Upgrade your fantasy football team heading into the rest of the season by taking a long look at these top 10 waiver wire week 3 pickups including options at each of the key fantasy football positions.
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Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (21) is one of the top names look for on the waiver wire week 3. Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
After two weeks of the fantasy football season, most teams have had to deal with a setback of some kind. Whether you relied on Keenan Allen or thought RG3 was in for a bounce-back season, everyone is rushing to the waiver wire week 3 looking for help to patch up their roster whether due to disappointment or injury.
Week 2 was an especially brutal injury week with Arian Foster, Rashad Jennings, Ameer Abdullah, Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart, and Thomas Rawls all leaving their games early due to injury. Danny Woodhead was lost for the year, Brandon Marshall owners got a scare, and Donte Moncrief’s breakout season may take a detour after a shoulder injury.
Speaking of shoulder injuries, the Browns and Patriots both lost their QB’s to shoulder injuries this week. Both teams were already on their backup, so Cleveland and New England will go with their third-string starter in their games against the Dolphins and Texans respectively.
With all the turnover throughout the NFL, almost every fantasy player’s value fluctuates from week to week. To help you adjust to the ever-changing landscape, every Tuesday you can find my top 10 waiver wire pickups right here on FanSided.
Each week, I’ll make sure to include players at each of the main fantasy football positions–quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, and team defense. The players are listed in the general order that I would target them, but be sure to take into account your league’s roster requirements and your team’s strength and weaknesses.
All players listed are available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues when the list is posted. I’ve included each player’s ownership percentage at the top of their page. If you’re in deeper leagues or are looking for more options, check out the final slide of this post where I’ve listed some extra other options from the waiver wire week 3.
If you have any specific questions about your team, you can feel free to leave them in the comment section at the bottom of the page. To catch all our coverage, drop a bookmark on our fantasy football hub and follow us on Twitter @FansidedFantasy. I do my best to answer all questions to our Twitter feed, and you’ll even get a chance for your tweets to appear in one of our future posts.
Let’s get started with today’s look at the top ten waiver wire week 3 pickups by checking out the top player to target this week.
Sep 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) runs with the ball as he is tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the first quarter of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrell Williams-WR-San Diego Chargers (43.4%)
All preseason, I’ve been in on Tyrell Williams dating all the way back to when I had him as a deep sleeper in my potential fantasy breakout WRs. He has also been a regular in my pickups pieces, but will probably be making his last appearance in my waiver wire week 3. He’ll probably be too owned moving forward, but has been one of the most productive fantasy football pickups.
Williams entered the season expected to step into the starting role in three-receiver sets along with Travis Benjamin and Keenan Allen. However, with Keenan Allen’s season-ending injury, Wiliams has been pressed into a much larger role. Allen joined Stevie Johnson on the injured reserve and was followed by Danny Woodhead in Week 2. With all those options on the shelf, there are plenty of targets available for Williams to make a really impact.
He enters Week 3 as the clear starter across from Benjamin and a huge part of the Chargers pass-heavy attack. In Week 2, he flashed his impressive upside with 61 yards and a touchdown on his three catches. He looked explosive on every touch highlighted by a 44-yard catch-and-run for his touchdown. He tied with Travis Benjamin for the team lead in targets which should give him the opportunity to continue to find success.
If there’s any way to get Williams, make him your top waiver wire target from the waiver wire week 3. The Chargers have a great schedule coming up with the Colts, Saints, and Raiders the next three weeks.
September 18, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes the football against Oakland Raiders defensive end Jihad Ward (95) during the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Ryan-QB-Atlanta Falcons (48.0%)
Ryan has gotten off to a fast start for the Falcons and has turned back the clock to when he was a regular top-10 quarterback. Ryan has been putting up good numbers this year despite getting only limited contributions from All-Pro Julio Jones. Despite Jones’ multiple injuries, he continues to play and create mismatches for Atlanta who has been better at converting in the red zone than they were last year.
In week 2, Ryan lit up the Raiders for 396 yards and three touchdowns. He threw a pair of scores against the Bucs in Week 1 too while piling up 334 yards. He has started with a pair of great matchups against the Bucs and Raiders secondaries who have both struggled, but he has also been playing very well.
The good matchups continue for Ryan this week as he and the Falcons head to New Orleans. The Saints and Falcons should pile up the points in the Superdome making Matty Ice a great pickup if you need QB help this week. He should be a top-10 option this week before matchups get tougher and he faces the Panthers, Broncos, and Seahawks in Weeks 4-6.
Sep 18, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Fozzy Whittaker (43) runs as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock (26) defends in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Fozzy Whittaker-RB-Carolina Panthers(0.8%)
Whittaker has been known in fantasy football leagues mainly as a reason for naming your team “Waka waka waka.” However, he turned that around with a big game after stepping in for the injured Jonathan Stewart on Sunday. Whittaker ended up one of the top running backs of the week despite working against a 49ers defense that shut down Todd Gurley in Week 1.
