Week 4 saw a lot of injuries to fantasy relevant players such as Jimmy G, David Montgomery, D.J. Chark, and Joe Mixon. Many of the relevant waiver pickups due to injury are self-explanatory and not necessarily fantasy relevant, or otherwise covered in the numerous waiver columns out there. I’ve attempted to add context where possible, as well as examining trends which are not injury dependent. Ownership percentages given for each player in MFL dynasty formats and Yahoo redraft formats. The ownership percentages reflect ownership as of Monday night.
Laviska Shenault – WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Rostered in 76% of MFL leagues; 58% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Laviska Shenault is my #1 add at the WR position where available. Through the first 3 weeks of the season, Shenault had 13 receptions on 21 targets for less than 100 yards and no TDs. D.J. Chark was the Jag’s deep threat and Laviska was primarily used close to the line of scrimmage. Through 3 weeks, Laviska’s aDot was 4.6 yards and he had only 92 air yards on the season – some 3 yards less than his actual receiving yards (63 of which were after the catch.) To put some perspective on how bad Laviska’s aDot was, in 2020 the average among qualified receivers in 2020 was 10.6 yards. In other words, the average NFL target travels more than twice the distance than a Shenault target.
This all changed after Chark’s early game injury in week 4. Shenault had 99 yards receiving (6 receptions, 7 targets) — more than his first 3 weeks combined. This was good for a 29% target share (up from 17.33%) as Trevor Lawrence only threw the ball 24 times Thursday night. After the likely season ending injury to Chark, Tavon Austin played the Chark role in the Jag’s offense. But Shenault saw some additional deep looks and is simply a better receiving option than Austin. 78 of Shenault’s 99 receiving yards came before the catch, which was good for a 13 yard aDot on his 6 receptions. As of the publication date, I haven’t found true aDot figures which account for his one additional target. A small sample size, but a massive aDot leap for Shenault.
Deebo Samuel – WR, San Francisco 49ers
Rostered in 98% of MFL Leagues; 95% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Deebo had 12 targets on Sunday and 42 on the season. Aiyuk has 11 targets all season. San Francisco’s passing offense runs through Kittle and Deebo. Aiyuk is a distant third option and is currently the 5th option on the team, having seen 2 fewer targets than Mohamed Sanu and 1 less target than Kyle Juszczkyk. Deebo’s target share is a massive 32.3% of the offense currently. Kittle is a distant second at 22.3%, while Aiyuk is in single digits at 8.4%. It may be hard to buy Deebo cheap after his monster 8 receptions for 156 yards and 2 TD week, but with a rookie QB at the helm (temporarily at least) there may one more buy low window in the next few weeks. You need to take advantage when that happens.
Jamison Crowder – WR, New York Jets
Rostered in 56% of MFL Leagues; 20% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Crowder played his first game of the season on Sunday and led the team with 7 receptions on 9 targets for 61 yards and a TD. Crowder is one of the league’s best slot weapons. Zach Wilson continues to target the slot WR at an above average rate. Braxton friecking Berrios is the team’s second leading receiver with 22 targets (to Corey Davis’ 29). It’s clear Zach Wilson likes whatever weapon is placed in the slot, regardless of talent. Buy or add him on the cheap and plug Crowder into your flex position. He’s a cheaper Cole Beasley or Hunter Renfrow. The upside is limited but he should always produce solid numbers for your team.
Other Players Trending Up: Seriously, why is Dalton Schultz’s rostered percentage still so low? He basically gets this whole section this week. He is the TE 4 or 5 depending on format, but rostered in 35% of Yahoo leagues. Dawson Knox is also the TE 4 or 5 depending on format and is a must add as well, but rostered in slightly more leagues (48% of Yahoo).
Dak Prescott – QB, Dallas Cowboys
Rostered in 96% of MFL leagues; 99% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Heading into Monday night, Dak Prescott finds himself as the QB11 on the season. Solid performances from Derek Carr and Justin Herbert would push Dak down to QB13. In recent years, Dak has been a fantasy monster. In week 1, Dak threw it 58 times keeping up with Brady and an elite Tampa Bay offense. But since then, Dak has averaged 25 attempts per game and Dallas has had the lowest passing play percentage in the league at 43%. Dak’s fantasy numbers are currently being inflated with 10 passing TDs on the year, but he is only averaging 221 passing yards in the last 3 games. It will be difficult for Dak to maintain his TD pace unless the passing volume increases. In games that Dallas is favored, fantasy expectations for Dak should be appropriately limited.
Miles Sanders – RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Rostered in 98% of MFL leagues; 97% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Sanders is not the every down back we hoped for. Despite Sanders being an above average receiver, Kenneth Gainwell has essentially locked that role down for the Eagles. Sanders saw 15 and 13 carries against the Falcons and 49ers in positive and neutral game scripts to start the season. Through 4 weeks, Miles Sanders has essentially held a weekly snap count of 65% to Kenneth Gainwell’s 35%. There haven’t been any outlier weeks snap wise. Despite this, Sanders and Gainwell are essentially splitting touches the past two weeks in a more negative game script. Sanders has seen 9 carries vs Gainwell’s 4, but has been out targeted 12 to 7. 16 touches the past 2 weeks is not what you thought you were getting when you drafted Sanders. He’s a low end flex in games the Eagles are underdogs in and the schedule doesn’t look kind for the remainder of the season.
Other Players Trending Down: Robert Woods, Damien Harris, Brandon Aiyuk, Tyler Lockett