Last week’s article was full of veteran players who are not new to the fantasy football scene but have potential season-long viability depending on your team’s needs. For the most part, the wily vets got the job done as streamers in Week 2. This week features a crop of gifted first or second-year players who could become legitimate contributors if things break right as well as one familiar face at WR who tends to stop by for a few solid performances each year. Having depth and contingency plans is a must if one of your top players goes down or is unexpectedly placed on the COVID list, so keep your rosters stocked with these names below if you need a hand.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end. If anyone featured below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 09/22/21.
Latavius Murray (RB, Baltimore Ravens)
We do not need to get into some overly long pitch about Latavius Murray, because he is still the former Saints backup you remember; just a year older, not catching any passes (at least yet), and unexpectedly wearing a new jersey. The bottom line is that he has nine-or-more carries and a touchdown in each of his first two games with Baltimore and gets to face the Lions this week who are, you guessed it, the worst defense against opposing RBs this season. Even if he does not stumble his way into the end zone, I think a floor of around 12+ carries and 60+ yards is well within reach.
Michael Carter (RB, New York Jets)
If there is nothing else I have learned over 13+ years of playing fantasy sports, it is that it is better to be a week or two early than even a minute late when it comes to young prospects and potential difference-makers. So far, the Jets offense has shown few signs of becoming anything that will lend itself to multiple fantasy contributors on a regular basis. However, someone has to get the touches, and the Jets coaching staff has begun showing signs of making fourth-round rookie Michael Carter that someone more often. The short-lived Tevin Coleman as RB1 experience seems to have come to a halt, with Ty Johnson and Carter now jumping up to split the workload. Even though he never surpassed 300 receiving yards in any college season, Carter is a capable pass-catcher and efficient runner (6.6 yards per carry over 514 college rushes) who could produce in a variety of ways despite the time-share. The Jets will give Carter every opportunity to develop alongside rookie QB Zach Wilson if he continues to show deserving of the touches, so get him on the roster now and see if the ascent continues.
Other names to consider (in order): Alexander Mattison (top streamer only if Cook is inactive), James White (< 65%-rostered), Cordarrelle Patterson, Mark Ingram, J.D. McKissic, Kenneth Gainwell, , David Johnson, Ty Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Carlos Hyde, Tony Jones Jr, Giovani Bernard, Larry Rountree, Damien Williams, Zack Moss (check status).
* Rondale Moore (WR, Arizona Cardinals)
As one of Week 3’s hottest waiver pickups, Moore is riding the momentum of a Week 2 breakout performance where he caught seven of eight targets for 114 yards and a score. If you wanted to nitpick, you could argue that Moore is unlikely to find consistency this year because the Cardinals have a lot of pass-catchers or you might point out that he had a more pedestrian six catches for 37 yards if you take away the 77-yard TD on a broken play. Yes, Kyler Murray has several options to go to in the passing game, but the 11-of-13 completion mark to Moore shows a good rapport so far and the rookie’s league-leading 6.7 yards of average separation is befitting of a receiver getting open with regularity. Moore is not the biggest guy (5’7″, 180lbs), so durability could be a concern if there is heavier usage, but his ability to turn busted plays into scores is the type of thing that could win you fantasy matchups. Pick him up in leagues of all sizes even if it is just to give him a try-out on your bench. With Raheem Mostert out for the season and Drew Brees now calling Notre Dame games post-retirement, Purdue alums in the NFL were due for some good news.
Sammy Watkins (WR, Baltimore Ravens)
Ever since entering the NFL as the fourth-overall pick in 2014, the best that fantasy managers could say about their relationship with Watkins is “It’s complicated.” Expectations are high for such touted draft picks, but a repeated history of soft-tissue ailments and inconsistent play has led to him being somewhat of an afterthought from a fantasy perspective. I am not here to tell you that Watkins will suddenly have a career year and play like a top-five NFL draft pick. However, I do know that he is still just 28-years-old, he is healthy right now, and his Week 3 opponent in Detroit is a defense to rack up fantasy points against. Whether by an injury of his own or by the return of talented rookie Rashod Bateman from IR, Watkins’ position as the number three receiving threat may be limited, but I think there is value to be had while operating in his current situation (15 targets, 140 receiving yards over two weeks).
Other names to consider (in order): Jaylen Waddle (66% Yahoo), Cole Beasley (51% Yahoo), Jakobi Meyers, Tim Patrick, Christian Kirk, Nelson Agholor, DeVante Parker, Darnell Mooney, Jalen Reagor, Emmanuel Sanders, Bryan Edwards, Darius Slayton, Zach Pascal, Mecole Hardman, Elijah Moore, Terrace Marshall Jr, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Gabriel Davis, K.J. Hamler, Tyrell Williams (check status), K.J. Osborn, Parris Campbell (check status), Dyami Brown.
Cole Kmet (TE, Chicago Bears)
Although I prefer Jared Cook and/or Austin Hooper over Kmet this week, they were discussed in the Week 1-2 articles, so I want to instead highlight a potential sneaky TE streamer this week. While the grass isn’t always greener with QB changes, Kmet figures to get a much better chance at displaying his receiving chops with Justin Fields now filling in to run the Bears offense. Whether short-term or not, take a shot on Kmet to put up a solid floor with this young (and likely mistake-prone) but gifted Chicago attack. Worst-case scenario, you cut him loose and roll the dice on another one of the names below if he doesn’t jell with Fields.
Other names to consider (in order): Jared Cook, Austin Hooper, Jonnu Smith (64% Yahoo), Hunter Henry, Gerald Everett, Jack Doyle, Evan Engram (stash), Tyler Conklin, Blake Jarwin, Zach Ertz, Maxx Williams, Adam Trautman, Anthony Firkser, Pat Freiermuth, Juwan Johnson, Eric Ebron.
Accountability is everything, so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Mark Ingram (RB, Houston Texans): We never promised the production would be exciting, but fantasy managers can at least be satisfied that Ingram saw more work than any other Texans RB last week (14 carries for 41 yards and a catch for -1 yard). Keep him rostered as a depth piece with Flex-like production on weeks he finds the end zone as long as he is the top guy in Houston.
James White (RB, New England Patriots): White shined in the dual-threat role he is known for with five rushes for 20 yards and a score on the ground combined with a team-leading performance as a receiver (caught six-of-six targets for 45 yards). Keep him rolling as an easy Flex decision in your lineup (especially in PPR) until proven otherwise.
Sterling Shepard (WR, New York Giants): Shepard snagged 9-of-10 targets for 94 yards and has now performed his way out of eligibility for this article, which means he is worth picking up wherever available in your leagues. He is producing consistently so far and you should feel good about starting him as a WR3/Flex, at minimum, with a boost in PPR leagues.
Jakobi Meyers (WR, New England Patriots): As mentioned in White’s write-up above, Meyers was not the Patriots leading receiver on Sunday. He did still collect 4-of-6 targets for 38 yards, so it was not a total zero, but he is more of a safe floor play vs high-upside talent.
Jared Cook (TE, Los Angeles Chargers): Cook finished with okay production (three catches on five targets for 28 yards) and was decently involved for the Chargers, but did not make it out of Week 2 without a couple letdowns. He first cost the Chargers a TD with his holding penalty and later had a score of his own called back due to an illegal shift. He is a fringe TE1/TE2 most weeks as long as he holds off fellow TE Donald Parham for routes run.
Make sure to check out AJ Passman’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 Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)