Thomason: Top Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 4

By Jack Thomason–

(CBS) Here are my top 10 waiver adds for 10- and 12-member fantasy football leagues with Week 4 upon us, assuming assuming Chris Johnson, Chris Carson and Chris Thompson are owned in your leagues.

1. Jamaal Charles (RB, Denver Broncos) – Since the offseason, the Broncos have brought Charles along slowly, and they made sure to have space for him on the final roster, which should’ve alerted us to him having some sort of role with this team. While C.J. Anderson complied 49 touches the first two weeks of the season, Charles had one more carry than Anderson this past week and was the one who snuck into the end zone. This isn’t necessarily a situation in which Charles is taking over for Anderson or even moving into a full-blown 50-50 timeshare, but we also can’t ignore Charles’ usage thus far. He’s averaging more than five yards per carry, and he’s seen nine or more attempts in every game this season. At minimum, he’s the top add for Anderson owners as a handcuff.

2. Wendell Smallwood/Corey Clement (RBs, Philadelphia Eagles) – Smallwood is the likeliest beneficiary of Darren Sproles’ broken arm and torn ACL. He saw 13 touches and totaled 80 yards Sunday, playing 21 more snaps than LeGarrette Blount. The only issue is that Blount saw 12 touches and got into the end zone, and the rookie Clement also saw six touches and scored a touchdown. I’d want Smallwood now but wouldn’t mind stashing Clement, hoping he has the opportunity to pull away with the starting role as the season progresses. Clement has the tools to be a three-down player and the size to take a pounding.

3. Sterling Shepard (WR, New York Giants) –Shepard exploded for 133 yards on seven receptions, including a 77-yard touchdown, on Sunday. He’s seen at least eight targets in two of three games this season, and the Giants can’t run the ball, so high-target volume should continue. We can even hope that softer coverage is in play with Odell Beckham Jr. back in action. Taking Shepard this high would be showing a lot of faith in the Giants’ passing game, but there also aren’t a lot of options if you’re in need of receiver depth.

4. Branden Oliver (RB, Los Angeles Chargers) – Melvin Gordon is the focal point of the Chargers offense, but he’s been dealing with a knee injury and exited Sunday’s game due to it. Oliver took over as the lead back and presents a similar style dual-threat for Philip Rivers. Gordon finished the game, but if this knee injury lingers and he misses time, Oliver would be an immediate RB2 due to volume. He’s already shown he can produce fantasy numbers going back to 2014, when he saw 196 touches and produced 851 total yards and four touchdowns. 

5. Devin Funchess  (WR, Carolina Panthers) – Greg Olsen is on injured reserve, Kelvin Benjamin left the game with a knee injury and Funchess went on to see 10 targets. The early reports suggest Benjamin didn’t suffer a serious injury, but either way the lack of passing weapons is forcing Funchess to have a larger role. Cam Newton is struggling tremendously, but volume is king in fantasy, and Funchess presents a big body in the red zone too. You can do worse at WR4 with bye weeks upon us.

6. D’Onta Foreman (RB, Houston Texans) – Foreman has seen double-digit touches the last two weeks, and that sort of volume should continue moving forward. He logged 90 total yards against the Patriots on eight carries and two receptions and saw 37 percent of the touches to Lamar Miller’s 57 percent. The Texans have discussed scaling back Miller’s role to keep him fresh and effective, and Foreman is the beneficiary. With a rookie quarterback and a good defense, the Texans are going to want to pound the rock and control the clock. Foreman is worth having through bye weeks and would be in for a monster workload if anything were to happen to Miller.

7. Duke Johnson (RB, Cleveland Browns) – Johnson seems to be gaining a larger role because of Corey Coleman’s broken hand. He’s tied for a team lead with 17 targets on the season, and 13 of those targets and his six carries have come in the past two weeks. He registered 104 total yards and a score this past week and is worth adding for flex usage, especially in point-per-reception leagues.

8. Marqise Lee (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars) – The common thought may be Allen Hurns as the top add for Jaguars receivers, but Lee has seen 19 targets over the last two weeks compared to Hurns’ 10. While Hurns has two touchdowns in the last two weeks, Lee has still been targeted in the red zone, and touchdowns can be a fluke. Lee will continue to be Blake Bortles’ safety blanket.

9. Geronimo Allison (WR, Green Bay Packers) – Will Randall Cobb be back on a short week? I’m not sure, so it’s worth having Allison rostered. He racked up eight targets against the Bengals, catching six balls for 122 yards as he was behind only Ty Montgomery and Jordy Nelson in targets. He could be a nice flex option this week if Cobb sits again, and he’s immediately a WR3/4 if Cobb, Nelson or DaVante Adams were to miss time in the future.

10. Alex Collins (RB, Baltimore Ravens) – Collins is worth paying attention to. His snaps are creeping up partly because of Terrance West’s calf issue but also due to blowout wins and losses. He registered nine carries for 82 yards against the Jaguars, but it’s tough to decipher where Collins will fit in moving forward. Still, he’s collecting some fantasy points and fits the hard-nosed running style the Ravens want to enforce while West is banged up. That’s enough for me to stash him on the end of my bench.

Just missed: Elijah McGuire, Matt Breida, Orleans Darkwa, Jamaal Williams, Paul Richardson, Bruce Ellington, Brandon Coleman, Allen Hurns, Vernon Davis, Ben Watson and Charles Clay.

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and co-host of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and 670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter@jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.

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