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Waiver Wired

Waiver Wire: Week 3

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to the 3rd edition of Waiver Wired for the 2017 season. Luckily we did not see the big injuries of last week, but the sheer volume of departures made it almost as painful. Five of the top six tight ends in average ADP will enter the week at least questionable, and Greg Olsen is set to miss at least six weeks because of a broken foot. At receiver, both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are questionable for Week 3 while Corey Coleman is set to miss at least a month and a half with another broken hand. Running back did not escape the carnage, either, with Rob Kelley and Jordan Howard questionable with a rib and shoulder injury respectively, while Sam Bradford sat out Week 2 and may have to miss more time with a knee injury, although the Vikings are hopeful he will be good to go this week. All of that means the competition on the wire and in FAAB bidding might be a bit more competitive this week, especially at tight end.  

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are no longer must-owns, recommended adds are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list consists of players who are worthy of a roster spot if possible, and deep cuts are players owned in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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The Drop List
QB: Eli Manning
Bilal Powell, LeGarrette Blount
Corey Coleman, Mike Wallace
Greg Olsen

Manning is not getting any help from his offensive line or pass catchers, but he also deserves blame for the Giants’ slow start. Unfortunately for Manning, things do not get any easier, with the Eagles, Bucs, Chargers, Broncos, and Seahawks next up on the schedule before the bye. Unless something changes, he will not be usable in any of those matchups. The running back cuts are risky, but it does not look like either of these guys is going to be worthy of a start in the near future. Powell is in what now looks like a three-way timeshare for the worst offense in the league while Blount played behind Wendell Smallwood in Week 2. Perhaps the Jets come to their senses or Blount starts routinely falling into the end zone, but neither is a must-hold if something enticing is sitting out on the wire. Coleman would have been Kenny Britt before the injury, but Britt has to be held to see if he can do anything with the young receiver out – the safe bet is on no. Teams with an open IR spot should hold onto Coleman, but he was at best a WR3 when healthy and could miss multiple months. Olsen is a tougher case because he has been a high-end option at a thin and getting thinner position, but he struggled down the stretch last year, did not open this season strong, and is now going to miss at least six weeks.

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Carson Palmer owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 QB if available
1. Jay Cutler
2. Joe Flacco

Running Backs
Buck Allen owned in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 RB if available
1. Chris Carson
2. Darren Sproles
3. Chris Johnson
4. Chris Thompson
5. Samaje Perine
6. Wendell Smallwood
7. Alvin Kamara
8. Alex Collins
9. D’Onta Foreman

Wide Receivers
1. Danny Amendola
2. J.J. Nelson
3. Rashard Higgins
4. Jermaine Kearse
5. Kendall Wright
6. Marqise Lee
7. Allen Hurns
8. Mohamed Sanu
9. Jaron Brown
10. Devin Funchess

Tight Ends
1. Cameron Brate
2. Ben Watson
3. Jared Cook
4. Ed Dickson
5. Evan Engram
6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
7. Zach Miller

Defense/Special Teams
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Looking Ahead: Atlanta Falcons

1. Graham Gano
2. Dustin Hopkins
3. Blair Walsh
Looking Ahead: Phil Dawson

Honorable Mention: Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues
As can be seen below, there is not much available under 50 percent ownership, but Palmer is still available in 40 percent of leagues – and perhaps more after Tuesday considering his showing against the Colts – and has an exceptional matchup against a banged-up Cowboys secondary which just gave up four touchdowns to Trevor Siemian. “Great matchup” could have been said about each of Palmer’s first two opponents as well, but returning home should do him and the offense some good. In a bad week for streamers, he is the best relatively low-owned option.

1. Jay Cutler, Dolphins – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Sam Bradford questionable, it is really ugly under 50 percent ownership on the wire. Cutler looks like the best option in a good matchup against the Jets, but he has serious volume concerns in a game which could get out of hand quickly. Hopefully he has a hand in putting the game out of reach with some big plays to DeVante Parker, but he is at best a dart throw. The best option is probably already on your roster.  

2. Joe Flacco, Ravens – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
The fact Flacco is on this list in a London game against the Jaguars shows how little there is out there. A case could also be made for Trevor Siemian on the road against the Bills, but both feel like point chasing after each struggled to produce consistently last season. DeShone Kizer is also an option for the more adventurous against the Colts. Again, the best option this week is probably already on your roster.

Watch List: Sam Bradford would be No. 1 on this list if he was playing, but the early-week optimism seems more hopeful than assured, and Mike Zimmer suggesting six games or more as a possibility is a major concern. It is a massive disappointment considering the game Bradford had in the opener…For the more adventurous, DeShone Kizer is worth a look this week against the Colts, which looks like it may be a pass-funnel defense this season…Jared Goff unsurprisingly took a step back against Washington, and the 49ers have quietly been playing okay defense…Tyrod Taylor always has a chance because of his running ability, but it is impossible to feel confident using him against the Broncos after the Panthers shut the Bills’ offense down on Sunday…Trevor Siemian had a big day against a banged-up secondary, throwing for four touchdowns against the Cowboys, but he had a few of those performances last year before returning back to his low-end QB2 comfort zone. He needs to string together a couple more. 

1. Chris Carson, Seahawks – Owned in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues
I wrote last week I may regret having Carson third behind Tarik Cohen and Buck Allen, and while those two players did well and look like they will be good adds, Carson looks like a higher-upside option after essentially taking the No. 1 job in Seattle with a strong performance against the 49ers – he played 51 snaps to just 16 for Thomas Rawls, taking more and more of the work as the game went along. Luckily, we get a second bite at the apple this week. Carson should be owned everywhere.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Darren Sproles, Eagles – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
With the traditional running game helmed by LeGarrette Blount not producing results, the Eagles have apparently decided to just ride Darren Sproles, who played 50-of-72 snaps and led the team with 10 carries against the Chiefs. Perhaps that offense is not sustainable, but Sproles remains the safest option in Philly’s backfield and now looks like he could push for 12-15 touches each week. That makes him FLEX worthy even in standard formats.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Chris Johnson, Cardinals – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
There is an argument to be made for Johnson ahead of Sproles after he seemingly took over the Cardinals’ lead role against the Colts, but it is likely Kerwynn Williams stays involved and Andre Ellington is clearly going to be the passing-down back of choice. That limit’s Johnson’s upside, and Arizona’s rushing attack may not be very good. He is still worth a speculative add in most leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Chris Thompson, Redskins – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Thompson has looked great through two weeks, producing huge plays and scoring three touchdowns. Perhaps that has earned him a bigger role, but it is important to consider he has just 13 touches through two weeks. Assuming Rob Kelley is able to play this week, which is how it looks, it is unlikely that total increases dramatically, meaning he will have to continue creating big plays to return fantasy value. He is worth a speculative add in case his role increases, but Thompson is likely to be overvalued on the wire.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Samaje Perine, Redskins – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
Coach Jay Gruden said Rob Kelley’s rib injury is not a concern, but coaches have been known to lie. He is worth a speculative add in all leagues if the roster spot is open, and he is a must-own in deeper formats on the off-chance Kelley is forced to miss the matchup with the Raiders.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

6. Wendell Smallwood, Eagles – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Sproles was the clear lead back, but Smallwood started the game and played eight more snaps than LeGarrette Blount. If the Eagles decide to ride the running game more moving forward, Smallwood could end up being the recipient.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

7. Alvin Kamara, Saints – Owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kamara had a drop, pulled up on what should have been a long catch, and was only able to haul in three of his seven targets against the Patriots, but one of those was a great catch on the sideline for a 38-yard gain. More importantly, he saw seven targets and now has 13 through two weeks. He needs to be owned in PPR formats and has value in deep standard leagues as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

8. Alex Collins, Ravens – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
It looks like Terrance West’s injury is not a major one, but Collins would have a role in the Ravens’ timeshare this week against the Jaguars if West sits. Even if he does not, his 7-for-42 performance Week 2 may have earned him a few more looks.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

