Waiver Wire Rankings: Expert Pickups for Week 3

Sep 22, 2015

Dion Lewis continues to find holes and has made himself the top consensus waiver target

Dion Lewis continues to find holes and has made himself the top consensus waiver target

David Johnson was the consensus top pickup last week and he gave his owners a touchdown (even though he was only limited to 5 carries). Week 2 brought more injuries as well as some more consistent play from guys who are still available out there in the majority of leagues.

With tough decisions facing you on who to use your waiver claims on, we’ve asked the featured experts to rank the top waiver options that are readily available. The players have been ranked accordingly (rest of season value) below and for those who use a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB), we’ve asked the pundits their thoughts on what you should spend on their top ranked player.

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Featured Pros

Ben Standig (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
Phil Alexander (Footballguys)
Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)
KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)

Waiver Wire Rankings (Standard Scoring)

Player Position Team Consensus Rank Best Rank Worst Rank
Dion Lewis RB NE 1.3 1 2
David Johnson RB ARI 3 2 5
Devonta Freeman RB ATL 3.3 1 5
Matt Jones RB WAS 3.5 2 5
*James Starks (Eddie Lacy injury minor) RB GB 4.3 4 5
Duke Johnson RB CLE 7 3 12
Eric Ebron TE DET 8 7 9
Karlos Williams RB BUF 8.8 6 13
Marvin Jones WR CIN 10.8 8 13
Michael Crabtree WR OAK 11.8 7 19
Allen Hurns WR JAC 11.8 10 15
Rishard Matthews WR MIA 12.3 6 18
Crockett Gillmore TE BAL 12.8 9 20
Richard Rodgers TE GB 14.8 8 21
Leonard Hankerson WR ATL 15 10 20
Ty Montgomery WR GB 15.3 12 19
Cole Beasley WR DAL 15.8 11 19
Chris Polk RB HOU 16.5 11 21
Travis Benjamin WR CLE 16.5 15 18
Cecil Shorts WR HOU 17.5 9 21
Ted Ginn Jr. WR CAR 19 18 20

Week 3 Waiver Wire Advice

Each expert was asked to share advice about a D/ST rental for Week 3 as well as their thoughts on how much to spend for on their top rated target. Here’s what the experts had to say.

Q1: What % of FAAB budget would you recommend fatnasy owners spend on your #1 rated target?

Ben Standig – CSN Mid-Atlantic
The definition of insanity is attempting to predict how Bill Belichick plans on deploying his running backs week to week. Various Patriot insiders talked about the end of Dion Lewis’ run as the starter heading into Sunday’s game at Buffalo. They were wrong. Anyone thinking LeGarrette Blount is stuck on the bench won’t be right either. Those weak at RB can consider spending 20-25% of FAAB budgets for Lewis, a potential starting RB whose floor is the 2015 version of Shane Vereen.

Phil Alexander – Footballguys
Some will argue against investing too heavily in a New England running back because their week-to-week usage is game plan specific, but I’m not so sure that will be the case with Dion Lewis for the rest of the season. While it made sense for New England to neutralize Buffalo’s strong defensive front by spreading them out and using Lewis on lots of short passes, there were plenty of situations in the game where the Patriots could have gone to LaGarrette Blount and didn’t – like on the two rushes Lewis saw from inside the Buffalo ten-yard line. Lewis was on the field for 92% of New England’s snaps last week, suggesting he’s more than just a passing down back. Next week, the Patriots host the Jaguars as 13.5 point favorites. We can safely assume the game script will call for a lot of running plays by the New England. Lewis’ involvement will be a great litmus test for whether or not he can be relied on for consistent production each week. But if you want him, you have to act now, and I’d rather be a week early than a week late if the reward is an every down back on one of the best offenses in the league. I’d be willing to go as high as 40% of my FAAB budget to acquire Lewis.

Pat Fitzmaurice – The Football Girl
Dion Lewis is worth 25-30% of your budget in standard leagues if you’re hurting at running back, 30-35% in PPR formats. I realize there will be weeks when the Patriots want to pound the ball between the tackles, and LeGarrette Blount or some other back will out-touch Lewis. But Lewis is good enough and versatile enough to have a prominent place in the New England game plan most weeks. He’s the only RB on the waiver wire who can start for you this week and can also most likely start for you six weeks from now.

KJ – Fantasy Team Advice
I’d recommend spending approximately 5-15% of your FAAB budget on Devonta Freeman depending on how badly you need a RB2 for the next few weeks. Once Coleman returns, Freeman will return to his backup role in the committee, so don’t spend too much money here.

Q2: Give us your thoughts on a D/ST rental you like for owners in Week 3.

Phil Alexander – Footballguys
The New York Giants have the lowest-owned defense in Yahoo! leagues (4%), but they’re worthy of streaming consideration in Week 3. New York opened as a four point favorite in their home game against Washington, and by now you probably know that targeting defenses against Kirk Cousins is usually a smart idea. Cousins has done a decent job of keeping turnovers under control in his first two games, but let’s not forget who he is. Over the last two seasons, Cousins had turned the ball over 20 times in his previous 575 snaps, which equates to 3.4% of his plays – the worst rate out of 46 quarterbacks with at least 500 snaps during that span.

Pat Fitzmaurice – The Football Girl
Two weeks ago, I never could have imagined recommending this defense, but Washington looks like a nice Week 3 play. We knew that Washington was probably going to be solid vs. the run, and it’s been surprisingly competent vs. the pass as well. Jay Gruden has been using his running game to play keep-away from opponents. Washington goes on the road to face the Giants on Thursday night, and the odds of the Giants getting their act together during a short workweek seem remote. Washington should be able to shut down the NYG running game, which will force Eli Manning to take to the air (often in unfavorable down-and-distance situations), which should lead to some sacks and/or turnovers.

Ben Standig – CSN Mid-Atlantic
I don’t have ownership percentages in front of me, but if I assume the Cardinals are over the 50% threshold, let’s go with the Browns. Oakland visits Cleveland in Week 3. Raiders QB Derek Carr is a legitimate starter, but on the road isn’t the same as playing at home.

KJ – Fantasy Team Advice
I’d be looking to pick up the New York Jets defense (available in 64% of Yahoo leagues) as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3. It wasn’t that long ago that the Eagles were an offense to avoid, but their run game has been non-existent this season, making their pass game non-existent as well. The Jets should be able to contain the Eagles’ run game as effectively as the Cowboys did in Week 2, making them a solid waiver wire add available in most leagues.

Thanks to the experts for ranking their top waiver pickups for Week 3. For more advice from them, please follow them on Twitter.

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