Dolphins' Hartline headlines waiver wire targets following Week 4
Brian Hartline has been Ryan Tannehill's most favored receiver, with 48 targets
Brandon Bolden may steal carries, but Stevan Ridley remains the Pats' starter
The attention Larry Fitzgerald gets opens up opportunities for Andre Roberts
A guy likely on your league's waiver wire put up the biggest fantasy game of the year Sunday.
Brian Hartline's stat line may not be topped the rest of the season, at least in PPR leagues. He caught 12 passes for a Dolphins-record 253 yards, including one 80-yard touchdown. In standard-scoring leagues that award a point per reception, that works out to 43 points. If you happened to start Hartline Sunday, you probably won your game on the strength of him alone.
In Week 5 of 2009, Miles Austin -- also in his fourth year at that time -- made his first start for the Dallas Cowboys. He caught 10 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Chiefs and was a top fantasy starter for the remainder of the season. Is Hartline's performance similar to an Austin-like breakout game?
Hartline, currently owned in 23 percent of Yahoo! leagues, should be your top waiver priority this week. If you use a system in which you have to outbid other fantasy owners for him, go big. He's going to be a solid start for the rest of the season. He's not foolproof, having caught just one pass for nine yards in Week 3, but even in that game Ryan Tannehill still targeted him nine times. Overall, Hartline has been targeted 48 times this year. He is the rookie quarterback's favorite target. He's going to keep getting those looks.
It's not the same scenario as Austin in 2009 -- Hartline started every game last season -- but Hartline is a top fantasy wideout who is probably available. You almost have to go for him.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (47 percent owned): Hey, what do you know? Another Buffalo loss, another solid fantasy performance by Fitzpatrick. He has 12 touchdowns, most in the league. If your quarterback isn't making the cut, Fitzpatrick certainly can start for you. The 49ers and Cardinals aren't great matchups the next two weeks, but he should at least rack up garbage time points.
Ryan Tannehill (5 percent): This isn't just a matter of overreacting to a solid performance against the Cardinals; Tannehill has a juicy matchup against the Bengals' shaky pass defense next week if you're in need of one-week starter due to a bye week.
Kevin Kolb, Cardinals (10 percent): Kolb has improved his fantasy stats each week of the season but doesn't have a great matchup this week against the Rams on the road. He's looking better each week, though, so you may want to stash him for later in the season in bigger leagues.
Jackie Battle, Chargers (21 percent): There's no way Battle is better than Ryan Mathews, right? But Norv Turner gave Battle the start Sunday and said he gave the Chargers the better chance to win the game. Mathews rushed 14 times for 61 yards; Battle 15 for 39. But Battle scored twice, on a one-yard run and a four-yard reception. One has to imagine Mathews' talent wins out in the end, but owners probably want to grab Battle just in case he keeps getting the nod.
Brandon Bolden, Patriots (8 percent): Just when Stevan Ridley owners were feeling good, an undrafted rookie out of LSU outrushes him 137 yards to 106 on six fewer carries. Bolden also scored once. But don't get too excited: Ridley is still the starter, though he was in on just eight more snaps than Bolden. Ridley owners (and those looking to vulture) may want to grab Bolden as an insurance policy. There aren't too many running backs out there this week.
Andre Roberts, Cardinals (12 percent): After two underwhelming games, Roberts broke out against a solid Dolphins pass defense, catching six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns (on nine targets). Roberts is a good third wide receiver; teams key on Fitzgerald so much that Roberts will occasionally have big games. Even if he doesn't, he'll still get a decent amount of looks his way.
James Jones, Packers (31 percent): It's tough to know which receivers will have a good day in the Green Bay offense. On Sunday it was Jones, who caught five passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns on six targets. He's worth starting against weak pass defenses. Green Bay throws so much that any of its wide receivers could have a big game, so Randall Cobb (61 percent owned) is worth a look also. He didn't catch any touchdowns in Week 4, but had more catches (seven), yards (66) and targets (eight) than Jones.
Scott Chandler, Bills (28 percent): You know what you're getting with Chandler: very few targets, but most of them will be in the red zone. He actually picked up a season-high eight looks Sunday, catching four for 62 yards and two scores. He was knocked woozy and left the game as the Patriots made their comeback, but he should be good to go this week.
Greg Olsen, Panthers (53 percent): Olsen caught six passes (on seven targets) for 89 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's loss. He's been targeted 31 times this season, so he's been busy. The Panthers run a lot in the red zone, so he may not get as many opportunities close to the goal line as other tight ends, but he's racking up the opportunities elsewhere on the field.
Greg Zuerlein, Rams (11 percent): Are you OK with trusting a rookie kicker? The Rams are. Zuerlein went 4-for-4 in St. Louis' win over Seattle Sunday, including field goals of 58 and 60 yards (a Rams record). He's now the No. 2 kicker in fantasy and available in most leagues. Plus, with St. Louis' offense struggling to convert touchdowns -- the Rams' only touchdown Sunday was on a fake field goal -- Zuerlein should get lots of field goal attempts, even from distance.
Shayne Graham, Texans (15 percent): Another week, another good kicking performance. Graham nailed his only field goal attempt and hit five extra points. He's been remarkably consistent so far this season; he might not get you a ton of points, but he won't leave you with very few.
Denver Broncos (23 percent): People are down on the Broncos, but their only losses are to the Falcons and Texans, two of the league's remaining undefeated teams. Peyton Manning and the offense will keep getting better, keeping the defense off the field more. Even if they give up a bunch of points to the Patriots this week, the Broncos could still get sacks and turnovers.
Minnesota Vikings (9 percent): If your league rewards special teams touchdowns, the Vikings are as good of a bet as anyone to break one. They had two scores -- a kickoff and a punt return -- in Week 4.