Thomason: Top Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 3

By Jack Thomason–

(CBS) Here we go with the injuries. Week 2 was pretty rough, with the likes of Adrian Peterson, Danny Woodhead, Doug Martin and Jonathan Stewart going down. Not only are their backups going to be hot pick-ups, but there are a ton of receivers and a few other running backs worth grabbing. I can’t fit everyone into my top 10, so be sure to pay close attention to the “just missed” section too.

There are also some unclear injury situations as I write this, so be sure to keep an eye on them — specifically, Martin’s hamstring and Donte Moncrief’s shoulder. Also, make sure players like Mike Wallace, Tajae Sharpe and Tevin Coleman aren’t still available. While their ownership percentages increased to a point I won’t include them, they’re still available in a significant amount of leagues and shouldn’t be.

Here are my top 10 waiver adds for 10- and 12-member leagues.

1. Charles Sims (RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Martin is scheduled for a MRI Tuesday, so we don’t know the severity of his hamstring injury at this point. That being said, coach Dirk Koetter is already saying Sims can be a feature back if Martin misses time. Sims provided stand-alone fantasy value in drafts and may now be the three-down workhorse in Tampa. He’s immediately worth the top spot here, given his dual-threat ability and pass-protection skills. There’s little reason for the Buccaneers to pull him off the field unless Martin is back sooner than later. Even then, hamstrings are a tricky injuries that tend to pop back up just when you think you’re healthy.

2. Jerick McKinnon/Matt Asiata (RBs, Minnesota Vikings) – As of Monday afternoon, the word on Adrian Peterson was that he’d be out two to four weeks with a torn meniscus. The interesting part here is Asiata out-touched McKinnon, 7-3, after Peterson went out and he was also the bigger fantasy factor back in 2014 when Peterson sat out. The talent lies with McKinnon, and he’s the one I’d be looking to grab — but you have to expect some sort of committee here, and Asiata is worth a flier too. He’s likely to get the goal-line work too. We all know Peterson is a super-human freak, having shown his unbelievable healing ability when he tore his ACL, but he’s older and there’s always potential for this to linger.

3. Theo Riddick/Dwayne Washington (RBs, Detroit Lions) – Riddick dominated the snaps after Ameer Abdullah left with a foot injury, but the Lions got Washington involved as well. While Riddick would be your first choice to add given his dual-threat ability and his role, Washington is going to play too while Abdullah is sidelined. He’s a totally different back than the other two and brings a nasty, pounding style that will be a good change of pace from Riddick. I would also expect him to get the goal-line work given his 6-foot-1, 223-pound frame.

4. Tyrell Williams (WR, San Diego Chargers) – At 6-foot-4 and 204 pounds, Williams is the big-bodied receiver whom Philip Rivers loves to target. He played 74 percent of the snaps last week while receiving six targets. His snap count was second-most, and his targets were tied for first with Travis Benjamin. While the Chargers played the Jaguars, they still looked like an offense that can move the ball and score. Williams had a hand in that with a 44-yard touchdown marked by nifty work after the catch.

5. Quincy Enunwa (WR, New York Jets) – The Jets have been using Enunwa heavily through the first two weeks of the season, and he’s here to stay. He has played on 75 percent of the snaps and has only one fewer target than Eric Decker and three fewer than Brandon Marshall. He’s totaled 13 receptions, 146 yards and a score on the season. If you’re in need of a receiver, Enunwa is worth a pick-up given the Jets’ lack of tight end and their spread offense.

6. Fozzy Whittaker (RB, Carolina Panthers) – Stewart was roughed up in Week 1 and sat out some of practice this past week. He ended up suiting up but didn’t last long. In comes Whittaker, rolling up 131 yards on 19 touches. We all know Stewart isn’t new to the injury bug, and coach Ron Rivera is already saying he will miss “at least a week or two.” So Whittaker  is a player you’re going to want to have given the run-first Carolina approach. The only reason he isn’t higher is the threat of Mike Tolbert and Cameron Artis-Payne stealing time. Whitaker played on 59 percent of the snaps Sunday.

7. Victor Cruz (WR, New York Giants) – The Giants have run the most plays in the NFL in three-receiver sets. Cruz has been on the field for 92 percent of the snaps through two weeks and continues to flash some of his pre-injury abilities. Eli Manning is comfortable throwing to Cruz as he works the middle of the field, and that’s evident with his 12 targets in two weeks, tied for second-most on the team with Sterling Shepard. Cruz’s eight catches for 126 yards and a score through two weeks is promising as he continues to regain form.

8. Dennis Pitta (TE, Baltimore Ravens) – Quietly, Pitta is leading the Ravens in targets, which is amazing in its own right, given he hasn’t played football in two years with a hip injury. It looks like the lost time had no ill effect on Joe Flacco’s affinity for Pitta, and that was on full display Sunday with his nine-catch, 102-yard performance. The Ravens offense has many targets, but Pitta has been a key cog and that’s likely to stay the case. He’s also averaged more than 71 percent of the snaps in two weeks.

9. Phillip Dorsett (WR, Indianapolis Colts) – I really debated putting Jamison Crowder here given that he leads his team in targets (18,) but with the potential that Moncrief could miss extended time, Dorsett is the player to add. Dorsett currently leads the team in receiving yards with 124, and he’s playing 78 percent of the snaps. If Moncrief is out, Dorsett becomes a must-own because of the Colts’ propensity for throwing. He’s an explosive playmaker who would see his role and opportunities expand.

10. Jay Ajayi (RB, Miami Dolphins) – There isn’t much to say here, except Arian Foster is injured again. Ajayi did little to nothing with his five carries this past week, tallying just 14 yards, but he did add four receptions for an additional 31 yards. Keep an eye on Kenyan Drake as well. He’s in the “just missed” section, but for now, I’d expect Ajayi to get the first crack at starting in Week 3 if Foster is out.

Just missed: Shane Vereen, Kenyan Drake, Devontae Booker, Chris Hogan, Cole Beasley, Jamison Crowder, Steve Smith, Josh Doctson, Jacob Tamme and Kyle Rudolph.

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and co-host of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and 670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.

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