This is a good week for WR pickups. RBs won’t get nearly as much attention, because there just isn’t much to pick up there.
Two games in a row of 9+ targets and 86+ yards. 2 TDs on the season. Incredible route running and separation ability, not to mention speed to get over the top. Red zone target for Joe Flacco. Any other reason why he’s only 64% owned on Yahoo? Don’t worry about Crabtree, and don’t worry about Brown’s injury history. He’s getting his right now, and that’s what matters.
The Falcons’ defense took yet another hit with Ricardo Allen suffering a torn Achilles, and it was already bad. Because of it, the Falcons are going to have to throw a ton this year to keep up in games. Calvin Ridley had a monster breakout game in Week 3, catching 7 of 8 targets for 146 yards and THREE TDs. He also scored in Week 2, and caught 4 balls in that matchup. Keep in mind that Ridley’s snap count isn’t near Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu’s 80-90%; it hasn’t gone past 66%, and that was in Week 1. Will he get the targets every week? That remains to be seen. For context, he had 8 targets while Sanu had 7. We know that he won’t be seeing 3 TDs every week, though. He’s a solid route runner who will continue to get open, but target share can sway a bit back to Julio while Sanu gets some looks as well. It’s just better to set the expectations now to know you’re not getting a WR1 on the waiver wire. He’ll most likely fall into the WR3/flex range on most weeks.
Tyler Boyd, on the other hand, is in the 80-90% snap percentage range for the year, and is getting significant target share. He had 18% in Week 1, 23% in Week 2, and it actually went down to 15% in Week 3, but his production improved – he caught 6 passes again, but this time for 123 yards and a score. Boyd looks like a staple of this offense, and is making plays when he gets the ball in his hands. Boyd seems like he’ll be a more consistent option than Ridley if you’re trying to choose between the two. With Boyd lining up in the slot for most of his routes, he’ll have good matchups consistently throughout the year, and his volume can stay consistent as well. He’s the add for me this week in PPR leagues if he’s still available in your league. Juicy matchup in Atlanta next week.
It’s possible that Williams is still unowned in your league, even after having two productive games in the first two weeks. Well, he’ll probably be fully owned after his 81 yard, 2 TD performance in Week 3. 3 TDs in 2 games, 81 yards in 2 out of 3 games, saw 6+ targets in 2 games; it looks like Phillip Rivers likes his new weapon. Williams still isn’t playing a full complement of snaps, but it only makes sense that he’s on the field more as the weeks go by (around 67% the last 2 weeks). It did go up the last two weeks, coincidentally or not, with Travis Benjamin missing both games, but Williams needs to be rostered and started regardless. At the very least, he’s a redzone weapon, but he’s shown that he can make plays all over the field.
Why isn’t Allison higher owned? 8 and 6 targets from Aaron Rodgers over the first two weeks… and he’s producing. He hasn’t had less than 64 yards in any game, and has 2 TDs in 3 games. If anyone is on the field with Rodgers for 75% of plays, they need to be rostered. We saw a couple of big plays for Allison, and we can thank Rodgers’ ball placement for that. You might think Allison is going away because of the young WRs behind him, but Allison is producing right now. He’s leading the Packers in receiving yards right now, and is playing the big-play role. He’s startable in almost any matchup; he caught that TD last week against Josh Norman.
Godwin saw 10 targets in this shootout with the Steelers on Monday night while only playing on 50% of snaps. That snap percentage is a concern, because we depend on volume, but he’s been producing. Godwin has the talent to become an elite WR in this league if he cleans his game up a bit and gets a full workload. With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries rotating with him, he’s likely to come back down to earth, and not scoring a TD per game. With that said, Godwin needs to be picked up; it only takes one injury and an increase in snaps for him to be fully reliable. Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to love him in the red zone, and as long as he’s the starting QB, Godwin should be in lineups.
