Free-agent Forecast: Week 4

Free-agent Forecast: Week 4

Roster Management

Free-agent Forecast: Week 4

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Free-agent recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated. FAAB $ amounts are based on a $100 budget.

(Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

Quarterbacks

Priority Free Agent

Kyle Allen, Panthers

In Week 17 of the 2018 season, Allen started for the Panthers and enjoyed a strong showing. It was Week 17, and not many people paid attention. He produced 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns at the New Orleans Saints, rushing for 19 yards and a score along the way. Carolina has ruled out Cam Newton for Week 4, and there is no timetable for his return. The upcoming matchups include at Houston (good matchup), vs. Jacksonville (poor matchup), at Tampa Bay (good) and a Week 7 bye. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Allen started into the vacation week. He’s a fine option in two of those three outings, and while Arizona wasn’t a true test, Allen has the weapons to create damage against average opponents.

Availability: 81%
FAAB:
$4-5

1-week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Daniel Jones, Giants

Consider me a skeptic, but I’d like to see more before diving head first into this pool. Jones had a wonderful debut — no argument here — but the matchup was cake, and the expectations were extremely low. The Washington Redskins are ahead, and if Jones can get it done for an entire game without Saquon Barkley, fantasy gamers have a legitimate matchup play worthy of a roster spot. Until the rookie does it again, he’s no better than a Week 4 flier with upside to retain a roster spot if you’re weak a the position. New York’s receiving corps will be back to full strength in Week 5 with the return of Golden Tate.

Availability: 50%
FAAB:
$4-5

(Brian Fluharty, USA TODAY Sports)

Running Backs

Priority Free Agent

Wayne Gallman, Giants

Saquon Barkley (ankle) will miss up to eight weeks of action (4-6 seems to be the most common prognosis), and Gallman is the proverbial next man up. The Giants should share touches between the third-year back and quasi-fullback Elijhaa Penny. Don’t be surprised if they reach out to a free agent. The entire point of Gallman’s inclusion is strictly based on opportunities. He’s no Barkley, nor will the Giants expect that of him. In fantasy, it is mostly a numbers game when it comes to average players making contributions — with enough touches, just about any NFL back is capable of producing in the right matchup. … Utilize this is a friendly reminder as to why handcuffing stud backs in the draft is crucial.

Availability: 71%
FAAB:
$38-40

Update: Jamaal Williams was removed after Aaron Jones fully practiced Tuesday.

Darrel Williams, Chiefs

LeSean McCoy left with an aggravation to his existing ankle injury, and Damien Williams sat out Week 3 with a knee ailment. Shady’s injury is not expected to be serious, yet it is noteworthy he couldn’t make it through an entire game without it flaring up. Remember the yo-yo effect from 49ers RB Matt Breida last year with ankle injury? It was maddening. The Chiefs gave Darrel Williams 14 utilizations to just four of preseason darling Darwin Thompson. The rookie wasn’t targeted. KC will continue to mix it up with Darrel Williams and whichever other back is healthy enough to contribute, but it should be telling that Andy Reid turned to the trusted second-year Williams over a rookie.

Availability: 78%
FAAB:
$6-8

Ronald Jones, Buccaneers

In Week 1, Jones produced the best fantasy numbers of his young career. A week later, it was the Peyton Barber show after head coach Bruce Arians stated he would ride the hot hand. Barber, while inefficient, was effective. Last week, the Bucs gave the ball to Jones 15 times, and he was again more explosive than his backfield mate. Barber saw 13 carries and handled it twice on as many targets. He averaged 3.6 yards per carry or less for the second straight contest. It may be a weekly headache to decipher the expected touch split, so be prepared for some frustration. One has to think at if Jones can post another similar outing, the coaching staff will have no choice but to feature him. Spend more in competitive formats.

Availability: 29%
FAAB:
$13-15

Wide Receivers

Priority Free Agent

Nelson Agholor, Eagles

Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin) missed Week 3. It appears as though Jeffery is closer to returning, but missing either of them will once again make Agholor a must-play asset in fantasy. If you didn’t heed my advice to acquire him last week, the price just went up, assuming he is even available. Check to be sure. Philadelphia plays Green Bay on a short week, which bodes well for more Agholor activity. While his drops and fumble don’t sit well, it’s all about the opportunity. The Packers are strong on the back end, although Agholor’s skills in the red zone shouldn’t be undervalued.

Availability: 22%
FAAB:
$9-10

Kenny Stills, Texans

The veteran deep threat is capable of housing it on any touch, and his skill set comes in especially handy as Deshaun Watson’s mobility makes it difficult on defenders to keep up. With bye weeks upon us, Stills makes for a fine flex candidate with just about any matchup. He has only 12 looks in three games with Houston, while still learning the playbook, but Stills has generated 12-plus points in two of those three contests.

Availability: 43%
FAAB:
$2-3

grab & stash

Golden Tate, Giants

Tate is one week away from being eligible to return to the Giants, and it’s worth a quick look to see if he is available on the wire in your league. His value stabilized after the impressive first start by Daniel Jones. Get ahead of the rush.

Availability: 30%
FAAB:
$3-5

Diontae Johnson, Steelers

The rookie has at least four targets in each of his first three NFL games, and it began to come together in Week 3 with a 3-52-1 showing on six looks. Johnson will have ups and downs, just as quarterback Mason Rudolph experienced in his first start. The recommendation next week is only as a bye replacement or an injury fill-in. He could have developed some chemistry with Rudolph working with the No. 2s in the camp, and Donte Moncrief is no longer a threat to his playing time. Stash him for now.

