NFL Waiver Wire: Week 3 Deep Dive

NFL Waiver Wire: Week 3 Deep Dive

This article is part of our NFL Waiver Wire series.

With another data point to the 2022 season, the list of worthy waiver wire targets can be narrowed. Running backs and tight ends in particular have little to offer beyond the corresponding article published earlier in the week – at least options worth starting in Week 3. The purpose of the wire can also change at this point in the year. For those with bad injury luck or some misses in their draft selections, pickups may need to be plug-and-play options. And those who've enjoyed better fortune, now can be a time to take advantage of those in your league in a pinch and stash either injured players or those whose role could grow in the next few weeks. This article aims to address both needs.

Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill vs. Raiders (15 percent ESPN)

It would take some guts to start Tannehill after his meltdown in Buffalo last week. The Raiders aren't an easy matchup, but they represent a mediocre defense through two games as measured by DVOA.

Marcus Mariota at Seahawks (14 percent ESPN)

Mariota has been passable as a passer, but he's looked to run aggressively early in the campaign. That bodes well for his fantasy value, particularly in what is still expected to be a poor Seattle D.

Jared Goff at Vikings (19 percent ESPN)

The Lions offer a legitimate offense, and Goff is doing more than simply managing the game. He currently ranks 11th in aDOT and is tied for third with eight completions of 20

With another data point to the 2022 season, the list of worthy waiver wire targets can be narrowed. Running backs and tight ends in particular have little to offer beyond the corresponding article published earlier in the week – at least options worth starting in Week 3. The purpose of the wire can also change at this point in the year. For those with bad injury luck or some misses in their draft selections, pickups may need to be plug-and-play options. And those who've enjoyed better fortune, now can be a time to take advantage of those in your league in a pinch and stash either injured players or those whose role could grow in the next few weeks. This article aims to address both needs.

Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill vs. Raiders (15 percent ESPN)

It would take some guts to start Tannehill after his meltdown in Buffalo last week. The Raiders aren't an easy matchup, but they represent a mediocre defense through two games as measured by DVOA.

Marcus Mariota at Seahawks (14 percent ESPN)

Mariota has been passable as a passer, but he's looked to run aggressively early in the campaign. That bodes well for his fantasy value, particularly in what is still expected to be a poor Seattle D.

Jared Goff at Vikings (19 percent ESPN)

The Lions offer a legitimate offense, and Goff is doing more than simply managing the game. He currently ranks 11th in aDOT and is tied for third with eight completions of 20 yards or more.

Joe Flacco vs. Bengals (three percent ESPN)

It hasn't necessarily been pretty, but Flacco has attempted a combined 103 passes over the first two outings. He's got a strong group of receivers and has shown the ability to get them the ball.

Cooper Rush at Giants (one percent ESPN)

It wasn't the most fantasy-friendly performance from Rush in Week 2, but he looked competent running the Dallas offense. Monday's projected game script against the Giants likely means he won't take to the air a lot, but is worthy of being rostered in Superflex/2QB leagues.

Kenny Pickett at Browns (four percent ESPN)

Mitch Trubisky has proven pretty quickly he isn't capable of properly running the Pittsburgh offense. With 10 days in between the team's next two matchups, it would be a natural time for the Steelers to make the switch at quarterback.

Running Backs

Eno Benjamin vs. Rams (six percent ESPN)

Benjamin was in a fairly even split with Darrel Williams for playing time once James Conner went down and should have the superior potential as a pass catcher. Monitor Conner's status throughout the week, though he didn't practice Wednesday.

Jordan Mason at Broncos (three percent ESPN)
Marlon Mack at Broncos (four percent ESPN)

Jeff Wilson will retain his role as the lead back in San Francisco, but the team continues to lose depth behind him in the running back room. Mason has been used exclusively on special teams so far this season, but that may have to change. Mack just joined the roster and has been productive at points during his career. Either is worth stashing to see how the hierarchy shakes out.

Tyler Allgeier at Seahawks (17 percent ESPN)

Allgeier earned 10 carries against the Rams, an even split with Cordarrelle Patterson. He didn't do much with that work, but should offer fantasy value if he continues to gain a greater share of the carries moving forward.

Jerick McKinnon at Colts (16 percent ESPN)
Isiah Pacheco at Colts (16 percent ESPN)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the lead back in KC and has been effective in the role through two games. Even so, McKinnon continues to cut into his work as a pass catcher and Pacheco on the ground.

Joshua Kelley vs. Jaguars (one percent ESPN)
Sony Michel vs. Jaguars (five percent ESPN)

Neither Kelley nor Michel will challenge for the lead-back role barring injury, but the Chargers haven't used Austin Ekeler as a rusher inside the 10-yard line. These two aren't great to roster at this point, but there will be moderate value if one emerges as a breather/goal-line back.

