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Welcome to the third installment of the Waiver Wire weekly series for the 2016 fantasy football season. While Week 1 was pretty tame, fantasy owners should count their lucky stars if they made it through Week 2 without seeing one of their running backs go down. The names who were affected in Week 2: Adrian Peterson, Danny Woodhead, Ameer Abdullah, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Thomas Rawls and Todd Gurley - all dinged up to some degree.

As a result, the Week 3 waiver wire is likely full of hot adds in leagues that are shallow enough to be strewn with potential handcuffs. Let’s check in on players that are owned in roughly 40% of leagues or less, so that you can make an educated decision about who to add to your squad from the waiver wire pool. Be sure to also check out our weekly rankings and analysis columns, with in-depth analysis for all options heading into Week 3.

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out FantasyAces DFS contests for Week 3. New users that sign up on Fantasy Aces and make a $20 deposit will receive RotoBaller's full season NFL Premium Pass for free (including Premium DFS), normally a $59.99 value. Expert DFS research, sample lineups, matchup ratings and lots more!

 

Quarterbacks -Week 3 Waiver Wire Options

Joe Flacco (QB, BAL) – 41% Owned

Flacco didn’t have the easiest first half on Sunday against the Cleveland, but he really turned it on in the second half to lead Baltimore back to a 25-20 victory. In the end he put up 22.18 fantasy points and was easily worth playing, and now goes into a solid Week 3 matchup against a Jacksonville defense that just surrendered 38 points to a San Diego team that lost Keenan Allen and also saw Danny Woodhead go down. Again, Baltimore’s running game is not strong, and their offense needs to go through Flacco’s arm. Let your team benefit.

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI) – 35% Owned (He plays on Monday night after this runs, so last week's note still holds. Monitor Monday's performance with this in mind)

The only question one really has to ask here is how much of his 278 yard, two-TD performance was on him, and how much was on Cleveland’s poor defense? Well, if you saw the amazing ball that he delivered in Jordan Matthews’ hands for his first career touchdown, then you already know the answer is quite of bit of “Column A”. Oh, and Philly gets to go face Chicago next, a defense that just allowed 21.64 standard points to Brock Osweiler. Not a bad setup.

Sam Bradford (QB, MIN) – 23% Owned

Bradford had many Vikings fans sweating in the early going when he missed plenty of throws and looked a little uncomfortable in the pocket, but boy did he settle down and perform. He ended up tallying 286 yards and two TDs in a tough divisional victory over Green Bay, and most notably looked like he had been throwing to Stefon Diggs (9 rec, 182 yards, TD) for many years.

Jimmy Garoppolo* (QB, NE) – 18% Owned­

Jimmy G’s Week 1 saw him log 264 yards and a touchdown, which was nice and all, but he really superseded that with a glorious, yet abbreviated, Week 2 performance against Miami. New England’s young stud completed 18 of 27 passes for 234 yards and three TDs in only 25 minutes of play before he suffered a sprained AC joint. We just need to recognize this performance, but do know that as of now the hope is that he returns against Buffalo in Week 4. For the record, I’m not really buying Jacoby Brissett anywhere.

 

Running Backs - Week 3 Waiver Wire Options

Most of the other running backs who stand to gain from Week 2’s injuries are pretty heavily owned already, such as Charles Sims and Christine Michael:

 

Jerick McKinnon (RB, MIN) – 32% Owned

McKinnon has been the handcuff to Adrian Peterson for a while now, and when AP went down with a right knee injury against the Packers on Sunday night it became clear why handcuffing is a thing. As of this writing on Sunday night, Peterson could miss anywhere from no time to the entire season, meaning the athletic freak from Georgia Southern should draw the start in Week 3 at the very least. While he’ll be rotating with Matt Asiata (3% Owned), McKinnon is the back to own here for his high ceiling. Consider how good Sam Bradford and the Minnesota offense looked once they hit their groove, and you have to consider that McKinnon should get plenty of healthy opportunities here.

Jay Ajayi (RB, MIA) – 27% Owned

Ajayi is the primary benefactor of Arian Foster’s Week 2 groin injury, but that’s only based on presumed opportunity. Ajayi was not impressive in Foster’s stead, tallying a meager 14 yards on five carries and 31 receiving yards on four catches, but he should be the “starter” for Week 3 against a horrible Cleveland defense should Foster not be able to go. While Damien Williams (2% owned) and Kenyan Drake (12% owned - he punched in a TD in Week 2) will be mixed in plenty, Miami should want Ajayi to succeed here.

Dwayne Washington (RB, DET) – 5% Owned

Washington capitalized on his short-yardage looks in Week 1 with a one-yard TD, and he followed that up by collecting 31 yards on only four carries in Week 2 against the Titans. Now that Ameer Abdullah is reportedly wearing a boot with a foot injury, Washington is in line for some more work behind Theo Riddick and is the clear the goal-line back for Detroit. One could do worse than the rookie RB here in Detroit’s up-tempo offense.

Fozzy Whittaker (RB, CAR) – 2% Owned

Whittaker was given the reins to the Carolina backfield after Jonathan Stewart was removed from the game in the first quarter, and all he did was collect 100 yards on the ground with only 16 carries. He also tacked on 31 yards through the air on three catches, as he is clearly ahead of Cameron Artis-Payne (who was inactive) in the pecking order. If Stewart misses any time, Whittaker will benefit from being the starting RB in a potent Carolina offense. Honestly, even if Stewart returns for Week 3, he is definitely not the most durable. Even if Whittaker only provides one starting week against a tough Minnesota run defense in Week 3, the volume alone should make him a nice add, let alone the potential long-term work should it be a bad injury for J-Stew.

