Fantasy Football Week 3 presents some interesting opportunities thanks to a big week of injuries in Week 2. The waiver wire is full of both investments and players that will pay immediate dividends.
Keep in mind a few things with these waiver wire recommendations. Not all of these guys are players I’d recommend starting in your lineup this week or even next week. The idea here is to grab a player now in the early weeks of the fantasy season that you can hold on your bench and use when you are starters have bye weeks or when you have injury concerns.
These recommendations are based on non-PPR, 10 team leagues. I tried to stick with the average because you will have different priorities in different scoring systems. Most of these guys will be available in an 8-10 team league while you may have to dig a little deeper in 12-up team fantasy football leagues.
Finally, I try not to repeat waiver wire pickups week to week so the obvious choices like Cam Newton and Ryan Fitzpatrick were in last week’s blog. Unfortunately that takes a lot of potential quarterbacks and running backs off the table this week. On the bright side, if you need depth or help at wide receiver this is certainly your week to play the wire.
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans – Unlike any other quarterback on this listHasselbeck usually winds up on these waiver wire lists because he generally comes into the season undervalued and puts up consistent numbers throughout the season. Hasselbeck has a beast in Kenny Britt at wide receiver and these guys look like they have some tremendous chemistry in Tennessee. Whether he is back to form or not, defenses will still game plan for the run which should give the Titans some nice opportunities in the air. I like him so much that I just picked him up to play during Matthew Stafford’s bye week.
Jon Kitna, Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo reportedly not only has injured ribs but he also has a punctured lung. He is hoping to go next week but I doubt it. Even if he does, he is one or two good hits from missing a handful of games. Enter Jon Kitna. Kitna came in last season for Romo and I grabbed him off of waivers. He was fantastic and I have no reason to think he will do anything less if he is given a handful of games to start for the team. Unfortunately he may not have Miles Austin but if Dez Bryant goes, Kitna owners will be fine. I would highly suggest monitoring Romo’s status during the week and picking up Kitna if Romo sits.
Vince Young, Philadelphia Eagles – If you are absolutely desperate at quarterback, you may have a one week wonder here for Week 3. Michael Vick suffered a concussion Sunday night and he is expected to miss this week. The Philadelphia Eagles will be playing a New York Giants team that has already been decimated by injuries on defense. Young is looking like the likely starter but he also is an injury question. Even if he doesn’t start this week, there is no way that Vick stays healthy behind the current Eagles offensive line. Whether he plays this week or not, he could be a nice weapon for you in the later weeks if Vick misses more games.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs – I am sure you know by now that Jamaal Charles will be out for the rest of the season. The Chiefs are likely to go with a committee so picking up McCluster or Thomas Jones are crapshoots. However, the Chiefs are looking like they will need to be coming from behind most of this season. Jones is not a back you are going to try and get in space with throws, hoping he will pull out some nifty elusive moves ala: Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy. That guy is McCluster. Once again, I wouldn’t start either one of those guys with the current state of the Chiefs offense. However, McCluster probably has the best chance to put up some points if anyone will out of that offense.
Roy Helu, Washington Redskins – Helu was a popular name in the pre season if you follow the fantasy football expert sites when they would discuss sleeper picks. Mike Shanahan is a “hot hand” coach when it comes to running backs and it was expected that he would give Helu carries if Tim Hightower wasn’t getting it done. What happened Sunday? Helu got time and put up 74 yards on 10 carries. I would not be shocked to see him take a 60-40 split of the carries by season’s end. The Redskins have a really good offensive line and an aerial offense which opens up opportunities for backs. I wouldn’t play him this week but I’d grab him and wait until your bye weeks if you are in need of depth at this position.
Derrick Ward, Houston Texans – Okay I am going to break my rule this week about repeating week to week suggestions with Ward. Why, because the situation is entirely different. Arian Foster came back this week and left the game. Reports out of Houston are that he aggravated his injury. This hamstring is going to bother Foster all season unless he sits out for a few weeks to heal up. That leaves Ben Tate and Ward. Ward sat out this past week but he is expected to be back from here on out. Ward is still listed ahead of Tate on the depth chart. I can almost guarantee you that Ward will start one if not up to four Texans games this season. When Ward and Tate played, he got the goalline carries. I’d highly recommend grabbing him and letting the rest of the players in your league argue over Ben Tate.
Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers – Of every wide receiver on this list, LaFell could be the best long term season investment. Look, Cam Newton has had back to back games throwing over 400 yards. He is no fluke! LaFell is the number two receiver on the Panthers and a guy that could give you consistent numbers all season, depending upon Newton of course. Would you take the number two receiver on the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, or Green Bay Packers? You know you would, so why not grab the number two on the Panthers. I know I will.
Eric Decker, Denver Broncos – Quite frankly I should have included him in last week’s blog. But with Brandon Lloyd questionable, I sat on Decker who will probably be this week’s Robert Meachem. The kid went off Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals with Lloyd and Eddie Royal down for two touchdowns and 113 yards. Lloyd will probably be back but Royal is out 2-4 weeks. This is a guy that I would start immediately. The Broncos will have a tough defense this week against the Tennessee Titans but they will get the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers the following weeks, teams that have been shredded in the air. Pick up Decker and play him immediately if you need help at receiver.
David Nelson, Buffalo Bills – The Buffalo Bills are turning into a very exciting football team on offense this season. Nelson is a big part of it and had a great Week 2 with 83 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, he was targeted 13 times which was second to Steve Johnson by 1 target. Johnson is hurting and may miss time which could help or hurt Nelson’s value. Nelson is looking like the player Lee Evans was supposed to be for the Bills. I like him a lot. Don’t be afraid of the Bills. They have some great matchups over the next few weeks for receivers and I’d expect Nelson to take advantage of them.
Jesse Holley, Dallas Cowboys – Dez Bryant is hurting and Miles Austin just re-aggravated his hamstring injury. On top of that, Kevin Olgetree will be the hot pickup for most fantasy owners this week yet it is Holley that got most of the targets when Austin left the game Sunday. Holley’s value really all depends on Bryant and Austin. If both miss time together, Holley could be a sneaky pickup during those Austin and Bryant-less weeks.
Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders – Moore will also be a very hot commodity this week coming off a monster game in Buffalo. Unfortunately he will be sandwiched in an already crowded offense with Heyward-Bay, Ford, Darren McFadden, Kevin Boss, and Michael Bush so I am a bit concerned about his value moving forward. However, it is very hard to ignore those kinds of numbers and the kid was a stud at Tennessee so I would highly recommend investing a spot if you have some room on your bench.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots – The biggest negative about picking up Gronk in the past is that you never know who will get the work between him and Aaron Hernandez. Well guess what? Hernandez got hurt Sunday and Gronkowski will likely be starting at least one week, maybe six for the Patriots. If you watched the recent Bill Belichick special on the NFL Network you would have seen Belichick bellyache about his one dimensional offense. In other words, he knows he needs to shake it up, and that has meant big things for Gronkowski and Hernandez. Even with Hernandez in the lineup he grabbed a touchdown in the opener. Without Hernandez for a full game he had two. Grab him because if you don’t, I will.
Jeff King, Arizona Cardinals – The former Carolina Panthers tight end is doing some nice things under the radar in Arizona. He only has four catches in the last two weeks but two of them have been for touchdowns. Will he do it every week? I don’t know but until he doesn’t, I’d grab him and plug him into your lineup if you need help at tight end.