Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire players who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Our favorite players are broken down in Top Targets and the best secondary options are in our Going Deeper sections. We’ll also list any players at the top of each position who are above the 50% threshold — or are household names — and are still widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
Be sure to check out our weekly Waiver Wire podcast for more analysis. We’ll also have Streaming articles every Tuesday that focuses on the top quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses for the upcoming week(s).
Note: The initial Waiver Wire article writeup will be posted every Monday evening, followed by in-depth updates Tuesday, and continued additions/updates Wednesday.
Hansen’s Top-15 Options for Week 3
Note: For these rankings John Hansen leaned on players who are available in at least 40% of Yahoo leagues and who also saw a favorable development for their fantasy values last week. Some players are better long-term picks up, and some are better for just this week or the short term.
- Justin Fields (Chi, 51%)
- Sony Michel (LAR, 60%)
- Darnell Mooney (Chi, 45%)
- Rondale Moore (Ari, 33%)
- Cordarrelle Patterson (Atl, 3%)
- James White (NE, 42%)
- Derek Carr (LV, 26%)
- Daniel Jones (NYG, 20%)
- Quintez Cephus (Det, 2%)
- Michael Carter (NYJ, 50%)
- Tim Patrick (Den, 22%)
- Kenneth Gainwell (Phi, 36%)
- Jared Cook (LAC, 43%)
- Teddy Bridgewater (Den, 11%) - AKA Tuddy Bridgewater
- Jared Goff (Det, 7%)
None of note.
Justin Fields (Chi, 51%) — Fields got his first shot at significant playing time in Week 2 with Andy Dalton leaving in the second quarter with a knee injury. The first-round pick struggled against the Bengals, completing 6/13 passes for 60 yards (4.6 YPA) with an ugly interception deep in his own territory that gave the Bengals life late in the fourth quarter. He added 10/31 rushing and he nearly lost a fumble that almost resulted in a scoop-and-score touchdown for the Bengals. Dalton is out Week 3 and they have Detroit in Week 4, so it’s all but a guarantee that Fields will not give up his spot as the starter. Including the preseason, Fields has played on 139 snaps (a little over two full games) and has accumulated 22/126/2 as a runner, which is huge. He’s @Cle, Det, @LV, which is a decent stretch, and despite some likely growing pains, he has top-12 QB potential because of his rushing upside. UPDATED: 9/22
Derek Carr (LV, 26%) — Carr has put up massive passing numbers through the first two weeks of the season with 817 passing yards on 93 attempts (8.7 YPA). Carr torched an undermanned Steelers’ defense for 382 yards and two touchdowns with an INT in Week 2, all while playing through a lower-leg injury. The Raiders want to be balanced, if not run-heavy, but Josh Jacobs is already banged up, so Carr may have to put the ball up more than usual this year. He has a stud in Darren Waller and a pair of intriguing second-year WRs in Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs, whom he finally got going in Week 2 with a 61-yard touchdown. He does have a tough slate of upcoming games (vs. Mia, at LAC, Chi, @Den) but he’s playing well enough to be considered as a high-end QB2 after posting 24+ FP in his first two games. Carr worked on Wednesday 9/22 and was deemed good-to-go by HC Jon Gruden. UPDATED: 9/22
Sam Darnold (Car, 15%) — Darnold has scored 19.9 FP and 20.1 FP and he’s averaged 8.0 YPA in his first two starts with the Panthers, which were both victories. He completed 26/38 passes for 305 yards (8.0 YPA), two touchdowns, and one interception in a dominant victory over the Saints in Week 2. Darnold’s improved cast makes him more intriguing for fantasy than he ever was in New York, and he’s working his way into the mid-QB2 picture with some beatable matchups looming (@Hou, @Dal, Phi, Min). If he can maintain this current level of play for another 2-3 weeks, he may actually settle in as a top-15 fantasy option.
Teddy Bridgewater (Den, 11%) — Bridgewater, currently the QB11 after his Week 2 game, has firmly established himself as Denver’s starting quarterback with his performances in two victories to open the season — he’s topped 20+ FP in both games. He completed 26/34 passes for 328 yards (9.6 YPA) and two touchdowns against the Jaguars as he got rolling with Courtland Sutton (9/159 receiving) for the first time. Bridgewater did lose Jerry Jeudy for the foreseeable future with a high-ankle injury, and Sutton has been limping around the first two games, but the Broncos at least have more receiver depth than most teams, thanks to guys like Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, and TE Albert Okwuegbunam. Bridgewater has an excellent matchup to keep his momentum going before his schedule becomes more difficult (NYJ, Bal, @Pit, LV).
Daniel Jones (NYG, 20%) — Jones has been his normal, inconsistent self through the first two weeks of the season, but he’s been good for 22+ FP in both games thanks to 122/2 rushing. He’s the QB5 through two games, shockingly enough. He completed 22/32 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown and he added 9/95/1 rushing against Washington in Week 2, with most of his yardage coming on read options. He finished with 29.5 FP against the Football Team and it could’ve easily been a 40-point performance if not for Darius Slayton dropping a long TD and if not for a DPI on Kenny Golladay on another sure-fire long TD. Jones’s fantasy performances through two weeks haven’t matched up with his real-life performances, which is always a concern, but he has the weapons to make improvements if his offensive line cooperates. Jones is a volatile mid-QB2 option, especially while Saquon Barkley gets his legs back under him. He has a mix of friendly and difficult matchups (Atl, @NO, @Dal, LAR) over the next four weeks. Pro tip: he can be seriously considered when the matchup is favorably, but you should try to avoid using him in difficult matchups, like the Rams game upcoming.
