The second week of the NFL season was like the Red Wedding from “Game of Thrones.” We shouldve heard the Rains of Castamere coming whenNick BosaandParris Campbellwent down early, and then it was all downhill when Saquon Barkley got hurt. That was basically Robb Starks offing. Try to remain optimistic if you got bit by the injury bug. Most fantasy football owners did. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, well breathe new life into your fantasy team heading into Week 3. There are plenty of options on waiver wires this week (Darrell Henderson, Mike Davis, Jerick McKinnon, Devonta Freeman, etc.), but, hey, we thought there were some solid pickups last week, too. Hopefully if your waivers run through FAAB, you followed my projected bid suggestions and got outbid by other owners, especially onMalcolm Brown.
But we should ask ourselves how desperate are we heading into waiver claims? Like you, I lost Christian McCaffrey in two leagues and I lostSaquon Barkley in another. If youre in a league where you skated by, maybe you let other owners who are desperate enough to wipe out their FAAB budget on the chalky adds this week. If you are in need of running back help, then youll need to make a run at one or two guys listed below. Again, were only in Week 3. This is why running back depth is so important, and well look to bolster our rosters and salvage our seasons.
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As we’ll do every week this season, we’ll break down the top pickups and project how much of your FAAB budget you should bid on them.
Week 3Fantasy Football FAAB targets: Waiver wire QB pickups
Gardner Minshew(JAX). This is now the third straight week that Minshew has made the waiver column, and his ownership on ESPN has hardly budged. I get it — you probably have a quarterback youre more comfortable starting. But given what weve seen and how competitive the Jaguars have been through two games, here are players Im starting Minshew over:Carson Wentz,Matthew Stafford,Tom Brady,Jared Goff,Daniel Jones,Derek Carr, andPhilip Rivers. I could keep naming worse quarterbacks, but Minshew has at least 20 points in four-point per passing touchdown leagues so far in both weeks. Game flow will somehow always be in there favor whether its for garbage time or theyre actually in it to win it. You cant really ever seen them running away with a game easily in hand. Mineshew’s 80-percentavailability is just simply laughable. Proj.FAAB Bid: 8-10% (Try not to go crazy with FAAB for QBs, even this bid is high)
Ryan Tannehill(TEN). Tannehill has done nothing but provide a solid floor for the Titans ever since he took over as the starting quarterback. He hasnt topped 250 passing yards yet on the year, but he has six touchdowns and zero interceptions.He seems to be clicking with all his pass-catching options (save forA.J. Brown). The Titans have an encouraging matchup in Week 3 against the Vikings before three straight home games against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Houston. He might only sit on your bench as a backup, but if youre lacking confidence in your starting quarterback, Tannehill is presenting a nice floor each week. Proj.FAAB Bid: 6%
WEEK 3 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback |Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Week 3Fantasy Football FAAB targets: Waiver wire RB pickups
Darrell Henderson(LAR). Henderson is my favorite waiver wire target heading into Week 3. He took advantage of Cam Akershurting his ribsandMalcolm Browninjuring his finger. The Rams ran 69 offensive plays,and Henderson was on the field for just 29 of those, but he touched the ball 14 times. That is a very high efficiency rate, especially when you see what he did once given the opportunity to have the ball in his hands. He is the reason I only recommended you spend 12 percentof your FAAB budget onBrown. Long-term, I think Akers is someone they want to give the ball, but lets remember Henderson was a third-round pick in 2019 while Akers was a second-round pick this year, and Henderson never received a legitimate shot to show what he can do. They have options in the backfield, but with the injuries to Akers and Brown, Henderson has an opportunity to really carve out a solid role for himself. Proj. FAAB Bid: 30-40% (Yes, Im that high on him)
Mike Davis(CAR).Daviswill be the favorite add of most fantasy owners this weekbut not for me. If youre a Christian McCaffrey(ankle) owner you might prioritize him based on what he did when CMC went down. He caught all eight of his targets for 74 yards. Hes also been declared as the guy with McCaffrey sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks. But the game script also called for him to be targeted eight times. The Panthers were trying to rally and stay in the game, so there was more tempo and rhythm to the offense. The offensive line is still pretty bad; even McCaffrey averaged just 3.8 yards per carry through two games, and defenses likely arent respecting the run now. Hell need the game flow, which is possible because Carolina will play from behind plenty of times. I just dont have a great feeling about this guy being one of the top waiver adds this week, but if you absolutely want him youll have to pay up. Proj. FAAB Bid: 25-30%
New York Giants Backfield.We have an opportunity to lump a few names together here. Im not excited about any of them to be honest. It comes down toWayne GallmanandDion Lewis, with the possibility the Giants signDevonta Freeman.Hes given other teams the number he wants and nobody has matched it, so your guess is as good as mine. The loss of Saquon Barkley (knee) hurts, but even in preseason drafts I didnt think it was worth cuffing Gallman or Lewis simply because the production for them would pale in comparison to Barkley. What youre paying for here is the opportunity. I prefer Lewis slightly over Gallman especially in PPR formats, but Gallman will get carries. The G-Men will play from behind plenty and have to throw the ball around, and Lewis is a great pass-catching option out of the backfield. This offensive line is still awful, though, and even Barkley was struggling to generate rhythm and positive production. Defenses wont have to account for him anymore. Even if they sign Freeman, that doesnt move the needle for me. A guy who has missed 18 games the last three seasonswho didnt look good last year and probably doesnt perform well out of the gate in a year where were seeing more soft tissue injuries than normal –that just does nothing for me. Im not spending a dime on this backfieldunless theyre the only options out there. Proj. FAAB Bid: 15-25%
UPDATE:The Giants have agreed to terms with Freeman, giving him significant long-term value. However, he might not play in Week 3, so Lewis and Gallman still have potential short-term value, and Lewis is still worth picking up as a handcuff.
