Week 3 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: DeMarcus Robinson, Benny Snell And More
(Most) of Week Two is in the books! In what is the first of many very bizarre weeks of the NFL season, we had two Hall Of Fame quarterbacks leave games early, two top 12 running backs sustain injury and half of the Philadelphia Eagles’ pass catchers limped off the field at some point during Sunday Night Football. It should be a fairly active week for fantasy football waiver wire bidding, especially if one or more of the running back injuries sustained on Sunday is serious.
Early on in the season, we should prioritize potential difference-makers on the fantasy football waiver wire. There are always going to be borderline wide receivers who pop up with a big game that are popular adds on the fantasy football waiver wire but end up not being long-term fantasy starters. In the first month or so, I will be looking for difference makers at running back and wide receiver with the other positions (quarterback and tight end) taking slightly less precedence unless there is a potential league winner out there.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
Absolutely Should Be Owned In Every League But You Will See There Name In Other Fantasy Football Waiver Pieces: John Ross, Terry McLaurin, D.K Metcalf, Greg Olsen, Raheem Mostert, Malcolm Brown
Potential Difference Makers (These are players worth > 30% of your FAAB, or the #1 overall waiver claim) From The Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
Jaylen Samuels/Benny Snell: Ben Roethlisberger’s season has been ended with a right elbow injury but the bigger shift in the world of fantasy football is the health of James Conner. Conner left the home loss to the Seahawks early with a knee injury. If he has to miss any significant time, Jaylen Samuels will be the clear top add in all of fantasy football. Last year, in games that Conner missed, Samuels averaged over 17 touches per game. Benny Snell is the secondary add, as he surprisingly got a first-quarter carry in this game and would likely split the work up with Samuels more than the Steelers have in the past. We will likely know more about Conner’s health by the time your waiver bids are due. If he is out for several weeks, feel free to go wild on Samuels. I will also be making decent-sized bids on Benny Snell, especially on my Zero RB teams.
Darwin Thompson: Not only did Damien Williams leave this game against the Raiders with a knee injury, but LeSean McCoy left the game early with an injury as well! Darwin is probably the most likely of these players to be owned because we have spent so much time harping on him as a pick in our podcasts and Zero RB articles but if Damien and/or McCoy are likely to miss time, Darwin is the best add in fantasy football. The Chiefs were one of the worst running teams in the league on Sunday with neither Shady or Williams exceeding 2.1 yards per carry. The real value of a KC back is how they perform in the passing game. That is why healthy Damien Williams is valuable for fantasy and it is especially why Darwin will be worth an add. You are not likely to have to spend a ton of FAAB on Thompson in a normal league but he is very clearly a top add as soon as he starts to see consistent snaps for the Chiefs.
DeMarcus Robinson/Mecole Hardman: What I wrote about these two last week seems like it is going to be the case “I am going to be very aggressive about adding these two players on my personal rosters, especially in 12-team leagues where they might not even be popular adds. Playing in the Kansas City Chiefs offense makes anyone a potential fantasy football starter. Hardman played 90% of the teams’ snaps in Week One but only received one target. That ratio is going to spike massively over the next few weeks with Tyreek Hill possibly being placed on the IR-designated for return. Robinson saw only two targets but please do not let the limited games by this two dissuade you. The starting 11 personnel for the Chiefs over the next month is going to be Watkins-Robinson-Hardman-Kelce-Williams/McCoy. You want to own as many of those players as possible. There are legitimately outcomes where Hill’s injury is worse than expected and one or both of Robinson and Hardman finish as top 30 wide receivers in fantasy points per game.” Hardman had six targets while Robinson had seven in this blowout of the Raiders. Hardman’s line could have been twice as good but he had a 72-yard penalty wiped off by holding. You want as many Chiefs players as possible, go get them!
Overall, at the very high end, this is going to be a week that is predicated on injury reporting. If it looks like Conner isn’t going to miss significant time, there is no reason to roster Benny Snell. If Damien and McCoy were just pulled off for precautionary reasons, Darwin Thompson should be rostered but not spent heavily on.
Borderline Starters (These players likely are coming off a good game but do not project as fantasy studs, worth less than 25% of your FAAB) From The Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
Frank Gore: Devin Singletary left the game against the Giants with a hamstring injury and for the 209th time since the NFL started in 1919, Frank Gore will find himself the starting running back for an NFL team. Gore is being used very minimally in the passing game with only 2 targets through two games but that should not matter much for Gore if Singletary was too miss significant time. Gore is only 8% owned in Yahoo! fantasy leagues and I would expect and hope that percentage rises. I am in several deep formats, like the FFPC Main Event, where Gore might be a top priority add due to the depth of the league and his projected workload if Singletary was actually hurt.
Deebo Samuel: Rookie wide receivers have been a dominant theme of the fantasy football waiver wire through two weeks of the NFL season and Samuel is no exception. Through two games, he leads San Francisco 49ers wide receivers in targets, snaps, receptions, and yards. Dante Pettis is a thing of the past and the teams’ offense looked much better in Week Two than in Week One against Tampa. Samuel was a really intriguing prospect and any time a wide receiver has the potential to earn a market share of targets over 20%, they are a worthy add in fantasy.
