Chances are the waiver wire in your league has been picked clean over the first couple weeks. So who is left to pickup? Here is our list of the top waiver wire must adds, and sleepers to keep an eye on going forward as we get ready to complete our first month of fantasy football action.
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All % owned figures come from Yahoo.
Willis McGahee – Cleveland Browns (51% owned)
I get it. McGahee isn’t the sexiest runner in the world, and he is getting on in years, but with the Browns throwing their season out the window, they need an older guy to come in and handle 15+ carries a game, and McGahee should be there soon, possibly by week 4. Word leaked out last week that he was signing with the Browns, yet Willis is still available in 49% of leagues. When you look at the breakdown of carries in week 3 (a week in which the Browns said they would use a clear cut RBBC), Willis handled more carries than any other back as he ran the rock 8 times (for a measly 9 yards). Keep in mind, he had 3 days to learn the offense, so there is still plenty of time for him to provide value to fantasy owners. Make the move if you have room to stash on your bench.
Isaiah Pead – St. Louis Rams (13% owned)
Daryl Richardson had his foot in a walking boot the Wednesday leading up to week 3, and was a late scratch on gaemeday, leaving Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham to handle the majority of the carries for the Rams. St. Louis fell behind early, so Pead didn’t see a significant amount of action (6 carries for 20 yards), but with Richardson potentially missing week 4, Pead will be the RB to own in this committee. As owners in 12 team leagues know, you have to make a move anytime there is a potential starting RB on waivers, and it looks like Pead will have a chance to lead in week 4.
Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills (65% owned)
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Jackson should already be owned in all formats, I’ll guess the 35% of leagues he is available in are either 4 team formats, or free leagues where no one is setting their lineups weekly. C.J. Spiller suffered a mysterious knee injury in week 3, and if it lingers, Jackson should be a solid RB2 in all formats for week 4.
Keep an eye on
Jason Snelling – Atlanta Falcons (16% owned)
Steven Jackson suffered what appears to be the worst bruise of all time, as speculation has him out for 2-6 weeks depending on who you ask, and after missing week 3, it looks like he should miss week 4 as well. Jacquizz Rodgers was the lead back as expected on Sunday in week 3, but it was Jason Snelling who was turning heads. The RB3 for the Falcons piled up yards both on the ground and through the air, finishing with a total of 111 yards to go with 1 TD on a reception early in the game. Following the loss to the Dolphins, keep an eye on the news coming out of Atlanta as Snelling may be given a chance to lead the backfield in touches in week 4
Johnathan Franklin – Green Bay Packers (5% owned) What a mess the Packers backfield is… Eddie Lacy (concussion) and John Kuhn (hamstring) were inactive for week 3, leaving James Starks as the starter, and Johnathan Franklin the backup. When Starks suffered a knee injury just before halftime, the 23 year old out of UCLA was called upon. Most teams 3rd/4th string RB would be a plodding runner not even worth mentioning, but Franklin looked positively electric against a very solid Bengals defense finishing with 103 yards on 13 carries and a TD, however, he did end up turning over the ball for the game winning TD to Cincy. The Packers have a bye in week 4, and will use the time to try and get healthy. It is anyone’s guess who will be the RB when Green Bay gets back to action in week 5.
As everyone knows, Stevan Ridley has been pretty disappointing to this point in the season. So the question in the New England backfield is, who is the back to own? There are no clear answers here, as Blount had the most touches and yards in week 3 (14 for 65), while newly returned Brandon Bolden had the most YPC (51 yards on just 3 carries). Looks like this will be a mess for weeks to come, and is a fantasy situation best left avoided for now.
Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks (11% owned)
Up until week 3, it had been Robert Turbin receiving the majority of backup carries behind Marshawn Lynch, but in the blowout victory over the Jaguars, Christine Michael was finally give then chance to showcase his talents. The 9 carries for 37 yards may not look like much, but it would appear there has been a chance in the pecking order, and if there is a Marshawn Lynch injury, it could be Michael that becomes the handcuff to own, and not Robert Turbin.
