By Jim Saranteas. After two weeks of fantasy football, injuries are already making their mark. The roles of different players are taking shape. Some players are exactly who we thought they were, and others are not. For those in deeper 14 or 16 team leagues, playing the waiver wire has already proven significant. Waiver Wire Week 3 is a great week to adjust your roster ever so slightly. It’s time to be a little bit more bold, rather than a little bit more cautious.
If you’re worried about quarterback Andy Dalton, so is TFG. In two games, Dalton hasn’t thrown a single touchdown in two weeks of play on 66 pass attempts. However, the Bengals fired Offensive Coordinator Ken Zampese, and elevated Quarterbacks Coach Bill Lazor to the position. Lazor was a former offensive coordinator for the Dolphins. Lazor should open up the Bengals offense and dedicate the offense to primarily feed just one of the Bengals three capable running backs. If you have hung on to Dalton this long as your back-up, hanging onto him for just one more week is worthwhile. However, if he is your starter, look elsewhere, including this week’s top add, Trevor Siemian, Broncos.
Similarly, Eli Manning has been struggling immensely, having been sacked eight times. He’s thrown just one touchdown and has little to no chemistry with top offseason free agent grab Brandon Marshall. His Jekyll-and-Hyde play is a fantasy football manager’s nightmare. Look to the waiver for help if you can.
This week, the player to not get too overly excited about is the Jets Josh McCown who threw two touchdown passes this week. His fantasy numbers were buoyed by 31 yards rushing. Despite a top ten finish in many fantasy leagues, McCown still looks like a quarterback under siege in an offense likely going to struggle more often than not. He’s not doing anything to help the Jets rushing game and makes for a poor waiver wire add even in the deepest leagues.
A window of opportunity exists for anyone in deeper fourteen or sixteen team leagues who running back, wide receiver, or tight end help with injuries to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb of the Packers and Rob Kelley of the Redskins. With injuries to Rob Gronkowski (groin), Jordan Reed (bruised chest), and Greg Olsen (broken foot), expect a mass grab of what’s left of tight ends on the fantasy football waiver wire.
Top Waiver Wire Adds
Trevor Siemian, Broncos
If you have Andy Dalton as your starting quarterback, or a weak back-up quarterback, Trevor Siemian should be your top target off the fantasy football waiver wire. Here in this column last week, it was discussed Siemian manages a balanced offense which will both run and throw the football. Trevor Siemian is making plays and looks all too comfortable running an NFL offense. Not only did Siemian top 200 yards passing, he threw four passing TDs. Siemian has a great group of passing threats which will buoy his value each week. Trevor Siemian is top three in most fantasy football leagues. Based on how he has played so far, Siemian looks like a permanent fixture among the top ten. He’s available in most fantasy football leagues.
Javorius Allen, Ravens
Running back Javorius Allen is available in many leagues. After two weeks of fantasy football, Allen has established himself as the lead running back on the Ravens. In two weeks, he has out-touched the presumed pre-season starter Terrance West forty to twenty-nine. Allen scored his first touchdown last week. He’ll be a low end RB2 going forward.
Please, do not drop a good player for any of the waiver-adds noted below.
Without a running game, he’s gonna pass the football . . . a lot
Carson Palmer, Cardinals
With David Johnson out for the season, Carson Palmer was called upon to dial-up 36 pass attempts versus 25 rush attempts in Week 2. The Cardinals passing game was boldly effective to the tune of 332 yards and 1 TD versus 83 yards and zero TDs for the rushing offense. Unless the Cardinals make a bold move through a trade to add a running back like Adrian Peterson or Matt Forte, the Cardinals will throw the football like this for the rest of the season. Palmer is available in many leagues.
On the rise . . .
Jay Cutler, Dolphins
In his season debut, Jay Cutler showed he is still more talented on the football field than in the press box, tossing for 230 yards and a score on 24 of 33 passing. Incredibly, Cutler was well protected and threw no interception. Compared to when he was on the Bears, Cutler is surrounded by many talented receivers. Cutler is a low-end QB1 option in deeper 14 or 16 team leagues.
Monitor: Jared Goff, Rams; and, Joe Flacco, Ravens.
Derrick Henry, Titans
This past week, Derrick Henry was finally given significant carries. Henry converted 14 carries into 92 yards (6.6 YPC) and one touchdown. With DeMarco Murray fighting off a hamstring issue, Henry should continue to be a big part of the running game at least soon. He’s still available in a chunk of leagues.
Chris Carson, Seahawks
Despite Thomas Rawls return to the lineup, Chris Carson dominated Seahawks running backs with 93 yards rushing on 20 carries (4.7 YPC). It is possible Rawls was simply being eased back into the offense. But, if Pete Carroll feels Carson is the hot hand, he could ride him as long as physically possible. He’s a must add in deeper leagues if available.
Chris Thompson, Redskins
Staring Running Back Rob Kelley could miss time with a rib injury. While Samaje Perine will get a boost in value given his 21 rushes for 67 yards last week (3.2 YPC), Chris Thompson is the far more effective running back. In two weeks, Thompson has 162 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdown scores on just 13 touches. Jay Gruden would be hard-pressed to ignore Thompson’s 13.5 yards per carry. He was also the third most targeted running back in Week 2. Thompson makes for a flex-start in all leagues and is an RB3 consideration in deeper leagues. There are few leagues he is unavailable.
Others to consider: James White, Patriots; Shane Vereen, Giants.
Monitor: Alvin Kamara, Saints; Jalen Richard, Raiders.
A must-add if you’re weak at the position . . .
J.J. Nelson, Cardinals
With John Brown battling a quad injury, J.J. Nelson benefited with seven targets in Week 2, which he converted into 120 yards, 1 touchdown, on five receptions. Nelson immediately becomes a WR3 consideration especially with the Cardinals likely to lean on their passing game for the foreseeable future. Jaron Brown also makes for a waiver wire consideration in deeper leagues. Both are largely available except in the deepest of leagues.
If you need an upgrade . . .
Marqise Lee, Jaguars
Allen Hurns, Jaguars
With Allen Robinson done for the season, both Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns contributed to the Jaguars offense this past week in a significant way. Lee posted 76 yards on seven of 12 targets while Hurns scored a touchdown while posting 82 yards on six of seven targets. Both are options in three wide receiver leagues.
If Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb miss Week 3 . . .
Geronimo Allison, Packers
With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb side-lined, Geronimo Allison took on a much bigger role in the Packers offense. While he did little with the opportunity going 3 for 5 for 24 yards, he could get the start this week and play a significant role in the offense. He’s worth a speculative add if your roster has an extra spot.
In deeper leagues . . .
Rahsad Higgins, Browns
With Corey Coleman done for the season with a broken hand, Rashad Higgins looks like he could be the Browns number one receiving option. Week 2 was his only game action but he was targeted 11 times and caught 7 passes for 95 yards.
Javon Kearse, Jets
In an erratic offense, Kearse has made the most of his fourteen targets, hauling in 11 receptions for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns (last week) through two weeks. For those in deeper leagues, they could do worse than the one player who looks like Josh McCown’s favorite receiving option.
Monitor: Brandon Coleman, Saints; Mohamed Sanu, Falcons; and, Kendall Wright, Bears.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
It is stunning to see Jason Witten available in so many leagues. But for the past few season, Witten has been an afterthought in the offense. With both Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott struggling in these opening games, Witten has come on to post a 17 for 22 receiving line for 156 yards and 2 TDs. There is no reason to believe that Witten’s role would diminish much now that he’s found it with the young Dak Prescott under center. Witten should be rostered in all leagues even as just a back-up.
Ben Watson, Ravens
After Joe Flacco got back on track passing the football in Week 2, Ben Watson benefitted going right for eight on receptions for 91 yards. Joe Flacco has always loved throwing to his tight end, and Ben Watson is a capable in the passing game. Watson is available in a vast number of leagues.
Coby Fleener, Saints
Coby Fleener is still available in many leagues. Fleener is a touchdown dependent tight end whose better value is in PPR leagues. As long as Fleener keeps getting open, Drew Brees will keep throwing to him when he can.
Evan Engram, Giants
Evan Engram has had a significant role in the Giants offense despite being a rookie. He’s been targeted 12 times so far this season while averaging near 50 yards per game. In Week 2, he scored his first touchdown as a pro. While the Giants are struggling in the passing game, Eli Manning is still connecting with the tight end position, something he has done throughout his career. Engram makes for a weekly TE1 consideration in deeper 14 or 16 team leagues.
Monitor: Zach Miller, Bears; Cameron Brate, Buccaneers; Ed Dickson, Panthers; and, David Njoku, Browns
Top streaming defenses if available . . .
Steelers (v. Bears)
Ravens (v. Jaguars)
Rams (v. 49ers)
Patriots (v. Texans)
Eagles (v. Giants)
Colts (v. Browns)
Dolphins (v. Jets)
Packers (v. Bengals)