9. D’Onta Foreman, Texans – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is always surprising when a coach keeps their word, but that is exactly what Bill O’Brien did this week, giving Foreman 12 carries to the 18 Lamar Miller saw against the Bengals. Houston probably will not be able to ride the running game as hard in New England this week, but the rookie should see carries in better game scripts, giving him standalone value in deep leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Jamaal Charles had a good game against the Cowboys, but it remains difficult to see him returning start-worthy fantasy value on 10 touches a game. He is just a handcuff, and it is not guaranteed the Broncos give him more work even if something happened to C.J. Anderson…Gio Bernard, C.J. Prosise, Andre Ellington, and Shane Vereen have value in PPR formats, but they are low-ceiling options in standard leagues...Rex Burkhead once again started strong in Week 2, but an injury to his ribs knocked him out of the game. At less than full health, it is tough to call him a must-own in a muddled backfield…Marlon Mack is the third back on a bad offense…Mike Tolbert came back to earth after finding the end zone in Week 1. He will probably score the odd touchdown this year, but they will be difficult to predict…Jeremy Hill keeps getting the starts – hopefully that will change with the new coordinator – but he is not good enough to make anything happen in limited work…DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, who had a great game on Sunday, would likely share time even if something happened to Marshawn Lynch. That means neither carries that much fantasy value.

Deep Cuts: Orleans Darkwa has out-performed Paul Perkins two weeks in a row. He has to get a chance at some point…Darren McFadden was once again inactive Week 2, so Alfred Morris remains the handcuff…Getting involved in an RBBC for the worst offense in the league does not sound like a great idea, but Elijah McGuire did only play a handful of snaps fewer than Bilal Powell in Week 2…Chris Ivory is the No. 2 in an extremely run-heavy attack. That should get him work every week, and he has handcuff upside if something were to happen to Leonard FournetteLatavius Murray is probably still the handcuff for Dalvin Cook, but Jerick McKinnon is the only other back getting snaps right now.

1. Danny Amendola, Patriots – Owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
Operating under the assumption Amendola will return this week, he clearly has the most upside of anyone in this group including J.J. Nelson, and his injury likelihood is mitigated somewhat by the uncertainty surrounding John Brown’s return. He may not play many games, but he will be a starter when active this season.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. J.J. Nelson, Cardinals – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite a nice 5/43/1 line, Nelson only played 30 snaps in Week 1 with many of those coming in garbage time, so it was not guaranteed he would take over when John Brown went down with another injury. He was always the likely beneficiary, however, and he responded with five catches for 120 yards and a score against the Colts. Nelson now has a touchdown in all but one of his last seven games dating back to last season and has averaged 65 receiving yards a game over that span. With Brown set to miss this week and likely more, Nelson is a must-own in all leagues and will be an upside WR3 against a banged-up Cowboys secondary.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Rashard Higgins, Browns – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Promoted off the practice squad on Saturday, Higgins made his presence felt quickly, snagging 7-of-11 targets for 95 yards against a tough Ravens defense. Normally this could be dismissed as a fluke, but Corey Coleman left Sunday’s game with a broken hand which could keep him on the shelf the next two months, and Kenny Britt appears to be playing himself off the roster, loafing around in a Browns uniform the same way Dwayne Bowe did his final season in the league in 2015. Perhaps Britt kicks it into gear with Coleman out or someone else – Ricardo Louis? Kasen Williams? – steps up, but Higgins looks like the best bet. He very well may be drop next week, but he needs to be added in all leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

4. Jermaine Kearse, Jets – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kearse is currently the WR5 with 11 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns through two games. What a time to be alive. That pace is not going to continue, but Kearse looks destined for the role which we thought would make Robby Anderson a respectable FLEX play. It does not hurt the Jets have been slightly more pass-heavy than expected early on and should be in negative game scripts all season.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Kendall Wright, Bears – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
Chicago actually gave Wright the targets on Sunday, and he produced with seven catches for 69 yards. The upside is not really there in standard leagues to be anything more than a FLEX play and it is possible Markus Wheaton steals more work away than Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy once he returns. Even so, Wright is worth a look in most leagues and could be a starter during the byes.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

6. Marqise Lee, Jaguars – Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
7. Allen Hurns, Jaguars – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
Both Lee and Hurns had nice games with the Jaguars forced to let Blake Bortles throw in garbage time, but it remains difficult to see a ton of upside for either player in an offense which wants to run as much as possible and has the defense to stay on script most weeks. Despite Hurns' touchdown, Lee saw 12 targets and should be the more reliable play.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

8. Mohamed Sanu, Falcons – Owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is hard to get excited about Sanu, who proved himself to be a low-ceiling player even in the Falcons’ prolific offense last season, but he does have 15 targets already through two games. That volume alone makes him valuable in PPR formats and deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

