This week's Week 4 Waiver Wire Pickups article is probably one of the fullest that we've had in awhile. With so many injuries announced after Week 3, a lot of young guys you wouldn't have given a second glance really stepped up their game in a bid to get more work in the future.
As always, this list will be updated throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday.
Jake Locker - Titans (ESPN Owned 1.8%/Yahoo Owned 6%)
Locker has always been on the cusp of QB2 status, but his wildly inconsistent career has kept him on the waiver wire heap. Could this be his turning point. His 367 total yards from scrimmage looked good, but keep in mind it was against the Chargers. He's worth a look if you're in deeper leagues, but I wouldn't be surprised if he came back down again and was a guy you'd consider dumping. Locker has to show game-to-game consistency for owners to welcome him into their hearts.
It might not be noticeable, but Smith has been quietly improving week-by-week. His two-touchdown performance against the Bills Defense was a surprise, but it helps when your supporting cast gives you a chance. Smith will likely never be worth a QB2 status in a wild rookie year. But those in two-quarterback leagues have nothing to lose. He'll only get better, hopefully as the season goes on.
Brian Hoyer - Browns (ESPN Owned 0.7%/Yahoo Owned 2%)
Hoyer was supposed to make the Vikings Defense a strong option this week. That didn't last very long. Three touchdown passes for a kid who wasn't expected to see the light of day behind Brandon Weeden was a shock, but he still made rookie-type mistakes with three turnovers. However, he moved the ball much better than Weeden had ever done and he created quick chemistry with Josh Gordon. We know players shouldn't lose their starting job to injuries, but Hoyer was brought in as the front office guy. Weeden is a leftover from the Mike Holmgren era. Hoyer is a QB2 to keep an eye on.
Matt Flynn - Raiders (ESPN Owned 0.2%/Yahoo Owned 1%)
Terrell Pryor suffered a concussion after getting squished by two Broncos defenders near the goal line late in the fourth quarter. He tried to continue to play, but was eventually taken out for Flynn. I list Flynn, but I wouldn't pick him up if I didn't have to. He lost his job to Russell Wilson in Seattle and lost his starting job to Pryor right before the season. The Raiders have to hope Pryor passes all his concussion tests in order to play in Week 4. Flynn holds the Raiders offense back big time.
Willis McGahee - Browns (ESPN Owned 27.9%/Yahoo Owned 51%)
Most owners jumped on the McGahee bandwagon last week after Trent Richardson was traded to the Colts. I know I picked him up in a few leagues, but knew he wasn't going to do much in his first game against the Vikings. His 8 carries was actually more than I thought he'd get, but his committee with Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey should cool as he gets more comfortable in the offense. Ogbonnaya and Rainey combined for just 6 carries, so you know McGahee will get more work because he's clearly the best back the team has. However, like I wrote in my article last week, McGahee is nothing more than a flex option.
Johnathan Franklin - Packers (ESPN Owned 1.3%/Yahoo Owned 10%)
Week 3 was supposed to be the James Starks show, but that ended abruptly when Starks suffered a knee injury right before the first half against the Bengals. Franklin, who had one of the worst offseasons ever for a rookie, channeled that anger into 103 yards and a touchdown. He did make a huge blunder when he fumbled the ball away for a Bengals touchdown on 4th-and-inches. But after so much unpromising performances before the start of the season, it was great to see Franklin play well against a strong Bengals front seven. Eddie Lacy should return after the team's Week 4 bye, but keep an eye on Franklin. Lacy looks like he might be taking his injury history with him to the pros.
Bilal Powell - Jets (ESPN Owned 60%/Yahoo Owned 46%)
A hamstring sidelined Chris Ivory Sunday, which set the stage for Powell's 27 carries for 149 rushing yards. Ivory has had a history of hamstring problems dating all the way back to his days with the Saints, so his Week 4 status is definitely up in the air. He looks like an intriguing flex play against the Chargers this coming week.
Jason Snelling - Falcons (ESPN Owned 15.4%/Yahoo Owned 16%)
Knowing how bad Jacquizz Rodgers is first hand, I opted to pick up Snelling instead in the hopes he'd sneak in a cheap touchdown or two. He wound up putting up 111 total yards and a score. Neither he nor Rodgers took over the rushing duties, so expect Snelling to be a part timer again against the Saints. He'll still be worth a flex option due to his role at the goal line.
