By Matt Citak
As we have already seen, fantasy football can be incredibly frustrating.
Maybe you drafted Le’Veon Bell in the first round of your draft. Or you had Delanie Walker as your starting tight end. Whatever the situation, one thing is clear — things happen in the NFL. It’s wise to play it safe and have some insurance players on your bench that you feel comfortable plugging into your lineup.
Week 2 saw a few prominent players go down with injuries. In addition, we witnessed a few players continue their breakout starts to the season.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for an injury replacement or just trying to find this year’s Alvin Kamara, here are your Week 3 Waiver Wire adds.
RB Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon will be forced to miss the next 2-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery over the weekend, making Bernard the starting running back for the Bengals. Bernard is likely to handle all of the work out of the backfield while Mixon is on the shelf, meaning the 26-year-old back is facing a solid workload. Bernard started the final five games of the 2017 season, receiving at least 15 touches in each contest, topping 130 yards from scrimmage in two of them and scoring two touchdowns. Fantasy football is all about volume, and while Mixon is out, Bernard will have no competition for touches out in Cincinnati.
RB Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
Murray is more of a priority add for those with Dalvin Cook on their roster. Cook exited Week 2 with a hamstring issue, although it did not appear to be too serious. The second-year back is not expected to miss any time, but even if he does suit up, Murray is a wise pickup this week. Cook is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry so far this year, as he has not been able to find any running room. Murray, on the other hand, has managed 4.1 yards per carry on 15 rush attempts. Cook is definitely the starter, but if he continues to struggle, Murray could see an increase in touches. The Vikings are at home against the Bills this week, meaning Minnesota will likely be playing with a big, early lead. If this happens, Murray could be in for a solid workload, regardless of Cook’s health.
WR Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers
Allison was a popular add on the waiver wire last week, so consider yourself lucky if he’s still available in your league. Fresh off his 5-69-1 performance to kick off the season, Allison was right back at it against the Vikings stifling defense. The third-year receiver matched Randall Cobb for the third-most targets on the team, catching all six passes thrown his way for 64 yards. Through two weeks, Allison has totaled 11 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown against the Bears and Vikings, which look like they may be two of the league’s better defenses this season. Allison has also received 16.7 percent target share with Rodgers under center. That number alone is enough to make him fantasy relevant.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We all saw this coming, right? Three seasons after his magical 2015 run with the Jets, Fitzmagic has returned, and he looks better than ever. The 35-year-old quarterback has been the biggest surprise of the 2018 season, recording two consecutive 400+ yard, 4-touchdown games against the Saints and Eagles, two of the strongest defenses from last year. He has completed an incredible 78.7 percent of his passes while averaging 13.43 yards per pass attempt. Oh yeah, he’s also added 35 yards on the ground to go with his one rushing touchdown. Fitzpatrick has played so well that it has appeared as if he will be keeping the starting QB job when Jameis Winston returns from his three-game suspension. Before we worry about that, let’s just focus on Fitz’s Week 3 matchup, where he will be at home against the Steelers on Monday Night Football. After watching Patrick Mahomes light the Steelers up for six touchdowns, I can’t wait to see what Fitzmagic can do against them.
WR Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dating back to the preseason, Godwin has now caught a touchdown pass in four consecutive games. The 22-year-old receiver has found himself a nice role in Tampa Bay’s red-hot passing offense, despite having a ton of competition for targets. Godwin has pulled in eight of 10 targets for 97 yards and two touchdowns through the Bucs’ first two games. More importantly, both of his touchdown catches came from inside the 10-yard line. Of course, the 6-foot-5 Mike Evans will likely continue to be Fitzpatrick’s favorite red zone target, but after him, Godwin appears to be next up. At 6-foot-1, 209-pounds, Godwin should continue to give the Bucs an advantageous matchup in the red zone against smaller corners. As long as Tampa Bay can keep up its strong play, Godwin could be a reliable fantasy starter for the rest of the season.
RB Chris Ivory, Buffalo Bills
LeSean McCoy left Week 2 with a rib injury, and has since been diagnosed with cracked rib cartilage. While it shouldn’t force the veteran out for long, it does temporarily open up the door for Ivory to play a much bigger role in the Bills offense. Now we can already see that Buffalo is likely to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, so having Ivory start over McCoy is only going to make the Bills offense struggle even more. However, he did find the end zone after replacing the starter in Week 2, and he did also add a 30-yard reception. Ivory certainly should not be your top priority add this week, but if you’re desperate for a replacement for McCoy or Mixon, Ivory should see starting RB volume.
WR Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Ridley popped up on the fantasy radar following his strong Week 2 performance. The rookie out of Alabama caught four of five targets for 64 yards and a touchdown, despite playing 13 fewer snaps than Mohamed Sanu. Ridley will likely continue serving as the Falcons’ third receiver for the foreseeable future, but I do not expect that to stay that way forever. Atlanta used a first-round pick on Ridley in April’s NFL Draft, and clearly have plans to line him up opposite Julio Jones eventually (Ridley finished Week 2 second on the team in targets and tied with Jones for most receiving yards). Ridley may have to ride your bench for a few weeks, but the rookie receiver could be in for a big debut season once he’s fully integrated in the Falcons’ offense.
Matt Citak is a contributor for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter.