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Waiver Wire: Week 3

Raymond Summerlin

*Update: Corey Clement moved up because of news Jay Ajayi could miss Week 3. 

Welcome to the 3rd edition of Waiver Wired for the 2018 season. Thankfully, it was a quiet week for injuries, but it did not start out that way. After he came in and out of the game on Thursday night, it was revealed Joe Mixon needed a knee scope which will sideline him at least two weeks. It is a tough blow for a player who appeared on his way to a breakout season. There were a few other injuries over the weekend – LeSean McCoy’s ribs, Larry Fitzgerald’s hamstring, Mike Wallace’s fibula, and Greg Zuerlein’s groin – but they either are minor issues or do not have major fantasy implications.

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are no longer must-roster assets, recommended adds are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list consists of players who are worthy of a roster spot if possible, and deep cuts are players rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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The Drop List
QB: Marcus Mariota
RB:
Duke Johnson, C.J. Anderson
WR:
Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant
TE:
Greg Olsen

It remains unclear if Mariota will be back this week, and the Jaguars are on deck even if he is ready to play. Johnson is certainly not a must-cut, but he has 11 touches total through two games. Anderson has just 10, and he is not even getting goal-line work. Nelson has topped 35 yards once in his last 13 games. For some reason, Bryant is still rostered in 26 percent of leagues. Even if he signs with a team, it is going to take him time to get up to speed, and he was not even that good last season. It sounds like Olsen will avoid injured reserve, but spending a bench spot on a tight end who might be back in four weeks is not the way to build a roster, assuming he cannot be stashed in an IR spot.

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Quarterbacks
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
2. Blake Bortles
3. Andy Dalton

Running Backs
Aaron Jones rostered in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 4 add if available.
1. Giovani Bernard
2. Corey Clement
3. Javorius Allen
4. Austin Ekeler
5. Mark Walton
6. Ito Smith
7. Corey Grant
8. Latavius Murray
9. Chris Ivory
10. Marcus Murphy

Wide Receivers
1. Keelan Cole
2. John Brown
3. DeSean Jackson
4. Antonio Callaway
5. Chris Godwin
6. Phillip Dorsett
7. Dante Pettis
8. Brandon Marshall
9. Geronimo Allison
10. Calvin Ridley
11. James Washington
12. Tyler Boyd
13. Rashard Higgins

Tight Ends
1. Ben Watson
2. Ian Thomas
3. Will Dissly
4. Vance McDonald
5. Jesse James

Defense/Special Teams
1. Cleveland Browns
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. Carolina Panthers
Looking Ahead: Green Bay Packers

Kickers
1. Sam Ficken
2. Dan Bailey
3. Ka’imi Fairbairn
Looking Ahead: Mason Crosby

QUARTERBACKS
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bucs – Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
There is really no other choice. Fitzpatrick made me look stupid by matching his 400-yard, four-touchdown performance with one just like it in Week 2, and now he gets a Steelers defense Patrick Mahomes just annihilated for six touchdowns in only 28 attempts. He simply has to be a top-ten option until proven otherwise.

2. Blake Bortles, Jaguars – Rostered in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
After his 377-yard performance against the Patriots, Bortles has now averaged 323 passing yards with nine touchdowns in the four games Leonard Fournette has missed the last two seasons. In a quality matchup against the Titans, he should be able to keep that going if the running back sits again, and he will be worth a look even if Fournette returns.

3. Andy Dalton, Bengals – Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues

Dalton’s yardage totals have not been impressive, but he has consistently thrown touchdowns since Bill Lazor took over as offensive coordinator, tossing 31 in 16 games including six in the first two weeks of this season. The matchup with the Panthers is not great, but they did just give up 272 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and two rushing scores to Matt Ryan.

Watch List:
Tyrod Taylor is an option every week because of his rushing ability, but he has struggled to produce through the air and now gets a tough matchup on a short week. There are simply better options…Derek Carr did have a better game Week 2, but the Dolphins have quietly played well on defense, albeit against questionable competition, and it is an east-coast early game…Case Keenum had a letdown in a good spot against the Raiders, and the Ravens still have a tough defense despite what we saw Thursday night…Joe Flacco has now thrown multiple touchdowns in six of seven games, and the Broncos are not the matchup they once were. Still, he looked bad enough last Thursday to make rolling him out there again feel like Russian roulette…Sam Darnold is going to be an option at some point, but in Cleveland on a short week against a defense which has given both Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees trouble does not seem like the spot…It is not quite there for Mitchell Trubisky and Chicago’s offense yet…Eli Manning is going to hit at some point because one of his targets does something crazy, but he has simply been bad through two weeks…Ryan Tannehill has 51 attempts in two games. That is not going to get it done in fantasy unless your name is Patrick Mahomes.

