Due to injuries to several big-named fantasy football players, the Waiver Wire for Week 3 is overflowing with potential pickups. Sunday was almost a disaster between players like Doug Martin (knee) and Adrian Peterson (deactivated) sitting out, and then others like Jamaal Charles (ankle sprain) and DeSean Jackson (sprained AC joint) getting knocked out before they even had a chance to put up any real value for their owners.
With that little vent out of the way, here are the guys owners should be eying up for Week 3. Check back frequently as this list will grow between Monday and Tuesday.
Kirk Cousins - Redskins (Yahoo owned 7%/ESPN owned 4.8%)
As RG3 was losing value from his Week 1 disaster, many owners were contemplating whether it was even worth keeping the Redskins star as players like Jake Locker were moving up. A dislocated ankle made the decision easier. RG3 only made it to 38 passing yards and 22 rushing yards before being knocked out against the Jags. In relief, Cousins had himself a field day, passing for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cousins continued to shine after outplaying RG3 in the preseason. Cousins isn't a starter, but is an excellent QB2 and an option in leagues that can start 2 quarterbacks. Cousins has 10 career touchdown passes, with 10 total interceptions. Make sure to read on whether or not Cousins is REALLY the answer at quarterback for the Redskins.
Geno Smith - Jets (Yahoo owned 9%/ESPN owned 5.6%)
Smith hasn't played outstanding in the last 2 games, but he's played with efficiency and much better than his rookie season. He held the team in close competition with the Packers for most of the game, passing for 176 yards, 1 score and an interception. He also bootlegged a running touchdown, his first of the season. Smith isn't anywhere near a starter. He's not even one of the top QB2s, but he's gradually getting better with 3 total touchdowns in 2 games. He might be better off being picked up in deeper leagues.
Brian Hoyer - Browns (Yahoo owned 2%/ESPN owned 1.3%)
Another low-end QB2, Hoyer has been hot and cold through 2 games. But he's been able to do just enough, especially after upsetting the Saints. He only threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, but he did it without Jordan Cameron. Considering this is the Browns, 200-250 a game is really the best you'll get out of the 6th year pro. Johnny Manziel could see more playing time after throwing an incomplete pass Sunday.
Alex Smith - Chiefs (Yahoo owned 41%/ESPN owned 16%)
Despite his 1:3 TD:INT ratio, Smith has quietly averaged 229 passing yards a game. With Charles out early Sunday, Smith put on a show with his legs after rushing 5 times for 42 yards. Last week he ran 6 times for 36. Smith was also efficient on third downs, converting 3 to TE Travis Kelce. With the quarterback waiver wire bare almost every week, the pickings will be slim. Smith, however, at least has a little bit more value than Hoyer and Geno.
E.J. Manuel - Bills (Yahoo owned 8%/ESPN owned 4.9%)
Manuel looked poised in the pocket against the Dolphins, throwing for 202 yards and a touchdown. With the Bills' running game getting off to a slow start, it looks like Manuel might have turned a corner in his development. But like Geno Smith, he's better off being snapped up in deeper leagues. He still has a long way to go before he has any true fantasy value.
Knile Davis - Chiefs (Yahoo owned 16%/ESPN owned 61.2%)
I guess an injury to Charles was bound to happen sometime, but I didn't think it would be so early in the season. After Charles left in the first quarter against the Broncos, Davis had no problem filling in after rushing for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns, while chipping in 6 catches for another 26. Jason La Canfora tweeted that Charles is dealing with a "mild ankle sprain and that the team is hopeful he won't miss significant time." If you're a Charles owner and snagged Davis congrats. If you're a Charles owner and Davis in on the wire, make him your priority. While there is a chance Charles could play this week, it's still too early to say. Charles is due for an MRI Monday.
UPDATE: Andy Reid has announced that Charles is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which could keep him out up to a month or more. This makes Davis this week's TOP waiver wire pickup.
Terrance West - Browns (Yahoo owned 65%/ESPN owned 93.4%)
After posting his first 100-yard game in Week 1, West proved he is no fluke after rushing for 68 yards (19 carries) and a score against the Saints. Isaiah Crowell rushed 11 times for 54 yards. So even he is still very much part of the rushing game. However, it's clear that the team trusts West with early-down work. With Ben Tate expected back after the Week 4 bye, this week's game against the Ravens could be West's last. But he is still worth a stash should Tate get injured again.
Bobby Rainey - Buccaneers (Yahoo owned 20%/ESPN owned 4.7%)
With Doug Martin out, Rainey torched the Rams Defense for 144 rushing yards and 3 catches for 30 yards. The Bucs play on a short week, with the Falcons coming up Thursday. Keep a close eye on this one as the team could sit Martin again. If so, Rainey has a plus matchup against a Falcons Defense that has given up big yards to Mark Ingram (13/60/2) and Giovani Bernard (27/90/1) the last 2 weeks.
Donald Brown - Chargers (Yahoo owned 7%/ESPN owned 87.7%)
Both Danny Woodhead and Brown have very low owned percentages in Yahoo! leagues. But as you can see, Brown is still out there on some waiver wires (Woodhead is 100% owned in ESPN leagues). Ryan Mathews went down early against the Seahawks with, what is now considered, a sprained MCL. After further tests, Mathews could miss the next 4-5 weeks. Brown is expected to be the primary ball carrier after tallying 7 carries for 21 yards (3 catches), with Woodhead in on passing downs and as the change of pace back. It's really hard for me to give Brown the seal of approval considering his disappointing career. However he is still worth owning if you are a Mathews owner. Just don't be surprised to see Woodhead become the better option of the 2 in PPR leagues.
