We’re a quarter of the way through the regular season — even further through the fantasy season — and impactful waiver wire pickups will continue to get rarer. But there’s still a few players widely available who can help your fantasy team over the next few weeks. Let’s take a look at this week’s waiver wire targets:
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Rostered - Yahoo: 15% | ESPN: 15.5%
In two of four games this season, Hines has seen at least nine targets. Against Houston, Hines got 11 targets, which tied for the team lead with Chester Rogers as T.Y. Hilton missed time and it resulted in two receiving touchdowns. Hines played a nice 69 percent with Marlon Mack out and Mack was limited on Monday. Even if Hines isn’t playing 70 percent of future snaps, he might have done enough to earn a role as the receiving back and maybe, more importantly, Andrew Luck’s trust. Hines’s role could be important going forward on a team that’s likely to pass often while trailing.
Taywan Taylor, WR, Tennessee Titans
Rostered - Yahoo: 6% | ESPN: 3.9%
With a healthy Marcus Mariota and Rishard Matthews out of the rotation, Taywan Taylor took over as Tennessee’s No. 2 receiver. Taylor played 63 percent of the snaps for the Titans, the second most among their wide receivers, and his nine targets tied with Dion Lewis for second on the team. His average depth of target (12.1) was just behind Corey Davis against the Eagles. Taylor has the talent to be a consistent contributor in the offense and now it appears he also has the opportunity.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Rostered - Yahoo: 50% | ESPN: 46.8%
This is probably a no-brainer and 50 percent ownership is as high as I’ll go for a player in this column, but it’s important to note Yeldon is still available in half of fantasy football leagues — more than half if you play on ESPN. Leonard Fournette will be out indefinitely, so Yeldon will take the load as Jacksonville’s top back (even though Corey Grant should get more playing time). Against the Jets, Yeldon got 62 percent of the snaps and had 18 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. He also added three receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Without Fournette in the lineup, Yeldon played 58 percent of the snaps against the New England Patriots and 67 percent against Tennessee. The Jacksonville offense is apparently going to go how Blake Bortles goes — a risky week-to-week proposition — but for however long Fournette is out, Yeldon will get a lot of work.
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Chicago Bears
Rostered - Yahoo: 6% | ESPN: 6.6%
Gabriel finally had his breakout game in Week 4, along with the rest of the Bears offense. But Gabriel has at least seven targets in each of the past three games. Last week, he had 10 targets with an aDOT of 18.1, the seventh-highest depth of the week. In Week 4, Taylor got his seven targets at an aDOT of 9.6 and took that for 104 yards and two touchdowns. His role has grown each week, especially since the start of the season when he was only taking screens and “touch pass” pseudo-handoffs in the backfield. Against the Buccaneers, Gabriel played 79 percent of the offensive snaps, which trailed only Allen Robinson at wide receiver.
Chicago will be on a bye Week 5, so you’ll have to stash him for a week before he can be used, but he can turn into a high upside play starting in a week.
Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rostered - Yahoo: 43% | ESPN: 31.3%
In the Steelers offense, Vance McDonald isn’t going to lead the team in targets, but there are enough opportunity and enough chances at big plays for McDonald to be a solid play at tight end. McDonald has received five targets in each of the three games he’s played. This week turned into 62 yards and last week it was 112 yards and a touchdown. McDonald, now healthy, out-snapped Jesse James 62 percent to 44 percent against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. He’ll continue to get decent looks and maybe more if the Steelers’ defense remains a unit that struggles to stop opposing offenses.