Week 4 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em and Waiver Wire Tips
Scott Engel is in his 12th year as the official Fantasy Football writer and analyst for Seahawks.com. He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 13-time nominee. You can find more of his fantasy football analysis at The Game Day and lineup rankings on RotoBaller.com
We have witnessed some outstanding fantasy football performances from rookies in the first three weeks of the season. Miami running back De’Von Achane was the major headliner in Week 3, and he is featured here, with recommendations on how to best approach acquiring him off the waiver wire.
Several other notable first-year players are included in this week’s Fantasy Insider, as we want to help you pinpoint the next dazzling performance or elevation in fantasy status of impactful new contributors. As for Zach Charbonnet and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, remain patient, and we should see satisfying fantasy outings in the near future.Analysis leans to Point-Per-Reception (PPR) formats and players are listed in order of preference for lineup picks or waiver priority. Start recommendations are provided to help you make the best calls when faced with close lineup decisions.
The Raiders’ RB should deliver his best fantasy football performance of the season so far. Las Vegas will want to control the clock as much as possible against the potent Chargers, and Jacobs will be the key to such a game plan. The Chargers rank 21st in rushing yards allowed to running backs after three weeks.
In Week 3, Jacobs totaled 80 scrimmage yards on 20 touches, and he should be busy again. Some fantasy players may consider reserving him, especially in 10-team leagues, but Jacobs should remain in lineups for this matchup. He rushed for 144 yards and a TD in his last meeting with the Chargers.
The former Buffalo Bill has found his place as the current lead RB for the Colts. He rushed for 122 yards and caught a 17-yard TD pass in a win at Baltimore in Week 3. He also rushed for 88 yards and a TD in the previous game.
In the 2022 regular season finale, Moss rushed for 114 yards and a TD, and he totaled 65-plus yards on the ground in each of the final four games of the campaign. He should be locked into lineups for those who can use him as a good fill-in RB2 or flex option. The Rams rank 16th in rushing yards allowed to RBs, a rather neutral fantasy matchup that points to at least respectable production from Moss.
The Bears’ rookie may be ready to make his first fantasy splash this week. Johnson has been surrounded by positive local buzz in Chicago since the summer, and now he might get the opportunity to show more of what he can do in an appealing matchup.
Denver has allowed the most rushing yards and TDs (seven) to opposing RBs so far this season. Establishing the run behind Johnson can help the Bears execute a balanced offensive attack as they seek the first win of the 2023 season.
The Steelers RB has a draw this week against a Houston defense that ranks 28th in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to RBs. A versatile sparkplug, Warren may start to emerge as a guy worthy of more regular fantasy consideration with a quality outing. He can certainly inject some additional life into the Pittsburgh offense.
The Miami rookie, who was listed in the Seahawks Fantasy Insider preseason 2023 rundown of sleepers, exploded onto the scene with a 51.3-point fantasy performance in Week 3. He rushed for 203 yards and totaled four TDs fromscrimmage in the Dolphins’ win over the Broncos.
If you play in a league with a Free Agent Budget, you will likely have to spend 75-plus percent of the available FAAB to have a chance of landing Achane. I am fine with parting with that much, as he can be a difference-making RB, and such an upside performer does not become available often throughout the season. Simply plan to save some of the budget for forward-looking or fill-in pickups the rest of the way.
In leagues that use waiver priorities, you won’t have an opportunity to claim Achane if not slotted first. In leagues that allow trading for waiver adds, making an offer to get into position to take Achane should be a consideration. He is a dual threat speedster who plays in an ideal offense for his skill set.
The veteran is the pass-catching specialist in the Kansas City committee, and he caught two TD passes in Week 3. McKinnon had nine TD catches last season, so you know what he can provide when needed in PPR formats.
There is not much other than Achane on the waiver wire in terms of instant impact fantasy RBs this week. If Roschon Johnson is available, he should be the next priority pickup. After those two are gone, you can still find some quality adds for depth, such as the former Cowboys star, who actually faces his former team in Week 4. Elliott rushed for 80 yards on 16 carries last week and he may be a decent plug-in option for the fantasy matchups ahead, when we have to find bye week options.
