Fantasy: Waiver Wire - Week 3
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Every Monday during the season, theScore's Justin Boone runs down the recommended waiver wire pickups.
Rostered percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Free Agent Budget (FAB) amounts are set off a $100 salary cap. Only players rostered in less than 50% of leagues are considered.
Sam Darnold, Panthers
We knew Darnold's schedule was soft in the first month of the season, but the 2018 first-round pick still came through with a 279-yard, two-touchdown (one rushing) performance against the New York Jets in Week 1 and a 305-yard, two-passing score day versus the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Surrounded by star talent and quality coaching, the 24-year-old is off to a strong start with the Carolina Panthers. His next opponent, the Houston Texans, just lost veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor to a hamstring injury and will turn to third-round rookie Davis Mills on a short week.
Darnold should have no problem continuing his newfound success in Week 3 and perhaps even against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. You can consider him a decent streaming option for both matchups.
Justin Fields (51% rostered) is the top QB add this week if he's available in your league.
Streaming options: Teddy Bridgewater vs. NYJ (17% rostered), Daniel Jones vs. ATL (19% rostered), Ben Roethlisberger vs. CIN (37% rostered)
Streaming options (if healthy): Derek Carr* vs. MIA (25% rostered), Tua Tagovailoa at LV (27% rostered)
Long-term stash: Trey Lance vs GB (39% rostered)
2QB/Superflex options: Taylor Heinicke at BUF (4% rostered), Mac Jones vs. NO (25% rostered), Jimmy Garoppolo vs. GB (10% rostered)
2QB/Superflex dart-throw options: Davis Mills vs. CAR (0% rostered), Jacob Eason at TEN (0% rostered), Jacoby Brissett at LV (0% rostered)
2QB/Superflex long-term stashes: Cam Newton (2% rostered), Case Keenum (0% rostered)
Alexander Mattison, Vikings
If Cook misses any time, his 23-year-old backup immediately enters the RB2 conversation for fantasy and could potentially return RB1 value in the right matchups.
Here's a look at the handful of games in which Mattison saw increased touches last season:
That Week 5 game is particularly notable since it came against the Seattle Seahawks, who'll be his opponents this Sunday.
A lot will depend on Cook's diagnosis, but until we get an update, you should be aggressive in acquiring Mattison in your leagues.
James White, Patriots
This is White's second straight appearance in this space now that he's resumed a sizeable role in the New England Patriots' offense.
After turning 10 touches (six catches) into 61 yards on 37% snap share in Week 1, White improved on those totals with 11 touches (six catches), 65 yards, and a rushing touchdown on 50% of New England's snaps in Week 2.
It's clear rookie quarterback Mac Jones is looking for his veteran pass-catching specialist out of the backfield.
Though White doesn't offer the fantasy upside of someone like Mattison, he can be a steady RB2/flex option in PPR formats until you find someone with a higher ceiling on the waiver wire.
Sony Michel (60% rostered) is the second-best RB add this week if he's available in your league.
Michael Carter (50% rostered) is the third-best RB add this week if he's available in your league.
High-upside backups like Tony Pollard (53% rostered), Damien Williams (8% rostered), Chuba Hubbard (16% rostered), and Tony Jones Jr. (24% rostered) should be rostered in most leagues.
Flex options: Kenneth Gainwell at DAL (36% rostered), Cordarrelle Patterson at NYG (14% rostered), Peyton Barber vs. MIA (10% rostered), Zack Moss at WAS (49% rostered), J.D. McKissic at BUF (29% rostered)
Dart-throw flex options: Carlos Hyde vs. ARI (19% rostered), Ty Johnson at DEN (9% rostered), Darrel Williams vs. LAC (11% rostered)
Other backups to roster: Alex Collins at MIN (1% rostered), Devonta Freeman at DET (8% rostered), Salvon Ahmed at LV (2% rostered), Samaje Perine at PIT (1% rostered), Marlon Mack at TEN (6% rostered), Devontae Booker at ATL (6% rostered), Justin Jackson at KC (6% rostered), Phillip Lindsay vs. CAR (39% rostered), Larry Rountree at KC (17% rostered)
Injured reserve stashes: Jeff Wilson Jr. (13% rostered), Darrynton Evans (3% rostered), Anthony McFarland Jr. (1% rostered)
Deeper stashes: Jaret Patterson at BUF (1% rostered), Jeremy McNichols vs. IND (0% rostered), Jake Funk vs. TB (1% rostered), Rhamondre Stevenson vs. NO (16% rostered), Malcolm Brown at LV (8% rostered), Kylin Hill at SF (0% rostered), Jemar Jefferson vs. BAL (1% rostered)
Rondale Moore, Cardinals
We're going back to the well on several recommendations from last week's column after they delivered big performances in Week 2.
