Fantasy football free-agent forecast: Week 3

Fantasy football free-agent forecast: Week 3

Fantasy football roster management tips, strategy and advice

Fantasy football free-agent forecast: Week 3

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Free-agent recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated. FAAB $ amounts are based on a $100 budget.

Fantasy football waiver wire targets

Quarterbacks

Grab & Stash/watch list

Jeff Driskel, Denver Broncos

Driskel will replace the injured Drew Lock (shoulder) as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. The second-year passer was injured in Week 2 and will miss up to six weeks. Driskel has eight starts under his belt and has looked capable, especially Sunday in relief of Lock, finishing with 256 yards, two scores and an interception vs. Pittsburgh. The Broncos have just enough weapons to make Driskel relevant, even after losimg Courtland Sutton to a knee injury. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are next, and it will serve as a good barometer of whether Driskel can serve as a competent fantasy backup or even a spot-starter once bye weeks arrive. He’s worth adding out of desperation but also could be left on the wire as a watch.

Availability: 99%
FAAB:
$0-1

WATCH LIST

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Short and sweet: Tyrod Taylor (chest) will regain his starting job upon returning to the health. Even if Herbert gets the start in Week 3, he’s not a fantasy No. 1 but more of a low-tier QB2 in superflex vs. the Carolina Panthers. Let’s say he has a monster performance, because he does have the weapons to make it happen, one has to question if Taylor really does return to the lineup.

Availability: 99%

Running Backs

Priority Free Agent

Devonta Freeman and Dion Lewis, New York Giants

UPDATE: Freeman agreed to join the Giants Tuesday and will be worked into the mix before eventually becoming the lead back. His upside is greater than Lewis’, but gamers should be more inclined to play Lewis in Week 3, due to Freeman needing time to get up to speed on the playbook. Freeman is the better add over the course of the season, although he’s still injury-prone and has drastically more worth in PPR than standard scoring. He’s still a proven veteran with something to prove.

Saquon Barkley (knee) going down opens the door for the veteran Lewis to see the majority of touches in this backfield. He won’t be a season-saver, by any means, but Lewis will be useful. He ran for 20 yards on his 10 carries, scoring once, vs. Chicago’s tough defense, adding another 9.6 PPR points via the aerial game. RB Devonta Freeman is expected to work out for the G-men, which would cut into Lewis’ value. The decimated San Fran defense is ahead, and then the Giants travel to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4. Those to matchups should give us a clearer idea of his utilization, particularly if a vet is added. He’s a low-tier RB2/flex in both of them should New York wait on bringing in help.

Availability: 49% (Freeman); 78% (Lewis)
FAAB:
$15-17 for Freeman, $3-4 for Lewis

Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey suffered an ankle sprain and will miss several games. His immediate backup is the veteran Davis, and any running back with a hand on the reins of a starting lineup spot should be owned. The Panthers play the Chargers in Week 3, so playing Davis should be done obviously only if you’re in desperate need of a flier for a cheap score.

Availability: 82%
FAAB:
$10-12

Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

A line of 12 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown was highlighted by a 40-yard jaunt. Henderson added two grabs for 40 yards, and he had three more touches than Malcolm Brown. While Brown was fine — 4.3 yards per carry on his 11 totes — he didn’t score and is overly dependent on finding the end zone. The also suffered a broken pinkie finger but is not expected to miss time. Henderson was a rookie with fanfare last year prior to getting hurt, and he is definitely more dynamic than Brown. That said, both will have serious roles while Cam Akers (ribs) is on the mend … however long that may be. LA faces Buffalo on the road in Week 3, so consider Henderson a fringe starter should Akers sit.

Availability: 44%
FAAB:
$6-8

Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers

He was worth adding as a speculative buy last week, and the injury to Raheem Mostert (knee) makes McKinnon virtually a must-own in all formats. While Mostert’s injury is being described as a mild sprain, it still could cost him time. Furthermore, now Tevin Coleman is expected to miss several weeks. The 49ers cannot afford to lose any other players, and it will be all hands on deck to find a way going forward. McKinnon saw the ball only three times, making the most of it, with 77 yards and a score in Week 2. He travels to the New York Giants in Week 3.

