The waiver wire will occasionally have a slow week, but this isn't one of 'em. Today, we're discussing a few potential fantasy difference-makers coming off outrageous performances. It's an empty-the-wallet sort of week. Every player listed below is available in at least 50% of Yahoo fantasy leagues and approved for immediate use.
De'Von Achane, Miami Dolphins (42% rostered)
It's not as if the Dolphins needed any additional team speed, but they managed to get yet another 4.2 dude involved in the offense in a huge way Sunday.
Achane, a rookie burner from Texas A&M, erupted for an absurd 233 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns against Denver. He shed several would-be tacklers on his first NFL score:
Former Texas A&M sprinter De'Von Achane gets his first NFL touchdown!
— Travis Miller (@travismillerx13) September 24, 2023
Achane split the snaps and touches evenly (and occasionally shared the field) with Raheem Mostert while Sunday's game remained competitive. Both backs delivered monster fantasy performances as Miami pummeled and humiliated the Broncos. For Achane, it was a signature game that guarantees a meaningful role moving forward.
At 5-foot-8 and 188 pounds, Achane doesn't necessarily profile as an every-down, all-situation centerpiece back, but he's obviously plenty fun. He was both a 1,000-yard rusher at A&M and a national qualifier as a sprinter. He has rare speed, even by NFL standards. In Mike McDaniel's offense, he should be unfair. You want him.
Recommended bid, assuming $100 budget: Whatever it takes. Nobody else on your waiver wire just rushed for 200-plus yards.
One week after Mitchell was a healthy DNP against the Rams, he saw 14 touches in a win over the Giants, gaining 44 yards and generally playing the role he filled last season. Christian McCaffrey was of course his usual dominant self Thursday, gaining 119 scrimmage yards and reaching the end zone again. (He has produced touchdowns in 12 straight games, playoffs included.) But Mitchell recaptured the supporting role that allowed him to have significant standalone fantasy value late last season, even when CMC was rolling.
It's clearly in the best interests of the Niners to not expose McCaffrey to excessive usage and punishment. That is, they shouldn't operate like the 2019 Carolina Panthers. This is a team expecting to make a deep postseason run, so one of their objectives should be to have a fully operational CMC available in January. McCaffrey probably shouldn't have many more regular-season games like Week 2, in which he played every snap and was the only Niners running back who touched the ball.
Realistically, Mitchell needs to be involved. He averaged 11 touches per week last season in games in which both he and McCaffery were healthy. It's certainly easy to imagine him seeing a healthy workload in the matchup ahead with Arizona.
It's more than a little weird that Zeke has reached the matchup-based-waiver-add phase of his career, but here we are. He carried 16 times for 80 yards in Sunday's win, plus he caught his lone target for an additional 7 yards. Anyone who has Rhamondre Stevenson on a fantasy roster needs to get comfortable with the fact that Elliott is something slightly more than a backup.
Next week, the revenge-game narrative will be in full, glorious effect when Zeke and the Pats travel to Dallas for a problematic matchup with the Cowboys. For however long the ground game is in play, Elliott is going to be a factor. When the bye weeks begin to hit in Week 5, we'll be flexing him consistently.
Additional RBs on the wire
Roschon Johnson continues to look the part — well, as much as any member of the Bears looks the part — and he produced another solid line against K.C. (49 total yards on 10 touches).
Clyde Edwards-Helaire resurfaced against Chicago, handling 16 touches and crossing the goal-line, although his spike in workload may have simply been out of necessity, with Isiah Pacheco dinged (hamstring).
Rico Dowdle gained 46 yards and crossed the goal-line once Sunday, marking the second straight game in which he has had a meaningful role.
Jerick McKinnon reminded us in Week 3 that he remains a trusted receiving threat in an upper-tier offense, which puts him in the flex discussion in any given week, regardless of opponent.
Tyjae Spears led the Titans backfield in snaps, for what it's worth, on a disaster of a day for the entire offense.
Justice Hill missed Sunday's game due to turf toe, which is worrisome, but he previously claimed a half-share of Baltimore's backfield responsibilities. Gus Edwards suffered a concussion in Week 3, which led to a dozen touches for Melvin Gordon III. If Hill can return to practice this week, he'll be in line for plenty of work against a Pittsburgh defense that's allowing 5.2 YPC.