Rachaad White vs. Packers (14 percent ESPN)

White currently has no standalone value, but Giovani Bernard was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. That move ensures White is the handcuff to Leonard Fournette for the next several weeks.

Wide Receivers

Sterling Shepard vs. Cowboys (18 percent ESPN)

Shepard was among the most popular adds this week, and rightfully so. He flashed big-play potential in Week 1 prior to earning 10 targets on Sunday. With Kenny Golladay seemingly out of the picture for the time being, Shepard has a clear path to production and has displayed the skills to take advantage.

Nico Collins at Bears (15 percent ESPN)

Houston isn't necessarily an offense I want to be relying upon for fantasy points, but targets are extremely concentrated. Through two weeks, Brandin Cooks has nearly 30 percent of them and Collins at 16. Air yards are a bit closer with Cooks at 34 and Collins at 27. No other receiver on the roster has registered double digits in either metric.

Corey Davis vs. Bengals (seven percent ESPN) 

Similar to Shepard, Davis has found a way to produce early on. He was peppered with targets in the opener and delivered a splash play in Week 2. Davis may not be someone to rely on all season, but he's a viable streamer for now.

Nelson Agholor vs. Ravens (11 percent ESPN)

DeVante Parker is operating as the Patriots' second receiver as measured by routes run and snap rate, but Agholor is better in terms of fantasy opportunity. The Ravens' secondary has looked very vulnerable through two outings, so this could be a nice streaming spot.

Greg Dortch vs. Rams (four percent ESPN)

Dortch showcased extreme efficiency in Week 2, which isn't likely to repeat itself against the Rams. But Rondale Moore doesn't appear close to a return, so Dortch should receive plenty of the field once again.  

Zay Jones at Chargers (nine percent ESPN)

Jones has been a starting outside receiver for the Jaguars with Christian Kirk the primary slot option. The results have been mixed through two weeks, though game script is likely to work in his favor on Sunday.

Cole Beasley vs. Packers (two percent ESPN)
Breshad Perriman vs. Packers (two percent ESPN) 

Mike Evans will be sidelined for Tampa Bay's Week 3 matchup, while both Julio Jones and Chris Godwin didn't practice to begin the week. Perriman finished second on the team in routes run against the Saints, with only Russell Gage topping him. Beasley is expected to be on the active roster by Sunday and should immediately step into the slot role with Tom Brady targeting him.

Alec Pierce vs. Chiefs (nine percent ESPN)

Pierce suffered an ugly NFL debut that ended up with him in concussion protocol, but he practiced fully Wednesday and appears in line to return. Ashton Dulin made a good impression with Pierce and Michael Pittman sidelined, so it may take some time for Pierce to make a statistical impact.  

Devin Duvernay at Patriots (17 percent ESPN) 

Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson have almost identical playing time and route involvement through two games, but the former has earned 3.0 yards per route run as opposed to the latter's 0.92. That high of a mark is unsustainable for Duvernay, but his hot start should provide him a more consistent role. Be aware he could be sidelined for Week 3 as he's currently in concussion protocol.

Noah Brown at Giants (eight percent ESPN)

Brown has stepped up with two strong performances with Michael Gallup out to begin the season. Gallup is likely to be on a snap count in his season debut Monday, so Brown could have one more week of production on the way.

Van Jefferson at Cardinals (12 percent ESPN)

Jefferson looks unlikely to return this weekend, but the Rams are in desperate need of an offensive weapon to effectively pair with Cooper Kupp as Allen Robinson hasn't gotten the job done so far.

KJ Hamler vs. 49ers (three percent ESPN)

The Broncos have taken it easy on Hamler in his return from a torn ACL, but they may need to speed up that process if Jerry Jeudy is out against the 49ers. Denver's offense hasn't taken the step forward expected under Russell Wilson, so don't expect too much until proven otherwise.

Tight Ends

Evan Engram at Chargers (22 percent ESPN)

Engram is running a lot of routes and is being targeted a lot. That hasn't led to fantasy production – yet – due to a 4.6 aDOT.

Robert Tonyan at Buccaneers (19 percent ESPN)

Tonyan is still ramping up to total involvement in the Green Bay offense, so he may not be a great option to start immediately. We also know the Packers are lacking impact pass catchers, so he should have get a lot of looks from Aaron Rodgers as he approaches full health.

Tyler Conklin vs. Bengals (six percent ESPN)

Conklin has recorded 10 receptions this season, making him a decent PPR option. C.J. Uzomah may return from a hamstring injury against Cincinnati, which could cut into Conklin's pass-catching role.

Juwan Johnson at Panthers (one percent ESPN)

Johnson represents the top tight end in New Orleans and has shown a decent PPR floor with Jameis Winston as his QB. A touchdown is the only path to a splash performance, but Johnson is unlikely to provide zero fantasy points.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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