Waiver Wire Watch: Week 3 Targets
Due to a weekend of travel and my niece's rather rambunctious wedding, I’ve managed about 12 total hours of sleep the last three nights, so please excuse me if this week’s Waiver Wire Watch (WWW) doesn’t showcase my usual wit. To be honest, I’m borderline delusional to the point where I thought Derek Carr was actually good Sunday, which obviously can’t be the case. I also think I saw Ryan Fitzpatrick wearing a Conor McGregor costume, and it’s not even Halloween! Before I totally lose my mind and let the unicorn taco dog outside my hotel room kidnap my sleeping wife for taunting me with her snoring, I need to get this bad boy pounded out, so let’s hop to it.
Throughout this series, we will be using PPR scoring, a $100 FAAB budget and a 50% threshold for player ownership. The intro to Week 1’s edition of WWW goes into far more detail about the, uh, details.
As we get deeper into the season, I don’t plan to give long write-ups for players I recommended the previous week. In some instances, it will be warranted, but for the most part, those players will go in the Still Worth a Look section for each position. I’ll continue giving them FAAB bids and rankings. You will see a similar tack with the Drop/Ignore recommendations, as I will only add new names or reiterate previously identified players who are grossly over-owned.
As always, John Paulsen will edit this piece and reorder/adjust the prices as necessary.
Mr. Dalton has made this list three straight weeks, finding himself deserving of the attention due to a red-hot start. Now averaging 21.6 points through two games and staring down the barrel of an incredible schedule almost completely devoid of matchups to be scared of, we may need to take Dalton seriously as a QB1. That isn’t the sleep deprivation talking either. OK, maybe a little, but history shows us this isn’t an impossible task, as the orange coiffed quarterback has two seasons in the last five with 18 or more PPG. Last year, Cam Newton was the number two scorer at the position with 18.6 PPG.
Making a second appearance in WWW after falling off the list last week, Bortles earned his way here with a masterful 29/45, 377-yard, four-touchdown, one-interception shellacking of the Patriots. At some point, we should probably learn from past mistakes and stop underestimating Bortles as a fantasy force. In the last three seasons, he has finished as the No. 12, No. 14 and No. 4 quarterback. A little math and we find his average end-of-season ranking over that span is higher than the far more respected (and owned) trio of Matt Ryan, Alex Smith and Ben Roethlisberger. There will be times, like Week 1, where the Jags’ elite defense creates a game script that limits Bortles’ ceiling but don’t let that scare you off The Blake as a potential every-week-option and a high-end streamer.
It was a fun thing Fitzpatrick did Week 1, mauling the Saints, but it was also easy to dismiss. We’ve been teased by the bearded-one before, specifically during an absurd 2015 season with the Jets. Of course, he followed that with a 2016 so horrid, Kyle Petty took playing time away from him. To give you an idea how embarrassing that is, Petty is forgettable enough that half of you didn’t even notice I said Kyle instead of Bryce. Still, it’s impossible to ignore what Fitzpatrick has done this year. He is averaging over 400 yards passing, has an 8-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio and has added 35 yards and a score on the ground. A Week 3 game at home versus a Steelers team that has given up over 60 points to quarterbacks this year isn’t likely to pose much of a threat. If that comes to pass, it is exceedingly difficult to envision Jameis Winston regaining his gig when he comes back Week 4, especially with a bye the following week.
Like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Flacco makes the jump from Missed the Cut to the main stage this week. The author of a 55-attempt, 376-yard Week 2, he has averaged 19.8 points the first fortnight of the season. That is likely unsustainable for the resurgent veteran, but he is a solid streaming option in most matchups nonetheless. Even Week 3 against the Denver defense isn’t as scary as you think, as they gave up 20 fantasy points to Russell Wilson Week 1 and allowed Derek Carr to complete 29/32 passes for 288 yards on Sunday.
Still Worth a Look
OK, OK, so the whole Tyrod Taylor (31% owned, $1) thing didn’t go great Week 2. Thankfully he topped 12 points, keeping us out of total disaster territory. The Browns have decent matchups against the Jets and Raiders the next two weeks, so keep throwing him out there if you need a fill-in, or just like to live dangerously. Off of another solid performance, Ryan Tannehill (7% owned, $1) remains one of the better bargains at the position. As long as you don’t expect a 35-point breakout week, he is a high-floor option with a cherry matchup against the Raiders Week 3.
Missed the Cut
Derek Carr (43% owned) looked far more competent against Denver than he did facing the Rams, but only managed a modest 15.5 point fantasy performance. That isn't terribly likely to improve drastically against a decent Dolphins defense this week. We have rookie fever! First up is Sam Darnold (13% owned). The frosh followed up a stellar debut with a reasonably productive game against Miami. The bad: two picks. The good: 334 yards and a touchdown. He has tough matchups with Jacksonville, Denver, Minnesota, and Chicago over the next six weeks, but a Week 6 game at home against the Colts could be streaming opportunity. This won’t apply to most of you, but if you play in a two-quarterback, superflex or super deep league, Josh Rosen (1% owned) is going to be starting games sooner than later. Baker Mayfield (8% owned) may not be far behind, especially if Tyrod Taylor fails to move the offense this coming Thursday. A switch to the first overall pick would be made easier with the extra days before the Browns’ next game.
It has become obvious Eli Manning isn’t going to help fantasy teams this year. He doesn’t pass the eye test and his offensive line is a grease fire in a dumpster getting hit by a train that has gone off the tracks. Marcus Mariota played poorly Week 1 and is nursing an injury to his throwing arm. In normal-sized one-quarterback leagues, he isn’t worth holding on to.
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