To provide some background, I typically pull roster percentages on Wednesdays after waivers run; I figure there is no use in recommending any streamers who suddenly jump to 65%+ rostered and are no longer available by the time you are reading this. That said, every fantasy platform is a little different, so it is always worth checking on the priority names listed in each section. Even prized Week 4 waiver names like Jamaal Williams (74% ESPN, 80% Yahoo), Khalil Herbert (53% ESPN, 76% Yahoo), and Alexander Mattison (46% ESPN, 71% Yahoo) are still available on some sites. These players have all been priority bench adds/ handcuffs throughout the season and the stash could pay off immensely if any player listed above takes the reins in their backfield this week and possibly longer.
To further emphasize the importance of rostering backups that may not have standalone value, but would take on a significant role in the absence of the starter, I have added a list of Impact Backups/ Stash Candidates below. If you do not need a streamer to plug directly into your lineup, these are excellent players to target for the end of your bench. There have been very few consistent high-end contributors each week, so chasing upside and potential league-winners with your last bench spot (or two) is a good habit if you have the roster space.
Regarding that lack of consistency across fantasy football, do not let the dud performances get you down; I am confident the scoring will pick up. With multiple marquee players getting off to uneven starts, this could be a nice opportunity to take advantage in the trade market if there is a player you have a hunch about turning things around. Stay focused, stay hungry, and let’s get this W in Week 4!
Article Overview/ How to Use:
- Analysis: Highlight a variety of RBs, WRs, and TEs (< 65% rostered on ESPN and/or Yahoo) who I feel could produce fantasy value, either that specific week as a replacement in your lineup or as a bench/ stash option.
- Ranking RBs, WRs, and TEs (< 65% rostered) in order. Please note that the players who are highlighted in the article are not always my top-ranked streamers. These rankings & notes could be useful for teams in deeper leagues or as a means to fill out your “Watch List”.
- List of Impact Backups or players who would gain significant fantasy value if the starter was inactive. These names would make excellent stash candidates, but likely not worthwhile streamers due to lack of usage as the backup.
- Although base rankings tend to skew toward 12-team, half-PPR leagues, I will provide clarifications if a player is best used in a specific scenario or league type.
- Recap the performances of the previous week’s highlighted players.
* If anyone featured below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 09/28/22.
Jerick McKinnon (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)
As stated in the intro, Jamaal Williams, Khalil Herbert, and Alexander Mattison are the names to check on first and foremost; they are all in the RB1 range if the starter is out. If their situations have taught us anything, stashing quality backups ahead of time can provide a huge boost if those players take on a starter’s workload. As for other committee RBs and handcuffs to monitor, I feel that McKinnon checks a couple of boxes.
First, McKinnon already has some standalone value as part of a backfield committee with Clyde Edward-Helaire. He is currently leading all Chiefs RBs in team snap% (45.8% vs CEH’s 40.5%) and has no less than seven touches each week. While that is not a very juicy workload, the snap share and role put him in a slightly different category than other RB handcuffs/ stashes. Second, the Chiefs’ offense is expected to provide ample scoring opportunities and McKinnon has already been involved in the red zone mix (four carries are tied for first on the team with Isiah Pacheco while his two targets are second to Edwards-Helaire’s three). Outside of those premier three at the beginning, McKinnon and Samaje Perine are in the next cut of priority backups for me.
Samaje Perine (RB, Cincinnati Bengals)
Continuing with the theme of the week: injuries and handcuffing high-usage RBs, Perine is another priority name to monitor and stash ahead of the Bengals’ Thursday night contest against the Dolphins. Although there are other RBs I would start over Perine this week (see rankings below), he is a veteran backup who has been serviceable for Cincinnati and for fantasy managers when given expanded opportunities. Bengals RB1 Joe Mixon (ankle) missed most of the second half in Week 3, allowing Perine to chip in nine carries for 47 yards (5.2 ypc) along with two catches for 14 yards and a score. While Mixon is expected to play on Thursday, the ankle issue + short week + Perine’s potential if there is a setback make for a solid stash at the very least.
RB Streamers (ranked): Jamaal Williams (start even if Swift is active; 44% ESPN, 80% Yahoo), Khalil Herbert (start even if Montgomery is active; 25% ESPN, 76% Yahoo), Alexander Mattison (only start if no Cook; 37% ESPN, 71% Yahoo), J.D. McKissic, Raheem Mostert, Nyheim Hines, Jerick McKinnon, Samaje Perine, Dontrell Hilliard, Craig Reynolds, Ken Walker, Zack Moss, Rex Burkhead, Mark Ingram, Eno Benjamin, Justice Hill, Tyler Allgeier, Joshua Kelley, Brandon Bolden, James Cook, Jaylen Warren, Kenneth Gainwell, Rachaad White, Boston Scott, Isiah Pacheco, Tristan Ebner, Darrel Williams, Travis Homer, Chuba Hubbard, Matt Breida, Brian Robinson (IR stash).
