By: Adam Myers (Twitter: @AdamTMyers)
Week 3 Waiver Wire
The landscape of the NFL is starting to take shape, and the picture becomes a little bit clearer after every new week. Week two is in the books, and with it comes some performances that either solidified a strong week one, or capitalized on the opportunity presented to them in week two. What names are worth monitoring going forward, and what names are worth a spot on your roster? Here are the week two waiver wire targets to keep an eye on.
*Waiver wire targets are selected based on many factors including previous performances, change in workload, and upcoming matchups. All waiver wire targets are available in roughly 50% of ESPN or NFL.com leagues. Percentages listed is current percent owned on the respective sites.
Carson Wentz (45.8% ESPN, 27.4% NFL) – A couple of players who made the list this week were also on the list for week one, which can be found here. Wentz is one of those guys. Week one I said the future was bright for Wentz based on the weapons added around him, and the solidified offensive line. Week two gave us a glimpse as to what the future might hold, with Wentz throwing for 333 yards and two touchdowns against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that held Tom Brady in check week one. Wentz also adds fantasy value to your team by having the added ability to produce on the ground, rushing for 55 yards this past week. Wentz deserves to be rostered in nearly every league after a strong week two showing.
Trevor Siemian (10.4% ESPN, 6.9% NFL) – Trevor Siemian was locked in an offseason quarterback competition with Paxton Lynch, and many speculated the Broncos may move forward with their first round pick and see what they have in him. This wasn’t the case as Siemian won the job and so far hasn’t looked back. Week two he threw for four touchdowns and 231 yards against the Dallas Cowboys and that less than spectacular secondary, but in the upcoming weeks gets to face the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders whose secondaries are far for the most intimidating in the league. If you’re looking for a streamer to fill in while you wait for the return of Luck, or simply need a matchup play for the upcoming week, Siemian is worth a second glance going forward.
Jay Cutler (4.1% ESPN, 5.0% NFL) – Cutler was a concern for me week one facing a young tough Tampa Bay defense, coming off a strange week one bye because of hurricane Irma, and seeing his first regular season NFL action in a very, very long time after retiring following the 2015-16 season. All things considered Cutler played fine in his first start for the Dolphins and should have worked out all the rust heading into a week three matchup with the New York Jets. The Jets are a juicy matchup for fantasy quarterbacks and with the weapons surrounding Cutler he should be able to exploit that Jets defense for multiple touchdowns and a pile of yards. Following the Jets, Cutler faces the Saints, Titans, Falcons, and Jets again before facing an intimidating matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Cutler’s upcoming schedule alone makes him a top waiver option for anyone needing a quarterback going forward.
Samaje Perine (2.2% ESPN, 64.4% NFL) – Perine was highly touted coming out of college and went to a team in the Washington Redskins who appeared to have a backfield without an established number one running back. Perine lost out on the job to Rob Kelley, however an injury to Kelley that is feared to be a fractured rib. If that is the case the injury could take 4-6 weeks to heal, and Kelley’s availability could depend entirely on pain tolerance. Chris Thompson is the primary pass catching back but isn’t built to be a workhorse between the tackles runner. Perine is worth a pickup until Kelley’s status is known for this upcoming week.
Javorious Allen (8.2% ESPN, 9.1% NFL) – If you can’t get anyone else on waivers this week, get Allen. Week one, Allen carried the ball 21 times following the injury to Danny Woodhead and racked up 71 yards. In week two Allen got another healthy workload carrying the ball 14 times for 66 yards and catching four of five targets in the passing game for 35 yards and one touchdown, all with Terrance West also taking snaps in that backfield. West is now dealing with an undisclosed soft tissue injury and his availability for week three is currently up in the air. Should West miss any time the active backs for Baltimore would be Allen and Alex Collins, and Allen would be a three down workhorse. If West is active, Allen has proven that he can still be a fantasy relevant running back in that baltimore timeshare.
Chris Carson (8.6% ESPN, 7.3% NFL) – Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch for week two against the San Francisco 49er’s following a disappointing week one performance. Thomas Rawls returned to action, for a grand total of five carries for four yards. Carson accumulated 21 touches for a total of 100 yards from scrimmage and looks to have gained a stranglehold on the starting backfield in Seattle. The Seahawks are a defensive, ball control team that focuses on running the football. Carson should get plenty of work going forward and should be owned in every league. Starting running backs are hard to come by, and a huge value in fantasy lineups so add Carson anywhere and everywhere possible.
Jermaine Kearse (5.9% ESPN, 1.5% NFL) – Kearse was another player highlighted in the week one waiver wire article after a strong performance in a Jets receiving corps begging for a go to receiver. Kearse has filled that roll. In week two, Kearse was targeted five times in week two, hauling in four of those targets for 64 yards and two touchdowns. This performance follows a strong showing week one in which Kearse was able to secure seven targets for 59 yards. Kearse has established himself as the number one receiver for the Jets, and has had high level fantasy production in back to back weeks making him worthy of a spot on fantasy rosters.
Allen Hurns (7.5% ESPN, 4.4% NFL) – Week one ended the season for Allen Robinson with a torn ACL, and left a hole in the Jacksonville offense at the number one wide receiver position. Hurns was a player only a season removed from a 1,000 yard, 10 touchdown season, poised to take on a larger role in the Jaguars offense. If week two was any indication of the fantasy value for Hurns going forward, he’s a must add. Hurns was targeted seven times, securing six of those targets for 82 yards and one touchdown. The Jaguars should be trailing plenty this season, meaning that Bortles and the Jaguars offense will have plenty of pass attempts, and a lot of garbage time opportunity for Hurns to be a fantasy relevant option going forward.
J.J. Nelson (18.1% ESPN, 7.2% NFL) – Heading into the season there was optimism surrounding this Cardinals team, specifically surrounding John Brown after supposedly getting his sickle cell trait under control. That sickle cell trait caused Brown to battle soft tissue injuries for a majority of last season limiting his effectiveness in that offense. Brown missed week two with quad injury and is likely out for week three as well. Nelson capitalized in Brown’s absence securing five of his seven targets for 120 yards and one touchdown. Nelson is a big play deep threat of a receiver who is stepping into the number two wide receiver role for a Cardinals team that will be passing the ball a lot following the loss of David Johnson. Add Nelson where available until more is known about the injury to Brown.
Rashard Higgins (0.3% ESPN, 0.1% NFL) – Cleveland lost Terrelle Pryor to the Washington Redskins in free agency. However, with Corey Coleman making strides in his second year, and their own free agent addition of Kenny Britt, the Browns felt comfortable moving forward with their wide receiving corps. So far, Britt has struggled in Cleveland only being targeted five times through two weeks, securing two catches for only 15 yards. The Cleveland receiving corps took another hit in week two when Coleman broke his hand for a second time in as many seasons sending him back under the knife, and back to the injured reserve list. Higgins has the opportunity to step up with the struggles of Britt and injury to Coleman and made the most of this opportunity in week two securing seven of his 11 targets for 95 yards only a day after being activated from the practice squad. The flash of Higgins coupled with the woes of Cleveland pass catchers is enough to warrant further consideration for fantasy rosters.
Evan Engram (9.9% ESPN, 8.3% NFL) – Engram is averaging six targets a game through two weeks this season, and four receptions. Engram has been one of the better targets for Eli Manning and this Giants offense, and one of his favorite targets in the red zone. Engram’s upside is capped by a struggling offense, however his target share is going to be consistent from week to week, and with the struggles of Brandon Marshall and the Giants run game, Engram has likely vaulted himself to the number two red zone target behind only Odell Beckham Jr. A safe floor of targets coupled with rising up the red zone target list makes Engram worthy of a look on the waiver wire this week.
Zach Miller (1.4% ESPN, 2.7% NFL) – Zach Miller is one of the few pass catchers in Chicago who has experience starting in the NFL. Other pass catchers in Chicago include rookie running back Tarik Cohen, Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy who both have less than 100 targets in their careers, and Kendall Wright who is in his first year with the Bears and has a history of injuries. Miller is the most established pass catcher in this offense and is receiving a high volume of targets because of this. Expect the Bears to be trailing, which means they’ll be throwing, and that means targets, receptions, yards, and fantasy production for Miller.
Benjamin Watson (0.5% ESPN, 0.5% NFL)– The Baltimore Ravens lost Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore in the offseason to injuries leaving the tight end position a bit up in the air. Watson was the presumed starter heading into the season, but week one cast some shade on his role as three different tight ends led the team with one target each. Week two, however, was a bit of a breakout for Watson who led the team with eight receptions for 91 yards. With no Danny Woodhead for the foreseeable future, and an already depleted position group, look for Watson to continue to receive a high volume of targets and red zone opportunities going forward making him worth an add off the waiver wire this week if you’re in need of a tight end.
Miami Dolphins (3.4% ESPN, 2.4% NFL) – The Miami Dolphins are a defense that may have flown a bit under the radar because of the situation with hurricane Irma sending them into a week one bye. Don’t let them continue to go unnoticed though. After a solid showing week one against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers in which they only allowed 17 points (fewer than Denver in week one), the Dolphins now get to face the New York Jets. The Jets are one of the juiciest matchups for fantasy defenses, and the Miami Dolphins should 100 percent be rostered and started in fantasy leagues this week.
Baltimore Ravens (50.4% ESPN, 45.0% NFL) – Here is the stat line for the Baltimore Ravens through the first two weeks of the NFL season; eight sacks, eight interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and 10 points allowed. Accumulating these stats through two weeks is impressive at any level, but especially so in the NFL. Looking ahead to week three, the Ravens defense gets to face Blake “Pick Six” Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Expect the Ravens to stack the box and commit to limiting Leonard Fournette, forcing Bortles to beat them with his arm, which is a great recipe for fantasy defenses. Pick up and start the Baltimore Ravens with confidence this week, and let your fantasy defense carry you to victory.