Each week Greg Boyce, my colleague on the sports desk at Philly.com, will scour the waiver wire to bring you the best options to fill those pesky holes on your roster. Here is his report for Week 4:
*Percentages are the percent of leagues that the player is owned in
Dexter McCluster KC (Yahoo 55%, ESPN 40%)
The amphibious McCluster should be a good pickup, especially this weekend against Minnesota. The Vikings have had a stout running defense, giving up 63 yards on the ground to running backs. But that’s not what you should look at as the air game by backs is what is toying with the Vikings. In three games, the Purple People Eaters are allowing on average nine catches for 85 yards and nearly a touchdown a game. That includes Mike Tolbert, LeGarrette Blount and Jahvid Best, who last week went for 5/74 receiving. McCluster is in that same build as Best. Last week, McCluster went for six targets from Matt Cassel, tying a team high. Kansas City will create plays just for McCluster.
Kendall Hunter (Yahoo 10%, ESPN 1%)
Frank Gore has been banged up but Jim Harbaugh is saying that his running back is “good to go” on Sunday against Philadelphia. But who is to say that Gore is not a late scratch. Do you really want to be sitting there on Sunday knowing that you held on to a guy like Ryan Torain (3rd string RB), James Jones (yes, Green Bay passes it a ton but he is the fifth receiving weapon) or his own teammate Braylon Edwards (out for a few weeks after surgery and only has four catches), all who are owned in over 60% of leagues, while the starting back going against the worst fantasy defense against the run was nabbed by your opponent? Plus side if Gore does start: he hasn’t lasted a full season since 2006 and has missed 10 games in the last four seasons.
Sleeper - Alfonso Smith ARI (Yahoo 0%, ESPN 0%)
This is also contingent on the health of the top back, in this case, Beanie Wells. Wells was a late scratch on Sunday and the likely thought was Chester Taylor would be the Cardinals top back. Well he was, getting the first eight carries of the game. He managed just 20 yards. Then Alfonso Smith had a turn with his first NFL carries of his career and made the most of it, going for 54 yards rushing and 3/21 through the air. He had seven carries of 5+ yards while only playing for three quarters. The matchup is intriguing against the Giants who are decimated by injuries up front and who just got torched by LeSean McCoy. The question for Ken Whisenhunt is ‘whether Beanie plays or not?’ Right now that is not favorable either way. The question for you is ‘do you want to risk waiting?’
Denarius Moore OAK (Yahoo 55%, ESPN 47%)
For the second straight week, I am going to suggest Denarius Moore. True, he is a rookie. Despite that, he leads the Raiders in targets with 15 and is second in receptions to Darren McFadden, though Moore didn’t play in Week 1. On Sunday, the Jets honed in on Darrius Heyward-Bey, limiting him to one catch, but opening up chances for Moore and fellow wideout Chaz Schilens (4/4 on targets). As for the upcoming matchup against New England (and this is where it gets fun), the Patriots are allowing 264 yards and 16 receptions to wide receiver units. Two receivers have gone over 100 yards. Bonus: Moore had a rushing touchdown this past week.
Jabar Gaffney WAS (Yahoo 16%, ESPN 6%)
Rex Grossman was finally held in check (really, it took until Week 3 to say that?) by the Cowboys but even a bad game from 'Sexy Rexy' couldn’t deter the offense. Gaffney (six targets) and fellow receiver Santana Moss (8 targets) each had five catches. It didn’t help that the Cowboys ultimately stopped the Redskins in the second half, allowing an opening touchdown and then On the year, Gaffney has 21 targets and has been the second most used weapon for Grossman. In Week 3, the Redskins go to St. Louis against one of the worst defenses against the pass. They are allowing two touchdowns per game to wideouts and are tied for fourth in passing touchdowns against.
Brandon Pettigrew DET (Yahoo 62%, ESPN 58%)
Well he has the hot hand with 11 receptions on 13 targets in Week 3, more than All-Pro (and quite possibly my favorite fantasy player to have) WR Calvin Johnson. Pettigrew is second on the Lions in targets and receptions and sixth among tight ends in targets. Unfortunately, Pettigrew hasn’t reached paydirt this season. The Lions Week 3 opponent, the Cowboys, have given up two touchdowns to tight ends. Favorable matchup in my mind.
Ed Dickson BAL (Yahoo 16%, ESPN 10%)
Believe it or not, Dickson has been Joe Flacco’s second favorite target this season, behind WR Anquan Boldin and tied with RB Ray Rice. Dickson has two five-catch games to his credit in the early going and is coming off of a game with nine targets. Not only has the addition of Lee Evans opened up the offense for Boldin and Rice, but Dickson has also been helped in the short passing game. In Week 1, the Jets were burnt by Jason Witten but have not faced reasonably good tight ends the past two weeks and hasn't given up much. This week we should see what side of the talent fence Dickson falls on.
For those of you that missed out on last week's opportunity to beat the expert, there is another chance for you to play, and win cash, this weekend. Sign up for our $150 Weekend Beat-the-Expert, which follows the same format as last week's game. Don't worry though, if you beat me, you get your $5 back. Picks lock at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin