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Top Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 3 (2020 Fantasy Football)

Sep 22, 2020

Joshua Kelley is currently tied with teammate Austin Ekeler for 5th in the NFL with 35 attempts.

We asked our writers to name their top waiver-wire targets at running back and wide receiver for the week. Here’s what they said.

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Who’s your top running back pickup of the week?

Mike Davis (CAR)
The Panthers have one of the most narrow distributions of touches of any team in the NFL making Mike Davis my top waiver wire add of the week. Carolina leans on DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and Christian McCaffrey for almost 90% of their offense so Davis will have the opportunity to be a shoo-in RB2 almost immediately on volume alone. Opportunity is everything for running backs and with McCaffery looking like he will be out at least a month, this represents a good opportunity to spend up on a running back that can keep you in the hunt for the next few weeks. The matchup against the Chargers this weekend isn’t an easy one but the Panthers defense is a sieve so Davis could be in line for a really nice workload. He is a lock and load option for me.
– Jason Kamlowsky (jasonkamlowsky)

The Carolina Panthers now have a huge void to fill with star running back Christian McCaffrey expected to be sidelined four to six weeks. Sharp fantasy football players will tell you Curtis Samuel is the main beneficiary of McCaffrey missing time. While that has some merit, Samuel doesn’t have running back eligibility and certainly won’t handle the bulk of carries out of the backfield. The correct answer here is Mike Davis. Davis took over for McCaffrey in the fourth quarter and caught 8-of-8 targets for 74 yards as the Panthers were in catch-up mode against the Buccaneers. With the Panthers likely to be playing from behind a lot this season, Davis becomes especially popular in PPR leagues. Even though he won’t play anywhere near 95% of the snaps like McCaffrey does, even a 60% snap count should yield RB2/flex play consideration on a weekly basis with the Panthers’ best player on the shelf for at least a month. And no, I’m not worried about Reggie Bonnafon, Alex Armah, and Trenton Cannon.
– Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler)

Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss the next four-to-six weeks due to a high-ankle sprain. Mike Davis will see an increased workload with CMC sidelined. He hauled in eight receptions on eight targets for 74 yards in Sunday’s Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers. Davis will lead the Panthers’ backfield in carries and showed the ability to be a recieving threat out of the backfield. It will be temporary, but fantasy owners will have a solid RB for at least the next four weeks. Panthers’ HC Matt Rhule said Davis is “a threat coming out of the backfield.” Coming off one of the worst week in injuries, Davis is a must add in all league formats.
– Brad Camara (@Beerad30)

Dion Lewis (NYG)
The caveat here is that, if the Giants sign Devonta Freeman, Lewis doesn’t have quite as much value as he would otherwise. So, I’ll be monitoring news regarding Freeman’s visit with the Giants while determining just how much FAAB I am going to spend on Lewis. But with Saquon Barkley done for the season with a torn ACL, there are touches for the taking in this offense. And since this looks like another year where the Giants are going to be trailing (and throwing the ball) often, Lewis’s abilities as a pass-catcher out of the backfield provide an added bonus in PPR leagues.
– Mike Maher (@MikeMaher)

Joshua Kelley (LAC)
Joshua Kelley is currently tied with teammate Austin Ekeler for 5th in the NFL with 35 attempts. Kelley’s ownership sits at 39% in Yahoo leagues, but it remains criminally low on ESPN (just 26% owned). Any “second string” running back capable of seeing 23 carries and a few targets in the passing game quaifies as an RB2 with RB3 as his floor. That’s exactly what Kelley is right now, and too many people are still sleeping on him. Kelley boasts a strong prospect profile as a back who can win between the tackles and still conttibute as a pass catcher (2 receptions for 49 yards against Kansas City in Week 2). With Justin Herbert or Tyrod Taylor under center, the Chargers are going to be a run-first team, and Austin Ekeler isn’t built for 300 carries. Both of these guys are going to eat, and one of them is free right now.
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)

Darrell Henderson (LAR)
Cam Akers left Week 2 early with a rib injury and that can be a very difficult injury to play through, especially for a running back. Henderson made the most of his opportunity, finishing with 12 rushing attempts, two receptions, 121 yards from scrimmage, and a rushing touchdown. This backfield has always been viewed as a RBBC, but I have always envisioned Akers emerging as the lead back with Henderson filling in behind him as the change of pace and third-down running back. The Rams are much more committed to running the football this year. In 2019, they passed the ball on almost 62 percent of their plays, which is down to 43 percent through two games. The Rams are running the ball much better this year and Henderson seeing 12-14 touches would make him a flex play with upside. He could even enter the RB2 conversation if Akers has to miss time and Henderson keeps taking advantage of the situation by having big games in his absence.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

James Robinson (JAC)
James Robinson is the undisputed RB1 on a surprisingly competitive and efficient Jacksonville offense. While the undrafted free agent will cede some carries on gadget plays to Laviska Shenault and forfeit third-down action to Chris Thompson, he’s in a prime position to resume control as the workhorse rusher for the team moving forward. Look for Robinson to dominate against the league’s four worst rush defenses over the next four weeks when the Jags face off against the Dolphins, Bengals, Texans, and Lions.
– Jim Colombo (@WideRightNBlue)

Jerick McKinnon (SF)
Running backs in fantasy football are treasured players, and 2020 has proved no different. Following last week’s exuberance over Nyheim Hines after a two-touchdown Week 1 performance, the fantasy community has another prime scat back breakout candidate to covet: Jerick McKinnon. Finding himself on just 25% of rosters (per Yahoo), McKinnon appears to be the primary back entering Week 3 after injuries to Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman. Even more appealing is the fact that McKinnon is already performing extremely well in the (albeit few) opportunities provided to him: nine touches for 121 yards and two touchdowns through two weeks. I would not blow all my FAAB on him but would spend a top waiver claim on him if I needed a RB. I expect solid results until Mostert and Coleman return, before returning moderate flex or bye-week fill-in potential thereafter.
– Jared Lese (@JaredL_FF)

Who’s your top wide receiver pickup of the week?

Russell Gage (ATL)
The Falcons defense is an absolute disaster through two games. To be fair, they have played Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott the first two weeks, but they have given up 78 points and 953 yards through two games. The result has been Matt Ryan throwing the ball 90 times this season and if stays on that pace, he will throw the ball 720 times this year. That may very well happen because the Falcons defense appears to be incapable of stopping anyone and Gage has been the early beneficiary of 45 pass attempts per game. Gage is second on the team with 21 targets and he has turned those targets into 15 receptions for 160 yards and one touchdown. Normally I would worry about the passing attempts going down and Gage cooling down after a hot start, but I have seen enough from the Falcons defense to be confident this defense is going to flirt with 450 points allowed and 7,000 yards allowed on the season. I think Gage is a safe addition at this point that is going to be in the WR3 conversation most weeks.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

The third wide receiver on a team’s depth chart is hardly a sought-after role, but the Atlanta Falcons present us with this unique opportunity in Russell Gage (23% rostered on Yahoo). Gage finished last season, following a season-ending injury to Calvin Ridley, on a nice roll and subsequent entered the 2020 season as the team’s primary slot receiver – 91 of his 115 snaps as a WR have come out of the slot, per PFF. With two exceptional fantasy performances through consecutive weeks to being the season, Gage is definitely worth some FAAB or a moderate waiver priority in most leagues. He also offers great WR2 upside in the case of an injury to Julio Jones or the aforementioned Ridley, while presenting himself as a solid bench stash and bye-week fill-in most for most games.
– Jared Lese (@JaredL_FF)

Michael Pittman Jr. (IND)
I liked this fit for Michael Pittman Jr. coming out of the draft, and the Parris Campbell injury opens up more playing time for the rookie. He tied for the team lead with six targets in Sunday’s win over the Vikings, and I think Philip Rivers will begin to look his way more and more as the season goes on, especially in the red zone. Pittman has the kind of frame (6’4″) that we have seen work well with Rivers in the past, and I think that chemistry continues to grow in the coming weeks.
– Mike Maher (@MikeMaher)

