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Fantasy Football: Late NFL Week 4 waiver wire targets

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws during the third quarter against Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The waiver period ahead of NFL Week 4 has come and gone in most fantasy football leagues, but there's still time to improve your fantasy roster for Week 4 and the rest of the season.

Here are 25 potential free agents to consider adding to your fantasy football teams. For skill players, I’m looking at the best options to pick up to help for the rest of the season. For kickers and team defenses, I’m looking at those who can be picked up to help for this week. The players are grouped based on the percentage of leagues they are available in at ESPN.

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Available in over 50% of leagues at ESPN

QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Cousins is picking up right where he left off last season when he finished as QB3 from Week 11 until the end of the year. Part of that success came down to volume, as his 304 dropbacks ranked second league-wide over that span, but he combined that with above-average efficiency.

He's dropping back fewer times per game on average in 2021, but his 0.57 fantasy points per dropback is almost identical to his figure last year (0.56). And having Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen as mainstays in the receiving corps will only help his outlook going forward.

RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles

The rookie has a clear hold of the backup job in Philadelphia and has out-performed Miles Sanders in many ways. Gainwell's 0.39 fantasy points per snap bests Sanders’ mark of 0.25. In addition, he’s been given an equal number of targets and more goal-line carries. Their PFF grades are near-identical this season, with Sanders grading better as a rusher and Gainwell grading as a better receiver.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Gainwell receives more playing time and has some standalone value at some point this season. He would also be a fantasy starter if Sanders gets hurt at any point.

WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

Patrick has been on this list before, but it will be much harder to pick him up now.

He caught all five passes thrown his way for 98 receiving yards to help lead the Broncos to victory in Week 3. He now ranks 30th in fantasy points for wide receivers. 

K.J. Hamler suffered a season-ending ACL tear on Sunday. So, Patrick and the rest of the Broncos star players will likely see a slightly higher target share in the short term. In the long term, this ensures that Patrick will be among the top three receivers for the Broncos once Jerry Jeudy can return.

There is a good chance the fifth-year pro can remain an every-down player while Jeudy sticks with three-receiver sets. He should maintain fantasy value the rest of the season and be a borderline starter.

TE Evan Engram, New York Giants

The Giants tight end made his season debut on Sunday and caught two passes for 21 yards. Most importantly, he was targeted six times and could see even more targets in the future if some of the Giants' injuries are serious.

Engram barely played in two-tight end sets, which could be injury-related or a permanent change to his role in the offense. If it’s temporary, Engram could be one of the tight end leaders in targets going forward.

Team Defense, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have been an above-average fantasy defense so far this season, ranking among the top six defenses in fantasy points allowed.

Cincinnati plays against a struggling Jacksonville team at home on a short week. And entering Week 4, the Jags' offense ranks 32nd league-wide in team offense grade (56.0), 32nd in team passing grade (45.5), 32nd in team receiving grade (55.8), 27th in expected points added (EPA) per play (-0.165) and 24th in yards per play (5.1).

The Bengals' defense should not only be picked up — it should be among the top few starters for the week.

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