Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 3
Dan Malin brings you his top waiver wire adds ahead of the third week of the NFL season!
Week Two of the NFL season was like the Red Wedding. We should’ve heard the Rains of Castamere coming when Nick Bosa and Parris Campbell went down early. And then it was all downhill when Saquon got hurt. That was basically Robb Stark’s offing. Try to remain optimistic if you got bit by the injury bug. Most fantasy owners did. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we’ll breathe new life into your fantasy team. There are plenty of options on waivers this week, but hey we thought there were some solid additions last week too. Hopefully if your waivers run through FAAB you followed my FAAB suggestions and got outbid by other owners, especially on Malcolm Brown .
But we should ask ourselves how desperate are we heading into waiver claims? Like you, I lost McCaffrey in two leagues and I lost Saquon Barkley in the FA staff league. If you’re in a league where you skated by maybe you let other owners that are desperate wipe out their FAAB budget on the chalky adds this week. If you are in need of running back help then you’ll need to make a run at one or two guys listed below. Again, we’re only in Week 2. This is why running back depth is so important, and we’ll look to bolster our rosters and salvage our seasons.
Once again, I’ll be in the NFL Seasonal Chat starting around 8:00-8:15pm ET Tuesday night answering Waiver Wire questions. You may see the FAAB Bid recommendations changing throughout the day. I do tweak them slightly since I may have overreacted a little on my initial bids. But as always, it’s a week you have to spend up at running back.
Gardner Minshew (JAX) This is now the third straight week that Minshew has made the waiver column and his ownership on ESPN has hardly budged. And I get it, you probably have a quarterback you’re more comfortable starting. But given what we’ve seen, and how competitive the Jaguars have been through two games, here are players I’m starting Minshew over: Carson Wentz , Matthew Stafford , Tom Brady , Jared Goff , Daniel Jones, Derek Carr , and Philip Rivers . I could keep naming worse quarterbacks, but Minshew has at least 20 points in four-point per passing touchdown leagues so far in both weeks. Game flow will somehow always be in there favor whether it’s for garbage time or they’re actually in it to win it. You can’t really ever seen them running away with a game easily in hand. 80% availability is just simply laughable. FAAB Bid: 8-10% (Try not to go crazy with FAAB for QB’s, even this bid is high)
Ryan Tannehill (TEN) Tannehill has done nothing but provide a solid floor for the Titans ever since he took over as the starting quarterback. He hasn’t topped 250 passing yards yet on the year, but he has six touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s efficient and he provides a good floor. He seems to be clicking with all his pass-catching options (save for A.J. Brown). The Titans have an encouraging matchup in Week 3 against the Vikings before three straight home games against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Houston. He may only sit on your bench as a backup, but if you’re lacking confidence in your starting quarterback, Tannehill is presenting a nice floor each week. FAAB Bid: 6%
Joe Burrow (CIN) Like most people, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Burrow so far. He’s obviously not used to losing since he’s won at every level he’s played at. But even behind a really bad offensive line, he’s flashed composure and looks like he belongs in the NFL. Last Thursday the Bengals let their rookie quarterback throw the ball over 60 times and he went over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns for the first time in his young career (fun fact, he’s actually older than Lamar Jackson ). He has some tough matchups playing in the AFC North, but overall there are decent matchups and the Bengals will arguably be playing from behind in every game. Week 3 features a tough game against the Eagles who are also seeking their first win as well. Burrow could be under a good amount of pressure, but he’s smart enough to know when to run and he might have to throw the ball quite a bit as well. FAAB Bid: 5%
Darrell Henderson (LAR) Henderson is my favorite waiver wire target heading into Week Three. He benefitted from Cam Akers hurting his ribs, and Malcolm Brown injuring his finger. The Rams ran 69 offensive plays (nice), and Henderson was only on the field for 29 of those, but he touched the ball 14 times. That is a very high efficiency rate especially when you see what he did once given the opportunity to have the ball in his hands. He is the reason I only recommended you spend 12% of your FAAB budget on Malcolm Brown . Long-term I think Akers is someone they want to give the ball, but let’s remember Henderson was a third-round pick in 2019 while Akers was a second-round pick this year. And Henderson never received a legitimate shot to show what he can do. They have options in the backfield, but with the injuries to Akers and Brown, Henderson has an opportunity to really carve out a solid role for himself. FAAB Bid: 20-30%
Mike Davis (CAR) Mike Davis will be the favorite add of most fantasy owners this week, but not for me. If you’re a McCaffrey owner you might prioritize him based on what he did when CMC went down. He caught all eight of his targets for 74 yards. He’s also been declared as “the guy” with McCaffrey sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks. But the game script also called for him to be targeted eight times. The Panthers were trying to rally and stay in the game, so there was more tempo and rhythm to the offense. The offensive line is still pretty bad; even McCaffrey only averaged 3.8 yards per carry through two games, and defenses likely aren’t respecting the run now. He’ll need the game flow, which is possible because Carolina sucks and will play from behind plenty of times. Update: I'm changing my tune a little on Davis. I still think I prefer Henderson, but I'm upping the bid on Davis. Teddy Bridgewater's average depth of target ranks toward the bottom of the league and this team will play from behind plenty. Immediate short-term opportunity is there for Davis. He's like a more popular add this week simply because Henderson is owned in more leagues. FAAB Bid: 20-30%
The New York Giants Backfield – We have an opportunity to lump a few names together here. I’m not excited about any of them to be honest. It comes down to Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis , with the possibility the Giants sign Devonta Freeman . I know this question will come up in the chat tonight, but I have no idea what the odds of them signing Freeman are. He’s given other teams the number he wants and nobody has matched it, so your guess is as good as mine. The loss of Barkley hurts, but even in preseason drafts I didn’t think it was worth cuffing Gallman or Lewis simply because the production for them would pale in comparison to Barkley. What you’re paying for here is the opportunity. And somebody will get touches. I prefer Lewis slightly over Gallman especially in PPR formats, but Gallman will get carries. The G-Men will play from behind plenty and have to throw the ball around, and Lewis is a great pass-catching option out of the backfield. But this team still sucks and the offensive line is awful. Even Barkley was struggling to generate rhythm and positive production. Defenses won’t have to account for him anymore. Even if they sign Freeman, that doesn’t move the needle for me. A guy who has missed 18 games the last three seasons, who didn’t look good last year, and probably doesn’t perform well out of the gate in a year where we’re seeing more soft tissue injuries than normal, that just does nothing for me. I’m not spending a dime on this backfield, unless they’re the only options out there. FAAB Bid: 15-25%
Joshua Kelley (LAC) Kelley is proving that he’s more than just a backup running back to Austin Ekeler . He had 23 carries on Sunday. TWENTY. THREE. That was more than Ekeler. And maybe game script called for a larger role on Sunday because the Chargers wanted to slow the game down and keep Mahomes and the Chiefs off the field. So, they gave Kelley more work. He’s a bigger runner than Ekeler and is tough to tackle. The rushing totals prove otherwise, but through two games he has 35 carries, and he had two receptions for 49 yards on Sunday. It’s risky to bid up a rookie running back especially when the workload could fluctuate. However, the Chargers seem content giving the rookie more carries. FAAB Bid: 15-18%
Myles Gaskin (MIA) Gaskin has 13 touches in each of Miami’s first two games this season. He’s averaging over five yards per carry and he has ten catches as well. He looks to be an immediate grab especially in PPR formats. The Dolphins have some intriguing matchups coming up where game flow could benefit Gaskin’s style of play. He is out-snapping Jordan Howard , Matt Breida , and Patrick Laird by a country mile and he’s worthy of being played in the Flex so far. He has a short-week matchup coming up on Thursday, but definitely give this guy consideration. FAAB Bid: 15%
Jerick McKinnon (SF) I’m pretty interested in McKinnon. He’s had serious injuries the last two seasons, and that by no reason means is he in the clear and likely to avoid any this year. But he has an opportunity next week. Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman may both sit this upcoming week, Coleman is definitely out and it’s looking bad for Mostert as well. McKinnon has only touched the ball nine times so far this season, but he’s found the end zone twice. That kind of touchdown rate is unsustainable, but he could easily see more work this week and when the 49ers initially signed him, he was getting a lot of hype as a potentially great fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. But this could be a one-week ordeal. At the very least he’ll see more work once Raheem Mostert returns, but he could get 12-15 touches in Week 3 against the Giants. In deeper leagues, Jeff Wilson is worthy of a deep-league stash as well. FAAB Bid: 8-12%
Russell Gage (ATL) Gage followed up his 12 targets in Week 1 with nine targets in Week 2. He yielded six catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. My initial concerns were that the volume may not be great in an offense where he’s maybe the third target. However, if the Falcons are going to throw the ball about 40-45 times each week then there will be enough to go around. He has a tough test in Week 3 against a respectable Bears defense, but with the Falcons currently sitting at 0-2, they’ll be desperate to make sure the offense generates points and they most certainly will not look to fumble another win away. He also makes for a solid replacement if you’re trying to fill in for Courtland Sutton , Davante Adams , Kenny Golladay , etc. FAAB Bid: 12-14%
Marquez Valdes-Scantling /Allen Lazard (GB) A lot of questions coming out of Week 1 pertained to who was the Number 2 in Green Bay? And I honestly can’t tell you the truth because I don’t work for the Packers. But the general thought was that it was MVS. The problem with fantasy football is that it fluctuates on a weekly basis and people love to overreact and change the narrative. So, while MVS saw seven targets to Lazard’s five, the target share could easily swap next week. Truth be told, the Packers had enough success running the ball that Aaron Rodgers only had 30 pass attempts on Sunday and that’s not overly encouraging for any Green Bay pass catcher. But both are encouraging adds off the waiver wire. FAAB Bid: 10-13% (Still feel better about MVS over Lazard)
Michael Pittman (IND) The numbers so far have not been great for Pittman. But he’s been solid overall. Through two games he has nine catches for 89 yards on 13 targets. If you’ve watched him play, he passes the eyeball test for sure. He hasn’t had the eye-popping plays that Chase Claypool has made with Pittsburgh so far, but for a rookie wide receiver, he’s been involved at a decent rate. Here’s what surprised me from Sunday’s game: he actually led the Indy receivers in offensive snaps. The injury to Parris Campbell helped that narrative, but he saw 67 snaps while Zac Pascal saw 59 and TY Hilton saw 42. With Campbell injured for now, this creates a tremendous opportunity for Pittman to carve out a larger role for himself. FAAB Bid: 8-10%
Keelan Cole (JAX) For as much love as I give Laviska Shenault, we need to acknowledge Cole because he has a touchdown in each of Jacksonville’s two games so far. He’s also caught 11 of his 12 targets on the year so he’s certainly reliable. If I’m being honest I still prefer Shenault a little bit more simply because they’ve made the effort to even line him up in the backfield so they’re trying to find creative ways to get him involved with the offense. But Cole has provided solid production through two weeks. Jacksonville is playing Thursday night against Miami on the short week so while he’s worth rostering, it’s a play that carries risk this week. FAAB Bid: 6-7%
N’Keal Harry (NE) I’m still not completely sold on Harry’s consistent involvement on a week-to-week basis. Sunday’s game saw Harry get more involved and he had a nice connection going with Cam Newton . The problem is that game script called for a little more passing, but he led the team with a dozen targets and he caught eight of them for 72 yards. But he and Damiere Byrd (also worth a look in deeper leagues) were on the field for more offensive snaps than Julian Edelman believe it or not. He has a couple intriguing matchups on the horizon against the Raiders and Chiefs where we could see Cam Newton go to the air more. And we know they worked together in the offseason to develop chemistry. Both Newton and Byrd are worth adding if you have the roster depth. FAAB Bid: 5-7%
Mike Gesicki (MIA) Kudos to Mike Alexander for this one. Prior to our recording of The Two Minute Drill he mentioned that Gesicki has been lining up either in the slot of split out wide on over 90% of Miami’s offensive snaps. That’s insane for a tight end. He’s an athletic freak as well in case you missed this athletic grab on Sunday:
He's coming off a phenomenal game on Sunday despite the tough matchup. The matchups get a little easier as well with New England and Buffalo in the rearview. FAAB Bid: 12-13%
Jonnu Smith (TEN) Smith has been performing like a TE1 so far this season. He’s only seen a dozen targets in three games but he has three touchdowns already and four catches in each game. The injury to A.J. Brown benefitted Corey Davis for one game, but I’m not falling for Corey Davis this year. Yes, he scored on Sunday but I’d invest more in Smith than Davis given the scarcity at tight end since the upper-tier players have struggled. Smith and the Titans have a very good matchup coming up against the Vikings next week. That defense is pitiful with all the losses they’ve suffered in the secondary. FAAB Bid: 12-13%
Drew Sample (CIN) With all the news and injuries that emerged from Sunday, I’m thinking a lot of people forgot about the Thursday night game. Tight End C.J. Uzomah tore his achilles after developing some rapport with Joe Burrow. In Uzomah’s place, Sample stepped in and Gesicki wasn’t the only player making one-handed grabs in Week 2:
With Uzomah out of the game, Sample would go on to catch seven of nine targets for 45 yards. We typically see rookie quarterbacks rely on tight ends. They’re bigger targets with larger catch radii so despite the small sample (pun intended), this is a deep league player to target. FAAB Bid: 5-6%
Dalton Schultz (DAL) When Blake Jarwin was initially hurt, the general reaction was that it would benefit Michael Gallup or CeeDee Lamb. Hand up, I thought that would be the case as well. However, Schultz managed to get ten targets on Sunday. He caught nine of them for 88 yards and a touchdown and he was on the field for 57 offensive snaps. The game script was definitely in his favor as the Cowboys had to rally for that win after an atrocious first quarter where they turned the ball over four times. He won’t always have ten targets, but he emerged as another weapon at Dak Prescott ’s disposal on Sunday. FAAB Bid: 5%
Jordan Reed (SF) It was refreshing and great to see the Jordan Reed of old on Sunday. He looked great, he really did. However, he has some factors going against him this coming week. For starters, it looks like George Kittle will be back for the 49ers. They may use him as a decoy, or they may actually get him some targets to give the offense more juice with all the injuries they’ve incurred. The truth is, if Kittle’s healthy enough to go, they’ll put him out there. Hell, he enjoys blocking so he just wants to see the field. But Kittle’s presence negatively impacts Reed regardless. Also, Jimmy Garoppolo is dealing with a high ankle sprain. He has a chance to play next week, but it’s too early to tell. The two touchdowns and eight targets are enough to warrant consideration in deeper leagues for Reed, but hopefully Gesicki or Jonnu are available for you. FAAB Bid: 3-5%
Los Angeles Chargers – So far they haven’t lived up to the hype that I bestowed upon them in my D/ST previews over the summer. But I’m not concerned. They still have some great pass rushers and the secondary is fine. Last week, the numbers weren’t great but they played the best offensive team in the league. They get another home game this week against the Carolina Panthers who will be without Christian McCaffrey . Carolina’s offensive line is still weak and without their best weapon, this is a good matchup to go back to the Chargers. Hell, the Bucs managed to force four turnovers and five sacks last week against this team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Speak of the Devil! To no surprise I’m on board with Tampa Bay next week once again. Their defense is better than their offense, that’s been pretty obvious through two games. They get a pretty good matchup on the road in Denver. Although that altitude narrative will likely come into play for some players. But this is a revenge game for Shaquil Barrett and the Broncos in general are pretty beat up. Courtland Sutton is done for the year, Phillip Lindsay is out a little bit with turf toe, and Drew Lock won’t play either. This is a pretty safe matchup for the Bucs in Week 3.
Arizona Cardinals – Upon initial look at the Vegas Odds this week, there are no over/under’s that stand out for targeting a D/ST to stream. So why not go back to the well with Arizona? They have seven sacks through two games and they host the Lions on Sunday. The Cardinals aren’t yet an elite defense, but they’ve been far from the joke they were last year where you’d plug and play whichever tight end was facing them that week. The Lions are 0-2 and have generated just 44 points of offense so far. It’s a decent matchup to play the Cardinals once again.