Welcome to the exciting world of fantasy football, where success hinges not only on your draft-day choices but also on your savvy ability to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the waiver wire. As Week 2 of the NFL season is now behind us, Week 3 presents a golden opportunity to gain an edge over your competition by identifying those hidden gems that can elevate your team to championship heights. In this article, we'll explore the art of waiver wire pickups, providing insights into strategic roster moves and highlighting some promising players who could make a significant impact early in the season. The waiver wire isn't just for filling gaps created by injuries; it's a treasure trove of potential.
Keep a close eye on players who may have slipped through the cracks during your draft. As the season progresses, unforeseen circumstances can lead to increased opportunities for overlooked talent. Whether it's a breakout rookie, a late-blooming veteran, or a player stepping into a new role, the waiver wire offers a chance to snatch up potential fantasy stars before the rest of your league catches on. Your ability to adapt and stay ahead of the curve will be a game-changer in your fantasy football journey. Make strategic, well-informed choices that set your team on the path to victory throughout the season. With that, here are some Week 3 waiver wire pickups to consider:
Quarterbacks To Consider:
Derek Carr - New Orleans Saints
New Orleans quarterback Derek Carr would be a solid addition to your fantasy team, provided he is still available (as he should be in most shallower formats). He has an exciting WR trio in Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Rashid Shaheed and is two weeks away from Alvin Kamara’s return. You could do worse. He threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against Tennessee.
Matt Stafford - Los Angeles Rams
In the first two games, St. Louis Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown for 300+ yards each week and is only getting better. Even without Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua has helped lead the Ram’s receiving corps to the point where this passing offense is starting to look dynamic. Add to it the running back situation with Kyren Williams being the new starter (we have no idea what’s happening with Cam Akers), and there is real potential for this offense to have continued success with Stafford under center. If he’s available in your league, go get him.
Sam Howell - Washington Commanders
Would you believe that Sam Howell is now 3-0 as the starting quarterback for Washington? It’s true. Howell led the Commanders to an impressive comeback win in Denver, passing for 299 yards and two TD passes. He has 501 yards passing for the season to accompany four combined TDs. With Buffalo on tap in Week 3, Howell and the Commanders have a massive opportunity for an exclamation point win. If you have a quarterback that is out due to injury, take a long look at him this week.
Gardner Minshew - Indianapolis Colts
There’s a real possibility Anthony Richardson could miss Week 3 due to going through the NFL concussion protocol. If he does, consider Gardner Minshew. During Indianapolis‘ win over Houston, Minshew played well, completing 19 passes for 171 yards. He’s already familiar with the offensive playbook from his time in Philadelphia with head coach Shane Streichen, and should be able to immediately step in and fill the void should Richardson miss any time. He’s worth an add this week if you’re hurting at the QB position.
Running Backs To Consider:
Jerome Ford/Pierre Strong - Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns starting running back Nick Chubb suffered a brutal injury Monday night and is out for the season. With that in mind, it’s next man up on the totem pole for the Browns, and that means Jerome Ford. Ford rushed for over 100 yards once Chubb went down, and has the trust of the coaching staff. Undoubtedly the pickup of the week for fantasy purposes, he will step right in and become the starter for the Browns. You may also want to consider his backup Pierre Strong, as well. Strong showed promise during his time with the New England Patriots, and has a well-rounded skill-set. With the way things change quickly in the NFL, Strong has value as the backup to Ford and would be in line to start should Ford (fingers crossed) also go down with an injury.
Roschon Johnson - Chicago Bears
It’s starting to look more and more apparent that Chicago Bears running back Roschon Johnson is going to be the starter for the team sooner rather than later. D’onta Foreman was a healthy scratch on Sunday, and even though starter Khalil Herbert played well, Johnson played better. With the Bears currently at 0-2, they might be looking to unleash the future sooner rather than later, and that would mean more playing time for Johnson. At the very least he’d be worth a pickup and stash.
Matt Brieda/Gary Brightwell - New York Giants
Even though the G-men came back and beat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, they lost starting running back Saquan Barkley to an ankle injury. It typically takes ankle injuries 3-4 weeks to fully heal (depending on the severity), so it’s not unreasonable to assume that Barkely may be out for at least the next few weeks. Brieda is currently penciled in as the starter, and provides some solid skills as a receiver (good addition for PPR leagues). Brightwell is in his third year in the NFL but is still only 24 years old and currently in a good position to be the starter should an injury occur to Brieda. If you miss out on the Ford/Strong combo in Cleveland, the Brieda/Brightwell combo would be a solid consolation for at least the next few weeks.
