After another slurry of tough injuries and rough performances, there's probably a couple of NFL GMs wishing they had a fantasy-esque waiver wire right about now. With Chris Godwin dealing with a hamstring injury and Mike Evanssuspended one game for his role in Sunday's fight, the Buccaneers could use a wide receiver or two. The Colts, Steelers and Texans might be interested in streaming a quarterback after what they've seen from their starters. And the Colts might still have their eye on available kickers after waiving Rodrigo Blankenship last week (though current replacement Chase McLaughlin didn't even get a chance in Week 2 given Indy's offensive woes).
Unfortunately for said GMs, the NFL waiver wire is nowhere near as stocked as the fantasy waiver wire. Fortunately for you, we get to play with the fantasy one, and there are some very good options for Week 3 (especially at the wide receiver position). Last week's top targets Jeff Wilson and Curtis Samuel had strong games on Sunday (as did several of the Guys to 'Stache), and we've got multiple names in that stratosphere heading into Tuesday night (or Wednesday, if that's how you roll, no judgment).
P.S. My word count is a little shorter this week. If you want more guys, more explanations, or more answers, hit me up on Twitter @MattOkada!
To the wire!
(Rostered percentages are from NFL.com's fantasy football player trends. Players are roughly ordered by priority within position.)
The news on James Conner so far is that his his injury is “not considered long-term or serious” (per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport). That said, if Conner misses any time, there is going to be value in this backfield -- Arizona ranks top 10 in the NFL in RB carries and touchdowns from inside the 10-yard line since last season -- so the only real question is ... which guy? Williams and Benjamin split snaps almost perfectly in the Cardinals’ comeback win, which doesn’t help much, but Williams was more effective as a rusher (7.4 yards/carry to Benjamin’s 3.9) and racked up 12 red-zone snaps after Conner exited (to Benjamin's 3), including a goal-line carry that he converted for a huge score. I’m prioritizing Williams (less heavily if the Conner news stays positive) and snagging Benjamin as a fallback option.
The Dolphins offense experienced a revelation on Sunday and Mostert played a surprising role in said revelation. He out carried Chase Edmonds 11 to 5, out caught Edmonds 3 to 1, and outgained Edmonds 79 to 41 in total yards. The split wasn’t convincing enough to say Mostert is “the guy” by any means, but if he’s going to be a significant part of a now-explosive offense, he should not be sitting on your waiver wire.
Another guy whose priority on your wire depends heavily on the health of his team’s starter, Ingram was a “just-fine” fill-in starter for the Saints in Week 2, with 60 rushing yards on 10 carries against the stout Bucs defense. Now in his 12th season, the 33-year-old vet has quietly become the successor to Frank Gore as That One Running Back Who Refuses To Retire And Somehow Continues To Sort Of Produce. If Alvin Kamara misses more time with his “rib cartilage issue,” Ingram gets easier matchups in Week 3 (Panthers) and Week 4 (Vikings).
Guys to 'Stache: Despite playing catchup most of the game, the Falcons gave rookie Tyler Allgeier 10 carries (same number as Cordarrelle Patterson) and 32% of RB snaps. This is a situation that could shift further away from the former wideout/returner in Patterson and further towards the youngster in Allgeier as the season progresses. Speaking of rookie backups, with Tyrion Davis-Price suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 2 (after shouldering 14 carries), it's worth adding UDFA Jordan Mason as valuable insurance behind the oft-injured Jeff Wilson in the productive Kyle Shanahan scheme. Oh, and if Wilson is not rostered, blow all your FAAB on him (not literally, but almost literally).
If you were wondering why the Jets drafted Wilson 10th overall, you have your answer. Good gracious. The 22-year-old Ohio State product absolutely exploded in Week 2, hauling in 8 of his 14 targets for 102 yards and two tuddies, including the game-winner. Wilson is only the second rookie wide receiver to have 30+ fantasy points in one of his first two career games in the last decade (joining Marquise Brown), and there is not a ton of competition for targets out in East Rutherford. Whether it’s Flacco or (eventually) Zach Wilson under center, Wilson (Garrett) has the skill, opportunity and pedigree to be the 2022 version of Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase -- or at least usefully close to them.
Shortly after appearing in the Guys To ‘Stache section of the Week 2 waiver article, Meyers displayed why he was on that list. The keywords last week were “looked solid,” “necessary,” “peppering” and “decent FLEX option in PPR.” He had 13 targets, nine catches and 95 yards in Week 2. I’d say that’s a ‘Stache success. Meyers must be added in all PPR leagues, period.
While we don’t have any hard evidence of a due date for Gallup’s return, all signs are pointing to “soon and very soon.” And if Noah Brown’s performance in Week 2 is any sign of what the WR2 in Dallas can do even with Cooper Rush at QB (91 yards and a TD), now is the time to add Gallup. He’s been a valuable fantasy asset in a similar role before (15.2 fantasy PPG in 2019 ranked 18th among WR), and the Cowboys offense is in real need of a spark (which is Gallup’s specialty). Wait a week to add Gallup at your own risk.