This waiver recommendation is a reminder to roster the top NFL backups of your best fantasy RBs. We have already seen a significant wave of RB injuries that has led to guys like Jerome Ford becoming viable pickups. Mitchell is the next in line behind Christian McCaffrey in San Francisco, and he and RBs such as Dallas’ Rico Dowdle are must-adds for those who roster McCaffery and Dallas’ Tony Pollard.
Many savvy fantasy players will always keep Lockett in their fantasy football lineups, but sometimes people with “loaded” rosters or in 10-team leagues will have some tight lineup decisions involving him. In most cases, you should lean to keeping Lockett active. The Giants rank 16th in FFPG allowed to WRs. The matchup does not indicate that Lockett won’t have his usual fantasy upside, and New York ranks 28th in rushing defense. Another strong rushing performance will set up Geno Smith for play-action strikes to Lockett.
As noted by Pro Football Focus, Smith leads the NFL with 369 yards off play-action passes. If you aren’t considering reserving Lockett, then just take this fantasy lineup pick as a reminder that you made a good move when drafting Lockett, and fantasy rewards are coming again this week.
The third-year Ram has been targeted eight-plus times in each of his first three games of the 2023 season. He totaled 196 yards in the first two weeks and caught a TD pass in Week 3. Some fantasy players may still be faced with close lineup calls involving Atwell and players they may have drafted before adding him as an early-season waiver pickup.
Continue to roll with Atwell in Week 4. The Colts rank 26th in FFPG allowed to WRs, and Matthew Stafford should be able to locate the slippery 23-year-old often enough to provide another good fantasy line.
Tank Dell has been supplying some early-season highlights in a rejuvenated Houston passing game. He deserves all the fantasy accolades being received, yet Dell may also start to draw more defensive attention, too. C.J. Stroud can respond by making this a Collins week against the Steelers, who rank 26th in FFPG allowed to WRs.
Jeudy made his season debut last week and caught five passes for 81 yards. Expect an even better outing against Chicago’s 30th-ranked pass defense this week.
Like Atwell, the exciting Texan is showing that no one should doubt 165-pound WRs anymore. Dell is averaging 16.7 yards per reception and has two TD catches in his first three NFL games. Houston now has enough respectable receiving ammo, so defenses cannot heavily focus on one pass-catcher. Dell will be headed for more upside performances in the weeks ahead.
At 33 years old, the former Minnesota WR is defying the statistical expectations of fantasy players. He has caught TD passes in two consecutive games with 18 receptions on 23 targets in those outings. Thielen had 145 receiving yards in Week 3 and faces his former team next. The Vikings rank 30th in FFPG allowed to WRs.
Joshua Palmer, who caught a TD pass last week, is also a viable add with Mike Williams (knee) out for the season. Johnston was drafted in the first round by the Chargers in 2023 and has the potential to eventually gain fantasy WR3 consideration.
Marvin Mims Jr.
The first-year Denver speedster is averaging an amazing 27.9 yards per reception over his first three pro games. The Broncos will continue to launch the deep ball enough times per week to keep Mims involved as a rising playmaking threat. He will deliver some spike statistical performances that can mark Mims as a nifty streamer.
ADD AND START
The Houston QB has looked poised and sharp in his first three NFL games. He has passed for 280 and 384 yards in his past two games, with two TDs in each week. Stroud is fourth in the NFL with 121 attempts. In his fourth NFL game, he faces the Steelers, who rank 22nd in the NFL in passing defense.
If you play in a superflex league, which allows for a second QB to be started at another flex position, then Winston is a top add for Week 4. He is an established aggressive passer and the New Orleans WR corps is well-stocked with playmakers.
We are all expecting a shootout between the Bills and Dolphins. Miami ranks 25th in FFPG allowed to TEs, so Kincaid may come through with his first impressive fantasy performance in Week 4.
The Packers’ rookie had eight targets in Week 3, and he takes on a Dteroit defense that allows the most FFPG to TEs. You should pick up Musgrave before he posts fantasy numbers that will lead to him becoming a hotter waiver wire target next week.
Week 4 Defenses To Stream
Chiefs (vs. Jets), Seahawks (vs. Giants), Bengals (vs. Titans). For more fantasy football analysis from Scott Engel, visit The Game Day during the 2023 fantasy football season.