Essig's Week 3 Post-Waiver Savvy Swoops
If you don't like your WRs, read this, add someone, and you're going to leave today feeling better than yesterday.
Greg Dortch was probably already added in your league, but if he wasn't, you should add him. After two weeks, Dortch leads the Cardinals in receiving, ahead of Marquise Brown. He's played in 80% of snaps for the Cardinals, just one less than A.J. Green for second on the team. He's someone who I predicted would have 7+ catches in Week 1 after Rondale Moore was ruled out. Moore is an explosive player, but he's going to be out multiple weeks, had a terrible Reception Perception profile. Dortch clearly has a knack for finding open holes in the zone. DeAndre Hopkins will be back in Week 7, but D-Hop will be taking Green's outside WR role. Green's not playing the slot, Dortch is. In an explosive offense that runs more 4 WR sets than anyone, Dortch should remain fantasy relevant all season, and at the very least, will be a must-flex for another month.
With Chris Godwin and Julio Jones inactive last week, and Mike Evans being ejected in Week 2 and suspended for Week 3, Breshad Perriman led the Bucs in WR snaps in Week 2, scored a TD, and is projected to lead the team in snaps in Week 3. If Godwin and Jones are ruled out, Perriman is a must-flex play. (For what it's worth, Godwin and Jones did not practice on Wednesday, and Russell Gage was limited.)
Nelson Agholor is rostered in just 1% of ESPN leagues. He is one of only two Patriots players with double digit targets. Jakobi Meyers gets open underneath, but the big play threat in Foxborough is Agholor. Despite playing 87% of snaps, DeVante Parker has just four targets and one catch for 9 yards this season. Unlike Agholor, who has 11 targets and 9 catches for 138 yards on just 54% of snaps. Agholor will likely pass Parker on the rotation, and is someone who should be rostered in all 12 team leagues. (Meyers did not practice on Wednesday with a knee injury, and Agholor becomes a must-flex player if Meyers is out.)
If you hate your flex options, Noah Brown is definitely a savvy swoop. But of course, you already know that. That's because you read my XYZ receiver report during preseason, right?! Brown leads the Cowboys in receiving yards, with 55 yards more than CeeDee Lamb. Brown's played 85% of offensive snaps for Dallas. The next highest percentage in Big D is Dennis Houston at 46%. Brown's first game was 5 catches, 9 targets, and 68 yards, second on the team. He followed that up with 5 catches, 98 yards and 1 TD. Brown is the only WR in Dallas with a target inside the 10 yard line. Dalton Schultz is out this week. Therefore, I'm not concerned if Michael Gallup is active, because he'll be eased into the lineup. Brown is a flex play until Schultz and Gallup are 100%, and if he keeps being productive, he'll likely remain one of the Cowboys starting WRs. And how's this for chemistry: Brown and fill-in QB Cooper Rush have been practicing together on the Cowboys scout team since 2017!
Jerry Jeudy went out with a shoulder and ribs injury in Week 2. He did not practice on Wednesday, and is unlikely to play in Week 3. I thought preseason star and kick returning specialist Montrell Washington would be next in line for snaps, but Kendall Hinton was second in snaps in Week 2. Tyrie Cleveland is third among Denver WRs in targets... with just three targets. Hinton and Washington each have one. KJ Hamler is perpetually injured, playing the first game as the WR3, before missing the second game. Hamler only had one target and zero catches in Week 1. Limited on Wednesday, Hamler is flex play if Jeudy doesn't play. But if neither play, Cleveland is the preferred add, having played offensive snaps in both games. Hinton should probably be next, but he hasn't done much as a receiver. I'm checking the reports on Washington. If I hear good coach speak, Washington might be the priority add.
David Sills just played 92% of the Giants offensive snaps in Week 2, good for 12th among NFL WRs. That's a WR1 snap percentage. Kenny Golladay played just two snaps in Week 2, then reportedly cleaned out his locker room before reporters could arrive after the game. He's a potential healthy scratch, and a cut candidate, despite his huge contract. With Kadarius Toney in the Aiyuk-esque doghouse, playing just 26% of snaps, not practicing on Wednesday, and Wan'Dale Robinson nursing a knee injury, Sills is someone to stash at the end of your bench.
Devin Duvernay went out with a concussion in Week 2, and did not practice on Wednesday. Unlikely to play, Demarcus Robinson will have a chance to become the #2 WR in Baltimore. With the Ravens passing it more than expected, D-Rob is a stash option.
As for RBs, it's slim pickings. But there's a few low-rostered players worth swooping.
I dropped my kicker to stash Darrel Williams, just in case James Conner doesn't practice this week. Conner had an ankle injury in Week 2, didn't return to the game, and is considered day-to-day. Conner has a history of ankle issues. Williams played more snaps than Eno Benjamin in Week 2. Williams and Benjamin both had eight carries in Week 2, but Williams had 59 rushing yards and 1 TD to Benajmin's 31. Benjamin had just one more target than Williams. Both should be added, but when Clyde Edwards-Helaire was injured between Week 6 to Week 10 last season, Williams was the RB4 overall during that time. My preferred add is D-Will.
Jeff Wilson Jr. was the most popular add last week. He was indeed the RB1 in San Francisco, received most of the red zone carries. Yet third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price received 14 carries on Sunday. He didn't do much with them (33 yards), but he was still featured. Unfortunately, TDP is out multiple weeks with a high-ankle sprain.
In comes Jordan Mason. The undrafted rookie was active in Week 1, and TDP was listed as inactive. Presumably for special teams, because TDP had more carries in Week 2, but preseason told a different story. Mason outgained TDP in preseason: 94 yards to 74 yards. Mason had a higher yards per carry in preseason: 4.95 to 3.08. And lastly, Mason was ahead of TDP in the final preseason game. Mason impressed so much that they cut former third-rounder Trey Sermon before his second season.
The backup gig in San Francisco is a valuable one. Not just because they receive carries, but because Jeff Wilson has missed games due to multiple calf strains, multiple ankle sprains, a knee strain and a knee meniscus tear. I don't like to predict injuries, because the game is violent and it's usually a matter of when. But Wilson's risk of injury this year is possibly the highest among starting RBs. With Mason available in almost every league, he's one of the best backup RBs you can roster.
Leonard Fournette was limited with a hamstring injury on Wednesday. Rachaad White probably isn't available, but he's a must-stash this week just in case. Giovani Bernard was just placed on IR. White was one of my favorite rookie RBs. Can't wait to see him start a game.
And that's it! If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @IanLeeEssig