Week 3 is now officially in the books, and with that, we get into my personal favorite part of the weekly grind: the waiver wire! Whether you play in a league that does standard waiver claims or FAB (free agent bidding), we will highlight players below based off roster percentages in ESPN leagues. In Week 2 I focused on players owned in less than 40% of leagues. However, while doing that, I soon realized that many of the players I'd mentioned weren't available in literally all seven of the leagues that I'm in, five of which are fairly standard size 12-team leagues. Because of this, I will be keeping the players listed below to those owned in roughly 33.3% of leagues or less. If you happen to play in a 10-team league or smaller, this article will serve more as a "watch list and stash" report, rather than a guide to directly making your top pickups of the week. Always do your best to prioritize these adds based on your roster's most glaring needs, or in some cases, the most glaring needs of your opponents. In Week 4 I know that the latter is tough to truly act on, but down the stretch of the regular season it can prove extremely valuable.
RB's are often our main targets on waivers each week over other positions, simply because they add both trade value and depth/insurance at the position, especially in such an unpredictable year with COVID-19 related risks. Also , in regards to prioritizing certain players over others, we want to constantly chase volume and usage, which for WR's/TE's will be primarily tracking target share % as opposed to just overall touchdowns and overall fantasy points scored. While we don't want to overreact to just a three-week sample size, we do want to jump on the opportunity to improve our rosters as often as humanly possible. We do this through waivers, trades and streaming positions at QB, TE, D/ST and/or Kicker.
The ability to drop these positions at the start of the week and make at least one or two additional, speculative adds, can often be the difference in hitting on a league-winner off the waivers and not. It's the owners who stand pat and stay stagnant who often see their fantasy fortunes fade down the stretch each year. This is why it's so important to grind the bottom of your rosters each week and not be afraid to cut bait on players with "household names" who simply aren't seeing enough usage.
Have a specific add/drop question or anything more specific that isn't covered? Hit me up on Twitter @maddjournalist or @betpredators. I will do my best to address each one of you before our first set of claims go through on Tuesday night. Without further adieu, here is our weekly addition of "Hunting The Waiver Wire" below. I will keep this short and sweet, with just one graph or less on each guy:
- Justin Herbert (Roster Percentage - 15.5%): The fact Justin Herbert lost his first official "non-Tyrod punctured lung start" overclouds what the Oregon product actually did here. Despite a 21-16 loss to Carolina in which the Chargers closed as -6.5 point favorites, Herbert racked up some impressive numbers in Week 3. The rookie went 33-of-49 for 330 passing yards and a touchdown. He also had 15 yards rushing, one week after throwing for 311 yards and adding a rushing score. Herbert ranks as the overall QB14 with 18.5 fantasy points per game over the last two weeks as L.A.'s new starter, and after a tough matchup against the Bucs in Week 4, he gets the Saints, Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars and Raiders. Not bad for streaming matchups, if you ask me, as Herbert will continue to improve and add a boost each week with his rushing yards and the occasional rushing TD to boot.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick (5.6%): After Week 1 I recommended Tua as my top waiver pickup at QB, which was coming off Fitzpatrick's 0 TD/3 INT performance against the New England Patriots. While I still do think the rookie Tua is an interesting stash for a soon-to-be 1-3 Dolphins team, it seems as if "Fitzmagic" has Miami's starting QB job secured. Fitzpatrick has been on a tear since his poor Week 1 performance, going for 328 yards and two scores against Buffalo in Week 2 and three total touchdowns against the Jaguars in Week 3 on Thursday Night Football. Last year Fitzpatrick was a QB1-level fantasy stud over the second half of the season and he looks to have gotten his 2019 groove back. He gets possibly the NFL's worst secondary in Week 4 at home against the Seattle Seahawks, and he'll be ranked inside my top 15 for this matchup accordingly. Embrace the beard.
- Nick Foles (0.9%): Fondly known as "Big Dick Nick," Foles slung it around in the second half on Sunday to the tune of three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and 17+ fantasy points. I'd be surprised if the Bears went back to Trubisky as their starter anytime soon, minus an injury to Foles at this point, and the Chicago Bears has a decent schedule before its Week 11 bye, including plus matchups against weak secondaries in the Panthers, Titans and Vikings along the way. Foles doesn't have the highest ceiling in the world, but he can provide a solid floor in deeper leagues where backup QB's and weekly streamers are harder to come by. The weapons are there, too, with Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller and Jimmy Graham all flashing in Foles' Week 3 debut. It's time to buy low on the Bears before it's too late.
