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Working the Wire: Week 3

By Josh Tinelli | 9/19/23 |

Each week I’ll provide you with a rundown by position of key waiver wire adds. We’ll evaluate not just breakouts based on past performance, but also who could deliver this week based on a soft matchup. Stats will be provided based on a 12-team PPR league, with players less than 75% (preferably less than 50%) ownership being considered.

Week 3 Byes: N/A


Russell Wilson, DEN @ MIA

Russ cooked against the Commanders, putting up 308-3-1 passing with a couple of his patented deep shots to Marvin Mims. He also looked like his old self by chipping in 56 yards on the ground (6 carries). Up next is a road matchup against the explosive Dolphins, and then the soft Bears defense is on tap in Week 4. Wilson looks to build on his understanding of Sean Payton’s offense as the season ramps up.

C.J. Stroud, HOU @ JAX

Stroud bounced back from a rough Week 1 to pass for 384-2-0 against the Colts (rushing 3-1-0 and losing a fumble). There will be ups and downs for the rookie in 2023, but with a team that is rebuilding they most likely will be behind in games and forced to throw. This week he gets the Jaguars defense which is bottom 5 against QBs, so if your waiver wire is thin and you lost Aaron Rodgers, Stroud will be worth a stream.

Other QBs to consider: Bryce Young CAR (@ SEA); Desmond Ridder ATL (@ DET)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Mac Jones, NE vs MIA: Jones had a rough outing against the Dolphins, managing a 231-1-1 passing line to go with 5-25-1 rushing. The upcoming schedule features the Jets and Cowboys who boast strong pass defenses so he can is be left on the bench/wire for now.

Jordan Love, GB @ ATL: Love put up 151-3-0 with 2-23-0 rushing in a losing effort against the Falcons. The first two weeks have shown Love to be hyper efficient, throwing 3 touchdowns in both games while having a total of 52 attempts. Christian Watson and Aaron Jones were both sidelined but there’s still a concern of touchdown regression if he doesn’t start throwing the ball more. Week 3’s opponent (NO) was top 5 against QBs in 2022, but weeks 4 and 5 (LV and DET) were both bottom 10 defenses against QBs last year.

Brock Purdy, SF @ LAR: Purdy saved his fantasy day with his feet, going 3-5-1 rushing despite only throwing for 206 yards (without a touchdown or interception). He has to throw touchdowns to pay off, but it looks possible over the next few weeks with matchups against the Giants (allowed Josh Dobbs to throw and rush for a touchdown) and Arizona next up.

Running Backs

Matt Breida, NYG @ SF

Breida didn't do much in Week 2, but with Saquon Barkley having to be carted off with an ankle injury, Breida will most likely be the next man up as the Giants prepare for a Thursday night game against the 49ers. San Francisco has a tough rush defense, but they just allowed Kyren Williams to put up 28 PPR points mostly due to 6 catches. If you choose to roll the dice in Week 3, the Giants schedule softens up a bit thereafter, with games against bottom-10 rush defenses (Seahawks, Dolphins).

Zack Moss, IND @ BAL

Moss got his first start of the season after sitting out Week 1 recovering from a broken forearm. He promptly delivered 18-88-1 rushing and 4-4-19 receiving. Considering Deon Jackson was dreadful in Week 1, Moss got the start and didn’t disappoint. There are some tough matchups ahead (Ravens, Rams, Titans, Jaguars, Browns are the next 5 opponents and all rank top 10 against RBs), but Moss appears to have taken control of this backfield for however long Jonathan Taylor is out (at least 2 more weeks).

UPDATE: Jerome Ford, CLE vs TEN

Ford came on after Nick Chubb sustained a season-ending knee injury and put up 16-106-0 rushing to go along with 4-3-25-1 receiving (and adding a 2-point conversion). Ford carried the load after Chubb left and had a 70-yard gain that should help him maintain the lead role. Up next are two tough rush defenses, Titans and Ravens, before the Week 5 bye. The Browns may seek to add another RB (Kareem Hunt?), but for now, Ford is a priority add on volume alone.

