Week 3 is in the books, and luckily it didn’t wreak the injury havoc that Week 2 did. Here are the notable fantasy-related injuries that occurred this week:
|Russell Wilson||QB||Sprained MCL||TBD|
|Jacoby Brissett||QB||Sprained Thumb||Might go next week|
|Jeremy Langford||RB||Ankle Sprain||4-6 Weeks|
|Ryan Mathews||RB||Ankle||Week to week|
|Thomas Rawls||RB||Fibula Fracture||4-6 Weeks|
|Shane Vereen||RB||Torn Triceps||Likely season ending|
|Delanie Walker||TE||Hamstring||Should play next week|
It’s not a great waiver week overall, but could provide some juice if you need some immediate help.
For Adds, I’ll only be focusing on players that are owned in less than 55% of ESPN Fantasy Leagues. Jimmy Graham is too owned to make this list, but if he’s still available he should be added in all leagues.
1. Jordan Howard – RB – CHI (ESPN Ownership: 15.5%)
Even without starter Jeremy Langord’s high ankle sprain, Howard was going to be a hot waiver wire add this week. There was speculation before the season that Langford’s hold on the starting job was tenuous, and over the last two weeks Howard has looked like the better back. He put up 92 total yards in comeback-mode against the Cowboys last night, and although he doesn’t have the pure speed that Langford does, he has decent power and receiving ability. Ka’Deem Carey could also play a role, but right now it looks like Howard’s job for the next month or so. The Chicago offense has been dreadful this season, but they get some nice matchups over the next few weeks (DET, IND, JAX), and Jay Cutler should be back soon (if that even makes a difference.) Howard is valuable to Langford owners and any RB-needy teams, so even if you don’t need him he’s worth an add for trade bait.
Verdict: Add in all leagues.
2. Dwayne Washington – RB – DET (ESPN Ownership: 20.4%)
I talked about Washington last week, and although he didn’t have a great game, his situation now looks a whole lot better. Ameer Abdullah’s injury was much more serious than at first look and he could be done for the season. Theo Riddick is still the lead back in Detroit, but he has never been a good between-the-tackles runner. Their contrasting styles showed up on Sunday against Green Bay, as Riddick was only able to manage 9 yards on 10 rushing attempts while Washington was able to carve out 39 on his 10 against a stingy GB run defense. I think the Lions will give Washington more carries when they’re not immediately in comeback-mode like they were this week, so he may actually be a decent start next week against a depleted Bears defense that just got ran all over by Dallas. I could easily see Washington getting 15 carries for 70 yards and a TD in that matchup, although there is little to no chance that he runs away with the #1 back job.
Verdict: Add in all 10+ team leagues.
3. Terrelle Pryor – WR – CLE (ESPN Ownership: 28%)
Pryor is a monster athlete (4.41 40 time at 6’4″ and 233) and that athleticism finally showed up Sunday against Miami. The converted QB did it all for the banged up Browns offense: he caught 8 passes for 144 yards, rushed four times for 21 yards and a TD, and even completed three passes for 35 yards. The main issue looming for Pryor is the Week 5 return of Josh Gordon, but Pryor did have 17 targets in the first two games while Corey Coleman was active, so he should still have a role once Gordon returns (albeit a smaller one.) With the Browns going on QB #3 for the season, they’re digging into their bag of tricks for some offense and Pryor will be the facilitator of that. Sooner or later those gimmicks will lose their effectiveness, but until then there’s the possibility of points through the air, ground, and arm for Pryor.
Verdict: Add in all 10+ team leagues.
4. Kyle Rudolph – TE – MIN (ESPN Ownership: 40.7%)
Tight end production has been extremely tough to come by in 2016, and other than Greg “Mr. Consistency” Olsen, through three weeks, Rudolph has been the most consistent one. We’ve been down this road before with Rudolph: he’ll make a couple short TD catches, everyone will add him, and he’ll score two TD’s the rest of the season and get two catches for 12 yards in every other game. Fantasy owners are justifiably skeptical, but we have reason to believe that things may be different this time.
Minnesota’s run blocking has been atrocious, and with Adrian Peterson’s injury, the Vikings are likely to open up the offense and pass more. It hasn’t quite come to fruition yet, but Minnesota has been playing with second half leads. Rudolph is also clearly the second target in this passing game behind only Stefon Diggs. He has been targeted 8, 8, and 10 times for a 28% target share. There is some regression coming in that department (19% is his prior career high), but if the passing volume increases, the targets could stay high. The Vikings seem to have little faith in any weapons behind Rudolph and Diggs right now. Rudolph is also finally fully healthy, which has been an issue throughout his career. I would project him as a back-end TE1 over the rest of the season. Rudolph has a nice matchup this week against a Giants team with an injured starting safety (Darian Stewart) and a weak LB corps, so it’s the right week to add him.
