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Through The Wire - Week 3

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 9/21/21 |

Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business, but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious selections to help your team from week to week while you strive to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs, and win the elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league. I’ll also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous week.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Daniel Jones, NYG – Jones wasn’t the most efficient passer on Thursday night, but he did compile a nice fantasy line, completing 22 of 32 passes for 249-1-0 while adding 95 rushing yards and another score on nine carries in the 30-29 loss to Washington. With the Giants RBs still getting their legs under them, Jones will likely be asked to shoulder a large offensive role each week and sometimes play from behind. Just 10-15% owned, he could have several big fantasy performances like this coming in 2021 and gets a tasty Week 3 matchup against the Falcons.

UPDATE: Jones is worth serious consideration as a streaming option this week for owners needing a solid week from their QB, and the injury situations in Chicago and Indy translate to huge question marks. We know Jones will throw and he’s got a host of capable receivers to put up solid numbers.

Justin Fields, CHI – Fields’ normal rotational role increased when he came in for the injured Andy Dalton on Sunday, finishing with 60 passing yards and an INT while adding 10 rushes for 31 yards in the win over the Bengals on Sunday. He’s owned in almost 50% of leagues (which is relatively high considering his raw skills and undeveloped passing game) and could be a fine bench stash as he develops a more refined game a la “2020 Jalen Hurts.”

UPDATE: Dalton’s MRI showed just a bone bruise to his knee and he remains the starter “if healthy,” – but it appears Fields will get the start. It could be a bumpy road for the rookie, but he's the better long-term fantasy option and he needs his chance to show what he can do. He's not a recommended fantasy option in his first NFL start.

Taylor Heinicke, WAS – Heinicke (just 2% owned) completed 34 of 46 passes for 336-2-1 on Thursday night, adding 6 rushing yards on four carries. I’m not as interested in him next week against the Bills, but Heinicke has the chops to get it done as an NFL quarterback and could help as a 12-14 team league backup.

Other QBs to consider: Teddy Bridgewater (15%), Jimmy Garoppolo (3-5%)


Jameis Winston, NO – Winston completed just 11 of 22 passes for 111 yards and two interceptions while rushing for 19 yards and a TD on three carries in Sunday’s 26-7 loss to the Panthers. We warned you that without the passing TDs, he could put up some stinkers.

Sam Darnold, CAR – Darnold looked good again in Week 2, finishing with 305-2-1 on 26-for-38 passing in Sunday’s 26-7 win over the Saints. He’s 5-10% owned and could be a relevant fantasy backup in 12-14 team leagues, especially considering the upcoming road matchups in Houston (Thursday night) and Dallas (Week 4) against poor defenses.

Jared Goff, DET – UPDATE: Goff had a typical Goff game, where he looked sharp at times and awful on some plays where he forced balls into coverage. He completed 26 of 36 passes for 246-2-1 in the loss to the Packers, rushing four times for 46 yards and a lost fumble. He’s not much of fantasy option this week against the Ravens, although anything is possible in garbage time. I’d steer clear.

Derek Carr, LV – Carr is probably the best QB available on your waiver wire, at just 15-20% ownership. He posted a solid fantasy line in Sunday’s win over the Steelers, throwing for 382-2-0 on 28-for-37 passing. The days of him being just a game manager type in this offense may be gone as the running game sputters and his host of capable receiving options keeps developing.

Tony Pollard

Running Backs

Tony Pollard, DAL – We highlighted Pollard prior to Week 1 and noted last week that he was “still just a latent-value handcuff,” but that assessment may already be dated. He carried the ball 13 times for 109 yards and a touchdown and caught all three of his targets for 31 yards in Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Chargers. Pollard (still just 35-40% owned) seems to have enough of a role in this offense for flex consideration in 12-team leagues.

Phillip Lindsay, HOU – Now about 40% owned, Lindsay was also a Week 1 recommendation who we updated last week. He’s coming off another productive game where he rushed just five times for two yards but hauled in his only target for a 22-yard TD in the loss to the Browns on Sunday. On a short week, they might give him more rushing work to spell the veteran Mark Ingram.

Kenneth Gainwell, PHI – Gainwell is up to 25-30% ownership since we first discussed him (at just 3-5% ownership) prior to Week 1. He rushed six times for 14 yards and caught two of his three targets for 18 yards in the Week 2 loss to the 49ers, and remains a relevant addition for Miles Sanders owners and deep leaguers.

J.D. McKissic, WAS – Perhaps I gave up on McKissic too early. I dropped him in a PPR league after he was nowhere to be seen in Week 1, and I’m regretting it now after a monster Week 2 performance that saw him haul in five of six targets for 83 yards and handle four carries for 10 yards and a TD. Ouch.

