Waiver Wire Madness: Week 3
September 16, 2014 | Jeff
Injuries piled up in massive quantities in Week 2, meaning there is plenty of fresh meat on fake football waiver wires. We have solid options at all fantasy relevant positions this week, with some potential long-term appeal mixed in as well. Get those waiver priorities and FAAB bucks ready and let’s jump right in…
Kirk Cousins (Owned: 9% Yahoo, 6% ESPN) did a solid job filling in for Robert Griffin III when he left Sunday’s game with a dislocated ankle, going 22 of 33 passing for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Cousins has done an admirable job in the past when thrust into the starting role in Washington, so he could be a very capable fantasy quarterback this season. Cousins draws Philadelphia and the New York Giants in Weeks 3 and 4, so quarterback streamers, 2QB Leaguers, and RGIII owners should all be placing waiver claims on Cousins, as new worthwhile contributors rarely pop up at this position.
Geno Smith (Owned: 9% Yahoo, 6% ESPN) had another decent outing in Week 2, but this time he added a rushing touchdown to his final stat line. Remember, this is a quarterback that tallied six total rushing scores in 2013, so the wheels are certainly there for Geno. He is currently sporting a 1:1 TD:INT ratio, but he is averaging just a hair under 200 yards per game with rushing skills to boot. If you’re in need of a backup or looking ahead towards bye weeks, Geno is probably among the best bets milling around on your waiver wire.
Knile Davis (Owned: 19% Yahoo, 63% ESPN) has the most immediate upside of any available waiver wire back this week, as Jamaal Charles is suffering from a high ankle sprain. Charles’ timetable for return is unknown at this point, but Davis figures to get at least a few starts as a lead back in Andy Reid’s offense. If you own Charles or are in need of an immediate plug-in at running back, Knile is your guy this week. Go break that piggy bank.
Bobby Rainey (Owned: 22% Yahoo, 5% ESPN) is putting fantasy owners in a difficult position. Not only has he filled in well for the injured Doug Martin, but he has excelled to the point that Tampa may elect to keep him as the lead back when Martin is healthy. Rainey is averaging 6.0 yards per carry so far this season and has forced at least a time share when the Bucs backfield is at full strength. Rainey has the most long term appeal for the 2014 season of any of the available waiver backs and could be a big time addition if Martin takes the lower end of the backfield split after his return.
Donald Brown (Owned: 9% Yahoo, 89% ESPN) will attempt to pick up some of the slack left behind now that Ryan Mathews has a sprained MCL and will miss at least a month of game action. Brown was solid in Indianapolis last season, but hasn’t been very involved in San Diego so far in 2014. Now, with Mathews out, Brown will have a shot to soak up some of the early down carries that are left behind. The big issue here is the presence of Danny Woodhead, but I would expect Woody to keep his role as the passing down back and cycle in with Brown on early downs. I wouldn’t get too excited here but if you’re looking to find a flex spot sub as bye weeks roll into town, go ahead and snag Brown.
Khiry Robinson (Owned: 19% Yahoo, 98% ESPN) is now in line for some extra work with Mark Ingram out for a month with a broken hand. Ingram handled 50% (24 of 48) of the Saints rushing attempts this season, so Robinson is likely in line to take a majority of those. It is also important to note that Robinson has more rushing attempts than Pierre Thomas on the season so far, so this shouldn’t be a case where Thomas is simply leaned upon on all three downs with Ingram out. As we saw down the stretch in 2013, New Orleans trusts Robinson and he should be a decent flex option for the next month.
Make sure they are owned: Darren McFadden (36% Yahoo, 99% ESPN), Jonathan Stewart (19% Yahoo, 44% ESPN), Matt Asiata (41% Yahoo, 13% ESPN)
Mohamed Sanu (Owned: 9% Yahoo, 2% ESPN) will be in the picture in Cincinnati with A.J. Green nursing a sprained foot. Sanu threw a 50-yard bomb on Sunday in addition to his 84 yard, one score performance and while we can’t count on his passing stats each week, he certainly will see more work with Green out. If Green continues to sit, keep an eye on Sanu.
James Jones (Owned: 21% Yahoo, 28% ESPN) is not owned in many leagues after his slow Week 1 performance where he played behind both Rod Streater and Denarius Moore at wide receiver in Oakland. Week 2 was a different story for Jones, as he led Oakland receivers in snaps and delivered a nine catch, 112 yard, one touchdown performance. Jones has now scored in both games of the 2014 season and is in the WR3 conversation.
Allen Robinson (Owned: 0% Yahoo, 0% ESPN) is yet another exciting rookie receiver in Jacksonville, and he had himself a nice Week 2 with four catches for 75 yards. Robinson is still playing behind both Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee while Cecil Shorts is out, but Robinson is someone for your watch list as the season progresses.
Brian Quick (Owned: 16% Yahoo, 3% ESPN) is criminally underowned in fantasy leagues but that won’t be the case for long. The St. Louis passing game is far from sexy, but Quick is the undoubted lead dog and is catching plenty of passes so far in 2014. Quick leads Rams receivers in snaps, so he will be heavily targeted in the passing game as St. Louis presumably plays catchup with Sam Bradford out for the year. Quick now has 14 catches for 173 yards through two weeks and is quietly emerging as a decent fantasy option.
Davante Adams (Owned: 1% Yahoo, 1% ESPN) had a nice Week 2 performance of five catches for 50 yards, but Adams playing more snaps than teammate Jarrett Boykin is what was most impressive. As we all know, wide receivers attached to Aaron Rodgers are generally safe bets, and Adams has the skills to excel in Green Bay. If you’ve got some garbage at the end of your bench, go ahead and swipe Adams this week and see how things progress. If he cements himself as the WR3 in Green Bay, we could have a startable fantasy asset on our hands.
Niles Paul (Owned: 5% Yahoo, 1% ESPN) caught eight passes for 99 yards and a score on Sunday as he filled in for the injured Jordan Reed. If you’re looking for an immediate plug-in at tight end, swipe up Niles Paul and slide him right into your lineup. Jordan Reed is considered “week-to-week” at this point, so Paul may not be startable all season long, but he looks good for the moment.
Larry Donnell (Owned: 21% Yahoo, 1% ESPN) is a tight end we discussed last week and he followed up his Week 1 performance with another solid outing of seven catches for 81 yards against Arizona on Sunday. The Giants offense is a bit of a wreck right now, but Donnell is going well so snag him if you are thin at TE or need a plug-in player as bye weeks approach. He could work himself into TE1 territory with a couple more solid stat lines and has the most season-long appeal of any widely available tight ends.
Travis Kelce (Owned: 37% Yahoo, 2% ESPN) is a big time breakout candidate who is still underowned in fantasy leagues. Kelce had a nice Week 2 with four catches for 81 yards but most importantly, his snap count rose from 19 to 32. Hopefully Andy Reid keeps this trend moving in the right direction and gets Kelce more involved with Jamaal Charles out. This is the biggest upside option on the menu this week.