I’m not too sure it’s overly dramatic to say that Week 2 might have been the worst week for injuries in a very long time. For fantasy football purposes, it might be up there as the worst ever. The NFL is a next man up league, so that’s where our focus is for NFL Week 3 Waiver Wire and the list of players is going to be long for this article. Let’s just take a quick look at the list of players who are out or likely to be out for and extended period of time.
That doesn’t even count players that we’re waiting for a diagnosis on, like Davante Adams, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cam Akers, Tevin Coleman and Tyrod Taylor. It was a minefield yesterday and we’re hoping every player has a quick and speedy recovery.
*Note* The ownership referenced will be based on Yahoo and if this needs updated after Monday Night Football, it certainly will be before your waivers run.
Baker Mayfield, Browns – 47% rostered
Baker is of course already rostered in 2QB leagues but if you’re looking for a streamer for the next couple of weeks, Mayfield is right up your alley. He gets the Washington Football Team this week, who have already given up over 550 passing yards and three scores through the air and then he gets the prime matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Neither defense has shown a ton of resistance, although at least Washington has a pass rush. Dallas has been shredded in both games so far and faces Seattle this week, so it’s not likely to get better.
Mayfield sits 10th in intended air yards and despite sitting just 21st in attempts, has three touchdowns already. Complimented by a strong running game, Mayfield is a nice stash. Even if you don’t need him this week, get ahead of the curve for Week 4 against Dallas.
Gardner Minshew – Jaguars, 32% rostered
I’m going to keep pounding this drum until Minshew is higher rostered than he is right now. He’s keeping the Jaguars in games at the moment and has thrown six touchdowns already. The accuracy is impressive at 49-65 for a 75% completion rate. He’s thriving in Jay Gruden’s offense and utilizing the tools he has.
The next couple of weeks are absolutely perfect for him too. He gets Miami on a short week who has a banged up secondary. They also just allowed over 400 yards passing to the new GOAT, Josh Allen. After that, he reels of matchups against the Bengals, Texans and Lions before his Week 7 bye. He needs to be on your radar the rest of the way.
Justin Herbert – Chargers, 3% rostered
Herbert did literally anything you could ask for from a rookie making his first start on an emergency basis. He threw a 66% completion rate, threw for a score and ran for another and only had one interception. He wasn’t exactly just a game manager either with throws like this.
Justin Herbert frozen rope🎯 pic.twitter.com/HY3m5H3fU9— PFF (@PFF) September 20, 2020
Justin Herbert frozen rope🎯 pic.twitter.com/HY3m5H3fU9
Head coach Anthony Lynn can say that Tyrod Taylor is the starter if he’s healthy all he wants. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, as it were. Herbert was a top-five draft pick, the future of the franchise, and just did that against the defending Super Bowl champ with no practice reps. This kid is going to be the starter really soon. He may not be the highest need for NFL Week 3 Waiver Wire. However, in a 2QB league especially, Herbert needs to be rostered right now.
Honorable Mention – Ryan Tannehill (efficient yet again, but the next four games include Pittsburgh and Buffalo, then a bye in the fifth week)
Mike Davis – Carolina Panthers, 4% rostered
Davis is likely the number one priority on every waiver wire this week (and a great argument for FAAB, but I digress) with the news CMC is going to miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain. After McCaffrey left, Davis reeled in seven receptions with the Panthers trailing. That’s going to happen an awful lot this season and Davis accounted for 17 routes as well. Even if other backs like Trenton Cannon or Reggie Bonnafon get some run in this backfield, CMC took up so much volume that Davis is still going to be gold. That’s especially true in PPR and if you can acquire him, you do it.
Jerick McKinnon/Tevin Coleman – 49ers, 23% and 53% rostered
This could be a bit of a tricky situation. Kyle Shanahan has never been shy about mixing and matching his backs, and now with Mostert on the shelf with a knee I still expect that to continue. Don’t be surprised to see Jeff Wilson Jr. or maybe even rookie JaMycal Hasty elevated off the practice squad. However, there’s two backs that should be the focus of this running attack and it’s McKinnon and Coleman.
For me, I’m going to lean towards the player who has more upside and through the first two games it’s McKinnon. The snaps are about equal at 36 for Coleman and 32 for McKinnon. Coleman has 18 rushes for 30 yards and 3 receptions for 34 yards, while McKinnon has 6 rushes for 101 yards and 3 receptions for 20 yards. McKinnon has also found the end zone twice to zero times for Coleman. You can argue that the 55 yard scamper for McKinnon skews everything and that’s not wrong. It also shows that one back has some burst and it sure doesn’t look like Coleman right now.
*Update* I can’t even get through the entire article without something bad happening. The 49ers now say that Coleman’s knee injury will keep him out multiple weeks. That puts McKinnon in a very high priority and it’s important to see who comes in off the practice squad as well. I still value Davis higher for NFL Week 3 Waiver Wire.
Darell Henderson, Rams – 32% rostered
With the loss of Cam Akers early in Philly, Henderson carved out 14 touches and a score against the Eagles. What should be noted is that Henderson did a lot of work in the fourth quarter, when the game was more or less over but Sean McVay has made it clear he’s going running back by committee this season. RBBC can still be quite valuable for fantasy when A. it’s being split between two backs and B. the team is second in rush attempts per game as the Rams are. With other high profile options, Henderson might be a bit overlooked.
