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
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.
- Sam Darnold (Car, 21%) - Playing well, loaded at receiver.
- Chuba Hubbard (Car, 23%) - 15 touch guy while CMC is out.
- Tim Patrick (Den, 22%) - All he does is produce.
- Emmanuel Sanders (Buf, 25%) - Upside mostly.
- Tyler Conklin (Min, 4%) - Viable TE1.
- Curtis Samuel (Was, 34%) - Returning soon.
- Marquez Callaway (NO, 40%) - Signs of life Week 3.
- Bryan Edwards (LV, 17%) - Upside guy.
- Hunter Renfrow (LV,11%) - Safe, steady PPR guy.
- Taylor Heinicke (Was, 6%) - Scrappy, he runs.
- Dawson Knox (Buf, 9%) - Might be emerging majorly.
- Marlon Mack (Ind, 5%) - Colts reportedly seeking to trade him.
- Giovani Bernard (TB, 16%) - Worth a back of the roster stash.
- Peyton Barber (LV, 6%) - The main ball carrier if Jacobs is out.
- Rhamondre Stevenson (NE, 10%) - Long-term upside option here.
Sam Darnold (Car, 21%) — Darnold has scored 25.3, 19.9, and 20.1 FP and he’s averaged 8+ YPA in each of his first three starts with the Panthers, all victories. He completed 23/34 passes for 304 yards (8.9 YPA) and he added two goal-line rushing touchdowns against the Texans in Week 3. Darnold has taken advantage of a soft opening schedule, and he’s mostly kept the ball out of harm’s way outside of holding onto the ball a little too long in the pocket at times. Darnold’s improved cast makes him more intriguing for fantasy than he ever was in New York (even without Christian McCaffrey for the foreseeable future), and he could settle in as a top-15 option with some solid matchups looming (@Dal, Phi, Min, @NYG). Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) could miss a game or two, which does lower the ceiling for this offense a bit, but it could force Darnold to throw it a little more in the interim. The team on 9/27 did trade TE Dan Arnold, who Darnold was clicking with, but they did so because they are very high on Tommy Tremble, who has flashed going back to the preseason. Tremble is a great blocker and is great with the ball in his hands after the catch. They also still have Ian Thomas.
Daniel Jones (NYG, 45%) — Jones has been his normal, inconsistent self through the first three weeks of the season, and he came up a bit small as soon as the masses trusted him enough to play him against the Falcons in Week 3. He completed 24/35 passes for 266 scoreless yards and he added 8/39 rushing, but he was put in a tough spot with two of his top options Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton each leaving early with hamstring injuries. Jones is a volatile mid-QB2 option and he has some tougher matchups looming over the next four weeks (@NO, @Dal, LAR, Car). Pro tip: he can be seriously considered when the matchup is favorable, but you should try to avoid using him in difficult matchups, like the Rams game upcoming.
Teddy Bridgewater (Den, 29%) — Bridgewater has cemented himself as Denver’s starting quarterback with his performances in three victories to open the season. He topped 20+ FP in each of his first two starts before the lowly Jets’ offense failed to push the Broncos’ offense in Week 3. He completed 19/25 passes for 235 yards without any touchdowns or INTs against in their shutout victory, but he still averaged 9.4 YPA and he added 4/24 rushing. On the downside, Bridgewater did lose Jerry Jeudy with a high-ankle injury, and slot receiver KJ Hamler tore his ACL in Week 3. But Courtland Sutton has stepped up and the Broncos have more receiver depth than most teams thanks to guys like Tim Patrick and TE Albert Okwuegbunam. Bridgewater’s schedule is about to get much more difficult (Bal, @Pit, LV, @Cle) after an easy opening stretch, but he’s still worked his way into the mid-QB2 range. Teddy’s upside may not be as good without Jeudy (who should return at some point) and Hamler, but he has a safer floor than most WW options in general and in this article.
Taylor Heinicke (Was, 6%) — Heinicke will be the starter in Washington through at least the early part of November. The Football Team had a rough showing in a lopsided loss to the Bills in Week 3, but Heinicke still came through with 23.4 FP — he’s posted 21+ FP in each of his first two starts. He completed 14/24 passes for 212 yards, two touchdowns, and two INTs and he added 8/21/1 rushing to pad his numbers. Heinicke is on the radar as a second starter in Superflex/two-QB formats, but his schedule is on the more difficult side over the next four weeks (@Atl, NO, KC, @GB). One thing that will help is the pending return of WR Curtis Samuel, which could happen as soon as this week (Week 4).
Jared Goff (Det, 7%) — Goff could be the king of garbage-time production this season, but he failed to hit double-digit FP in a mostly neutral gamescript against the Ravens in Week 3. He completed 22/30 passes for 217 yards without a touchdown or an INT in a heart-breaking loss to Baltimore. Goff is running a little 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 for now. His upcoming schedule looks difficult on paper (@Chi, @Min, Cin, @LAR), but other than his old team the Rams, it’s really not that scary overall based on the current numbers.
Jacoby Brissett (Mia, 2%) — Brissett will start for at least the next two weeks (Ind, @TB) with Tua Tagovailoa landing on the injured reserve with fractured ribs before Week 3. Brissett completed 32/49 passes for 215 yards (4.4 YPA) without a passing touchdown or an INT, and he added 7/37/1 rushing in a Week 3 loss to the Raiders. He reached 20.3 FP thanks to a two-point conversion, and he was a top-14 QB in Week 3. He’s his usual slow and sluggish self, but thanks to his running and strong talent at receiver, he'll be a streaming option in Superflex/two-QB leagues while Tua is out of the lineup.
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, and while Lance did score in Week 3, the rookie played only three snaps against the Packers. Garoppolo overcame a slow start to finish the game 25/40 for 257/2, He did have 1 INT and a fumble, but he led them on what looked like a game-winning TD drive at the very end of the game until he eventually got outdueled by Aaron Rodgers. The 49ers really struggled with their usually-effective running game, so Jimmy’s performance was strong, considering the circumstances. There’s no rush to sit Garoppolo in favor of the rookie, so Garoppolo still has value. The 49ers should be pressed to throw it more in the upcoming weeks before their Week 6 bye (Sea, @Ari, bye).
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, and then he played in Week 3 and looked like toast. He completed 38/58 passes for 318 yards (5.5 YPA), one touchdown, and two INTs in an ugly loss to the Bengals in Week 3. Roethlisberger’s receiving corps and Pittsburgh’s overall passing volume will elevate him in some matchups in the weeks ahead (@GB, Den, Sea, bye), but Big Ben is looking like a low-end QB2 unless he becomes more efficient as a downfield passer (i.e.: most likely never again). He’ll likely need a time machine to accomplish that so he has the potential to post some real stinkers if he doesn’t get passing volume in a given week.
Mac Jones (NE, 25%) — Jones has regressed since a promising opening performance with his YPA average slipping each of the last weeks (7.2>6.2>5.3). He had his toughest game as a pro, completing 30/51 passes for 270 yards, one touchdown, and three INTs against a strong Saints’ defense. He also lost his trusted check-down receiver James White to a potential season-ending hip injury. Jones’ schedule over the next four weeks (TB, @Hou, Dal, NYJ) offers some hope for a bounce back, but he should be viewed as a low-end QB2 while he gets experience early in the season.
Carson Wentz (Ind, 13%) — Wentz played through two different ankle injuries in Week 3, but he didn’t play particularly well against a weak Titans’ defense. He completed 19/37 passes for just 194 yards (5.2 YPA) without a touchdown or an INT. Wentz is a low-end QB2 if he’s able to play in the upcoming weeks (@Mia, @Bal, Hou, @SF), but he may not add much with his legs after failing to log a single carry in Week 3. He also lost All-Pro OG Quenton Nelson to a high-ankle sprain so Wentz’s current fantasy appeal is less than desirable.
