Fantasy Football FAB Report: Week 4
Free agent budget waivers (FAB) are, without a doubt, the way to go. While some leagues are still sticking to the ancient ways of rolling list waivers (yuck) or waiver priority determined by the reverse order of standings (barf), many of the savvy ones are moving over to budgets. It makes sense -- why not give every manager an equal shot at every player. Do you really want to reward people for sucking at fantasy? Okay...rant over.
Every Tuesday evening, I (along with most managers in leagues with FAB waivers) spend countless hours trying to figure out how much to offer for the week's top available players -- which so happens to be exactly what this piece will cover.
Let's get to this week's top players and how much of my budget I'd be willing to offer to acquire them.
(The suggested offers are for 12-team, half-PPR leagues.)
Depending on your scoring and roster formats, how much you should spend at quarterback varies from league to league. If you're in a traditional, four-point-per-touchdown, one-quarterback league, there is rarely an occurrence where you should be spending a big chunk of your budget on the position. However, if you're in a superflex or straight up two-quarterback league, that story changes entirely. With that in mind, let's look at this week's top streaming options.
The suggested salaries in this piece will be for standard scoring leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (7% rostered) gets the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4. Seattle has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing passers to date, allowing their opposition to finish as the QB7, QB2, and QB4 through three weeks -- Fitzmagic has been a top-12 fantasy quarterback in each of the last two weeks.
Suggested offer: 3-5%
Baker Mayfield (43% rostered) is a potential under-the-radar streaming option. Mayfield hasn't been inside the top-20 in any of the first three outings, but this week's matchup with the Dallas Cowboys could very well change that. Dallas ranks fifth-worst in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, and they've allowed the third-most fantasy points to the position through Week 3. The Cowboys currently rank as above-average in defending the run, which suggests that they're somewhat of a pass-funnel defense. Combine that with a total that's currently at 55.0 at FanDuel Sportsbook, and you have what you're looking for in a potential streamer.
Suggested offer: 2%
Avoid the Trap
Nick Foles (3% rostered) is the most-added quarterback in Yahoo leagues, but I view him as a below-average streamer for Week 4. To date, Foles' opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, rank first in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, far better than the next-closest team (the San Francisco 49ers). The Colts have yet to face any studs at the position, but it's not like Foles is about to change that.
Suggested offer: 1-2%
Unlike quarterback, running back is a premier position in almost every format. For that reason, this is a position you'll want to be generous with. Of course, some backs have more value in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues than they do in standard, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Myles Gaskin (47% rostered) is the add of the week at the running back position. Gaskin was on the field for 75% of Miami's plays in Week 3 -- this after seeing 63% and 65% snap shares in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. In Week 3, that snap share resulted in a whopping 27 touches (22 carries and 5 receptions), which Gaskin turned into 95 total yards. What's even more encouraging is that Gaskin currently has a 16.5% target share in this offense, which makes him a valuable piece in PPR leagues. While numberFire's metrics don't love Gaskin (33rd out of 41 (min. 20 carries) in Rushing NEP per carry; 21st out of 24 (min. 10 targets) in Reception NEP per target), he is still a running back getting a majority of his backfield's snaps and touches -- that alone is valuable.
Suggested offer: 12-13%
Carlos Hyde (19% rostered) could prove to be a week-winning pickup if Chris Carson were to miss a week or two with a sprained knee. The Miami Dolphins currently rank seventh-worst in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, and they just surrendered 27.9 half-PPR points to James Robinson, the first non-committee back they've faced this season. While Carson's usage -- 16.3 touches per contest -- through three games wasn't astronomical, they were still extremely valuable in an offense as explosive as Seattle's. The Seahawks are currently 6.5-point favorites in a game with a 54.0-point total, which means game script could be ideal for the veteran Hyde.
Suggested offer: 8-10%, 12-14% if you're desperate.
Brian Hill (3% rostered) is worth an end-of-bench flyer. Hill totaled 80 yards and a score on 10 touches in Sunday's loss, and if Todd Gurley continues to underwhelm, Hill could garner more touches. Among 56 backs with at least 15 carries, Hill ranks 15th in Rushing NEP per carry.
