Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season was filled with plenty of excitement and surprises, as well as some key injuries. Be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest news, injuries, and analysis before running to the fantasy football waiver wire to make your pickups for Week 4.
Between the Dolphins becoming just the fourth team in NFL history to crack the 70-point threshold in a single game and two dark-horse Super Bowl contenders (the Jaguars and Cowboys) losing to two of the worst teams in the NFL (the Texans and Cardinals), there is plenty to unfold.
With that said, here are some key names to look out for on your waiver wire this week that are still rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo fantasy football leagues.
Fantasy football QB waiver pickups, Week 4
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (0 percent rostered)
Saints starting quarterback Derek Carr sprained his right AC joint in the Saints Week 3 road loss to the Packers. Despite head coach Dennis Allen being reluctant to rule out Carr for their Week 4 matchup against the Bucs, he is being labeled as week-to-week, paving the way for backup quarterback Jameis Winston to get an opportunity to potentially start at least one game for the Saints.
Winston is not your average backup quarterback. The former No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft has a 5,000-yard season to his name and has started 80 games in his career. He is an experienced signal-caller who will now get to step into a situation where he is surrounded by a strong supporting cast.
Between Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Rashid Shaheed, and the pending return of running back Alvin Kamara fresh off his three-game suspension, Winston is set up to succeed if he needs to fill in for Carr.
Not to mention, Winston is now in his fourth season with the Saints, meaning he should be familiar with the offensive scheme and comfortable running the offense. Pair all of this with a Week 4 matchup against the team that drafted Winston, and it sets up perfectly for a revenge-game narrative in Winston’s first start of 2023.
He may not be a top-12 quarterback in fantasy football anymore, but there are worse QB2 options than Winston out there. He should have value for however long Carr is out (if he is forced to miss any time).
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers (27 percent rostered)
After a lot of offseason hype surrounding quarterback Kenny Pickett and the Steelers, the offense has been disappointing, to say the least through their first three games of 2023. However, after being matched up against two of the best defenses in the NFL in the first two weeks of the season (the 49ers and Browns), Pickett and the offense seemed more comfortable in their Week 3 win versus the Raiders.
Pickett completed 16 of his 28 pass attempts for 235 yards and two touchdowns, adding three carries for 11 yards on the ground. Had the Steelers not taken a two-score lead in the third quarter, Pickett could’ve gone on to have a much bigger day. However, with the Steelers’ defense doing a great job of containing the Raiders’ offense, Pickett and the offense took a conservative approach to take as much time off the clock as possible.
In 10 of his 15 starts, Pickett has earned at least three rushing attempts. Per StatMuse, Week 3 was his first career game with 2 passing touchdowns. His schedule is also softening up after playing against two of the most fearsome front sevens in the NFL to start the season. Here are the Steelers’ next five games: at Houston versus the Texans, home to the Ravens, at Los Angeles versus the Rams, home to the Jaguars and Titans.
Pickett should be able to carry the momentum from what was one of the best starts of his young career against his upcoming opponents who don’t have defensive units that strike fear into an opponent’s eye. Combine that with the rushing ability he offers and you have a viable fantasy quarterback more weeks than not.
Fantasy football RB waiver wire pickups, Week 4
De’Von Achane, Miami Dolphins (42 percent rostered)
De’Von Achane should be the top priority in any league if he is available on your waiver wire. Achane and his running back mate Raheem Mostert just had one of the most historic performances in NFL history in the Dolphins 70-20 onslaught of the Denver Broncos. The duo accounted for 375 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns on 42 combined touches.
Achane himself turned 18 carries into 203 yards and two touchdowns, adding four receptions for 30 yards and two touchdowns as a receiving option out of the backfield as well. It was an incredible performance for Achane, whom the Dolphins took in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft.
After being a healthy scratch in Week 1 and earning just one carry in Week 2, Achane made his presence felt in a big way in Week 3. Now that the cat is out of the bag, there is no turning back. Achane is here to stay and should continue to have a role as a playmaking running back on arguably the potent offense in the NFL.
The rookie running back just averaged over 11 yards per carry and Mostert, his competition for touches, is one of the more oft-injured players in the league. Even if Mostert is healthy, Achane will offer plenty of value as a viable fantasy running back. But, if Mostert were ever forced to miss time, the sky would be the limit for Achane in an offense that is designed for players who possess his 4.32 40-yard dash speed.
Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears (48 percent rostered)
If someone told you a month ago that rookie running back Roschon Johnson would have more PPR points than Lions rookie tailback Jahmyr Gibbs through the first three weeks of the 2023 season, would you believe them? Well, that is the case, per SportsLine’s Jacob Gibbs.
Despite being in a crowded backfield with starting running back Khalil Herbert, offseason free agent signing D’onta Foreman, and dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields, Johnson has been able to carve out a reliable role as the team’s third-down back. His receiving prowess out of the backfield combined with his excellent pass-protection skills make him a player the Bears want to have on the field in as many third-down and passing-down situations as possible. Given how bad the defense has looked and Fields’ struggles throwing the ball, Johnson figures to be heavily involved in the offensive game plan.
Averaging a healthy 5.2 yards per carry, Johnson is no slouch in the running game either. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry in his four-year collegiate career at the University of Texas while operating behind fellow rookie running back Bijan Robinson for much of his career.
ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano recently reported that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Johnson “emerge as the primary back before long.” Johnson needs to be rostered in leagues of all formats and would be a great consolation prize for anyone who misses out on De’Von Achane.
Fantasy football waiver wire WR pickups, Week 4
Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers (6 percent rostered)
Unfortunately, the Chargers just lost stud wide receiver Mike Williams for the season after he tore his ACL in the team’s Week 3 victory against the Vikings. Williams’ injury leaves a huge void in a high-powered offense already down one of their most important playmakers in Austin Ekeler with an elite quarterback under center in Justin Herbert. With Williams now out of the picture and Ekeler still without a timetable to return per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper, who covers the Chargers, Palmer has a legitimate opportunity to be Herbert’s second option in the passing game.
Palmer has stepped in for Williams and Keenan Allen over the last couple of seasons while the two have dealt with their fair share of injuries and shown flashes, starting 16 of 36 games in his young career. Last season, he hauled in 72 passes for 769 yards and three touchdowns. Not only has he shown flashes of being a solid NFL receiver when given a chance, but also proven he can be a reliable fantasy option. Per Footballguys’ Alex Caruso, Palmer has averaged double-digit fantasy points as a starter throughout his career.
Despite the Chargers spending a first-round selection on rookie wide receiver Quentin Johnston, Palmer has remained the preferred option of the two in three-wide sets and he also out-targeted Johnston once Williams left the game in Week 3 while playing more snaps. Palmer earned seven targets to Johnston’s three while playing 61 percent of the offensive snaps compared to Johnston’s 24 percent.
Palmer should be rostered in nearly every league once waivers are processed this week.
Tank Dell, Houston Texans (33 percent rostered)
Nathaniel “Tank” Dell has certainly lived up to his nickname thus far through his first three games in the NFL. Despite falling to the third round of this year’s draft due to his 5-foot-10 and 165-pound stature, Dell has not allowed his size to define him. Dell has formed a great connection with his rookie teammate and signal-caller CJ Stroud, who personally asked for the Texans to draft Dell in the third round after working together during the NFL Combine.
After going undrafted in a vast majority of fantasy football leagues this summer, Dell is currently the WR13 in PPR leagues in total points. In Week 2, he caught 7 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. He followed up the impressive performance with a special Week 3, recording 145 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. His connection with Stroud continues to grow in an ascending offense that has defied expectations thus far.
Dell averaged 29 yards per reception and 20.71 yards per target in Week 3, highlighting his big-play ability. Per Dwain McFarland of Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Life, Dell posted an 84 percent route participation rate while accounting for 56 percent of the Texans’ air yards. Dell also had a first-read target share of 31.6 percent in Week 3 per Fantasy Points Data, a 10 percent increase from Week 2.
Dell is here to stay as a weekly WR3 in fantasy leagues given his playmaking ability and budding connection with Stroud in an offense that looks like it will continue to outplay any expectations anyone had for them.
Fantasy football waiver wire pickups TE pickups, Week 4
Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals (37 percent rostered)
Zach Ertz is no longer the elite fantasy tight end he once was during the prime of his career with the Eagles, but he is still a reliable option for those who don’t have the pleasure of rostering tight ends such as Travis Kelce, TJ Hockenson, Darren Waller, George Kittle, Sam LaPorta, and Mark Andrews.
Ertz has quickly become a favorite target of Cardinals quarterback Josh Dobbs. Ertz recorded 10 targets in Week 1 and eight in Week 2 before earning just two targets in a very forgettable Week 3 performance against the Cowboys. However, the Cardinals jumped out to an early 9-0 lead against the Cowboys in Week 3 and played with a lead the entire game. That is not likely to be the case for the Cardinals very often this season, as they’re projected to be among the worst teams in the NFL in 2023.
With the Cardinals figuring to be in plenty of negative game scripts and very little competition for targets outside of wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Ertz should be able to consistently draw targets in this offense. The bar to clear for being a fantasy-relevant tight end isn’t very high given the current state of the position, so if Ertz can continue to see the 6.66 targets per game he is currently receiving, he shouldn’t have much issue solidifying himself as a borderline TE1.
Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers (19 percent rostered)
After appearing on this column as a tight end waiver wire pickup for Week 2, Luke Musgrave has done nothing to warrant removal from this list and needs to be rostered in more leagues.
Musgrave ranks 10th amongst tight ends in total PPR points scored thus far through the first three weeks of the season yet is still available in over 80 percent of Yahoo leagues. After spending a second-round pick on Musgrave, the Packers have wasted no time integrating him into the offense. Per StatMuse, Musgrave is currently tied for seventh in the NFL in targets amongst tight ends (15). Not only has he been productive, he has a consistent workload to show for it.
The Packers have been shorthanded on offense to start the season with wide receiver Christian Watson yet to suit up for the team in 2023 and running back Aaron Jones missing each of the team’s last two games. While some will say Musgrave has benefitted from their absence, it is important to point out that he has a monopoly on the Packers’ tight end position.
He’s logged 83 percent of the offensive snaps for the Packers and earned 88 percent of the tight end targets. Even with Watson and Jones nearing returns to the field, Musgrave should remain a viable tight end in PPR formats and make for a worthwhile pickup.