Availability: 41%
FAAB:
$12-13

grab & stash

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

Edwards ran 10 times for 73 yards in Week 2 and saw the most carries of all Ravens running backs. He had eight more handles than J.K. Dobbins and should be part of a three-pronged attack the rest of the way. However, it’s going to be extremely challenging to play him without a bye week or an injury forcing your hand … as it turns out, injuries were the story of Week 2, and bye weeks start soon. Add Edwards and play him only if you must, but his four carries in Week 17 should help illustrate the inconsistency of his utilization on a weekly basis. Hopefully averaging 7.3 yards per attempt will earn him a larger role.

Availability: 70%
FAAB:
$2-3

Wide Receivers

Priority Free Agent

Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars

He was included last week as a stash option, and Cole delivered once again. The veteran saw seven targets in Week 2, finishing with a line of 6-58-1, bringing his two-week total to 11-105-2. Jacksonville’s defense is lousy, and they’ll be in plenty of shootouts. Miami suffered a few injuries on defense of late, including cornerback Byron Jones, so shuffling up the secondary could help Cole. After that, the Jags face Cincinnati, Houston and Detroit before going on a Week 7 vacation.

Availability: 70%
FAAB:
$2-3

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

Like Cole, Gage was included last week as a stash target. The Falcons, like the Jaguars, have an awful defense and will put their quarterback in plenty of pass-by-necessity situations. Use that to your advantage. There will be games in which he disappears, but the attention paid to Julio Jones frees up everyone, and the Falcons have little semblance of a running game at the moment. Gage finished Week 2 with a 6-46-1 line on his nine targets, bringing his two-game count to 21 looks from Matt Ryan.

Availability: 41%
FAAB:
$2-3

grab & stash

Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts

The rookie suited up and saw six targets, hauling in four for 37 yards. Nothing exciting, but his feet are officially wet. The Colts lost last week’s standout receiver, Parris Campbell, to PCL/MCL knee injury. He was carted off and will miss at least three games after going on Injured Reserve. Keep tabs on Pittman, but he is worthy of a look in deeper PPR setups as bench material with bye weeks on the horizon. Gamers looking for a flier in Week 3 could take a shot on him vs. the New York Jets.

Availability: 47%
FAAB:
$1-2

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

The massive rookie is blazing fast, and it was on full display in Week 2. He landed an 84-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, one of his three receptions on as many looks. There are too many weapons in this offense to trust him on a weekly basis as a starter, but he’s the embodiment of what to look for a in a “no risk it, no biscuit” scenario. Add Claypool and deploy him in a pinch.

Availability: 60%
FAAB:
$1-2

watch list

Chris Hogan, New York Jets

For gamers in truly desperate situations, Hogan may be closer to a one-week play vs. the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets were down Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell entering Week 2, and Breshad Perriman left early. The result was eight targets for the well-traveled Hogan. He finished with 75 yards on six catches. Indianapolis gave up points to Jacksonville receivers in Week 1 but stifled the entire Minnesota passing game this past Sunday. How much was the latter a product of Kirk Cousins being hilariously bad? In Week 3, presuming Crowder doesn’t return, someone has to catch passes from Sam Darnold. Thus far, Hogan is the safest bet to be that guy.

Availability: 97%

Tight Ends

Priority Free Agent

Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers

Well, this one could be a short-lived recommendation. The ultra-talented Reed managed to stay healthy for an entire game in replacement of George Kittle (sprained knee, bone bruise) and scored a pair of touchdowns. The star has a chance to play in Week 3, which would make Reed unplayable. The status of QB Jimmy Garoppolo is up in the air, too, although Nick Mullens has acquitted himself dating back to last year. Reed should be added in case Kittle misses more time, and running two TEs could become the norm when Kittle is back.

