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Week 3 Running Backs: Waiver Wire Pickups, Adds & Rankings Tiers

Ohhhhh injuries!!! It's that time of year, already. I'll admit it, the mind of a fantasy football owner is sick. I don't think anyone actually wants NFL players to get hurt - but if you don't think fantasy owners see the opportunity immediately after someone goes down, you're thinking too highly or your league mates. While injuries to top-end WRs like Dez Bryant definitely get the waiver wire buzzing, it's the injuries to RBs that really open up massive fantasy opportunity.

The waiver wire is where league's can be won. Just last season, we saw players like Odell Beckham Jr., C.J. Anderson, and Justin Forsett be waiver wire adds that ended up top 10 at their respective positions. My goal on the waiver wire is to try to find players that, with the proper opportunity, can be top players at their positions. This ultimately creates value in two potential ways: either you are able to play the added player in a starting spot of your weekly lineup, or it gives you a trade chip to use to find help at a position of weakness.

In week three, this article will aim to highlight running backs that you should consider targeting on your league's waiver wire. I've split these players up into three tiers, from most desirable to most desperate. Additionally, I've included players at the bottom of this list that I would be comfortable cutting as I don't see them contributing in a major way this season.


Cream of the Crop Running Backs for Week 3 Waiver Wire

These are running backs that I would add no matter what if they are available on your waiver wire. These players have a chance to be starters and weekly contributors to their NFL teams:

James Starks (RB, GB) - 14% owned on Fleaflicker

Eddie Lacy "hopes" to play during Week 3. I hope that I grow eight inches overnight and can be the next Michael Jordan. I just don't see it happening. The high ankle sprain that Lacy suffered is generally a multi-week injury and I just can't see him lacing it up on Sunday. James Starks was more than passable as a Lacy replacement this past week, converting 20 totes for 95 yards and catching another 4 passes on the side. In an offense this potent, Starks is an automatic RB2 with low-end RB1 upside this week.

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

In case you've been living under a rock, here at RotoBaller we are very high on Matt Jones and have been writing about him ad nauseam for months. This opportunity for Jones was not created by injury, but rather by just downright impressive play in Week 2. After taking a clear back seat to Alfred Morris in Week 1, Jones blew up this past Sunday receiving just three fewer snaps than Morris. Jones took advantage of the increased playing time, rushing the ball 19 times for 123 yards and adding 3 catches for another 23. Oh ya, he scored two touchdowns on top of those big yardage numbers and looked like the best offensive player on the field.

Dion Lewis (RB, NE) - 32% owned on Fleaflicker

I'll admit it. I fell into the New England Patriots running back trap. I started Legarrette Blount in his first game back and watched him barely get on the field. Meanwhile Lewis looked like the perfect compliment RB in a high octane passing offense. He turned 13 touches into 138 yards and a touchdown. Lewis ran around, through and over the Bills defense and while he did come out in goal line scenarios, he got all of the early down work, playing on 73 of the 86 Patriots snaps. It could've just been a game plan thing, but Lewis at the very least needs to be owned.

Honorable Mentions: Devonta Freeman - 45% owned


Wait and See Running Backs for Week 3 Waiver Wire

These are running backs highly available on the waiver wire who you should consider stashing if you have room:

Lorenzo Taliaferro (RB, BAL) - 21% owned on Fleaflicker

Taliaferro returned from an injury that cost him week 1 and took advantage. He got 10 touches which went for 46 yards and vultured a TD in the fourth quarter on a 7 yard draw play. I don't expect Taliaferro to get much more than 10 touches a week, but he operated as the red-zone RB and is at the very least a threat to score on a weekly basis.

Honorable Mentions: Shane Vereen - 59% owned, David Johnson - 33% owned, Lance Dunbar - 17% owned


Hail Mary Running Backs for Week 3 Waiver Wire

These are desperation plays who shouldn't be starting for you. The injury bug, bye week troubles, or something else needs to be affecting your team to add these players:

Dexter McCluster (RB, TEN) - 4% owned on FleaFlicker

It's not called a hail mary play for nothing. Listen, is McCluster going to be a week-in-week-out starter for you at any point this year? No. However, he has the ability to bust a big play out of the backfield, slot, or on special teams and is coming off a week where he had 10 carries for 98 yards.

Honorable Mentions: Andre Williams - 17% owned, Mike Davis - 0% owned


Running Backs to Consider Cutting for Week 3

These are players that I would be comfortable releasing for a "Cream of the Crop" or "Wait and See" player:

Alfred Blue (RB, HOU) - 74% owned on Fleaflicker

Get rid of this guy! He's a mediocre talent who isn't even the lead back while Arian Foster is out. Arian Foster is coming back soon.

Darren McFadden (RB, DAL) - 71% owned on Fleaflicker

For all the talk, it certainly looks like it's Joseph Randle's job with Lance Dunbar as the third-down guy. McFadden will not pay off for the 100th year in a row.


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