Parris Campbell suffered MCL and PCL injuries Week 2 and is expected to miss a significant amount of time. Michael Pittman moves up the depth chart and will compete with Zach Pascal for the Colts WR2 role opposite TY Hilton. Rivers has been unable to find a connection with Hilton and could rely on Pittman more as the season goes on. The 2020 second-round pick hauled in four receptions on six targets for 37 yards in Sunday’s Week 2 win over the Vikings. He has a ton of upside and is worth taking a chance on in all league formats.
– Brad Camara (@Beerad30)

Michael Pittman Jr. played on 67-of-73 (91.8%) snaps in Week 2. The increase in his snap count was likely a result of the Parris Campbell injury in the first quarter, but also a testament to his ability as a blocker. Pittman and Zach Pascal (80.1%) saw the highest snap counts at wide receiver, higher than T.Y. Hilton, who played on just 57.5% of the snaps. The rookie didn’t have the best game from a production standpoint but still managed to see six targets from Philip Rivers in a game the Colts dominated and ran the ball 35 times. Pittman is going to be a staple in the offense going forward with Campbell out indefinitely. If available in your league, consider making Pittman your number one waiver wire priority at the wide receiver position.
– Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler)

Laviska Shenault Jr. (JAC)
Apparently, the Jaguars didn’t get the memo on how to Tank for Trevor. Good for them. You love to see the fight, and Duval deserves nothing less. Case in point, adding Laviska Shenault Jr. with the 42nd overall pick, and letting OC Jay Gruden have fun with his new toy. Shenault is less than 18% owned across all formats, and GM David Caldwell saw a versatile weapon capable of making plays as both a receiver and a runner to pair with emerging stud DJ Chark. The fear was always that Gruden would pigeonhole Shenault as a gadget player, but he’s being used more like Percy Harvin than Cordarelle Patterson. Jaguars WRs coach Keenan McCardell is on record comparing Shenault’s YAC ability to Anquan Boldin and his power to Andre Johnson. Caldwell stated Shenault was their highest-rated receiver based off his 2018 tape, which means had Shenault declared in 2019, the team would have selected him over DK Metcalf, AJ Brown, Marquise Brown, Terry McLaurin, and Deebo Samuel. Shenault has a chance to be special as he develops, provided he can avoid the injuries that plagued him in college. Already utilized heavily as both a rusher and a receiver, his role should only expand as the season continues.
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)

Mike Williams (LAC)
According to our FantasyPros in-season tools, Mike Williams is owned in just 51.2% of fantasy football leagues, which means he could still be up for grabs in yours. At 6’4″, the former first-round pick is a big receiver and is averaging six targets per game through the first two weeks of the season. Williams may have had a dud of a game in Week 2, but he has the potential to be a formidable red zone threat no matter who is playing quarterback for the Chargers. Williams is absolutely worth stashing on your bench or filling in as a flex option on injury-depleted rosters.
– Jim Colombo (@WideRightNBlue)

Keelan Cole (JAC)
Cole has a 17% target share for the Jaguars and with Gardner Minshew playing so well, he makes for a nice under the radar target. We have seen glimpses of Cole popping as a WR3/Flex in past seasons so this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. In PPR leagues, I think Cole could make for a cheaper FAAB option than someone like Russell Gage because the perception of the Jaguars offense is that it is one of the most talent-defecient units in the NFL. A deeper look shows a team that will be in plenty of shootouts because of a defense that can’t stop anyone and a quarterback who has the ability to extend plays which works well with Cole’s ability to find soft spots in the defense. While we shouldn’t expect him to score every week, fire up Cole as a PPR WR3 with upside for more moving forward.
– Jason Kamlowsky (jasonkamlowsky)

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