Matt Asiata - Vikings (Yahoo owned 17%/ESPN owned 14.3%)
After the news broke out that the Vikings had deactivated Adrian Peterson after he was indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child, owners went scrambling on Friday night for either Matt Asiata or Jerick McKinnon. Asiata wound up getting the start and lumbered his way to 36 yards on the ground and 48 yards and a touchdown through the air against the Patriots. On the surface, the numbers don't seem bad. But like last year when Asiata was called upon as a starter, his ypc average (2.8) left little to be desired. Asiata is going to get a majority of the carries by default, making him a decent flex option. But if the Vikings want more ground success while AP is out, Asiata is definitely not the answer. He's just too slow. McKinnon finished with just 4 touches.
UPDATE: The Vikings have reinstated Peterson for Week 3, but AP owners might want to try their best to keep Asiata on the roster should Roger Goodell intervene.
Khiry Robinson - Saints (Yahoo owned 42%/ESPN owned 97.1%)
Robinson is a late addition to the waiver wire after it was recently announced that Mark Ingram will miss up to a month with a hand injury. Through 2 games, Ingram was averaging 6 yards a carry with 3 rushing touchdowns. So it's a tough pill to swallow for Ingram owners and Saints fans. A big back, Robinson should be picked up in all leagues as defenses won't be able to stack the box because of the team's passing game, meaning Robinson should find a lot of running room. Robinson has the makings of an RB2 in non-PPR leagues, with Pierre Thomas now expected to get even more work.
James Jones - Raiders (Yahoo owned 20%/ESPN owned 25.8%)
One week after coming off the bench and securing 3 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown, Jones got an every-down receiver role and hauled in 9-of-14 targets for 112 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. It's obvious Jones hasn't lost a step like coaches had initially mentioned last week. In fact, Jones is really the only true receiving threat the team has, as bad as that sounds. Keeping him on the bench does Derek Carr no good. Jones makes for a viable WR3 next week against the Patriots, although he is still boom-or-bust. He made a fool of himself by fumbling the football twice on the same play while Texans were barreling down on him. For the play, and a chuckle, CLICK HERE.
Mohamed Sanu - Bengals (Yahoo owned 8%/ESPN owned 1.7%)
With A.J. Green expected to be out until after the team's Week 4 bye due to a turf toe injury, Sanu is a must-grab pickup for Week 3. After a quiet Week 1, Sanu went off against the Falcons with 3 catches for 84 yards and a score. He also threw a 50-yard trick play pass to Brandon Tate. Sanu's value might be at it's peak this coming week as Marvin Jones is also expected to return after the bye. So this weekend will be the best time to use Sanu as a WR3.
Steve Smith - Ravens (Yahoo owned 66%/ESPN owned 100%)
Torrey Smith owners won't be too happy with this pick, but Smith is showing glimpses of his days as a Panther. On Thursday night against the Steelers, Smith racked up 6 catches for 71 yards, which now brings his yearly total to 13 catches, 189 yards and a touchdown. Smith looks like he is going to be a big part of the game plan this year and not just some weak signing in the offseason. By comparison, Torrey Smith has just 4 catches for 60 yards on the season.
Andrew Hawkins - Browns (Yahoo owned 32%/ESPN owned 16.2%)
Hawkins was expected to be a role player in the Browns' offense, but all that changed once Josh Gordon was served another suspension. In Week 1, Hawkins caught 8 passes for 87 yards. Not bad for a cool 16 PPR points. Without Cameron in the lineup against the Saints, Hoyer leaned on Hawkins again for 6 catches for 70 yards. Clearly Hoyer trusts Hawkins, which should continue for weeks to come. He might not be all that great of a non-PPR option. But with 14 catches in 2 games, Hawkins is turning into a strong PPR player and a WR3.
Delanie Walker - Titans (Yahoo owned 64%/ESPN owned 70%)
Walker is going to be one of those guys who will be hanging out on the waiver wire all year, but shouldn't. After securing 10 catches for 142 yards and a score against the Cowboys, Walker now has 13 catches, 179 yards and 2 scores on the season. There will be inconsistency as Jake Locker is proving that Week 1 might have been a fluke, but Walker still deserves low-end TE1 consideration.
Niles Paul - Redskins (Yahoo owned 4%/ESPN owned .7%)
Paul is starting to look like one of those players who is a solid passing option no matter who is throwing the ball. In Week 2, Paul caught 8 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown with Cousins at the helm. This follows up with his 4 catch/86 yard game in Week 1. Paul will continue to be a very borderline TE1 as long as Jordan Reed (hamstring) remains out of action. He's already questionable for Week 3.
Travis Kelce - Chiefs (Yahoo owned 37%/ESPN owned 2.3%)
Andy Reid admitted after Week 1 that there was no reason Kelce should not have gotten the ball more. He made up for that with Kelce picking up 4 catches for a team-high 81 yards against the Broncos. Kelce has all the upside in the world to be a TE1, but he's still slowly climbing his way out of the high-end TE2 group. That could change soon. Kelce is clearly one of the best receiving options Alex Smith has.
Larry Donnell - N.Y. Giants - (Yahoo owned 21%/ESPN owned 1.3%)
The Giants look bad. Don't be surprised to hear fans and the media call for Tom Coughlin's head on a platter if the team continues to play as bad as they have. The one bright spot is Donnell, who has been one of the only consistent players on the team. After catching 7 passes for 81 yards in the loss to the Cardinals, his total is now 12 catches for 137 yards and a score through the first 2 weeks. Victor Cruz seems to be getting worse and Rueben Randle is becoming an afterthought. Donnell is close to peaking at TE1 numbers if the Giants can't get their receivers going.