Jared Goff (Det, 7%) — Goff could be the king of garbage-time production this season after racking up 29.9 FP in their mostly one-sided loss to the 49ers in his debut with the Lions and then he backed that up with a solid 20.4 FP to finish at the QB13 for the week, thanks to 4/46 rushing and 246/2 passing. Goff is running more this year, and he’s going to have to throw it 35+ times a game most weeks, so he’s definitely in the conversation as a top-20 option right now. His upcoming schedule looks difficult on paper (Bal, @Chi, @Min), but it’s really not that scary overall based on the current numbers. UPDATED: 9/21
Taylor Heinicke (Was, 3%) — Heinicke will be the starter in Washington for at least the next two months while Ryan Fitzpatrick recovers from his dislocated hip, and he’ll have the chance to keep the job outright if he delivers late-game heroics as he did in Week 2. He completed 34/46 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, and he led the Football Team on two different go-ahead scores in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning field goal after an ugly interception. He ran for just six yards in their Week 2 victory, which was a disappointment, but he showed some chemistry with Terry McLaurin with 11 connections for 107 yards and a touchdown. Heinicke is as respectable QB23 on the season through two weeks and is on the radar as a second starter in Superflex/two-QB formats. On the downside, his schedule is mostly difficult over the next four weeks (@Buf, @Atl, NO, KC).
Ben Roethlisberger (Pit, 37%) — Big Ben’s play through the first two weeks of the season hasn’t looked much different from his play at the end of last season, which is bad news for this passing attack. He completed 27/40 passes for 295 yards (7.4 YPA), one touchdown, and one INT in a lackluster loss to the Raiders in Week 2. Roethlisberger’s receiving corps will elevate him in some matchups in the weeks ahead (Cin, @GB, Den, Sea), but Big Ben is looking like a low-end QB2 unless he becomes more efficient as a downfield passer. Diontae Johnson also suffered a knee injury on the final play of the game, and any kind of absence would hurt Big Ben’s production. The good news is Diontae got good news on 9/20 and he may not miss much time, if any. On the downside, Big Ben himself is on the injury report ahead of Week 3. UPDATED: 9/22
Mac Jones (NE, 25%) — Jones has looked the part in his first two starts but it hasn’t amounted to much fantasy production with just one passing TD to his name. He completed 22/30 passes for 186 yards (6.2 YPA) against the Jets as the Patriots needed him to be a game-manager with Zach Wilson imploding on the other side. Jones has a pair of tougher matchup before his schedule gets easier the next four week (NO, TB, @Hou, Dal), but he should be viewed as a low-end QB2 while he gets experience early in the season.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 10%) — Jimmy G could lose snaps to rookie Trey Lance at any given time, but he did play every snap in their Week 2 victory over the Eagles. He completed 22/30 passes for 189 yards (6.3 YPA) and one touchdown and he added one-yard touchdown plunge for 19.6 FP. Garoppolo isn’t quite ready to give up his starting job and the 49ers should be pressed to throw it more in the upcoming weeks before their Week 6 bye (GB, Sea, @Ari, bye). The 49ers’ backfield is also quite beat up after just two weeks so Jimmy G is on the fantasy radar but just beware that Lance could vulture touchdowns at any point.
Tua Tagovailoa (Mia, 27%) and Jacoby Brissett (Mia, 0%) — Tua left Week 2 in the first quarter with a rib injury, but the good news is that he suffered bruised and not broken ribs in their shutout loss to the Bills. Brissett stepped into the lineup and threw for just 169 yards on 40 attempts (4.2 YPA) with an INT against Buffalo. However, Tua will NOT be ready to play against the Raiders this week, so it’s Brissett. He’s a QB2 option. Tua looks like a matchup guy, at best, for now, but his outlook would improve if Miami got Will Fuller back. UPDATED: 9/22
Zach Wilson (NYJ, 18%) — Wilson’s career is off to a rough start after Bill Belichick’s defense intercepted him four times in a lopsided loss to the Patriots in Week 2. He completed 19/33 passes for 210 yards (6.4 YPA) in addition to his four interceptions. Wilson isn’t getting much help from his offensive line with LT Mekhi Bection (knee) out of the lineup, and he simply tried to do too much with some of his throws against the Patriots. Wilson is going to need more help from his offensive line and his receivers if he’s going to be anything more than a low-end QB2 over the next three weeks before their Week 6 bye (@Den, Ten, @Atl, bye). Wilson did pop up on the injury report on Wednesday, keep in mind. UPDATED: 9/22
Davis Mills (Hou, 0%) — Tyrod Taylor got off to a hot start through six quarters, but he could be looking at an absence after picking up a hamstring injury in the second quarter against the Browns. He’s already been ruled out for Houston’s Week 3 tilt with the Panthers on Thursday Night Football, which means third-round pick Mills will make his first NFL start. He completed 8/18 passes for 102 yards, one touchdown, and one INT in two quarters of relief action against the Browns in Week 2. Mills is worth a speculative add in two-QB/Superflex formats since he’s going to see some playing time, but expectations need to be kept in check for this rookie playing with some of the league’s worst skill players.