9. Jaron Brown, Cardinals – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
While Nelson is the add with John Brown sidelined, Jaron did see 11 targets against the Colts and has now played at least 50 snaps each of the first two weeks. With Dallas next up on the schedule, Brown could have a surprisingly big game. He is worth a look in deep leagues and DFS tournaments.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

10. Devin Funchess, Panthers – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Funchess has flubbed too many chances to mention, but he did go for 68 yards on seven targets against Buffalo. With Greg Olsen out, the Panthers will have to throw to someone other than Kelvin Benjamin and Christian McCaffrey, and there is a good chance that someone is Funchess. He is worth a speculative look in deep leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: With Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson seemingly 2a and 2b in a passing attack which is simply not working right now, it is tough to call either a must own. Both are bench stashes if possible…With Kearse clearly in the lead spot, there is not much appeal to either Robby Anderson or Jeremy KerleyKenny Stills got his season started with a touchdown, but he was not fantasy-viable most of last season while scoring nine…I thought Zay Jones was going to be good early in the season. I was wrong…It is troublesome Cole Beasley has just seven catches for 65 yards in two games where Dak Prescott threw 89 passes…While it is ludicrous an offense struggling as much as the Bengals would bench a talented rookie for a tough fumble, it still happened. It is tough to see much redraft value for John Ross this year…Behind Ryan Grant and dealing with another injury, Josh Doctson does not need to be owned in most redraft leagues…Torrey Smith has 11 targets in two games for a pass-happy offense. He may return some value in deeper leagues…With Brandon Marshall struggling, perhaps Sterling Shepard takes over as the No. 2 when Odell Beckham returns to full health, likely this week.

Deep Cuts: He has a knee injury of his own, but Phillip Dorsett should see some targets with New England banged up at receiver. He caught three passes for 68 yards against the Saints…Ryan Grant remains the No. 3 receiver ahead of Josh Doctson and now has a game-winning touchdown to his name…With Tyler Boyd on the outs, Alex Erickson looks like the slot receiver of choice in Cincinnati…Brandon Coleman’s time in the sun likely will end when Willie Snead returns next week, but he does have nine targets through two games…It is tough to get excited about a Texans pass catcher not named DeAndre Hopkins right now, but Will Fuller returned to practice Monday and could get back on the field in the next couple weeks…Randall Cobb does not look likely to miss any time and Jordy Nelson’s injury appears minor as well, but Geronimo Allison is still a name to know in deep leagues in case either suffers a setback…There is not much to like in the Chicago passing game, but Markus Wheaton should be back soon. Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy will get the targets for now…While Higgins is the add, it is certainly possible Ricardo Louis, Sammie Coates, or Kasen Williams emerges…Mike Williams returned to practice Friday and appears likely to return soon…Taywan Taylor is too good to keep on the bench forever. Perhaps he gets some targets this week with Corey Davis dealing with another hamstring injury.

1. Cameron Brate, Bucs – Owned in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
The injury situation around the league means there could be a big need for tight ends on the wire. Luckily, there are a lot of options available. Even after a disappointing opener – one which perhaps can be explained away by the Bucs treating it essentially like a preseason game in the second half -- Brate is one of the more solid options available, although a trip to Minnesota is not terribly exciting. All of that said, it will be time to cut bait if O.J. Howard once again out-snaps him.

2. Ben Watson, Ravens – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
As the owner of several Watson shares as late-round picks in best-ball leagues, his usage Week 1 – one target and no catches – was a big concern. Those were put to bed this week, however, with Watson pacing the team with eight catches on eight targets for 91 yards. He also out-snapped Maxx Williams and blocker Nick Boyle. After Dennis Pitta saw 121 targets in this offense last year, there is room for a high-volume tight end, and it looks like Watson will be the first up in that role. Assuming he is able to average more than the 8.5 yards a catch and score more than the two touchdowns Pitta managed last year, that should result in fairly consistent fantasy returns.

3. Jared Cook, Raiders – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Cook busted against the Jets, catching just four passes for 25 yards, but he actually tied for the team lead with six targets and now has 11 through two games despite Derek Carr throwing just 60 passes over that span. That workload in this offense should eventually lead to results, and Cook is in a great spot this week against a Washington defense which has given up at least 100 yards to tight ends each of the first two games.