Moore followed up his 68-yard debut with a team-leading seven receptions and 114 yards to go along with a touchdown.
It's important to keep in mind that he's doing this while still playing the fewest snaps and running the fewest routes of the Arizona Cardinals' top four receivers.
DeAndre Hopkins is the pass-catching Alpha in Arizona, but Moore is quickly becoming his standout sidekick. With Kyler Murray taking his game to the next level, Moore is emerging as a WR3 option in fantasy leagues.
Tim Patrick, Broncos
Are we really doing this again?
In what became a weekly tradition, I continuously recommended Patrick in this column last season. And despite producing as a top-30 fantasy wideout from Week 3 to 14 thanks to seven games with either 100 yards and/or a touchdown during that stretch, he remained available in the majority of leagues.
And now, it's as if we're experiencing deja vu, with Patrick scoring a touchdown in back-to-back games and playing over 70% of the Broncos' snaps. Yet he's still out there in 78% of leagues.
Jerry Jeudy will be sidelined for at least another month, so there's plenty of time to take advantage of Patrick and his WR3/flex numbers.
Flex options: Darnell Mooney at CLE (45% rostered), Emmanuel Sanders vs. WAS (22% rostered), DeVante Parker at LV (40% rostered), Elijah Moore at DEN (31% rostered), Cordarrelle Patterson at NYG (14% rostered)
Risky flex options: Henry Ruggs vs. MIA (35% rostered), Bryan Edwards vs. MIA (20% rostered), Terrace Marshall Jr. at HOU (18% rostered), Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. CHI (2% rostered), Anthony Schwartz vs. CHI (3% rostered), Marquez Valdes-Scantling at SF (16% rostered), Sammy Watkins at DET (22% rostered), Zach Pascal at TEN (15% rostered), K.J. Osborn vs. SEA (3% rostered), Hunter Renfrow vs. MIA (6% rostered)
Dart-throw flex options: Gabriel Davis vs. WAS (7% rostered), Cedrick Wilson vs. PHI (1% rostered), K.J. Hamler vs. NYJ (7% rostered), Jalen Reagor at DAL (26% rostered), Quez Watkins at DAL (1% rostered), James Washington vs. CIN (0% rostered), Darius Slayton vs. ATL (4% rostered), Tyrell Williams vs. BAL (27% rostered), Quintez Cephus vs. BAL (1% rostered), Dyami Brown at BUF (2% rostered), Deonte Harris at NE (12% rostered), Freddie Swain at MIN (0% rostered), Braxton Berrios at DEN (0% rostered)
Injured reserve stash: Rashod Bateman (13% rostered)
Deep bench stashes: Van Jefferson vs. TB (7% rostered), Jaylen Guyton at KC (0% rostered), Josh Palmer at KC (1% rostered), Chris Conley vs. CAR (1% rostered), Byron Pringle vs. LAC (1% rostered), Demarcus Robinson vs. LAC (0% rostered), Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. BAL (5% rostered), Kalif Raymond vs. BAL (0% rostered), Trinity Benson vs. BAL (0% rostered), Adam Humphries at BUF (1% rostered), Rashard Higgins vs. CHI (0% rostered)
Evan Engram, Giants
Investing in the New York Giants' offense might be a foolish endeavor since turnover-prone Daniel Jones' best plays tend to come with his legs and not his arm.
Even so, fantasy managers looking for help at tight end are desperate, and the waiver wire doesn't offer much relief.
Engram missed the first two games with a calf injury but was back at practice Monday - a good sign for a possible Week 3 return.
It's easy to forget, but prior to a disappointing 2020 campaign, Engram averaged the seventh-most fantasy points among tight ends in half PPR scoring during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. That came after a standout rookie year in which he finished as the TE5 overall.
There's no doubt the 27-year-old has the talent to be a top-10 fantasy option at the position, but it's a question of durability and coaching. Though doubts remain, that won't stop me from stashing Engram on a couple of teams to see if he can get back into the TE1 mix when healthy.
Risky streamer options: Jared Cook at KC (43% rostered), Cole Kmet at CLE (39% rostered), Austin Hooper vs. CHI (48% rostered), David Njoku vs. CHI (8% rostered)
Dart-throw streamer options: Tyler Conklin vs. SEA (4% rostered), Pat Freiermuth vs. CIN (7% rostered), Jack Doyle at TEN (1% rostered), Maxx Williams at JAX (0% rostered), Dawson Knox vs. WAS (6% rostered), Dan Arnold at HOU (4% rostered), Blake Jarwin vs. PHI (12% rostered)
Week 3 streamers
Favorable upcoming schedules: Bears DEF (28% rostered), Titans DEF (3% rostered)