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Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 3

Justin Fields takes over (we think), Sony Michel gets touches (for now), and Cordarrelle Patterson finds his role (finally). All could be among the top Week 3 fantasy waiver pickups and free agent adds. See the players worth targeting on the wire this week, including Tony Pollard.

We weren't alone in this, but we've been advising to stash Justin Fields since before the season even began. While he is owned in roughly 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, he's obviously also widely available. Here we are just a few games into the season, and Fields is headlining our top Week 3 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. It might be a little premature, but with Andy Dalton hurting, Fields could start having value as soon as next week. Fields isn't the only player replacing an injured QB (though he's probably the only one worth picking up), and apparently QBs absorbed most of the bad injury luck, as few players at other positions look ready to ascend to starter status (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). Sony Michel, JaMycal Hasty, and Peyton Barber took advantage of injuries to get more touches, but depending on the injury reports this week, they won't be in high demand. In fact, two handcuff/committee backs, Tony Pollard and Cordarrelle Patterson, might be the best RB pickups.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Our full free agent list features plenty of potential backups, streamers, and lotto tickets worth stashing this early in the season, including Henry Ruggs III, Zack Moss, K.J. Osborn, Rondale Moore, Derek CarrSam DarnoldMichael Carter, Tim Patrick, Quez Watkins, and plenty more. Week 3 is a good time to start cutting some of those preseason sleepers who are barely seeing the field and investing in some guys who have actually shown a little something this year. We try to give a taste of all those types of players, but we all know they're potential cut candidates after next week. If you're looking for just a Week 3 streamer, we have QBs and D/STs for Week 3, which can be found at the end of this list. 

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Right now, it doesn't look like any of this week's top pickups are worth a high waiver claim. Fields might be depending on your QB situation, but since most owners in single-QB leagues already have a good one, Fields is unlikely to worth anything more than a mid-tier claim. Patterson, Pollard, and Michel will fight it out to be the top RB, which isn't really saying much. We'll likely learn more about some of these injury situations throughout the week, but until we do, plan on saving your top-five claims unless you're RB situation needs help.

MORE WEEK 3: FAAB budget plannerBuy-low, sell-high

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

  • Pollard has looked like the best Cowboys RB the past two weeks, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown and adding another 31 yards on threereceptions in Week 2.Obviously, we know Ezekiel Elliott isn't "going away," but it's clear Dallas has no problem giving Pollard significant touches. Given his talent and versatility, he has value even if Zeke is completely healthy, especially during the bye weeks. You can consider him a flex next week against Philadelphia. -- ML

  • Mike Davis is struggling as the Falcons "lead back," which isn't a huge surprise. What is a bit unexpected is Cordarrelle Patterson's enhanced role. The veteran hybridtotaled 69yards on 12touches in Week 2, but most important, he scored twice (one through the air, one on the ground). He also was just two behindDavis for the team lead in carries. It seems unlikely Patterson would simply "take over" as Atlanta's lead back, but even inhis current role,he has value, especially since he has dual-eligibility on some sites. Look for him to be a potential flex next week against a Giants defense that has struggled to cover backsin the receiving game.-- ML

  • Fields wasn't particularly impressive in relief of Andy Dalton, who exited in the second quarter against the Bengals because of a knee injury, but the mere fact Dalton was injured is most important here. The rookie out of Ohio State was six-for-13 for 60 yards and an INT while adding another 31 rushing yards on 10 carries. That last stat is really the most important, at least in terms of projecting Fields' future value. It's unclear if Dalton will be healthy enough to start next week against Cleveland, but if he can't, Fields will have immediate value (especially with Detroit on tap in Week 4). Grab him now. -- Matt Lutovsky

  • Shepard is now 56 percent owned, but he'll skyrocket after the waiver period this week. He is the No. 1 WR in New York, and Daniel Jones is hitting him early and often. In his first two games against what we expect to be tough defenses (Denver and Washington), he's drawn 19 targets, catching 16 for 207 yards and grabbed a touchdown. The Giants host the Falcons in Week 3, so he is ready to pay off for you right away. -- Jackson Sparks

  • Moore had a respectable game in his NFL debut but followed it up with a nuclear performance in Week 2 vs. Minnesota. He drew a team-high eight targets for 114 yards and scored on a 77-yard touchdown. He's definitely a flex consideration moving forward, and Kyler Murray obviously loves his new playmaker. He'll be a hot grab this week, so this is your last chance, especially since Arizona plays the Jaguars in Week 3 -- JS

  • We all knew Darrell Henderson Jr. wasn't the most durable of backs, and sure enough he couldn't make it two games in one piece. Henderson had been handling virtually all of the RB touches for the Rams through the first seven quarters of the season, but a rib injury knocked out late against the Colts in Week 2. Michel came in and handled "closer" duties, rushing 10 times for 46 yards. It's unclear how seriously Henderson is hurt, but either way, Michel is a solid guy to have around as a handcuff. Next week, the Rams play the Bucs and their top-tier run defense, so it's unlikely you'll want to play either back, but Michel becomes more viable if Henderson is out. -- ML

  • White is once again a great option at flex in PPR leagues. Stationary QBs love pass-catching backs, and White drew six targets, catching all of them and adding a rushing score in Week 2. He has a safe floor but a limited upside -- perfect for a flex spot. In Week 3, the Pats play New Orleans, whose defense didn't look strong against the Sam Darnold-led Panthers -- JS

  • Ruggs had a 37-yard catch in Week 1, but it was one of just two receptions in what was otherwise a quiet game. In Week 2 against Pittsburgh, he broke out in a much bigger way, catching five of a team-high eight targets for 113 yards and a score. Ruggs might have a boom-or-bust outlook most weeks, but he's clearly a big-play machine with a high ceiling every week. With Derek Carr playing so well (against the Ravens and Steelers, no less), Ruggs is definitely worth adding ahead of next week's game against Miami. -- ML

  • We told you to grab Patrick heading into Week 2, and although he caught just three passes against the Jaguars, he scored another touchdown. He's clearly the No. 2 WR in Jerry Jeudy's (ankle) absence, and the Broncos host the Jets in Week 3. -- JS

  • Carter saw 13 touches for 88 yards against a strong Patriots defense, so maybe that showing will be enough for him to continue to carry more of the load moving forward. Of course, this position battle is far from over (if it ever ends), but this is a promising sign. Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman will still be a factor, but we assume Carter has the highest upside. The Jets play the Broncos in Week 3, so while it's not the greatest matchup, it is better than the Patriots. -- JS

  • After scoring two touchdowns in Week 1, Pascal scored another one vs. the Rams. He was out-targeted by Michael Pittman Jr. five to 10, but he's clearly an end-zone threat. He's more attractive in standard leagues for this reason and has a date with the Titans' woeful pass defense in Week 3. -- JS

  • With Tyrell Williams (concussion) out,Cephusoperated as the Lions top wide receiver on Monday night, hauling in four-of-seven targets for 63 yards and a TD. He's now scored and had at least six targets in both games this year. After TE T.J.Hockenson, the Lions have no defined pecking order at receiver, soCephusis as good of a candidate as anyone to be the top guy. If he is, he'll have a decent amount of flex value given the deficits the Lionswill likely be facing this year. He's worth adding asa bench piece, as the Lions should be throwing a lot next week against the Ravens, too. -- ML

  • Kirk drew four targets in Week 2, catching three for 63 yards. While it wasn't the stellar performance he had in Week 1 with two touchdowns, he looks to be on the edge of the start 'em sit 'em bubble every week. It'll be tough to know whether to start Kirk or Rondale Moore if you own both of them, but it's worth adding both of them heading into Week 3 at Jacksonville. --JS

