If your fantasy team made it out of week two with no injuries anywhere on your roster, you should consider yourself one of the luckiest people in the world. There was such a rash of injuries on Sunday that we are once again considering the merits of Wayne Gallman. Luckily for anyone who had McCaffrey, Barkley, Sutton, etcetera, there is plenty of talent available on the waiver wire. How much of your free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB) should you bid to lock down a replacement to carry your team? Here’s a FAAB cheat sheet to guide you through Week 3.
Possible FAAB targets for each week are divided into multiple tiers and given a range to bid on them.
Week 3 FAAB Cheat Sheet
Mid-Tier Targets (20-40%)
There are no true “League Winners” this week, players who are worth >50% of your FAAB, but there are a few players who might put you in the ballpark. Mike Davis looked good on just 24 snaps Sunday, finishing with 8 catches for 74 yards. McCaffrey is out for at least the next four weeks and Davis appears to be the guy in Carolina. Davis has NFL experience, talent, and opportunity to succeed in Carolina’s surprisingly relevant offense. Reggie Bonnafon seemed like the go-to backup in Carolina last year, but he never did anything too exciting when he saw the field. If Sunday was any indication, Davis is worth up to 40% of your FAAB, especially if you CMC on your team, and will be an RB2 for the next few weeks.
Next to Davis on the “might save your season” tier is Darrell Henderson of the Rams. Henderson got a bump in his snaps Sunday after Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers were banged up. Sunday Henderson averaged 8.6 yards per touch on 14 touches and added in a touchdown making for a very productive day. If both Brown and Akers remain limited, Henderson is the next man up and should be primed for heavy usage heading into a week 3 matchup against Buffalo. If Akers or Brown is limited, Henderson showed the big-play ability the Rams were looking for. Henderson should be targeted for 20% of your FAAB, unless the news breaks that Brown or Akers will be out longer, then be willing to go up to 30%.
If Josh Kelley is still available, put up to 35% of your FAAB down on him. He out-touched Ekeler Sunday and was a grinder for the Bolts. He will be heavily involved over the rest of the season.
Miles Gaskin (RB) MIA – 25% of FAAB
Upside Plays (10-20%)
Leading-off with Gardner Minshew feels appropriate as he is the ultimate upside play. The Jaguars were supposed to #Tanking4Trevor and Minshew was just the tank commander to take them there. Then the season hit and Minshew Mania seized the nation. Through two weeks, Minshew is completing 75% of his passes, has thrown for 512 yards, and 6 touchdowns against only 2 picks. He has been a revelation in Jacksonville and with a talented receiving corps around him, Minshew is primed to have some staying power. He is presently a top-15 quarterback and should be on a roster in all leagues. Be willing to bid up to 15% of your FAAB on Minshew as he entrenches himself as a set-and-forget fantasy quarterback.
With Saquon tearing his ACL and going out for the year, the Giants’ backfield is now super murky. Dion Lewis appears primed to be the guy to roster in New Jersey. His pass-catching abilities will help him stay on the field as the Giants are getting destroyed all season. Factor in Joe Judge’s familiarity with him and he is the guy. It is a bad offense in Jersey, like really bad, so do not expect more than low-end RB2 production on a good week from Lewis. Realistically, he is a flex play each week, and do not go much above 15% of your FAAB to get him.
Remember last week? When this column talked about Keelan Cole? What about yesterday’s column? Or the preseason podcast? Get the picture? If you believe in Minshew and the Jags, punch your ticket on the Owensboro Flash’s hype train for up to 12% of your FAAB.
Sticking to the “told ya so” theme, Russell Gage is still only rostered in 20% of leagues and seems to be establishing himself as a reliable option in Atlanta. With the Falcons defense looking putrid, Matty Ice and the offense are going to be slinging it every game. Gage is is a set and forget WR3 worth up to 15% of your FAAB. If Julio continues to struggle, move him into the WR2 conversation.
If you are in a tight end premium league, Dalton Schultz seems to be in line to dominate the 120+ vacated tight end targets in Dallas so is worth 15% of your FAAB. Go up to 10% in all other formats.
Bargain Pickups (<10%)
The Jacksonville offense has seemed potent through the first two weeks and if Minshew keeps up his blistering accuracy, the Jags may have three fantasy-relevant receivers. Laviska Shenault has only played slightly fewer snaps than Keelan Cole, but he has gotten involved in more ways. The Jags have put him in motion to take jet sweeps, and even as a wildcat quarterback. With that kind of versatility and engagement, put up to 10% of your FAAB on Shenault and keep him in your flex rotation.
Jordan Akins is sneakily creeping into fantasy relevance for tight ends. On Sunday he was on the field for 83% of the Texans’ snaps and caught all 7 of his targets for 55 yards. He is quickly developing into a reliable option for Watson and is a red zone threat. Akins is worth up to 10% of your FAAB if you need a reliable tight end option.
Keeping with the rookie receiver theme, KJ Hamler may be the biggest beneficiary of Cortland Sutton going down. Hamler was targeted 7 times Sunday and was on the field for 62% of the Broncos’ snaps. Hamler has the ability to make plays all over the field and was a second-round pick this year. Place up to 10% of your FAAB on him, but be wary as this is a Jeff Driskell led offense for now.
Keeping with the all-rookie receiver theme, Michael Pittman seems set to step into a big role in Indianapolis. Pittman led all Colts’ receivers with 92% of the snaps in a run-heavy game plan. He also was targeted 6 times, tied with Mo Alie-Cox for the team lead. With Parris Campbell out indefinitely, Pittman seems primed to take over a large role for the Colts. Look to go get him for up to 10% of your FAAB and consider him a flex option for now.
Chase Claypool (WR) PIT – 4-7% of FAAB
Jerrick McKinnon (RB) SF – 6-9% of FAAB
Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB) SF – 6-9% of FAAB
No Bid/Free Agency Guys
Zach Pascal might also be a guy to watch in Indy. Pascal was on the field for 81% of the Colts’ snaps Sunday. Although he was not as utilized in the passing game, any receiver getting that level of snaps is worth scooping up after waivers run as a bench stash.
Le’Veon Bell is still on IR and the Jets do not play the 49ers this week. If you are desperate for a running back, wait until waivers run to pick up Frank Gore. It will not be pretty, but he will get you 6-10 points.
In the running back desperate vein, Matt Breida saw some good touches on Sunday. Breida looked like he can still be a productive change-of-pace NFL back. If you are desperate at running back, pick him up in free agency.
JD McKissic is another option for the running back deprived out there. He did not do much, but he did pick up 8 touches for 53 yards Sunday. This is Antonio Gibson’s job, but McKissic may have value in deeper leagues.
If Jack Doyle misses more time, Mo Alie-Cox looked the part of a dominant tight end. You could throw 1% of your FAAB at him, but this is most likely Doyle’s job if he is healthy. Beware chasing one-week fill-in production.
Wayne Gallman may see some run for the Giants, but he will most likely not be super productive. Similarly, if Devonta Freeman does sign somewhere, wait until waivers runs and scoop him up for nothing. Neither of these backs have much upside, so leave them alone until free agency.
Mitchell Trubisky has not been lighting the world on fire this year. However, he is playing a porous Atlanta defense this week. Similarly, Tyrod Taylor/Justin Herbert is facing an equally awful Carolina defense. If you are desperate at quarterback and do not want to use any FAAB, these guys will make free agency.