UPDATE: Tony Jones, NO @ GB

Jones came on for an injured Jamaal Williams to go 12-34-2 on the ground, although he missed both targets. Alvin Kamara should be back starting in Week 4, but if Williams sits and you need a spot starter for Week 3, the Green Bay defense has been bottom-10 against RBs to start the year, especially those that catch passes.

UPDATE: Jaylen Warren, PIT @ LV

Warren went 6-20-0 on the ground but 6-4-66-0 through the air against a Browns defense that locked down the Steelers on Monday night. Najee Harris is still the starter, but his efficiency is in question and Warren looks like the more explosive back. It is not expected that Warren will take over the backfield, but his 12 targets through two games means he still has a role in PPR leagues. The Raiders have given up 16 catches to RBs in the first two games of the season, so Warren should be busy.

Other RBs to consider: Roschon Johnson CHI (@ KC); Zach Charbonnet SEA (vs CAR)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, BAL @ CIN: Edwards went 10-62-1 (0 targets) while Hill posted 11-41-0 rushing and 3-3-12 receiving. This appears to be a committee backfield with Edwards getting early down and goal line work and Hill getting the pass-catching role. Week 3 should be easier sledding against the Colts. Both backs should have some FLEX appeal as they seek to share touches alongside Lamar Jackson on the ground.

Tyler Allgeier, ATL vs GB: Allgeier came back to earth with a 16-48-0 rushing line and 0 targets in Week 2. Bijan Robinson is dominating this backfield (as expected), but there are still plenty of rushing attempts available in the Falcons run-heavy attack. Allgeier is a strong handcuff with potential for more in games against poor rush defenses.

Kenneth Gainwell, PHI vs MIN: Gainwell sat out Week 2 due to injury while D’Andre Swift went off for 27.1 PPR points against the Vikings. It will be interesting to see if Swift has taken control of this backfield or whether Gainwell comes back as the starter if he’s healthy for Week 3. Gainwell is only 60% owned so he’s certainly worth an add in deeper leagues as Swift has never played a full slate of games.

Kyren Williams, LAR @ SF: Williams went off against a tough 49ers defense to the tune of 14-52-1 rushing and 10-6-48-1 receiving. Williams appears to have the trust of Sean McVay as Cam Akers was a healthy scratch and perhaps is on the trading block. The Rams have shown a penchant to have a bellcow RB under McVay’s tenure, so if he’s still available in your league (62% owned), go get him.

Joshua Kelley, LAC @ TEN: Kelley found the going tough against the Titans with 13-39-0 on the ground with Austin Ekeler sidelined. Kelley appears to have control of this backfield until Ekeler returns, but that may be as soon as Week 3.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Tank Dell

Tank Dell, Robert Woods, and Nico Collins HOU @ JAX

Collins has been the WR1 for the Texans in 2023, exploding for 9-7-146-1 in Week 2. Tank delivered a 10-7-72-1 line against the Colts, leading the team in targets and finishing 2nd in receptions. Woods put up 9-6-74-0 receiving to go along with 10-6-57-0 in Week 1. C.J. Stroud has thrown for 44+ attempts in both outings this year, so the Texans aren’t shy about letting Stroud get some work in as the team plays from behind. This will likely continue against a middle-of-the-pack Jaguars defense against WRs, so Collins (61% owned on Yahoo) is the priority add while Dell and Woods (available in 90% of Yahoo leagues) are still available in all but the deepest of leagues.

Tutu Atwell, LAR @ CIN

Atwell produced a 9-7-77-0 line while chipping in 1-5-0 rushing against a tough 49ers defense. Atwell appears to have stepped into the WR2 role behind Puka Nacua/Cooper Kupp as he’s drawn 8+ targets in both games of 2023 and produced 15+ PPR points in each. The Bengals have been stingy against WRs, but Weeks 4 and 5 are against bottom-10 WR defenses (Colts, Eagles). Regardless, Matthew Stafford will deal out targets and it looks like Tutu has carved out a nice role in this offense.