Verdict: Add in all 10+ team leagues if you don’t have a top 5 TE.
5. Steve Smith – WR – BAL (ESPN Ownership: 52%)
Smith’s usage has ramped up from week to week and he hauled in an impressive 8 of 11 targets for 87 yards against Jacksonville. He may not have the speed and burst that he once had, but after gobbling up 28% of Baltimore’s targets on only 60% of the offensive snaps, it’s clear he is the #1 target in an offense that will be near the top of the league in pass attempts. Smith is more valuable in PPR formats, but since he is already over half-owned overall, I’m guessing he’s not available in many.
Verdict: Add in all PPR formats, most 10+ team leagues if you need WR help.
6. Orleans Darkwa – RB – NYG (ESPN Ownership: 5.1%)
With Vereen’s possibly season ending injury and Rashad Jennings health status (seemingly always) up in the air, Darkwa could be in line for a few starts this season. Coach Ben McAdoo has already indicated that the Giants will use a backfield committee in Jennings absence, but with rookie Paul Perkins looking like just a special teamer and Bobby Rainey slated as the passing downs specialist, Darkwa should get a decent amount of carries and most of the goal line work. He put up 62 total yards and a touchdown against Washington this week, and although the schedule gets much tougher (MIN, GB, BAL, LA, PHI), he’s worth an add for RB needy teams.
Verdict: Add in all 12+ team leagues.
7. Jamison Crowder – WR – WSH (ESPN Ownership: 11.2%)
Crowder took a screen pass to the house in week 3 and continues to be the second-most targeted Redskin. He should be owned in all PPR formats and is becoming a weekly flex option (with a low ceiling and high floor) for standard leagues as well.
Verdict: Add in all PPR formats, 12+ team standard leagues
8. Quincy Enunwa – WR – NYJ (ESPN Ownership: 41.7%)
The Jets offense was completely terrible in Week 3, but Enunwa still led the team with 11 targets. He has a role whether Brandon Marshall is healthy or not.
Verdict: Add in all 12+ team leagues
9. Cole Beasley – WR – DAL (ESPN Ownership: 14.5%)
Beasley led the Cowboys with 7 targets in week 3, and caught all of them for 73 yards (narrowly missing a touchdown on one spectacular grab on the one yard line.) It’s clear that Beasley has a consistent role in the offense and offers the same safe PPR floor that Crowder does.
Verdict: Add in all PPR formats, 12+ team standard leagues
10. Zach Miller – TE – CHI (ESPN Ownership: 42.1%)
Miller was very quiet during the first two weeks but caught two touchdowns with Brian Hoyer at QB in week 3. He was an inconsistent big play threat last season, so maybe two down games for one monster is to be expected. Miller does have three great TE matchups coming up (DET, IND, JAX) and we shall see if Hoyer’s presence actually had a positive affect on Miller’s value or if it’s just a one-game mirage.
Verdict: Take him for a test drive but don’t give up top waiver position/FAAB for him.
Honorable Mention Adds:
Hunter Henry/TE/SD, Cameron Artis-Payne/RB/CAR, Kenyan Drake/RB/MIA, Carson Wentz/QB/PHI (wait until after the bye week), Adam Humphries/WR/TB, Cameron Brate/TE/TB
1. Vincent Jackson – WR – TB (ESPN Ownership: 56.6%)
See last week’s write-up.
2. Devin Funchess – WR – CAR (ESPN Ownership: 43%)
This should be obvious. He’s not involved in the offense right now, and in the words of Minnesota’s Captain Munnerlyn: “We don’t think he’s very good.”
3. Jeremy Langford – RB – CHI (ESPN Ownership: 94.1%)
If you need roster space right now I wouldn’t hang on to Langford. He’s out 4-6 weeks and there are no guarantees he gets his job back that he wasn’t producing in anyways.
4. Adrian Peterson – RB – MIN (ESPN Ownership: 77.7%)
Peterson’s regular season is likely over. I don’t know how you can afford to hold on to him for the off-chance that he comes back this year.
5. Marcus Mariota – QB – TEN (ESPN Ownership: 49.9%)
Mariota and the Titans passing game have looked terrible this year. There are probably better fantasy QBs on the wire.
1. Tyler Lockett – WR – SEA (ESPN Ownership: 80%)
Things aren’t looking promising for Lockett, who was held without a catch in Week 3 while Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin went off. His QB also got hurt. Still, he’s too talented to give up on just yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a big game against a NYJ secondary that has been susceptible to speed WRs. If he does nothing again, it’s probably safe to drop him over Seattle’s bye week.
2. Alfred Morris – RB – DAL (ESPN Ownership: 27.5%)
Keep holding on folks (and add him if you have room.) If Ezekiel Elliot keeps getting 30+ touches, an injury could be coming. Plus, Morris has some standalone value with two TD’s in the last two weeks.