Zach Wilson (NYJ, 11%) — Wilson’s career is off to a rough start with his second multi-interception game in just three weeks. He completed 19/35 passes for just 160 yards (4.6 YPA) without a touchdown and two INTs against the Broncos in Week 3. Wilson isn’t getting much help from his offensive line with LT Mekhi Becton (knee) out of the lineup, and his receivers aren’t helping him out either. Wilson has beautiful matchups looming before his Week 6 bye (Ten, @Atl, bye, @NE), but his current state of play makes him difficult to even use in Superflex/two-QB leagues.
Davis Mills (Hou, 2%) — Tyrod Taylor got off to a hot start through six quarters, but he’ll be out through at least Week 5 after being placed on the IR with a hamstring injury. Mills completed 19/28 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown in his first NFL start against a good Panthers defense in Week 3. Mills has brutal matchups against the Bills and Patriots the next two weeks and he’s playing with some of the league’s worst skill players. He’s a desperation option in two-QB/Superflex formats only.
Chuba Hubbard (Car, 23%) — Christian McCaffrey is on the mend again after he suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter of Week 3. McCaffrey played in just three games last season because of ankle, shoulder, and thigh injuries, and he’s now dealing with a soft-tissue injury this season. Dr. Mark Adickes told our John Hansen on Friday that the hope is CMC suffered a Grade 1 strain, which gives him an outside shot of being ready in 1-3 weeks. To that hope, HC Matt Ruhle said on 9/27 that they will not place CMC on IR. He could still miss 2-3 games, though, and it’s fair to wonder if the Panthers will pull back a bit on CMC’s usage in the future after his hamstring scare in Week 3, especially coming off his three-game campaign in 2020. CMC owners will want to add Hubbard this week as insurance for their top pick. He posted 11/52 rushing and 3/27 receiving on five targets overall against the Texans while Royce Freeman finished with 5/17 rushing with an eight-yard catch. Hubbard dropped a potential touchdown from the one-yard line, and he was promptly replaced by Freeman, who got stoned at the goal line on the next play. Hubbard played 40 snaps with Freeman playing 11, which should be a good indication of their usage while CMC is out. Hubbard should be viewed as a low-end RB2 while CMC is out of the lineup, and he should be held even after McCaffrey comes back in case McCaffrey misses time in the future because of his soft-tissue injury.
Marlon Mack (Ind, 5%) — Mack was a healthy scratch in Week 3, and the reason, per our friend Adam Schefter, is the team is considering trading him. They claim he’s healthy and can be productive, so he’s worth a speculative add right now for his upside. If he is moved, then it will likely be to a team that has a great need for his services, so Mack might have more upside the rest of the season than anyone else on this list. UPDATED: 9/28
J.D. McKissic (Was, 40%) — McKissic is still involved as the team’s hurry-up/passing back and he has some standalone value in potentially pass-heavy scripts. He flopped in an extremely negative gamescript in Week 3, playing a healthy 46% of the snaps but posting just 2/15 receiving on two targets and 3/23 rushing against the Bills. Antonio 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 and the coaching staff not exactly doing a good job utilizing Gibson so far. McKissic is a player to consider adding in PPR formats with some pass-heavy scripts potentially coming his way (@Atl, NO, KC, @GB).
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. In Week 3, he had a bad game like Sanders, but he did have 4 targets and 3/32, so he wasn’t hopeless. As for Boston Scott, he didn’t see a single touch the first two games and had only 2 targets in Week 3, so he’s not a factor. The Eagles could have a heavier pass script this week vs. KC in Week 4. UPDATED: 9/28
Giovani Bernard (TB, 16%) — Gio went from having a limited role in Tampa’s passing attack in the first two weeks (4/28 receiving) to a massive role in Week 3 (45% of the snaps) with the Buccaneers chasing points for most of the game. He finished with 9/51/1 receiving on 10 targets, including a seven-yard touchdown reception in garbage time. The Buccaneers will likely get Antonio Brown (COVID) back in the lineup this week, and the Buccaneers won’t be chasing points against one of the league’s best secondaries every week, so this could be a bit of a one-off performance. Still, Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette haven’t exactly set the world on fire with their performances through the first three weeks of the season, so there’s a chance Bernard sees a bigger role going forward after he stepped up in Week 3. He did suffer a “slight” MCL sprain this past week and was out of practice early in the week, so he’s not a lock to play a lot this week. UPDATED: 9/30
Peyton Barber (LV, 6%) — Josh Jacobs could return to action as early as this week off of his ankle injury, but he’s still listed as questionable heading into Week 4. Barber is already and clearly the team’s top runner if Jacobs remains out of the lineup. He’s been one of the league’s least efficient runners over the last two seasons, but he came up big for the Raiders in Week 3 with 23/111/1 rushing (4.8 YPC) in a victory over the Dolphins. He even caught three passes for 31 yards last week after totaling four catches across 16 games with Washington last season. We’d advise against blowing your FAAB budget on Barber this week since he could easily go back to being ineffective (or even back to the bench if Jacobs returns) against the Chargers. He’s going to need a lot of volume to come through in the future as he did against the Dolphins, but he got it in Week 3 and will get it again if Jacobs is out. UPDATED: 9/30
Darrel Williams (KC, 11%) — Williams is the clear #2 in KC, and it’s not going well for Clyde Edwards-Helaire through three games. CEH lost a fumble for the second consecutive game in Week 3, but HC Andy Reid stuck with him and rode him to a 100-yard game in their loss to the Chargers. Williams chipped in 7/28 rushing and 2/11 receiving on three targets and 34% of the snaps as CEH’s backup. Edwards-Helaire’s owners are already nervous about their second-round investment, and it’s not a bad idea to stash Williams just in case his play keeps trending in the wrong direction
Rhamondre Stevenson (NE, 10%) and Brandon Bolden (0%, NE) — 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. He’s been a healthy scratch in the last two weeks but that could change after James White went down with a potential season-ending hip injury. They are saying he is out “indefinitely,” but there’s a pretty good chance he’s done for the season. Bolden took over as the team’s passing back after White went down with a position-best 25 snaps in the second half against the Saints. Bolden isn’t a special option and he’s only a desperation addition in deeper PPR formats just in case he keeps his role as the team’s passing back. Keep in mind JJ Taylor played 10 snaps and had a target, so he could eventually squeeze Bolden for the pass-catching role. The best pickup is Stevenson, who is worth a speculative add just in case White’s injury opens up some opportunities for the rookie to play.
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. Trey Sermon was the only RB to play a snap in Week 3, and Trenton Cannon and Jacques Patrick didn’t play a single offensive snap in Week 3.
Alex Collins (Sea, 1%) and Travis Homer (Sea, 1%) — Chris Carson did suffer a mild hamstring injury in Week, which opens up a can of worms in terms of the backup situation. Rashad Penny can’t get healthy, so it’s mainly Collins vs. Deejay Dallas with Travis Homer (3/48 on 3 targets in Week 3) likely sticking to a complementary role. Dallas had a nice summer and is the most intriguing, but HC Pete Carroll can’t quit the veteran Collins, who played 26% of the snaps. Carson, though, is not even on the injury report for Week 4. UPDATED: 9/30
Malcolm Brown (Mia, 7%) — He doesn’t have a target yet on the season, which is weird, but he did have at least five carries in their three games, and he did look good running in a TD in Week 3. He’s the guy they will likely use more often than not when they are on top of the goal, for what it’s worth.
Best Handcuff Stashes
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.
Damien Williams (Chi, 6%) — 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. Williams lost some standalone value as a receiver with Fields at quarterback so he’s more of a stash in case Montgomery misses time.
Tony Jones (NO, 18%) — 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. 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.
Carlos Hyde (Jax, 14%) — 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 but he could creep into the low-end RB2 picture if anything happens to Robinson.
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 for at least the next week or two, and K.J. Hamler is done for the year with a torn ACL. Enter Patrick, still hanging around and just casually posting 12+ FP in each of the first three games while hanging out on 78% of waiver wires. He caught all five of his targets (20% share) for 98 yards to lead Denver’s passing attack against the Jets in Week 3, and he tied Courtland Sutton for a team-high 76% of the snaps in Week 3. Patrick isn’t sexy but he now has eight TDs in his last 15 games and he has 4+ catches in eight games in that stretch, as well, so he’s a viable WR3 and a great WR4 option while Jeudy is out of the lineup. Even when Jeudy is back, he can play the slot with Patrick and Sutton outside, so Patrick is locked into a significant role.
Emmanuel Sanders (Buf, 25%) — Sanders has stepped into John Brown’s old role in the offense with Gabriel Davis working behind him in four-WR sets. He showed his upside in Week 3 with Josh Allen coming to life, posting 5/94/2 receiving on six targets while playing a healthy 80% of the snaps (Davis was at only 29%). Sanders has now posted 48+ receiving yards in each of his first three games with his new team, and the veteran WR will battle it out with Cole Beasley most weeks to be the #2 option in one of the league’s best passing attacks.
Curtis Samuel (Was, 34%) — Samuel is back practicing this week, so he’s nearing a return with Week 4 likely. Samuel is worth stashing now since Washington has been getting limited contributions from rookie Dyami Brown and Adam Humphries so far this season. UPDATED: 9/30
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). In Week 3, he led the team with 8 targets and 5/53 with a healthy 86% of the snaps. The 2020 first-round pick is off to a better start in his second season, but he’ll still be battling 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. UPDATED: 9/28
DeVante Parker (Mia, 39%) — Parker has been solid but unspectacular through the first three weeks of the season with 4+ catches and 40+ yards in each game. In his first actio with Will Fuller in the lineup, Parker finished with 4/42 receiving on seven targets and 77% of the snaps against the Raiders in Week 3. Rookie Jaylen Waddle is already becoming the face of this passing attack and Fuller’s role will only continue to grow, so Parker will be an unsexy WR4/5 moving forward.
Bryan Edwards (LV, 17%), and Hunter Renfrow (LV,11%) — Las Vegas’ passing game funnels through Darren Waller, but Henry Ruggs, Edwards, and Renfrow are getting opportunities as the secondary options for Derek Carr, who is playing at a high level to open the season. Edwards led the Raiders with 89 receiving yards in their Week 3 victory over the Dolphins, and Renfrow led them in fantasy production (18.7) with 5/77/1 receiving on six targets. Renfrow has 5+ catches and 55+ receiving yards in each of Las Vegas’ first three games for those looking for help in PPR formats. Edwards is going to be a volatile weekly option since he’s 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 our sources in Las Vegas made it very clear to us this summer that they loved Edwards and expected a breakout.
Zach Pascal (Ind, 26%) — Even if you contain Zach Pascal, he’ll probably score on you. Pascal has worked with Michael Pittman in two-WR sets ahead of Parris Campbell this season. It didn’t translate into much fantasy success in Week 3 with just 2/31 receiving against the Titans, but he still saw seven targets (19% share) from a banged-up Carson Wentz. And, of course, he almost scored. He also saw four different targets inside the 10-yard line so he easily could have added to his three-touchdown total. Pascal has shown a strong rapport with Wentz in the early going so he’s worth a look in all formats since it looks like he’ll be active every week, especially down by the goal line.
AJ Green (Ari, 15%) — Green isn’t dead just yet with 13+ FP in two straight games. With DeAndre Hopkins nursing a rib injury in Week 3, Green stepped up and delivered 5/112 receiving on six targets with a healthy 77% of the snaps against a lowly Jaguars’ secondary. It was Green’s first 100-yard game since Week 7 of 2018, and he’s now seen an acceptable six targets in each of his first three games. Green may keep improving as he gets more reps in with Kyler Murray, who is throwing the rock extremely well to open the season, but he could be a bit inconsistent since he’ll be competing with Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore most weeks for secondary targets behind Hopkins. Kirk has always been inconsistent, so we’ll see if he can change that the rest of the way. If not, that’s good news for Green.