Wide Receivers To Consider:
Nico Collins/Tank Dell - Houston Texans
It’s looking more and more that the Houston offense is going to be more pass heavy this year than the past, and that bodes well for most of the Texan receiving group. Through the first two weeks, Nico Collins is distancing himself from the competition as the go-to guy, but Tank Dell is starting to make a name for himself as well. In the game this past week, Dell finished with seven catches for 72 yards and a TD. With third-round draft capital, the rookie has the skills to succeed at the NFL level, and so far is showing natural chemistry with quarterback C.J. Stroud. With Houston projected to trail in many games, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Dell eventually becomes a reliable fantasy option as the year goes along. Nico Collins is the guy to grab so far, but Dell has the best long-term upside. If you’re in need of receiving help, these two should be high on your priority list.
Josh Reynolds - Detroit Lions
While we wait for Jameson Williams to return from suspension, it’s looking more and more like Josh Reynolds will be a solid 2nd option in the Detroit passing game behind Amon-Ra St. Brown. Reynolds followed up his 80-yard performance in Week 1 with a solid 66-yard and two TD performance in Week 2. Detroit has one of the stronger passing offenses in the league, and Reynolds is currently 2nd on the team in targets with 13. Until Williams returns from suspension, Reynolds is a worthy addition and even potential flex consideration starter for your fantasy roster.
Marvin Mims - Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims is starting to show why the team moved up into the second round of the NFL draft to select him. Through two games, Mim’s 23.5 Yards Per Reception is third-highest in the league, and while it’s still a small sample size, his role could start to grow. He caught the ball four times last week and took two of those to the house. Currently he’s behind Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, but could surpass Sutton with another big play or two. Stash and see what happens.
Tight Ends To Consider:
Luke Musgrave - Green Bay Packers
Green Bay tight end Luke Musgrave has now had snap shares of 75-percent in Week 1 and 88-percent in Week 2. Even though he virtually disappeared in Week 2, in Week 1 he led all TEs in Air Yards and finished with 50 receiving yards. Musgrave is a big-time athlete in a full-time role with currently no competition. As he becomes more acclimated to the NFL, expect more consistency moving forward. Solid add and stash if you’re in need of a tight end.
Zach Ertz - Arizona (10%)
Would you believe that Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz is still available in 90% of Yahoo leagues? His 18 (yes 18!) targets in just two games are a Travis Kelce like number. Ertz has caught six balls in back-to-back games. In the team’s most recent loss to the Giants, Ertz had 56 receiving yards. Even though he’s 33, Ertz is currently the check-down option for quarterback Joshua Dobbs and should continue to get consistent looks. If he’s available, grab him and don’t be afraid to plug him into your starting lineup.
Kickers To Consider:
Matt Prater - Arizona Cardinals
This is the second week in a row Matt Prater has been solid for the Arizona Cardinals. As part of the waiver wire column last week, Prater’s status has not changed. He has a booming leg, and nailed three field goals in Week 1 while also hitting two more in Week 2. He’s slowly moving up the kicker position rankings, and if you’re in need of a kicker, should be a solid option moving forward.
Defenses To Consider:
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs D/ST should be available in most fantasy football leagues. They play the Chicago Bears in Week 3 in Arrowhead, and that should bode well for the chances of having a solid fantasy week. Kansas City just held a good Jaguars offense to only nine points in Week 2. The Chiefs’ defense should start to form into a solid fantasy unit moving forward. Go get them if you need an up and coming defense.
The Jaguars defense could be available in your league for Week 3 given that they were probably dropped in Week 2 due to playing the Chiefs. In Week 3, Jacksonville gets a good matchup at home vs. the Houston Texans. The Texans have only scored 29 points through two games and QB C.J. Stroud has already been sacked 11 times. The fact that they were able to hold Patrick Mahomes to just 17 points shows their potential for success. Don’t be afraid to pick them up and stream this week against Houston.
Remember, the key to successful waiver wire pickups is staying ahead of the curve and identifying players with the potential for increased roles or production. Don't hesitate to make strategic roster moves to give your fantasy team an edge in Week 2 and beyond. Good luck!