League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 3

Week 2 of the NFL season was perhaps even more wild than the opening week.

Not only did some surprise players from kickoff weekend continue to torch defenses, but some dreadful things appear to be moving toward becoming trends rather than exceptions.

For those who invested high draft picks in David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and LeSean McCoy, the season is not going according to plan (to put it mildly). But there is plenty of time left for not only those players and their teams to turn things around but also for fantasy teams to get on the right track.

As the Fantasy Sports Chef, I love to use food anecdotes and metaphors to better explain my fantasy football points, so here comes a spicy one:

It’s like the time I bought about a dozen habanero peppers after being assured they were fresh, but when I started to dice them I discovered that only about half were of good quality. I was angry and rather hot under the collar. I was making a batch of the spiciest chili I could stand for a cookoff at work — long story short, I felt challenged by a co-worker who thumbed his nose at the heat of the recipe I originally planned to follow and I wanted to burn him out (maybe that makes me a mean person and what not, but I ate the chili too, so it wasn’t going to kill the guy).

Anyway, the chili was not going to live up to my expectation without the intended habaneros. Luckily, I had some jalapenos on-hand that I could use to raise the heat of the chili to the desired level. The end product ended up hitting the mark I hoped it would, and it achieved the desired effect.

The point of me sharing this story is this: You drafted players to help you win a fantasy championship in the same way I bought habaneros for a deliciously spicy chili. But it turned out we were lied to by the fantasy football gods, fantasy football experts or produce vendors. We have the right to be mad about not getting the desired product. However, we either swallow that anger and find a way to make that chili spicy enough to wreck our co-worker’s stomach or we deliver something that is entirely too edible and lose our imaginary challenge.

Now, I don’t want to lose a challenge, and neither do you, so let’s open up the pantry and find something to kick this chili up a notch.

Here are some nice spices to add some much-needed heat to your fantasy team that can be found on the waiver wire this week:

Quarterbacks

Add

Ryan Fitzpatrick

(ownership: 31% on ESPN, 13% on Yahoo)

  • After torching the New Orleans Saints for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns in Week 1, I just knew Ryan Fitzpatrick was more of an Anaheim Pepper than a jalapeno. Well, I was wrong. Fitzpatrick appears to be more of a Serrano pepper (that’s roughly four times hotter than a jalapeno — no more pepper references after this, I swear). Not only did Fitzpatrick throw for another 400 yards and four scores against a stout Philadelphia Eagles defense, but his Tampa Bay Buccaneers get the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. Here’s the simple breakdown: Fitzpatrick is destroying defense, and the Steelers’ defense is good at getting destroyed. The bearded one is a priority quarterback streamer add this week.

Joe Flacco

(ownership: 9% on ESPN, 13% on Yahoo)

  • Joe Flacco has played well so far this season, putting up more than 21 fantasy points in Week 1 and then more than 19 points in a road game on a short week in Week 2. Now the Baltimore Ravens are coming off a mini-bye week and get the Denver Broncos, who just let Derek Carr complete more than 90 percent of his passes for 288 yards and a score. Flacco is on a roll and he’s in a favorable matchup. With the way he’s playing, and two games against the Steelers still coming up, he is worth holding on to as more than just a streamer for this week.
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Other Week 3 Streaming Options: Ryan Tannehill (6% ESPN, 7% Yahoo), Blake Bortles (10% ESPN, 28% Yahoo)

Drop

Tyrod Taylor

(ownership: 46% on ESPN, 31% on Yahoo)

  • I still like Tyrod Taylor and believe he has streamer potential in favorable matchups this season. However, the gameplan the Cleveland Browns seem intent on sticking with is keeping scores low and using their defense to win games 17-14. This conservative gameplan played out in Week 2 as Taylor averaged fewer than 7 yards per attempt if you exclude a 47-yard touchdown pass late in the game. And this sub-Sam Bradford number was not the product of a low completion percentage, as Taylor connected on more than 70 percent of his throws. The offense is simply too conservative to yield viable fantasy quarterback numbers on a consistent basis. With the New York Jets inbound for a Thursday contest, I’m sending Taylor back to the waiver wire.

Dak Prescott

(ownership: 41% on ESPN, 53% on Yahoo)

  • In my Week 2 waiver wire post, I had Dak Prescott in this same drop list. While his ownership numbers have declined some, they should be much lower. The Dallas Cowboys have no one to throw the ball to. Yes, Prescott can run well, and the read option looked good late in the game against the New York Giants. But Prescott has neither the opportunity to throw for big number nor the weapons to do so. He’s amassed 23.6 fantasy points in two games so far this season. For some perspective, 10 quarterbacks scored more than 23.6 points in Week 2. Prescott is not a viable fantasy option and should be dropped.