Carson Wentz (Ind, 15%) and Jacob Eason (Ind, 0%) — Eason could be forced to play in Week 3 after Wentz suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter against the Rams. Eason scored negative fantasy points in relief, completing 2/5 passes for 15 yards and an interception. Wentz fared much better before his injury, completing 20/31 passes for 247 yards, one touchdown, and one INT while adding 5/37 rushing. Wentz is a low-end QB2 if he’s able to play in the upcoming weeks (@Ten, @Mia, @Bal, Hou) while Eason is a desperation play in two-QB/Superflex formats. Wentz, as expected, was out of practice all week, so check our projections for the latest. UPDATED: 9/22
Tony Pollard (Dal, 53%), Zack Moss (Buf, 50%), Mark Ingram (Hou, 65%), Latavius Murray (Bal, 62%),
Cordarrelle Patterson (Atl, 3%) — Patterson has been more than a gadget player under new HC Arthur Smith as the Falcons have rolled with just Mike Davis and Patterson in their backfield in the first two weeks. Davis played a healthy 64% of the snaps and finished with more touches (16 to 12) but Patterson made the bigger impact with more yardage (69 to 63) and two touchdowns on only 33% of the snaps in their loss to the Buccaneers in Week 2. Davis should continue to see the most carries in this backfield but Smith is going to generate weekly touches for Patterson since this offense is devoid of playmakers behind Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. Patterson has worked his way into weekly lineup consideration as an RB3, and his role may continue to grow in the upcoming weeks since Davis is hardly a special option in front of him.
Sony Michel (LAR, 60%) — Michel isn’t widely available but he’s a priority add in all formats with Darrell Henderson nursing an injury coming out of Week 2. Henderson suffered his rib injury on the first play of the fourth quarter and he never played again, while Michel’s 10 carries for 46 yards (4.6 YPC) all came after Henderson left the game. The Rams have a brutal run-game matchup against the Buccaneers next week if Henderson is unable to play, but Michel should see more playing time going forward after playing well once Henderson left in Week 2. Michel also looked great, ripping off runs of 5, 10, 5, 11, and 6 yards before a few short gains at the end of the game. The Rams are hopeful he can practice late in the week, but it’s no lock Henderson can suit up for Week 3. UPDATED: 9/22
James White (NE, 42%) — He’s back. White has a fantasy pulse again with Cam Newton no longer in the lineup. He played a promising 50% of the snaps in a game NE had won in the first half in Week 2 and he has now posted six catches in each of his first two games playing with rookie Mac Jones. He added a rushing touchdown against the Jets in Week 2, possibly helped by Rhamondre Stevenson being inactive. White saw a target on a whopping 31.0% of his routes run (57 of 184) last season, and he should run a lot more routes with Mac Jones at quarterback after he averaged 374 routes per season in 2018-19 with Tom Brady. White should be an active piece of New England’s passing game going forward, and he’s back to being a viable RB3 in PPR formats with Jones at the helm. If Damien Harris and/or Stevenson have more fumbling problems, all the better for White.
Michael Carter (NYJ, 50%) and Ty Johnson (NYJ, 11%) — The Jets’ backfield has been an abomination for fantasy early in the season, but at least they started to push Tevin Coleman to the back of the pack with just 5/24 rushing in Week 2 on only 10% of the snaps with Carter and Johnson each playing 45% of the snaps. Clearly, the fourth-round pick Carter played the best of all Jets’ skill players against the Patriots, posting 11/59 rushing and 2/39 receiving on three targets. Johnson also had some success as a runner with 12/50 rushing and he finished without a target. This backfield is a mess and the Jets will also be without LT Mekhi Becton for some time after he suffered an MCL sprain in the season opener. Carter has the most potential in the group if you’re looking to stash one of these backs, and Johnson could be relevant too if they continue to phase out Coleman moving forward, which should be the case.
Kenneth Gainwell (Phi, 36%) — Gainwell is the second back to own in Philly behind Miles Sanders and he could carve out some standalone value based on his usage as the team’s hurry-up/passing back. The rookie played 33% of the snaps and finished with 6/14 rushing and 2/18 receiving on three targets in their loss to the 49ers. As for Boston Scott, he didn’t see a single touch for the second straight week. The Eagles could elevate Scott to the lead runner role if Sanders missed time, but Gainwell has already carved out a significant role over Scott as a receiver and the Eagles could have some heavier pass scripts in the next couple of weeks (@Dal, KC).
Alexander Mattison (Min, 32%) — Dalvin Cook suffered what HC Mike Zimmer called a “little ankle sprain” in their Week 2 loss against the Cardinals. Cook rotated with Mattison on the final drive after Cook suffered the injury, and the Vikings could take it easy with Dalvin at practice. It’s an injury to keep a close eye on this week and it would be wise for Cook owners to add Mattison if he’s available just in case he sits out against the Seahawks in Week 3.
