Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Jones, NYG – DAMN, Daniel! Jones’
first career start was historic: He completed 23-of-36 passes
for 336 yards and two scores and had 28 rushing yards and two
scores on four carries – good for over 30 points in standard leagues
and one of the top performances in history by any quarterback
making his first start in the NFL. It’s one game, and the Bucs
played terribly in the second half, but he’s a priority add in
12-team formats if you were a Drew Brees or Big Ben owner.
Minshew, JAC – Minshew is still
available in most fantasy leagues and is coming off a solid win
on TNF, throwing for 204-2-0 and adding four carries for 18 yards.
He’s not a great option against the Broncos in Denver in Week
4, but he’s a worthy addition in deeper formats.
CAR –UPDATE: With
Cam Newton dealing with a Lisfranc injury, Allen could be the
Panthers QB for the next several weeks – at a minimum. He
was effective in the Panthers’ victory over the Cards in
Week 3, completing 19-of-26 passes for 261-4-0 with two fumbles
(just one lost) and making all the throws required of an NFL starter.
Even if surgery isn't planned for Newton, the non-surgical approach
to recovery from Lisfranc normally takes 4-8 weeks to heal, so
Newton could even be shut for the second consecutive season. Allen
is owned in just 1-2 percent of fantasy leagues and makes for
a decent add if you can’t get Daniel Jones and desperately
need a QB.
Keenum, WAS – I’ll update after
MNF, but right now it looks like Keenum will be a streaming option
against the Giants in Week 4.
UPDATE: Keenum completed 30-of-43
passes for 331 yards and 2 TDs! But he also threw three interceptions
and lost three fumbles – showing some poor decision-making
and almost getting benched. Keenum was under pressure from the
start and is in dire need of left tackle Trent Williams, who continues
to hold out. He’s only an option moving forward if he can
keep his job and the team shores up that offensive line.
Garoppolo, SF – Garoppolo completed
23-of-32 passes for 277 yards, one TD, and two interceptions in
the 49ers’ Week 3 win over the Steelers, and while the turnovers
somehow didn’t cost them a victory, the 49ers need to do a better
job of taking care of the football if Garoppolo is going to maximize
his fantasy output. This is his bye week.
BUF – Allen (who’s 72.8% ownership in ESPN leagues has
surpassed Philip Rivers – 71.4%) threw for 243-1-1 on 22-for-36
passing in Buffalo’s Week 3 win over the Bengals, adding nine
rushes for 46 yards. He’s a solid QB2 and Week 3 against the Patriots
has some shootout potential.
Dalton, CIN – Dalton (15-30 percent
owned) got the worst of this battle, completing just 20-of-36
passes for 249-1-2 in Week 3 against the aforementioned Bills.
He’ll be better once A.J. Green comes back, but for now is just
a QB2 in deeper leagues.
Bridgewater, NO – Bridgewater is
a competent game manager who completed 19-of-27 passes for 177-2-0,
adding another 12 yards on three carries Sunday in the Saints’
Week 3 victory over the Seahawks. He’s more mobile than Brees
but remains a fantasy backup.
Rudolph, PIT – Rudolph completed
14-of-27 passes for 174-2-1 in the Steelers’ Week 3 loss to the
49ers, adding four carries for 15 yards and a lost fumble. He’s
a far cry from Big Ben but could be an effective streamer on occasion.
Gallman, NYG – Gallman (1-5 percent
owned) is the top add this week since Saquon Barkley has a high
ankle sprain (he’s scheduled to have an MRI on Monday). X-rays
did not reveal a break, but the timetable for these types of sprains
can be anywhere from 2-8 weeks, and Barkley’s looked like a bad
one. Expect Gallman – who carried the rock just five times for
13 yards and failed to catch his only target during Sunday’s 32-31
win over the Buccaneers – to shoulder most of the load until Barkley
returns. Paul Perkins isn’t an option since he was claimed off
waivers by Lions following a pair of healthy scratches in weeks
1 and 2.
Jones, TB – Jones (40-50 percent
owned) can look awful or terrible, and Sunday he rushed 14 times
for 80 yards, catching his only target for 41 receiving yards
in Tampa Bay’s Week 3 loss to the Giants – a good day on most
accounts. He was the better runner in the backfield on Sunday,
out-performing Peyton Barber and making him worthy of RB3/FLEX
consideration against the Rams.
Pollard, DAL – Pollard got dropped
in a bunch of shallow formats after Ezekiel Elliott signed his
deal, but the rookie rushed 13 times for 103 yards and a TD in
the Cowboys’ Week 3 win over the Dolphins, adding three receptions
for 25 yards. He was used throughout the game, but the bulk of
his workload came in the second half, and his 16-yard score in
the fourth quarter was the first of his career. The Cowboys won’t
play the Dolphins any more this season, but Pollard is a must-own
handcuff for Zeke owners.
Williams, KC – Williams was touted
as the starter during pre-game warmups and ended up rushing nine
times for 62 yards in the Chiefs’ Week 3 win over the Ravens,
adding 5-47-0 receiving. But it was LeSean McCoy who got the scores,
and Williams saw a lot of work after McCoy tweaked his ankle injury
and left the game prior to the fourth quarter. He’s worth an addition
in most formats, even with Damien Williams slated to return soon.
Hyde, HOU – Hyde (50-65 percent
owned) rushed 10 times for 19 yards and a TD in the Texans’ Week
3 win over the Chargers, salvaging a decent day with a short rushing
TD after Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller got the Texans near the
goal line. He’s a must-own in all formats.
Mostert, SF – Mostert rushed 12
times for 79 yards in the 49ers’ Week 3 win over the Steelers,
losing out on goal line work to resident vulture Jeff Wilson.
The Niners’ RB committee is limiting the upside of everyone involved,
and they are on a Week 4 bye.
BUF – Gore rushed 14 times for 76 yards and a score in
Week 3 win over the Bengals, taking on the workhorse role with
Devin Singletary sidelined. There's a chance Singletary returns
next week, so this could have been Gore’s ceiling, but if Singletary
sits again, the veteran RB will be just a FLEX play for the matchup
with New England.
Samuels, PIT – James Conner played
without issue and Samuels had zero touches in the Steelers’ Week
3 loss to the 49ers.
Thompson, KC – Thompson was a distant
third in touches behind Williams and McCoy and rushed just four
times for 8 yards in Week 3.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Valdes-Scantling, GB – MVS had his
best game of the season, seeing 10 targets and catching 6-99-1
in the win over Denver and surpassing Davante Adams as the go-to
Week 3 guy for Aaron Rodgers. As the Packers’ primary deep threat,
Valdes-Scantling (45-60 percent owned) has weekly upside with
an accompanying low floor – but he makes for a viable WR3/4 at
home against the Eagles in Week 4.
Dorsett, NE – The Patriots dropped
Antonio Brown last week and Dorsett took advantage, hauling in
6-53-1 on seven targets in the Week 3 win over the Jets. Dorsett
(5-15 percent owned) is also used in the running game occasionally,
and had a couple carries for 12 yards on Sunday as well. He’s
a great add, especially with Julian Edelman nursing a chest injury
that knocked him out of Sunday’s game.
Akins, HOU – Akins (universally available) was a
big-play standout on Sunday with 3-73-2 on just three targets
in the Texans’ Week 3 win over the Chargers. While Watson throws
most of his passes to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, both Akins
and Kenny Stills have become more involved in the offense. He’s
a boom-or-bust TE2 moving forward.
Tate, NYG – Tate’s four-game suspension
is almost up, and the Giants offense will be more pass-heavy with
Jones under center and Barkley out for a while. A proven versatile
receiver with great hands, Tate is still available in about half
of fantasy leagues and this might be the last week to grab him,
even though he’s not playing in Week 4. He’s got WR3/4 value in
PPR leagues once he’s active.
Knox, BUF – Knox – a rookie third-round pick – caught
three of four targets for 67 yards and a TD while adding a nine-yard
rush in Sunday’s 21-17 win over the Bengals. It was a bona fide
breakout after seeing limited snaps in his first two games, and
the Bills need a TE to emerge as a viable option, making him a
worthy TE2 in deeper formats until Tyler Kroft (foot) returns
Robinson, KC – Robinson (60-70 percent
owned) caught 3-of-4 targets for 43 yards and a touchdown in the
Chiefs' Week 3 win over the Ravens. It wasn’t the game-breaking
type of performance he had in Week 2, but Robinson is one of many
Chiefs receiving option with tons of upside in the absence of
Hardman, KC – In Week 2, Hardman
(40-50 percent owned) hauled in 4-61-1, with the touchdown coming
on a nice double-move for a 42-yard gain. On Sunday he caught
just two passes for 97 yards, but one was an 83-yard touchdown
reception on a seam route. Hardman’s speed on this offense makes
him a viable boom-or-bust WR3/4 with Hill out.
Goodwin, SF – The speedy deep threat
caught both of his two targets for 41 yards in the 49ers’ Week
3 win over the Steelers, giving him eight through three weeks.
Goodwin's role as a deep target seems secure, even after they
emerge from their Week 4 bye.
Samuel, SF – Samuel had a relatively
quiet day with Garoppolo spreading the ball around to 10 different
receivers. The athletic wideout had 3-44-0 on four targets and
the 49ers are now on a bye.
Agholor, PHI – Agholor gave us a
real roller coaster ride on Sunday and ended up with a monster
game despite dropping a third down target in the first half and
losing a fumble inside the two-minute mark before halftime. His
best highlight came on a 20-yard touchdown sprint that helped
fuel a big day: 8-of-12 targets for 50 yards and two TDs. He’s
a WR2 until the rest of the WR corps is healthy.
Dissly, SEA – Dissly continues to be a solid red
zone target for Russell Wilson, hauling in six of seven targets
for 62 yards and a TD (on the last play of regulation) Sunday
in Seattle’s Week 3 loss to the Saints. He’s a low-end TE1 in
Week 4 facing a Cards team that has been battered by opposing