Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Minnesota Vikings (12% owned)
Rookie quarterbacks will highlight two of the top waiver wire additions, as Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgwater will both make their first career NFL starts in Week 4. Bridgewater was thrust into action during Week 4 after quarterback Matt Cassel was forced from the game with what appears to be a broken foot, according to various Minnesota new outlets.
Bridgewater was solid in his relief duties, showing great poise in the pocket and displayed the ability to make plays outside of the pocket. He finished the day 12 for 20 with 150 yards, moving the ball consistently against the Saints 29th ranked pass defense, but failed to get the offense in the end zone. Bridgewater also used his feet, racking up 27 rushing yards on six attempts. Rushing yards are always a huge help for fantasy points.
Even though you never wish injury upon someone, the timing couldn't be better for the rookie to make his first professional start. It never hurts to debut at home as a rookie, and Bridgewater will also face the Falcons 25th ranked pass defense with a secondary that's susceptible to big plays.
Whether Bridgewater is ready or not to take over full-time as the Vikings starter is irrelevant. With Cassel out for an extended period of time, it's looking like the Teddy Bridgewater era has officially begun in Minnesota. While I would not want to depend on Bridgewater, or any rookie quarterback for that matter as my starting quarterback, he has playmakers in Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings to help take pressure off.
For a more in depth scouting report on Teddy Bridgewater, check out our Teddy Bridgewater Fantasy Prospectus.
Recommendation: Add In Deep Leagues, Bye Week Replacement
2. Blake Bortles QB/Jacksonville Jaguars (14% Owned)
So much for the redshirt year for the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Head Coach Gus Bradley finally came to his senses, although it was probably not hard for him after watching Chad Henne play quarterback the last few weeks. Bortles will be the teams starting quarterback against the Chargers this week.
Even though Bortles is going to be the future for the Jaguars at the quarterback position, I have my doubts about him from a fantasy prospective. Pro Football Focus negatively graded out Bortles not only as a passer (-5.0) but also as an overall outlook as well (-3.8 overall).
Commonly compared to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger due to his physical playing style and ability to extend plays with his legs, Bortles will need to use every ounce of talent to be successful behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. Though 121 passing attempts, the Jaguars offensive line has allowed 10 hits, hurries and allowed 30 pressures.
Bortles finished his rookie debut 14 of 24 (58.3%) for 223 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. With all of the injuries the Jaguars have on offense (Gerhart, Lee, Shorts III), it's fair to question whether or not the Jaguars can be consistent enough to depend on Bortles as a weekly fantasy option. If you're in a deeper league (12-16), Bortles could be an interesting waiver wire addition with starters Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton on a bye. He's also fairly owner-friendly matchup with the San Diego Chargers in week 4.
Value: Low QB2
Recommendation: Add in Deeper Leauges, Two QB Leagues
3. Lorenzo Taliaferro RB/Baltimore Ravens (7% Owned)
With starting running back Bernard Pierce sitting out Sunday with a hip injury, there was an opportunity for someone to make a major impact. After gashing the Browns on Sunday to the tune of 91 yards on 18 carries (5.05 YPC) little known fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro will be one of the hot commodities on the waiver wire heading into week 4.
A fourth round pick out of Coastal Carolina, Taliaferro has been making his case to be more involved in the Ravens offensive plans since preseason. Taliaferro led the NFL in rushing yards during the preseason (253) and looked to be an excellent fit for Coach Kubiak’s zone-run system. Taliaferro is not the fastest guy (4.58 40 yard dash), but where the rookie lacks in speed he makes up for with elite agility (5th in 3 Cone Drill).
No one will confuse Taliaferro for Pierre Thomas, or any of the other elite receiving backs in the game, but he is serviceable. Taliaferro caught a total of 27 passes in college, but saw his single season total jump from four to 23 from his junior to senior year.
While Bernard Pierce is supposed to be back in the lineup next weekend, some fantasy owners may be hesitant to put in a waiver claim for a guy who may not be the feature back. However, during his time as the starter for the Ravens Pierce has shown to be no more than an above average COP back, averaging a mediocre 4.02 yards per touch over the first two years of his career. It's clear that Taliaferro possesses the most talent of the Ravens backs, so even though Coach Harbaugh has stated his intentions for Pierce to be the starter when healthy, if Taliaferro continues to be effective he will earn more carries as the season progresses.
Value: High RB4
Recommendation: Add Immediately
4. Marvin Jones WR/Cincinnati Bengals (22% Owned)
After finishing his sophomore campaign with 51 catches, the thinking was Cincinnati finally found someone they can depend on opposite A.J. Green. After breaking his foot during training camp, third year receiver Marvin Jones is getting close to making his 2014 debut.
Most known for his four-touchdown performance in Week 8 against the New York Jets, Jones was a boom-or-bust fantasy play last season. Over the course of the final eight weeks of the 2014 season, Jones had only had one game with more than 80 receiving yards in a game, and saw three or fewer receptions in half of those games.
Despite the inconsistencies last season, Jones was one of the Bengals most featured receivers. Over the last four weeks of the season, only A.J. Green saw more targets (47) than Jones did (34), and scored the same amount of touchdowns that Green did (3). With Green currently playing through what is being called a toe injury by various Bengals reporters the return of Jones could be exactly what the Bengals passing attack needs.
The hope is that Jones will be ready to return after the Bengals week four bye. He will immediately be penciled in as the teams no. 2 wide out when he comes back, and should help draw some of the coverage away from superstar receiver A.J. Green. Although the concerns about yardage are legitimate, Jones has a nose with a scent for the end zone, scoring 10 total receiving touchdowns last season including three in the final four weeks of the season.
Value: Low WR3/High WR4 with Potential
Recommendation: Stash in Deep Leagues
5. Ronnie Hillman RB/Denver Broncos (16% Owned)
If there is one thing a young player can do to make sure they stay on the pine pony rather than getting out on the field is to not take care of the football. After losing a fumble in this week against the Seahawks, Montee Ball will need to take better care of the football in order to keep the rest of the Broncos running backs from eating into the second year player’s workload.
Hillman has had his own ball security issues during the early stages of his career, losing two fumbles in each of his first two seasons in the league. Despite the loose hands, Hillman has proven to be a reliable option out of the backfield averaging 5.8 yards per carry through his first two seasons.
Hillman saw a measly two carries this week against the Seahawks, though much of that had to due with the Broncos in comeback mode for the entire second half. Hillman is firmly behind Montee Ball as the Broncos starting running back, and will likely not provide much fantasy value unless Ball continues to cough up the rock.
Like coaches say, “Ball security is job security, yours and mine.”
Recommendation: Keep Monitoring
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