J.D. McKissic (Was, 29%) — The fantasy masses were pissed on Thursday night when McKissic scored a touchdown at the end of the first half before he caught a 56-yard pass in their four-minute offense at the end of the game. McKissic played a healthy 44% of the snaps, due in part to the FT playing from behind in the second half, but he held just a 24-to-22 advantage in routes over Antonio Gibson. JD’s routes came in the much more valuable hurry-up situations when the quarterback is more likely to check it down. Gibson’s fantasy owners want him to own the entire backfield, but it’s looking unlikely to happen this season with McKissic still being an excellent hurry-up option. McKissic is a player to consider adding in PPR formats if he’s been dropped after Week 1 with some pass-heavy scripts potentially coming his way (@Buf, @Atl, NO, KC).
Trenton Cannon (SF, 0%) and Jacques Patrick (SF, 0%) — Cannon is already on his third team since the start of September, but he could be pressed into action with the 49ers suffering multiple injuries in their backfield in the first two weeks of the season. Raheem Mostert (knee, IR) is out for the season while Trey Sermon (concussion), JaMycal Hasty (ankle), and Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) each picked up injuries in their Week 2 victory over the Eagles. Mitchell is still iffy through Wednesday, while Hasty is out. Sermon is TBD. If Mitchell can go, Mitchell and Cannon could be the top two options for Kyle Shanahan for at least their Week 3 matchup against the Packers. They signed RB Jacques Patrick off the Bengals’ practice squad and veteran Chris Thompson to their own practice squad, so they are lining up bodies. Also, Jeff Wilson can now return as soon as Week 6. So it’s a mess. If Mitchell can’t go, Patrick is the best choice for Week 3. UPDATED: 9/22
Demetric Felton (Cle, 0%) — He’s listed as a RB/WR on Yahoo but just a RB on ESPN, so check your platform’s positional eligibility. Felton was a slot receiver at UCLA, and he even scored a receiving TD at the Senior Bowl while lined up in the slot. And now with Jarvis Landry on IR and out at least three games, Felton, who shocked with a 33-yard TD in Week 2, has a chance to get you 8-10 PPR points, if desperate. They can also use rookie Anthony Scwartz all over the formation in the slot, keep in mind. UPDATED: 9/21
Tony Jones (NO, 24%) — Jones has taken over as the power-back complement next to Alvin Kamara, which was previously held by Latavius Murray, whom the Saints released before the start of the season. The Saints averaged just 3.0 yards per play and 128 yards in their Week 2 loss to the Panthers, so it’s no surprising that Jones disappointed with just 3/7 rushing with 27% of the snaps. Jones could eventually develop some standalone value in non-PPR formats as he gains more trust from HC Sean Payton, and he’ll have high-end RB2 value if Kamara misses any time.
Damien Williams (Chi, 8%) — Williams is working in Tarik Cohen’s old role as the passing-game complement behind David Montgomery, and he’ll also serve as his handcuff if something were to happen to Chicago’s top runner. He managed just 2/-2 receiving on three targets and 2/6 rushing on 23% of the snaps in an ugly Week 2 performance for Chicago’s offense, which saw Justin Fields take over for Andy Dalton (knee). Williams will lose some standalone value as a receiver if Fields is the quarterback moving forward so he’s more of a stash in case Montgomery misses time.
Darrel Williams (KC, 11%) — Williams is the clear #2 in KC, and it’s not going well for Clyde Edwards-Helaire through two games. Williams played 27% of the snaps in Week 2, compared to only 8% for Jerrick McKinnon, and he vultured a TD from CEH, which could continue. Williams’ snaps and touches could also rise if CEH continues to underwhelm, and Williams would be startable if CEH is out.
Jeff Wilson (SF, 13%) — HC Kyle Shanahan said on 9/20 that Wilson’s return will likely be earlier than expected, and he could even return as early as Week 7, which would have him missing only five games (they have a bye Week 6). If you can stash him on IR for a month, he could easily have value in October. UPDATED: 9/21
Phillip Lindsay (Hou, 39%) — Lindsay has scored touchdowns in each of the first two games of the season, but he’s failed to reach double-digit FP in either contest with a combined 28 scrimmage yards on 14 touches, and he played only 23% of the snas in Week 2. It’s probably best to avoid Lindsay if you can since the Texans are using four backs (Lindsay, Mark Ingram, David Johnson, and Rex Burkhead) and this is one of the league’s worst offenses.
Salvon Ahmed (Mia, 2%) — He has only 15 opportunities the last two weeks (9 carries, 6 targets), but he did play over Malcolm Brown in Week 2 (31% vs 12%) and he’s certainly in the mix for 5-7 touches each week. If Myles Gaskin misses time, then Ahmed would be a legit top-30 RB option.
Best Handcuff Stashes
Devontae Booker (NYG, 8%) — The Giants continue to ease Saquon Barkley back into the lineup off of his ACL recovery, and Booker is the player to own for Barkley owners who are looking to protect their top asset.
