Tevin Coleman – He’s not available in most leagues, but he’s only 63% owned in Yahoo leagues. If he’s available, he’s a must pick-up. With Kyle Shanahan clear about Matt Breida NOT getting goal line looks, Coleman is going to be that guy. Interim goal line RB Jeff Wilson will likely be inactive when Coleman returns. Buy low if someone has him.
Jaylen Samuels – The Steelers made adjustments for Mason Rudolph, and that included creatively getting the ball into both James Conner and Jaylen Samuels’ hands. Samuels didn’t touch the ball once in Week 3, but was involved from the very first drive in Week 4. He took direct snaps in the wildcat for a few passes and runs (including one for a goal line TD), and was also very involved with Conner in the receiving game with 8 catches for each of them. It seemed pretty evident that Samuels’ involvement and split with Conner was intentional. There’s no indication that this is a long term strategy for the Steelers, but Samuels is a top waiver add in case he continues to be this involved.
Jordan Howard – 56% rostered. Jordan Howard has ran well this year in limited opportunity, and it seemed as though Doug Pederson has recognized it. Miles Sanders has shown explosiveness, but he’s still developing. Since he’s not playing much in the red zone, Howard has the edge at the moment. Howard has seen 5 carries inside the 10 yard line over the past two games, which resulted in 3 TDs. Howard was on everyone’s bench last week… rightfully so. He’s been nothing but a TD dependent RB who wasn’t involved enough in the passing game, wasn’t getting enough carries, and was in an even split with two other RBs. In Week 4, Darren Sproles took a backseat… hopefully that becomes a trend to boost the value of both Howard and Sanders.
Rashaad Penny – He should play this Thursday night, and he’s only 58% rostered on Yahoo. I wouldn’t play him because a) he’s coming off a hamstring injury and b) we don’t what the workload will look like. I want to have him on my bench in case this becomes a closer split because of Chris Carson’s fumbling issues.
Ronald Jones – Ronald Jones had 15 touches in Week 3 (same as Peyton Barber, but outperformed him), and had 20 touches to Barber’s 9 in Week 4, and was more efficient in both games. Jones was even given a carry at the 5 yard line to get in for a TD to close out the 1st half this past week. He played on almost 50% of snaps, with Dare and Peyton Barber combining for the other 50. We can’t have much confidence in Jones, but at this point you’re hoping he keeps getting the work. He’s a high-end RB3 with upside of being the guy in that backfield on early downs.
Darrel Williams – If Damien Williams isn’t back next week, Darrel can split another game 50/50 with Shady. Since he’s just as likely to get a goal line carry and get involved in the pass game, he’s a good low-end RB2 start in PPR leagues. I do think Damien re-gains his role with Shady if he’s back this week.
Frank Gore – Rostered in 58% of leagues. Gore is averaging 16.7 carries over the last three games, and it’s possible Devin Singletary is held out through the bye and back at full strength by Week 7. If you need a back desperately for Week 5, Gore can be your guy based on volume and potential goal line work.
Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins – Marlon Mack left last week’s game with an ankle injury, but he says he should be fine for this week. If I had to bet, I would bet that the Colts will be trying to catch up with the Chiefs on Sunday, so Hines will likely be on the field more to collect those targets if Mack were to miss. If TY Hilton is out as well, he gets an even bigger boost. Wilkins is even more of a desperation play, as the game will have to be in reach for him to get volume on the ground, but it’s not impossible that it happens.
Jeff Wilson Jr – He exclusively handles the 49ers red zone duties, and they’ve been getting there a lot and succeeding with the run game. He’s TD or complete bust. He’s only playable if Tevin Coleman misses again.
Phillip Dorsett – Dorsett had 9 targets this past week, but the Bills defense held it down, leaving him with only 2 catches for 10 yards. Buy him low or pick him up, because he has three great matchups over the next three weeks – Redskins, Giants, Jets.
Golden Tate – There’s a good chance Tate enters the slot for the Giants in his return in Week 5, moving Sterling Shepard outside. If that’s the case, Shepard is in line for a lot of tough matchups over the next several weeks, leaving Tate as the best target at WR. With Daniel Jones showing some hope for this passing offense, Tate should be picked up, especially in PPR leagues. I don’t want to start him in his first game, though.
Diontae Johnson – With all the attention going Juju’s way, Mason Rudolph has hardly targeted him. Instead, he’s been looking at Diontae Johnson, who caught 6 of 6 for 77 yards and a TD. Even though throwing downfield is in Rudolph’s nature, they’re easing him into it. His long connection was with Johnson for that 43-yard TD, with Juju taking the extra defender with him on a deep crossing post route. Diontae might be the best route runner of the entire rookie WR class, so he has the tools to succeed if targeted. However, it’s only a matter of time in which Juju starts getting more work – 4 targets for him isn’t going to be the norm.
Courtland Sutton – Sutton’s ownership has dropped to 54% on Yahoo, but the TDs were coming. He combined for 247 receiving yards over the first three weeks while averaging 7.5 targets per game. The problem is that Joe Flacco isn’t necessarily dependable, and Emmanuel Sanders is still there as well. If you consider Sutton a Alshon Jeffery-lite as a WR3, you can continually temper expectations while being pleasantly surprised like you were in Week 4… if you started him.
Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder – We don’t know if Sam Darnold is back this week, but if he is, fire up Robby against a terrible Eagles secondary. The matchups get better for Robby after a few weeks – Buffalo and New England weren’t ideal. Against Cleveland without Darnold, he caught 4 for 81; he’ll be fine. As far as Crowder, with Darnold coming back, we can potentially see him peppered with targets once again; he can be a legit PPR asset all season long running routes from the slot.
Cole Beasley – Beasley’s had 9 targets or more in 3 of 4 games, and followed his Week 3 10-target game with a 13-target game in Week 4. Looks like a legit PPR WR3. Keep in mind that it’s possible Josh Allen doesn’t play next week because of a concussion, and the Bills have a bye the week after that. You’ll likely be holding onto him until Week 7 before you can use him, so if that’s not what you want to do, just wait or let someone else grab him.
Auden Tate – Tate had 16 targets over last two weeks, including an impressive 6 of 10 for 88 yards against a tough Buffalo defense. Tyler Boyd is only out-targeting him by 1 over the last two games. This was all with John Ross playing, so with Ross missing a month or so, and AJ Green potentially missing about the same amount of time, Tate can have some value for a few weeks. Cincy will likely be down in most games, as they’ve already been throwing the ball a ton. Volume should be there more often than not.
AJ Brown – Brown hasn’t caught more than 3 passes in any game this season, but took 3 for 100 in Week 1, and 3 for 94 and 2 TDs this past week. The Titans offense has way too much variance for me to trust AJ Brown if he’s not getting the volume. Corey Davis out-targeted him and had more receiving yards in Week 4. I’m not too excited to pick up Brown right now.
Andy Isabella – Isabella was the slot backup in the preseason, as he played on 56 slot snaps to only 9 out wide. If Christian Kirk’s injury deems serious, Isabella will likely get opportunity right away. Sneaky high-upside pickup, as Kliff Kingsbury likes to funnel targets to his slot WRs.
Dante Pettis – Pettis was back involved in Week 3, catching 4 of 5 targets for only 20 yards, but did grab a TD. After the bye, we could see an uptick in usage for him as the 49ers’ WR situation is still in flux. Grab him now in case he has a big game instead of fighting for him on waivers the following week.
Chris Herndon – If you’re still hurting at tight end and missed out on Will Dissly, Herndon is probably one of the last legit options. He’ll be back in Week 6, so if you need a TE for this week, he’s not you guy… although he’s worth keeping on your bench for a week if you need a long term guy.
Jack Doyle – Doyle saw 8 targets in the absence of TY Hilton this past week, and can potentially be a go-to once again against the Chiefs if Hilton doesn’t go.
Ben Watson – Watson is coming back from suspension in Week 5, and the Patriots need TE help. I don’t think they need his help so bad in the pass game, but it is possible he has a sizable role there. He’s a speculative add.
Tyler Eifert against Arizona – Noticed I didn’t just say Tyler Eifert… it’s only because it’s him against Arizona. He had an end zone target on MNF, too. Here are the game logs against Arizona: Hockenson – 6 for 131 and 1. Andrews – 8 for 112 and 1, Hurst also had a TD. Greg Olsen – 6 for 75 and 2. Dissly – 7 for 57 and 1. Yeah, Eifert.
Jimmy Graham – He had a good game against Philly’s secondary and he goes up against Dallas in Week 5. Evan Engram had a great game against them, but that’s Engram. He’s a desperate option, but a lot of us are desperate at TE.
Andy Dalton vs Arizona – He’s in a good system, his defense sucks, high pass volume, he’s at home, and Arizona’s giving up a shit ton of points to QBs.
Jacoby Brissett @ KC – Brissett did a pretty good job this past week without TY Hilton. He’s been steady as a fantasy QB this year, so I’d feel pretty safe with him while trying to come back against Kansas City.
Sam Darnold @ Philadelphia – It’s a bit risky playing him in his first week back (if he even plays), but it’s a great matchup. If his spleen doesn’t burst, he should provide a solid fantasy day against a non-existent Eagles secondary.
Buffalo @ Tennessee – They played well against New England this past week, and had solid showing against sub-par offenses so far.
Cleveland @ SF – The SF offense isn’t one to be scared of, and the Cleveland defense has been putting up fantasy points for three straight weeks – even against the Rams in Week 3.
New Orleans vs TB – This can backfire, but it can also be great. Jameis Winston is so up and down that New Orleans can surprise. They did just that this past week against Dak Prescott and a rolling Dallas offense.
San Francisco vs Cleveland – The 49ers defense has looked pretty good over the first three weeks, and even though Baltimore couldn’t get it done this past week, San Francisco can take advantage of the fact that Cleveland was sacked a combined 11 times over the first three weeks. Over that same span, the 49ers have 9. If they continue doing what they’re doing on defense and get their offense on track, the top NFL books might be on to something with the 49ers being contenders for the Super Bowl.
Tennessee vs Buffalo – If Josh Allen is out, they’ll be forced to play Matt Barkley once again. Tennessee can take advantage.