Joshua Kelley(LAC). Kelley is proving that hes more than just a backup running back toAustin Ekeler. He had 23 carries on Sunday — 23!That was more than Ekeler. And maybe game script called for a larger role on Sunday because the Chargers wanted to slow the game down and keep Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs off the field, sothey gave Kelley more work. Hes a bigger runner than Ekeler and is tough to tackle. The rushing totals prove otherwise, but through two games he has 35 carries, and he had two receptions for 49 yards on Sunday. Its risky to bid up a rookie running back, especially when the workload could fluctuate. However, the Chargers seem content giving the rookie more carries. Proj. FAAB Bid: 15-18%
Myles Gaskin(MIA).Gaskin has 13 touches in each of Miamis first two games this season. Hes averaging over five yards per carry, and he has 10 catches, as well. He looks to be an immediate grab, especially in PPR formats. The Dolphins have some intriguing matchups coming up where game flow could benefit Gaskins style of play. He is out-snappingJordan Howard,Matt Breida, andPatrick Lairdby a country mile, and hes worthy of being played in the flex so far. He has a short-week matchup coming up on Thursday, but definitely give this guy consideration. Proj. FAAB Bid: 15-17%
Jerick McKinnon(SF).Im pretty interested in McKinnon. Hes had serious injuries the past two seasons, and that by no reason means is he in the clear and likely to avoid any this year. But he has an opportunity next week.Raheem MostertandTevin Coleman might both sit this upcoming week because of knee injuries, Coleman is definitely out and its looking bad for Mostert, as well. McKinnon has only touched the ball nine times so far this season, but hes found the end zone twice. That kind of touchdown rate is unsustainable, but he could easily see more work this week, and when the 49ers initially signed him, he was getting a lot of hype as a potentially great fit in Kyle Shanahans offense. This could be a one-week thing, but he could get 12-15 touches in Week 3 against the Giants. In deeper leagues, Jeff Wilson Jr. is worthy of a deep-league stash, as well. Proj. FAAB Bid: 8-12%
WEEK 3 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback |Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Week 3Fantasy Football FAAB targets: Waiver wire WR pickups
Russell Gage(ATL).Gage followed up his 12 targets in Week 1 with nine targets in Week 2. He yielded six catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. My initial concerns were that the volume might not be great in an offense where hes maybe the third target. However, if the Falcons are going to throw the ball about 40-45 times each week, then there will be enough to go around. He has a tough test in Week 3 against a respectable Bears defense, but with the Falcons currently sitting at 0-2, theyll be desperate to make sure the offense generates points and they most certainly will not look to fumble another win away. He also makes for a solid replacement if youre trying to fill in forCourtland Sutton or one of the many other injured WRs. Proj. FAAB Bid: 12-14%
Marquez Valdes-Scantling/Allen Lazard(GB). A lot of questions coming out of Week 1 pertained to who was the WR2 in Green Bay? The general thought was that it was MVS. The problem with fantasy football is that it fluctuates on a weekly basis, and people love to overreact and change the narrative. So, while MVS saw seven targets to Lazards five, the target share could easily swap next week. Truth be told, the Packers had enough success running the ball thatAaron Rodgershad just 30 pass attempts,and thats not overly encouraging for any Green Bay pass-catcher. Both WRsare encouraging adds off the waiver wire with Davante Adams banged up, though. Proj. FAAB Bid: 10-13% (Still feel better about MVS over Lazard)
Michael Pittman Jr. (IND).The numbers so far have not been great for Pittman, but hes been solid overall. Through two games he has nine catches for 89 yards on 13 targets. If youve watched him play, he passes the eyeball test for sure. He hasnt had the eye-popping plays thatChase Claypoolhas made with Pittsburgh so far, but for a rookie wide receiver, hes been involved at a decent rate. Heres what surprised me from Sundays game: He actually led the Indy receivers in offensive snaps. The injury toParris Campbell (knee)helped that, but he saw 67 snaps while Zach Pascal saw 59 and T.Y. Hilton saw 42. With Campbell injured for now, this creates a tremendous opportunity for Pittman to carve out a larger role for himself. Proj. FAAB Bid: 8-10%
Keelan Cole(JAX). For as much love as I giveLaviska Shenault, we need to acknowledge Cole because he has a touchdown in each of Jacksonvilles two games so far. Hes also caught 11 of his 12 targets on the year, so hes certainly reliable.I still prefer Shenault a little bit more simply because theyve made the effort to even line him up in the backfield, so theyre trying to find creative ways to get him involved with the offense. But Cole has provided solid production through two weeks. Jacksonville is playing Thursday night against Miami on the short week, so while hes worth rostering, its a play that carries risk this week. Proj. FAAB Bid: 6-7%
NKeal Harry (NE). Im still not completely sold on Harrys consistent involvement on a week-to-week basis. Sundays game saw Harry get more involved, and he had a nice connection going withCam Newton. The problem is that game script called for a little more passing, but he led the team with a dozen targets and he caught eight of them for 72 yards. But he andDamiere Byrd(also worth a look in deeper leagues) were on the field for more offensive snaps thanJulian Edelman,believe it or not. He has a couple intriguing matchups on the horizon against the Raiders and Chiefs where we could seeNewtongo to the air more, and we know they worked together in the offseason to develop chemistry. Both Newton and Byrd are worth adding if you have the roster depth. Proj. FAAB Bid: 5-7%
MORE WEEK 3: Top waiver pickups | Buy-low, sell-high
Week 3Fantasy Football FAAB targets: Waiver wire TE pickups
Drew Sample(CIN). With all the news and injuries that emerged from Sunday, Im thinking a lot of people forgot about the Thursday night game. Tight EndC.J. Uzomahtore his Achilles’ after developing some rapport withJoe Burrow. In Uzomahs place, Sample stepped in. Sample would go on to catch seven-of-nine targets for 45 yards. We typically see rookie quarterbacks rely on tight ends. Theyre bigger targets with larger catch radii, so despite the small sample (pun intended), this is a deep league player to target. Proj. FAAB Bid: 5-6%
Dalton Schultz(DAL)WhenBlake Jarwin(knee) was initially hurt, the general reaction was that it would benefitMichael GalluporCeeDee Lamb. Hand up –I thought that would be the case as well. However, Schultz managed to get 10 targets on Sunday. He caught nine of them for 88 yards and a touchdown, and he was on the field for 57 offensive snaps. The game script was definitely in his favor, as the Cowboys had to rally for that win after an atrocious first quarter where they turned the ball over four times. He wont always have 20 targets, but he emerged as another weapon atDak Prescotts disposal on Sunday. Proj. FAAB Bid: 5%
Jordan Reed (SF)It was refreshing and great to see theReedof old on Sunday. He looked great, he really did. However, he has some factors going against him this coming week. For starters,George Kittle (knee) will likely return this week, and hispresence negatively impacts Reed regardless of how healthy he is. Also,Jimmy Garoppolois dealing with a high ankle sprain. He has a chance to play next week, but its too early to tell. The two touchdowns and eight targets are enough to warrant consideration in deeper leagues for Reed. Proj. FAAB Bid: 3-5%
Week 3Fantasy Football FAAB targets: Waiver wire D/ST pickups
Los Angeles Chargers.So far, they havent lived up to the hype that I bestowed upon them in my D/ST previews over the summer, but Im not concerned. They still have some great pass rushers and the secondary is fine. Last week, the numbers werent great, but they played the best offensive team in the league. They get another home game this week against the Panthers who will be withoutChristian McCaffrey. Carolinas offensive line is still weak, and without its best weapon, this is a good matchup to go back to the Chargers. Hell, the Bucs managed to force four turnovers and five sacks last week against this team.Proj. FAAB Bid: <1%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Speak of the Devil! To no surprise Im on board with the Bucsnext week once again. Their defense is better than their offense, thats been pretty obvious through two games. They get a pretty good matchup on the road in Denver. Courtland Sutton (knee)is done for the year,Phillip Lindsay is out because of turf toe, andDrew Lock (shoulder)wont play either. This is a pretty safe matchup for the Bucs in Week 3.Proj.FAABBid:<1%
Arizona Cardinals.Upon initial look at the Vegas Odds this week, there are no over/unders that stand out for targeting a D/ST to stream. So, why not go back to the well with Arizona? They have seven sacks through two games, and they host the Lions on Sunday. The Cardinals arent yet an elite defense, but theyve been far from the joke they were last year where youd plug and play whichever tight end was facing them that week. The Lions are 0-2 and have generated just 44 points of offense so far. Its a decent matchup to play the Cardinals once again.Proj.FAABBid:<1%