D.J Chark: Through two weeks of the season, it looks like Chark and not Dede Westbrook is going to be the alpha wide receiver on a team that is going to trail and therefore throw, a lot. Chark has the most targets, Air Yards, receiving yards, touchdowns and the highest Average Depth Of Target on the Jaguars with both Foles and Gardner Minshew in at quarterback. I think Chark might actually even be better than borderline; he seems more likely to be a fantasy football starter at WR than not.
James Washington: Newly minted Steelers starting QB Mason Rudolph was college teammates with James Washington; I don’t think that is predictive but I know that people love to hear that. What really matters is that Washington has sent Donte Moncrief to the bench and it is more likely than not that Washington finishes second on the Steelers in targets behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. Washington has the needed athleticism to be a difference-maker in fantasy and also fits the definition of a second-year breakout. I really like him as an add, but not as much Chark.
Will Dissly: Dissly spent most of the week on the injury report before converting all five of his targets into receptions and scoring two touchdowns in the Seahawks road game against the Steelers. Most Seattle pass catchers (looking at you, Tyler Lockett) are going to be better plays on the road than at home because the Seahawks are not as easily able to control games away from Century Link Field. Obviously, a player with seven targets through two games can’t be a top priority addition but this offense does need someone who fills the role that Dissly theoretically does.
Carlos Hyde: After taking a clear backseat to Duke Johnson in the Texans first game against the Saints, it was Hyde who was the lead runner for Houston against Jacksonville. There seems to be a dichomty forming where Johnson will be on the field when the team is trying to score points or, you know, move the ball. When they are trying to salt the clock or control the ball, Hyde will be the lead rusher. Hyde now has 30 carries through two games but only one target. Johnson is still the back you’d rather own but Hyde should be owned in all 12 team leagues at this point.
Honorable Mention Borderline Starters: Nelson Agholor (worth 10% of FAAB or so with injuries to DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, with no clear update), Peyton Barber (From what I can tell, Barber is the player most likely to be owned in more competitive leagues and less likely to be owned in casual leagues; I am personally adding him on several teams where my RB2 options are pathetic after he lead Tampa Bay in rushing and snaps on Thursday night), Golden Tate (likely will not even have to use FAAB on Tate if he has been dropped in your league, I don’t advocate rostering suspended or injured players but Tate will likely lead the Giants in targets upon his return)
Deep League Targets And Bench Stashes From The Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
Randall Cobb/Devin Smith: The Dallas Cowboys offense looks like it might be the very best in the league. Dak Prescott followed up the best game of his career with a 50+ yard touchdown strike to Devin Smith, taking only one sack and having his only turnover of the year happen through the fault of Cobb. Smith would only be an add in 14+ team leagues but Cobb is someone who I think has an argument to be rostered in 12 team leagues given how explosive Dallas been through two weeks.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside/Mack Hollins: Agholor is the top priority add here but Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert all sustaining injuries on Sunday Night, Arcega-Whiteside might find himself as a “starter” sooner rather than later. Hollins had an absurd eight targets in the SNF game after replacing the injured boundary wide receivers but if I had to use a roster spot on one of these two guys, it would be JJAW due to his physical upside.
Preston Williams: I have no interest in adding Dolphins players to my fantasy football teams at this time but Williams does have five and six targets in back to back weeks for a team that is going to do nothing but trail in games. Williams was a very productive player at Colorado State and if you were going to choose one of these wide receivers to actually do something with the plethora of awful targets, Williams would be the guy.
KeeSean Johnson/Damiere Byrd: Arizona is riding this 10 personnel thing to the hilt. They threw the ball over 40 times while calling only eight designed runs on the road against Baltimore. Byrd saw seven targets after having 10 last week against Detroit while Johnson saw his target number fall down to only 2. It seemed as if Mike Crabtree influenced Johnson’s numbers a little bit but reporting from the team suggests that when Crabtree gets up to speed, he will be replacing Byrd and not Johnson. Both should be rostered in 14+ team formats and given that Johnson/Crabtree split snaps, there is probably an argument for Crabtree to be rostered as well.
Jeff Wilson: While Wilson’s stat line looks pretty great (10 carries, two touchdowns) he was not a regular part of the game plan and would only garner a start in 12 or 14 team leagues if Raheem Mostert was to get injured over the next few weeks. HOWEVER, picking Wilson up in deeper formats is an advisable idea and instructive of something we should always remember moving forward. With every running back injury, a new player arrives on the fantasy scene. It could be someone from a practice squad, a player who is on another team but will be cut and move to a new team or a guy who is sitting on the couch right now. At this point last year, had you thought about Josh Adams or Damien Williams? Probably not. We should always be as proactive as possible at the running back position and when a guy like Wilson sees an injury three players ahead of him on the depth chart, he is a great proactive add.
Super Deep Targets/”Beat Them To The Wire” Potential Week Four Adds: Alfred Morris (The Cowboys are 20+ point favorites at home against Miami, Morris is likely to be activated for second-half duty in this game (seriously)), T.J Yeldon (If Singletary misses multiple weeks, I would expect Yeldon to become the Bills primary passing-down running back), Darrell Williams (One of the sneakiest adds on the board, with Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy potentially injured, Williams is actually a high priority add in deep formats)
Look Ahead Defense Bids (5% of FAAB or less): Los Angeles Chargers (The Chargers play the Dolphins in Week Four so they will be the top defense that week), San Francisco 49ers (Will get the first post-Big Ben Steelers team and will play them at home)