There have been three first-round rookies to catch 3+ TDs over their first two games. Dotson is one of them. The others are 1984 Rookie of the Year Louis Lipps and Hall of Famer James Lofton in 1978. Even if Dotson doesn’t win Offensive Rookie of the Year or go on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he has been a productive cog in the Commanders offense -- an offense that will likely be playing catchup all season. I’ll keep throwing him in this article until he passes the rostership limit or stops scoring.
Guys to 'Stache: If Gallup takes a few more weeks to return for the Cowboys, Noah Brown is absolutely worth an add after his 20-fantasy-point performance in Week 2. After a decent Week 1, Sterling Shepard was less productive, but more targeted, in Week 2. Until someone else steps up for the Giants (unlikely), Shepard is a good deep-league PPR option. As long as Rondale Moore remains out and DeAndre Hopkins remains suspended, Cardinals wideout Greg Dortch could be a sneaky FLEX play (13+ fantasy points each of the first 2 weeks). If you can't get your hands on Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor is worth a stab after catching all six of his targets in Week 2 for 110 yards and a score (and running 26 routes, tied with DeVante Parker for second on the team).
With his 6 percent rostership mark after Week 2, it appears you all ignored my advice on Hurst in last week’s column. Shame on you. You missed out on a whole ... 7.4 fantasy points from the Bengals tight end on Sunday. Alright fine, the end results have been less than inspiring. But, Hurst’s 15 targets are second-most on the team behind Ja’Marr Chase. The points will come, just trust the process. And honestly, in today’s tight end landscape, be grateful for your 7.4 points.
Somebody stop me. Please. I beg you. Not like this. Fine, I’m recommending you add Engram. There I said it. Are you happy?! ... Can you tell Engram has hurt me? Chances are, he’s hurt you, too. The guy has been a drop-machine and an unmitigated bust since his promising rookie season. But here we are again, headed back to the well. Thing is, we can’t really ignore seven catches on eight targets, in a game the Jaguars were winning from start to finish. Trevor Lawrence will be throwing for his life most games and Engram will come down with some of those balls. Convincing, I know. That’s as nice as I can be to Engram, for now.
After finishing as the TE3 in fantasy back in 2020 (11.0 fantasy PPG) and then missing most of the 2021 season, Thomas is back on our radar as a startable tight end. He’s had 11 targets over the Commanders’ first two games and scored a nice 20-yard touchdown in Week 2. Thomas has very little chance of hitting the 110 targets he compiled in 2020, but he only needs to hit roughly 80% of that mark to offer top 12 upside.
Once again, we got a quintessential Wentz game in Week 2. A bunch more yards, a bunch more touchdowns, another interception (and a fumble that became a safety and didn’t count against his fantasy total), and big fat question mark over whether we can trust this guy in our lineups. Still, Wentz is the first QB in the Super Bowl era to have 300+ pass yards and 3+ pass TD in each of his first two games with a team. That’s not nothing. His weapons continue to impress (and dominate this column). And while the Jaguars and Lions have hardly been true “tests” of Wentz’s mettle ... neither are the Eagles, Cowboys or Titans (his next three opponents). Wentz is a stream-worthy QB1 for the foreseeable future.
How fun, it’s an All-Top-2-Picks-Of-The-2016-Draft quarterback section this week! Goff outdid his draft buddy on Sunday, tossing four touchdowns to go along with 256 pass yards (and the win). And Detroit sees Washington’s Curtis Samuel-Terry McLaurin-Jahan Dotson trio and raises them Amon-Ra “Modern Day Jerry Rice” St. Brown (not to mention DeAndre Swift, T.J. Hockenson and more). Like Wentz, Goff has yet to be proven against a tough defense (which the Vikings in Week 3 arguably are), but with teammates like these, who needs anemones. That’s a Finding Nemo reference for you uncultured folks.
Guys to 'Stache: With Trey Lance's season-ending injury, Jimmy Garoppolo is a poor-man's Jared Goff (what a sentence) and should be added in two-QB leagues. Marcus Mariota was not quite in Week 1 superstar form in his Week 2 showing against the Rams, and his schedule isn't great either, but he's still a solid streaming option. You thought my Engram recommendation was wild? Try this. Cowboys backup Cooper Rush can be used in emergencies -- especially against the Giants in Week 3 and the Commanders in Week 4.
The Cowboys D/ST has logged eight sacks through Week 2, allowed only 18 points per game, and gets Daniel Jones and the Giants in Week 3 (and then the pickable and sackable Wentz and Matthew Stafford in Weeks 4 and 5). Not hard to recommend rolling out a D/ST with Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. I really like the Saints D/ST as a streaming option against the Panthers next week (despite their lackluster performance against the Buccaneers), and against the Seahawks in Week 5 and Bengals in Week 6.