We heard all offseason that this year would be a bit tumultuous, but I’m not sure anyone could have planned for the extent to which high-profile injuries would affect the fantasy landscape just two weeks in. Although the basis of this article is to identify streaming candidates for the current week, it can also be used as a tool to fill up any spare bench spots with players I feel can make in impact in future weeks. If the mad rush to pick up priority waiver adds didn’t make it apparent this week, it’s best to be a week early than to be late. The silver lining of an injury-plagued week is that there are several legitimately exciting names to watch, so make sure to check the “Other names to consider” section for each position below.
If there are any time-traveling fantasy footballers from the future reading this, we all have a couple of quick questions before going any further:
- Why did you willingly time-travel back to 2020?
- Can you please give us a heads-up if any more big-name players are going down this week?
I’ll be sure to let you all know if I receive any responses (time-travelers: feel free to use the Comments section). Until then, here are a few RB/WR/TE streamers that I feel can make a splash for your fantasy squad in Week 3.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end. All players below are under 65%-owned as of 9/23/20.
*Mike Davis (RB, Carolina Panthers)
I’m certain this isn’t the first time you’ve seen Mike Davis pop up on the fantasy radar this week after Christian McCaffrey went down with a high-ankle injury. The 5’9”, 220lb battering ram can’t be expected to fill the enormous shoes of “Run CMC”, but we seek volume and opportunity in streamers, and Davis has just that. With little competition for early-down and goal-line work, Davis figures to lead the Panthers’ RB committee for the next 4-6 weeks. In 2018 with Seattle, by far his highest-usage season, Davis turned in 112 rushes for 514 yards (4.6 yards-per-carry) and four TDs along with 34 receptions for 214 yards and a score through the air. You won’t see him break many big plays with average speed, but he’s a must-add due to volume and role.
I realize we’re still in the RB section, but while we’re on the topic of Carolina’s backfield, I do also want to mention WR Curtis Samuel’s involvement moving forward. New head coach Matt Rhule brings innovative play-calling to the table, and I see Samuel carving out a hybrid RB/WR role for the foreseeable future. I would add him in deeper leagues, especially if he gains RB eligibility, as he can make splash plays anytime with his game-breaking speed.
*Jerick McKinnon (RB, San Francisco 49ers)
Different backfield, same vacancy for touches due to injured starters. The 49ers suffered knee injuries to both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman last week, leaving McKinnon as the next man up. He has missed each of the last two seasons with his injuries of his own, but he now has the opportunity to make good on the contract San Francisco signed him to back in 2018. Despite jaw-dropping athleticism displayed at the combine, McKinnon has never truly had the opportunity to lead a backfield until now, his seventh pro season. Injuries aside, he does not have a lot of wear-and-tear on his body and should do well in a multi-faceted role for the run-heavy 49ers. Start him as a Flex this week in what should be a favorable contest against the Giants.
Other names to consider: Darrell Henderson Jr, Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, Joshua Kelley, Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson, Dion Lewis, Jeff Wilson Jr, Myles Gaskin, Chris Thompson, Sony Michel
*Russell Gage (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
Given the fantasy community’s propensity to “chase points” and add players who perform well early on, I was surprised to see Russell Gage so widely available (38%-owned Yahoo, 40% ESPN). Through two weeks of action, Gage has registered 15 catches on 21 targets for 160 yards and a score. The Falcons defense hasn’t slowed anyone down yet this season, pushing them into shootouts where the passing attack takes center stage. Gage’s 21 targets are second on the team behind only Calvin Ridley (22), and that’s with WR1 Julio Jones (16) in the lineup. Jones (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday and is very much questionable to play at full-strength this week, if at all, so pick up Gage and slot him into your Flex in PPR leagues for Week 3 against the Bears.
N’Keal Harry (WR, New England Patriots)
Do I think the Patriots want Cam Newton throwing 44 passes every week like he did in Week 2? No, I do not, but I am fairly confident in saying that N’Keal Harry will be an integral part of the passing game this season. His 18 targets are tied with Julian Edelman for most on the team and I think the second-year, first-round pick is only scratching the surface of his impact this season. Unlike Edelman, Harry is a big body at 6’4”, 225lbs. With a large catch radius suited to the sometimes-inaccurate Newton and the ability to box-out smaller defenders in the end zone, Harry should continue to make strides as a reliable pass-catcher in this offense. The Raiders do not boast a fearsome secondary, making Harry a definite add and potential start this week as a Flex.
