Our top Week 4 fantasy waiver wire pickups don't inspire a lot of excitement this week. To be clear, there are some exciting players on our list, including big-play WRs Mecole Hardman, Allen Lazard, Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins, and Brandon Aiyuk, but there are also some high-volume, low-ceiling RBs, such as Carlos Hyde, Frank Gore, Myles Gaskin, and Adrian Peterson, which always elicit groans from fantasy owners. Unlike last week, there aren't obvious, multi-week RB fill-ins for top players, so there will likely be more activity on the free agent wire than the waiver wire after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning in Yahoo and ESPN leagues.
Just because we don't necessarily have a lot of high-quality potential pickups doesn't mean we don't feature a high quantity. Our full free agent list has players at every position, including some TE and D/ST streamers toward the bottom. Defense looks especially thin this week, so you might need to find a streamer. If you're in the market for a new kicker (sorry, Younghoe Koo owners), then our Week 4 kicker rankings can help. They'll also come in handy on Tuesday night if you're looking for the stupidest thing possible to occupy your time other than the first Presidential debate.
Most owners should save their waiver claims this week. There just isn't an obvious, consistent long-term contributor. We like a lot of the WRs -- and even someone like Gaskin probably has more value than he's being given credit for -- but if you don't need an immediate fill-in, then hold onto your waiver position. Bye weeks will be here soon -- and we know more injuries are in the offing -- so you'll want as high of a claim as possible over the next few weeks.
UPDATE: With news of the Titans and Vikings possible COVID-19 outbreaks, fantasy owners of players from those teams and their opponents (Steelers and Texans) should plan ahead for the possibility of being without those players this week.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 4
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs. Hardman was a popular sleeper before the year, but after a quiet first two weeks, he finally caught a long TD in Week 3, finishing with 81 yards and a score on four receptions (six targets). The Chiefs have so many options that it's tough to count on anyone other than Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on a weekly basis, but Hardman is always in play as a boom-or-bust WR3 during the bye weeks. It was encouraging to see him on the field more in Week 3, which could hint at a bigger role going forward.
Allen Lazard, WR, Packers. Lazard had a solid Week 1 (63 yards, TD) and a decent Week 2 (3-45) before breaking out in Week 3 (6-146-1). Davante Adams' absence because of a hamstring injury undoubtedly helped, but it seemed clear that Aaron Rodgers preferred throwing to Lazard over Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who managed just five yards on one catch. When Adams is back, MVS remains the preferred boom-or-bust deep threat, but Lazard could continue to receive steady targets. Given Adams' recent injury history, it's possible he'll miss more games this year, so at the very least, Lazard is a must-have handcuff.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Seahawks. Chris Carson reportedly suffered a "minor knee sprain" in Week 3, and his status for Week 4 is up in the air. If he misses times, it will likely just be one game, but given that Seattle next plays the Dolphins, who allowed 129 total yards and two scores just last Thursday to rookie James Robinson, Hyde could pay off in Week 4. With injuries to key backs plaguing many fantasy owners, it's not a bad idea to invest a low waiver claim in Hyde and hope you hit on a one-week wonder.
Myles Gaskin, RB, Dolphins. Even though Jordan Howard seems to score a one-yard TD every week, Gaskin has clearly taken over as Miami's No.1 back. He totaled 27 touches on Thursday night, and even though that resulted in just 95 total yards, Gaskin will eventually start to produce bigger numbers with that kind of workload. Chances are, he'll fall back into a 15-touch-per-game guy, but that's enough to merit a spot on fantasy rosters, particularly in PPR leagues. Gaskin hasn't had fewer than four catches in a game this year.
Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, 49ers. Like Hyde, Wilson Jr. might be nothing more than a one-week play (and you might have already missed it). He racked up 69 total yards and two TDs in Week 3, but his role could be severely diminished if Raheem Mostern (knee) returns in Week 4. If he remains out, Wilson Jr. should function as a flex in both standard and PPR formats in his matchup against Philadelphia. You don't want to use a high claim on him, but if you're desperate for a running back, he's not a bad target.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including breakout WRs Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk, check out our full Week 4 list.