Free Agent Forecast: Week 4

Free Agent Forecast: Week 4


Free Agent Forecast: Week 4


Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Grab & Stash Grab & Stash
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Dumpster Dive Dumpster Dive
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale

$ $0 – $5
$$ $6 – $15
$$$ $16 – $25
$$$$ $26 – $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Given the diverse scoring systems and sizes of fantasy leagues, producing a weekly list of free agents that satisfies the masses can be challenging. For the most part, the column will hone in on players who are available in at least 35% of all fantasy leagues. If you play in a small league (8 teams), chances are there may be better players to pick up than you see listed here. If you play in a large league (16 teams), the majority of the players highlighted may already be on a squad; however, expect to find hidden gems, as well.


Kirk Cousins, Redskins
Rock StarCousins is still available in roughly 30 percent of fantasy leagues. That won’t be the case after his 427-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Eagles on Sunday. Through two games Cousins has shown command of Washington’s offense and done a good job of distributing the ball to different receivers (seven on Sunday). Granted, Jacksonville and Philadelphia don’t have the two toughest defenses in the NFL but Cousins has clearly established himself as a starting fantasy option.
Availability: Owned in ~ 72% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: Cousins is a QB1 for the rest of the year.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars
Grab & StashAfter eight quarters of abysmal offensive football, Jacksonville’s coaching staff mercifully benched Chad Henne for Bortles. The rookie wasn’t perfect Sunday but Jacksonville’s offense instantly showed signs of life when he came into the game. Bortles finished 14-of-24 for 224 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the second half against Indianapolis. He also added 30 yards rushing. Bortles is going to make some mistakes but he offers intriguing upside. Bortles being the starting quarterback also gives the rest of the offensive players in Jacksonville a fantasy boost.
Availability: Owned in ~ 14% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Bortles will be a high-end QB2.

Mike Glennon, Buccaneers
Dumpster DiveThere isn’t a lot to like about the Buccaneers right now but with Josh McCown out for a while, Glennon is at least a player to monitor. Glennon has two explosive receivers to work with in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans and he did show some promise at times last year. Glennon was thrown into the fire on a bad team as a rookie. He tossed 19 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. Glennon had five games with at least 230 yards passing and eight games with two touchdown passes, so it wasn’t a terrible first year. Glennon could surprise if the Bucs offensive line ever blocks anyone.
Availability: Owned in ~ 4% of leagues.
Forecast: Glennon is on the QB2 radar.

On the Radar: Austin Davis (2%), Teddy Bridgewater (10%), Drew Stanton (2%)

Running Backs

Donald Brown, Chargers
Rock StarBrown was guaranteed to see an increase in touches when Ryan Mathews was lost for at least a month. Now that Danny Woodhead is out for the season, Brown will be a volume monster until Mathews returns. He’ll then take over Woodhead’s role as San Diego’s pass catching back. Brown got 31 carries on Sunday. He only gained 62 yards but Brown also added five catches for 27 yards. The bottom line is the volume was there and it will continue to be until Mathews is healthy. Brown should be owned in every league right now.
Availability: Owned in ~ 62% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: Brown will be a RB2/flex play option until Mathews returns.

Khiry Robinson, Saints
Rock StarRobinson was expected to take over the power back role in New Orleans for the injured Mark Ingram. That was the case against the Vikings, as Robinson carried the ball 18 times for 69 yards. Robinson did miss out on a short score that went to Pierre Thomas but that was just bad luck. The Saints lined up quickly trying to catch Minnesota off guard and Thomas just happened to be the back on the field. Normally that would have been Robinson’s touchdown. The good news is he got 18 carries in Ingram’s absence. Expect similar numbers for Robinson over the next few weeks until Ingram is healthy.
Availability: Owned in ~ 70% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Robinson becomes a weekly flex play option while Ingram is out.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens
Injury ReplacementGrab & StashIt seems like every week there’s a new Ravens running back on the list. This week it’s Taliaferro. Bernard Pierce was inactive against the Browns because of a thigh injury. That gave Taliaferro an opportunity to show what he can do. The rookie out of Coastal Carolina rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. While it was an impressive performance, Pierce is expected back this week to face Carolina and Justin Forsett still gets his touches, so Baltimore’s backfield is a bit muddled right now. Still, Taliaferro is worth picking up if you have the roster room.
Availability: Owned in ~ 8% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Taliaferro will get touches but isn’t a starting option unless something happens to Pierce.

Alfred Blue, Texans
Injury ReplacementLast week we talked about Blue as a player who could put up strong numbers if Arian Foster went down. We didn’t think he would get his chance so soon. As predicted, Houston didn’t use a committee in Foster’s absence. Instead, Blue saw 13 of the 16 carries, gaining 78 yards. He didn’t see a ton of carries because the Texans fell behind early and had to throw but Blue showed some of the ability that made him a highly recruited running back at LSU. Foster is dealing with a hamstring injury and those can linger. He also has a lot of tread on his tires. Blue could end up playing a major fantasy role this season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 28% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Blue will put up RB1/2 production if Foster goes down.

Justin Forsett, Ravens
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Panthers were run over by Pittsburgh on Sunday night but usually Carolina has a tough rush defense. The Ravens should find yards hard to come by between the tackles this week, which means utilizing Forsett out in space, both as a runner and receiver. Against Cleveland, Forsett rushed for 63 yards and caught four passes. He’s now scored at least 10 points in all three games in PPR leagues. Forsett will make it four games in a row to start the season with another solid performance this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 28% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Forsett will catch five passes and gain over 75 total yards.

Bishop Sankey, Titans
Grab & StashShonn Greene is still the lead back in Tennessee but Sankey finally got some playing time in the Titans blowout loss Sunday. Sankey rushed 10 times for 61 yards. He should start seeing a bigger role in the offense as the year goes on. Right now, the Titans are a team heading nowhere. That can change fast in the NFL but Tennessee has only scored 17 points in its last two games. Sankey gives the Titans another playmaker out of the backfield. Expect him to start eating into Greene’s carries soon.
Availability: Owned in ~ 62% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Sankey will become a viable flex play option over the second half of the season.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings
Dumpster DiveMike Zimmer and the Vikings coaching staff obviously didn’t think Adrian Peterson would only play one game this season. The team drafted the freakishly athletic McKinnon hoping to groom him behind Peterson. That process may need to be fast-tracked now. Matt Asiata can catch some passes and score short touchdowns but he’s not a 16-game starting running back. Now that Teddy Bridgewater is the starter in Minnesota, look for McKinnon to get a longer look as well. The former option quarterback is still raw and needs to get better at pass protection but his physical attributes are off the charts. Asiata clearly the starter right now but McKinnon could close the gap over the next month.
Availability: Owned in ~ 22% of leagues.
Forecast: McKinnon will be the Vikings starting running back by the end of the season.  

On the Radar: Isaiah Crowell (32%), Branden Oliver (2%)

Wide Receivers

Jordan Matthews, Eagles
Rock StarMatthews was a highly touted rookie over the summer. On Sunday, he broke out against Washington, catching eight passes for 59 yards and two scores on nine targets. There’s a little good news, bad news going on with Matthews. The good news is he’s dripping with talent and Riley Cooper has been underwhelming early in the season. There’s a chance Matthews could unseat Cooper as the Eagles No. 2 receiver at some point this year. The bad news is Nick Foles still has a lot of weapons to choose from in Philadelphia’s offense, so consistency is likely to be an issue with Matthews. Matthews is worth adding because of his upside and offense he plays in, just keep expectations realistic.
Availability: Owned in ~35% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Matthews’ role in the offense will grow but he isn’t an every week fantasy starter yet.

Brian Quick, Rams
Rock StarQuick makes this list for the second straight week. He’s still owned in less than 50 percent of fantasy leagues. Quick continued to produce against Dallas, catching two passes for 62 yards and a score. They aren’t gaudy stats but Quick is putting up fantasy numbers every week. In PPR leagues, Quick has scored 16, 14 and 14 points through three games. That’s not bad for a receiver still out there in many leagues. Austin Davis has played better than expected at quarterback for the Rams. It remains to be seen if he can keep it up but Quick deserves to be owned in most leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 48% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Quick is a weekly WR3.

Donte Moncrief, Colts
Injury ReplacementEarly reports say the ankle injury that caused T.Y. Hilton to miss the entire second half against Jacksonville aren’t too severe. However, if he were to miss this week’s game against Tennessee, Moncrief would see an expanded role. Filling in for Hilton in three-receiver sets on Sunday, Moncrief caught four balls for 55 yards on five targets. Moncrief is a talented rookie with a bright future. He’s just stuck behind Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks on the depth chart right now. He could get an opportunity Sunday if Hilton can’t go.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
Forecast: Moncrief is worth a flier as a flex play this week if Hilton is out.

Steve Johnson, 49ers
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayJohnson is an injury replacement but he’s actually a replacement for tight end Vernon Davis. With Davis and Vance McDonald injured Sunday, the 49ers used Johnson out of the slot to exploit Arizona’s safeties. The Cardinals have struggled to defend tight ends for two years now, so without any, San Fran did the next best thing and used Johnson. He caught nine passes for 103 yards. Johnson will be a hot waiver addition this week because he’s a big name coming off a strong game. However, that was likely gameplan specific and Johnson is still behind Davis, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin on the targets pecking order. Johnson’s value goes down once Davis returns but he has another great matchup this week against Philadelphia, so owners may be able to squeeze one more week out of him.  
Availability: Owned in ~ 11% of leagues.
Forecast: Johnson is a flex play option if Davis misses another game.

Malcom Floyd, Chargers
1 Week Plug & PlayJacksonville Head Coach Gus Bradley is modeling the Jaguars defense after Seattle where he used to be the defensive coordinator. It’s ironic because Jacksonville is miles away from playing pass defense like the Seahawks. A week after allowing four Colts to go over 50 yards receiving and four touchdown passes to Andrew Luck, red hot Philip Rivers and Co. come calling. Floyd is hit or miss but with the way receivers are getting open against Jacksonville right now, he’s a good bet to hit this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 22% of leagues.
Forecast: Floyd will go over 70 yards receiving and score.

John Brown, Cardinals
Grab & StashBrown is the receiving equivalent of Darren Sproles. Sproles maximizes his touches, so he doesn’t need 20 carries a game. Brown is the same kind of player. He may not get 10 targets every week but Brown is so explosive, he just needs a couple of opportunities to make a big play. Brown only has 10 receptions on the year but three of them have gone for touchdowns. Expect Bruce Arians to try to get the ball in Brown’s hands more as the year goes on. His fantasy ceiling is limited playing with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd but Brown is a worthwhile stash for the upcoming bye-weeks.
Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
Forecast: Brown is a year away from really making a fantasy splash but worth a roster spot as a spot starter if you need a receiver.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars
Grab & StashAs mentioned above, Jacksonville’s offensive players should get a fantasy boost with Bortles under center. The player who could benefit the most is Robinson. The rookie receiver battled injuries all summer but he’s finally healthy again. Against the Colts, Robinson caught 7-of-10 targets for 79 yards. The Jaguars have three talented young receivers in Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee. However, Robinson is starting right now opposite Cecil Shorts and Bortles looked his way often. Robinson is a receiver on the rise.
Availability: Owned in ~ 4% of leagues.
Forecast: Robinson is a future WR4/flex play with Bortles starting.

Marvin Jones, Bengals
Dumpster DiveJones has resumed practicing and is expecting to return after the Bengals Week 4 bye. Jones could eventually overtake Mohamed Sanu as Cincinnati’s No. 2 receiver opposite A.J. Green. Sanu has played well but averages just five targets a game. Jones has been inconsistent over his career, however, he gives the Bengals another big-play threat to go along with Green. He’s a receiver worth considering in deeper leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 4% of leagues.
Forecast: Jones will be a WR4/5 for the second half of the season.

On the Radar: Eddie Royal (8%), Doug Baldwin (38%), Allen Hurns (40%), Miles Austin (22%)

Tight Ends

Niles Paul, Redskins
Rock StarPaul had another solid fantasy performance Sunday against Philadelphia, catching six passes for 68 yards on nine targets. Paul is now averaging six receptions and 84 yards through three games while filling in for Jordan Reed. While Reed is expected back soon, he’s been injury prone throughout his career and Jay Gruden used two-tight end sets often in Cincinnati. It’s hard to imagine Washington leaving a weapon like Paul on the bench regardless of Reed’s health.
Availability: Owned in ~ 65% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Paul is a TE1 while Reed is out and a strong TE2 once he returns.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Rock StarFor owners that lost Kyle Rudolph, Kelce is a potential waiver wire target. Kelce followed up his 4-catch, 81-yard performance against the Broncos with a 3/36/1 stat line Sunday. While those aren’t eye-popping numbers, Kelce is a player on the rise. He’s seen 10 targets over the last two games and those numbers should continue to go up in the coming weeks. Kelce is on the verge of becoming a bigger part of Kansas City’s offense, so grab him now if you need a tight end.
Availability: Owned in ~ 52% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Kelce is a TE2 whose arrow is pointing up.

Owen Daniels, Ravens
Injury ReplacementDennis Pitta is out for the year with a hip injury, leaving Daniels as the Ravens starting tight end. He has 10 receptions and two touchdowns on 11 targets this season. Daniels was once a solid TE1 when he was with the Texans but now he’s no more than a TE2 that has a little more value in touchdown-heavy leagues. Daniels doesn’t have the ability to get down the field like Pitta, so look for the Ravens to use him on shorter routes and in the red zone.
Availability: Owned in ~ 24% of leagues.
Forecast: Daniels is a low-end TE2.

On the Radar: Jared Cook (28%), Ladarius Green (42%), Andrew Quarless (12%)


Chandler Catanzaro, Cardinals
Rock StarCatanzaro continued his hot start to the season Sunday, connecting on three field goals against San Francisco. Catanzaro has now made seven field goals in the last two weeks and all nine of his attempts on the season. The Cardinals offense has been able to move the ball with both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton at quarterback. Catanzaro should continue to get plenty of scoring chances throughout the season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 24% of leagues.
Forecast: Catanzaro will continue to be a top fantasy kicker most weeks.

Cody Parkey, Eagles
Rock StarParkey has the luxury of playing on one of the NFL’s highest scoring offense. He’s also been accurate so far, something former Eagles kicker Alex Henery was not. Parkey is obviously going to kick plenty of extra points in Philadelphia but he’s helped his fantasy value by going 8-of-9 on field goal attempts as well. Parkey has scored 35 points this season. That’s the most in franchise history after three games. He should be owned in a lot more leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 42% of leagues.
Forecast: Parkey will finish the year as one of the top scoring fantasy kickers.

On the Radar: No one

Defense/Specials Teams

San Diego Chargers
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Chargers have been a decent fantasy defense over the first three games. San Diego has recorded seven sacks, a safety and recovered three fumbles. This week the Chargers really have a chance to put up numbers though because they play Jacksonville. Even with Bortles starting, the Chargers should rack up sacks and cause a couple of turnovers. Bortles brings a lot more to the table than Henne but the Jaguars offensive line is still a mess. It’s a great week to start the Chargers if you need a defense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 24% of leagues.
Forecast: The Chargers defense will finish with four sacks and two takeaways.

Indianapolis Colts
1 Week Plug & PlayWe recommended the Colts last week and they responded with four sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. They might not repeat that performance on Sunday but Tennessee comes in limping on the offensive side of the ball. Jake Locker has been horrible the last two weeks and now he has an injured wrist. Whoever plays quarterback for Tennessee this week will need to put the ball in the air to keep up with the Colts. The Indy defense will get plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy points.
Availability: Owned in ~ 52% of leagues.
Forecast: The Colts defense will record three sacks and cause at least two turnovers.

On the Radar: Detroit Lions (20%)


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