The Waiver Wire: Week 3
Welcome back everyone to your favorite weekly waiver wire article! Week 2 had it all! Fitzmagic & chest hair, 6 TD passes by Mahomes vs the Steelers, Keelan Cole with the catch of the year, Todd Gurley & Melvin Gordon single handily winning people their fantasy matchups and Captain Kirk (cousins) outdueled Aaron Rogers at Lambeau Field.
Week 2 also had it’s fair share of drama as well. The Browns were busy! On Sunday they almost won their first game in over a year but missed an XP that would have given them the lead and then missed a game-winning FG with almost no time left. Then yesterday the Cleveland Browns traded Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots. Yep, the 5-time super bowl champions just upgraded their wide receiving core and all it took was a 5th round pick. The move opens a spot up in Cleveland and you can be damn sure a Brown or two make the list this week!
We also had a few injuries. Joe Mixon is going to miss 2 to 4 weeks due to a knee scope, LeSean McCoy has broken rib cartilage but is hoping to play this week, Mike Wallace was carted off with a bad ankle injury and did not return and both Leonard Fournette (who did not play in week 2) & Dalvin Cook are nursing hamstring injuries.
Let’s take a look at who you should be targeting this week on your waiver wire!
As a disclaimer, all players must be owned by less than 60% of ESPN or Yahoo leagues. Ownership percentages are in parenthesizes. Below I have ranked the top 3 adds at each position with a bonus player or two sprinkled in throughout.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (ESPN 31% / Yahoo 23%): Fitzmagic was once again on display Sunday as the bearded led the Buccaneers to another upset. This time it was against the defending Super Bowl Champs and the same defense that didn’t allow Matt Ryan to throw a single touchdown pass in week 1 the Philadelphia Eagles. I don’t know if Jameis is going to win the starting QB job back once he returns from suspension but what I do know is Fitzmagic is alive & well. If he continues this level of play, the organization will have to ride this heat wave out. Bye weeks are coming and you don’t want to miss out if Fitzpatrick continues to be one of the hottest QBs in the league.
Blake Bortles (ESPN 10% / Yahoo 28%): Ok I am going to admit I am a big BB fan when it comes to Fantasy. I am also going off of some recency bias as he just torched my home team New England Patriots. In games, Fournette has missed Bortles is 4-0 and they have averaged 31.5 pts! Even when Fournette comes back I think this team knows it can put up points when it has to lean on the arm of Bortles. Look for more Corey Grant packages and more Keelan Cole & DeDe Westbrook as the season moves forward.
Derek Carr (ESPN 25% / Yahoo 42%): Carr rebounded nicely after a terrible outing on Monday Night Football to open up the season. The numbers don’t jump off the screen at you like a Fitzpatrick, Bortles, or even Dalton but I liked what he and Amari Cooper were able to do in this game when the entire offense was out there. Dalton is off to a 2-0 start and is a fantastic QB pickup if you need to start someone right now. I think Carr could be a good stash in deeper leagues as I am intrigued to see how he will progress with Gruden in his ear.
Bonus: Baker Mayfield (ESPN 7% / Yahoo 0%): Our first Cleveland Brown is, of course, the first overall pick Mr. moving company himself Baker Mayfield. Don’t look now but the Browns are 0-2. They just traded away Josh Gordon and dropped Corey Coleman before the season even started. Tyrod has been ok but not good enough to stop the rumblings from the front office and the fans to see their 1st overall pick on the field. I don’t think Mayfield starts this week but 0-4 or a 0-5 start and a change will be made. If you have the roster space this is a great move to make now to beat your opponents to the punch!
Aaron Jones (ESPN 45% / Yahoo 61%): Aaron Jones is back from suspension and boy does the Green Bay backfield need him. Jamaal Williams has been serviceable but not great only averaging just over 3 YPC and has zero rushing touchdowns. Jones is an explosive talented runner who has the ability to take it to the house on every run. Jones should be the top target unless you suffered an injury at another position.
Giovani Bernard (ESPN 39% / Yahoo 28%): The injury to Mixon opens the door all be it for only 4 weeks for Gio to start for the Bengals. With little competition outside of Mark Walton a rookie from Miami, Gio should see 14-17 carries per game on top of his normal passing workload. This is not a long-term investment play but worth rostering especially with bye weeks around the corner.
