The sun rises once again, as we survey the wilderness of our fantasy win/loss columns. Week 3 was not as brutal for injuries and in fact, some new players emerged simply because they earned it. There was a rookie renaissance as multiple top draft picks showed off. The fantasy landscape could look very different if these budding stars earn season long roles.
I group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.
NEW FEATURES – I have made the FAAB suggestion a percentage of whatever your budget is instead of raw dollars. I also separated the quarterback section into suggestions for single and multi-QB formats.
This went to press before KC and Baltimore.
Single QB – Two priority streamers are available in over half of ESPN leagues
Jared Goff (3%) – The Rams are looking like a very fun team for fantasy as their defense is leaky and Sean McVey orchestrates an efficient machine. Goff can get to 300 yards any given week and doing so on the road against a stout Bills defense makes him a priority streamer. With the Giants next followed by the Football Team, he’s got 2 juicy matchups on tap.
Joe Burrow (1-3%) – The first overall draft pick is averaging 47 attempts a game in the first 3 weeks. That’s on pace for 752 passes in a 16 game season which would shatter Matt Stafford’s record of record of 727. In short, the volume in Cincinnati is everything we hoped it would be, and it’s led to back to back 300 yard days for Burrow. The schedule coming up isn’t ideal, and while he’s a must start against Jacksonville, when Baltimore and Indianapolis come calling, he may be best left on your bench.
Superflex / 2QB – 2 performance-based benchings open up new opportunities for those of us in multi-QB leagues
Nick Foles (50%) – If he was dropped when Trubisky was named starter, Foles is your priority add in multi-QB leagues. He wont give elite production, but we know what he can do. Coach Matt Nagy confirmed on Monday that he’ll be the rest of season starter if healthy.
Brett Rypien (5-10%) – The second best quarterback to ever play for Boise State went undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2019 and spent most of the year on the practice squad. When Drew Lock sustained a multi-week injury, Rypien was promoted to back up Jeff Driskel. During a game which never really felt in reach, Driskel was benched without an injury that we know of in favor of Rypien. The untested sophomore went 8 of 9 for a paltry 53 yards and an interception. It’s not exciting but in multi-QB formats, he should be rostered because Lock isn’t coming back next week.
RB – Nothing season saving this week, although some flex options emerged
Rex Burkhead (5-10%) – King Rex has seen a nice bump in action with James White sadly on bereavement leave. He’s the main receiving back until White returns and offers a little more as a runner which culminated in a 13 touch, 3 score day for New England in week 3. I wouldn’t break the bank but Burkhead is a super bench piece who can be started when other backs on the Patriots are inactive. If even one of the three headed monster isn’t playing, Burkhead is sure to get meaningful snaps.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (5-10%) – Of course when Jerick McKinnon saw the lion’s share of touches, he would get nicked up. After the game word was he is fine but McKinnon took a shot to the ribs and missed the end of the 49ers’ blowout victory. Neither him nor Wilson looked great as a primary running back, but this offense wins in unconventional ways. With Mostert and Coleman still ailing, Wilson would be an easy RB2 if McKinnon misses week 4 against Philadelphia. Even if McKinnon plays, Wilson is a solid flex play.
Anthony McFarland (3-5%) – The fourth round rookie McFarland brings juice no other back on Pittsburgh can offer. He was utilized as a change of pace in week 3 and looked good totaling 49 yards on 7 touches. He had a 20 yard run as he burst through a nice hole and bounced outside. This is definitely James Conner’s backfield but McFarland will continue to get looks because of his dangerous speed. He’s a nice hold should that backfield see the injury bug creep in.
Carlos Hyde (3-5%) – After the barnburner with Dallas, Pete Carroll said that Chris Carson sustained a knee sprain. Perhaps this is why they #letRusscook yet again, including a pair of 1 yard passes to Tyler Lockett. This backfield will be a mess if Carson can’t go but Hyde would likely be the main beneficiary. I think Seattle would use a committee and there are some less expensive names you can snag to see what develops. If you want to hedge on Carson, pick up Hyde. For what it’s worth, the MRI came back clean but Carson could still miss a very winnable game against Miami.
JaMycal Hasty (3-5%) – Only an option if McKinnon misses week 4, Hasty is an explosive pass-catching back who split work in college. Given the recent track record, I trust almost any RB getting 10 or more touches for San Francisco. He’s next in line as the B-back if McKinnon is out so keep an eye on the news this week.
Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas (1% or post waiver add) – Homer has been active on Sundays so far but only totaled 10 touches in 3 contests. He would theoretically be next in line behind Hyde. Undersized but explosive, he is unlikely to take a lion’s share of work but can break off big plays at any time. Dallas got rave reviews throughout camp and was especially lauded for his pass catching. His build should allow him to carry a nice workload if Seattle wants to hand over the reigns to the rookie. I like him as a sneaky add while this situation develops.
WR – A bevy of rookies popped up in week 3 and could all be key pieces for a championship run
Tee Higgins (15%) – As mentioned above, the Cincinnati offense is on pace for a record number of pass attempts. Higgins is an exciting rookie who the Bengals picked at the top of the second round to pair with Joe Burrow. He out-targeted A.J. Green in week 3 and while that may not continue, if Higgins is even 3rd in line on this offense he’s a high upside flex option. Backup tight end Drew Sample didn’t participate much in the wake of C.J. Uzomah’s injury so Higgins may inherit those looks. Should anything happen to Green or Tyler Boyd, he is an immediate WR2/3. It’s also possible that Green could get moved during the season for the rebuilding Bengals.