Others Who Can Be Dropped: Nick Foles (13% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)

Running Backs

Add

High-Priority Waiver Wire Targets: Giovani Bernard (39% ESPN, 27% Yahoo), Aaron Jones (46% ESPN, 61% Yahoo)

Mike Boone

(ownership: 0% on ESPN, 0% on Yahoo)

  • Mike Boone is not a waiver priority. He is the third-string running back for the Minnesota Vikings, by the way. The Vikings starter, Dalvin Cook, left the Week 2 game early with a hamstring injury. While reports say the hamstring issue was just a cramp, practice reports won’t be released until Wednesday. If Cook is not listed on the report, then it likely was just a cramp and there is no need to add Boone to your bench. However, if Cook is either a limited participant or does not participate in practice because of a hamstring issue, then Boone is worth a roster spot. I’m not high on Latavius Murray, as I discuss here. But Boone played well in the preseason, going from a long shot to make the roster to the third-string tailback with his play.

Corey Clement

(ownership: 20% on ESPN, 21% on Yahoo)

  • Week 2 provided us with another reminder that while Jay Ajayi is the lead runner for the Philadelphia Eagles, the offense has room for a viable fantasy pass-catcher in the backfield as well. In Week 1, Darren Sproles was in that role and was worth adding to rosters under the impression he would keep that role. However, Sproles was out of action in Week 2 with a hamstring injury. In his place, Corey Clement caught five passes for 55 yards and also got some rushing work with Ajayi missing most of the first half with an injury. While Ajayi’s presence limits Clement’s rushing opportunities going forward, the tendency of hamstring injuries to linger could push Clement into pass-catching duties for the time being. He’s worth a speculative add in PPR formats.

Others To Claim Off Waivers: Javorius Allen (19% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)

Drop

LeGarrette Blount

(ownership: 19% on ESPN, 23% on Yahoo)

  • The Detroit Lions are not fans of running the football on a consistent basis. Granted, it took seven quarters this season before Matthew Stafford looked like Matthew Stafford rather than a seasoned version of Nathan Peterman, which put the Lions in a hole in each of their first two games. However, the Lions did call 16 run plays for their running backs (to go with 55 pass plays). Surely these numbers will be closer now that Stafford seems to have things figured out, but the piece of the pie that Blount gets doesn’t seem to be big enough to make him a viable fantasy option. Of those 16 running back run plays in Week 2, Blount (38 yards) and rookie Kerryon Johnson (43 yards) each had eight. Theo Riddick also has a tight grip on the passing down snaps, while Johnson’s role figures to grow as the season goes along. Blount could be the odd man out in the next few weeks.
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C.J. Anderson

(ownership: 25% on ESPN, 39% on Yahoo)

  • Another player who also made the drop list last week, C.J. Anderson is merely an injury handcuff for Christian McCaffrey at this point. In Week 2, Anderson (10 ypc) was extremely effective running the ball. But the Carolina Panthers rewarded him with only three carries. The Panthers trailed the Atlanta Falcons during the game, which led to McCaffrey dominating the snaps because of his pass-catching ability. But Anderson has gotten just 10 carries in the first two games. There were 28 running backs to receive 10 or more carries in Week 2 alone. The opportunity just isn’t there for Anderson while McCaffrey is healthy. If there are other needs on your team, an injury handcuff is an unaffordable luxury. Anderson can be put on the waiver wire.

Others To Put On Waivers: Ty Montgomery (52% ESPN, 22% Yahoo), Ronald Jones (32% ESPN, 27% Yahoo)

Wide Receivers

Add

Quincy Enunwa

(ownership: 57% on ESPN, 61% on Yahoo)

  • While Quincy Enunwa did not make my waiver wire adds last week, he would have if this didn’t publish prior to the Monday Night Football games. Enunwa was featured as the New York Jets go-to receiver in prime time in Week 1, drawing a staggering 47 percent target share. While this number did drop to a 27 percent share in Week 2, Enunwa is the clear-cut top receiver for Sam Darnold. He should be owned in all leagues and is trending toward being a WR2 in PPR leagues. If he’s available, he should be among your top waiver priorities this week behind running backs Gio Bernard and Aaron Jones.