Romeo Doubs (WR, Green Bay Packers)
It has not been surprising to see the Packers’ offense feature its two premier backs in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. Particularly in the early stages of the season, feeding their 1-2 RB combo a healthy dose of touches has been a good way to bring along their injured and/or inexperienced receiving corps gradually. However, when Green Bay does want to air it out, it seems that Romeo Doubs will be someone in Aaron Rodgers‘ unspoken “circle of trust” that includes veteran pass-catchers like Randall Cobb, Robert Tonyan, and Allen Lazard.
Doubs currently has the edge on fellow WRs Sammy Watkins (hamstring, IR) and second-round rookie Christian Watson (hamstring, questionable) and has given no reason to doubt that he will remain involved moving forward given his performance so far. He leads Green Bay in almost every significant receiving category including receptions (14), targets (16), receiving yards (137), and receptions of 20+ yards (3). Doubs is fresh off an eight catch / eight target/ 73 yards / 1 TD performance and should be universally rostered as an every-week WR3/ Flex until further notice.
Noah Brown/ Michael Gallup (WR, Dallas Cowboys)
I am providing a “two-fer” here because it likely comes down to what your fantasy team needs. If you need a plug-and-play WR to put directly into your lineup for Week 4, I feel that Noah Brown has shown enough to be trusted as a fringe WR3/WR4 at home against the Commanders. If it is WR depth and long-term upside you seek, I think Michael Gallup (ACL recovery) makes a fine stash.
Dak Prescott (thumb) has perhaps optimistically stated that he is aiming to return in Week 5, but the fact that he is still not throwing makes me believe that he may still have a few more games yet to go. As the Cowboys await the returns of Prescott, Gallup, and Dalton Schultz (PCL), alpha-WR1 CeeDee Lamb is expected to continue vacuuming in targets from Cooper Rush while the fifth-year Brown aims to build on what has been his most productive NFL campaign to date. Brown has five receptions and at least 54 receiving yards in each game so far to go along with a Week 2 score, so you could do much worse if there is a hole in your Week 4 lineup at WR.
WR Streamers (ranked): Romeo Doubs (priority add, WR3/Flex), Noah Brown, Treylon Burks, Greg Dortch, Isaiah McKenzie, D.J. Chark, Jahan Dotson, Mack Hollins, Russell Gage, Robert Woods (67% ESPN), Zay Jones, DeVante Parker, Darnell Mooney (61% Yahoo, 83% ESPN), Robbie Anderson, Jarvis Landry, Richie James, Tyler Boyd, Nico Collins, Alec Pierce, Joshua Palmer, K.J. Osborn, Corey Davis, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, George Pickens, Ben Skowronek, Marvin Jones Jr, Mecole Hardman, Nelson Agholor, Devin Duvernay, Kadarius Toney (inj-stash), Wan’Dale Robinson (inj-stash), Rondale Moore (inj-stash).
Tyler Conklin (TE, New York Jets)
Personally speaking as a fantasy manager who has been scavenging the fringe-TE1 range for a reliable weekly option, chasing the “flavor of the week” can get old pretty quick. An easy trap to fall into is chasing touchdowns or big yardage games from TEs that may have benefitted from broken plays. A more reliable predictor for me when it comes to streaming TEs is routes and targets. Although his ceiling may not be that of a top-half TE1 most weeks, you have to love the involvement and corresponding target volume that Conklin has seen thus far.
Conklin has seen seven, nine, and eight targets through the first three games, catching 75% of them to the tune of 140 yards and a touchdown. The Jets are passing more than anyone in the league right now (52 attempts per game) and will likely find themselves continuing to chase points most weeks whether Joe Flacco or Zach Wilson is under center. Regardless of the QB, Conklin should remain a constant as the primary safety blanket on short, high-percentage throws, leading to a decent floor in PPR leagues as a back-end TE1.
TE Streamers (ranked): Gerald Everett (56% ESPN, 76% Yahoo), David Njoku (51% ESPN, 67% Yahoo), Tyler Conklin, Robert Tonyan (expected to climb rankings as health improves), Evan Engram, Irv Smith Jr., Hayden Hurst, Logan Thomas, Cole Kmet, Juwan Johnson, Hunter Henry, Noah Fant, Will Dissly, Mike Gesicki, Albert Okwuegbunam.
