Welcome to the Week 3 waiver wire! Hopefully you are here looking for the talent you need to get to 4-0, but we’ve got your back whether you are fighting for playoff positioning or for your fantasy life. I’ve got teams in both situations right now, thanks to all the injuries and legal tribulations so far in 2014.
The byes hit this week, and we’ve got you covered. There are a lot of hot teams taking a rest this week.
Get ahead of the curve and make your moves early. This is not a week to wait. There are a few very appealing options out there like Jordan Matthews and Donald Brown. Get in on it.
As I said last week, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. The rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that. If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn later and check out my expanded wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers — 76 percent
He’s the most available of the obvious guys. Grab him if he’s there in your league. The Steelers have the offense in about-to-click mode. Things are looking good if they can get and stay healthy.
Kirk Cousins, Washington — 48 percent
He might not be a long-term solution, but then again, maybe he is. Robert Griffin III will be out at least another six weeks and probably a few more. Whether he is handed his job back is potentially debatable depending on how Cousins plays and if the team is winning. We all saw Cousins’ potential last week. He can be your starter in large leagues and he makes a fine QB2 in smaller ones.
Eli Manning, Giants – 37 percent
He stepped up last week and he could get Odell Beckham, Jr. back soon. I am buying Eli shares right now because they are ungodly cheap and because the Giants‘ schedule gets plenty light in the coming weeks.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 5 percent
He plays behind a bad offensive line, so don’t get too excited. He also has too many injuries to his receivers and to TE Marcedes Lewis as well. Bortles’ fantasy intrigue largely is due to his mobility. He can get you foot-points if the coaching staff gives him the green light as it should. If you are not familiar with Bortles, check out my scouting report on the former UCF star.
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings — 4 percent
I’d say he’s a potential breakout, but he lost two incredibly crucial cogs while he was waiting for his chance to start. Adrian Peterson would have been a huge benefit for a young quarterback, and, to make matters worse, he lost his starting tight end last week for more than a month with an ankle injury. Bridgewater is a guy to add if you need some QB help, but he’s got fringe QB1 upside at best right now with such a limited supporting cast. On the positive front, the Vikings’ schedule lightens up going forward.
Mike Glennon, Buccaneers — 1 percent
He could be the guy for the rest of the year, and that could be worth getting excited about if Vincent Jackson‘s wrist injury proves to be something he can play through. The Bucs have been playing without their offensive coordinator so far this season, but they get him and Doug Martin back this week. That’s very positive news.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts — 74 percent
Here’s the prize for those in need of immediate help. Check his availability just in case he happens to be out there. If you get him, you can ride the wave of health for as long as it lasts. Bradshaw is playing very good football right now. Add him in all formats if you can.
Donald Brown, Chargers — 50 percent
Brown now is the man. It’s not the way we wanted it to happen, obviously. In the last two games, the Chargers have lost Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. The offseason signing of Brown now looks like a master stroke. He’ll have RB1 upside in plus matchups and should be added in any league where he’s available. The ninja move is to add Brown and then add Mathews in a few weeks when his owner dumps him in a bye week crunch.
Bishop Sankey, Titans — 55 percent
He finally got a decent run in terms of snaps and touches in Week 3 and he looked pretty good. HC Ken Whisenhunt still is looking for improvements (specifically with his footwork) and he may not get the keys to the business just yet, but Week 3 was very encouraging. Those who’ve lost running backs in the last few weeks should be targeting Sankey right now. He could be a weekly starter soon. Here’s a look at Sankey’s scouting report if you don’t know his game.
Knile Davis, Chiefs — 76 percent
His ownership rate is through the roof due to the Jamaal Charles injury. Charles owners still can add Davis in about a quarter of leagues, and that’s a no-brainer if you can pull it off. If not, look for an impatient owner to drop Davis this week if Charles is back at practice in full. As I’ve said all along, Davis is a must-own player for all Charles owners.
Khiry Robinson, Saints — 42 percent
He’ll be the lead back for a few more games and is a great way to skate through the bye weeks. Robinson will improve on last week’s numbers going forward. The Saints are still calibrating their new offense a bit. Things aren’t clicking as they normally do. They will soon.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals — 57 percent
The Bengals look like a team that will be playing with leads, and that’s good news for the big rookie back, who can play on all three downs and is a bad man at the goal line. Hill needs to be owned in all leagues and by all Gio Bernard owners, too, as a seriously high-end handcuff option.
Carlos Hyde, 49ers – 60 percent
Frank Gore is old. He may not break down, but Hyde already has become the primary goal-line back in San Francisco. He could be in a time share before long and he should be owned in all leagues for his upside alone. If you own Gore, do yourself a favor and find a way to roster Hyde, too. If you do not own Gore, consider Hyde as a stash who can be used as a bye week replacement. If Hyde starts at some point, he has RB1 value. Yes, RB1.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers — 36 percent
This is a week to add him as he could be a feature back if he can make his return from a thigh bruise. If he plays, he comes back to a backfield that will be missing both Jonathan Stewart (knee) and Mike Tolbert (leg) for this week’s game against the Ravens in Baltimore. Not bad for a bye week option.
Isaiah, Crowell, Browns — 18 percent
It’s impossible to watch this kid run over defenders and not think big thoughts. He runs like Marion Barber III but with more burst and all the anger and determination. Browns HC Mike Pettine obviously is a fan, and he has been somewhat non-committal about how the Cleveland backfield will roll once the injured starter Ben Tate returns. Crowell now is a stash as Cleveland heads into its bye week. Roster him if you can.
Matt Asiata, Vikings — 54 percent
Is un-special a word? After watching Asiata run for two weeks, I really think it should be. This guy is decent. He doesn’t do anything wrong, per se, but he’ll break about one tackle a week at best. I still feel strongly that he’ll start losing time to rookie Jerick McKinnon as the year wears on and assuming that Adrian Peterson stays in NFL purgatory. Asiata still can provide you with some short-term points, but don’t get too excited.
Alfred Blue, Texans — 24 percent
Arian Foster owners, listen up! You want this kid if you haven’t already made the move, and judging by the numbers, you haven’t. Blue could have had a big day in Week 3, but the Texans got away from him after a hot start and didn’t get back to him until the second half. I have a feeling that HC Bill O’Brien won’t make that mistake again as Ronnie Brown and Jonathan Grimes are as un-special as Matt Asiata and then some. Blue is a solid handcuff option for Arian Foster owners.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 18 percent
Yes, he was seemingly an afterthought last week, but the Vikings did try to throw to him a few times and, don’t forget, they switched quarterbacks during the game. They may have kept the flux to a minimum because of that. This week will be a better sample of what the Vikings plan on being with no Matt Cassel and no Adrian Peterson, not to mention the injured Kyle Rudolph. I’m still stashing McKinnon wherever I can afford to. He’s a potentially special player if he gets his chance.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens — 8 percent
After a bit of a breakout performance in Week 3, he’s obviously on the radar now, but it’s hard to say how things will shake out when Bernard Pierce is healthy. Taliaferro is a rookie out of Coastal Carolina and he could eventually become the back to own in Baltimore. He’s a guy they like and he fits the new zone scheme that OC Gary Kubiak runs. I’m adding this kid in most leagues just in case they decide to give him a long-term shot at the starting gig.
Denard Robinson, Jaguars — 0 percent
Speaking of getting a chance. Robinson split carries with starter Toby Gerhart in Week 3, and while it was a blowout, you have to wonder if the Jaguars might go to the quicker, more athletic back more often now that they have a power-running quarterback in Blake Bortles. Robinson is an electric runner when given some room to operate. He’s not a bad stash if you have some bench space to play with. He’s a must-add talent in bigger leagues.
Jordan Matthews, Eagles — 18 percent
You don’t miss two scores, and nobody will in typical fantasy leagues. Hopefully you listened and already have Matthews on your team, but if he’s out there in your league, I would go out and get him as he is very much available. He’d be my top priority at receiver this week because he has a big ceiling in Chip Kelly’s offense.
Brian Quick, Rams — 38 percent
Quick found the zone last week and he also got some help from his teammates, which is a good sign going forward. Quick is a talented weapon and a red zone option, too, so I’d make sure he’s owned in any league I’m a part of.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars — 57 percent
He’s back and he found the end zone as he often does. Shorts is a player to own in all formats as long as his health holds up. He’s the one truly dependable weapon that the Jaguars have.
John Brown, Cardinals — 8 percent
He has three scores already and, if you read your Rotobahn this preseason, you know why. Brown may be from Pitt State, but he’s got NFL skills and HC Bruce Arians is not at all shy about using Brown as a red zone weapon — getting him matched up against weaker corners while the better ones are busy with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. What can Brown do for you? Quite a bit — even in 10-team leagues.
Davante Adams, Packers — 7 percent
No, he did not do much last week, but he appears to have passed Jarrett Boykin for the job as third receiver, and Aaron Rodgers‘ third receiver usually has significant fantasy value. Pick up Adams in all leagues as a stash option you can play in a pinch. Here’s a look at Adams’ scouting report. This kid can jump through the roof. He’s a serious athlete.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars — 2 percent
If you read my scouting report on Robinson, then you know how much I like his playmaking ability. With all the injuries in Jacksonville, Robinson is getting a chance and he’s taking advantage for the most part. While fellow rookie Allen Hurns, with his prior knowledge of the Jaguars offense due to his time with OC Jedd Fisch at the University of Miami, has been the story so far, don’t be fooled. Robinson is the more talented player and has the highest ceiling of all the Jaguars receivers, including Shorts and Marqise Lee, due to his red zone potential. Add him in all leagues for his upside.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs — 48 percent
He’s still the tight end to target as you can get him in more than 50 percent of leagues. Kelce has plenty of unexplored ceiling. If he stays healthy all season, he’ll eventually become a weekly TE1 in most formats. Add him now if you can.
Owen Daniels, Ravens — 27 percent
We all know the veteran can play, but now he’s back in the starter’s saddle due to the season-ending injury to Dennis Pitta. Can Daniels hold up himself? Who knows, but he’s a starting-caliber option for as long as he lasts. He knows the Kubiak offense better than any player in Baltimore, including Joe Flacco. Add him.
Dwayne Allen, Colts — 24 percent
He’s been used less than I was anticipating, but he should continue to become the staple option he has the potential to be. Allen does have two touchdowns so far this year, and that underscores his fantasy potential if they start using him more. Add him in all leagues as a high-upside TE2.
Jared Cook, Rams — 17 percent
He’s been involved enough where he is a viable bye week or injury replacement option. Will it last long? Probably not, but ride the wave while it’s there.
Chargers – 12 percent
They get Jacksonville at home this week, and that’s reason for excitement. The Chargers defense has some momentum, and now it gets a rookie QB making his first road start. Adding and playing San Diego this week is good business.
Steelers – 13 percent
Speaking of good business, the Steelers are very much available and they have a home game against the Buccaneers, who were so flat in Week 2 that that they almost had to call the game at halftime. I’m looking to play the Steelers this week against Mike Glennon and company. I don’t think they can stop the bleeding in one week.