Marquez Callaway (NO, 40%) — Callaway finally came up with some fantasy production in Week 3 in this low-volume passing attack. He finished with team-bests across the board in targets (5, 24% share), receptions (4), and receiving yards (41) and he scored his first touchdown of the season against the Patriots. They did spread snaps out in Week 3, with Callaway playing only 61% of the snaps. Jameis Winston has somehow managed to attempt just 63 passes through three weeks so everyone in this passing game has limited ceiling and rock-bottom floors unless they start to ramp up the passing volume.
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 the first three games with just 10/91 receiving on 14 targets (15% share), but he’s on the field for a solid number of snaps (62% in Week 3), and he’s looked good (certainly better than Robby Anderson). Marshall is going to have plenty of competition for targets each week, 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, and he could see an uptick in targets for as long as Christian McCaffrey is out of the lineup.
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. And finally, in Week 3, he had only a 13% target share, but he was second on the team with 3/59/1 on 4 targets. It still appears that MVS will be volatile, but he’s flirting with a solid role that could lead to consistent production. He is dealing with a hamstring issue ahead of Week 4, so he’s not a great pickup for this week if you’re looking for immediate help since he is no lock to play. UPDATED: 9/30
Josh Gordon (KC, 4%) — He’s back. Again. Only on the KC practice squad, he could be elevated at any time, and it’s clear the Chiefs are underwhelmed with their wideouts not named “Tyreek,” so on the chance Gordon pops in this incredible situation, he’s worth a stash.
Sammy Watkins (Bal, 23%) — Watkins is off to a solid start with his new team, posting exactly four catches with 7+ targets in each of his first three games with the Ravens. He finished with 4/68 receiving on seven targets against the Lions in Week 3, and his 36-yard catch in the waning seconds set up Justin Tucker’s record-breaking 66-yard field goal as time expired. First-round pick Rashod Bateman (core-muscle surgery) could return to the Ravens as early as Week 4, though, so Watkins’ healthy role to open the season could be cut into moving forward.
K.J. Osborn (Min, 29%) — The Vikings are 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 in the early part of the season, but he finally slipped down the passing game pecking order with just two targets (2/26 receiving) in Week 3 against the Seahawks. He did still play a solid 59% of the snaps. He’s played well enough to be considered for a roster spot in deeper formats, but Osborn is likely to fall back into a more distant #3 receiver role behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
Rashod Bateman (Bal, 14%) — Bateman has returned from the injured reserve this week after having core-muscle surgery in mid-August. HC John Harbaugh declined to say if Bateman would return to the lineup when asked on Sept. 22, but Bateman’s initial 6-8 week timeline means he should be close to a return. The first-round pick is more of a bench stash since he’ll slot into the #4 receiver spot, at best, in a limited passing attack behind Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, and Sammy Watkins. UPDATED: 9/30
Elijah Moore (NYJ, 28%) and Jamison Crowder (NYJ, 10%) — It’s getting difficult to roster Moore any longer and now he’s dealing with a concussion coming out of Week 3. Moore is more of a bench stash than a usable fantasy player with rookie Zach Wilson stumbling out of the gates. Crowder is nearing a return from his groin injury, and he could immediately be active out of the slot with Wilson struggling as a first-year starter. Braxton Berrios saw a whopping 11 targets (33% share) in their Week 2 loss to the Patriots.
Van Jefferson (LAR, 7%) and DeSean Jackson (LAR, 2%) — HC Sean McVay finally unleashed D-Jax in Week 3 against the Buccaneers, as he went for 3/120/1 receiving on five targets. Jefferson has been mostly running ahead of Jackson in three-WR sets, and he posted 4/42 receiving on six targets in Week 3. Cooper Kupp is dominating targets in the early part of Matthew Stafford’s tenure in Los Angeles so Jefferson and D-Jax are going to be volatile secondary options in this passing attack.
Kadarius Toney (NYG, 2%) and Collin Johnson (NYG, 0%) — Both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton left Week 3 early with hamstring injuries so the Giants may have no other choice but to get their first-round pick Toney involved….or not. Johnson, a training camp casualty in Jacksonville, finished with more targets (7 to 3), catches (5 to 2), and yards (51 to 16) than Toney in Week 3 against the Falcons. Toney is worth a stash just in case the Giants finally feel compelled to get the talented Toney involved in the offense, and there is talk of using him in the slot if Shepard misses time. OC Jason Garrett probably won’t use him well because Garrett stinks, but Toney is loaded with talent and upside. UPDATED: 9/28
Quintez Cephus (Det, 30%) and Khalif Raymond (Det, 0%) — Good luck picking which Lions WR to use for fantasy while Tyrell Williams (concussion, IR) is out of the lineup through Week 5. Cephus scored a touchdown in each of the first two games before seeing just one target in Week 3 after being a popular waiver wire add (he at least played 71% of the snaps). Raymond has seen the most steady playing time through the first three weeks of the season, and it finally paid off with 6/68 receiving on 10 targets against the Ravens. It’s probably best to avoid the Lions’ WRs in all but deeper formats, but Cephus is still the most intriguing option in the group - for now.
Anthony Miller (Hou, 0%) — Miller was forced into the lineup with Danny Amendola missing Week 3 with a hamstring injury, and the former Bears WR capitalized with 4/20/1 receiving on six targets with 64% of the snaps. Miller has plenty of talent but he hasn’t had the best work ethic up to this point in his career, but he could have a new lease on life with a fresh start in Houston. He’s worth a speculative add in deeper PPR formats in case he can keep the momentum going, but he’s likely to fall back down the slot depth chart as soon as Amendola is ready to return to the lineup.
None of note.
Dawson Knox (Buf, 9%) — Knox doesn’t have a massive role in Buffalo’s passing attack, but he’s been much more efficient with his limited weekly targets in his third season with 8+ FP in each of his first three games. He had his best game of the young season with 4/49/1 receiving on five targets against Washington in Week 3. Knox has touchdowns in consecutive games and he might be emerging as a major factor. Granted, there’s only one ball but His percentage of routes have been growing every week and he was right with Emmanuel Sanders (40 routes), Stefon Diggs (38), and Cole Beasley (36) with 37 routes this week. His solid play in the early going could warrant more targets in the future, so he’s working his way into the streaming TE conversation. UPDATED: 9/28
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. Freiermuth finished with more targets (5 to 3), catches (3 to 0), and yards (22 to 0) and he scored his first NFL touchdown against the Bengals in Week 3. Diontae Johnson (knee) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs) are both dealing with injuries, and Freiermuth could be one of the beneficiaries, especially if he continues to see more playing time. Based on our intel, which is good, the Steelers think he’s going to be a star so now is the time to add him if it starts to happen during his rookie season.
Tyler Conklin (Min, 4%) — Conklin is Minnesota’s new top TE after Irv Smith suffered a season-ending meniscus injury in the preseason. Conklin got off to a slow start with just 6/56 receiving through the first two weeks, but he broke out in Week 3 with 7/70/1 receiving on eight targets and 72% of the snaps with K.J. Osborn finally taking a backseat. Osborn has been a revelation as the team’s #3 WR, which has limited Conklin’s role in the passing game up until Week 3, but they should battle it out for 4-6 targets each week moving forward. Conklin did pop up on the injury report his week, keep in mind. UPDATED: 9/30
Dalton Schultz (Dal, 3%) — Schultz was a factor in Week 1 with 6 targets and 6/45 receiving, but then he had only 2 targets in Week 2, so he was not on the radar with Blake Jarwin getting 4 targets and 3/37 receiving. He’s not easy to truly count on, but as we saw in Week 3 (6/80/2), he has upside any given week. He did look great against Philly. UPDATED: 9/28
Hunter Henry (NE, 48%) — Our intel was that Jonnu Smith would be the man in the Patriots passing attack, and it’s not like he hasn’t been a factor, since he’s third on the team with 16 targets. But he has only a 62% catch rate, and Henry has 10 targets the last two weeks and has posted a decent 7/78. Jonnu in these last two weeks does have 11 targets, but only 5/32 and in Week 3 caught just 1-of-6 targets with only 1 grab for 4, so we could see Henry continue to emerge, especially with James White likely out for the season.
