The Waiver Wire Wizard Week 3 2020
::Takes a deep breath:: Week 2 will long be remembered as one of the most devastating in Fantasy Football history, with major stars and key contributors dropping like flies left and right. Nearly every game featured a significant loss, and owners will be scrambling to the waiver wire in a panic, attempting to fill voids created by unfortunate luck. Normally in this instance we'd urge folks to practice patience, taking into consideration all of the prep work that went into the Draft - hopefully most teams have at least suitable depth pieces that can step in as needed. The good news (if there is any) is that there are a number of virtually unowned players who will now be thrust into the spotlight, attempting to fill voids. Sifting through those players, examining snap counts, target shares and raw data is key in this moment. Picking the right players and submitting the correct bids can keep teams in the hunt. Blowing your budget on the wrong players or overspending FAAB and leaving nothing for the remainder of the year will surely sink your team. That said, let's dive into the news around the league and see where to go from here.
Packers 42, Lions 21Aaron Rodgers continues to play at an incredibly high level for Green Bay, and at this point ownership has to be second-guessing sinking so much draft capital into Jordan Love. Aaron Jones stole the show for the Cheeseheads, totaling 236 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, shredding the Lions defense at will. Not only was Jones the top rusher for the team, he also led Green Bay in receptions and receiving yards, thanks to a hamstring injury Davante Adams suffered early on. In his absence Marques Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard caught a handful of receptions, but the offense shifted to a run-first approach for the remainder of the game.
Kenny Golladay's absence is a major handcuff on Matthew Stafford, who was under duress from the Packers defensive line all afternoon. Danny Amendola managed the most targets (7) but was highly ineffective, catching just two passes for 21 yards. The normally steady Marvin Jones Jr. was blanketed by coverage, and though he did manage to catch a touchdown, he did little else. T.J. Hockenson continued to be a bright spot, and is quickly becoming Fantasy relevant with his production. Should Golladay continue to miss time, owners looking to fill a FLEX void could do worse than adding him. Detroit's backfield was a rotating mess of mediocrity between Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson and De'Andre Swift. At this point it is difficult to recommend starting any one of the three with confidence due to the shared workload. Fantasy owners will have to hold out hope that Swift will eventually emerge as the lead back, though it may take time.
Waiver Wire targets: Of the Green Bay receivers, I'd be most interested in Valdes-Scantling. Lazard may be more consistent with targets, but MVS is the deep play threat that the team relies upon, and in Week 3 the team will need to be more balanced and pass the ball against New Orleans. The extent of Adams' hamstring injury is currently unknown.
Bears 17, Giants 13Did we mention that this week was horrible for injuries? Without a doubt the biggest blow was Saquon Barkley, who fell awkwardly while being tackled and crumpled into a heap. New York fears that he tore his ACL (and reports are now confirming that), which essentially sinks their season. No one on this team can replace the production that he was supposed to have, nor does the team have enough talent to shift the offense into a pass-first mentality. A porous offensive line and turnover-prone quarterback will result in yet another long and miserable season for Giants fans. In addition to losing Barkley, the team will also be without their best receiver Sterling Shepard for the foreseeable future, who is now dealing with a turf toe injury. Evan Engram will remain a TE1 option, with Darrius Slayton a WR3 that is boom-or-bust prone. Daniel Jones will have a lot of maturing to do and quickly.
On the Chicago side, Mitchell Trubisky played well enough to keep his team competitive, but is more of a game manager than difference maker. He kept missing Allen Robinson II, who managed to catch just three of his nine targets for 33 yards. (Of course, this was a week where I recommended Robinson all over the place on Twitter, assuming that the team would force-feed him the ball following his public remarks regarding his contract situation). David Montgomery was the focal point in Week 2, as he gashed the Giants weak defense up and down the field for nearly 130 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Montgomery did have to miss some time while being examined for a head/neck injury after he was flipped on a tackle, but remained in the game. Tarik Cohen was awarded a large contract extension prior to the game and then was a ghost all afternoon.