With Tyrod out and Baker in, we can now look past Jarvis Landry for fantasy relevancy. Antonio Callaway increasing his snap percentage to 90% is a huge deal, and with him as a full-time player along with Mayfield’s downfield accuracy, we could be talking about some big games for Callaway moving forward. His off the field issues have forced him out of the first round in the draft, but he’s getting the opportunity right off the bat with Josh Gordon traded to the Patriots. Mayfield did target Callaway once per 4.2 routes in the preseason, so there is some connection there. He’ll have to compete with Landry and Njoku for targets, but there should be enough to go around, especially with Callaway being the #1 target on the outside for bigger chunk plays.
Evan Engram has a MCL sprain, and can miss at least a month of football. He’s listed as week-to-week right now. Until he’s back Sterling Shepard should see increased opportunity. Manning and Shepard have unquestioned rapport, but when you have a plethora of options, Manning will take what the matchup gives him. The 5 and 7 targets Engram got in the first two games have to go somewhere, and Shepard playing the middle of the field from the slot can soak up a few more targets a game, which can make a world of difference in whether he’s startable or not. He should have a solid floor in PPR leagues with TD upside while Engram is out.
Enunwa is still available in a ton of leagues. He didn’t get a ton of volume in Week 3, but he’s getting more than 30% of the target share, which is elite level. That can come down a bit, but Sam Darnold has his favorite target. Preferred in PPR leagues because of volume and less big play potential in this offense. Tough matchup this week, but he’ll most likely avoid Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye while lining up in the slot.
Sometimes there’s a connection between guys when they practice together, and that was the case between Josh Rosen and Christian Kirk this offseason. The preseason numbers show a rapport between the two, and rookies in general work a ton together during the summer. Kirk saw about 28% of Rosen’s attempts during the preseason, which is a very healthy number. Fitzgerald and David Johnson will definitely have a huge impact on that number, but it tells you who Rosen has a connection with. Yes, Larry Fitzgerald needs to get the damn ball, but there can be another option open up in the passing game with the QB change. When Rosen came in to try and win the game against the Bears, 3 of Rosen’s 6 attempts went to Kirk. If you’re in a deep league, and the top waiver options are already owned, Kirk is a name worth adding this week, especially in full PPR leagues. Let’s get DJ and Larry the ball first, though. Either way, there is room for a third option.
Meredith made his Saints debut and played on 44% of snaps in Week 3. What’s notable is that he played more snaps than Tre’Quan Smith, who the coaches were talking up about getting him the ball more. Meredith caught his lone target for a TD, but if he can start playing more in the slot, there are definitely targets from both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara to be divied up for Meredith. He is a stash/flier than can pay off in a few weeks, especially in PPR leagues.
Javorius “Buck” Allen
Allen has simply produced over the last three weeks. The yardage isn’t impressive whatsoever; as a matter of fact, it’s terrible. But in PPR leagues, Allen can be okay if you’re hurting at the position. He’s catching passes, and he’s used around the goal line back as well; he scored in three straight weeks. With him playing around 50% of the snaps, Allen has a chance to return for you on a weekly basis. In the landscape of RBs on the waiver wire and how hard it is to find them later in the season, Allen should be owned in PPR leagues.
There was a fear of Jones being buried behind Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery, but that wasn’t the case after leading the team in carries. Yes, he was third in snap share, but the Packers were down all game and needed pass protectors and pass-catching prowess on the field. Not saying that this was the reason Jones didn’t see more playing time, but it’s viable that he would’ve saw more opportunity in neutral game situations. All the backs were able to run on the Redskins, but Jones was the most effective. It’s a good sign that Mike McCarthy was willing to use Jones out of the gate, so it’s possible he gains a bigger role and potentially the starting role if he continues to impress on limited touches. Jones presents a buy-low opportunity now because of what I outlined above, but also because Jones owners might have been expecting more in his debut, and could be turned off by the current 3-man timeshare. With Aaron Rodgers limited by injury, there isn’t much excitement around this offense like there will be once he has his mobility back. Don’t break the bank because of the possibility of his usage continuing as is, but the upside is what you’ll be paying for.
James White (PPR preferred)
White has been producing, and if you need help at RB in a PPR league, White should be able to get it done for you. He’s used in the red zone and as Tom Brady’s pass-catching back. With Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman returning soon, the offense should take a step forward and White will have more room to make plays. His volume might go down, but we can see less attention from opposing defenses. Keep in mind that Rex Burkhead has a neck injury, and it’s possible he doesn’t suit up in Week 4 and even beyond.
