Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 4
Jake Locker (TEN): Locker has been on this list in the past. Still owned in only 39% of Yahoo! leagues, now may be the time to bite. Locker put up 378 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions on Sunday against the Lions. Something to consider is that 71 of those yards came on a somewhat flukey Nate Washington touchdown that really should have been broken up. Also, the Lions defense has struggled mightily so far this season, but Locker still proved he can put up good numbers. With the way the running game is going in Tennessee, they're going to continue to count on Locker to make big time plays.
Christian Ponder (MIN): A highly criticized pick in the 2011 draft, Ponder has now put together two straight impressive games from a fantasy perspective. His 198 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the 49ers is about as good as anyone can do against the league's best defense, and he also added a 23 yard score on the ground. With Jerome Simpson coming back from suspension this week, the Vikings will be able to stretch the field more effectively, making everything easier for Ponder.
Shaun Hill (DET): Well what do ya know? Hill almost topped Lions' starter Matthew Stafford in fantasy points last week. Much of that was thanks to a hail mary, but even so, his 10 of 13, 172 yard performance proves he can get the job done as the Lions' backup. If Stafford's hamstring injury ends up holding him out this week against Minnesota (the Lions are being very vague about the seriousness of the injury), Hill becomes a solid option for Stafford owners or teams with low-end QB1's.
Mikel Leshoure (DET): I've been telling everyone to pick this guy up for weeks now, because I figured it wouldn't be long before he took the reigns in Detroit. I must admit, however, I thought it would take longer than this. Former starter Kevin Smith was an afterthought in Detroit's offense on Sunday, not touching the ball once. Leshoure, however, had 26 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown to go along with four catches (on four targets) for 34 yards. Leshoure is now a must own back and is the top guy on the waiver wire this week.
Leonard Hankerson (WAS): Hankerson hasn't put up great numbers so far this season, but Mike Shanahan said after Sunday's game that he has earned a starting role. He'll play Pierre Garcon's position until Garcon returns from his foot injury, then replace Josh Morgan on the other side once Garcon is healthy. He caught four passes for 54 yards on seven targets Sunday, and his role should improve as RG3 gains trust in him.
Donnie Avery (IND): I was holding off on suggesting Avery due to the expected return of Austin Collie. Well, Collie returned, only to rupture his patella tendon the very first time he touched the ball this season. Out for the year, Collie is no longer a threat to Avery, who is entrenched as the number two wide receiver for the Colts. Though he only had two catches for 28 yards on Sunday, he was targeted nine times, good for second on the team. He now has 14 catches through three games and will be a decent PPR option going forward.
Jerome Simpson (MIN): Simpson is known best for what was perhaps the most electrifying play of the 2011 season, and a lot of people I've talked to have been wondering where he went. Well, he's been on the Vikings, but he was suspended. Now returning from his suspension, Simpson immediately gives the Vikings a much needed field stretching presence. Wide receivers not named Percy Harvin caught a combined three passes on Sunday, so Simpson will likely be targeted early and often.
Ramses Barden (NYG): Barden caught nine of the ten passes thrown his way on Thursday night for 138 yards - never expect a performance like that out of him again (unless Nicks or Cruz get hurt again). What you can expect, however, is a heavy dose of Barden in what was formerly Domenik Hixon's number three receiver position. Hixon was the third receiver for the Giants the first two weeks, catching four passes for 67 yards. Barden more than doubled those totals in one game.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN): Rudolph was second on the Vikings in targets on Sunday with six, catching five of those balls and scoring two touchdowns. He's a big, skilled tight end with strong hands, and is a highly trusted red zone presence. His weekly fantasy output will depend heavily on whether or not he scores a touchdown, but when the Vikings are in the redzone, he's their top option in the passing game, so he should get plenty more scores.
Cardinals: I think most of the world finally agrees - the Cardinals are for real. Not necessarily as a Super Bowl contender, but as a legitimate team that you'd rather not play. They've gone through two straight weeks of holding high powered offenses in-check, and they'll face off against the Dolphins on Sunday. With St. Louis, Buffalo, and Minnesota in the following three weeks, it's a defense you can stick with for a while.