Every week throughout the regular season, we prioritize the best fantasy pickups in advance of waiver deadlines. Each player listed below is available in a substantial majority of Yahoo leagues. If you have fantasy needs, we have options. Let’s add...
Wide Receivers to add aggressively
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (27% rostered)
Minnesota discovered yet another new way to crush the fading hopes of their fanbase on Sunday, but at least everyone affiliated with the team can feel pretty good about their first-round wideout. Jefferson went supernova against the Titans, hauling in seven catches for 175 yards and one score on nine targets. He only needed two quarters to reach triple-digit yardage. The rookie cooked Malcolm Butler more than once, then told the vet all about it...
This Justin Jefferson vs. Malcolm Butler showdown is a helluva lot of fun to watch. pic.twitter.com/tMEf4K5ldX— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) September 27, 2020
When a Vikings receiver puts himself in the statistical company of Randy Moss, he is definitely doin' work.
Jefferson is of course coming off a massively productive collegiate season at LSU, having caught 111 balls and scoring 18 times on 134 targets. He personally destroyed Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, you might recall. He's terrific from the slot and he's vicious outside. Playing time hasn't been an issue for him in the early weeks, even when his target-share was lacking. He was mass-dropped in Yahoo leagues after the slow start, but he’s clearly trending up, especially with Minnesota’s appealing matchups ahead: at Hou, at Sea, vs. Atl.
At the moment, we don’t actually know the status of this weekend’s game with Houston, as the Vikings have suspended in-person activities following potential COVID exposure. But Jefferson is a serious talent with several big weeks ahead. You’re adding him without regard to the status of his Week 4 contest.
Recommended waiver offer, assuming $100 budget: $21
While we're discussing players who starred at the college level last season, let's check in with a former Clemson standout. Higgins made a pair of easy house-calls against Philly on Sunday, drawing nine targets from Joe Burrow. It wasn't necessarily a flawless game for the rookie, but he made the money catches.
First NFL TD for Tee Higgins. Will the rookie be on your waiver wire radar this week?pic.twitter.com/Fp2K2MTI5u— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) September 27, 2020
Over the past two weeks, Higgins has emerged as the clear No. 3 receiving option in a high-volume passing game. John Ross was healthy yet inactive on Sunday. Higgins has ideal size (6-foot-4), he was a highlight machine at Clemson and he now finds himself in a fantasy-friendly system. He's obviously not going to see nine targets each week, but no one should be surprised if we see another multi-TD game (or two) from him this season. Higgins is averaging 15.1 air-yards per target, too, so he offers big-play potential.
Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers (47%)
We keep listing Lazard among the "other WRs to consider" in this feature, but it hasn't really moved the needle for him. Perhaps a full paragraph will do the trick — well, that and a monster performance on Sunday Night Football. Lazard made multiple field-flipping catches against the Saints in primetime, including this highlight grab...
He's seeing consistent targets in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense, operating behind only Davante Adams in Green Bay's receiving hierarchy. At 6-foot-5, he's a decent option in short-field situations and he can clearly get deep as well. Lazard is now coming off an 8-target, 146-yard game, so you'll need to be aggressive to land him. Rodgers raved about him in his rookie season and he's leaning on him now. The Packers get a visit from Atlanta next week, which is an absolute gift.
Ideally, we would flag a player such as Jefferson or Higgins for you before a breakout game, when the waiver wire bidding war for their fantasy services isn't so fierce. Claypool offers just such an opportunity. He's flashed at multiple points already this season. Claypool currently leads the NFL in yards per reception (25.2), thanks largely to this long score against Denver last week...
He offers size (6-foot-4), speed (4.4) and crazy leaping ability (40.5-inch vertical), plus he actually led all Steelers receivers in snaps on Sunday.
Yup, that's right: Claypool played 61 snaps in the win against Houston, which was three more than JuJu Smith-Schuster and a dozen more than James Washington. (Unfortunately, Diontae Johnson exited Week 3 with a concussion.) Fantasy managers should consider Claypool as a somewhat less-buzzy alternative to Jefferson and Higgins, but with similar weekly potential to detonate.