Justin Jefferson (10%) – What a game from the first round rookie! Jefferson looked outstanding against the Titans lining up all over the formation and hauling in 7 of 9 targets for 175 yards and a score. He won on the outside and on the inside, as well as showcased his deep speed on his 71 yard touchdown. The offensive context as a whole is less secure than Cincinnati, but the thinking always was that Jefferson would be the second option behind Adam Thielen. Kirk Cousins has supported two fantasy relevant receivers before, and this could be the beginning of Jefferson’s ascension.
Brandon Aiyuk (5-10%) – Another high profile rookie who saw his first big action and found the endzone. The versatile weapon saw 3 carries and 8 targets which led to 5 catches, 101 total yards and a score. Similar to Deebo Samuel, Aiyuk can play many roles for Kyle Shanahan. He was hand selected in the first round of the NFL draft and a game like this should open up even more opportunities. Samuel and George Kittle will be back shortly, but Aiyuk can still be a WR3 for fantasy.
James Washington (5-10%) – The always tempting Washington would likely be the biggest beneficiary should Diontae Johnson miss any games. He was being evaluated for a concussion so next week’s status is in doubt. Since it may just be a short term add, I’d temper the free agent bid.
Gabriel Davis (5-10%) – Davis was already climbing the depth chart, and may have a new opening with John Brown popping up with an injury in week 3. Cole Beasley’s role will stay as a slot receiver, but David could take John Brown’s targets on the outside. He was very productive on his 4 targets, catching them all for 81 scoreless yards. Against all odds, this is a high powered passing attack and Josh Allen looks to have taken a hyper leap in 2020. Brown battled a foot injury during the week which likely created this compensation calf strain. As long as Brown is out, I’d be happy to start Davis as an upside WR3. They have 4 straight exploitable matchups coming up to boot.
Scotty Miller, Justin Watson (5-10%) – As of this writing, Miller probably is the easiest add should Godwin miss time. Miller led the Bucs in receiving in week 3 and is gelling with Tom Brady. However, he is usually an outside receiver, and Godwin’s role includes a lot of slot snaps. I think there’s a chance Godwin is out a while after aggravating his hamstring and a healthy Watson profiles as a his substitute. See further down this list for another a very sneaky add.
Andy Isabella (3-5%) – The former second round pick had his best professional game in week 3, hauling in 2 touchdowns. His first was an impressive over the shoulder grab deep in the endzone and the second required a nifty extra effort to slip across the pylon. Christian Kirk has been incredibly inefficient and is now injured. I think it is very possible that Isabella takes this opening to secure a top 3 position in this passing offense. There is also a chance that the great Larry Fitzgerald gets phased out as the season moves along, meaning a top 2 option in this offense could be up for grabs. Should that happen, Isabella can be a priority bench piece or weekly flex in most leagues.
Greg Ward (3-5%) – Last year’s feel good story is back and saw 11 targets in the Eagles’ disappointing tie with the Bengals. Desean Jackson left with an injury, leaving Ward as the top Eagles receiver. After totaling 72 yards and hitting paydirt, I can’t see how Ward doesn’t remain active in this offense. He will likely be their top option again in week 4 if Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor remain inactive. The only player who is a must start from this offense is Miles Sanders, however, and Ward is probably only a fill in for fantasy.
Olamide Zaccheaus (1% or post waiver add) – When Russell Gage went out, the next man up was Zaccheaus who saw 6 targets in Sunday’s contest. He isn’t the deep threat Gage is but can be productive in short and intermediate areas. Any top 3 option in Atlanta is worth monitoring as they are once again on pace to be a league leading passing offense. As long as Julio Jones or Russell Gage are inactive, Zaccheaus can help in a pinch.
Tyler Johnson (1% or post waiver add) – Active for the first time in week 3, the rookie Johnson didn’t see a target. However with Godwin and Watson potentially missing week 4 he could make his way onto the field. Should he show off, a slot role could be his until Godwin returns. His college production was excellent.
TE – Some appealing options for streamers
Dalton Schutlz (1-3%) – He’s nothing to write home about but plays on a team with an elite passing offense and poor defense.
Eric Ebron (1-3%) – Ebron had his best game as a Steeler, at the expense of Diontae Johnson going down. Ebron saw 7 targets and if he gets more run without Johnson, he’s absolutely a tight end streamer.
Logan Thomas (1-3%) – He’s definitely seeing enough targets to be fantasy relevant, but Dwayne Haskins’ targets are proving not to be very valuable. Still, I am bullish due to the face he’s the second receiving option on his team.
Ross Dwelley (1-3%) – Sadly but not unexpectedly Jordan Reed is on IR again. If George Kittle isn’t back in week 4, plug and play Dwelley as a streamer TE. In games where he saw >70% of snaps in 2019 he averaged 5.3 targets for a 3.6-22-0.67 line. The yardage isn’t exciting but that usage will play if you’re desperate.
O.J. Howard (1-3%) – I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting him week 4, but Howard is a player who may be able to rise with Godwin likely missing time. Maybe a jumbo slot role would fit him nicely.
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