Austin Ekeler (PPR preferred)
Ekeler just pops off big plays every time he touches the ball. The volume isn’t crazy, but he provides depth to solidify your RB position. While he’s on your roster, if Melvin Gordon were to ever get hurt, Ekeler would be a fringe-RB1. He’s getting passing volume each week in addition to some carries to keep his floor high enough in PPR to justify the upside he brings to your lineup.
TJ Yeldon (PPR preferred)
Just in case Leonard Fournette misses yet again. Yeldon caught 6 of 7 targets last week, which is an encouraging sign after Corey Grant saw most of the passing work in Week 2.
Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement
If Jay Ajayi misses again, we know that Smallwood and Clement will both share the backfield. Clement out-touched Smallwood, but both were very involved. With them taking value away from each other, so they wouldn’t be anything more than a flex play this week.
Matt Breida is the better back right now, and yes, Jimmy Garroppolo is done for the season, but CJ Beathard will likely pepper Morris and Breida with targets, even though both of them aren’t the most accomplished pass-catchers. Morris can still provide you flex value in, yes, PPR leagues… with the upside of a goal line carry or two, if they ever get there.
With the change at QB, like I said earlier, we can look past Jarvis Landry for fantasy purposes. Njoku is running a ton of routes, and Mayfield did hit Njoku for more yards in the two targets he got in that game than he had in the previous two games combined. If you were patient to keep him, great, but a lot of people didn’t, and he’s available in about 32% of Yahoo leagues. Remember, Mayfield loved his tight end in college.
Eifert is back and producing, and he’s not hurt yet. Andy Dalton finally has some weapons, and with his defense not being so great, he’ll likely need to sling it all year. Eifert hasn’t had any TDs yet, but they should come. His usage and snap percentage is going up in each game, which is a great sign. Catching 6 of 8 targets for 74 yards is a godsend for a tight end. In this TE landscape, consider Eifert a good pickup.
If Jack Doyle were to miss again or not, Ebron is used in the end zone. He had three shots to secure a TD last week, but failed to do so on decent coverage. Without Doyle, he was on the field for a whopping 88% of snaps compared to 45% and 28% the first two weeks, and got 11 targets in this game. Ebron should be picked up – if a TE catches a TD in any given weeks, he’s a TE1. He has just as big a chance as any TE to catch one in any given week.
McDonald is an extremely gifted athlete, as we saw last on MNF with that nasty stiff arm and run for a TD. He’s had a ton of injury issues, so he can’t necessarily be trusted for long term. For now, though, Roethlisberger will probably want to use a weapon like that. The only TEs who averaged more receiving yards per route run than McDonald over the last two years are Gronk, Kelce, Ertz, Walker, and Reed, per Graham Barfield. Both him and Jesse James played about 50% each, so keep in mind that he doesn’t have a ton of opportunity at the moment. He has upside in that offense, though.
With Carson Wentz back, the Eagles’ first draft choice of 2018 played on 67% of snaps compared to 24% in Week 2. Dallas Goedert’s combined blocking and pass-catching ability is rare, and I can’t see the Eagles leaving him off the field, especially if they continue to run a lot of their offense out of 12 and 13 personnel packages. That can change once Jeffery comes back, but Doug Pederson did say they felt comfortable in those personnel packages on Sunday. Because of Goeddert’s athleticism and the Eagles’ lack of pass-catchers, not to mention the mismatch it will create for linebackers and safeties to defend both him and Ertz, the Eagles might want to try a similar game plan once again. He’s an upside pickup at TE, and can get similar run this week with Jeffery most likely out again, but he might be a stash until Pederson figures out if he’s going to run a lot of 3-WR sets or not once Jeffery is back.
QB Streaming Options
Andy Dalton @ Atlanta
Case Keenum vs Kansas City
Baker Mayfield @ Oakland
Joe Flacco @ Pittsurgh
Josh Allen @ GB
DEF Streaming Options
Chargers vs SF
Packers vs Buffalo
Browns @ Oakland
Titans vs Philadelphia
Seahawks @ Arizona
Colts vs Houston