~RUNNING BACKS
1. Giovani Bernard, Bengals – Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues
While the carry totals do not jump out – his 23-carry game came in Joe Mixon’s first game back – Bernard worked as the clear lead back in the two games Mixon missed last season, handling 76 percent of the carries, 20 percent of the targets, and playing 87 percent of the offensive snaps. Cincinnati has more receiving talent this season, which will likely deflate that target share, and more help in the backfield in fourth-rounder Mark Walton. Still, Bernard is the heavy favorite for backfield touches. With Mixon expected to miss at least two games in the best-case scenario, that easily makes Bernard the top add of the week and worth a 25-30 percent FAAB bid.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Corey Clement, Eagles – Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
It seemed like Jay Ajayi would be ready for Week 3 after he was able to return to Sunday's game in the second half. Reports on Tuesday put his availability in doubt, however, and Darren Sproles is still hobbled by a hamstring injury. If Ajayi sits, Clement should start and see a large workload. 
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues.

3. Javorius Allen, Ravens – Rostered in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
Readers of this article were not surprised when Allen received six carries and seven targets on Thursday night. Through two weeks, Allen has played three more snaps than Alex Collins, has eight more targets, and has seen one fewer attempt inside the 10. Based on what we saw last season, he is not going away.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Austin Ekeler, Chargers – Rostered in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
His workload was inflated by Melvin Gordon leaving the blowout early, but Ekeler now has 24 touches in two games and is averaging 9.3 yards per touch. Even if those numbers fall off, he will at worst be a high-upside handcuff.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

5. Mark Walton, Bengals – Rostered in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
The most likely outcome is Bernard working as the clear lead back, but perhaps there are enough backfield touches for a secondary option to emerge. Tra Carson has been active the first two weeks, but that seems to be because of special teams – he played five snaps on offense in two games and 38 on special teams. Walton will at worst be active and is the more talented runner of the backups, making him an interesting stash in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Ito Smith, Falcons – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Smith saw nine carries in Week 2, about the same as Terron Ward received as the secondary back in Tevin Coleman’s spot starts last season, and looked good doing it. Perhaps he does not return much value with Coleman healthy, but he should get a handful of touches.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Corey Grant, Jaguars – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Jaguars finally came through on their promise to use Grant more. With the passing game being emphasized, Grant played 42.3 percent of the offensive snaps and touched the ball 10 times in Jacksonville’s win over the Patriots. The issues are Leonard Fournette could return this week, and the game plan could be dramatically different against the Titans’ struggling offense even if Fournette sits again. Even so, Grant is worth a stash in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. Latavius Murray, Vikings – Rostered in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dalvin Cook said his “hamstring” issue in overtime was just a cramp. Even so, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially since Murray would be a great play against the Bills if he gets the start. Even if he does not, he could get more work than usual in a game the Vikings should win going away.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

9. Chris Ivory, Bills – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
10. Marcus Murphy, Bills – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is possible LeSean McCoy misses a game with a rib injury, but it simply might not matter for fantasy purposes. Murphy has played 30 more snaps than Ivory so far this season, but he is more of a complementary back than a true replacement for McCoy. Most importantly, McCoy has not been able to create fantasy value in this offense, so it is highly unlikely either Ivory or Murphy will be able to if he misses any time, especially since the Vikings are next up on the schedule. Perhaps they are worth speculative adds in deep leagues just to see what happens, but there is not much to get excited about here.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: With Marlon Mack back, the Colts’ backfield devolved into a three-headed nightmare in Week 2 with Mack getting 30 percent of the snaps, Jordan Wilkins getting 39 percent, and Nyheim Hines matching that total. Mack and Wilkins both saw 10 carries – Wilkins gained 61 yards to 34 for Mack – but Hines ended up with the touchdown. Unless someone emerges, it will be impossible to trust any of this trio in fantasy lineups, making it tough to call them must-roster players…Ronald Jones was once again a healthy scratch, but Peyton Barber’s early-season struggles (2.6 YPC) could open the door for some playing time…Theo Riddick remains a good PPR option after seeing 12 targets in Week 2, and he could be just as involved this week with the Patriots coming to town. That game might not set up as well for LeGarrette Blount, but he is still seeing a large share of the carries…Ty Montgomery has 10 touches in two games, and Aaron Jones is back this week…Frank Gore has nine carries in back-to-back games to open the season. That is not enough to earn him standalone fantasy value, but it is an issue for Kenyan Drake’s…Jalen Richard unsurprisingly fell out of the rotation with the Raiders leading most of Week 2. He will have some spike weeks in games the Raiders lose big, but he will play behind Doug Martin when that is not the case.