Devonta Freeman, N/A – 13% rostered
This is a bit of an educated guess. We know that Saquon Barkley is done for the year with a torn ACL. We know that Freeman went to visit the Giants and considering their backfield is currently Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman, I would think Freeman finds a home. It could take a couple weeks to get up to speed sort of like Leonard Fournette in Tampa, but Freeman would have a huge role in New York. That’s even if Lewis and Gallman still get involved to some extent. He’s not a season changer but he could be on the flex radar and you can’t have enough RB depth. It can go away in a heartbeat.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers – 39% rostered
Guys, what are we doing that Kelley isn’t rostered all over? Sure, nobody expected him to sit fifth in carries among all running backs before Monday Night Football. We all knew that Austin Ekeler wasn’t going to go for 350 touches or so. Kelley is tied for third among running backs in red zone rushes. He may only be grinding out 3.5 yards per carry but he and Ekeler are tied for carries at 35. He even saw a couple targets this week. Just like the Rams, this RBBC is profitable for fantasy because the Chargers lead the league in rush attempts per game. That won’t change regardless of QB, they want to be a ground and pound team. Kelley needs to be on rosters now.
Honorable Mention – Myles Gaskin, Chase Edmonds if you have a burner spot on the roster
Russell Gage – Falcons, 22% rostered
Wide receivers might not be the primary need for most in NFL Week 3 Waiver Wire. Still, some players are looking for replacements. Another player who needs a significant increase in being rostered, Gage is a vital cog for the Atlanta offense. Their defense isn’t getting any better and the offense is going to have to carry them to any sort of victory. Only the Bengals are attempting more passes per game and Joe Burrow just threw the ball 61 times the last contest. In a premier passing offense, Gage is working the short field with an aDOT just over 7.0.
Not only has that led to a 71% catch rate, but he’s drawing comparable targets to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. He’s seen 21 targets over two games and is becoming a safety blanket for Matt Ryan. Even in a game where Hayden Hurst was involved, Gage still managed nine targets. There’s no sizzle but he is a dynamite PPR option at this point.
Keelan Cole/ Laviska Shenault, Jaguars – 3%/17% rostered
I don’t believe that Cole will continue to lead the Jags in targets with DJ Chark there, but it’s tough to ignore the chemistry with Minshew two weeks into the year. He’s caught almost every pass thrown his way so far and has a score in each game. With the Jaguars projected to be a fairly pass heavy team, Cole can be in the conversation for an every week flex option. Shenault is in the running as well, with another eight touches on Sunday. It’s great to see him get five rushing attempts because that could offset slower days in the passing game. Jacksonville is 20th in attempts, but only threw the ball 20 times in the opening week. Expect them to continue to climb in attempts and Cole and Shenault to climb with it.
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts – 15% rostered
It’s funny to look back at the draft and realize the Colts valued Pittman ahead of running back Jonathan Taylor, and they have both been pressed into immediate duty. Parris Campbell suffered a serious knee injury and after he was hurt, Pittman reeled in four receptions on six targets. The Indy offense has been battered by losing three skill position players already and Pittman should slide into the possession receiver role.
KJ Hamler, Broncos – 1% rostered
Drew Lock is out for multiple weeks and Sutton is done for the year, so there is some opportunity for Hamler. He walked into seven targets and mostly played out of the slot. That was almost 20% of the targets and should actually have a pretty solid chance of sustaining going forward. Receiver is deep, but Hamler is an explosive athlete that could be capable of some big games ahead.
Honorable Mention – Corey Davis, Tim Patrick
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys – 2% rostered
If you have Rob Gronkowski rostered, you need a replacement. I’d be lying if I said I knew who Schultz was before Blake Jarwin tore his ACL, but Dak Prescott sure knows him. Schultz was targeted 10 times on Sunday, catching nine balls for 88 yards and a score. Not only that, he ran 36 routes. The game script was upside down instantly for the Cowboys, but that defense is still poor. They might not be able to run as much as they’d like. Even in a crowded offense, Schultz holds appeal at what can still be a tough position to fill.
Drew Sample, Bengals – 1% rostered
With the news that C.J. Uzomah is done for the year, there’s an opening in the pecking order for targets in the Bengals offense. Both tight ends have combined for 22 targets, which would be second on the team behind only AJ Green. Eight of those 22 have come in the red zone and Sample already leads the team with five. Cincinnati is not a good squad this year, so Sample might be seeing plenty of volume to make him viable every week.
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts – 1%
Who would have known that Philip Rivers would throw to the tight end, regardless of which player it was? I made a serious error in my Game Breakdown by dismissing Alie-Cox. I don’t think he’s great, but the situation is as long as Jack Doyle is out. Rivers loves his backs and tight ends, and Alie-Cox delivered the first 100 yard game of his career. He matched the output that Doyle has in his career. If Doyle is out, Alie-Cox is a plug and play replacement.
Honorable Mention – I’m personally offended that Mike Gesicki is under 70% rostered on Yahoo.
Indianpolis – 41% rostered
The Colts are coming off dismantling the Vikings, causing three interceptions and recording a safety. They’ve racked up seven sacks through the first two weeks and have three turnovers. Playing the Jets in Indy should continue to help the Colts rack up some stats.
Tampa Bay – 50% rostered
They’re playing better than last year already and have a formidable front seven. Even marginal improvements from the secondary would be a big step. So far, they have six sacks and two turnovers. Tampa is also second heading into MNF with 17 tackles for a loss. With Denver so banged up on offense, they could have a field day.
LA Chargers – 30% rostered
This unit is two games into the season and has only surrendered a grand total of 36 points. One game was against Joe Burrow making his debut, but they held Patrick Mahomes and company to just 23 points and had them off-balance all day long. Only two turnovers and four sacks isn’t incredible on paper, but catch tin Carolina without CMC is going to help immensely.
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