Antonio Callaway

(ownership: 4% on ESPN, 6% on Yahoo)

  • Those who follow me on Twitter saw that I advised adding Antonio Callaway prior to the Cleveland Browns’ Week 2 tilt with the New Orleans Saints in the wake of the news that Josh Gordon would be released. Callaway was a first-round receiver talent in this year’s NFL Draft, but slid because of off-the-field concerns. If he can show maturity away from football and avoid suspensions, the Browns should deploy him as their No. 2 receiver behind Jarvis Landry. With Landry primarily running underneath routes, the door is open for Callaway to make a huge fantasy impact this season. After Gordon was scratched from the lineup, Callaway started at receiver in Week 2, played 81 percent of the snaps and turned four targets and two carries into 88 total yards and a touchdown. His snap count should rise some as the season goes along while his target share also figures to rise as he continues to make plays. Callaway is a priority add for me this week behind Bernard, Jones, Enunwa and Keelan Cole.

Others To Claim Off Waivers: Calvin Ridley (38% ESPN, 22% Yahoo), Keelan Cole (48% ESPN, 48% Yahoo)

Drop

Jamison Crowder

(ownership: 74% on ESPN, 85% on Yahoo)

  • After registering just a 62 percent snap count in Week 1, Jamison Crowder saw his playing time rise to 93 percent. However, the added time on the field did not translate to increased production or opportunity. Crowder registered four targets in Week 1, which he turned into three catches for 32 yards. In Week 2, Crowder again had just four targets (fifth on the team behind Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson), which he turned into two catches for 8 yards. He added two carries for 29 yards to give those who started him in fantasy at least something in the matchup. However, Crowder’s 10 percent target share is a disappointment for a receiver who was drafted to be a WR3 or flex play. As an underneath receiver without the appeal of being a boom-or-bust deep threat, Crowder can be put on the waiver wire to make room on fantasy rosters for higher upside receivers who stand a better chance at carving out a bigger role in their respective offenses.
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Jordy Nelson

(ownership: 80% on ESPN, 72% on Yahoo)

  • The high ownership rate of Jordy Nelson in fantasy football seems to be related more to nostalgia than his upside as a receiving option. Nelson was fantastic with the Green Bay Packers — at least when Aaron Rodgers was at quarterback. But the Packers moved on from Nelson and fantasy owners should too. Rodgers can make fantasy studs out of just about any receiver (hello, Geronimo Allison), but Derek Carr simply is not Rodgers. With the Oakland Raiders, Nelson is what he was last season when Rodgers was out with an injury: a name we know but one that should be dropped onto the waiver wire. In two games with the Raiders, Nelson has eight targets, five catches, 53 yards and no touchdowns. While the Raiders didn’t look good throwing the ball in Week 1, Carr completed 29 of 32 attempts for 288 yards in Week 2. Nelson’s share of that was just four targets that resulted in two catches for 30 yards. With Rodgers, Nelson is a 90-catch monster good for at least a dozen touchdowns. Without Rodgers, Nelson isn’t even worth a roster spot in fantasy.

Others To Put On Waivers: All Dallas Cowboys Receivers, Mohamed Sanu (64% ESPN, 19% Yahoo)

Tight Ends

Add

Jake Butt

(ownership: 3% on ESPN, 3% on Yahoo)

  • Another familiar face from last week’s waiver wire pickups post, Jake Butt again saw a solid target share in Week 2 for the Denver Broncos. After turning four targets into two catches for 29 yards in the opening game, Butt grabbed four of his six targets for 48 yards in Week 2. The tight end position has been a tough one to navigate for fantasy owners this season, so finding a consistent option to slot into the lineup each week is a priority. Butt certainly could grow into that type of fantasy option very quickly. He’s worth adding now before he has a big game or others in your league realize he can be a consistent option and he draws much more attention than his current 3 percent ownership rate.

Others To Claim Off Waivers: Eric Ebron (36% ESPN, 55% Yahoo)

Drop

Cameron Brate

(ownership: 17% on ESPN, 30% on Yahoo)

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Cameron Brate has no fantasy value with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unless Jameis Winston is playing quarterback. Brate didn’t catch either of his two targets in Week 1, then didn’t even see a pass come his way in Week 2. He’s not owned in many leagues at this point, but he should be owned in no leagues, especially since Ryan Fitzpatrick repeated his outstanding performance and could end up pushing Winston into a backup role if he shreds the Pittsburgh Steelers this week the way he has the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. Whether you are a believer in Fitzpatrick or not, I can’t see a scenario in which a team benches a quarterback after three straight 400-yard, four-touchdown games and a 3-0 start. Barring a meltdown under center this week, Fitzpatrick likely gets a longer tenure as the Bucs’ starting quarterback than was expected, meaning Brate continues to carry no fantasy value whatsoever.

Others To Put On Waivers: Mike Gesicki (7% ESPN, 9% Yahoo)

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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at Sports Talk Line
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook