Week 4 of the NFL season culminates with a Monday night matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, the weekend's action came with some news that has huge fantasy football implications.
Denver Broncos RB Javonte Williams is out for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. It's terrible news for the Broncos, who had also lost WR Tim Patrick to an ACL injury before the season even started. The Denver offense will now be without its starting running back for the remainder of 2022.
Williams had accumulated 280 total yards on 63 touches prior to getting hurt. It will be a long road back for him. With him out, the most likely candidates to replace him in the Broncos backfield are Melvin Gordon III and Mike Boone. Devine Ozigbo is also available on the practice squad, and the team may well sign at least one more running back.
Boone (0.1% rostered in ESPN leagues) is a must-add from a fantasy perspective. He's now positioned for a bigger role alongside Gordon (74.2% rostered). Against the Raiders, after Williams left the game, Gordon fumbled on his first rushing attempt. This leaves his share of snaps and touches uncertain. Gordon has now fumbled five times in his past 44 rushing attempts over five games. Boone may end up with more touches than fantasy managers might expect. Go get him.
With the Falcons, Tyler Allgeier (16.8%) and Caleb Huntley (0.0%) were already seeing more touches, since Patterson's workload was being reduced, given his preexisting knee issue. Allgeier and Huntley carried the ball 10 times each in Week 4, with Allgeier leading the team in rushing but Huntley scoring a touchdown. Both should be rostered in all leagues, but Allgeier should be prioritized because of his receiving ability.
Other RB options to consider
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (60.1%): It was feared that Jonathan Taylor might have suffered a high ankle sprain, but tests on his ankle were negative. Although the Colts may have avoided a huge loss here, with a Thursday night game on tap, the team might choose to be cautious with Taylor. Hines, primarily known in fantasy circles as a pass-catcher, is certainly capable of playing on all three downs. He has had 10-plus touches in 20 career games and, in those games, has averaged 14.5 fantasy points.
Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins (53.3%): For three consecutive weeks, he has seen more touches than Chase Edmonds. Mostert plays on a lot of snaps and runs a lot of routes. Consider him as the leader of Miami's running back by committee. Mostert has had 14 career games with 12-plus touches and has averaged 16.2 fantasy points in those contests. Mostert can be viewed as a low-end RB2 against the Jets in Week 5.
Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11.3%): Leonard Fournette had negative rushing yards against the Chiefs on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has followed through on his promise to get White more involved as a "change of pace" rusher and as a receiver out of the backfield. White played on 24 snaps (compared to Fournette's 39) and finished with 14.6 fantasy points. In deeper formats, he's definitely on the radar.
Quick hits: If you have Dalvin Cook on your roster, it would be wise to have Alexander Mattison (47.7%) on it as well. ... Brian Robinson (37.4%) is expected to be activated from the reserve/NFI list and is someone to stash right now. ... Isiah Pacheco (10.5%) took advantage of the increased playing time Sunday night and should also be stashed on rosters.
Now that our look at those RB options is done, let's take a look ahead to our recommended Week 5 ESPN Fantasy waiver wire adds at the other skill positions.
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions (44.1% rostered in ESPN leagues): Since we knew Goff would be without numerous offensive playmakers heading into Week 4, it was difficult to have confidence in him as a QB streamer. That said, even with limited options around him, Goff has still averaged 37.7 passing attempts and 22.2 fantasy points. In Week 5, he should have more offensive playmakers available against the Patriots. Goff can be viewed as a high-end QB2 with upside.
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (14.6%): Pete Carroll said a few weeks ago that he wanted Smith and his pass-catchers to play a bigger role in the offense. Well, over the past two games, Smith has averaged 322.5 passing yards and 25.3 fantasy points -- with a completion percentage of 74.7%. His Week 5 matchup against the Saints will be much more difficult, but Smith still has more favorable matchups against the Cardinals (twice), Chargers, Giants and Buccaneers ahead, all prior to the team's bye. If you need a QB streamer, he's a good option.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets (9.3%): While Wilson had some ups and downs in his first game back from his preseason knee injury, fantasy managers who had him in their lineups were happy with his 18.8 fantasy points against the Steelers on Sunday. Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore make up Wilson's superb supporting cast. In 2-QB or superflex leagues, Wilson's a great add -- especially with upcoming games against the Dolphins, Packers, Broncos, Patriots and Bills before the Jets' bye week. After all, in order to remain competitive, New York will have to score a lot of points in those games.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers (4.0%): Last week, I told you to stash Pickett. You're welcome. Pickett may now be the Week 5 starter against the Bills after Mitch Trubisky was benched Sunday. With an excellent supporting cast in Pittsburgh, the rookie is well positioned for success. Pickett also made use of his mobility against the Jets, scoring two rushing touchdowns. Adding him to your roster is a calculated risk that might pay off big.
Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers (46.1%): Over the past two games, Doubs has accumulated 16 targets and scored 13-plus fantasy points in both outings. On Sunday against the Patriots, Doubs and QB Aaron Rodgers continued to develop their chemistry -- despite a ground-induced drop on what had potential to be the game-winning play. Also Sunday, Doubs became the first Packers rookie wide receiver to record receiving touchdowns in consecutive games since Greg Jennings in 2006. You're looking at a weekly flex option.
George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers (37.6%): Pickens prospered in the second half by catching passes from Pickett, finishing with six receptions from eight targets for 102 yards against the Jets. With a quarterback like Pickett, Pickens could reach his full potential quite quickly, so now is the time to pick him up. Pickens' share of targets has increased in each game this season. Additionally, the Steelers are diversifying his route tree. Yes, the rookie is competing for targets with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, but it may be the case that Pickens has already leapfrogged Claypool on the depth chart.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (46.5%): Gallup made his 2022 debut on Sunday against the Commanders, stepping in as the Cowboys' No. 3 receiver. Gallup played on 37 out of 47 plays in 11-personnel, running 24 routes to Noah Brown's 22. This was encouraging in Gallup's first game back, including the fact that he caught two of his three targets for 24 yards and a touchdown. Gallup should only see more targets going forward. That's good news as in his 31 career games with six-plus targets, Gallup has averaged 69.2 receiving yards and 14 fantasy points. He'll be on the flex radar when the Cowboys play the Rams in Week 5.
Corey Davis, New York Jets (6.9%): The rapport between Davis and Wilson was on full display against the Steelers. Davis had a team-high seven targets and finished with a season-high 18.4 fantasy points. On a Jets team with an abundance of receiving playmakers, he's the No. 3 receiving option. Targets are a hot commodity in fantasy football but, if Davis continues to get them, the fantasy results could be glorious. He's had 27 career games with seven-plus targets and has averaged 75.7 receiving yards and 15.4 fantasy points in those contests.
Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts (7.6%): The Colts have been vocal about wanting Pierce to be more involved with their offense. In the last two games, he has caught seven of his 11 targets for 141 yards. I like what I see from Pierce -- and you should too. It's only a matter of time that before he surpasses Parris Campbell on the depth chart. Pierce is a player to target in deeper formats.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns (2.1%): In Week 4, Peoples-Jones and Amari Cooper played on a nearly identical number of snaps and ran almost the same number of routes. However, Cooper struggled to separate from defenders against the Falcons, so Peoples-Jones led the Browns with nine targets. With each passing week, Jacoby Brissett seems more comfortable with Cleveland's offensive scheme, and he's going to want to throw to the open man. Against the Chargers in Week 5, if the Browns are forced to keep pace with a high-octane offense, Peoples-Jones could get a lot of looks.
Quick hits: Nico Collins (12.6%) led the Texans in receiving yards. He has played on nearly as many snaps and run nearly as many routes as Brandin Cooks over the past two weeks. Collins needs more targets, but he's worth stashing in deeper formats. ... Jahan Dotson (61.6%) has scored 13-plus fantasy points in three out of four games this season. ... As a result of Kenny Golladay's knee injury, the Giants' WR group is even more uncertain. When healthy, Kadarius Toney (48.3%) can play a significant role in New York's offense.
Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (21.7%): Tonyan caught both of his Week 4 targets for 22 yards and a touchdown. The Packers rotate three tight ends, but Tonyan leads the team in routes run. Rodgers should continue to look his way since the veteran, since 2018, has posted a QBR of 85.0 when targeting Tonyan.
Tyler Conklin, New York Jets (38.8%): Conklin is still thriving, even with the returns of fellow TE C.J. Uzomah and Wilson at quarterback. Conklin has seen seven-plus targets in three out of four games so far this season. For his career, he has averaged 12.5 fantasy points in games with that many looks. There are a lot of playmakers on the Jets, but Conklin can still be considered a high-end TE2.
Quick hit: David Njoku (63.1%) has amassed 17 targets, 14 receptions and 162 receiving yards over the last two games.