-digit touches for the second straight week. Against the Patriots, Foreman ran the ball eight times for 25 yards, while catching two passes for 65 yards. The rookie is still firmly behind starter Lamar Miller but he keeps making plays. This is a Derrick Henry situation from last season. Foreman is worth having on your roster if you can stash him but it’s just playing the waiting game. Henry would have been a stud last year if Murray got hurt but it never happened. Same thing here. Should something happen to Miller, Foreman will be a fantasy stud. That may not happen in 2017 though.
Availability: Owned in ~ 15% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Foreman is a valuable bench stash.

Dumpster Dive

Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles
Sproles is out for the year with a torn ACL and broken arm. Blount, Smallwood and Clement will take over as the Eagles running backs. If you’re not all that thrilled with Blount and Smallwood, take a shot on Clement. He’s intriguing because Clement is most similar to Sproles. Blount can’t catch a cold and Smallwood isn’t the best receiver in the world either. Clement showed off his receiving skills a lot in the preseason. There’s a chance he could emerge and take over Sproles’ role. Keep an eye on him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Clement will emerge as a spot-starter in PPR formats.

On the Radar: Alex Collins (2%)

Wide Receivers

Rock Star Free Agent

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
Shepard caught 7 of 10 targets for 133 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles. He’s now led the Giants in receptions in two of the Giants first three games. Brandon Marshall has been a disaster so far in New York. It’s opened the door for Shepard to emerge as the Giants No. 2 receiver. He’s been targeted 22 times in three games. Still available in many leagues, Shepard is a better fantasy option than some receivers currently on rosters.
Availability: Owned in ~ 35% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Shepard is a WR4 on an inconsistent offense.

1 Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers offense is in shambles right now. Cam Newton doesn’t look healthy and Carolina’s offense was even shut down by the Saints. However, with Greg Olsen out and Kelvin Benjamin dealing with a knee injury, Funchess steps up as the potential No. 1 option in the passing game if Benjamin misses time. Funchess has been targeted 16 times in the last two games (8 receptions, 126 yards). He’s not an elite talent and he plays in a conservative offense but volume alone makes Funchess worth grabbing in fantasy leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Funchess is a WR3/4 if Benjamin is out.

Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks
Doug Baldwin left Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Early indications are the injury isn’t serious but Baldwin isn’t a lock to play this week against the Colts. Richardson has scored in back to back weeks. He’s been targeted 19 times in three games. The Seahawks offense is a mess right now but Richardson has shown some potential. If Baldwin doesn’t play this week, Richardson could see 10+ targets.

Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Richardson is a WR4/5 depending on Baldwin’s health.

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
It was a good week to be a former Bills wide receiver. Both Woods and Sammy Watkins had big games against the 49ers. Woods caught 6 of 7 targets for 108 yards. It was an encouraging outing for Woods after he caught just one pass in Week 2. Woods isn’t a receiver owners should run to get because he’s likely to be inconsistent from week to week. However, he has another strong matchup in Week 4 against a Cowboys secondary dealing with multiple injuries. Woods is worth consideration in deeper leagues if you need a receiver this week.

Availability: Owned in ~ 5% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Woods is a WR4/Flex option in deeper leagues for Week 4.

Grab & Stash

Will Fuller, Houston Texans
Quick, name the Texans No. 2 receiver. It’s Bruce Ellington, a guy they got off waivers from the 49ers in August. Fuller is still recovering from a broken collarbone but he returned to practice last week. The Texans have very little at receiver outside of DeAndre Hopkins and Ellington. The former Ohio State quarterback is never going to happen. Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Fuller may play in Week 4. While that may be a longshot, he’s at least close to returning.
Availability: Owned in ~ 3% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Fuller has WR3/4 upside if Watson progresses.

On the Radar: Bruce Ellington (1%), Taylor Gabriel (20%)

Tight Ends

1 Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills
Clay is starting to live in the end zone. He’s now scored in five of his last seven games dating back to last year. Clay isn’t going to rack up a ton of yards. He’s yet to top 60 yards this year, but he’s Tyrod Taylor’s top option in the red zone. Owners don’t want to have to rely on Clay every week but he can be used when the matchup is favorable.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Clay is a TE2 and streaming option in deeper leagues.

Injury Replacement

Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins
Davis delivered again with Jordan Reed sidelined. Against the Raiders, Davis caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. Reed’s status for Week 4 is up in the air and while the matchup with the Chiefs isn’t great, it’s not quite as tough with Eric Berry injured. Continue to stream Davis as long as Reed is out of the lineup.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Davis is a low-end TE1 if Reed is out.

On the Radar: Marcedes Lewis (2%), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (5%), Benjamin Watson (30%)

Kickers

1 Week Plug & Play

Greg Zuerlein, Rams
Zuerlein had another strong fantasy game against the 49ers by connecting on 2 of 2 field goals, including one from 48 yards. He also made five extra points. For the season, Zuerlein is a perfect 7 for 7 on field goals and he’s made at least two kicks in all three games. Playing on an improved offense, Zuerlein is now a Top 10 fantasy kicker. He has a good matchup this week versus a Cowboys team with a questionable defense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Zuerlein is a Top 10 fantasy kicker.

On the Radar: Giorgio Tavecchio (30%)

Defense/Special Teams

Rock Star Free Agent

Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars defense has dominated in two of its three games this season. Against the Ravens, Jacksonville’s defense recorded two sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and allowed seven points. The Jaguars have the Jets coming up but looking ahead, they also have the Texans and 49ers during fantasy playoffs. Grab them now.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: The Jaguars are a Top 12 fantasy defense most weeks and a good play for fantasy playoffs.

1 Week Plug & Play

New York Jets
The Jets defense is coming off a strong performance against the Dolphins where they racked up three sacks and two interceptions. New York had a shutout in place until allowing a touchdown on the final play of the game. Blake Bortles had arguably the best game of his career versus the tough Ravens defense in London. Is that a trap or a trend? We’re betting against a trend. Expect a low-scoring slugfest between the Jets and Jaguars this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 5% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: The Jets defense is a Top 12 play for Week 4.

On the Radar: Buffalo Bills (10%)

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