Deep Cuts: It is unclear when Darren Sproles will be back, and the Eagles could take it easier on the veteran after he quickly picked up a hamstring injury…Arizona’s offense is terrible, but Chase Edmonds would have a featured role in it if something happened to David Johnson. The same is true of Rod Smith in Dallas and Malcolm Brown in Los Angeles…Mike Gillislee only played nine snaps, but he ended up with eight carries. Perhaps there is something there.

~WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Keelan Cole, Jaguars – Rostered in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
I am not even sure why he is available in enough leagues to be on this list. He had a lackluster Week 1, but he is a No. 1 receiver who has the talent to put up games like the one we saw against the Patriots. Jacksonville’s desire to use a run-first offense could lead to sporadic production, but he should be considered a WR3 most weeks.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. John Brown, Ravens – Rostered in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
The owner of 136 yards and two scores through two games, there is no reason for Brown, perhaps Baltimore’s No. 1 receiver, to be available in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues. Pick him up.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. DeSean Jackson, Bucs – Rostered in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is safe to predict Jackson will not catch 100 percent of his targets or average 30.6 yards per catch this season, but even once those numbers regress, he will be the No. 2 option – he played five more snaps and ran six more routes than Chris Godwin in Week 2 – in a passing game showing no signs of slowing down.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Antonio Callaway, Browns – Rostered in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Rashard Higgins worked as the No. 3 receiver ahead of Callaway in Week 1, but that flipped against the Saints. Callaway played four more snaps and ran five more routes on Sunday. Higgins ended up with three more targets, but Callaway led the Browns in receiving on the back of a 47-yard touchdown which tied the game late in the fourth quarter. As talented as they come, Callaway should produce if he gets the opportunity, and it appears he will.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. Chris Godwin, Bucs – Rostered in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jackson’s quick recovery means Godwin did not get his week as a starter, but he still saw six targets and scored his second touchdown of the season. His production could be up-and-down in a crowded receiver group – he was matched in snaps by Adam Humphries – but he will be usable in good matchups like the one this week and is at worst a high-upside bench stash.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Phillip Dorsett, Patriots – Rostered in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Josh Gordon trade is a long-term concern, but it is highly unlikely Gordon unseats Dorsett as the No. 2 receiver this week. That means he should get another high-usage game – he has seven targets in each of the first two weeks – in a good matchup against the Lions.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Dante Pettis, 49ers – Rostered in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
Pettis disappointed with just one catch against the Lions, but the 49ers threw only 26 passes in that game. More importantly, Pettis played 88 percent of the snaps, and he should remain a big part of the offense if Marquise Goodwin is forced to sit again. With the 49ers traveling to Kansas City, that usage should result in a bigger fantasy day.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. Brandon Marshall, Seahawks – Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
Seattle’s passing game was a bit of a train wreck on Monday night, but Marshall emerged with four catches for 44 yards on six targets, the second-most on the team behind Tyler Lockett. He should be able to return value in deeper leagues while Doug Baldwin is out.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

9. Geronimo Allison, Packers – Rostered in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite not getting a target in the first half, Allison finished with six catches for another 64 yards and played nearly 80 percent of the snaps. That first half offers a glimpse at what can happen to the fourth option in the passing game, but Allison should continue to get looks in an Aaron Rodgers’ led offense. That makes him worth rostering in deeper leagues
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

10. Calvin Ridley, Falcons – Rostered in 22 percent of  Yahoo leagues

Calvin Ridley caught his first touchdown and tied for the team lead with 64 yards, but he still played fewer snaps than Mohamed Sanu. It is certainly possible that changes, making him worth a bench stash in deeper leagues, but that is all he is right now.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

