Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fantasy Watch: Preemptive Pickups for Week 4

We all know season-long fantasy leagues are not won on draft-day. The savviest of owners know how to game the trade market, buying low and selling high, but leagues are won and lost on the waiver wire. Waiver wire All-Stars in recent seasons have included: Peyton Hillis, Alfred Morris, Knowshon Moreno, and a host of others that were previously expected to be fantasy afterthoughts. While this week's waiver wire cannot be picked clean until Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, forward-thinking fantasy owners can look to free agency before players lock on Sunday and preemptively grab a potential Week 4 breakout star. With that in mind, here are a few players who may be worth snapping up before the games begin who may help your squad over the rest of the season.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

It wasn't Robinson, but two other rookie receivers for Jacksonville who were turning heads in training camp. While the second-round pick out of Penn State nursed a hamstring injury throughout most of camp, another second-rounder, Marqise Lee, and undrafted free agent Allen Hurns were the young wide receivers to own in Jacksonville. Well, fast forward to Week 4, and Lee is now battling a leg injury while Robinson is healthy and starting across from veteran Cecil Shorts.

Unlike Lee and Hurns, Robinson has that prototypical #1 WR size and speed, complimenting his outstanding athleticism. Standing a hair shorter than 6-foot-3 with a 40'' vertical jump, Robinson's prospects are clearly enhanced by the insertion of rookie QB Blake Bortle. Bortles is an instant upgrade on journeyman backup Chad Henne, and will test defenses downfield with his aggressive mentality. With Lee already sidelined, look for Robinson to develop some chemistry with his rookie QB, and become an asset over the rest of the season as the Jacksonville offense progresses. With San Diego expected to get out to a substantial lead against the Jags, Robinson should have ample opportunities to display his talent.

Branden Oliver, RB, San Diego Chargers

Scatback Danny Woodhead is lost for the season, and bell cow Ryan Mathews is still sidelined for about 3-4 more weeks with a sprained MCL. That leaves Donald Brown as the only healthy running back who started the season on San Diego's active roster. Head coach Mike McCoy loves employing a committee of backs in his ball-control offense, so Brown will need a breather every now and again.

Enter Branden Oliver. The undrafted free agent from the University of Buffalo took just six snaps in his NFL debut last week after Woodhead went down with his gruesome leg injury, but McCoy has all but ensured he'll see more this week. Oliver can't be picked up and simply tossed into the starting lineup. Athough with Woodhead gone, there's real possibility for the young Oliver to carve out a similar role. So if you're hurting for running back production (and who isn't?), throw Oliver on your bench before this afternoon and see what happens.

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

It sounds odd placing a tight end on this list when he's not even the #1 TE on his own team on this list, but Kelce is an emerging star. Add the fact that Kansas City is lacking playmakers, and the second-year player is a must add prior to Week 4. Kelce continues to play behind the incumbent starter, Anthony Fasano, but it's clear that he's a more talented player. Head coach Andy Reid is taking notice. Kelce played his highest percentage of snaps all season in Week 3 vs. the Dolphins, at about 67%, and scored an impressive TD as well.

Lining up in the slot, out wide, and in-line to take advantage of any mismatch the staff can find, the former Cincinnati Bearcat's moves on the field remind us of Rob Gronkowski. With the Chiefs lacking considerably in wide receiver talent, Kelce's role on the field should expand. Even if he can't wrest the #1 TE duties from Fasano, he'll be on the field in the red zone, which makes him fantasy viable at the tight end position.

Good luck in Week 4! Join us on SnapCall this Sunday. We're covering games in each time slot so download SnapCall and show us your ability to make play calls in real-time.

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