After last week’s injury-riddled Sunday, fantasy football rosters stayed mostly intact in Week 3 (though there are still some injury fill-ins worth considering as free agent adds this week). That’s ultimately good news, but it makes our list of top Week 4 fantasy waiver wire pickups look a little thinner. Fortunately, several rookie WRs, including Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins, and Brandon Aiyuk, broke out and teased fantasy owners with future stardom. Quite a few veterans, such as Rex Burkhead, Greg Ward, and Jeff Wilson Jr., also stepped up and might be worth considering picking up this week, though it’s unlikely any will require actual waiver claims (save for Carlos Hyde, pending the severity of Chris Carson’s late-game knee injury). Sorry — not every week features the consensus top-two preseason picks suffering serious injuries.
Our full free agent list has a bunch of potential pickups, though most fall into the “stash” category as we get closer to the bye weeks. Guys like Hunter Renfrow, James Washington, Andy Isabella, and Cordarrelle Patterson could have some value because of injuries to guys in front of them. Others, like Myles Gaskin, Logan Thomas, Mo Alie-Cox, and Corey Davis, keep seeing a steady amount of work even if they aren’t necessarily putting up huge stats. It’s all about opportunities in fantasy, so pay attention to more than just the yards and touchdowns. We also have some potential D/ST streamers at the end of this list because we feel much more confident about favorable/unfavorable matchups.
Unless you’re really desperate for a receiver or low-ceiling RB like Hyde, Gaskin or Adrian Peterson, this doesn’t look like the week to use a high waiver claim. Some of these WRs look legit, if inconsistent, but they’re not worth top-five claims. It’s not a bad idea for owners with low claims to snatch these guys up before they hit the free agent market, but you don’t want to fall too far down the list because you know more serious injuries are coming this year. Hyde is the one exception if Carson is slated to miss multiple weeks.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 4
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings. Jefferson was a non-factor through the first two games (five receptions, six targets, 70 yards), but he broke out in a big way in Week 3, catching seven-of-nine targets for 175 yards and a score. A favorable matchup and a 71-yard TD helped him have such a big day, but he’s capable of being an every-week starter if he gets regular targets. The Vikings haven’t utilized their TEs this year, and as long as that keeps happening, Jefferson will have the opportunity for targets. He’s well worth stashing ahead of the bye weeks.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers. Aiyuk didn’t do much in his Week 2 debut (two catches, three targets, 21 yards, no carries), but his versatility was on full display in Week 3. The talented rookie caught five-of-nine targets for 70 yards and added 31 rushing yards and a score on three carries against the Giants. Deebo Samuel (foot) is expected to be out until Week 5, so Aiyuk will have another chance to establish himself as a trustworthy contributor in Week 4. Grab him now.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Seahawks. Chris Carson exited late in Seattle’s win over Dallas and was seen limping on the sideline due to an apparent knee injury. We’ll certainly find out more about the severity of the injury throughout the week, but Hyde should be on everyone’s radar as a top claim if Carson is expected to miss any time. Travis Homer would also be a potential PPR flex if Carson is out against Miami.
Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals. With A.J. Green looking like a shell of himself (despite getting frequent targets) and John Ross III being a healthy inactive in Week 3, a receiver other than Tyler Boyd figures to step up for the pass-happy Bengals. Higgins was that guy in Week 3, catching five-of-nine targets for 40 yards and two TDs. Higgins had six targets in Week 2, so he’s trending upward. At 6-4, 216 pounds, Higgins can do damage all over the field, making him well worth a bench spot.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots. Three-TD games will always draw fantasy attention, but it’s important to note that James White (personal) and Damien Harris (hand) will likely return to the Patriots backfield next week. Because of that, Burkhead might be a one-week wonder who’s not worth owning, but clearly he has big upside if one or both of White and Harris remain out. White is the key, as Burkhead soaks up a lot of his passing-down snaps that White usually gets (as shown by his seven catches on 10 yargets), but considering White isn’t injured, it’s fair to expect him back soon.
For additional waiver/free agent suggestions, including more breakouts and potential streamers, check out our full Week 4 list.
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