Suggested offer: 3-5%
Avoid the Traps
Rex Burkhead (12% rostered) is the second-most added back in Yahoo leagues today, and he could cost you a pretty penny in budget waivers -- don't overspend. Burkhead scored twice on six carries and added another touchdown on 10 targets. That's impressive. However, Burkhead played on just 46% of snaps, and that could suffer a dent if James White were to return. I wouldn't offer more than 5-8% for Rex, and I'd only go up that high if I was desperate at the position ... Jeff Wilson (23% rostered) ended up posting a solid fantasy line, though his actual game line didn't look quite as good. Wilson managed just 15 yards on 12 carries and didn't reach the end zone with a rush until garbage time. Among the 60 backs with at least 14 carries this season, Wilson ranks 49th in Rushing NEP per carry and 59th in Rushing Success Rate (i.e., the percentage of carries that lead to positive NEP for a team’s offense). I wouldn't offer more than 5% to acquire Wilson.
While it may vary based on scoring (standard versus PPR), wideouts are generally valued at similar rates in most formats. However, leagues that require you to start at least three wideouts could see inflated offers at the position.
While there are plenty of breakout wideouts to talk about, I wouldn't deem any of them worthy of a huge offer.
Tee Higgins (6% rostered) is just the fourth-most added receiver in Yahoo leagues today, but he should be top-two. After barely playing in Week 1, Higgins has seen snap shares of 65% and 79% in the last two weeks, with 6 and 9 targets to boot. In Week 3, he turned those 9 targets into 40 yards and 2 tuddies. Among wideouts with at least 15 targets this season, A.J. Green ranks dead last in Reception NEP per target, and his struggles open up the potential for Higgins to have a big role in this offense -- and need I remind you, this is an offense that should be playing from behind quite often.
Suggested offer: 7-10%
Justin Jefferson (32% rostered) is another rookie who should be added everywhere. Jefferson saw 9 targets in Week 3 and turned those into 7 receptions for 175 yards and a score. Among the 56 wideouts with at least 15 looks this season, Jefferson ranks 2nd in Reception NEP per target and 10th in Target Success Rate (i.e., the percentage of targets that lead to positive NEP for a team’s offense). Given that the Minnesota Vikings have the ninth-lowest pass-to-run ratio despite their defensive being atrocious, I'd prioritize Higgins over Jefferson -- though it's pretty close.
Suggested offer: 7-9%
Allen Lazard (50% rostered) is the only wideout who ranks ahead of Jefferson in Reception NEP per target this season, and he also ranks seventh in Target Success Rate. Lazard benefitted from Davante Adams' absence in a big way in Week 3, recording 146 yards and a score on 6 receptions. However, he also posted 16.2 half-PPR points in Week 1 with Adams in the fold. Lazard appears to have cemented himself as the Green Bay Packers' third offensive option behind Adams and Aaron Jones, which looks like it'll be a valuable role going forward.
Suggested offer: 5-7%
Avoid the Traps
Brandon Aiyuk (29% rostered) was one of my favorite receivers in the pre-draft process, yet I won't be spending big on him this week. Aiyuk totaled 101 yards and a score in Week 3, though he's clearly benefiting from the absences of Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. Both players could return in the near future ... Randall Cobb (7% rostered) had the easiest matchup among Houston Texans receivers on Sunday, and he didn't disappoint, recording 95 yards and a score on 4 targets. That said, I wouldn't consider Cobb a reliable play in 12-team leagues, as he still has to contend with Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, David Johnson, and Jordan Akins for targets, and his current target share is under 14%. My offers would max out at 3% for Aiyuk or Cobb.
Dalton Schultz (32% rostered) has played at least 67% of snaps in each of the Dallas Cowboys' first three games. Schultz garnered 10 and 6 looks in the last two games, respectively, and there will be plenty of better matchups going forward (Seattle looks as if they'll be a tough matchup for the position this season). Given the complete lack of reliable options at the position, Schultz is worth spending on -- though you shouldn't have to overspend, given his "dud" in Week 3.
Suggested offer: 6-8%
Other targets: Mo Alie-Cox (10% rostered) is worth an add, but be careful not to overspend. After recording 5 receptions for 111 yards in Week 2, MAC posted 50 yards and a score in Week 3. However, he did that on just three targets and seemed to be in a timeshare with Jack Doyle. Even 5% might be generous here ... Jimmy Graham (10% rostered) scored twice in Week 3 and added 60 yards, though I'd argue to exercise caution here as well. Graham is an aging veteran who seemingly took advantage of a salivating matchup. He'll likely be streamable in other good matchups, but he's currently the most-added tight end on Yahoo, which could result in managers overspending. Like MAC, I wouldn't dish out more than 5% ... Robert Tonyan (1% rostered) will be a recommended streamer against an Atlanta Falcons defense that's allowed 172 yards and 4 touchdowns to Greg Olsen, Schultz, and Graham. Tonyan has been on the field for at least 60% of the snaps in each game so far, and he's scored in two straight. He's worth a 3% offer as a streamer.