Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 3
In times like these, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to add anyone from the waiver wire.
With hundreds of advice columns and podcasts percolating the internet every week, inactivity can feel like a sign of weakness or complacency. Sometimes, however, the best players for your team are already on your team.
As fantasy football continues to catapult in popularity, the standard competitors are smarter than they were years ago. Mark Andrews might have been hot add in past seasons, but he was drafted more often than not this summer. Given all the information available, it’s already far too late to snag John Ross or Terry McLaurin in the typical league.
Few ground-breaking options are available entering Week 3. In many cases, managers might be better off exuding patience with their struggling sleepers. Just ask anyone who dropped Geronimo Allison after one game. Along those lines, players dropped for the following adds — rostered in 30% or under of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, per FantasyPros’ consensus rate from Monday — could actually be more valuable pick-ups moving forward. Yet an influx of injuries will leave many scrambling to add the benefactors.
Andy Dalton (CIN): 14% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Two weeks into the season, Dalton ranks second in passing attempts (93) and yards (729). He’s tossed two touchdowns in each bout, and that’s without A.J. Green. Perhaps Cincinnati’s play-calling distribution changes if Joe Mixon returns to full health, but first-year coach Zac Taylor has reared the accelerator so far. Unfortunately, road games at Buffalo at Pittsburgh aren’t overly ideal before hosting Arizona in Week 5.
Mason Rudolph (PIT): 1% Rostered (1% FAAB)
The Steelers as we know them are gone. Ben Roethlisberger will undergo season-ending elbow surgery, and his understudy won’t enjoy the same luxury of working with Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Rudolph, however, looked sharp in relief of the franchise quarterback when going 12-of-19 for 112 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick against Seattle. Roethlisberger attempted an NFL-high 675 passes last year, so Rudolph should at least leverage volume into weekly utility for two-quarterback and Superflex leagues. Those who lost Big Ben should certainly bid more in such formats. Otherwise, the second-year passer is more of a streamer who wields some long-shot appeal in upcoming matchups. Pittsburgh has San Francisco and Cincinnati on the horizon in the next two weeks.
Raheem Mostert (SF): 14% Rostered (8% FAAB)
San Francisco won’t churn out three fantasy-viable running backs on a weekly basis, so the backfield committee could get messy sans Tevin Coleman. While Jeff Wilson vultured two touchdowns on his 10 carries, Matt Breida is the main man to roster and start after running for 121 yards against the Bengals. Mostert, however, led the trio with 34 snaps, 16 touches, and 151 total yards (83 rushing, 68 receiving). He’s amassed double-digit touches in both games and had a touchdown nullified in Week 1 before offering a 39-yard receiving score in Sunday’s blowout over the Bengals. Though he’s unlikely to provide weekly steadiness, Mostert could ride his pass-catching duties into standalone flex value to use in the right matchups.
Frank Gore (BUF): 13% Rostered (6% FAAB)
Devin Singletary picked apart the Giants for 57 yards and a touchdown on just six handoffs — giving the rookie 127 rushing yards on 10 carries against both Meadowlands roommates — before exiting with a hamstring injury. In his absence, the immortal Gore garnered 83 yards and a score on 21 touches. As of Monday night, the Bills still considered the rookie running back day-to-day. If Singletary sits, Gore has a golden opportunity for another busy day when Buffalo hosts the Bengals this Sunday. The instant value makes him a higher priority, but those looking for long-term upside should instead chase one of the following handcuffs.
Darwin Thompson (KC): 19% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Damien Williams (knee) and LeSean McCoy (ankle) both got banged up during Week 2’s victory at Oakland. A rising sleeper before McCoy’s late arrival, Thompson has seen the field for just six plays this season. Yet if the prognosis is negative for either of Kansas City’s other rushers, the rookie could assume the change-of-pace role giddy drafters anticipated during the summer. If both require lengthy absences, roll out every barrel of your FAAB cash for Thompson.