Khiry Robinson – New Orleans Saints (0% owned)
Bet you didn’t expect to see a guy who only had 4 carries for 38 yards on this list, but it looks like Khiry Robinson could be a player to know. He was a lightning bolt for the Saints in week 3 (in garbage time) against the Cardinals, and New Orleans should certainly give him another look going forward. Rumors have Mark Ingram requesting a trade, and if that request is fulfilled, Robinson could find himself handling 8-10 touches per game. Dynasty leaguers take note!
Week 2 saw multiple injuries to running backs, and it seems that week 3 was the week of the injured WR’s. Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, and Miles Austin all exited their games with injuries, which is likely to send owners scambling to make a pickup off this week’s waiver wire. Here are the top names to target.
Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns (69% owned)
I assume that if you are reading this article, you don’t need to be told how good Josh Gordon is. The guy is an electric talent as he caught 10 passes for 146 yards in week 3 (with 1 TD). Why is he available in 31% of leagues? That number should be over 95% after waivers open in this week. Do an inspection of your leagues waiver wire as he is obviously a must own WR.
Kenbrell Thompkins – New England Patriots (58% owned)
It should come as no surprise that Thompkins finally had a breakout game, as he was targeted 21 times through the Patriots first 2 games (good for 18th most targeted WR in the NFL), however he had only hauled in 6 of those passes, leaving him low on the radar in many leagues. Well, Tom Brady didn’t give up on this UDFA out of Cincinnati, and his trust was rewarded as Thompkins hauled in 2 TD’s in New England’s week 3 win over the Tampa Bay Bucs. Although he wasn’t an advisable start entering week 3, he was certainly worth a stash, and after this breakout performance he deserves to be owned in all leagues, with a bump in PPR formats thanks to his heavy workload with Danny Amendola on the shelf.
Denarius Moore – Oakland Raiders (47% owned)
Moore is the clear cut WR1 in Oakland these days, and after an impressive performance on Monday night football (6 receptions on 11 targets, 124 yards and a TD) it is clear that Moore is worthy of WR3 consideration in fantasy. Pryor and Denarius look to be establishing a connection in the early going, and if the Raiders defense is as bad as they looked on Monday, there will be a lot of games where Oakland will need to switch to the passing game. If you are looking for WR depth heading towards week 4, you could do a lot worse than Denarius Moore.
Keep an eye on
Nate Washington - Tennessee Titans (6% owned)
Well, SOMEONE had to emerge from one of the league’s worst offenses (other than CJ2K), and it looks like the answer will not be Kenny Britt. Our favorite keeper league prospect is Kendall Wright, but it looks like Jake Locker may have something going with Nate Washington after a solid week 3 which saw Nate haul in 8 passes for 131 yards. After just 96 total yards through his first 2 weeks, Nate remains a player to keep an eye on, but the Titans offense just isn’t good enough to make him an advisable add.
Donnie Avery – Kansas City Chiefs (10% owned)
Coming into the season we knew that Alex Smith wouldn’t be taking many chances downfield, and through the first 3 weeks that has held true (much to the chagrin of Dwayne Bowe owners). The primary beneficiary against the Eagles in week 3 was Donnie Avery as he hauled in all 7 targets for 141 yards, with no touchdowns. While some deep leaguers may be in a hurry to add Avery after this “breakout” performance, you need to remember he caught just 4 passes in the first 2 weeks for 49 yards.
This has been a very disappointing season for the majority of tight ends in football not named Jimmy, Jordan or Julius (something to these J’s?). Owners will understandably be scouring the wire looking for ANY sort of production, but consistency may be hard to find.
Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers (25% owned)
After racking up just 35 yards in week 3, readers will be asking why Miller’s name pops up under the must add section of this article. It wasn’t so much the yardage that he produced, it was the fact that he produced, and in the barren wasteland that is TE in 2013 fantasy football, Miller could be a top 12 option within a few weeks. He obviously has a long way to go as he works himself back into gameshape, but by weeks 6 or 7 he could be producing at the same high level he was in 2012 as Big Ben’s favorite security binky. Give Miller a look if you are struggling at TE, just remember he is only advised as a stash now as we wait for him to gain more of a role in the offense.