Josh Reynolds, DET vs ATL

Reynolds spiked 2 touchdowns on his way to 6-5-66-2 receiving against the Seahawks. Amon-Ra St. Brown is the clear WR1 of the Lions, but he’s been out produced by Reynolds through two weeks. With Goff being quite efficient (71% completion) on 30+ attempts per game the WR2 role will have value in this offense. Tough WR defenses are up over the next three weeks (Falcons, Packers, Panthers all rank top 10) but if St. Brown has any ill effects from the cramping he saw in Week 2, Reynolds should be the main beneficiary.

Zach Ertz, ARI vs DAL

Ertz looks to have shaken off the knee injury of late 2022 as he went 8-6-56-0 in Week 2 after garnering 10 targets Week 1. The Cowboys defense is a tough draw in Week 3, but they are middle of the pack against TEs while being top 5 against both RBs and WRs, so Ertz should be Josh Dobbs’ main outlet as the Cardinals will be playing from behind.

UPDATE: Adam Thielen, CAR @ SEA

Thielen was quiet in Week 1 but looked like his old self in Week 2, producing 9-7-54-1 against a stingy Saints pass defense. In Week 3 he gets a soft Seahawks pass defense that has been torched by the Rams and Lions the past two weeks. Carolina is a run-first offense but there appears to be room for their WR1 to score.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Kadarius Toney KC (vs CHI), Odell Beckham Jr. BAL (vs IND), Sam LaPorta DET (@ ATL), Cade Otton TB (vs PHI)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Puka Nacua, LAR vs SF: Nacua went nuclear as a stand-in for Kupp, going 20-15-147-0 against the 49ers. It will be interesting to see how he does when Kupp comes back, but for now he is a must-start for however long Kupp is out.

Kendrick Bourne, NE vs MIA: Bourne led the team in targets but only delivered 9-4-29-0 receiving against the Dolphins. With Mac Jones throwing 40+ times per game there are targets to be had in this Patriots offense, but with DeVante Parker back Jones dealt 6+ targets to five different receivers so it seems there is no alpha at the moment. Tough defenses (Jets, Cowboys, Saints) against WRs are on top for the next three weeks but this could still serve Bourne well as Jones’ security blanket.

Jakobi Meyers, LV @ BUF: Myers was out Week 2 with a concussion. Jimmy Garoppolo only had 24 attempts despite getting blown out by the Bills. As such, expectations for Myers should be tempered in Week 3 (assuming he returns) as Davante Adams is a target hog and the Raiders don’t seem to trust Garoppolo’s arm to bring them back if they are behind.

Hunter Henry, NE vs MIA: Henry went 7-6-52-1 in Week 2 after going 6-5-56-1 in Week 1. He has been nothing if not consistent, and there appears to be a solid connection in Bill O’Brien’s offense between the quarterback and tight end. With Jones putting up 40+ attempts per game Henry should have a solid floor week in and week out.

Hayden Hurst, CAR vs NO: Update coming Tuesday.

Defense/ Special Teams

Jaguars vs HOU

Jacksonville only allowed 17 points on the road against the Chiefs and they’ve had back-to-back weeks with 3 turnovers. The Texans offense has given up 5+ sacks per game to the Ravens and Colts and scored 16 points combined in two meetings versus Jacksonville in 2022.

Chiefs vs CHI

Kansas City stymied a potent Jacksonville attack (9 points, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery) on the road. In Week 3 they are at home against an anemic Bears offense that has given up 10 sacks, 4 turnovers, and 2 defensive touchdowns in the first two weeks of 2023.

Patriots @ NYJ

NE has been steady to start the year against tough offenses (Philadelphia and Miami). Next up they get the Jets with Zach Wilson at the helm, who just threw 3 interceptions and managed just 10 points against the Cowboys. In two wins last year the Patriots held the Jets to a combined 20 points, while grabbing 3 interceptions in New York.

Seahawks vs CAR

Seattle converted 3 turnovers into a defensive touchdown against the dangerous Detroit Lions in Week 2. At home this week, they get the Panthers (and rookie QB Bryce Young), who gave up 3 turnovers and only scored 10 points against Atlanta Week 1.