A step up in production from David Njoku has seen him take center stage in the Week 4 waiver wire for fantasy football managers. After Njoku had 10 targets last week, can fantasy managers trust him to continue being fantasy relevant, or was this simply a matchup-based performance that we should be hesitant to put more stock into?
How should fantasy managers handle David Njoku on the Week 4 waiver wire?
Getting consistent fantasy returns out of Njoku has been tough to do during his career. He has never averaged more than 7.2 fantasy points per game (ppg) in half-PPR scoring during any single season of his career. So far, through the first three weeks, Njoku is averaging 8.4 ppg, which places him in tied ninth in terms of ppg. However, 19.4 of his 25.3 fantasy points came in his Week 3 showing.
Njoku’s production would look a lot different had he not dropped a touchdown reception in Week 2. If he had clung onto that, we would be looking at a return of more than 10 fantasy points per game, which would make him a top-four player at the position. Of course, you can make that case for any player in terms of what-ifs. However, Njoku is tied for fourth at the TE position in terms of red-zone targets, with five through the first three weeks.
Additionally, Njoku has played 90 percent of the Browns’ offensive snaps through the first three weeks. Heading into Week 4, only Tyler Conklin has played on more offensive snaps at the tight end position. Njoku’s growth of target share through those three weeks has been promising, stepping up from one target in Week 1 to five in Week 2 and then 10 in Week 3.
When we look at the numbers from the first three weeks, it is important to try and pick through the wide variance in targets. The real opportunity level for Njoku likely lies somewhere between the five targets in Week 2 and the 10 targets in Week 3. When we look back at previous seasons, there is naturally a correlation between weekly targets and players finishing as a starting tight end on a per-game basis. Therefore, if Njoku continues to see around seven targets a game going forward, we should expect him to be a weekly starting option, especially with the red zone work he has had in the first three weeks.
Where does Njoku sit in the Week 4 waiver wire priority list?
This is the part where it gets tricky when judging Njoku because the tight end position can be a weekly minefield on the fantasy football waiver wire. The position is impacted by weekly streaming strategies more than we see at RB and WR. Therefore, you have to be cognizant of that when deciding how to prioritize players.
Unfortunately, Njoku’s breakout performance comes the week before he has a really nice matchup and is a top streaming option. The Atlanta Falcons are allowing the second most points to the tight end position (14.1) in non-PPR. Therefore, Njoku is likely to be a prime streaming consideration this week. That will drive his price up as he is now going to be a target for people looking for a season-long option and those looking for a streamer.
The saving grace is that in a typical 12-team league, likely half the league is happy with their tight end situation already. Therefore, they are unlikely to be looking to roster two tight ends, at least in a standard league format. That reduces the pool of potential bidders but still can lead to some tough competition to acquire Njoku.
The other consideration here is that you are bidding on a player you likely want to be part of your starting lineup, which increases his value. That makes Njoku an intriguing waiver priority and places him only behind the three main RB targets — Khalil Herbert, Jamaal Williams, and Alexander Mattison.
Therefore, Njoku is a player I am looking to spend 20-25 percent of my FAAB budget on this week or use a high-priority waiver claim. It may seem a touch high, but that is a decent price for a player who could very well be a weekly starter for the remainder of the season. That level of investment should price him out of the streaming territory, who are often looking to pay a maximum of five percent a week.