  • After Osborn drew nine targets last week, he drew six this week and caught five for 91 yards and a score. After some skepticism of his Week 1 performance, it seems Osborn is here to say and be a nice flexoption in the Vikings' stellar passing game. While we can't expect him to always outplay Justin Jefferson, he's done so thus far. Minnesota plays Seattle in Week 3, so there's a good chance he produces a solid outing once again. --JS

  • Carr threw for 382 yards and two touches against the Steelers in what was supposed to be the toughest matchup of the year for them. He looks legit, as he's carved two of the top defenses in the league (Steelers, Ravens). Grab him while you can, as he'll be in play against the Dolphins in Week 3. -- JS

  • Bridgewater continued his early-season success vs. Jacksonville, passing for 328 yards and two touchdowns. He and Courtland Sutton look to be building strong chemistry in Jerry Jeudy's absence because of an ankle injury.The Broncos will be expected to torch the Jets in Week 3. --JS

  • Darnold threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Saints in Week 2 and plays Houston next in Week 3. The Panthers get Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Minnesota in the next four weeks, and they'll obviously get the Falcons twice down the road. We know it's weird, but Darnold has plenty of appeal with such great matchups down the pipe. -- JS

  • Just a week after being a healthy scratch, Moss was not only active in Week 2, but he also scored twice. To be fair Devin Singletary was clearly the lead back, getting 13 carries to Moss's eight (and Moss only got that many carries and at least one of the TDs because of garbage time), but this is still a reminder that the second-year back can have value in Buffalo's high-powered offense. Reports before the game suggested Moss was inactive last week because of a pass-heavy game plan, so perhaps he'll be on and off the active game-day roster all year, but at the very least, he looks like Singletary's primary handcuff. -- ML

  • McKissic had a big Week 2, scoring on a short run and catching five-of-six targets for 83 yards. So, he's back, right? Maybe, but virtually all of his production came in the final few minutes of the second and fourth quarters when Washington was in hurry-up mode. If he doesn't get cheap production, will he be useless like in Week 1? The jury is still out, but McKissic is at least worth a free agent add in PPR leagues. If nothing else, he's a valuable handcuff to Antonio Gibson. -- ML

  • Barber wasn't impressive in Week 2 vs. Pittsburgh, but he did get 13 carries in Josh Jacobs' absence because of a foot injury. In deep leagues, you often just need a guy who will get somewhat of a workload. Barber is a possible flex candidate if Jacobs misses more time, and he won't face a front-seven as good as the Steelers again this year. The Raiders host the Dolphins in Week 3, who let the Bills run wild on them in Week 2. Consider Barber a very low-priority pickup, but only if Jacobs is expected to be out again. -- JS

  • DalvinCook had to be tended to on the field on more than one occasion last week, and with the Vikings saying after the game that their star RB has a "little ankle sprain," it's entirely possible Cook will be "questionable" leading into this week's game against Seattle. If he's out,Mattisonwould immediately have RB2 value. Even if Cook plays this week, his Week 2 issues serve as a reminder thatMattisonshould be owned in all formats. Cook missing a game seems more like a matter of "when," not "if." -- ML

  • Mooney drew eight targets in Week 2, once again leading all Bears' pass-catchers. He caught six of them for 66 yards and continues his bid for a flex spot in your lineups, especially in PPR leagues. With Justin Fields potentially taking the starting QB job, Mooney's ceiling should be raised. -- JS

  • Watkins really only had one big play in Week 2, but it was a 91-yard reception. For the day, he totaled two catches for 117 yards, but that kind of big-play upside is always intriguing -- especially in matchups like Philadelphia's Week 3's tilt with Dallas. -- ML

  • Beasley saw just four targets in Week 2, but the Bills were up big and Josh Allen threw just 33 passes. Expect those attempts to go back up and Beasley to benefit. The Bills play Washington in Week 3, whose defense doesn't look nearly as good as we expected it to. He's still underowned. -- JS