Impact Backups/ Injury Stashes
This is a new section I am trying out so do not be surprised if there are tweaks throughout the season (constructive suggestions in the Comments are always welcome and very much appreciated as well!). Although this article’s primary focus is to rank and discuss RB/WR/TEs who are fantasy-relevant and 65%-rostered or less, I also believe it is extremely important to plan ahead by setting your roster up with contingency options if disaster strikes. Not many things in the fantasy sports universe are worse than having a successful regular season undone by gut-wrenching injury luck. That said, here is my first-ever(!) list of Top Impact Backups and Injury Stashes, in order, regardless of position:
Top Impact Backups: Samaje Perine, Jerick McKinnon, Jaylen Warren, Rachaad White, Matt Breida, Nyheim Hines, Eno Benjamin, Raheem Mostert, Dontrell Hilliard, Jordan Mason, James Cook, Ken Walker, Justice Hill, Kenneth Gainwell, Tyler Allgeier, Alec Pierce, Joshua Palmer.
Graduated (add if available): Jamaal Williams (74% ESPN, 80% Yahoo), Khalil Herbert (53% ESPN, 76% Yahoo), Alexander Mattison (46% ESPN, 71% Yahoo).
Top Injury Stashes: Brian Robinson (could take over early-down and goal-line work once activated if Antonio Gibson does not improve), Kadarius Toney/ Wan’Dale Robinson (the Giants WR1 can’t be Richie James all season, right?), Rondale Moore (Greg Dortch is succeeding in the “Rondale Moore role” currently; whichever player emerges in this role will be fantasy-relevant), Jameson Williams (talented rookie but also will need to climb depth chart past other Detroit WRs), Gus Edwards (Ravens have shown tendency to utilize two backs when Edwards and Dobbins are healthy).
Accountability is everything, so here is a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Raheem Mostert (RB, Miami Dolphins): The Dolphins went up against a stout Bills defense, but there were still scoring opportunities to be had by Miami’s RBs. Unfortunately for those who took a shot on Mostert last week, Chase Edmonds snagged both rushing TDs despite Mostert out-carrying him 8-6. This backfield appears to be a true split and could be a headache trying to predict as long as both are healthy. Mostert is in the RB4 range until further notice.
Nyheim Hines (RB, Indianapolis Colts): Although this seemed like a contest in which the Colts would be chasing points throughout, they instead got tangled in an odd game with the Chiefs where the offense never picked up much of a rhythm (outside of drives where they were handed additional opportunities via KC penalties). Indy attempted to establish the run with Jonathan Taylor (21 carries for 71 yards), but their offensive line frankly disappointed again. Hines did not fare any better on the ground (three carries for seven yards), but was able to secure five-of-six targets for 23 yards. I think better days are ahead for this offense, but also understand if there are more intriguing options out there.
Joshua Palmer (WR, Los Angeles Chargers): With Keenan Allen once again absent from the Chargers lineup and Mike Williams somehow catching just one ball, it was Palmer who led the Bolts in receiving last week with six catches on nine targets for 99 yards (all team-highs). It remains to be seen what happens to this receiving pecking order once Allen returns, especially since Justin Herbert likes to spread the ball around, but I think Palmer has shown he can be a solid third WR and priority backup for fantasy purposes. Hold for now and keep starting until Allen is active.
Breshad Perriman (WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers): I flipped from featuring Russell Gage to Perriman last week after seeing that Gage was limited with a hamstring ailment throughout the week, and it turns out I should have trusted my gut. In the absence of Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and Chris Godwin, Gage commanded a whopping 13 targets, hauling in 12 catches for 87 yards and a score while Perriman caught three-of-four targets for 44 yards. Evans (suspension) will return next week, so I am not sure there is much to chase here with either player moving forward.
Irv Smith Jr. (TE, Minnesota Vikings): The Vikings’ receiving stats from Sunday’s 28-24 win over the Lions are a little unusual compared to what you would expect; K.J. Osborn led the team in targets and yards while Justin Jefferson had just 14 yards. Despite all of that, Irv Smith Jr was fairly involved with six targets (third-most on the team) but caught just two of them for 32 yards. He will hit some big plays this season with his athleticism and role on this talented offense, but it is still too early to call him anything close to a reliable TE1 until there is more consistency.
Make sure to check out our weekly priority waiver wire adds article and waiver wire podcast for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday; it is a great way to get a head start on players often discussed in this article. Good luck in Week 4!
(Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)