Waiver Wire targets: The Giants won't be able to replace Barkley. Period. As it stands, Dion Lewis will be the receiving threat at the position and third-down option, with Wayne Gallman taking over early-down work. This is a team that will be playing from behind all season, so don't be surprised if Lewis manages to be the more Fantasy relevant option. New York will likely bring in veteran backs like Devonta Freeman for workouts, but I'd be surprised if they ended up signing any as replacements, given that this team is going nowhere soon.
Cowboys 40, Falcons 39If one looks in the dictionary under the term "to pull an Atlanta" it means to somehow blow a seemingly insurmountable lead by essentially giving the game away. Up at halftime 29-10 and moving the ball at will, things were looking bright for the Falcons momentarily. Matt Ryan continued to pepper Calvin Ridley with targets, who finished with a 7/109/2 line on the afternoon. This has come at the expense of Julio Jones, who appears to be a step slower this season. Jones cost owners in this contest dearly, catching just two passes for 24 yards. The presence of Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst means the ball is being spread around more evenly, rather than targets being funneled to one player.
Dak Prescott's final numbers were incredibly impressive, throwing for 450 yards and scoring four total touchdowns (including three on the ground, which I'm sure drove Elliott owners insane). Prescott played very well in the second half after starting off shaky. It didn't take CeeDee Lamb to make a huge impact, as the rookie led Dallas in receiving with 106 yards on six receptions. Lamb's ability to make plays anywhere has halted the breakout campaign of Michael Gallup, who is seeing a reduction in targets. Amari Cooper played exceptionally well, and similar to Atlanta, Dallas has a three-headed monster at wideout. Dalton Schultz stuck out in this one during his first full game in place of Blake Jarwin - he caught a team-high nine passes for 88 yards and a score.
Waiver Wire targets: In deeper formats or for teams hurting at the FLEX position, Schultz makes for an interesting streaming option at TE. With bye weeks around the corner and injures all over the place, he can be rostered in 14-team leagues or larger as a flier.
Titans 33, Jaguars 30It was announced earlier in the week that A.J. Brown was dealing with a bone bruise in his knee - an injury that is expected to make him miss multiple weeks. Corey Davis was a hot waiver-wire selection and FLEX option, and he came through for owners with three receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown on five targets. True to form, the Titans wanted to run the ball with Derrick Henry as much as possible to dominate time of possession, utilizing play action when necessary. Even though Henry has yet to find the end zone in 2020, his scores will happen. He's a nice target to buy-low on if possible. Ryan Tannehill played excellent yet again, tossing four touchdowns on 18 completions - expect that trend to continue against a weak Minnesota Vikings secondary in Week 3. Jonnu Smith remains a mid-range TE1 play.
Gardner Minshew continues to play like a man possessed, passing for nearly 340 yards and three touchdowns, bringing his total to six on the early season. D.J. Chark continues to head the bevy of receiving options in Jacksonville, but will have to make sure that he maximizes his production per target, as Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, Chris Thompson and Tyler Eifert remain involved. The player that stook out the most to my eyes was James Robinson, who ran for 102 yards on 16 carries and found pay dirt. His ownership finally eclipsed the 50 percent mark in the middle of the week, meaning that he is likely unavailable in most formats. He's in the RB2 conversation moving forward with little competition to take away touches, especially with Ryquell Armstead still on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Waiver Wire targets: Corey Davis is a solid WR3/FLEX option while Brown recovers. He's had plenty of press and made recommended lists, but if you participate in a shallower format where he is unowned, think about adding him.
Colts 28, Vikings 11Welcome to the NFL, Jonathan Taylor. Wow. In his first NFL "start" Taylor was force-fed the ball early and often, with 26 carries for 101 yards and a score on the ground, and two receptions for nine yards in the air. His presence rendered Nyheim Hines useless, and Hines puzzlingly only saw one target on the afternoon. Before owners drop Hines, know that he will be more involved in games where the score is closer, and especially when the Colts are playing from behind - he's a far superior receiver than Taylor. Philip Rivers established a connection with behemoth tight end Mo Alie-Cox, who started in place of the injured Jack Doyle. He had the team's longest play of the day, a phenomenal 33-yard reception. His play earned him a spot on the field even when Doyle returns. T.Y. Hilton finished with less than 30 receiving yards, and it is clear that his downfield strengths don't play to Philip Rivers' propensity to check the ball down. I'd sell.
On the other side, this was a horrific performance by Kirk Cousins. He looked absolutely lost after the team's first possession, and his three interceptions matched the highest number of completions to any receiver on his own team. Adam Thielen predictably led the squad in targets with eight, yet it was rookie Justin Jefferson finished with more receiving yards (44). Even though Jefferson was playing behind Olabisi Johnson early on, I expect that to switch shortly. Dalvin Cook is the only Viking who made a meaningful offensive contribution, scoring the team's lone touchdown.
Waiver Wire targets: None, though make sure to put Justin Jefferson on your flag list if he's out there.
Bills 31, Dolphins 28It speaks volumes that even though Josh Allen is inaccurate, his overall numbers and yards accrued from rushing make him a viable QB1 week in and week out. Despite Allen's accuracy issues he hasn't thrown an interception yet this season. Stefon Diggs and John Brown are a great one-two punch at receiver, with Diggs being the chain-moving option and Brown the deep field threat. Buffalo's backfield continues to frustrate Fantasy owners, as the split in touches between Devin Singletary and Zach Moss hinders the upside of both. Currently they remain touchdown-dependent options and are hard to trust for reliable production. The wagons keep circling and this team is 2-0.
On Miami's side of the ball, the team was forced to abandon the running game in the second half while in catch-up mode, which was a shame considering that Myles Gaskin and Matthew Breida both ran well early. Jordan Howard vulture the lone touchdown on the ground. I still want no part of this backfield, at all. Mike Gesicki (8/130/1) and Davante Parker (5/53/1) are the only two options that I trust in the passing game, meaning that I'm willing to cut bait on Preston Williams as a Fantasy owner. Williams' propensity for drops is concerning, including in this game where he had a sure-fire touchdown slip through his fingers. Isaiah Ford (7/76) appears to be more involved at this point.
Waiver Wire targets: None
49ers 31, Jets 13I caught a quality meme on Twitter yesterday where Thanos from the recent Marvel Avengers movie was wearing a San Francisco cap, with a young Gamora donning New York garb. Upon asking the question: "So, did you get the win?" Thanos responded "Yes, but it cost everything". And that sums things up for the team here. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high-ankle sprain and was unable to finish the game, starting running back Raheem Mostert hurt his MCL, and star edge rusher Nick Bosa tore his ACL. This is unreal. Nick Mullens will step up in Garoppolo's absence, leading the team even further into run-heavy territory. Should Mostert miss time, Tevin Coleman would handle early down work with Jerick McKinnon operating as the third-down and pass-catching option. Brutal.
Do we really have to review the Jets side? Ugh. Fine. Sam Darnold struggled to get anything going (again) and failed to get Chris Herndon involved in the passing game - the team instead requested that he operate as a blocker. Frank Gore plodded along for 63 yards on 21 attempts, and continues to be a touchdown-reliant player. The team is already 0-2 and without Le'Veon Bell for the immediate future, so why they didn't chose to get LaMical Perine more involved is puzzling. Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios were the entire offense in this one, following the injury to Breshad Perriman. And that says enough.
Waiver Wire targets: Jerick McKinnon is an easy mention here, and he looked fantastic in the limited touches that he was given. This marks the second consecutive week with a score, and his soft hands give him an additional boost in PPR formats. He should be claimed in anything larger than a 10-team league.
**Update** - Per Adam Schefter, Coleman will miss "multiple weeks" with a knee injury that he suffered, making McKinnon a phenomenal pivot option. The timetable on Mostert is up in the air, but he is expected to miss Week 3 at a minimum.
Rams 37, Eagles 19Talk about a tale of two teams. On the Los Angeles side, the Rams were able to do whatever they want, whenever they wanted on either side of the ball. Period. If they wanted to pass it their receivers (most notably Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee) were open at will. Running the ball wasn't an issue either, with Darrell Henderson Jr. picking up close to eight yards a touch. Filling in for both Cam Akers (rib) and Malcolm Brown (finger), Henderson fantastic, and demonstrated that he was much more than simply a passing down back. The status of Akers and Brown is currently up in the air for Week 3, so Henderson will be one of this week's top adds.
Philadelphia had a very difficult time moving the ball through the air, and "Bad Wentz" showed up for the second time in a row, completing just 26/43 pass attempts for 242 yards and two interceptions. He has been horrific this year. Thankfully for the team OT Lane Johnson and star running back Miles Sanders returned, giving the Eagles at least a chance on the ground. From a quick glance Sanders seemed back to his old self, picking up five yards per carry and chipping in with three receptions. Currently one of the few three-down backs in the NFL, owners will need to hope that Philadelphia places him in bubble wrap. DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert saw the majority of targets, though none of them were able to atop the 65 yard mark. Jalen Reagor continues to impress me with his toughness, he seems to play much larger than his size.
Waiver Wire targets: Darrell Henderson will be mentioned as a popular add this week, even though he immediately faces a very difficult defense to run on in Week 3 with the Buffalo Bills. His ability to catch passes out of the backfield gives him a solid floor, though how long he will be relevant depends on the extent of severity to Brown and Akers injuries.
Steelers 26, Broncos 21For a game that was supposed to be out of reach quickly, this was actually a great matchup to watch. On the Pittsburgh side of the ball Ben Roethlisberger had another stellar game and seemed much more comfortable than in Week 1, finishing with 311 yards and two touchdowns. Diontae Johnson is contending for WR1 status with Juju Smith-Schuster, securing 8 receptions for 92 yards and a score on 13 targets. At this point it is becoming difficult to trust any other receiving threat, as both Eric Ebron and James Washington have been quiet in the early going. As a surprise, James Conner absolutely dominated touches out of the backfield, carrying the ball 16 times for 106 yards and a score. Benny Snell put the ball on the ground for the second week in a row, and was relegated to the doghouse quickly by coach Mike Tomlin. This remains Conner's backfield while he's healthy.
Denver is turning into the walking wounded, joining San Francisco and New York. Quarterback Drew Lock is out 2-6 weeks with a sprained AC joint, and reports recently surfaced that lead wideout Courtland Sutton tore his ACL, making Jerry Jeudy the de-factor No.1 option. Jeff Driskel played well in relief of Lock, especially against the best defensive front in football. Noah Fant reeled in another touchdown, making it consecutive weeks with a score. With a crippled defense (made worse by the loss of starting DE Dre'Mont Jones) the Broncos will be in come-from-behind mode often in 2020, meaning that Melvin Gordon, Jeudy and fellow rookie K.J. Hamler will see plenty of looks. This team will rely on garbage time production from a Fantasy standpoint.
Waiver Wire targets: Understanding that Jeudy is owned already in most formats, K.J. Hamler is someone I'm willing to flag as a prospective add in future weeks. That said, I'd need to be playing in a 14-team format or larger to even consider his services.
Buccaneers 31, Panthers 17In a week where Tom Brady was supposed to fully take advantage of a hapless defense, it ended up being the ground game that vaulted Tampa Bay over the top. Brady threw for a paltry 217 yards with a touchdown and interception, while Leonard Fournette supplanted Ronald Jones on the depth chart, rushing for 103 yards and two scores on the ground, including a 46-yard scamper to seal things up. That certainly didn't take long for Jones to be cast aside. Mike Evans had a major get-right game, while the rest of the Bucs receivers were thrown scraps (especially Scotty Miller, who I thought would have a breakout here). Rob Gronkowski continues to be an afterthought - if he can only manage one target while Chris Godwin is injured, he can be safely dropped.
Remember how I said this week was horrible for injuries? Here we go again. Christian McCaffrey was fantastic when on the field, falling just short of 100 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns before exiting the game with an ankle injury. News broke after the conclusion that he actually sustained a dreaded high-ankle sprain, and is expected to miss between 4-6 weeks while he recovers. Keep in mind that this injury lingers, and if players try to push themselves back from it too early, the risk of it occurring again or severely hampering their stats is greatly increased. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson both broke the 100-yard mark and saw double-digit targets - Moore remains a back-end WR1 with Anderson ascending into low-end WR2 territory.
Waiver Wire targets: In the absence of McCaffrey, the Panthers will need to rely upon veteran backup Mike Davis to handle work in the backfield. Davis is an excellent pass-catcher and can handle being a three-down option. Most sites will pencil him in as their top waiver wire selection of the week, and in this instance I agree. He's worth a No.1 claim or healthy portion of FAAB.
Cardinals 30, Football Team 15I'm sorry, but it still feels odd writing "Football Team". The good news is that Washington has very little to touch upon given their lack of overall talent and depth. Outside of Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson (and Logan Thomas in deeper leagues), there isn't much to talk about. Dwayne Haskins Jr. is a horribly inaccurate quarterback and early-on bust candidate, and Steven Sims Jr./Antonio Gandy-Golden aren't getting enough targets to become relevant. It was nice to see Gibson receive more carries in this one, and his touchdown scamper at the end of the contest shows his immense upside, if the team ever gets going. McLaurin is a volume monster, and his floor alone means that he fits in as an every-week WR2/3.
Kyler Murray once again stole the show in this one, and the hopes that he would take a leap forward in his sophomore campaign are coming into fruition. Murray's legs alone make him a weekly starter, similar to a Lamar Jackson-lite. Kenyon Drake dominated snaps out of the backfield, but struggled to find major gains against a stout Washington front line. Better weeks are ahead for him, and I'd be sending out trade offers to acquire him in leagues where the manager is hoping that he would produce more. DeAndre Hopkins is going to make a strong bid to be the top receiver in the league this year, especially if he continues to see this many targets. His presence is severely hindering Christian Kirk or Andy Isabella from becoming relevant.
Waiver Wire targets: None
Chiefs 23, Chargers 20First and foremost - what an exciting game! This had the looks of a blowout on paper, especially after it was announced that Justin Herbert would see his first NFL start instead of Tyrod Taylor, who injured his ribs in pregame warmups and had difficulty breathing after receiving a pain-killing shot. Scary stuff. Herbert was electric and the team responded - he was able to involve Austin Ekeler in the passing game (something owners sorely missed in Week 1) and heavily involved Hunter Henry and Keenan Allen. Even though the team lost in overtime, it speaks volumes that they were able to force that in the first place! After the game head coach Anthony Lynn stated that Taylor would go back to being the starter when healthy, even though the offense was utterly anemic when he was on the field. Clearly, he didn't watch the same game we did. Even if Taylor regains his role as starter momentarily, his leash will be SHORT.
Give credit to the Los Angeles defense - they made things very difficult for Patrick Mahomes all afternoon. Continuous pressure forced Mahomes to get rid of the ball early, leading to Clyde Edwards-Helaire becoming much more involved in the passing game than in Week 1. Thankfully, Mahomes focused on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in the second half, rather than involving DeMarcus Robinson or Mecole Hardman - it is nice to see the playmakers get fed. Sammy Watkins took a nasty shot to the head and was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the afternoon. It is likely that he is currently in the midst of concussion protocol, and will need to pass through all stages in preparation for Week 3 (keep in mind it is a Monday night game, that complicates things further). Should he miss time, Mecole Hardman would see a handful of additional targets.
Waiver Wire targets: Mecole Hardman can be flagged as someone of interest, but I wouldn't add him in 12-team leagues or shallower yet.
Ravens 33, Texans 16This game wasn't nearly as close as the score suggests, so the summary will be short. Baltimore was able to run all over the Houston defense on Sunday, racking up 230 rushing yards on 37 attempts. The distribution is both concerning and befuddling however, as Gus Edwards led the team in carries and yards on the ground. The Ravens coaching staff did state that they wanted to make this a rotating scenario, and this is quickly turning into a major headache from a Fantasy standpoint. Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins are quickly becoming touchdown-dependent options that are difficult to trust. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore receivers were quiet in this one, as their defense smothered Houston all day.
On Houston's side, things are getting ugly quick for the 0-2 Texans. Deshaun Watson did what he could, but with an offensive line incapable of blocking or generating holes to run through, the entire weight of the offense is with Watson. A hamstring injury caused Will Fuller to miss most of the game (he finished with no statistics) and David Johnson was met in the backfield and bottled up whenever he touched the ball. If there was a silver lining, Brandin Cooks appears to be over his quadriceps injury, and had a very encouraging showing following a Week 1 dud. Houston faces another uphill battle in Pittsburgh during Week 3. Good luck!
Waiver Wire targets: None
Seahawks 35, Patriots 30So, why did so many teams pass on Cam Newton again? Even in a loss Newton played out of his mind, passing for nearly 400 yards while scoring three total touchdowns. In addition to being the team's quarterback he is also their main running option in the red zone, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he finished close to 15 TDs on the ground. Sony Michel is a complete afterthought. In the New England receiving game the targets flow to Julian Edelman and N'Keal Harry, with a smattering of scraps to the other players. Edelman finished with 179 receiving yards, the highest in his career. At one point I thought Harry had a concussion on a hospital ball thrown by Newton over the middle of the field - glad he's okay.
Russell Wilson is a one man wrecking crew for Fantasy. He finished the day against arguably one of the best defenses in the league 21/28 passing with five passing touchdowns, adding 40 yards on the ground with his legs. Even when teams game plan specifically to take away a facet of his game, he is just too difficult to stop. D.K. Metcalf continues to blossom, and anyone who sat him this weekend knowing he was being shadowed by Stephen Gilmore was disappointed. Metcalf's huge frame and top-end speed is a mismatch against anyone. Chris Carson continues to be a featured weapon in the passing game, and all three of his scores this year have come via the pass. Definitely a nice bump for him in PPR formats. Tyler Lockett led the team in targets with 8. In a game that came down to the final play, this was perhaps the most exciting matchup of the week, and lived up to the billing.
Waiver Wire targets: None
Raiders 34, Saints 24Last night Fantasy owners thought that their eyes were playing tricks on them, as Derek Carr outplayed Drew Brees in an upset victory. I still consider him to be a fringe-starter and streaming option, but Carr was able to force-feed Darren Waller as many targets as he could handle (16), exploiting a mismatch in size against Malcom Jenkins. Waller's 12/103/1 stat line is no mirage - he is this talented. In a game where both rookie wideouts were quiet and Carr was in need of getting the ball out quickly, this became a one-man show that proved impossible to stop. Josh Jacobs finished with over 100 all-purpose yards but failed to find the end-zone. Jacobs was checked out in the medical tent during the second half and appeared to be in discomfort on several plays - certainly another injury that's worth keeping an eye on. The Raiders will face another tough opponent with the New England Patriots on the road in Week 3.
Drew Brees looked flat-out uncomfortable without the presence of Michael Thomas, and missed several short passes that he would normally complete in his sleep. Fantasy players made the assumption that without Thomas on the field that his targets would be spread to Emmanuel Sanders and Tre'Quan Smith, but in reality it just meant getting the ball more frequently to Alvin Kamara. Smith still finished with five receptions for 86 yards, but Sanders laid an absolute egg, finishing with just one catch for 18 yards. Smith will remain an interesting middle-end FLEX play while Thomas is sidelined. Additionally worth pointing out was the struggles of Jared Cook, who only caught two passes total. Even though one went for a short touchdown, his lack of involvement was puzzling.
Waiver Wire targets: Tre'Quan Smith was a popular add off of the wire last week - if Michael Thomas misses another game he can be added in 12-team formats as a FLEX option.