Wide receivers and tight ends
Tank Dell, Houston Texans (32% rostered)
Another week, another huge fantasy line from Dell. The rookie just delivered another highlight receiving score, too:
Have a feeling Tank Dell won't be available in 70% of leagues much longer 👀pic.twitter.com/UTtEx1Rhco
— Yahoo Fantasy Sports (@YahooFantasy) September 24, 2023
What are we waiting for, people? Dell was well-hyped in the preseason, then he was re-hyped last week after catching seven balls for 72 yards, with a tackle-breaking touchdown included. On Sunday, he cooked the Jaguars for five catches and 145 yards on seven targets.
We're running out of fresh ways to promote this man, so let's please make him ineligible for inclusion in next week's pickups feature. He surely deserves a spot on someone's squad in your league, very likely as a starter.
Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers (42%)
Doubs drew a dozen targets in Green Bay's comeback win Sunday, finishing with 73 yards and the go-ahead TD:
LOVE TO DOUBS THE PACKERS TAKE THE LEAD!!! pic.twitter.com/a7SYlM3ODr
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) September 24, 2023
He's now up to three spikes on the season, and he has seen 20 looks from Jordan Love. Last summer's Doubs buzz might have been a bit premature, but it seems as if this summer's buzz was warranted. He's clearly a circle-of-trust receiver, now healthy after playing through a hamstring issue in the opening weeks. The Packers have a Thursday matchup on deck with Detroit followed by a trip to Las Vegas to face a user-friendly defense, so Doubs belongs in our fantasy plans.
Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers (4%)
After Mike Williams exited due to what appears to be a season-ending knee injury in Sunday's win at Minnesota, Palmer ran a route on every dropback. Whatever your preseason expectations for Quentin Johnston might have been, Palmer is the supporting receiver this team fully trusts. The vet is going to see a significant uptick in usage. He finished with 66 yards and one score on seven targets on Sunday, and he's a decent bet to produce similar numbers against the Raiders in Week 4. Johnston, for the moment, remains a speculative long-term flier.
Other priority WRs and TEs
Adam Thielen produced a throwback performance Sunday, catching 11 passes for 145 yards and one score on 14 targets, as Andy Dalton briefly unlocked Carolina's passing offense. D.J. Chark Jr. had a big day, too (4-86-1). In the week ahead, Thielen faces the Minnesota Vikings, his former employer (and a dreadful defense).
Marvin Mims continues to make the most of his limited opportunities, as he played only 15 snaps on Sunday yet delivered 76 total yards on four touches. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Weird team, fun player.
Rashee Rice saw seven targets in Sunday's noncompetitive win, and he was tackled just shy of the goal-line on multiple occasions.
Quentin Johnston now clearly has an unobstructed path to playing time, but it's tough to make him a top-priority pickup when Palmer is running ahead of him (and so many other widely available rookies are outproducing him).
Josh Downs has to have a breakout game on the horizon somewhere. He was targeted 12 times on Sunday, snagging eight passes for 57 yards.
Luke Musgrave almost never comes off the field for Green Bay — he has played 83% of the team's offensive snaps — and he caught six of his eight targets in Sunday's comeback win.
C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans (20%)
Stroud certainly isn't in a training-wheels situation in the early weeks of his rookie season. He's averaging 40.3 attempts and 302 yards per game, despite working behind a damaged and shaky O-line. He has also tossed four TD passes over the past two weeks, and his next interception will be his first. Basically, Stroud is looking like a multiyear vet, comfortable and capable under pressure.
CJ Stroud calmly moving in the pocket and progressing to the field. And then proceeds to put the ball on the money. pic.twitter.com/wLdvvhZ3iK
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 25, 2023
Additional QB pickups
At 55% rostered, Russell Wilson doesn't officially qualify for this feature, but hey, it's a rough week to stream quarterbacks. Wilson travels to face the Bears defense in Week 4, a dream spot for any player or team in need of a get-right game.
Cleveland Browns, D/ST (46%)
With three weeks in the books, Cleveland's defense has been the league's stingiest in terms of scoring (10.7 PPG), total yards allowed (163.7), passing yardage (111.7) and rushing (52.0). This team is giving up only 2.8 YPC to opposing rushers and 4.7 yards per pass attempt. Myles Garrett has been utterly unstoppable, a game-wrecker. The Browns are about to face a depleted version of the Ravens, a team hit hard by various injuries. This defense should be rostered everywhere and held through its Week 5 bye in deeper leagues.