Jacquizz Rodgers - Falcons (Yahoo Owned 36%)
I'll never understand why players who should be owners are always low in Yahoo! Leagues compared to ESPN's. Rodgers made the most of his start, despite sharing the backfield with Jason Snelling, but rushing 18 times for 86 yards. He also chipped in 2 catches, but left the scoring up to Snelling. With Jackson out again in Week 4, both Rodgers and Snelling could be viable flex options if you're in a pinch.
Fred Jackson - Bills (Yahoo Owned 65%)
It pains me to say, as a CJ Spiller owner, that we could be without Spiller for awhile if his knee injury turns out to be serious (Please don't be a torn ACL). Jackson is still widely available in Yahoo League by a wide margin and should be picked up ASAP. Even if Spiller only misses a few weeks, Jackson's 109 yards from scrimmage against the Jets showed he is back to his old self.
Josh Gordon - Browns (ESPN Owned 91.1%/Yahoo Owned 70%)
Usually I don't list players who are so highly owned on both sites, but Gordon's numbers should be 100% by the end of the week. After missing two games with a suspension, Gordon clicked early with Brian Hoyer by catching 10 passes for 146 yards and a score. Outside of Jordan Cameron, Gordon is the best offensive weapon the team has, so expect him to be heavily involved moving forward. He's a WR3 right now just because it's still the Browns, but he has the upside to be a WR2.
Ryan Broyles - Lions (ESPN Owned 54.9%/Yahoo Owned 21%)
Broyles finally came out of his cocoon against the Redskins, catching 3 passes for 34 yards. The news gets better for Broyles after Lions beat writer Dave Birkett tweeted that Nate Burleson broke his arm in two places in an early morning car accident. I never wish harm on any player, but Burleson's loss should be Broyles' gain as Broyles will be leaned upon more to take pressure off Calvin Johnson. Owners just have to hold out hope his knees can hold up for once this year.
Santonio Holmes - Jets (ESPN Owned 7.6%/Yahoo Owned 9%)
Holmes played coy with the media all last week by saying his foot still wasn't 100%, but his five catches for 154 yards and a touchdown leads me to think otherwise. Holmes looked like the Steelers version of his old self as he burned backup DB Justin Rogers. That is one reason to temper expectations, but Holmes' WR3 value is starting to build back up again.
Donnie Avery - Chiefs (ESPN Owned 4%/Yahoo Owned 11%)
In the first 2 weeks of the season, Avery caught 4 passes total for 48 yards and a score. Against the Eagles? 7 catches for 141 yards. Could this be the beginning of something for Avery? He is certainly a better asset to Smith, who can't seem to throw the ball past 10 yards. Which renders Dwayne Bowe useless. If you are in desperation mode regarding you receivers, Avery can't hurt. But he's nothing more than a low-end flex option because of one big game.
Stephen Hill - Jets (ESPN Owned 2.8%/Yahoo Owned 6%)
Hill's receptions have dropped over the last 3 weeks, but his yardage has improved over the same span. With Santonio Holmes now healthy, Hill won't have to take all the defensive attention. After scoring his first touchdown of the year Sunday, it's not safe to pick up him as a WR3, albeit a middle-tier one.
Kendall Wright - Titans (ESPN Owned 49.9%/Yahoo Owned 20%)
Kenny Britt seems to be doing everything he can in order to get benched, which means the team will factor in Wright more and more as the season wears on. Through the last 2 games, Wright has accumulated 13 receptions, 125 yards and a score. Look for Wright to see more targets come his way. He's landed himself on the WR3 circuit as long as Jake Locker doesn't screw up.
Scott Chandler - Bills (ESPN Owned 1.5%/Yahoo Owned 4%)
There isn't really anything special about Chandler. Just like 2012, he was just there. You never really talked about him that much. Sunday's 5 catches for 79 yards and a score does help him get on this list, but he's still a run-of-the-mill TE2 in most leagues.
Heath Miller - Steelers (ESPN Owned 6.4%/Yahoo Owned 25%)
In OC Todd Haley's offense from 2012, Miller caught 8 touchdowns. It was the highest scoring output of his career. Finally looking healthy after an ACL injury, Miller didn't catch any touchdowns Saturday. But he did catch 3 passes for 25 yards. Plus he looked healthy. Maybe it won't take as long to get Miller acclimated back on the offense after sharing snaps with David Paulson. I'm not saying Miller will break out in Week 4, but he could slowly get himself back into the numbers he put up in 2012. He's a TE2 with upside.