I saw a commercial that featured the old Tecmo Bowl football video game on Sunday. Wouldn't it be great if all our fantasy players worked like that? I especially wouldn't miss injuries, because this is where the fantasy house collapses. Tecmo fantasy would cause the waiver wire to collect dust, unless a governing overseer tweaked a strength setting on Jack Trudeau to make him the all-time best quarterback in the known universe.
Oh well, it's not gonna happen. Life is just kettles and coffee. Which isn't so bad when you've got them. A broken kettle you can sort of deal with by boiling water in a pot, but if the coffee runs out, it means no coffee until the store opens.
So this little meandering around the point is that fantasy football is about being ready. Getting to the store first to get the coffee before everyone else wakes up. So it is with waivers. The best of the rest is not always obvious and training your eye for the potential high shelf grab is not an easy thing. Don't worry if you miss out, because another opportunity will come along. Just don't miss them too often and be ready to strike fast.
Week 3 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Grabs
It's pretty self-evident to grab an unclaimed player who is next on a team depth chart after an injury. The only thing that isn't always clear is the value of the next guy in line. How much impact will he have in an offense? Coach-speak comes into play in many of these cases so you really have to read between the lines.
If you are adding players, you gotta drop someone. Alex Hamrick will tell you which guys can leave your roster to make room.
*Percentages based on Yahoo ownership
Carson Wentz (15% owned) and Sam Bradford (8%) are generating the most fantasy interest this week of the low-owned quarterbacks.
Carson Wentz, despite a scaled back fantasy performance against Chicago, continues to impress everyone with his fearless confidence in the pocket. The going gets tougher when the Steelers visit the Eagles in Week 3, but Wentz seems to relish these growing challenges. His total yardage puts him at 23rd after two weeks, but if you're ahead of Rodgers and Rivers, that can't be all bad. The interception count remains at zero, so let's see how long Wentz can keep that going. He remains startable.
Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings (8% owned)
The best thing about Sam Bradford's debut with the Vikings was the completion percentage. When you are completing above 70% of your attempts, it really helps the fantasy pass-catchers on the team. Stefon Diggs in particular was a huge beneficiary of that statistic - hauling in a monster 182 yards with a touchdown.
Sam Bradford in his own fantasy right, couldn't have asked for a better start to his Vikings tenure. Remember too that he had less than two weeks to prepare for a completely different playbook. Yet, it was like he was there all training camp on Sunday night. 286 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
All this without the support of a good running game and against a strong division rival. He passes the test. Put him into your streaming rotation.
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (23%)
We can surmise enough from the reports that Adrian Peterson's knee injury will be a week-to-week issue. Even if it is a minor sprain, the timescale could be as long as a month.
Before Peterson went down, his production was a non-factor in the games between the Titans and the Packers. For a team that purportedly relies on his skills to help win games, the Vikings have certainly not shown it. In fact, the truth should be obvious that the passing game is the subject of team focus. When Teddy Bridgewater went down, the Vikings immediately dialled up Philadelphia to secure a deal for Sam Bradford.
The bottom line is that some sort of a running game has to go on the field. It starts with Jerick McKinnon and he has enough explosive ability for consideration in all fantasy football leagues. Matt Asiata will get some speculative looks by some in fantasy, but it is McKinnon who should be first and foremost your waiver target. Asiata can remain at the far end of the lumber yard for now.
The upside for McKinnon is at the RB2 level. However, he has a tough matchup to begin his adventure against the Carolina Panthers in week 3. Start him if you must, but I'd temper your expectations on getting a bounty of fantasy points for this game.
Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers (4%)
Fozzy was a top five rusher in Week 2. Yes, Fozzy Whittaker of the Carolina Panthers. This is his 5th year in the league and Week 2 against the 49ers was the best game of his career. Considering that Todd Gurley rushed for only 47 yards on 17 carries against San Francisco in Week 1, Fozzy's feat looks all that more impressive. 100 yards on 16 carries, plus an extra 31 on three receptions.
Cameron Artis-Payne was inactive the first two Panthers games, but should begin his 2016 against the Vikings. Although he's the next backfield project in Carolina, Fozzy obviously holds the hot hand as things stand. Jonathan Stewart's injury may or may not be serious enough to keep him out long term, so stashing Cameron Artis-Payne is a matter of preference than neccesity.
Whittaker will cover Stewart for the duration with Mike Tolbert in the mix on situational downs. Fozzy is one of those short term grabs and safely returnable to the waiver wire after he completes his fantasy missions.
Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (5%)
Which wide receiver on the Redskins has the most receptions after Week 2? Jamison Crowder! The second year man out of Duke is really making a fantasy splash. Crowder rivals even Jordan Reed as the favorite target of Kirk Cousins.
Although Crowder scored a touchdown against the Cowboys on Sunday, the effectiveness of Kirk Cousins is causing a stir with teammates according to Mike Florio of PFT. After an 0-2 start, all sorts of rumors like this are bound to be floated around. However, I doubt that changes to the Redskins gameplans going forward will affect the nice chunk of target spread Crowder receives. After all, why would the Redskins rework the parts of the offense that are effective?
If anything, a minor shakeup probably gives upside to Crowder. The only problem really is with Cousins and an underperforming running attack. So pickup Crowder immediately and bank on the Redskins improving red zone efficiency as well as in other areas.
Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys (10%)
If you are in a PPR league and just want some guy to fill your flex, then Cole Beasley will do. I would never make a jump for Cole Beasley in a draft, but he sure gets a lot of work between the 20s these days. Dak Prescott keeps sending him the ball when there isn't anyone else to throw to. With Romo, Beasley was always that reliable safety valve, but it seems moreso with Prescott.
You aren't starting him each and every week, but with byes coming up, Beasley could come in very handy for those in per reception leagues. If you have Terrence Williams on your bench, you've got the wrong guy. Grab Beasley instead.
Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets (10%)
I had him on the watch list last week. I was then perhaps over-cautious in recommending him as a grab, but Enunwa is the big wide receiver of the Jets who is getting plenty of attention from Ryan Fitzpatrick. He played in 89% of the snaps in Week 1 and only 61% in Week 2, but was just as productive with six catches for 92 yards. Enunwa is clearly making his presence felt on the Jets offense.
The Jets do not have any real tight end playmakers and Enunwa seems to be filling that role. At 6'2" 225 lbs. - he looks the part. I expect the red zone looks are on the way, so expect more touchdowns moving forward.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (37%)
I told you to grab him last week to beat the rush. This week you might have difficulty getting him on your team. I suppose he wasn't quite ripe enough as a mainstream add last week, but for goodness sake the signs were all pointing for Cruz to come back into the fantasy fold sooner or later.
This is the problem sometimes in fantasy football. We wrap ourselves so much into statistics that we forget what a good football player is. I know and you know that Victor Cruz is one good football player. If he's healthy, which he is, how can you not put a good football player on your fantasy team? Don't lose the plot by clouding yourself too much with stats; couple it with practicality. In other words, balance your judgement of stats with the eye test.
It didn't go perfectly smooth for Cruz on Sunday. The fumble on his nice catch and run looked just a tad unreliable, but he made up for it later by out-muscling a Saints defender for the ball in what would be a decisive moment in the game. He's going to get work in this offense with OBJ and Shepard. There's going to be salsa dancing too.
Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (11%)
I've always said since Pitta's non-contact injury, that he must have pushed it too far on his hip recovery a couple of years ago. Pitta, like Cruz, is a good football player if he's healthy. I must admit I'm still apprehensive just the same when it comes to Pitta, because the demands of his position requires a lot of punishment.
At his best, he's a receiving tight end at a TE1 level and his return to fantasy relevance looked more than secure with 9 receptions on 12 targets with a healthy total of 102 yards in Week 2. Down the road, there may be concern on the part of the Ravens to preserve his health by not overworking him, but if he's in there you can count on him for steady production.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (30%)
Both Bradford and Hill targetted him eight times in each of the last two games. Involvement for Rudolph seems secure because the passing game is at the forefront of the Vikings attack. That said, I still consider the upside low for Rudolph, despite the heavy snap count (90%+) in both games to date.
Kyle always goes in and out of fashion as a waiver pick up. He'll serve well as a bench starter for bye weeks and other emergencies, but to press him into steady weekly service likely nets you little. A favorable matchup is the best way to use Rudolph and other such situations mentioned above.
For the Watch List...
Kenny Britt, WR, LA Rams (3%)
Britt soared to 94 yards on six catches Sunday against a tough Seattle defense. Considering it was a low scoring affair, Britt's performance stood out. I'd keep watch on him from a long distance, as it would take a remarkable string for him to gain any fantasy trust. Getting to the sleeper level will prove difficult enough.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (13%)
Players that show steady improvement always catch my eye and Agholor is doing just that. He's not yet worth grabbing in regular leagues, but put a flag on him anyway and follow his progress. He nearly connected with Wentz for a nice corner fade touchdown on Monday, so there will be more opportunities.
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears (8%)
Deep leaguers might consider grabbing Howard on spec. Langford is quickly falling out of favor with his coach and fantasy football. His timely touchdown on Monday night saved his fantasy bacon, but Langford isn't generating enough confidence anywhere right now.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins (27%)
The groin injury to Arian Foster interrupted the steady drop drop drop of Jay Ajayi in fantasy. There is hope for Ajayi after all. However, it remains faint. The introduction of Kenyan Drake into the backfield clouds up any certainty for Ajayi to gain front and center relevance. The duration of Foster's recovery plays a significant part in determining Ajayi's chances as well.