11. James Washington, Steelers – Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
Washington was an afterthought in the season opener, playing well behind Justin Hunter, but that changed in Week 2. With Hunter a healthy scratch, Washington played 80 percent of the snaps, saw five targets, and scored his first career touchdown. All of that came in a game Ben Roethlisberger threw 60 times, so it is worth taking with a grain of salt. Still, he is at least worth a bench stash to see if the usage sticks.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

12. Tyler Boyd, Bengals – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
It remains unclear how much upside Boyd actually has. His touchdown on Thursday was just the fourth of his career, and he averaged 10.9 yards per catch his first two seasons. That said, the usage has been there so far this season. He has 14 targets in two games and has played 25 more snaps than John Ross. With the Bengals’ offense clicking, that gives him some value in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

13. Rashard Higgins, Browns – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Callaway is the higher-upside add, but Higgins did see more targets against the Saints and played a bigger role in Week 1. He is worth stashing in deep leagues to see what happens.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Kelvin Benjamin probably should be rostered, especially in deeper leagues, but it is tough to get excited about anyone in Buffalo’s offense…Torrey Smith is the No. 2 and Jarius Wright is the No. 3 in Carolina right now, but that could change in the near future. D.J. Moore turned his only catch into a 51-yard touchdown against the Falcons, and coach Ron Rivera said on Monday they need to get the rookie more involved…John Ross has six targets total in two games and is playing behind Tyler Boyd. He is a bench stash at best right now…Courtland Sutton has 11 targets in two games. He has not done anything with the work – he was questionably ruled out of bounds on a catch in the end zone on Sunday – but that kind of workload for a player of his talent is at least interesting…Ted Ginn saved his fantasy day with a long catch at the end of the game, but he worryingly played two fewer snaps than Austin Carr and just eight more than Tre’Quan Smith. Perhaps it was an injury issue after Ginn was listed with a knee injury last week, but it is a concern, especially if Cameron Meredith is able to work his way back…A late 61-yard touchdown made his fantasy day look a lot better, but Dede Westbrook worked as the No. 3 receiver against the Patriots, seeing four fewer targets than Donte Moncrief. That is not going to cut it in what should be a run-first offense most of the season…Considering he got in a full practice last week and deemed himself healthy enough to play, DeVante Parker has to be considered a healthy scratch for Week 2. Coach Adam Gase said he just wanted to give the receiver another week, but it is fair to wonder how involved Parker will be even when he comes back, especially with Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson, and Jakeem Grant commanding targets behind Kenny Stills…Game script limited Ryan Grant to two targets on Sunday. He should see more most weeks, but he remains a relatively low-upside option outside of PPR leagues…Rishard Matthew did play more and saw four targets, but he is still not back to full speed…Paul Richardson has six targets in back-to-back games and seems like a better bet than Josh Doctson, but neither is a reliable fantasy option in a crowded offense which added two receivers on Monday…Dallas once again had five receivers play more than 30 percent of the snaps, and they reportedly are signing Brice Butler. Despite Tavon Austin’s big play, this remains a situation to avoid…Anthony Miller only saw three targets and appears to still be behind Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, but he ran a nice route to get open for a touchdown…Martavis Bryant made a few plays, but he only was in on 39 percent of the snaps and could be suspended any day.

Deep Cuts:
Larry Fitzgerald’s hamstring injury seems minor, and even if it is not, Arizona’s offense is not good enough to make Christian Kirk or Chad Williams interesting except in deep leagues…Even with Jermaine Kearse back, Terrelle Pryor played 68 percent of the snaps Sunday and saw eight targets. He still played behind Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, but that is worth a look in deep leagues…With Will Fuller back, Bruce Ellington is back to the No. 3 job, and he could lose that once Keke Coutee is back healthy…Willie Snead has 14 targets in two games. He is behind Michael Crabtree and John Brown in the pecking order, but he is still interesting in deep leagues, especially PPR…Taywan Taylor played more snaps in Week 2 and turned a screen pass into an 18-yard touchdown. Hopefully the play convinces Titans coaches to use him more…It might not amount to much in this offense, but Taylor Gabriel looks like the No. 2 receiver behind Allen Robinson…Zay Jones made a big play, but it is tough to get excited about the No. 2 receiver in Buffalo…With Mike Wallace out, someone has to serve as the No. 2 receiver until Alshon Jeffery gets back. Kamar Aiken played the most snaps Week 2, but Shelton Gibson and DeAndre Carter could also get involved.

