Fantasy Football: 5 waiver-wire targets before Week 4

2RXBXPN Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

C.J. Stroud will face plenty of pressure in Week 3, but the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary could provide some opportunity to rack up yardage: Despite Stroud’s lack of a run game, he ranks fifth in passing yards through the first three weeks of the season.

Curtis Samuel entering flex territory: The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed an average of 261.7 passing yards per game and eight total passing touchdowns, putting Samuel in a prime spot to be productive this week. 

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Is your fantasy football roster riddled with injuries? Or, maybe you’re dealing with some ugly matchups you’d rather avoid. Either way, there’s still hope to salvage your week! Here are five players to consider adding from the waiver wire heading if you’re in a pinch due to injury as a potential flex play heading into Week 4.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

QB C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

There’s not a lot of fantasy upside for Stroud given his minimal production as a rusher. However, his viability as a passer to start the season is giving fantasy managers who are streaming the position a lot to think about ahead of Week 4’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though their pass rush is among the best in the league with an 81.4 grade through three weeks, the secondary has had some holes that could prove fruitful for the rookie as Pittsburgh heads out for yet another game on the road. 

Particularly encouraging for his chances at production despite the Steelers’ productive pass rush is the ongoing breakout of fellow rookie WR Tank Dell. Small but mighty, Dell’s 77.5 PFF receiving grade ranks 21st among all wide receivers, currently ranking 12th among the pack in total receiving yards, averaging 2.77 yards per route run and 16.7 yards per reception. 

Available in 73% of ESPN leagues and 59% of Yahoo! Leagues.

RB Samaje Perine, Denver Broncos

The likelihood of Perine being available on your league’s waiver wire is a bit lower than is ideal for this waiver wire targets column, but he’s worth mentioning once again as a viable pickup and Week 4 flex play if he is available. Perine’s seen a fairly minimal role in the run game so far, especially because this team hasn’t exactly had a game script conducive to having enough time to establish it. This week, the Broncos face the equally pathetic Chicago Bears. Perine has led the running backs room with 54 receiving routes run through three weeks, meanwhile, the Bears rank second in the league with 57 receiving yards receiving yards per game allowed to opposing running backs. It’s a match made in heaven if you find yourself in a bind. 

Available in 42% of ESPN leagues and 46% of Yahoo! leagues.

WR Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders

The Commanders offensive line will have a big-time challenge in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles front seven. This defensive line has registered a 30.3% pressure rate through three weeks, which ranks second among NFL teams. Where they’ve shown some weakness, however, is in the secondary after managing several injuries early on. 

The Eagles defense has allowed an average of 261.7 passing yards per game and eight total passing touchdowns – the second most among NFL teams. It has allowed the fourth-most yards after the catch, and now, to pile on top of things, starting safety Sydney Brown suffered a neck injury in Week 3 and is yet to practice. Also injured is backup slot corner/free safety Sydney Brown, who’s also dealing with a hamstring injury. Enter WR3, Curtis Samuel

Samuel has played 72.3% of snaps out of the slot, where he leads the team with nine targets, eight receptions and 89 receiving yards. If they can scheme some touches for Samuel to help QB Sam Howell avoid the Eagles pass rush, this prove to be a stream-worthy matchup.

Available in 87% of ESPN leagues and 91% of Yahoo! leagues.

WR Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers lost WR Mike Williams to a torn ACL in Week 3 and now, they’ll be looking for the next man up. While first-round rookie Quentin Johnston might be the shinier option, it wouldn’t be surprising if the team went back to the well, feeding veteran Josh Palmer with targets. Over the past two seasons, Palmer has played four total games without Williams in the lineup, averaging nine targets for 67 receiving yards per game in such contests. This week, the Chargers will face the Las Vegas Raiders, who rank bottom 12 in the league with a 65.9 PFF coverage grade this season, allowing the 12th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Specifically, they’ve allowed the second-most receiving touchdowns in the league to wide receivers – a potential opportunity for Palmer to nab a score, ranking second on the team in red zone targets this season.

Available in 59% of ESPN leagues and 41% of Yahoo! leagues.

TE Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers

This is the second time this season we’ve mentioned Hurst in this column but despite ranking as the TE14 on the year, he’s still available in the majority of fantasy football leagues. Hurst is averaging 4.3 targets per game through three games of the season and could see a bump in that average in a matchup against a productive Minnesota Vikings offense. The Panthers are likely to be in a position where they need to pass, currently installed as 4.5-home underdogs ahead of the weekend. Though Hurst was unproductive with just one catch for 11 yards in Week 3, he played a season-high 61% offensive snap share and ran a season-high 40 routes – the fourth-most among all tight ends on the week. In case of emergency, consider Hurst for a potential volume play against a Vikings defense that just allowed two touchdowns to Chargers TE Donald Parham Jr. in Week 3.

Available in 85% of ESPN leagues and 80% of Yahoo! leagues.


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