Tommy Tremble (Car, 1%) — The Panthers traded away Dan Arnold, who they signed as a free agent this year, due in large part to this rookie’s emergence. A very good blocker, Tremble has flashed his RAC speed since the preseason, and on his lone target of the season, Tremble took a ball 30 yards in in Week 3. Arnold had only 7 targets in three games, but that’s still more than Thomas (4), and Tremble is clearly going to be in a position to make plays in this offense, and Sam Darnold is playing well.
Zach Ertz (Phi, 25%) — No one wants to use a TE on a team with two active targets at the position, but this is a TE-centric offense in Philly, and Ertz is a factor. He played only 52% of the snaps, but he was at 64% the week before, and he was solid with 7 targets and 5/53/1 in Week 3. He has a chance to make a decent impact any given week, and he could emerge as an active goal line target for Jalen Hurts. UPDATED: 9/28
Evan Engram (NYG, 40%) — Engram returned to the lineup after missing the first two games with a calf injury. He managed just 2/21 receiving on six targets (17% share) and he lost a fumble near the end of the first half. Both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton left Week 3 early with hamstring injuries so the Giants may have no other choice but to get Engram going over the next couple of weeks. He’s in the mid-TE2 range for now until we see if his role grows moving forward.
Dan Arnold (Jac, 4%) — His next game will be for his third team out of his last four games, but Arnold was traded to the Jags on 9/27 because Jacksonville has a major need at TE and they need a weapon for their rookie QB in the middle of the field. A former college WR, Arnold can produce any place on the field, so he’s worth a look now in deep leagues before he does something of note with Trevor Lawrence.
Brandon McManus (Den, 34%) We had him as a Top Target last week and he has moved up to Higher-owned Options in Week 4. Denver is at home against a tough Ravens defense. Broncos offense could struggle to score touchdowns and that could lead to 1-3 field goal attempts by McManus.
Chase McLaughlin (Cle, 7%) - McLaughlin finally connected on some field goals last week. He popped his first four conversions with three of them coming from the binus range of 41 yards or more (two from beyond 50 yards). Mclaughlin is averaging four extra points per week as he has twelve extra point conversions as well. On the road in Minnesota, he should have a couple of field goal attempts and at least three extra points against the Vikings.
Evan McPherson (Cin, 4%) - The rookie place kicker has yet to miss a field goal or extra point in his three game career. He has converted five field goals as well as five extra points. Three of his field goals have come from the bonus range. Cincinnati is at home and they face Jacksonville. McPherson has the potential to attempt two or three field goals and convert on three or so extra points.
Dolphins (Mia, 17%) — Although they’ve been light on sacks - just 4 in three games - this unit has been a big-play machine. They’re a well-coached defense that is aggressive in creating turnovers - 4 so far - and has a dangerous return game. Three of their next four matchups should be ripe for the picking, as they face the Colts, Buccaneers (yuck), Jaguars, and Falcons.
Titans (Ten, 13%) — With 8 sacks in their first three games, Tennessee finally has a consistent pass rush. And while this defense has been nothing but average so far, their schedule over the next few weeks is glorious. The Jets and Jaguars are a combined 0-6 and have been two of the most generous teams to opposing defenses this season.
Bengals (Cin, 2%) — After jettisoning the veterans who didn’t buy into the scheme, year three of Lou Anarumo’s defense is starting to hum along nicely. The Bengals have 10 sacks and 3 INTs in three games so far and have held their last two opponents to under 15 points. This week, they face the Jaguars to begin the rollercoaster portion of their schedule: Jax, GB, @Det, @Bal, @NYJ. If you can survive the Packers and Ravens, the other matchups are juicy.