~TIGHT ENDS
1. Ben Watson, Saints – Rostered in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues
Watson is a bit over the threshold, but it is absolutely ugly out there for tight end streamers, which is not surprising given the state of the position. Watson has not done much in two games, but he has nine targets, should have had a touchdown last week, and gets a good matchup with the Falcons.

2. Ian Thomas, Panthers – Rostered in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Thomas’ first start only produced 10 yards, but he played 95.5 percent of the snaps and ran 43 routes according to PFF, the third most of the week by a tight end. He also dropped a gimme touchdown. The Bengals have been the best matchup for tight ends so far this season, giving up 198 yards and two scores in two games. He is a massive risk, but at least he has several things working in his favor.

3. Will Dissly, Seahawks – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
I guess at some point we just have to believe in Dissly. He did only see five targets, the same amount as fellow tight end Nick Vannett, and 36 of his yards and his touchdown came on the meaningless final drive. He also logged a catch on the first possession of the game, however, and was targeted deep in the first quarter. In a barren tight end landscape, perhaps it makes sense to take a shot on Dissly.

4. Vance McDonald, Steelers – Rostered in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
5. Jesse James, Steelers – Rostered in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
This is me throwing my hands in the air. Either one of these guys would easily be the best streaming option if we knew who would get the targets, but that is tough to judge. Both ended up with five against the Chiefs, but sudden deep-threat James turned his work into 138 yards and a touchdown while McDonald managed just 26 scoreless yards. According to PFF, McDonald ran one more route in that game. A better receiver who could be more involved now that he has a game under his belt, McDonald would be my choice, but this looks like a coin flip.

Watch List: The Austin Hooper trap has been set after he went for 59 yards – just the third game of more than 50 yards in his career – and a touchdown in Week 2. Perhaps he has turned a corner, but I want to see him put a couple games together…Austin Seferian-Jenkins got his touchdown, but he failed to top 25 yards for the second week in a row, and that was with Blake Bortles throwing for 377. He is touchdown-or-bust…It could eventually happen for Ricky Seals-Jones, who does have 12 targets in two games, but that offense is just a black hole…Jonnu Smith did play every snap in Week 2, but he did not see a target. That should change once Marcus Mariota gets back and the offense returns to normal, but a matchup with the Jaguars would have been one to avoid even if Mariota was 100 percent…It probably had something to do with the score, but it is disappointing Antonio Gates’ snap share went down in Week 2. He needs to be avoided until he establishes a role…Baltimore’s tight end situation would be one to target if they had a clear leader. Nick Boyle, Mark Andrews, and Maxx Williams are all getting snaps and targets…Jordan Akins could offer some fantasy value, but he is just not getting the snaps or targets right now…Rico Gathers should have had a touchdown, but he played just five snaps against the Giants…Mike Gesicki is at best even with A.J. Derby in the pecking order right now.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Cleveland Browns – Rostered in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
They have seven sacks and eight takeaways through two weeks, and now they get a home game on a short week against Sam Darnold.

2. Dallas Cowboys – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is not great they are on the road, but they have been stout and have nine sacks through two games. They should add to that total against the Seahawks, who have given up 12 already this season.

3. Carolina Panthers – Rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues
Things did not go well in Atlanta, but they are a prime defense playing at home.

Looking Ahead: A coaching change and infusion of secondary talent have helped the Packers’ defense improve, and they get a home date with the Bills in Week 4.

KICKERS
1. Sam Ficken, Rams – Rostered in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Greg Zuerlein will miss a few games with a groin injury, meaning there will be a new kicker attached to the offense which created the second-most attempts in the league last season and five in Week 1. Ficken is a plug-and-play option.

2. Dan Bailey, Vikings -- Rostered in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
Bailey was not great his final season in Dallas, converting just 15-of-20 attempts, but he is one of the best kickers in NFL history who is now attached to a pretty good offense. This week he gets the Bills at home. 

3. Ka’imi Fairbairn, Texans – Rostered in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Fairbairn has multiple attempts in each of his two games this season, and now he gets his first home game against a Giants defense which has faced four kicks in two games.

Looking Ahead:
Mason Crosby gets a home date with a Bills defense which has struggled so far this season.