Chuba Hubbard (Car, 19%) — Christian McCaffrey owners who are looking to handcuff their asset should consider adding Hubbard, the Panthers’ fourth-round pick in 2021. He offers no standalone value playing behind CMC but he’d instantly become a potential RB1 option as Mike Davis did in his place last season.
Jaret Patterson (Was, 1%) — Patterson, a UDFA out of Buffalo, would take over as the team’s lead runner if Antonio Gibson is forced to miss time at any point with J.D. McKissic working in passing situations.
Samaje Perine (Cin, 1%) — Joe Mixon is dominating work in the Bengals’ backfield but Perine is the top option behind him and he’s seeing work as a change-of-pace option. He’d be viewed as an RB2 option if Mixon missed time at any point this season.
Rhamondre Stevenson (NE, 16%) — Stevenson fumbled on his second NFL snap and Bill Belichick has put him in his doghouse for now, but he’s still the top candidate to lead this backfield in carries if Damien Harris misses time this season.
Carlos Hyde (Jax, 19%) — Hyde is sharing Jacksonville’s backfield with James Robinson after Travis Etienne’s season-ending foot injury in August. Hyde isn’t a usable fantasy piece unless you’re truly desperate, especially after he got only but he could creep into the low-end RB2 picture if anything happens to Robinson.
Marquise Brown (Bal, 65%), Sterling Shepard (NYG, 56%), Marvin Jones (Jax, 63%), Michael Pittman (Ind, 61%), Jakobi Meyers (NE, 63%), Christian Kirk (Ari, 56%), Nelson Agholor (NE, 54%), Cole Beasley (Buf, 51%), Marquez Callaway (NO, 64%),
Darnell Mooney (Chi, 45%) - Mooney has looked very good, all things considered, catching 11-of-15 targets thus far. All that’s missing is a little distance in terms of his aDot - and for Justin Fields to be the full-time starter. Once Mooney is unlocked by Fields, he will be a hot commodity if he’s even available, so this week is probably the last chance to get him.
Rondale Moore (Ari, 33%) — Moore ran the fewest routes out of Arizona’s top-four WRs in Week 2, with a so-so 46% of the snaps, but Arizona’s second-round pick led the team in targets (8, 22% share) and receiving production (7/114/1). He did most of his damage on a 77-yard touchdown on a blown coverage by the Vikings, but it was a positive sign that Kliff Kingsbury fed Moore throughout the game. Rondale could be a bit volatile since he’s being used as a part-time player right now but he’s a strong candidate to see his role continue to grow as the season moves along. This week could be your last chance to grab Moore, especially with a matchup against the Jaguars looming this week.
DeVante Parker (Mia, 40%) — Parker was one of the most overlooked players in fantasy drafts this summer, but he’s now led the Dolphins in targets in each of the first two games of the season. Parker managed 5/42 receiving on nine targets (20% share, 74% of the snaps) with Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) leaving in the first quarter of their blowout loss to the Bills. He did drop a 32-yard touchdown from Jacoby Brissett or he would’ve had a much bigger fantasy day. Will Fuller is away from the team indefinitely for a personal matter so it’s going to be Parker and rookie Jaylen Waddle leading this receiving corps for now. Parker should be a rock-solid WR4 option moving forward no matter who is at quarterback.
Tim Patrick (Den, 22%) — Jerry Jeudy landed on the IR with a high-ankle sprain he suffered in Week 1, which will keep him out at least the next 3-5 weeks. K.J. Hamler flopped as his replacement in the slot with just a five-yard catch on three targets, but Patrick came through by catching all four of his targets for 37 yards and a touchdown. He played a strong 74% of the snaps and he has now scored in each of the first two games after scoring 6 TDs on only 79 targets last year. He’ll stay on the WR4 radar for as long as Jeudy is out of the lineup. Patrick did pop up on the Week 3 injury report, though. UPDATED: 9/22
Bryan Edwards (LV, 20%), Henry Ruggs (LV, 34%), and Hunter Renfrow (LV, 6%) — Las Vegas’ passing game funnels through Darren Waller, but these young WRs are going to get opportunities as the secondary options for Derek Carr, who is playing at a high level to open the season. Edwards made several key catches at the of their Week 1 victory over the Ravens and flashed again in Week 2, and Ruggs finally got going as the team’s vertical threat in Week 2 with 5/113 receiving on seven targets. Renfrow has 5+ catches and 55+ receiving yards in each of Las Vegas’ first two games for those looking for help in PPR formats. Edwards and Ruggs are going to be volatile weekly options since they’re competing for targets behind Waller/Renfrow doesn’t have the fantasy ceiling that Edwards and Ruggs have, but he’s going to be the most consistent of the three options. In terms of the outside WRs, we see Edwards as being more consistent, and keep in mind our sources in LV made it very clear to us this summer that they loved Edwards and expected a breakout.
Quintez Cephus (Det, 2%) — Cephus had only 3/12 receiving on 6 targets on Week 1, but he scored. In Week 2, he was second on the team with 7 targets (plus 89% of the snaps) and put up a strong line of 4/61/1, so he’s actually the WR33 after two weeks. He’s caught only 50% of his targets for less than 10 yards a catch, but the Lions clearly need him to step up, and overall he’s stepping up. With Tyrell Williams already OUT for Week 3. you could do a lot worse on the low-end, especially in a 14-team league or larger. UPDATED: 9/22
Zach Pascal (Ind, 15%) — Even if you contain Zach Pascal, he’ll probably score on you. Pascal worked with Michael Pittman in two-WR sets ahead of Parris Campbell in the season opener before Campbell sat out Week 2 with an abdomen injury. After leading the Colts passing attack in Week 1, Pascal produced again with 91% of the snaps and 5/38/1 receiving on six targets against the Rams, which gives him 35.1 FP through two weeks. Pascal has shown a strong rapport with Wentz in the early going so he’s worth a speculative add in deeper formats in case he continues to be active going forward. We’ll need to monitor Wentz’s status for Week 3 after he picked up an ankle in the fourth quarter, but Pascal always finds a way to make some plays if he’s getting major playing time. He has a rapport with all his QBs because he’s consistent and reliable. Pascal popped up on the Week 3 injury report, keep in mind. UPDATED: 9/22
Elijah Moore (NYJ, 33%) and Jamison Crowder (NYJ, 26%) — Moore made some progress in his second NFL appearance after posting negative yardage in his pro debut. He finished with 4/47 receiving on eight targets (24% share) in a lopsided loss to the Patriots in Week 2. Moore is more of a bench stash than a usable fantasy player with rookie Zach Wilson stumbling out of the gates. Crowder nearly returned to the lineup in Week 2 off of his groin injury, but the Jets decided to give him another week to recover from his injury. He could immediately be active out of the slot with Wilson struggling as a first-year starter after Braxton Berrios saw a whopping 11 targets (33% share) in their Week 2 loss to the Patriots.
Rashard Higgins (Cle, 0%), Donovan Peoples-Jones (Cle, 2%), and Anthony Schwartz (Cle, 3%) — The Browns lost Jarvis Landry to a knee injury early in Week 2, and he’s on IR and out three weeks at least. That left the Browns in Week 2 with just DPJ, Higgins, and Schwartz as Baker Mayfield’s top WRs with Odell Beckham (ACL) still ramping up to full speed. Higgins led the group with 2/27 receiving against the Texans so none of these players are priority adds right now with the offense running through Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. OBJ should return to the lineup this week against the Bears so these secondary Browns’ WRs are just stash-and-hope waiver adds. We can say that they were very excited about DPJ this summer, and Schwartz looked great Week 1 (but only 1 target in Week 2), but Higgins is the pickup for Week 3. He should be in the slot filling in for Landry. UPDATED: 9/21
Emmanuel Sanders (Buf, 22%) and Gabriel Davis (Buf, 7%) — Sanders has stepped into John Brown’s old role in the offense with Davis working behind him in four-WR sets. With Josh Allen throwing for just 179 yards, Sanders managed 2/48 receiving on six targets in Buffalo’s victory over the Dolphins in Week 2. Davis came into the week with an ankle injury and the Bills played it conservative with their second-year player in the blowout victory. When they’re both healthy, Sanders is the floor play as a WR5 while Davis is a boom-or-bust WR5 option with his more limited role.
AJ Green (Ari, 13%) — Green isn’t the sexy pickup in Arizona, that’s Rondale Moore if he’s even available, but Green’s not dead yet. He’s rolling with a 41% catch rate on the season, which is bad, but he does have 12 targets, 6 each game, and he did look good on his TD in Week 2. He may start improving once he gets more reps in with Kyler Murray, who is throwing the rock extremely well to open the season.
Jalen Reagor (Phi, 26%) — Reagor is the #2 WR for Jalen Hurts in the early going behind just rookie DeVonta Smith, but Quez Watkins has also made some noise as the team’s slot WR. Reagor saw the second-most targets with five (21%) against the 49ers in Week 2, and he played a solid 71% of the snaps, but he managed just 2/5 receiving on his looks. However, he did just miss a big-play 36-yard TD (stepped out of bounds). The 2020 first-round pick is off to a better start in his second season, but he’ll still be battling with Watkins, Dallas Goedert, and Zach Ertz to be the #2 receiving option behind Smith. But it’s pretty clear he can make a splash play at the drop of a hat.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB, 13%) — The Packers had a season opener to forget with the offense generating just three points and 229 yards, but MVS’ usage was the most encouraging development from their Week 1 stinker. He saw a team-high eight targets (23% share) but he turned his looks into just 3/17 receiving. In Week 2, he had a decent 16% target share, but didn’t catch a ball. He did, though, come close to making a big play for a potential TD. It still appears that MVS will be volatile, but he was second on the team in WR snaps in their second game (65%) and Allen Lazard didn’t even catch a pass and Randall Cobb was only involved late. He’s not a must-have, but that could change in 1-2 weeks. UPDATED: 9/21
Terrace Marshall (Car, 18%) — The 2021 second-round pick looked like a nice 2021 sleeper this summer, with a team preseason best 9/181/1 receiving. It hasn’t quite translated to fantasy success through his first two games with just 6/43 receiving on nine targets, but he’s on the field for a solid number of snaps (51% in Week 2). Marshall is going to have plenty of competition for targets each week between Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Robby Anderson, but he could be worth stashing since he’s shown potential early in his career and Sam Darnold has played well in the early going. He may need an injury at this point to be truly viable, but he’s a versatile player who can fill in anywhere (outside, slot).
K.J. Osborn (Min, 2%) — The Vikings could be playing with three WRs on the field more this season with Irv Smith (meniscus) and Kyle Rudolph (free agency) out of the picture. Osborn has cemented himself in the #3 WR role with his play through the first two weeks of the season with a team-best 167 receiving yards, including 5/91/1 receiving on six targets. He’s likely to fall back into a more distant #3 receiver role behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in the near future, but he’s played well enough to be considered for a roster spot in deeper formats.
Sammy Watkins (Bal, 14%) — His QB did not play well in the opener, but it was a good showing for the veteran Watkins, who caught a nice ball for 49 yards and played a healthy 82% of the snaps. He finished with 4/96 on 8 targets, so he wasn’t efficient, but he did look good, so he’s a solid depth add on the wire. He did get more opportunities in Week 2 with 92% of the snaps and 7 targets (4/44).
Dyami Brown (Was, 2%) and Adam Humphries (Was, 1%) — Brown, a third-round pick out of North Carolina, has seen promising usage through the first two weeks of the season (87% of the snaps Week 2) but it’s yet to turn into usefulness for fantasy. He’s run the second-most WR routes (75) behind Terry McLaurin but he’s turned his 10 targets into just 4/32 receiving. Meanwhile, slot WR Humphries (71% of the snaps) has run just 62 routes but his 10 targets have turned into 9/54 receiving. Brown isn’t lineup-ready quite yet but he should be stashed in more competitive leagues before he starts trending upward while Humphries is an option in deeper PPR formats.
Van Jefferson (LAR, 7%) — Jefferson flopped in Week 2 with just a 14-yard catch on three targets against the Colts, which was a disappointment after he caught a 67-yard touchdown in the season opener. Cooper Kupp is dominating the targets in the early part of Matthew Stafford’s tenure in Los Angeles so Jefferson is more of a bench stash since he’d be startable if there’s an injury to either Kupp or Robert Woods.
Darius Slayton (NYG, 3%) — Kenny Golladay is already yelling at Daniel Jones on the sidelines while Slayton continues to be Jones’ preferred vertical threat through the first two weeks of the season. Slayton roasted William Jackson for a 33-yard touchdown and he dropped an easy 43-yard touchdown, which ended up costing the Giants the victory. He still finished with 3/54/1 receiving on six targets while playing 57% of the snaps as the #3 WR. Slayton is only a desperation play for now while Golladay gets on the same page with and while Kadarius Toney learns the offense, but there are worse dart throws in deep leagues with a matchup against the Falcons looming.
James Washington (Pit, 0%) — Diontae Johnson went down in a heap with a knee on the final play of regulation against the Raiders in Week 2, but it will not necessarily open up playing time for Washington as a perimeter WR. Still, Diontae seems to get hurt every 1.5 quarters of football he plays. Washington has just 2/10 receiving on three targets through the first two weeks of the season, but he could be an option in deeper formats for as long as Johnson is out of the lineup.
Mike Gesicki (Mia, 62%), Hunter Henry (NE, 53%), Austin Hooper (Cle, 48%)
Jared Cook (LAC, 43%) — Donald Parham drew plenty of buzz during Los Angeles’ training camp, but it’s the 34-year-old Cook who has led the position for the Chargers in the first two weeks. He finished with just 3/28 receiving on five targets and 57% of the snaps, but he did have a touchdown taken off the board against the Cowboys in Week 2 by a procedural penalty — Parham has yet to catch a pass through two weeks. The Chargers went back to getting Austin Ekeler involved in the passing game in Week 2, which is going to hurt Cook’s target share going forward, but he’s been involved enough to consider as a fringe TE1 for the time being.
Pat Freiermuth (Pit, 7%) — Freiermuth’s time as Pittsburgh’s top TE could be right around the corner since he’s already outperforming incumbent starter Eric Ebron. The rookie out-snapped the veteran in Week 2, 33 to 24). Pittsburgh’s second-round pick caught all four of his targets for 36 yards against the Raiders while Ebron failed to catch both of his targets in Week 2. Diontae Johnson went down with a knee injury on the final play of the game, and any kind of absence would open up a ton of targets for the rest of Pittsburgh’s receiving corps. Freiermuth could be one of those beneficiaries, especially if he continues to see more playing time. He’s widely available and he’s a player to stash now in case he starts to make some noise in the near future. Based on our intel, which is good, the Steelers think he’s going to be a star.
Cole Kmet (Chi, 40%) — The Bears completed just 15 passes for 116 yards in Week 2 with Andy Dalton leaving early with a knee injury. Kmet had no chance to do much for fantasy with Justin Fields taking over in the second quarter as he caught his only target for no gain against the Bengals. The Bears do like Kmet and he’s part of their plans moving forward, but his touchdown upside will be capped with Jimmy Graham working as a red-zone specialist. Fields is also going to have some growing pains if he takes over as the starter so Kmet will be a mid- to low-end TE2 option for the time being.
Dawson Knox (Buf, 6%) — Knox has seen just an 8% target share through the first two weeks, but he’s made his seven targets count with 8+ FP in both games. He caught an eight-yard touchdown from Josh Allen in Week 2 against the Dolphins on his way to 2/17/1 receiving on three targets. Knox is more of a player to monitor at this point until we see if he can carve out a bigger target share in this deep passing attack, but his solid play in the early going could warrant a bigger role.
Juwan Johnson (NO, 38%) — Johnson has taken over in the Jared Cook role this season next to inline TE Adam Trautman. He jumped onto the fantasy radar during the preseason, and he kept his momentum going in the season opener by catching all three of his targets for 21 yards and two red-zone touchdowns despite playing on just 12 snaps (19% share). Johnson had no chance for fantasy success in Week 2 with Jameis Winston completing just 11 passes for 111 yards (5.0 YPA) as he finished with a 23-yard catch on three targets (14% share). Juwan has shown some upside in his limited chances but he’s more of a TE stash right now since Winston has thrown for just 259 yards through two games.
Jack Doyle (Ind, 1%) — Doyle is still hanging around as a deeper option in PPR formats after he posted 5/64 receiving against the Rams in Week 2 on a healthy 22% target share (eight targets). He’s competing with Mo Alie-Cox and rookie Kylen Granson for snaps and targets at the position, but it helps that the Colts have one of the weakest WR corps in the league. We were told by a Colts beat writer this summer that Doyle was a lock for 50 catches if healthy, and he’s on pace for 68 grabs.
Maxx Williams (Ari, 0%) — Williams nearly matched all of his production from 2020 (8/102/1 receiving) in Week 2 alone when he stunningly caught all seven of his targets for 94 yards against the Vikings. Williams didn’t even have a catch in Arizona’s victory in Week 1, and he’s much more likely to go back to irrelevance since this is an offense that prefers to pass with four-WRs on the field. You can add him to see if you catch lightning in a bottle, but we wouldn’t bet on him being a consistent factor in this passing game moving forward.
Tyler Conklin (Min, 4%) — Conklin is Minnesota’s new top TE after Irv Smith suffered a season-ending meniscus injury in the preseason. Conklin posted just 2/15 receiving on four targets against the Cardinals in Week 2 but at least Chris Herndon didn’t see a target. K.J. Osborn has been a revelation as the team’s #3 WR, which has limited Conklin’s role in the passing game, but he should still see about 4-6 targets per week for those looking for some help on the lower end.
Rodrigo Blankenship (Ind, 50%) Blankenship has converted on all four field goal attempts and both of his extra points. While there is not a ton of quantity here, there is consistency. Half of his field goal conversions have come from the bonus range (48 and 46 yards) and they both happened this past week. In 2020, Blankenship connected on two field goals and four extra points on the road against Tennessee. That is where he is in Week 3.
Brandon McManus (Den, 20%) - McManus has been hot right out of the gate for the limited number of fantasy owners lucky enough to have him rostered. He has converted on all five field goal and extra point attempts in his first two outings. Two of his three field goal conversions have come from the bonus range. The Broncos get the New York Jets at home in Week 3. This could mean more extra point attempts than field goal tries, but Denver is not an offensive juggernaut. So, their offense could stall enough times to give McManus a few field goal attempts.
Nick Folk (NE, 7%) - With K Quinn Nordin going on injured reserve, Folk will handle the [place kicker duties for at least the next three games. Thus, he will remain on the roster and not bounce back and forth between the practice squad and roster. The good news with Folk is that he has converted on seven of seven field goal attempts. On the downside here, only three of those seven have come from the bonus range and none beyond the 49 yard line. He also has missed one extra point attempt.
Ravens (Bal, 69%) — Playing the Chiefs will cause even the best of defenses to be dropped like a bad habit. Such was the case when Baltimore fell to the waiver wire in many leagues because everyone expected - and witnessed - a shootout on Monday Night Football. With that matchup behind them, Baltimore’s schedule lightens up considerably. They face Detroit this week, then Denver, Indy, and Cincinnati over the next five weeks (with a Chargers matchup sandwiched in there).
Panthers (Car, 18%) — Well, that was quick. Last season, DC Phil Snow was tasked to rebuild this defense from scratch. With a unit made largely of first and second-year players, Snow has this defense playing at a high level to open 2021. In two games, Carolina has surrendered just 21 total points, while amassing 10 sacks and 3 INTs. This week, they face a Texans team most likely helmed by rookie Davis Mills (Tyrod Taylor is expected to miss the TNF game due to a hamstring injury). The following week is a tough matchup against Dallas, but then the schedule settles in nicely (@Hou, @Dal, Phi, Min, @NYG, @Atl).
Titans (Ten, 3%) — After opening with a brutal one-two punch of Arizona and Seattle (the latter being an away game), Tennessee moves to their softest three-game stretch of the season. The Titans welcome the Colts this week before traveling to face the Jets and the Jaguars. Those three teams are a combined 0-6. Tennessee also has a dynamic to their defense they’ve sorely missed over the last few seasons: sacks. The Titans have 5 sacks in their first two games.