  • Sanders drew six targets in Week 2 but caught just two for 48 yards. While it wasn't a great game, the Bills rushed more often than usual, and Sanders will continue to build chemistry with Josh Allen. The Bills host Washington in Week 3, but ultimately Sanders is more of a depth free agent pickup overall. -- JS

  • Watkins had just four catches for 44 yards against the Chiefs, but he had seven targets, giving him 15 for the season. That workload might change when Rashod Bateman (core) comes off the IR, but as long as Watkins is getting regular looks, he has WR3 upside. That's especially true next week against the Lions. -- ML

  • Slayton scored in Week 2, but his primary value is that of a boom-or-bust, big-play guy who can function as a risky WR3 in favorable matchups. Well, he has such a matchup in Week 3 against Atlanta. He's worth a flier if you need depth, and he also serves as a handcuff to the oft-injured Kenny Golladay. -- ML

  • The Cardinals rarely feature their TE, so it's possible Williams' seven-catch, 94-yard effort in Week 2 is just a fluke. In fact, we already know it's a little fluky because his biggest play of the game deflected off the intended receiver's helmet into Williams' hands for a 34-yard gain. Still, Williams is an intriguing streamer candidate because of his Week 3 matchup in Jacksonville. The Jags allowed a lot of catches to Pharaoh Brown in Week 1 and a touchdown to Noah Fant in Week 2, so if you're fed up with your tight end, Williams is one of your only good streaming options this week. -- ML

  • Don't look now, but Jones is averaging 25.4 fantasy points over his first two games. Denver and Washington have formidable defenses, so perhaps it's time for Jones to really break out in fantasy. For those of you that don't know, Jones is a weapon on the ground, too. He's averaged over 50 rushing yards in Week 1 and 2 and rushed for a touchdown in both games. All of a sudden, he and Sterling Shepard are high on the list of waiver adds heading into Week 3. He plays Atlanta next, so expect his ownership (19 percent) to skyrocket for at least this week. -- JS

  • Jones didn't quite have the stellar performance we were hoping for vs. the Jets, but he was in more of a game manager role as the Pats relied on their rushing attack and defense. He was a good 'real life' QB but won't be asked to attempt a ton of passes very often. He faces the Saints in Week 3, who gave up 300 yards passing to Sam Darnold, then gets Houston and Dallas in Weeks 5 and 6 before playing the Jets again in Week 7. Perhaps Jones will start passing more, so he's not a bad free agent stash in deep leagues. -- JS

  • Nothing has really changed with Lance, but it's smart to stash him if you can afford to. The 49ers are 2-0, though, so who knows when it will be Trey Time in the Bay. -- JS

  • The Panthers face a Texans team in Week 3 that hasn't been as bad as expected in the early going, but will likely be starting a rookie backup on short rest. Carolina is one of the best streamers on the slate by a wide margin, especially after impressive back-to-back performances. --ML

  • Another week, another good matchup for the Saints' D/ST. In Week 3, they'll be in New England to face rookie QB Mac Jones. Based on what we've seen this year, the Saints should be owned in more leagues. --ML

  • The Cardinals pass rush is no joke, and in Week 3, they will unleash it on Trevor Lawrence and the suspect Jaguars offensive line. Grab Arizona while you can, as there could be plenty of future value here, too. --ML

  • New York's Week 3 opponent, Atlanta, has given up a lot of D/ST fantasy points so far, and even the Giants' D/ST has been a bit up and down, they still have enough talent to exploit this matchup at home in what shapes up as a tough week for D/STs across the league. --ML

  • The Raiders pass rush has solid this year, but the reason they're on this list is because of a home matchup with either a hobbled Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) or Jacob Brissett in Week 3. Stream 'em while you can. -- ML

  • We don't like this any more than you, but with either a banged-up Carson Wentz (ankle) or Jacob Eason starting in Tennessee in Week 3, you have to at least consider streaming the Titans. -- ML

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