On his 16 carries Whittaker totaled exactly 100 rushing yards and tacked on 31 more yards on three receptions. While Whittaker’s yardage totals were great, he had the same problem that ultimately limits the value of any Panthers running back.
Whittaker failed to get into the end zone despite his heavy workload since Cam Newton takes any short yardage goal line work. Newton’s rushing touchdowns leave few goal line opportunities for Stewart or Whittaker, but the opportunity for Whittaker to produce still makes him a solid pickup from the waiver wire week 3.
On Monday, Coach Ron Rivera said that Stewart will miss “at least a week or two.” Although he may share time with Cameron Artis-Payne and Michale Tolbert, Whittaker is one of the top running backs to target this week.
Sep 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (21) runs for a short gain after a missed tackle by Tennessee Titans linebacker Sean Spence (55) during the firs thalf at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jerick McKinnon-RB-Minnesota Vikings (24.1%)
Another running back who could get expanded playing time going forward is Vikings’ third-year back Jerick McKinnon. I gave Whittaker a slight advantage over McKinnon because there’s less clarity on exactly how much of a chance McKinnon will get.
McKinnon will get the lion’s share of the workload while Adrian Peterson is sidelined, but that could be less than a week or extend out to a few games. When Peterson went down on Sunday Night Football, everyone feared his season was over, but today the Vikings announced that he avoided major injury. Peterson has a torn meniscus which officially has him “out indefinitely,” but coach Mike Zimmer wouldn’t rule him out for Week 3.
Peterson will most likely be out this week against the Panthers which will make McKinnon an intriguing option on the waiver wire Week 3. McKinnon had a strong preseason, and he has huge upside if he can lay claim to the every-down back job. He may initially have to share carries with veteran Matt Asiata who is best used as a short-yardage and goalline back.
McKinnon will be a high-risk flex option this week in a tough matchup against the Panthers, but if he has a good game he’ll be usable in upcoming matchups against the Giants, Texans, Eagles, and Bears. Depending on how much of a chance he’s lined up for, McKinnon could be worthless or one of the most important pickups of the season. I’d advise against playing him this week unless you’re totally desperate, but he should be owned in all formats.
Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (15) is tackled by Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) after a reception for a first down in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Phillip Dorsett-WR-Indianapolis Colts (40.4%)
While Whittaker and McKinnon are running backs with potential to step into a bigger role, the wide receiver equivalent of that is Phillip Dorsett of the Colts. Dorsett had a fairly unspectacular Week 2 catching just one pass for 30 yards while drawing five targets from Andrew Luck.
The reason Dorsett may be in line for even more work than that going forward is the injuries sustained by Donte Moncrief. Moncrief took a punishing hit from Broncos’ safety T.J. Ward and went down on his shoulder. Moncrief expected to get an MRI on his shoulder on Monday, but the team has yet to make any announcement about his status going forward.
Andrew Luck has made the Colts’ passing offense a very productive one for fantasy football again despite the team’s 0-2 start. They’ll look to bounce back and get their first win of the season as they host the Chargers on Sunday. The way the Chargers and the Colts’ defense have looked the first two weeks, there should be plenty of fantasy points for the taking, and if Dorsett is a starting receiver he’ll be a great start.
Dorsett would be a must-play option if he’s the second receiver for Andrew Luck, so grab him off the waiver wire Week 3 if he’s available in your league. I would take Williams over him if both are available, but Dorsett is the clear second option that is widely available.
Jun 14, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (88) catches a pass during the first day of minicamp sessions at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Pitta-TE-Baltimore Ravens (10.5%)
One of the most surprising stories on the waiver wire week 3 is the comeback story of Ravens’ tight end Dennis Pitta. Pitta was on the verge of fantasy football relevancy in 2012, but a series of serious hip injuries has forced him to miss almost three full seasons. His last full season was back in 2012, but he has quickly made up for lost time and grown into a key part in the Ravens offense again.
Pitta has always had a strong rapport with Joe Flacco and showed it off in Week 2 as he led the team in targets with 12 passes thrown his way as Baltimore came back against the Browns. He had as many passes thrown his way as the team’s top two receivers combined (Mike Wallace and Steve Smith). Pitta finished as a PPR monster with nine catches for 102 yards against the Browns. He didn’t get into the end zone, and he’s still in search of his first touchdown of the season.
If you’re looking for a tight end on the waiver wire week 3, Pitta is the top option to try and pick up in most formats. He is such a huge factor in the Ravens attack that he is a starter at the position even though he was a non-factor just a few weeks ago.
Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) catches a touchdown pass against Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett (42) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Rudolph-TE-Minnesota Vikings (32.2%)
Another tight end to check out on the waiver wire week 3 is Vikings’ TE Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph has had plenty of potential since he was drafted in the second round out of Notre Dame in 2011, but injury and under-usage has kept him on the fantasy fringes.
New Vikings’ quarterback Sam Bradford could be the best a great fit for Rudolph since he made Zach Ertz a good fantasy option down the stretch last season. In his Vikings’ debut, Bradford looked to Rudolph often throwing eight passes his way. He was second on the team behind Stefon Diggs in targets, but only hauled in three catches for 31 yards. In good news for his owners, though, one of those three catches ended up as a touchdown.