Other RBs to consider: Sony Michel (65-70%), Michael Carter (50-55%), Alexander Mattison (25-30%), Carlos Hyde (15-20%), Jeremy McNichols (0-1%)


Elijah Mitchell, SF – This 49ers season is already an injury rollercoaster. Mitchell left the game with a shoulder (MRI planned) but eventually returned, finishing with 17 carries for 42 rushing yards and caught both of his targets for 11 more yards in the win over the Eagles. But both Trey Sermon (concussion) and JaMycal Hasty (ankle) also suffered injuries in Week 2, so Mitchell could remain the starter against the Packers next Sunday. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Hasty’s injury is a high ankle sprain, so he’s week-to-week, and Sermon is in the concussion protocol. To complicate matters further, the 49ers brought in Duke Johnson, fantasy football relic Lamar Miller and T.J. Yeldon for visits. Mitchell is expected to play and shoulder most of the load against the Packers and their admittedly poor rush defense in Week 3.

Mark Ingram, HOU – Still just 30-40 percent owned, Ingram rushed 14 times for 41 yards and secured one of two targets for -1 yard in the loss to the Browns. He could see a more even role with Lindsay due to the quick four-day turnaround for a Week 3 matchup against the solid Panthers D.

UPDATE: Given both the short week and the tough matchup, I’m staying away from Ingram this week, even if he remains the top RB to own in Houston.

Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL – It’s amazing to me that Patterson is just 7-10% owned, especially since we said he’d have an expanded role this week. The dynamic offensive tool rushed seven times for 11 yards and a TD and caught 5-58-1 on six targets in the loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday, and he’ll carry that momentum into a favorable Week 3 matchup against the Giants.

UPDATE: Patterson is probably the only sub-10% ownership RB that is projected to score around 10+ points in Week 3, so he’s the priority add in most leagues. Obviously, your league could have better options because of a silly drop by an owner, but Patterson seems like the hottest commodity given the matchup vs. the Giants.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Michael Pittman Jr., IND – I listed Pittman before Week 1 and his ownership has since dropped a few points since then – because impatient owners saw a mid-week injury and cast him aside. Well, he responded in a huge way 8-123-0 on 12 targets in the loss to the Rams on Sunday, leading the team in receptions, receiving yardage and targets. He needs to be added in all formats, but we’ll need to keep an eye on the QB situation (Carson Wentz injury) before you activate him next week.

Rondale Moore, ARI – Moore, still under 20% owned, busted out for 7-114-1 on eight targets in the win over the Vikings. He’s a must-add in 12-team leagues given the explosive nature of the Cards offense.

K.J. Osborn, MIN – The sophomore wideout is almost universally available (1-2% owned) and he had a monster day in Week 2, catching five of six targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. He now had 15 targets and 12-167-1 through two games and should be rostered in 12-team leagues.

Tim Patrick, DEN – At just 10-15% owned, Patrick is a capable receiver who sees a few targets but has made the most of red zone opportunities in the absence of Jerry Jeudy. He’s now scored in two straight games and is coming off another productive (3-37-1) game and Denver win.

Quintez Cephus, DET – UPDATE: The more I see what Cephus can do, the more I like him. The second-year WR from Wisconsin hauled in four of seven targets for 63 yards and a TD on MNF, and now has two scores on 14 targets through two games. Even if Tyrell Williams (concussion) returns for Week 3, the athletic Cephus should continue to see targets from Goff and post decent WR4/5 numbers on a weekly basis.

Quez Watkins, PHI – Watkins (1-2% owned) isn’t a must add because of his low target volume, but he is a big play WR who could see his role increase as the season wears on. He had just two receptions on two targets Sunday but tallied 117 yards – in large part due to a 91-yard catch on a Hurts pass.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: A.J. Green (25-30%), Emmanuel Sanders (20%), Hunter Renfrow (5-10%), Darius Slayton (5%), Cedrick Wilson (1-2%), Freddie Swain (0-1%)


Jalen Reagor, PHI – Reagor’s ownership jumped to 55-60% before Week 2, when he caught just two of his five targets for 5 yards in the loss to the 49ers. He’ll have better weeks.

Sterling Shepard, NYG – Shepard is also about 55% owned, but had a monster TNF game with 9-94-0 on 10 targets. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues.

Christian Kirk, ARI – Kirk (25%) followed up his huge Week 1 with a more boring line, catching just three passes (on four targets) for 65 yards. It’ll be tough to discern when he’ll have another big game.

TE Tyler Higbee, LAR – Just one target for the TE and 1-8-0 to show for it. Not what we were looking for.

UPDATE: He’s safe to start again in Week 3 in a matchup against Tampa Bay that demands the Rams be passing most of the game.

TE Juwan Johnson, NO – Another three targets for Johnson but no scores, just 1-23-0. He’s off the radar for now.

WR Bryan Edwards, LV – Edwards had a decent game with 3-40-0 on three targets and is about 15-20% owned. I still really like his upside this season.