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Through The Wire - Week 3

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 9/21/20; Updated: 9/22/20 |

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. I’ll also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous week.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA – Fitzpatrick (just 1-2% owned) gave his old team quite a scare on Sunday, completing 31 of 47 passes for 328-2-0 in the Dolphins’ narrow 31-28 loss to the Bills. He also rushed thrice (that’s three times) for 12 yards and tossed a nifty little two-point conversion pass to Preston Williams, who – with DeVante Parker healthy – wasn’t much of a factor otherwise. The Bearded One is still the starting QB on a team that throws it a lot, and gets a favorable Week 3 Thursday night road matchup against the Jaguars, albeit on a short week.

Justin Herbert, LAC – Tyrod Taylor began Week 2 on the bench and never got in the game because of chest pains he experienced during warm-ups, and Herbert answered the call in the starting role. The rookie completed 22 of 33 passes for 311-1-1, adding 18 rushing yards and a TD on four carries in the 23-20 overtime loss to Kansas City. The early word from coach Anthony Lynn is that Taylor would remain the starter if he's 100 percent for Week 3, so we’ll have to monitor this. If he starts, Herbert is a viable QB2 in a plus matchup.

UPDATE: The Chargers cleared up the mystery surrounding Taylor’s injury by detailing that it was due to complications from a pre-game painkiller injection to treat his rib injury. Lynn got a little salty when he reiterated Monday that “the veteran quarterback (Taylor) right now gives us the best chance to win. It’s not like we won the damn game yesterday. We lost last time I checked.” Fair enough, coach. Both Taylor and Herbert seem capable of leading this offense and we’ll just have to stay tuned to the reports coming out of Los Angeles.

Ryan Tannehill, TEN – My sincere apologies to anyone who asked me if they should insert Tannehill over “X” QB in Week 2, but I was expecting a Derrick Henry game – not 239-4-0 from the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year – in Week 2. Tannehill now gets another favorable matchup in Week 3 against a Vikings defense that has surrendered a boatload of passing yards and five passing TDs through its first two games.

Gardner Minshew, JAC – UPDATE: I had GM3 (owned in about 20-35% of leagues) listed in QBs to consider but figure he warrants his own blurb given his performance thus far in 2020 and the next four matchups on the docket for the Jags (MIA, @CIN, @HOU, DET). The Dolphins have been terrible against the pass this year and Fitzpatrick and the offense are just good enough to keep this close enough for a shootout. The same goes for the other upcoming matchups, so if you’re a believer in Uncle Rico (AKA the Jock Strap King) rostering him for what might be the most productive stretch of his 2020 season is probably a good move.

Other QBs to consider: Jared Goff, Gardner Minshew, Jeff Driskel (deep league only)


Philip Rivers, IND – Rivers completed 19 of 25 pass attempts for 214-1-1 during Sunday’s 28-11 win over the Vikings, and while this was a disappointment, he still has a couple of plus matchups on the way (NYJ, @CHI, @CLE in the next three weeks).

Mitchell Trubisky, CHI – Trubisky wasn’t quite as sharp in Week 2 as his 2020 debut, but he did complete 18 of 28 passes for 190-2-2 in Chicago's 17-13 victory over the Giants. The Bears should have won this game by three TDs.

UPDATE: For those streaming QBs, Trubisky actually has the best matchup (on paper) for Week 3. He's facing the Falcons, who have given up the most points to fantasy QBs over the first two weeks, though the QBs were Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott – both among the top 10 signal callers in the NFL. Trubisky does not qualify for that company, but he’s an option.

Saquon Barkley

Running Backs

Mike Davis, CAR – Heading into Week 2 Davis (less than 1% owned) wasn’t much of a fantasy option, but now we have an injury to Christian McCaffrey that will have him missing multiple weeks and could have enormous fallout. Davis logged just one carry as the Panthers were already pretty far behind the Bucs, but he tallied 8-74-0 receiving and will be the top running back add heading into a Week 3 road matchup versus the Chargers.

UPDATE: I’m starting to get a little concerned that folks might be spending too much FAAB money on Davis because I’ve listed him as the top RB waiver wire addition this week, so I’m reiterating that we do not know just how Davis will be used outside of the passing game in Week 3 and beyond. He did have some success in Seattle in 2018, rushing for 514 yards and 4 TDs on 112 carries (4.6 YPC), but he’s struggled finding running room in traditional early down carries since then. Temper your expectations and remember that CMC will probably be back in a few weeks.

Darrell Henderson, LAR – With Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers out of the game, Henderson (40-45% owned) rushed 12 times for 81 yards and a TD, adding 2-40-0 receiving in the Rams’ 37-19 win over the Eagles on Sunday. Akers was forced out of the game with a rib injury, vaulting Henderson into RB3 territory for a tough matchup with the Bills in Week 3.

UPDATE: Akers has been diagnosed with separated cartilage in his ribs and is being called “day-to-day” but that sounds more like “week-to-week” for a rookie RB. Brown had surgery on his broken pinky finger and is expected to play in Week 3, most likely in a limited role. Henderson isn’t a major priority long-term, but he could be forced into a high volume of touches if both these other Rams backs don’t get much practice time and are having issues come Sunday.

Dion Lewis, NYG – I included Lewis in my Week 1 column under RBs to consider when he was just 1% owned, so if you didn’t handcuff him to Saquon Barkley (torn ACL), you’ll be scrambling along with everyone else to pick him up. He’s fast and a solid pass-catching back who will have the most value in PPR leagues.

UPDATE: As expected, Devonta Freeman is scheduled to visit with the Giants today (Tuesday), and if he’s signed we could see Lewis cast specifically in his usual role as a passing down back. Still, the Giants will likely be faced with negative game scripts for the time being, which means that he’s got plenty of value, especially in PPR leagues. A Freeman signing would definitely complicate the issue and create more of a committee situation rather than a Lewis-Gallman timeshare.

Wayne Gallman, NYG – Lewis alone can’t fill the void left by Barkley, so Gallman is fantasy relevant one again (for now), and he’s done well when given opportunities. We’ll also probably see another veteran back (Devonta Freeman?) being added in the coming days to help bolster the depth chart.

Myles Gaskin, MIA – The Dolphins have both Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, but Gaskin was the most electric back on Sunday, rushing seven times for 46 yards and hauling in 6-36-0 on seven targets in the Dolphins’ 31-28 loss to the Bills on Sunday. He’ll be worth a look in a Week 3 road matchup against the Jaguars on Thursday night.

Jerick McKinnon/Jeff Wilson, SF – As the passing down back in the San Fran offense, McKinnon (20% owned) will assume a few more touches per game if Raheem Mostert (MCL sprain) misses time. With Tevin Coleman (knee) also on the shelf Wilson is worthy of attention and will likely get work on early downs.

UPDATE: Dynasty leaguers might also want to take a gander at UDFA JaMychal Hasty, who impressed in the truncated training camp and could be promoted from the practice squad for depth.

Other RBs to consider: La’Mical Perine, Darwin Thompson, J.D. McKissic, Brian Hill


Malcolm Brown, LAR – He tallied 47 rushing yards on 11 carries and injured his finger during Sunday’s 37-19 win. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Brown is expected to play in Week 3, though I’d hazard to guess how many actual touches he’ll get fresh off pinky surgery.

Nyheim Hines, IND – Hines was nowhere to be found on Sunday as Jonathan Taylor handled a bellcow type workload in Week 2.

Benny Snell, PIT – James Conner played, and Snell ran just three times for 5 yards (and lost a fumble) in Pittsburgh's 26-21 win over Denver Sunday. Back to irrelevance, Benny!

Peyton Barber, WAS – One carry this week. This is why we hate Peyton Barber as a fantasy back and do not roster, play or trust him.

Joshua Kelley, LAC – Kelley carried the ball a team-high 23 times for 64 yards and hauled in two of three targets for 49 receiving yards in Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to Kansas City. He’s obviously not going away and could have some monster performances in the right game scripts.

UPDATE: Lynn’s comments about the Herbert/Taylor situation remind me that Justin Jackson (quad) is still waiting in the wings for short-yardage and early-down/goal line touches when he’s healthy. Something to remember if you’re thinking about long-term RB issues.

Frank Gore, NYJ – Gore had a rough time against his old team on Sunday, rushing for 63 yards on 21 carries. He’s not the answer to the Jets’ woes.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Keelan Cole, JAC – Cole has outperformed D.J. Chark for two straight weeks now, catching 6-58-1 on seven targets Sunday in the loss to Tennessee. Owned in just 1-2% of fantasy leagues, he should be rostered in all 12-team leagues going forward in this offense that’s passing a lot more (and getting more creative) in 2020.

Tre’Quan Smith, NO – UPDATE: On Monday night, Smith (15-20% owned) seemed most suited (outside of Alvin Kamara) to assume the high-volume workload the Saints need to disperse among their WR corps. He hauled in 5-86-0 on seven targets and is a bigger bodied WR with some speed who could impress in the coming weeks. The Packers – who have been scoring almost at will – might force the Saints to throw the ball a lot in Week 3.

Jalen Reagor, PHI – The biggest takeaway from Sunday was that Reagor (25% owned) ran 61 routes against the Rams, 15 more than Week 1 against Washington. He also hauled in all four of his targets for a 4-44-0 receiving line, and his increasing playing time combined with his “deep threat” qualities could mean ramped up (if uneven) fantasy production for the rookie.

Curtis Samuel, CAR – The CMC injury could mean more targets for Samuel (40-45% owned) in the coming weeks. The speedy WR had just 2-13-0 receiving but added four rushes for 26 yards in the Panthers’31-17 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Michael Pittman Jr., IND – UPDATE: The Parris Campbell injury (PCL, out indefinitely) thrust Pittman (15-20% owned), a rookie WR out of USC with size (6-4, 225) and speed (4.52 40-YD), into a larger role against the Vikings (4-37-0 on six targets). He’s physical and has a huge catch radius that will help in the red zone. He’s worth adding in 12-team leagues for his TD upside alone.

Damiere Byrd, NE – Byrd was on the field for 56 of a possible 64 snaps on offense in Sunday's 21-11 win over the Dolphins, Mike Reiss of reports. He totaled 6-72-0 on nine targets in Week 2.

Braxton Berrios, NYJ – Thrust into a high-volume role after injuries to Jamison Crowder (inactive), Breshard Perriman (ankle) and Chris Hogan (ribs), Berrios caught 6-59-1 on eight targets on Sunday. If those guys are out in Week 3, we could see Berrios lead the team in targets.

UPDATE: No hard news on Crowder’s balky hamstring, but he was close to playing last week and could be back in the mix in Week 3, complicating what could have been monster volume for Berrios.

TE Mike Gesicki, MIA – Gesicki is a TE in name only, as he is deployed primarily from the slot. He had a monster game on Sunday with 8-129-1 on 11 targets and has now seen over one-fifth of Miami's targets through the first two weeks. He’s a top TE play in Week 3 against a Jacksonville unit fresh off yielding a career day to Jonnu Smith.

TE Jonnu Smith, TEN – Speaking of Jonnu (4-84-2 on five targets Sunday), I included both him and Gesicki in my Week 1 piece, and I’ll add them again here since they’re still both under 50 percent ownership on ESPN.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Chase Claypool, K.J. Hamler, Cole Beasley, Justin Jefferson, N’Keal Harry, TE Mo Alie-Cox, TE Dalton Schultz


Allen Lazard. GB – Lazard caught just 3-45-0 on five targets in the win over Detroit, and he’s looked somewhat pedestrian compared Marquez Valdes-Scantling (more on MVS later). Both he and MVS will be thrust into more targets next week if Davante Adams is forced to miss time with his hamstring injury.

UPDATE: Adams apparently wanted to re-enter Sunday’s game, so the hammy issue could be a minor one. Expect the elite WR to be back in action in Week 3 and Lazard to assume his usual role.

Russell Gage, ATL – Gage caught 6-46-1 on nine targets during Sunday's 40-39 loss to the Cowboys, and he did it while Hayden Hurst had a fine day and Calvin Ridley had two TD catches.

UPDATE: Julio Jones has ben playing through a hamstring issue of his own, so we could see Gage maintain solid value over the next few weeks as Julio gets what might be a less-than-normal target load.

Marques Valdes-Scantling, GB – MVS (15-20% owned) caught three of seven targets for 64 yards in Sunday’s 42-21 win over the Lions, and his value is on the upswing.

Corey Davis, TEN – Davis followed up a transcendent Week 1 performance with 3-36-1 on five targets during Sunday's 33-30 win against the Jaguars. He’s a WR3/4 with upside.

Laviska Shenault, JAC – I’m glad I rostered Shenault in a couple of deeper leagues because he added five rushes for 37 yards to his 3-35-0 line (four targets) in the loss to Tennessee. The Jaguars have really expanded Shenault’s role as a flex back/receiver, and he’s gaining fantasy value each week.

James Washington, PIT – Washington had just 3-22-0 on five targets, but there will be games where he’ll make sense as a WR4/flex. For now, though, he’s okay to drop for one of the big-ticket waiver wire additions.

TE Dallas Goedert, PHI – Goedert finished Sunday with 4-30-0 on eight targets and has now seen one more target than TE1 Zach Ertz in each of the first two weeks. Both could be viable against Cincinnati in Week 3.