Availability: 77%
FAAB:
$3-4

1-week plug & play/Grab & Stash

Jordan Akins, Houston Texans

The young tight end — a 2018 third-rounder — scored in Week 1 on one of his two grabs, and he returned to see seven targets, landing all in Week 2. He posted 55 yards. In Week 3, Pittsburgh is the opponent for Houston. The Steelers gave up a 4-570-1 line to Noah Fant in Week 2 and could help make Akins a viable starter once again.

Availability: 70%
FAAB:
$1-2

Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts

A pair of injuries helped make Alie-Cox the leading receiver for Indy in Week 2, so it all could go away as fast as it appeared, depending on the prognoses for WR Parris Campbell (knee) and starting tight end Jack Doyle (ankle, knee). It is worth noting that Philip Rivers singled out Alie-Cox while discussing the offense during an interview prior to the season. The Colts host the New York Jets in Week 3, and Alie-Cox would be a viable TE1 on the lower end of the spectrum, should those two targets miss the contest.

Availability: 87%
FAAB:
$1-2

grab & stash

Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals

A second-round pick in 2019, Sample is more of an H-back than a traditional tight end. He landed seven of nine targets in Week 2, although they amounted to a total of 45 yards. He will replace C.J. Uzomah (Achilles) as the primary tight end option, a game after the injured starter posted a 4-42-1 line. Young quarterbacks tend to checkdown quickly to tight ends, and Joe Burrow’s anemic 5.2 yards-per-attempt average is indicative of more work for the Washington product.

Availability: 99%
FAAB: $0-1

1-Week Plug & Play/grab & stash

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Schultz was listed as on our watch list last week after the season-ending injury suffered by Blake Jarwin. The Cowboys have so many ways to attack that it was tough to see a major role for Schultz, although the one factor that was underestimated: just how poor the Cowboys can be on defense. Granted, some of their woes were due to field position, but they still allowed a mess of points in Week 2, and it required four different players to see at least seven targets. Schultz led the way with 10 looks on his path to a strong 9-88-1 line. He should be added and could take advantage of the Seahawks in a lineup-worthy way in the third game of 2020.

Availability: 84%
FAAB:
$0-1

Kickers

1-Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets

The Colts’ offense is still finding its way in 2020 and has stalled several times, affording Blankenship seven three-point attempts in his two games. The undrafted rookie has plenty of leg from distance, and his offense has kinks to work out, especially after losing three starters in the past two games. The Jets may be just good enough on defense to get in the way and force Indy to settle for three a couple of times. Either way, it appears this offense is poised to grant its kicker more than enough opportunities to matter to gamers.

Availability: 87%
FAAB:
$0-1

Ka’imi Fairbairn, Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

After a quiet Week 1, Fairbairn booted three kicks from distance and overcame a tough matchup to be a top-10 fantasy kicker this week. Another awful matchup for Houston’s middling offense is on the docket, and it would be surprising if Fairbairn didn’t get called on several more times. The 2018 No. 1 fantasy kicker had an off-year in 2019 and deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Availability: 58%
FAAB:
$0-1

Defense/Specials Teams

1-Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets

The opening week may have led to people dropping Indianapolis after the Jaguars had their way with this unit. A rebound in Week 2 gives hope for what was a promising sleeper defense in the offseason drafts. New York has almost nothing of concern for Indianapolis, and Sam Darnold is being thrown to the wolves. After stampeding the Jets, look at Indy as a viable play vs. Chicago, Cleveland and Cincinnati over the three following games.

Availability: 42%
FAAB:
$1

1-Week Plug & Play

Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Football Team

Last week, in this spot, the recommendation of Arizona vs. Washington was slightly risky as banking on an unproven fantasy defense can be tricky. It paid off with four sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries. In Week 3, go to the well once more. Cleveland dropped Joe Burrow three times in Week 2, also recording a fumble, and it should be able to harass Dwayne Haskins into mistakes in Week 3. If nothing else, there’s a good chance Washington won’t put up enough points, which can be beneficial in some leagues.

Availability: 84%
FAAB:
$0-1

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