Jaylen Samuels (PIT): 30% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Despite injuring his knee in Sunday’s loss to Seattle, James Conner hopes to play Week 3. Since Mike Tomlin takes to sharing backfield work the way toddlers do to sharing their toys, Samuels handled all the late snaps over Benny Snell. Last year, he accrued 328 yards in three games without Conner, so Samuels doesn’t need TE eligibility to slide into starting lineups without his starting teammate. Managers who roster Conner may want to bid an extra buck or two just to be safe.
D.J. Chark (JAC): 16% Rostered (8% FAAB)
Another week, another touchdown for Chark. After making his mark on big plays in Week 1, he led the Jaguars in both targets (nine) and catches (seven) against Houston. The second year-pro has procured 201 yards on 11 grabs through two games, and Jacksonville’s offense doesn’t look any worse off with Gardner Minshew under center. Chark should be rostered universally after another huge week with tremendous plays like this one.
Deebo Samuel (SF): 13% Rostered (7% FAAB)
After an uneventful Week 1, Samuel joined the rookie wideout party by producing five catches for 87 yards and a score in his second NFL contest. Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t target anyone else more than four times in Sunday’s 41-17 win. He didn’t even look Dante Pettis’ way once. As a result, Samuel looks poised to immediately assume the spotlight as the 49ers’ premier fantasy wide receiver. It’d still be nice to see the second-round pick log more than 40% of the team’s snaps before volunteering an inordinate amount of FAAB budget. Based on prior years, the role may still lead to volatile WR3/4 production.
Demarcus Robinson (KC): 4% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Without Tyreek Hill, Robinson played 69 of Kansas City’s 76 offensive snaps as a starter. While Sammy Watkins led the way with 13 targets, Robinson snagged all six of his opportunities for a week-high 172 yards and two touchdowns. If a pass-catcher is seeing regular playing time alongside Patrick Mahomes, you want him on your fantasy team. That’s not to say Robinson will replicate Hill’s massive numbers, but he’s a high-upside gamble worth taking. That’s especially the case in leagues where it’s too late to pick up Mecole Hardman, who also found the end zone against Oakland.
Nelson Agholor (PHI): 10% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Philadelphia’s pass-catching depth quickly evaporated over the weekend. In a game that DeSean Jackson missed because of a groin injury, Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert each left due to a calf injury. That cleared the way for the forgotten Agholor to capture eight of 11 targets for 107 yards and a score. Although given an opportunity to shine early in 2018, he converted 7.4 targets per contest into just 46.5 yards (and one total touchdown) through eight games. Carson Wentz didn’t deliver any of his four touchdowns, and even Sunday night’s breakout came with an ugly drop. This should leave gamers reticent to again anticipate a breakout, but Agholor holds some fantasy appeal with Jeffery’s Week 3 status in doubt. He’s a valuable starter if both Jeffery and Jackson are sidelined. Keep an eye out for any updates before locking in waiver-wire claims. Although he amassed just one four-yard catch in 75 snaps, JJ Arcega-Whiteside could also warrant a deep-league look.
Will Dissly (SEA): 3% Rostered (3% FAAB)
Dissly has delivered four touchdowns in six career games after finding pay dirt twice in Week 2. The Seahawks let Russell Wilson air it out 35 times, and he unsurprisingly turned the extra volume into 29 completions for 300 yards and three touchdowns. With Seattle light on receiver depth, Dissly could turn into a dangerous option if Wilson is allowed to operate a normal 2019 offense.
Tyler Eifert (CIN): 11% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Eifert is healthy, for now. Benefitting from Cincinnati’s pass-heavy attack, the tight end has received five targets in back-to-back games, one of which he cashed into a touchdown Sunday versus San Francisco. The last time he played more than eight games in a season, Eifert scored 13 touchdowns in 2015.
Green Bay Packers: 12% Rostered (1% FAAB)
The Cowboys (52% rostered) get top priority upon opposing the abysmal Dolphins, but it’s otherwise not a great week for widely available defenses. Among the 15 teams claimed in under 30% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, Green Bay stands out as the premier Week 3 option. After stuffing the Bears in a 10-3 victory at Soldier Field, the Packers picked off Kirk Cousins twice while recovering two fumbles. The improved unit looks to remain undefeated when hosting the Broncos, who mustered 30 combined points against the Raiders and Bears.