Fantasy plays for week 3 of the NFL season

If you’re searching for a difference-making player to boost your outlook after two weeks, you’re unlikely to find that on the waiver wire this early in the season.

If you feel the need to shift after an 0-2 start, trading is likely the best route to improving your team. And that may be a challenge, because any disappointing players you own aren’t going to bring you the return you may want. But you should always be looking to improve your team, even if you are 2-0 and your roster seems set for now.

Building depth is important, especially with byes starting next week.

RUNNING BACKS

GIOVANI BERNARD, Cincinnati (39.5 percent owned): With Joe Mixon out two weeks or more after a knee procedure, Bernard will be the most popular pickup of the week. He has starting experience and versatility and can easily be plugged in if you lost Mixon. He is especially appealing in point-per-reception formats. Rookie Mark Walton should not cut into his playing time enough to be added in anything more than very deep leagues.

COREY CLEMENT, Philadelphia (22.6 percent): Darren Sproles s dealing with a hamstring injury and the Eagles receiving crew is looking very thin. Plus, with Jay Ajayi‘s knees always a possible issue, Philadelphia cannot overwork him. Clement totaled 85 yards from scrimmage and scored on a 15-yard run in Week 2. He is an explosive dual threat who can receive flex consideration whenever he is pressed into more service.

CHRIS IVORY, Buffalo (3.2 percent): LeSean McCoy is dealing with rib issues, and you should certainly be rostering Ivory as insurance if you are a McCoy owner. Yes, the Bills offense is a complete mess, but if you have the room, you should always roster any potential starting RB available from the waiver wire, and Ivory could fit that description in the near future.

RONALD JONES, Tampa Bay (30 percent): You should grab him now while you easily can. Peyton Barber has averaged just 2.6 yards per carry in his first two games and Jacquizz Rodgers is too small to consistently handle a significant workload. Jones has been inactive during the first two games, but at some point soon, the Buccaneers will have to make their opponents respect their running game, and the rookie second-round pick remains their best option.

WIDE RECEIVERS

JOHN BROWN, Baltimore (24.1 percent): He started earning the favor of a seemingly rejuvenated Joe Flacco in the preseason and the new connection has produced touchdowns in each of Baltimore’s first two games. Brown also totaled 92 receiving yards in Week 2. Brown is looking healthy and Flacco has suddenly rediscovered his downfield touch.

TERRELLE PRYOR, New York Jets (2.7 percent): If nothing else, you should simply add Pryor for the “revenge game” against the Browns this Thursday. Pryor actually wanted to stay in Cleveland but was traded before last season. Pryor is also coming off an 84-yard outing in Week 2, and now that he is seemingly healthy again there is a chance he becomes a more integral part of the Jets passing game on a regular basis.

CALVIN RIDLEY, Atlanta (37 percent): A lot of fantasy owners dropped him after a quiet Week 1, but Ridley quickly reminded us all of his potential with a 64-yard performance with a TD in Week 2. Many rookies will not make an immediate impact this year, but Ridley may be the best WR of all the first-year pass catchers. He is a very promising big-play complement to Julio Jones and you should not leave him on the waiver list with a wait-and-see approach.

TYLER BOYD, Cincinnati (1.2 percent): He caught six balls for 91 yards and a TD in Week 2, and that performance may have indicated he is ahead of John Ross as Cincinnati’s second receiver. Boyd still has to prove he can produce consistently before you start him, but with Andy Dalton getting better protection this year Boyd does have the chance to become a more dependable Fantasy receiver.

TIGHT ENDS

WILL DISSLY, Seattle (24.4 percent): His 105-yard outing in the season opener at Denver seemed like it could have been a mirage, but Dissly received another five targets on Monday night at Chicago and scored again. His TD catch came in garbage time but it is apparent Russell Wilson will look for the rookie on key downs.

AUSTIN HOOPER, Atlanta (17.5 percent): Many tight ends take some time to get into the full flow of the pro game, and this could be the season when the third-year Falcon makes his true mark. Hooper caught five passes for 59 yards and a TD in Week 2 and he knows how to find soft spots in defenses and shield himself from defenders when making the important catch.

QUARTERBACKS

RYAN FITZPATRICK, Tampa Bay (31.7 percent): Many fantasy players did not believe what they saw from him in Week 1, then he dropped four more TD passes vs. the defending champion Eagles in Week 2. This up-and-down journeyman will come down from the sky at some point soon, but it’s not going to be in Week 3 against Pittsburgh. Fitzpatrick is ticketed for another shootout. You should start him for at least one week before you relegate him to QB2 status, dodging an impending collapse soon after his next game.

BLAKE BORTLES, Jacksonville (10.0 percent): His 377-yard, four TD outing against the Patriots could be a sign that Bortles has turned an important corner in his career. Or it could simply be a case of overachieving. Bortles still has to deliver more consistently to earn the trust of fantasy owners, but after his Week 2, you should at least roster him in case this is the beginning of a new chapter in a career filled with erratic play.

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