Availability: 70%
FAAB:
$0-1

1-Week Plug & Play

Zach Pascal, Colts

Jacoby Brissett should remain active against the Oakland Raiders in Week 4 even if T.Y. Hilton cannot play. The Colts will call on Pascal, Deon Cain, Parris Campbell and Chester Rogers if Hilton has to miss time with a right quad strain. The Colts have Oakland at home this week and then head to Arrowhead for the Chiefs before a Week 6 bye. It will be interesting to see if they hold out Hilton until after the bye to give him a proper chance at healing. Pascal brings a 6-foot-2 frame to the red zone. While known as more of a blocker, he snagged a wide-open touchdown in Week 3 after blown coverage. Desperate owners can consider him a high-upside flier in Week 4.

Availability: 98%
FAAB:
$0-1

1-Week Plug & Play/grab & stash

Adam Humphries, Titans

Humphries broke out in Tampa Bay last year but didn’t get off to the best of starts for the Titans in 2019. His stat line through two games: 3 targets, 3 catches, four yards. As I stated in the summer, Tennessee has become the place where receivers go to die during the Marcus Mariota tenure. In Week 3, with a tougher matchup, Humphries landed six of nine looks for 93 yards. Signs of life, at last! At the Falcons this week is a good test for PPR flex worth. Toss him into the lineup if you’re unafraid of taking a chance.

Availability: 67%
FAAB:
$1-2

(Ed Mulholland, USA TODAY Sports)

Tight Ends

Priority Free Agent

Will Dissly, Seahawks

He was included in this space as a stash player last week, but Dissly’s play has earned him a spot in the priority section. The tight end class is shaky. Whether it be an underachiever in Eric Ebron or an injured starter, such as Vance McDonald, Hunter Henry or David Njoku, fantasy gamers are in need of a helping hand. Byes begin in Week 4, when the ‘Hawks travel to Arizona (great matchup), followed by the Rams in Week 5 (good matchup). Dissly has scored five times in his last seven games and has 11 snags in his last two outings. Russell Wilson trusts him in a passing game that is begging for someone to step up as an outlet.

Availability: 70%
FAAB:
$1-2

Jack Doyle, Colts

The veteran tight end flashed a little in Week 3, going for a line of 4-46-0. Back in 2017, when Jacoby Brissett replaced Andrew Luck as the starter the first time around, he relied heavily on Doyle. Now healthy, Doyle has a chance to reestablish himself as a fantasy-relevant option in 2019. Tight end Eric Ebron cannot seem to get it together with Brissett, and there’s an opening here. That crack becomes wide open if T.Y. Hilton (quad) misses some time. Oakland and Kansas City approach before the Week 6 bye, and Doyle has favorable matchups vs. each opponent.

Availability: 50%
FAAB:
$2-3

1-week plug & play/Grab & Stash

Xavier Grimble, Steelers

This one is speculative while we await the results of Vance McDonald’s shoulder tests. He’s always banged up with something. Grimble has sneaky athleticism and is in line for a decent outing vs. a Bengals defense that has allowed 121 yards and a TD in the last two games combined to the position. Given the number of injuries and underperformers at the position, Grimble is a keen flier in deeper setups. Be sure to double-check McDonald’s availability before committing any FAAB resources to Grimble.

Availability: 99%
FAAB:
$0-1

Watch list

Dawson Knox, Bills

There aren’t too many league settings in which Knox is a recommendation to acquire, but he should be monitored for now. The Bills have a fairly versatile weapons cache at the disposal of Josh Allen, so inconsistency from the rookie tight end is pretty much a guarantee. With the right matchup, Knox could contribute as we saw in Week 3. Keep him on the wire for now.

Kickers

Priority Free Agent

Matt Gay, Buccaneers

This is all about the chances he gets in this offense. There is no denying the rookie has accuracy problems. The issues are correctable, and they’re even forgivable to a degree. The would-be game-winner in Week 3 came with tremendous pressure, and he missed one from 40-plus in Week 2. A pair of failed extra points in Week 3 are tougher to swallow. At any rate, whenever a kicker is afforded an average of three field goal tries a week, fantasy owners would be foolish to not take notice.

Availability: 91%
FAAB:
$1

1-Week Plug & Play

Brandon McManus, Broncos

Kickers have averaged two extra point and a pair of field goal attempts vs. the Jaguars in the first three weeks of the season. Denver’s offense is just good enough to threaten defenses but also can stall at a rate conducive to field goal chances. McManus is 6-for-7 kicking three-pointers on the year and has the leg to hit from anywhere on his home turf.

Availability: 78%
FAAB:
$0-1

Defense/Specials Teams

1-Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Panthers at Texans

Carolina sacked the daylights out of Kyler Murray, racking up eight drops on the day and bringing the total to 12 in 2019 — good for a tie for No. 2 in the league. The Houston offensive line gave up only two sacks to the Chargers in Week 3, which is the lowest number in any game since the midway point of 2018. The Panthers will put this revamped offensive line to the test in Week 4. Play Carolina vs. the Texans and possibly longer with another strong showing.

Availability: 79%
FAAB:
$1

1-Week Plug & Play

Seahawks at Cardinals

Carolina dropped Kyler Murray eight times in Week 3, and only Tennessee has granted more quarterback takedowns in 2019. The Seahawks have only six sacks on the season but are getting healthier in this department. The Cardinals are passing so much that it is inevitable Murray will meet the turf with a fairly high frequency. It may not result in a wealth of takeaways, however. Treat it as a safer start for owners comfortable just getting something from the position.

Availability: 49%
FAAB:
$1

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