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Week 3 Waiver Wire Overview & Free Agent Sleepers

By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Waiver Wire Adds for Week Three

The second Sunday of the season is through, and the wackiness continues. Somehow the Jaguars beat the up and coming Dolphins prompting Miami fans to call for the axing of another head coach, and Peyton reminded us that he doesn't need a good arm to make plays. And the best part of it... we aren't done yet, with one more game on tonight's Monday Night Slate.

Week 2 was filled with some star-studded fantasy performances like the return of Odell Beckham Jr, some disappointing performances from other elite players like Marshawn Lynch, some unfortunate injuries and one incredibly unexpected breakout performance involving a Cleveland Brown wide receiver.

In turn, there are some waiver wire pickups and sleepers for Week 3 that can have a potential impact for your teams. My piece won't cover all waiver wire adds and targets each week, as there are just too many with all the league types out there, but I'll be highlighting and prioritize the biggest impact players. Additionally, be sure to check out many more great RotoBaller articles and waiver wire analysis pieces at each position throughout the week, including risers/fallers, deeper league sleepers, rankings and more.


Week 3 Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups

Tyrod Taylor (QB, BUF) - 23% Owned on Fleaflicker

Tyrod Taylor was a must-have pickup for my column last week, and he remains on it this week. What's crazy about that is he's only gained 5% ownership after finishing Week 1 as QB16. This week, he's finished at QB8 (at time of writing) - and even though it was against another weak defense, his mixture of deep passes and rushing ability gives him a volatile ceiling but keeps his floor grounded in the low 10's. The games will get harder as the season goes on, but a second week putting up points is boding well for his fantasy value this year.

Andy Dalton (QB, CIN) - 43% Owned on Fleaflicker

The ownership on Andy Dalton is way too low. Dalton might be one year removed from a far-out-of-reach top five season, but he's not some kind of plague on fantasy quarterbacking. Last year was an obvious anomaly where the three top pass catchers on the Bengals were out of commission, and Dalton was forced to rely on Mohammed Sanu and Jermaine Gresham as his only two pass catching targets for long stretches of games. That's not the case this year. Dalton's sitting on a riches of healthy talent around him right now, and it's showing as he's now had two back-to-back weeks putting up over 24 points.

Other Quarterback Options: Derek Carr - 14% owned, Joe Flacco - 55% owned, Johnny Manziel - 3% owned, Brandon Weeden - 1% owned


Week 3 Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups

Matt Jones (RB, WAS) -  42% Owned on Fleaflicker

We've spent all offseason at RotoBaller hyping up Matt Jones. I'll take the credit for starting the hype train for him here, and today's game showed exactly why he should be on your roster. Jones put up a 19 carry, 123 yard, two touchdown performance that was boosted by another three catches for 23 yards. Yes, that's a full three-down backing right there, which is exactly what he was brought in to do. He might not be taking over the reigns as soon as next week, but it's obvious that Alfred Morris will be splitting time with Jones after this kind of game. The Redskins offense is probably not good enough to sustain these kinds of offensive outings, but no one's ever been upset with owning a (soon-to-be, hopefully) starting running back.

Dion Lewis (RB, NEP) - 32% Owned on Fleaflicker

Like Tyrod Taylor, Dion Lewis was already in my pickups list last week going from 8% ownership to 32%. That's not enough for a guy in his situation. It's already been made clear that Dion Lewis will be the receiving back on this team (six catches for 98 yards this week), and in the last two years that role has given an average of 8.6 fantasy points per game. Right now, Dion Lewis has put up a 14.5 points average through two games, and the second game involved the return of LeGarrette Blount who only saw the ball one time (a carry for four yards).

Although Lewis only saw the ball a total of seven times on the ground, that's more likely a result of the matchup between the Patriots OL and the Bills front seven. It's still unlikely Lewis becomes the 15+ carry back while Blount is around, but as long as he's getting 6+ carries and the majority of the passing down work, he's going to keep performing. That 8.6 fantasy points per game average is looking like it's going to be boosted by the end of this season.

James Starks (RB, GB) - 13% Owned on Fleaflicker

The severity of Eddie Lacy's injury is not fully known right now - but assuming he does miss any time at all, Starks becomes a must own. You can't not take the chance on a running back in an Aaron Rodgers offense, even if most of the RBs before Lacy (including Starks himself) failed to really reach relevance. With the revamped O-line that the Packers have built since drafting Lacy, there's good reason to assume that they can now sustain a running back not named Lacy.

In fact, the last time James Starks was given a real shot to lead the rushing touches was in 2013 (Week 2). Lacy had suffered a concussion, then the second string running back was injured early in the game. Suddenly Starks was given 20 carries, which he turned into a 132 yard and one touchdown game, adding another four catches and 36 yards. Any time Lacy misses, is time that Starks will have the chance to benefit from the offense he plays in. And you should be benefitting from that too.

Other Running Back Options: Devonta Freeman - 45% owned, Shane Vereen - 59% owned, David Johnson - 33% owned, Lance Dunbar - 17% owned, Lorenzo Taliaferro - 2% owned


Week 3 Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups

Travis Benjamin (WR, CLE) - 21% Owned on Fleaflicker

I wanted to ignore Travis Benjamin's Week 1 as much as anyone. A random Cleveland Brown receiver catching a single deep pass for a touchdown? Yeah, whatever. Then suddenly he scored another one on the Titans. And then a third. Travis Benjamin finished his game against the Titans with three receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, he had three receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown. It's crazy, but Benjamin is currently a top-five WR in standard scoring. At this point, you really just can't ignore him.

Although it's incredibly unlikely that Benjamin continues this insane pace all season long, the chemistry he's had with Manziel is undeniable. Manziel just lobs up deep throws for Benjamin to run under, locate, and secure. Maybe he could be a playable FLEX, but at this point he becomes worth owning over some of the random bench depth you might have that isn't catching 40 yard touchdowns.

Rishard Matthews (WR, MIA) - 3% Owned on Fleaflicker

There was a lot of talk about this offense entering the season - from how great the weapons looked, to Tannehill's continuing development. Within this large pool of receivers, one of the players that got lost in the mix was Rishard Matthews. In a group that has the aged Greg Jennings, the promising rookie (that's still in need of development) DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills, somehow Matthew has been able to take the field and make an impact for two weeks straight. It's seeming more and more like after Landry and Cameron Jordan, Matthews becomes the next best target. He made plays all over the field on Sunday, coming out of a Jacksonville loss with a six catch 115 yard game. Those are some serious numbers, and the week prior he had four catches for 35 yards and a touchdown.

While Benjamin represents a more boom/bust weekly play, Matthews has the chance to be a boom/bust season-long play. His role might be growing - so he can either become a legitimate FLEX candidate, or eventually end up being back on the waiver wire.

Other Wide Receiver Options: Michael Crabtree - 22% owned, Eddie Royal - 58% owned, Leonard Hankerson - 4% owned, Cecil Shorts - 10% owned


Week 3 Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups

Crockett Gilmore (TE, BAL) - 21% Owned on Fleaflicker

After the drafting of Maxx Williams, it seemed like the TE spot was settled in to a "no value" zone - there hasn't been a rookie TE with fantasy value for a long, long time. Suddenly, here comes Crockett Gilmore stealing the starting spotlight from Williams. He's getting a lot of attention from Joe Flacco, who used to be known for targeting TE's like Dennis Pitta fairly often. Pitta's not there anymore, but Flacco still enjoys targeting his big receiving/blocking hybrids. In the last two weeks, Gilmore has seen four and six targets. Those aren't particularly high numbers, but it shouldn't be expected that a player will just come out of the gate in his first starting experience and gather all the attention of his quarterback. In fact, in Week 1 the entire offense failed to gather much of anything - so it shouldn't really be held against Gilmore that he only saw four targets that week. But with six targets this week, he pulled in a five catch, 88 yard, two touchdown game. That's huge.

This is an offense dying for more receivers outside of Steve Smith. If Crockett can be that second option, it won't take much to get him to the point of relevance at a position where a TE1 only requires about 700 yards and six touchdowns in order to be a potential every week starter.

Other Tight End Options: Eric Ebron - 15% owned, Vernon Davis - 61% owned, Jared Cook - 15% owned, Jacob Tamme - 1% owned


Week 3 Defense (D/ST) Waiver Wire Pickups

New York Giants - 11% Owned on Fleaflicker

Washington has been surprisingly not terrible since the start of the season. But it is, at it's heart, an incredibly under-staffed offense with a very turnover prone QB. Kirk Cousins has only been able to stay interception free in five of the 17 games he's played in. Over that same time, he only has five games throwing for more than one touchdown. In fact, let's take a little trip down memory lane and look back at Kirk Cousin's last two games against the Giants. How do these stats sound? In 2013, Cousins played the Giants putting up 169 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. Then, in 2014, Cousins played the Giants in September with an incredibly poor performance of 257 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. Oh, and he lost a fumble too. The Giants are a strong, strong streamer play this week.


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