Top Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 4

By Chip Bayless (click Howie for more Chip)




1) C.J. Stroud

Fortunately for some (and unfortunately for others), there weren’t any significant running back injuries or any major break-out fantasy RBs in Week 4.

This means C.J. Stroud cracks the list this week at #1 due to his consistent production so far combined with the fact that he is currently available in 89% of all ESPN leagues.

Like conservatives denying science, Stroud’s impressive play likely isn’t especially surprising.

After all, the highly-touted Ohio State product was the second quarterback selected in this year’s draft after Bryce Young, and the Texans’ offensive line is starting to overcome their early-season injuries.

Throw in the fact that the Texans are still bad at football in general since they are a team in rebuild mode, and you’ve got the makings of a high-floor fringe QB1 in Stroud due to ample passing opportunities as Houston will often find themselves down on the scoreboard, and will rarely (if ever) be in a position to run the clock out.

If you drafted Aaron Rodgers, Justin Fields, or any other injured or underperforming QBs, Stroud may just be the savior of your fantasy season.

Stroud has above average mobility and will occasionally add fantasy value with his legs, he has the arm talent to hit any throw in the playbook, and has remarkable anticipation and awareness for a quarterback with only three NFL games under their belt.

So far, Stroud looks like the best QB in the entire 2023 draft class.

Through three weeks, C.J. Stroud currently sits at:

  • 4th in passing yards
  • 4th in yards per completion (per Pro Football Reference)
  • Tied for 5th in both passes for 20+ yards and passes for 40+ yards
  • 6th in intended air yards & completed air yards (per Pro Football Reference)
  • 7th in on-target throws (per Pro Football Reference)
  • 9th in average completed air yards (per Next Gen Stats)
  • 9th in yards per attempt among eligible (more than two attempts) QBs
  • 11th in passer rating (per
  • 12th in fantasy points

Stroud has passed for at least 242 yards all his games so far and currently has 4:0 TD:INT ratio. He’s also scored at least 10 fantasy points in every game, including two 20-burgers in back-to-back weeks now.

While he faces a tough Steelers D in his next matchup, there aren’t many options available on the waiver wire with both the floor and the ceiling that C.J. Stroud has, not to mention his overall talent level.



2) Rashee Rice

While it’s difficult to trust any Chiefs receiver enough to slot them into your lineup just yet, Rashee Rice is definitely worth a pick-up and will be seen as a viable, high-ceiling WR3/FLEX if he has another double-digit fantasy week in Week 4.

The rookie out of SMU has looked like one of the few KC receivers Patrick Mahomes trusts to at least not drop wide-open touchdowns, and he’s shown a promising mix of explosiveness and awareness – especially when it comes to finding the soft spot in zone coverage.

Rice was also tackled twice at the once-inch line on separate catches against the Bears, so he could have had 12 more points on his total, and would likely be the top waiver-wire pickup this week if he had gotten in the endzone and scored over 20 fantasy points, like he easily could have.

Through the first three weeks of the season, Rashee Rice leads all Chiefs receivers in targets, receptions, YAC, and catches resulting in first downs (per ESPN). He also leads Kansas City wideouts in red zone targets with three, and red zone target share with 15% (per Pro Football Reference).

Additionally, Rice ranks 20th among all NFL receivers in Receiving Success Rate (per Pro Football Reference), 14th in YAC per reception (also per Pro Football Reference) 45th among all WRs in yards per target (also per Pro Football Reference).

As the current WR target leader in the league’s best offense with the league’s best QB, Rice has some mouth-watering upside – especially when you consider he’s gotten over half of his receiving yards after the catch (108 receiving yards & 55 YAC yards).

Rostered in only 8% of ESPN leagues, Rice is worth a stash as long as he continues to see at least 5-7 targets (like he’s received in two of his three games) in the possibly the NFL’s best offense with a quarterback who is already a Hall of Famer just five years into their career.

You’ll note Rice is playing more snaps lately as well, as his snap % increased from 18% last week to 51% this week (per FantasyPros) as he played the 3rd-most snaps of any Chiefs WR (MVS beat him out by only 2%), and it was obvious he was seeing an uptick in playing time even before the blowout against the NFL’s proverbial third-world team.



3) Romeo Doubs

The boom-bust trend continues for Romeo Doubs in 2023, and it looks like you’ll have to either pick your matchups or ride the Doubs rollercoaster if you roster the Packers’ weapon.

While Doubs’ 12-target week this past Sunday was likely an outlier, it was also an indication of the level of trust that both Jordan Love and the Packers coaches have in the second-year playmaker.

Doubs displays phenomenal hands, route-running savvy, and a knack for snaring 50/50 balls from the sky. Love has given Doubs his share of opportunities for those jump balls, resulting in three touchdowns through as many weeks.

Doubs easily led all Packers WRs in targets and receiving yards in Week 3, and so far among all NFL receivers he ranks:

  • Tied for 2nd in receiving TDs – trailing only Tyreek Hill
  • 21st in catches resulting in 1st downs
  • 33rd in targets
  • Tied for 31st in receptions
  • 36th in ADOT (average depth of target, per Pro Football Reference)
  • 44th in yards

Since the start of training camp, it seemed like Jordan Love and Romeo Doubs have been on the same page and it could be Doubs – rather than Christian Watson even when he is healthy – who becomes Jordan Love’s go-to guy.

The jump balls Love has the faith to loft to Doubs show up on the stat sheet. Through three weeks, Doubs has commanded 27% of all Green Bay red zone targets including 44% of all the Packers’ targets inside the 10 yard line – good for 14th-best among all WRs (per Pro Football Reference).

While Christian Watson has yet to make his 2023 debut, today Doubs leads all Packers receivers in targets, receptions, receiving yards, receiving TDs, and share of the team’s Air Yards with 25% (per Next Gen Stats).

Finally, Doubs’ snap share has increased in each game, as he’s gone up from 48% in Week 1, to 76% in Week 3, to 86% in Week 3 (per FantasyPros). You could likely do far worse with your Week 3 waiver wire claim than a receiver who has played at least three quarters of all snaps the past two weeks straight and has double-digit fantasy points in two of three contests.

It’s worth noting there was no Aaron Jones in this contest, so keep an eye on Doubs’ numbers once Jones and Watson return to the field. If Doubs is still able to produce double-digits on an even semi-weekly bases, he’s undoubtedly worthy of a roster spot and could possibly be considered a borderline FLEX or back-end WR3.

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