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On Second Thought – Week 4

Was it just me or did Week 3 feel like a nice fresh rain after a long drought?  The touchdowns and big scores rained down and washed away the stink of the first two weeks leaving us with the fresh smell of rejuvenated hope in our fantasy season.

By Sunday night I felt like Andy Dufresne and it felt good.

As nice as that was, by Monday night it was back to reality since Week 4 is now upon us and so are the bye weeks which you will have to prepare for, as well as normal injuries and poor play.  If you have players on the Titans or Patriots this week you may need to make some roster moves, time for you to hit the waiver wire.

Quick message to owners of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.  On behalf of all owners who do not own either of these two let me be the first to tell you in my snarkiest tone, have fun. Welcome to a week of real fantasy football, where you have to put someone in your QB or TE position and actually worry about the outcome.  Where you have to look at the box scores at the end of the day on Sunday because you don’t have the convenience of being completely sure that your players scored 30 points that week.  Enjoy it, because the rest of us will enjoy watching you sweat those positions out for once.

Ok, I’m done being bitter, I’ll continue on with this week’s On Second Thought.  Making moves for bye weeks (or injuries/poor play if they happened to your players) can sometimes be a little nerve wracking, there are lots of waiver wire land mines out there that you will need to navigate.  Our goal is to avoid them at all costs and pick up a player that will fill your needs by giving you solid points and low downside, because nobody can afford to have a bye week or injury fill-in put up a zero.

The bad news is that many of our best players are sitting at home this week watching the games.  The good news is that there are good replacement players just waiting to be plucked off the wire in the majority of leagues.  Though this time of the year, three games in, the waiver wire can get real tricky.  By Week 4, the waiver wire have been picked fairly clean.  What is left are a bunch of players that can go either way.  They can be great and are just finally getting their chance or they are fool’s gold, and they will waste your waiver wire position and possibly cost you a win when you put them in your starting roster.

In that case, let’s figure out who is a solid bye week/injury fill-in for Week 4 and who is not.  Let’s start at quarterback.  Brady and Marcus Mariota are both off this week.  If you are an owner who has one of these QBs as your starter then you may want to consider the following.

There has been a lot of talk about Josh McCown this week. The Browns signal caller amassed 341 yards with 2 touchdowns against the Raiders this weekend.  This pick gives me pause for many reasons, first and foremost is the circus surrounding the QB situation in Cleveland.  Is it McCown or Johnny Manziel?  Yes, his stat line looks great but this is a mediocre team at best playing a schedule that has five very good defenses out of the next six weeks including Arizona, St. Louis and Cincinnati to name a few.  Nope, on Second Thought I think I’d prefer:

Andy Dalton.  He is available in 60% of leagues and has done so well the first 3 games that I will no longer mention him in this column after this week.  I’ve been telling you for weeks to pick him up and if you were one who listened, you have enjoyed a great start to the season.  He should continue to give you good numbers as long as his team is healthy.  Keep a watch on that, if you start to see some of his go-to guys go down to injury get ready to bail as he has proven in the past to get a little shaky when his roster is not stacked, but for now, grab him and start him with no worries.

Tyrod Taylor is still available in 56% of leagues.  How? This guy is a top-5 QB right now.  I know none of us had him in our sights at the beginning of the season but this is a perfect opportunity for you to get in touch with your inner Fonzi and admit that maybe we were wrrrr.  That we were wrrrwrrrwrrr.  Okay, you get the point, he’s having a great season and we missed on him.

Taylor put up 277 yards last week along with 3 touchdowns and boasts a schedule that has him at home against the Giants and on the road against the Titans the next two weeks.  Just be cool like the Fonz and go get this guy before someone else does.

Derek Carr has found some magic in Oakland and is still available in 80% of leagues.  I mention him last because I believe he is the weakest choice of the three, but the strongest in one regard, he plays Chicago next week.

Carr will be less steady than Dalton and Taylor but he can also light up the scoreboard as evidenced this last week when he scorched the Browns for 314 yards and 2 TDs.  Many of you reading this are doing so because you have Tom Brady on a bye.  Let’s be honest, if you have Brady you are starting him every single week except for his bye week so you only need one guy to come in and kill it in Week 4 and look at what has been delivered to you upon your request, Carr versus the Chicago Bears.  He is a great play this week as well as other weeks where the matchup plays in his favor.  Do not be afraid to pull the trigger on him in those weeks.

Washington, what are you doing? I thought Shanahanagans were no longer a part of the Washington M.O.  Yet here we are in Week 3 and we’ve had three different backs lead the team in fantasy points in three consecutive weeks.  Chris Thompson looked great this last Thursday against the New York Giants where he ran for 29 yards on just 2 carries and received 8 catches for 57 yards and a TD.

He looks fast and good and young and exciting.  He also looks to be in a 3-way RBBC with 2 other very capable RBs in Alfred Morris and Matt Jones.  Plain and simple, Thompson will be too inconsistent to help you with your fantasy season.  Wait this one out, if one of the other backs gets hurt then he may be worth a look, otherwise don’t waste the waiver spot, instead consider Karlos Williams.

Williams is still available in 74% of leagues and looks amazing. This guy is 6’1″ 230 lbs and runs a 4.48 40.  He put up 110 yards and a TD in just 12 carries on Sunday against the Dolphins and looks to be the next big beast in Buffalo, provided they don’t trade him to Seattle, oops, sorry Bills’ fans.

Yes, there is the little issue called LeSean McCoy who will get the majority of carries if he is healthy, but as of right now, McCoy is banged up and this is giving Williams enough carries to garner himself a touchdown in every single game so far this season.  Get him while the gettins’ good, especially if you are in a dynasty league.

Chris Johnson.  I have to admit if feels weird even typing his name again, but much like Williams until his No. 1 running back, Andre Ellington, is completely healthy, Johnson can give you very nice production.

Consider last week against the 49ers, Johnson rushed for 110 yards on 22 carries with 2 TDs.  Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald found the fountain of youth somewhere near Glendale as apparent from their torrid start to this season and apparently now they have shared their find with the RB formerly known as CJ2K.  As long as Ellington is banged up, grab Johnson and ride that spicy chicken off into the sunset.

About Rick Olson

Rick joined FantasySharks,com as a staff writer in 2013, though he fell in love with fantasy football in 1988 with the first league he played in. In his articles he tries to feature players off the radar or deeper than most since, in his experience, by the time a player is a waiver wire "must have" they are not usually available in most leagues.