- Honorable Mention: Kirk Cousins (15.0%), Jimmy Garrapolo (29.4%)
- Deep(er) League Stashes: Jalen Hurts (1.1%), Nick Mullens (0.9%)
- Jeff Wilson Jr. (Roster Percentage - 14.5%): The 49ers backfield members are dropping like flies, with Jerick McKinnon the latest to suffer an injury in Week 3, and now McKinnon's status for Week 4 is up in the air. Although Jeff Wilson Jr's yards per carry on Sunday was gross (12 carries, 15 yards, 1.3 ypc), he did total three catches on three targets for 54 yards and a receiving score after McKinnon exited the game. While Mostert and Coleman both remain out and McKinnon banged up, Wilson could serve as a three-down workhorse in the short term for a running game led by Kyle Shanahan, which in most cases means fantasy point galore. The goal-line touches and short rushing touchdowns will soon come for Mr. Wilson Jr., too. In deeper leagues I will also be looking to stash undrafted Baylor rookie JaMycal Hasty, who saw only three touches in Week 3 but is the next man up after Jeff Wilson Jr.
- Brian Hill (1.7%): The Todd Gurley glory days are officially over. While Gurley impressed in Week 3 with 80 rushing yards and a touchdown, it was Hill who quietly shined and continues to make his case for a 50-50 split in this backfield. Hill had the team's longest run of the game on a 35-yard touchdown burst, and he also had the Falcons' second-longest catch of the day with a 22-yard grab. His rushing and receiving yards have gone up each week now (20, 25, 80) and unfortunately, with each game under Gurley's belt, his arthritic knee will only continue to worsen. The Falcons sport one of the highest tempo offenses in the league and if Hill becomes the starter and also gets work in the passing game, he could provide immediate RB3/flex production. Stash him now.
- Carlos Hyde (9.8%): I hated to see Chris Carson injure his ankle late in the Cowboys-Seahawks Week 3 shootout, and at this point in the week it's unclear how severe it is. What we do know, however, is that Carlos Hyde stands to be a near-bell cow back in this offense if Carson is forced to miss time. Hyde has registered three catches on three targets over the past two weeks in just a backup role, and the ability to catch passes from Russell Wilson, in addition to serving as the team's early-down and goal-line back, could provide you with major upside in a pinch if you're dealing with injuries to guys like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Raheem Mostert and Le'Veon Bell. Don't be surprised to see Travis Homer get a shot at the "hot hand" role in this offense if Hyde falters. Hyde is the main guy to target for now, but in deeper leagues both Homer and Rashaad Penny, who is ahead of schedule with his rehab, will be back from IR midseason and has a shot to become the team's starter.
- Honorable Mention: Tony Pollard (31.5%), Benny Snell Jr. (30.0%), Chase Edmonds (28.0%), Boston Scott (27.9%), Rex Burkhead (21.0%), Frank Gore (17.9%), Travis Homer/DeeJay Dallas (0.2% and 0.4%)
- Deep League Targets: Jamychael Hasty (1.0%), Jordan Wilkins (0.6%), La'Michael Perine (2.6%), Anthony McFarland (1.9%), Rashaad Penny (2.2%)
- Greg Ward Jr. (Roster Percentage - 0.3%): Ward is one of the last (healthy) men standing in the Eagles once-crowded WR room, and he showed in 2019 that he can step into a primary pass-catching role when called upon. Ward saw a team-high 11 targets from Carson Wentz in Week 3 and turned that into an impressive 8-72-1 line. He also had five catches on seven targets in Week 1 with both Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert on the field. Ward had at least four catches in four straight games to close out 2019 in a similar situation for Philly, and his short-area, intermediate type routes will be key for Wentz as the Eagles' offensive line struggles to provide much protection in the pocket. Desean Jackson also got banged up in Week 3 and his status for Week 4 looks unclear, further paving the way for heavy usage and a healthy target share once again. Opposing defenses will look to put the clamps on Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz against Philadelphia, leaving Ward to roam free in the slot and be a safety blanket type of option for a struggling 0-3 Eagles team desperate for a win.
