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The Waiver Wire Wizard Week 3 2022
More so than most Fantasy Football weekends in recent memory, Week 2 will ultimately be known as the "Have vs. Have Not" weekend. Were you lucky enough to roster Lamar Jackson or Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback this week? Then you probably won your matchup. Went against them instead? Then you probably lost. The same idea applies to Aaron Jones, Tony Pollard, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle or Amon-Ra St. Brown, all of which went absolutely ballistic on Sunday.
Defense was in short supply for several contests, leading to outlandish yardage totals and point scores. Fourth quarter comebacks headlined the news cycle, with the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins all coming from behind to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat. The key for Fantasy players is identifying which of these players have the opportunity to repeat these insane performances, and which should be treated as a one-off instead (here is looking at you, Joe Flacco).
Starting with Baltimore, it is a near certainty that Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews should both be treated as top-tier candidates at their respective positions - they were drafted as such and have lengthy track records to support continued success.
Miami is an interesting case though, as Tagovailoa was widely ranked as an upside QB2 play in the majority of formats - prior to this week he hasn't shown signs of being an elite talent (despite being drafted 5th overall in 2020). So, what changed for Tagovailoa? The ability of both Hill and Waddle to stretch the field has given Miami's offense a breath of life, coupled with the aggressive play calling of Mike McDaniel. Tagovailoa's average YPC from 2020-21 was a paltry 6.5, and that number has skyrocketed to 8.9 in 2022. An improved offensive line has allowed Tagovailoa plenty of time in the pocket, where he can fully utilize his hyper-accurate arm. Hill and Waddle were both already considered mid-range WR1 options, but Tagovailoa should jump into the low-end QB1/streaming territory - his 64 percent rostered status is sure to see a sharp uptick.
I had mentioned Goff as a streaming option in my prior column, and I'll continue to put his name out there in case it fell on deaf ears the first time. The Detroit Lions offense is better than you think. Given the defensive woes that they are forced to deal with, Goff will continue to air the ball out early and often, and his stable of receivers (especially after first-round selection Jameson Williams returns off of IR) is both deep and gifted. Goff is somehow rostered in just 7 percent of standard-size ESPN leagues, a number that should see a dramatic shift. They may be a very young team, but Detroit has the right pieces where it matters, and should be considered on the upswing.
Which players should you consider adding heading into Week 3? Here is my list of the most impactful options that are rostered in less than 30 percent of leagues that could aid you moving forward.
Jimmy Garoppolo (1 percent rostered) - If the "Have vs. Have Not" discussion was topic 1A in Week 2, than "Surviving Injuries" was likely 1B. Unfortunately for San Francisco fans, Trey Lance fractured his fibula and suffered a disrupted ligament in his right ankle in the game against Seattle, and had to be immediately carted off of the field as a result. Thankfully, the team opted to retain Garoppolo in the offseason, a move which was questioned by many pundits. "Jimmy G" doesn't have the same elite physical tools that Lance does, but he is extremely comfortable with Kyle Shanahan's offense and is an adept enough passer from the pocket to keep this offense afloat. With Garoppolo under center, secondary options Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle will see a spike in value, as the team will be more reliant upon passing the ball than previously. For his career, Garoppolo has a 68 percent completion percentage and is able to push the ball down the field accurately and effectively, with a 8.3 YPA. Health has been the major issue with Garoppolo, and the 49ers will have to make sure that he is fully enclosed in bubble wrap to complete the year.
Recommendation: Garoppolo should be added as a streaming option in 12-team formats, and a possible starter in deeper leagues. As he is the top free agent add of the week, I'd toss a few extra dollars to acquire him if necessary, especially if I had Dak Prescott or Trey Lance previously. He should go for $10-$15.
Jared Goff (7 percent rostered) - I alluded to him earlier, so I'll keep this nomination somewhat brief. Goff has thrived this season behind a talented offensive line, two capable running backs and a bevy of receivers that are all quite gifted. Once Jameson Williams returns off of the IR, his situation will only improve further. Detroit's inept defense will force Goff to throw the ball to stay competitive in games, and the upcoming schedule against Minnesota and Seattle is enticing. He might not be the most exciting name on your bench, but he will get the job done in a pinch, and I'm confident he will continually finish as a top-12 option in most weeks.
Recommendation: Garoppolo is likely to see the biggest bids at the position this weekend, allowing for Goff to be acquired on the cheap. In 14-team leagues I'd look to add him immediately, or for managers who are looking to acquire bye-week talent early. A $5 bid should suffice.
Brian Robinson (35 percent rostered) - I can't emphasize this point enough - please make every effort to grab Robinson NOW before he comes off of IR in a few weeks - you'll save yourself a major amount of FAAB by doing so. A third-round selection from Alabama, Robinson was penciled in as the presumptive starter heading into Week 1, before an unfortunate carjacking incident where he was shot multiple times. Thankfully, no injuries were life-threatening and he was released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. He's already been spotted doing side work for Washington, and there is a realistic chance that he's activated for the Week 5 game against Tennessee. An adept pass-catcher and runner, his presence will greatly cap that of Antonio Gibson, and he will provide the team with their best all-around presence in the backfield since Clinton Portis. He's an immediate stash candidate.
Recommendation: Stash Robinson wherever possible in all formats. He will have a definite impact down the stretch at a position that typically sees few difference makers hit the wire. I'd be willing to spend $20-$25 in FAAB across most formats to acquire him.
Eno Benjamin (4 percent rostered) - Starting option James Conner was forced from action with an ankle issue against the Las Vegas Raiders, and in his stead Arizona used a rotation between Benjamin and Darrel Williams to pick up the slack. News broke mid-Monday that Conner's ankle injury isn't considered to be terribly serious or keep him out long-term, but I'll stand by my Benjamin endorsement nonetheless. Not only are ankle issues easy to aggravate, but Conner doesn't have a particularly good track record of staying on the field for extended periods of time. Should Conner miss time, Benjamin will find himself in a committee situation with Darrel Williams - Benjamin will largely work as the early-down back, with Williams sliding into the receiving/goal-line duty. Other analysts will get behind Williams since he was given a carry at the one-yard line in Week 2, but Benjamin is just the more explosive talent and I'm willing to bank on upside. As is, I'd look to roster Benjamin as a handcuff stash, even prior to the injury.
Recommendation: This week didn't generate many waiver wire grabs at the position, so I wouldn't break the bank on a particular scenario. Benjamin is worth a $5 bid on in all 12-team formats or larger as a stash and hold, or a spot start option in Week 3 if Conner were to miss any time.
Jerick McKinnon (14 percent rostered) - The Kansas City Chiefs backfield has been an intriguing one to monitor this season, since it was well-known the frustration that Clyde Edwards-Helaire's subpar campaigns generated. This past weekend McKinnon was still out-touched by CEH 12 to 6, but he did see work inside the red zone, and it is clear that Patrick Mahomes is willing to utilize his pass-catching abilities in a pinch. Outside of one 52-yard scamper in the fourth quarter to seal the game away, CEH was largely unimpressive and isn't a true game-changing talent. I'm not of the opinion that all of a sudden Andy Reid will hand the job to McKinnon, or that CEH did anything so egregious as to lose his role, but Fantasy players in PPR formats would do well to add McKinnon as a stash-and-hope candidate in the event that things turn sour for CEH. Draft day darling Isaiah Pacheco would stand to inherit the early-down work in the event of an injury, but I still prefer McKinnon in deeper PPR formats.
Recommendation: As McKinnon has clearly operated as the Chiefs No.2 option at the position and primary pass-catcher the last few weeks, I'm willing to stash him in 14-team or larger formats, in the event that he is granted additional work in the red zone. This is more of a long-term recommendation currently.
Jordan Mason (2 percent rostered) - Ironically, this portion of the article was originally dedicated to Tyrion Davis-Price, who was the clear-cut No.2 option in the running game behind Jeff Wilson this past week, with Elijah Mitchell already out. It was revealed mid-day on Monday that Davis-Price sustained a high ankle sprain, a malady which typically carries with it a several week recovery period. Mason impressed San Francisco during the preseason enough to have the team opt to keep him over former Trey Sermon, a former third round selection. Mason hails from Georgia Tech, and is an adept runner who has received plenty of buzz on forum boards. At 6'1, 223 lbs. he has the size and power to run between the tackles, and will be thrust into a much larger role over the short term. Long-time Fantasy players are well aware of Wilson's own struggles with health, making Mason an intriguing flier.
Recommendation: Should be added in all 12-team leagues or larger as an insurance policy for Wilson or standalone upside play. I'd be willing to make a moderate bid for him, in the $5-$7 range.