 

Wide Receivers - Week 3 Waiver Wire Options

Anquan Boldin (WR, DET) – 41% Owned

Anquan “So Strong” Boldin had a solid game in Week 2, catching four of seven targets for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Titans. That doesn’t even include a second touchdown that was negated by a penalty. While his floor is low, this is a guy who gets to play regularly in Detroit’s three-wide sets and should have a solid shot in their weekly touchdown roulette dance.

Tyrell Williams (WR, SD) – 34% Owned

While Travis Benjamin got a ton of love in the wake of Keenan Allen’s injury, Tyrell Williams still saw six targets in San Diego’s Week 2 thumping of Jacksonville. He caught three of those balls for 61 yards, most of which came on a 44-yard touchdown scamper that showcased his plus speed and ability to break tackles. Williams is a playmaker, and if Danny Woodhead is out for an extended period time then San Diego is going to need to lean even more on their remaining playmakers.

Cole Beasley (WR, DAL) – 15% Owned

Beasley is clearly a nice safety blanket for rookie Dak Prescott out there, as he caught five of six targets for 75 yards against Washington in Week 2 after tallying eight receptions for 65 yards in Week 1. Those are steady numbers in PPR formats for the Southern Methodist product, which should continue as long as Prescott remains under center.

Quincy Enunwa (WR, NYJ) – 12% Owned

Enunwa performed well in Week 1, catching seven of his eight targets for 54 yards and a TD, and then followed that up by catching all six of his targets for 92 yards against Buffalo in Week 2. With no tight end to speak of and Brandon Marshall dealing with a bit of a knee ailment, Enunwa is the clear #3 option in the passing game for Ryan Fitzpatrick. While Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are fantastic pass-catching RBs, the 6’2”, 225 pound receiver clearly has the confidence of the coaches and as long as his rib injury isn’t a big deal, should be a decent WR4 type against the Chiefs.

Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson (WR, SEA) – 12% Owned and 3% Owned

This is a just a quick note, because if Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are both too banged up to play a full game in Week 3 then these two would stand to profit. With Thomas Rawls also dealing with a potential injury, Seattle may very well need to lean more on its passing game against San Francisco in Week 3 at home. It’s likely that their defense can hold it down, but someone’s going to have to get the ball on offense and it’s unlikely that Christine Michael does it all should those two WRs miss time.

Jamison Crowder (WR, WAS) – 5% Owned

Crowder has now caught six balls in each of Washington’s first two games, and in their Week 2 game against the Cowboys he ended up logging 39 yards and a nice touchdown (on which he slammed hard into the wall afterwards, but he’s okay). The Redskins seem to be finding themselves in catch-up scenarios often early on in 2016, meaning their slot man should see enough action to warrant picking up in deeper PPR leagues.

Marquise Goodwin (WR, BUF) – 1% Owned

Goodwin turned five targets into two catches for 112 yards and a long, 85-yard touchdown where he got behind star CB Darrelle Revis and showed off his track-star wheels on primetime television. With Sammy Watkins struggling, Goodwin could see increased looks moving forward. Even if Watkins is A-OK, Goodwin has presented himself as a poor man’s Ted Ginn here for fantasy owners.

 

Tight Ends -Week 3 Waiver Wire Options

Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN) – 45% Owned

The moral of the story is that the Vikings passing game may very well give Rudolph a chance to produce decent low-end TE1 numbers with Sam Bradford at the helm. He only caught three of eight targets, but 31 yards and a touchdown is enough to be useful here. Minnesota has a tough matchup against Carolina next week, but then Rudolph has a nice matchup against a Giants defense that struggles against TEs. Stay sharp.

Jacob Tamme (TE, ATL) – 40% Owned

Tamme showed that Oakland’s defense is still extremely vulnerable to tight ends in 2016, but don’t think that his five-catch, 75-yard performance with a TD in Week 2 is a one-week occasion here. He has seen eight targets in each of Atlanta’s first two games, and is going head first into a Week 3 matchup on Monday night against the Saints porous defense in New Orleans (that means shootout potential is through the roof). Not bad at all.

Jesse James (TE, PIT) – 26% Owned

James didn’t drown in volume in Week 2, but the 6’7” tight end is clearly a great target for Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone. He ended up with three catches for 29 yards and a touchdown as Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati, and now has 12 targets in his first two games of 2016. That ain’t bad at all, and this is an offense that can flirt with 30 points in any given week easily. They’ll tangle with Philly on the road in Week 3 next, with James being a nice standard-league play.

Vance McDonald (TE, SF) – 22% Owned

Dancin’ Vance McDonald only had one catch in Week 2, but boy did he make it count. He took a ball down the left sideline for a 75-yard touchdown in a gritty battle against the Panthers, and now has two TDs on only three catches (five targets) in San Francisco’s first two games of the season. That’s not ideal volume at all, but hopefully he can see his numbers ramp up as the season presses on. This is a signal to temper expectations, but at least he’s producing all the same.

Dennis Pitta (TE, BAL) – 8% Owned

Pitta looked like his 2012 self in Sunday’s Week 2 tilt against the Browns, totaling 12 targets and catching nine of them for 102 yards. All Pitta needs is for his health to stay under him, but the opportunity should continue to be there for him as long as that holds. He and Joe Flacco didn’t appear to miss a beat on Sunday, making him a great low-owned add for those of you needing someone owned in less than 10% of leagues. Baltimore will face Jacksonville next, and then they get a dream matchup against the tight-end holy grail matchup of the Raiders in Week 4.

 


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