- Brandon Aiyuk/Justin Jefferson (16.4% and 33.5%): A pair of rookie I'm combining in this spot here, as we had a ton of rookie wideouts show promise and potential in Week 3. The two I'm most impressed with, however, are Aiyuk and Jefferson, who both served as their teams' top options in the passing game on Sunday. Jefferson exploded for 7-175-1 while Aiyuk totalled 5-70 through the air and added a 3-31-1 line on the ground. The most expensive FAB waiver bids are most certainly going to be on the LSU product in Jefferson this week, but I would advise against spending more than 25-30% of your budget on him unless you are truly desperate and the waivers are that thin. Aiyuk you might be able to get for half that price, and with injuries mounting to Jordan Reed and Jerick McKinnon, and George Kittle/Deebo Samuel still on the mend, it could be Aiyuk who serves as Mullens' top target while Garrapolo himself works his way back from injury. Jefferson still has Thielen to compete with for targets from Kirk Cousins and might've already had his best game of the season. Aiyuk, who saw a team-high eight targets in Week 3, is just as strong of a pickup for your fantasy squad. Jefferson is my preference of the two, but Aiyuk's price tag provides a better value.
- Anthony Miller (29.1%): Miller followed up his Week 2 goose egg with a 41 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 on five targets, nearly all of his production coming from Nick Foles in the second half of action. Foles throughout his career has shown a propensity to target his tight ends and slot receivers, and Miller could stand to benefit immediately. The former Florida product has flashed big-play upside in his young career and had four games with six or more catches in the second-half of 2019 with Mitch Trubisky under center. As teams start to gameplan against Allen Robinson more and more each week, Miller could find himself as Foles' primary check down option and see a path to putting up consistent WR3/flex numbers on a weekly basis. You could do a lot worse than adding Anthony Miller.
- Honorable Mention: Randall Cobb (15.4%), Alshon Jeffrey (13.8%), Cole Beasley (10.4%), Tee Higgins (7.0%), Adam Humphries (7.8%), Chase Claypool/James Washington (14.0% and 8.4%)
- Deep League Targets: Andy Isabella (0.6%), Braxton Berrios (1.0%), Kendrick Bourne (3.6%), KJ Hamler (4.2%), Hunter Renfrow (6.0%), Gabrielle Davis (0.2%)
- Jimmy Graham (Roster Percentage - 13.3%): Graham clearly emerged from a crowded TE room in Week 1 to receive 7 targets from Trubisky, just two targets shy of team-leader Allen Robinson. After a quiet Week 2, Graham exploded for 6-60-2 on nine targets from Foles in abbreviated action. We all know Foles' propensity to target the tight end and slot receiver, as mentioned above with Anthony Miller, and Graham also provides a decent amount of red zone/TD upside for an offense that lacks a big bodied threat down the middle. You could worse than streaming "the real Jimmy G" and seeing if he can bring back some of the old glory days with a brand new, tight end friendly QB in Nick Foles.
- Dalton Schultz (24.1%): Schultz couldn't quite match the 9-88-1 line he put up in Week 2, but he still produced a solid 4-48 on six targets in Week 3, averaging a more-than-healthy 12 yards per reception and matching the same amount of targets as CeeDee Lamb in the process. We all know Dak has a ton of mouths to feed in this Dallas offense, but Schultz still offers big upside in a fast-paced scheme with a big-bodied target for his QB over the middle of the field. I'll rank him here over Mo Alie-Cox, who is now facing snap/target competition from Jack Doyle, and also over Logan Thomas, who is receiving a ton of targets but is struggling to put up fantasy points due to the inefficient arm of Haskins. Schultz is locked in as the Cowboys' top tight end and that isn't changing.
- Eric Ebron (24.4%): A former first-round draft pick, we all know Ebron has always had the athleticism and upside to be an elite-level tight end. While the "elite" part has never materialized consistently throughout his career, he's also never had a QB like Ben Roethlisberger tossing him the rock. Big Ben himself, on the other hand, has never had an athletic tight end with the athletic juice that Ebron still possesses. After a somewhat quite first two weeks, Ebron tied with James Washington in Week 3 with a team-high seven targets and produced a solid 5-52-1 line. As Big Ben and Ebron continue to develop chemistry, the upside and floor will each grow. Ebron's next three matchups look nice too, facing Tennessee, Philadelphia and Cleveland over the next three weeks, all teams that have given up a decent amount of production to the tight end position. He faces stiff competition for targets from JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dionate Johnson, Chase Claypool and James Washington, sure, but he still has the chance to emerge at the team's third option overall for Big Ben, right behind JuJu/Diontae.
- Honorable Mention: Mo Allie-Cox (8.6%), Logan Thomas (19.1%), Greg Olsen (8.8%)
- Deep League Targets: Jordan Akins (4.0%), Drew Sample (6.1%), Robert Tonyan (0.2%)