Javorius Allen (ESPN 18% / Yahoo 8%): Better known as Buck Allen, the Ravens primary 3rd down RB has been ultra-efficient in the red zone to start the year and it’s the reason why he made the list this week. Allen has seen 2 less RZ carries (2) than Alex Collins (4) but has converted both of his red zone opportunities into touchdowns. On Thursday Night Troy Aikman called Buck Allen the Ravens primary GL running back. Now I neither agree nor disagree with this statement as I don’t know the situation as well as say Troy Aikman should but if it does become true Allen’s value will rise. Javorius Allen is a boom or bust flex play in PPR leagues but if the RZ opportunities continue to come his way, Allen may just be able to become a high-end flex / low-end RB2.
Bonus: Austin Ekeler (ESPN 42% / Yahoo 44%): Ekeler makes the list this week not only because on the 40+ snaps he has seen this season he has been productive (24/224/1 total yards) but because he has seen the same amount of red zone carries as Melvin Gordon (3). Ekeler is a great flex PPR option weekly as part of the high powered Chargers offense and doesn’t lose value around the goal line. Ekeler is a top satellite back plus pick up who has stand-alone value on top of the baked in volume he would automatically receive with an injury to Gordon.
John Brown (ESPN 24% / Yahoo 25%): John Brown is the number 1 receiver in Baltimore. Brown has 14 targets for 136 yards and has scored in his first two games as a Baltimore Raven. Right now, Brown is seeing career highs in Y/R (19.4) & Y/G (68). Brown is the top WR to target and my #2 waiver wire target behind Aaron Jones.
Keelan Cole (ESPN 48% / Yahoo 49%): Not only did Keelan Cole have the potential catch of the year Sunday, but he also showcased the skill set that makes him a very exciting fantasy prospect. Already an exceptional athlete, Cole is seeing increased volume due to the season-ending injury to Marquise Lee and then Leonard Fournette missing Sunday’s game. Cole has led the WR core in snaps over the first two week’s and with more teams keying in on the Jaguars potent running game, Cole and his counterparts will see favorable one on one matchups each and every week.
Antonio Callaway (ESPN 4% / Yahoo 7%): As I told you, Josh Gordon got traded yesterday to New England. Well, the biggest benefactor of the trade outside of the Patriots is the rookie speedster from Florida Antonio Callaway. Callaway is a raw prospect that possesses blazing top-end speed and very good hands. With Josh Gordon sidelined with a “hamstring” injury Callaway in only his 2nd game of his career saw a career high in snaps (50) and had the second most team targets (6) to go along with what should have been a game-winning touchdown catch. The Browns offense is not good so outside snap & target volume owning a Brown’s WR not named Landry could be a bit of a roller coaster ride until Mayfield starts.
Eric Ebron (ESPN 35% / Yahoo 55%): Two weeks, two touchdowns. The snap count dropped dramatically in week 2 (17) but with the dumpster fire that is the TE position in fantasy football, you can do a lot worse then Ebron. He is not a weekly starter by any stretch of the imagination but I can’t advise you to pick up Jesse Jams after his first ever 100+ yard game and I think Vance McDonald is better. Luck has shown he loves to attack the red zone by throwing to his TEs. Embrace the efficiency and then close your eyes and hang on!
Austin Hooper (ESPN 17% / Yahoo 17%): Maybe I want Hooper to be a thing in fantasy soo bad I am picking him this week but I think the Falcons turned a corner this week vs a very good Panthers defense. Hooper was his normal self 5 for 50+ yards but this week the Falcons were able to score in the red zone not once but twice. With one of those red zone touchdowns being caught by Hooper. Hooper is a safe floor TE I get it but if they can continue to utilize him around the end zone then he might just be much more! I still believe!!
Jake Butt (ESPN 2% / Yahoo 3%): “Oh my god Becky, look at her BUTT!” I like Jake Butt and I can not lie. We all know Jake Butt’s story but he is finally healthy and contributing for a good Denver Broncos team. With little competition at Tight End (only Jeff Heuerman is above him on the depth chart) Butt has seen a respectable snap share these first two weeks (49% wk1 & 39% wk2) and has 4 targets in each of those two games. Like some of my other stashes Butt is more of a suggestion for those who have deeper benches as I envision him being the every down TE by the middle of the season. Once that happens his talent will take over and he could become an every week starter for you down the stretch.
That will do it for Week 3! Don’t forget to get those waiver claims in and thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it. You can find me on Twitter @Trotta23. If you need EVEN more fantasy advice, you can follow us on Twitter @TFFGurus & you can find all our season-long advice at www.tffgurus.com. I will see you all next Tuesday for another edition of The Waiver Wire. Until then may the health gods be forever in your favor.