Additional WR/TE options: Andy Isabella (he's a burner who made two house calls on four targets against Detroit), Brandon Aiyuk (a serious talent who just delivered 100-plus scrimmage yards, but his team's receiving corps is about to get back a couple huge pieces), Golden Tate (saw seven targets and played 92 percent of the snaps on Sunday with Sterling Shepard sidelined), Cedrick Wilson (his surprise 5-107-2 line certainly seems like an outlier, not to be repeated, but we aren't gonna tell you to avoid Dallas receivers), Cole Beasley (hasn't seen fewer than six targets in any game thus far), Alshon Jeffery (a reasonable IR stash after he returned to practice last week), Hunter Renfrow (he’s in line for a potentially huge target share with the Raiders running low on healthy receivers), Anthony Miller (because the connection with new QB Nick Foles seemed legit), Dalton Schultz (he's drawn 16 targets over the past two weeks, catching 13 for 136 and basically doing exactly what Blake Jarwin would have), Eric Ebron (produced his first score for Pittsburgh on Sunday and should remain a key red-zone option), Jimmy Graham (the QB situation is not ideal, but he saw 10 targets against Atlanta, scoring twice).
Running backs who deserve attention
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (46%)
OK, this will serve as last call on Gaskin, a player we've pushed repeatedly. He's coming off a game in which he gained 95 scrimmage yards, handling 22 carries and catching five balls on as many targets. He may not be the flashiest back in the fantasy player pool, but it's rare to find workloads like his on the waiver wire. Jordan Howard will continue to poach short-yardage carries, but Gaskin has turned Matt Breida into an afterthought. He played 75 percent of his team's snaps on Thursday night and he's averaging better than 17 touches per week. Maybe it's OK to leave him alone in an 8-team league, but he needs to be rostered anywhere else.
Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks (18%)
Uh-oh, Chris Carson drafters. Your fantasy roster's No. 1 RB was the victim of a highly questionable (and certainly punishable) knee-twisting tackle on Sunday. Carson reportedly dodged any significant ligament damage, so that's great news. As of this writing, it isn't yet clear if Carson has a chance to suit up for the Miami matchup on Sunday (early reports estimate a 1-2 week absence), but the team might reasonably rest him no matter what against the Dolphins. If they do, Hyde will step into a significant early down workload in an offense that cannot be stopped. The Seahawks are averaging an absurd 0.59 points per play through three games. Travis Homer could get involved as well, but Hyde should be your primary waiver target in Seattle's backfield.
Other RBs to consider: Chase Edmonds (he has no more than a supporting role right now, but a friendly matchup with the Panthers is up next), Alexander Mattison (Cook's understudy needs to be rostered after it appeared Dalvin tweaked an ankle in Week 3), Rex Burkhead (his once-a-year binge game just happened and, alas, you missed it), Jeff Wilson Jr. (he averaged just 1.3 YPC on Sunday, but found the end zone twice and split touches with Jerick McKinnon; clearly his future relevance is tied to Raheem Mostert's availability), Brian Hill (handled 10 touches on Sunday against Chicago, spelling Todd Gurley).
Quarterbacks to stream
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (7%)
Just for the record, this is not a case in which we're chasing a spectacular-yet-unrepeatable fantasy line from the prior week. Fitz was phenomenal against the Jaguars on Thursday night (18-for-20, 3 combined TDs), but we're not gonna try to convince you that he's leveled up at age 37. Instead, we're simply interested in targeting the matchup ahead, as Miami hosts Seattle in Week 4. With three games in the books, the Seahawks have somehow already allowed 1,292 passing yards at 8.5 yards per attempt. Every game they've played has become a fantasy smorgasbord. The lowest single-game passing total against Seattle so far is 397 yards. Fitz should be a near-lock for 300-plus next Sunday, coming off a mini-bye. And let’s not forget, he offers a unique rooting experience, too...
Some fans & media members need to adjust the way they view or write about this @MiamiDolphins team. #FinsUp #MiamiDolphins #NFL #NFLTwitter #BigORadioShowhttps://t.co/0HBLHBRyYy pic.twitter.com/i4zD1wNefg— Orlando Alzugaray Jr (@BigOShow) September 25, 2020
Also addable at QB: Kirk Cousins (he was an absolute mess two weeks ago, but bounced back nicely against Tennessee; his upcoming schedule is a layup line: Hou, Sea, Atl), Derek Carr (he's been surprisingly useful and he's two weeks out from a matchup against KC), Gardner Minshew II (yes, he busted on TNF, but he travels to Cincinnati next week and should get D.J. Chark back in the game-plan).
Defense that's playing the New York Jets
Denver Broncos (35%)
The plague of injuries that's hit the Broncos this season hasn't spared the team's defense, but that fact may not matter this week. Denver heads to New York for a Thursday night matchup with the banged-up, under-talented Jets. Sam Darnold was intercepted three times by the Colts on Sunday, with a pair of pick-sixes included. We're gonna be picking on the Jets all season, folks.