4. Ed Dickson, Panthers – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Even with Greg Olsen out for a while, Dickson and his shaky hands does not profile as a consistent fantasy option on a team which was struggling to get Olsen the ball before his injury. That said, he has to be in consideration this week with the Saints’ pathetic defense coming to town. Dickson is at least athletic and has put together a fantasy-worthy role in the past, posting a 54/528/5 line with the Ravens in 2011. It is certainly possible he flops, but he is worth the risk against New Orleans.

5. Evan Engram, Giants – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Engram is tough to value because he is clearly a talent who has been surprisingly involved early as a rookie, but he also plays in a broken passing game which will face the Eagles, Bucs, Chargers, Broncos, and Seahawks in the next five weeks before heading into the bye. Picking him over Cook or Dickson is a bet on talent over matchup, but it may end up being the correct decision.

6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jets – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
Investing in the Jets' passing game may not sound like an appetizing option, but the Jets have been surprisingly pass-heavy early in the season and do not have much in the way of talent. Following a solid offseason, Seferian-Jenkins looks like one of if not the best weapon the Jets have through the air, and he should be immediately involved in a great matchup at home against the Dolphins, who gave up 101 yards and a touchdown to Chargers tight ends in their season opener. ASJ is a risk, but desperate owners could do worse.

7. Zach Miller, Bears – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Staying away from this passing “attack” may be the play right now, especially with the Steelers coming to town, but Miller tied for second on the team with nine targets in Week 2 and now has 15 through two weeks. With basically nothing at receiver outside of Kendall Wright, the Bears have to target someone, and Miller should be one of those guys when healthy. He is a better bet in PPR leagues, but Miller is worth a look in deeper standard formats as well.

Watch List: Everything suggests Rob Gronkowski’s groin injury is minor and he will play this week. If that ends up not being true, Dwayne Allen will be worth a look in every league with Jacob Hollister an interesting name in deeper formats…Jordan Reed was able to return to the game and his coach said his injury is minor, suggesting he will play this week. If not, Vernon Davis would be the No. 1 option…The Broncos did give up a big game to Jason Witten, but they also shut down the Chargers’ tight ends in Week 1. After the Bills struggled mightily against a real defense in Week 2, Charles Clay is tough to trust this week…Luke Willson or Tyler Kroft could get the start for the Seahawks or Bengals this week, but neither player is exciting and neither passing game is working well enough to make them realistic fantasy options…I am still treating Brate as the tight end to own, but O.J. Howard could change my mind if he out-snaps the veteran again this week. That said, the snap total probably can be explained away by game script…Antonio Gates got the touchdown, but he now has a total of 28 yards through two games. He is as touchdown-or-bust as they come, and it does not help that Hunter Henry broke out…Jesse James and Julius Thomas are seemingly in the same boat as Gates. If they get a touchdown, great. If not, they are probably not going to score more than three or four points…Ryan Griffin will probably get the start with C.J. Fiedorowicz out, but Stephen Anderson has more passing-game upside among the Texans’ backups.


1. Green Bay Packers – Owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
Green Bay had a tough game against the Falcons in Atlanta, but their “test” this week at home against the Bengals will not be anywhere near the same level. Even with a new coordinator, the Bengals have serious issues on offense, most notably the line.

2. Philadelphia Eagles – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Eagles will be a defense to target in good matchups all season because they can get pressure and force turnovers. The second part of that was not going to happen much against Alex Smith, but they should have a much better chance against Eli Manning and the Giants’ offensive line.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hung out to dry by Blake Bortles, the defense eventually succumbed to Derrick Henry in Week 2, but they should have better luck against a lackluster Ravens attack in London.  

Looking Ahead: Losing Vic Beasley is a concern, but getting the Bills at home is too good a spot to pass up for a Falcons defense which is playing well.

Graham Gano, Panthers – Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
Gano already has six attempts on the season, and a matchup with the Saints is always one to target.

2. Dustin Hopkins, Redskins – Owned in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hopkins attempted a league-leading 42 field goals last season, and he already has four under his belt this year. He should add to that total in what should be a high-scoring contest with the Raiders.

3. Blair Walsh, Seahawks – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
He did miss an extra point Sunday, but Walsh has attempted five field goals through two games with the offense scuffling.

Looking Ahead: Phil Dawson has a home date with the 49ers in Week 4. 

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.