Golden Tate (WR, New York Giants)
What do you do when your star RB (Saquon Barkley) goes down for the season, your #1 WR (Sterling Shepard) is out for at least three games, and your young QB (Daniel Jones) has to make throws under pressure behind a rebuilding offensive line? For those who answered “pray” or “accept that your season is in peril,” you are probably correct, but the answer I had in mind was “feed targets to whatever playmakers you have left with quick throws.” Golden Tate is no longer in his prime, but he has been the type of “ol’ reliable” veteran player you go to in situations like this. Tate has lasted 11 years in the league for a reason, with the ability to win on contested throws, make defenders miss, and bust open big plays with his skills in the open field. We always tend to want to find the next big thing instead of going with the same names we’ve seen for over a decade, but I think Tate will provide a safe floor in PPR leagues as a Flex this week against the 49ers.
Other names to consider: Mike Williams, Sammy Watkins (63%-owned ESPN), DeSean Jackson, Curtis Samuel, Corey Davis, Christian Kirk, Allen Lazard, Michael Pittman Jr, Marquez Valdes-Scantling
*Dalton Schultz (TE, Dallas Cowboys)
I will admit that I was “last week”-years-old when found out who Dalton Schultz is, but it will be very difficult to forget his name now if he continues to post head-turning stat lines like he did in Week 2 (nine catches on 10 targets for 88 yards and a score). There was growing hype for would-be starter Blake Jarwin coming into the season due to his role in a potent Dallas offense, but the job is now Schultz’s after the Cowboys lost Jarwin to a torn ACL in Week 1. The Seahawks have been stingy against tight ends so far this season (fifth-fewest fantasy points allowed), but when you have the opportunity to grab a regular contributor at a thin position in an offense that generates a lot of scoring opportunities, you go for it.
Other names to consider: Mike Gesicki (64%-owned ESPN; top streamer if available) Jordan Reed (pending George Kittle’s injury status), Mo Alie-Cox, Logan Thomas, Chris Herndon, Eric Ebron, Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham
Accountability is everything, so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
James Robinson (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars): The undrafted rookie out of Illinois State backed up a solid Week 1 with an even better Week 2 (16 carries, 102 yards, one TD plus three catches for 18 yards). Robinson is averaging a healthy 5.1 yards-per-carry on 32 rushes this season and should be owned in all leagues as long as he’s granted 15+ touches per game.
Adrian Peterson (RB, Detroit Lions): You love to see 5.9 yards-per-carry from the future Hall-of-Famer (seven carries for 41 yards), but the Lions muddled backfield will not make it easy to trust Peterson on an every-week basis. In weeks where the Lions are in a neutral-to-positive game script, Peterson should turn in a respectable floor, but we saw his usage plummet once the Lions had to play catch-up. Feel free to use him in plus-matchups in deeper Non-PPR leagues, but he is not a must-hold.
Mike Williams (WR, Los Angeles Chargers): With rookie QB Justin Herbert forced into action just before kickoff last Sunday, the Chargers’ short-to-intermediate receivers were the main beneficiaries instead the downfield threat Williams (two catches, four targets, 14 yards). It was a disappointing performance after his promising Week 1, but I contend that Williams is still a hold as he works his way back from a shoulder injury and builds rapport with his talented rookie signal-caller.
Tre’Quan Smith (WR, New Orleans Saints): At the very worst, Smith made fantasy managers take notice of his ability to produce with stud Michael Thomas out of the lineup. At best, Smith could continue to be a reliable and efficient target for Drew Brees all season long. The newly-acquired Emmanuel Sanders was nearly invisible while Smith hauled in five of seven targets for 86 yards. He’s absolutely worth an add in deeper leagues with the potential to develop into a WR3/ Flex this year.
Logan Thomas (TE, Washington Football Team): Similar to last week with Chris Herndon, the recommended TE-streamer received a great target-share (nine targets), but wasn’t able to do a lot with them (four catches for 26 yards). Unless you have one of the must-start TEs out there rostered, I still think Thomas can help you out in a pinch, starting this week against a Browns defense that has already surrendered three scores to TEs through two games.
Make sure to check out Myles Nelson’s priority waiver wire adds article every Tuesday for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Good luck in Week 3!
(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)