In this weekly series, we narrow the focus to just the current week and give you some streaming options for the upcoming games. The goal is to identify a player at each offensive position, as well as a team defense, who is owned in less than 30 percent of leagues and may be in line for a productive outing.
You can read more about this series here. We use MFL rates for the ownership percentages.
Let’s take a look at how things went for our top picks in Week 3, using standard PPR scoring. The weekly average through three weeks is in parenthesis.
QB — Ryan Fitzpatrick, 17.36 points (17.0)
WR — Leonard Hankerson, 7.5 points (9.0)
RB — Dexter McCluster, 5.2 points (11.7)
TE — Crockett Gillmore, 7.0 points (12.3)
K — Josh Brown, 13 points (12.3)
D — New York Giants, 11 points (5.3)
I finally had success with a defense as the Giants finished eighth in scoring for the week, flummoxing the Washington Redskins on Thursday night. Their output could’ve been even higher if not for some garbage-time points by Washington and a late kick return for a touchdown. Brown and Fitzpatrick continued my hot run at those positions. McCluster, Hankerson and Gillmore weren’t duds, but they didn’t have big weeks, either.
Through three games, if you had streamed the quarterback I chose each week, you’d currently have 51 points at the position, which would be the 13th highest-scoring signal caller, ahead of Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford. With kickers, you’d have the number three kicker thus far with 36.9 points. Running back (20th) and tight end (10th) have also gone well while I have some ground to make up at receiver (51st) and defense (22nd).
With bye weeks starting this week, it’s an ideal time to find one-week help on the waiver wire. Here are the streaming picks for Week 4.
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Kirk Cousins, QB WAS
(owned in 27 percent of leagues)
Thanks to a number of quarterback injuries, there are several streaming options in Week 4. I’m going with Cousins at home against the Philadelphia Eagles as my top choice. With 29 turnovers in his last 17 games, Cousins isn’t very good as a real-life quarterback, but he can be a solid fantasy performer this week, which is all we care about. The Eagles have allowed at least 16 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in all three of their games. In his one 2014 matchup with the Eagles, Cousins threw for 427 yards and three scores. If Drew Brees is out again, Luke McCown is a decent play at home against the Dallas Cowboys. Fitzpatrick gets a Miami Dolphins defense which was just gashed by Tyrod Taylor.
Honorable mention: Mallett (at ATL), Fitzpatrick (at MIA), McCown (vs DAL).
Ted Ginn Jr., WR CAR
Ginn fits everything we’re looking for in a streamer. He’s getting a lot of opportunity and he has a plus matchup. Ginn has received at least six targets in every game. While he’s not incredibly efficient with his chances (he’s only hauled in 13-of-28 targets), I love the volume he’s getting. Ginn is coming off a four-catch, 93-yard performance against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3 and he gets another juicy matchup in Week 4 as the Panthers travel to Tampa Bay. With his speed, he’s always a threat for a home run. Much like Ginn, Houston’s Nate Washington is getting a ton of looks, averaging just over nine targets per game through three weeks. Washington and the Texans have a nice Week 4 matchup at Atlanta. Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse, facing the Lions, also has an enticing matchup.
Honorable mention: Washington (vs. ATL), Kearse (vs. DET).
Theo Riddick, RB DET
Riddick has been a pass-game specialist for the Lions. With a Week 4 matchup at Seattle, game script will likely dictate Detroit doing a whole lot of passing. On the year, Riddick has caught 15-of-18 targets for 144 yards and a score. With Joique Bell looking like one of the worst running backs in the league, Riddick deserves consideration as a season-long pick up. Bilal Powell is going to be a good play against the Dolphins if Chris Ivory is out again. Powell racked up 17 touches with the backfield to himself in Week 4, including seven receptions. With Marshawn Lynch hobbled in Week 3, Thomas Rawls established himself as a weapon for the Seahawks with 104 yards on 16 carries. If Lynch misses the Week 4 game against Detroit, Rawls would be in line for another big game. Rawls certainly has dynasty appeal beyond this week, and may already be owned in most dynasty leagues.
Honorable mention: Powell (vs MIA) and Rawls (vs. DET).
Ben Watson, TE NO
I have to give up my seat on the Crockett Gillmore train as his ownership rates have climbed above the 30 percent threshold. A good time was had by all. We now hitch our wagons to the Saints’ Ben Watson for Week 4. Watson proved to be a trusted outlet for McCown in Week 3, catching all four of his targets for 42 yards. The matchup with Dallas is a plus, as well. San Diego’s John Phillips is a shot in the dark if LaDarius Green is forced to miss Week 4. He caught four balls for 35 yards as the Chargers’ lone tight end in Week 3. Cleveland’s Gary Barnidge exploded for 105 yards and a touchdown in Week 3, but Josh McCown threw 49 passes, which isn’t going to happen often. Still, it’s worth monitoring when someone puts up that stat line at a fairly thin position.
Honorable mention: Phillips (vs. CLE), Barnidge (at SD).
Sebastian Janikowski, K OAK
Janikowski is 5-for-5 this year on field goal tries and Oakland should be able to move the ball well against a porous Bears defense. He still has one of the biggest legs in the NFL and is 2-for-2 on kicks over 40 yards. The only thing that scares me about this matchup is it’s the fact it’s at Chicago. I prefer to go with kickers playing indoors to remove the chance of inclement weather. Greg Zuerlein and the Rams have a tough matchup at Arizona, which could work in Zuerlein’s favor if the Rams have to keep settling for three instead of seven.
Honorable mention: Zuerlein (at ARI), Nick Folk (at MIA).
San Diego Chargers
What I’m looking for with a defense is a team playing at home against a bad quarterback. The Giants, facing Cousins, fit that mold a week ago. This week, the Chargers make for a great option. San Diego hosts Josh McCown (or Johnny Manziel) and the Cleveland Browns. The Colts also fit the bill, playing at home against Jacksonville, as do the Saints for their home clash with Dallas.
Honorable mention: Colts (vs. JAX), New Orleans (vs DAL).