The Waiver Wizard – Week 3

By Evan Tarracciano
Evan Tarracciano

The Waiver Wizard – Week 3

Funny enough, I wanted to begin this article by saying that with Week 2 officially in the rear-view mirror, we have a better understanding of the layout and script for the 2023 season, but upon review I’m not sure I can say that with a lick of certainty. Squads that many were expecting a bonanza of points from each week have fallen flat upon their faces (namely the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos) and the dreaded word “parity” is beginning to creep into the landscape.

Heading into the week, if you would have told me that Brian Robinson, Kyren Williams and Raheem Mostert would finish as three of the top four scoring running backs, I would have certainly raised an eyebrow. Puka Nacua has continued his torrid pace as a PPR beast, hauling in another 15 receptions on an absurd 20 targets for 147 yards. Josh Reynolds (5-66-2) continues to be a force for the Detroit Lions, while rookie wideouts in Denver (Marvin Mims (2-113-1), Brandon Johnson (2-66-2)) have outpaced Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Sam LaPorta has done his best to shake the “rookie tight ends can never be trusted for Fantasy purposes” adage by finishing as a top-8 option yet again. The list goes on.

Expect the unexpected in the NFL. That is what makes it so exciting, and why I continue to chuckle when I see folks on social media blab on about how the game is scripted and predestined.

Given the upheaval, certain players stood out that are rostered in less than 40 percent of standard-size leagues that I feel should be added, both for the long and short term. Here are my recommendations for waiver wire grabs, heading into the third week.


Jordan Love (39 percent rostered) – For the second consecutive week, Love threw three touchdown passes, committed no turnovers and added additional value with a few scrambles when necessary. His overall volume remains low (just 52 attempts through the first two games), but he is clearly comfortable in this offense, and Green Bay has multiple juicy matchups on the horizon. Love will finish as a top-10 option at the position, even in the absence of arguably his top two offensive weapons in Aaron Jones and Christian Watson. He has progressed through his reads nicely and managed to connect with rookies Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks. The Packers are hopeful that left tackle David Bakhtiari will return along with Jones and Watson for their contest in Lambeau against New Orleans, and he can continue his ascent as the next heir apparent for this storied franchise.

FAAB: Love is worth adding for a $5-7 investment, and this marks the last opportunity that he will meet the criteria for this column. Fantasy managers who have a quandary at the position or are dealing with injuries (such as Joe Burrow) need look no further.

C.J. Stroud (7 percent rostered) – The second selection in this year’s NFL Draft, Stroud entered Week 2 nursing a shoulder injury, but he was able to complete the game without sustaining any setbacks and stated that it only bothered him “here and there” on various pass attempts. In a back-and-forth game against Indianapolis, Stroud completed 30-of-47 pass attempts for 384 yards and two touchdown passes. He managed to pepper Nico Collins and fellow rookie Tank Dell repeatedly, all under constant pressure. Houston was missing four of its starting offensive lineman in the game against the Colts, but Stroud appeared to be unfazed. Houston travels to Jacksonville for Week 3, in a game where I expect the Jaguars offense to come out firing, after a dud performance against Kansas City. The Texans will continue to rely upon the arm of their rookie product to keep them competitive, and I can see Stroud finishing the week as a mid-tier option based upon volume and accrued stats during “garbage time”.

FAAB: Stroud is worth a $3-5 investment in redraft formats, but he is very much on my radar for keeper/dynasty leagues. Houston’s sieve of a defense will force the Texans to quickly enter pass-first mode each week, resulting in Stroud compiling stats. He will need to focus on cutting down his fumbles, but has shown promise otherwise.

Running Backs

Zack Moss (32 percent rostered) – Similar to Love mentioned above, I can’t forsee Moss being eligible again for this column in the future, so add him now if he is available in your league. Making his season debut against Houston after missing the opener to complete his recovery from a broken arm, Moss rushed 18 times for 88 yards and a touchdown, chipping in 4 receptions for 19 yards in the passing game as well. The unquestioned starter for the Colts until (and if) Jonathan Taylor makes his return, Moss was the only running back that had a carry for the team this weekend. At a minimum, Moss belongs within the mid-RB2 tier for the next two weeks based upon expected volume alone – and that is predicated upon Taylor not experiencing a setback or being traded to a playoff contender. The team clearly isn’t confident in Deon Jackson behind him, and rookie Evan Hull is also on the IR. Quarterback Anthony Richardson entered the concussion protocol after hitting his head on the turf Sunday, and his absence would open
up even more opportunities for Moss, especially around the goal line. Invest for the short-term, reap rewards if it pays off for the long-term.

FAAB: Moss is worth a $15-20 investment as a RB2 option for the next two weeks against Baltimore and Los Angeles with Jonathan Taylor remaining on the PUP list. If Moss can continue to prove his worth, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Colts opt to trade Taylor for a mid-round pick if the offer comes in.

Craig Reynolds (1 percent rostered) – Reynolds inclusion within this list hinges entirely on the health status of David Montgomery, who left Sunday’s game on a cart after sustaining a bruised thigh. It is easy to assume that Detroit would make the simple pivot in providing standout rookie Jahmyr Gibbs with all of the backfield work, but the team has been noticeably reluctant to not overburden him early in the season. Should Montgomery miss Week 3 against Atlanta, I’d expect Reynolds to slide into the early-yardage and goal-line back role for the team, with Gibbs being used as the dump-off option if need be. Reynolds is available in all formats, and could be a cheap pivot option, both for Montgomery managers as well as those needing a FLEX option in standard-format leagues. When afforded opportunities the last two seasons in Detroit, Reynolds has averaged 4.3 yards per carry and over 10 yards per reception.

FAAB: Reynolds is worth a $1-3 speculative investment, depending on news and updates out of Detroit on the health status of Montgomery. He doesn’t possess any outstanding characteristics, but he will have a path for 10-15 touches if the chips fall his way.

Wide Receivers

Josh Reynolds (5 percent rostered) – Reynolds followed up his strong Week 1 performance by cementing himself as the unquestioned second target at wide receiver for Detroit, securing 5 receptions for 66 yards and two touchdowns. With Marvin Jones struggling to start the season and Jameson Williams in the midst of a multi-game suspension due to sports betting, Reynolds has thrived as the second fiddle to Amon-Ra St.Brown for Jared Goff, in an offense that is happy to throw the ball around at will. I wouldn’t expect his volume to eclipse the 4-6 receptions mark on any given week, but he does have enough speed as a downfield threat to nicely compliment St.Brown, with tight end Sam LaPorta (more on him later) working underneath routes. A former fourth-round selection by the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, Reynolds has always struck me as a player who deserved a larger opportunity, and would thrive given the chance. Others will peg his initial success as fleeting, but I have a hunch that Reynolds will make a viable FLEX
option most weeks, on an ascending offense.

FAAB: Reynolds is worth a $5-7 FAAB investment for managers who are looking to add depth at the position in standard-size formats. Even once Jameson Williams returns, I expect Reynolds to play ahead of him, as Williams has struggled grasping the playbook and remaining healthy.

Tank Dell (4 percent rostered) – Following the placement of Noah Brown on the injured reserve with a groin injury, Dell was given an elevated role in the Houston Texans passing attack, and quickly operated as the “1B” option behind Nico Collins. On 10 targets, Dell secured 7 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown, finishing just outside of the top-15 at the position. It was well publicized that C.J. Stroud campaigned for Houston to take Dell in the NFL Draft after he was selected, and the rapport is evident between the two youngsters. A diminutive 5’10, 165 lbs., “Tank” plays larger than his actual size, and is very difficult to bring down in space. His combination of speed and elusiveness paired with Houston’s porous defense will lead to several more double-digit target weeks in the near future. The Texans square off against Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Atlanta in each of the next three weeks, and I’d be confident rolling him out as a FLEX option in deeper formats. Remember that Dell will primarily function
as Houston’s chain-moving threat on short-yardage situations.

FAAB: Dell is worth a $3-5 FAAB investment for his projected usage in Houston’s passing game. A worthy compliment to Nico Collins, Dell has shown an affinity for working alongside fellow rookie C.J. Stroud, and will be a volume-based play moving forward.

Tight Ends

Hunter Henry (35 percent rostered) – Henry finished as the top-scoring player at the position in Week 1, and most Fantasy managers chalked that up on account of both Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews being sidelined, along with the depth at the position. He then followed that up by finishing second in scoring in Week 2 – I think that we’re beginning to see a pattern here. In each of the first two contests, Henry has eclipsed the 50-yard mark and scored a touchdown, and he is clearly a favorite target of Mac Jones for New England. In an offense that has few playmaking options at receiver, Henry will continue to be relied upon in situations that matter most for the Patriots. After a quiet 2022 that concluded with a paltry 41-509-2 line, he is in great shape to return to the numbers that he compiled earlier in his career with the Los Angeles Chargers. Outside of the top household names, tight end is generally a touchdown-dependent dart throw – managers would do well to secure stability here when possible.

FAAB: Henry is worth a $7-10 FAAB investment as a mid-range TE1 option on a team that doesn’t have a true alpha receiver. Henry’s chemistry with quarterback Mac Jones is easy to spot, and he will be a plug-and-play option for a team that is still seeking their first victory.

Kylen Granson (1 percent rostered) – The scenario that Granson finds himself currently situated in is ripe for the picking. For starters, lead option Jelani Woods has been nursing a hamstring injury that kept him off the field for the entire preseason, and he is currently on the IR. Additionally, any time missed by quarterback Anthony Richardson will allow Indianapolis to become more of a pass-first team if necessary, allowing Granson to function as a major red-zone threat for the team. Richardson’s replacement Gardner Minshew is an adept enough passer to keep Granson involved, and he will compete for secondary targets with Josh Downs and Alec Pierce, behind Michael Pittman Jr.. Fantasy managers currently struggling at the position due to injuries or misusage should consider him in deeper formats.

FAAB: Granson is worth a minimum FAAB investment in deeper formats for managers looking to shore up the position and roster a touchdown-dependent dart throw. His athleticism should keep him on the field, and I expect him to easily out-snap Mo Alie-Cox and Drew Ogletree.