Rudolph is still a fringe option in standard-sized leagues since he’ll need to be more efficient to be a weekly starter. He doesn’t have quite as high a ceiling as Dennis Pitta, but he could grow as a red zone target especially with Adrian Peterson on the sideline for the next few weeks.
Sep 1, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Dwayne Washington (36) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Dwayne Washington-RB-Detroit Lions (0.3%)
While it may not get the buzz that McKinnon and Whittaker get as they step into bigger roles this week, don’t overlook the Lions backfield situation which also suffered a loss due to injury this week. Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah suffered a sprained foot in the Lions loss to Tennessee and things are starting to look like he may be out for an extended period of time.
While Abdullah is out, the Lions will split duties between Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington. Since Riddick has already been playing well and grabbing lots of fantasy attention, he’s owned in too many leagues to be in my wavier wire pickups this week. If he’s available, he would be a better pick than Washington, but don’t miss the rookie running back who will also get more work with Abdullah out.
Washington was the 236th pick in last year’s draft after starring at Washington University. He had a monster finish to the preseason to first leap into the fantasy football sleeper picture totaling 104 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the preseason including a 58-yard run to daylight against the Bills.
In his regular season action, Washington had 31 yards on his four carries against the Titans. He could get double-digit carries against the Packers this week if Abdullah is out, and his role as the team’s short-yardage specialist gives him the inside track for any rushing TDs to be had. He’s still a flier option even with Detroit’s current situation, but he’s worth adding in almost all formats if Abdullah is out for an extended period of time.
Sep 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) is sacked by Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Miami Dolphins D/ST (5.8%)
The Dolphins defense has been so-so in the first two weeks of the season, but they get a spot in my waiver wire week 3 based on their great matchup in Week 3. Miami comes home for the first time this season as they welcome in the Browns. Cleveland will be starting their third quarterback in as many weeks, and they should be a nice matchup in Miami’s home opener.
Last week, the Dolphins defense looked really bad in the first half against Jimmy Garoppolo, but they rebounded in the second half allowing just ten points to the Patriots in the second half. They ended up with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble, but they still fell short in their comeback attempt in New England. The loss dropped them to 0-2 after they held the Seahawks to just 12 points while almost getting a win in Seattle.
Miami’s defense has been up and down, but they should be set up for success as they take on Cleveland. The Browns will be forced to go with Cody Kessler who they drafted in the third round last year. Just a few days ago, Adam Schefter reported that Kessler was “not close to being ready to play.” Well, now he has to start, and that makes the Dolphins defense the one to go after on the waiver wire week 3.
Sep 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Kenyan Drake-RB-Miami Dolphins (1.5%)
To the surprise of no one, Arian Foster didn’t last long as the workhorse running back in Miami. He only lasted three carries in Week 2 against the Patriots before leaving with a groin injury. Foster is officially day-to-day, but it is looking likely that he’ll miss at least one game.
With Foster out, the Dolphins are likely to go with a running-back-by committee led by Jay Ajayi. However, Ajayi has been extremely underwhelming all year. He only had 14 yards on his five carries against the Patriots although he did add 31 yards on his four catches. Ajayi was actually a healthy inactive in Week 1 after a rough preseason. As a result of Foster’s injury and Ajayi’s struggles, there could be a chance for Kenyan Drake to emerge as a fantasy option.
Drake was the Dolphins third-round pick in last year’s draft out of Alabama, and he got his first touches in the NFL this week after Foster left injured. Drake racked up 12 yards on his two carries and caught two catches for six more yards and a touchdown. He has huge upside, and he’s a good speculative pickup although he’ll be a high-risk play this week even if Foster is eventually ruled out.
Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) makes a reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at FedEx Field. The Dallas Cowboys won 27 – 23. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Other Waiver Wire Week 3 targets
These options are also available in over 50% of ESPN and make good pickups as well. They’re listed in the general order that I would target them if the top 10 aren’t available in your league.
QB: Joe Flacco-Baltimore Ravens, Sam Bradford-Minnesota Vikings, Ryan Fitzpatrick-New York Jets, Trevor Siemian-Denver Broncos, Carson Wentz-Philadelphia Eagles
RB: Shane Vereen-RB-New York Giants, Matt Asiata-Minnesota Vikings, DeAndre Washington-RB-Oakland Raiders, Jalen Richard-RB-Oakland Raiders
WR: Quincy Enunwa-WR-New York Jets, Cole Beasley-WR-Dallas Cowboys, Jamison Crowder-WR-Washington,Kenny Britt-Los Angeles Rams, Tyler Boyd-Cincinnati Bengals, Sammie Coates-Pittsburgh Steelers, Mohamed Sanu-Atlanta Falcons, Adam Humphries-Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Salas-Buffalo Bills
TE: Jesse James-Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacob Tamme-Atlanta Falcons, Clive Walford-Oakland Raiders, Vance McDonald-San Francisco 49ers