Russell Gage (52 percent rostered) and Breshad Perriman (1 percent rostered) - Technically speaking, Gage's inclusion here is cheating, since he breaks the 35 percent or higher barrier, which is why I included Perriman's name as well. Why mention both Tampa Bay wideouts then? Simply put, attrition. Chris Godwin remains sidelined with a hamstring pull, Julio Jones predictably is already dealing with soft-tissue injuries to his lower half and Mike Evans will be suspended for Week 3 after his ludicrous altercation with Marshon Lattimore. Simply put, someone will have to step up for Tampa Bay, and I'm willing to wager that it is one of these two wideouts over Cameron Brate becoming the next Rob Gronkowski. Gage is more of the volume-based play, but Perriman holds sneaky value as the downfield threat for a team with precious few receiving threats. Tampa Bay will need to contend with the potent offenses of Green Bay and Kansas City the next two weeks - help is needed.
Recommendation: Gage is likely already owned in 12-team leagues or larger, but is a priority add if he was somehow dropped after a poor showing in Week 1. Perriman is worth considering in 14-team formats or larger as a Hail Mary play in the short-term. Gage is worth a $15-$20 bid if a free agent, and Perriman can be added for the minimum $1.
Sterling Shepard (10 percent rostered) - One of the most surprising stories through the first two weeks of the season is the New York Giants 2-0 record, a feat the team hasn't accomplished in six years. Both wins largely came on the tails of the defense stepping up when it mattered most, but Daniel Jones has made small improvements in key areas, and is in desperate need of a reliable target. Kenny Golladay is a total afterthought and will largely go down as one of the worst free agent signings in team history, while Kadarius Toney lands on the injury report after getting sneezed on each week. I trust Shepard to be the main chain-moving option for the team with rookie Wan'Dale Robinson nursing a knee injury. Shepard's track record with Jones is well-established - he was one of the top waiver-wire adds in the 2021 season before injuries derailed another promising year.
Recommendation: Should be added in 12-team leagues or larger. Due to the track history of the New York Giants, Shepard is an under-the-radar name that will generate sneaky amounts of value in PPR leagues, and is worth a $5 bid.
Nelson Agholor (1 percent owned) - The New England Patriots were a complete mess offensively in Week 1, leading many to (rightfully so) point out the major issues with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as co-OC's for the team. Thankfully, the ship was righted somewhat in Week 2, with Agholor being a standout contributor (6 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown). Even though he trailed both DeVante Parker and Jakobi Meyers in total snaps, he made the most of his opportunity and surely reminded the team of the financial investment that they committed to him last year. Agholor remains the team's downfield big-play threat while rookie Tyquan Thornton is sidelined, and is an interesting dart-thrown in standard-format leagues or best-ball formats.
Recommendation: Agholor has disappointed many Fantasy players in the past with his enticing upside, so his price tag should remain quite low. New England isn't nearly as talented as in past seasons, and this team will need to throw the ball to remain competitive, especially with a potential injury to Damien Harris.
Gerald Everett (28 percent owner) - This will likely be your last chance to buy-low on Everett, who is sure to see a massive spike in ownership after this weekend. Everett has put together a fantastic 9/125/1 slash to start the season, and he remains a nice safety valve for Justin Herbert to utilize in Los Angeles. With Herbert now nursing a rib injury, it wouldn't surprise me to see the team emphasize short passes across the line of scrimmage. Everett is currently tied for the team lead with 14 targets, joining Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams. His role would only expand if Keenan Allen were to miss more time.
Recommendation: Everett needs to be viewed as a priority add at a position largely bereft of usage and talent. Any team who isn't currently rostering Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews and Darren Waller needs to strongly consider adding Everett in any size format. He's worth a $10 bid as a long-term option at the position.
Tyler Conklin (2 percent owned) - You know that this position is in a sorry state of affairs when I start tossing names like Conklin out there. Roll your eyes as you may, Conklin currently has more points at the position than bigger names like Mike Gesicki, Cole Kmet, Dalton Schultz, T.J. Hockenson or Kyle Pitts. He's averaged 8 targets over the last two games, and it is clear that he remains a focal point for the offense while C.J. Uzomah is out with a hamstring issue. You won't get any glamor points from starting him, but it is imperative to not take a zero at the position each week.