Hopefully, you got ahead of the crowd on some of the hot names heading into the Week 2 waiver wire rush, but while you're wondering if you should start or sit some of those new pickups, we're already looking forward to Week 3. Working the waiver wire is essential in trying to take home a championship, and a lot of the work is done early in the year. Whether you're searching for long-term answers or one-week streamers, our Week 3 waiver wire watchlist will help you identify said streamers and free agent adds for down the road.
Justin Fields will be a mainstay on this list until Matt Nagy decides to start him. Larry Rountree, KJ Hamler, and Sterling Shepard showed us enough in Week 1 to warrant being on the watchlist, too, as they all present sneaky upside that many casual fantasy owners don't seem to be aware of -- yet. We have plenty more examples below.
Streaming players isn't all that common in Week 1, as many go ahead and draft QBs, TEs, and defenses who have solid Week 1 matchups beforehand. Now that we're past the initial week of the regular season, streaming will be an important tactic moving forward. As always, you aren't going to bench studs for streamers, but at a position like tight end and D/ST, matchups are king when you move past the "must-starts."
Some leagues don't have enough roster spots to necessarily take advantage of "planning ahead," but for those in leagues that do (or if you have players on IR or useless players you want to cut), our week-ahead watchlist will be helpful all season long. Grabbing a player or two before the weekend when they're free agents can pay off big time if those players have good games. Your spot in the waiver order is valuable, and you want to save it as long as possible. At the very least, it's good to have a list of names of players to watch on Sunday so you can monitor snap share and targets/touches.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist
Reminder: This list was put together in the lead-in to Week 2, looking forward to the players who could be popular waiver-wire targets ahead of Week 3. If you have a roster spot to play with, these are free agent options you could grab early to beat the waiver buzz.
All these players are below 50-percent ownership on Yahoo unless otherwise specified.
Week 3 Waiver Wire Watchlist: Quarterback
Rookies Justin Fields, Bears (51 percent owned), Trey Lance, 49ers (41), Mac Jones, Patriots (25), Zach Wilson, Jets (16)
These rookie QBs will probably make our list weekly until they are more highly owned. If you have room to stash one, it's a smart play. Lance and Fields will have top-12 upside with their rushing abilities when named starters. They also both have some nice weapons surrounding them. They'll quickly be north of 80 percent owned when named their teams' QB1s.
Wilson and Jones both looked solid in Week 1. They'll continue to be streamer options on weeks with good matchups. Mac Jones is a solid streamer option in Week 2 (@ Jets), while we'd stay off of Wilson going against Bill Belichick's defense.
All four quarterbacks went down in ownership, so there's a chance here to steal them for later in the season, especially Lance and Fields. Fields is more likely to start sooner, though, so he should be the priority pickup.
Ben Roethlisberger, Saints (37)
We know Big Ben doesn't look quite like he used to, but he faces the Raiders in Week 2 and Bengals in Week 3. With all of the weapons he has at his disposal and the number of pass attempts he throw, he can still be a streamer.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (28)
Tagovailoa didn't play all that bad in New England, as he scored a rushing and passing touchdown. Of course, we'd like to see more than 202 yards passing, but he faced one of his toughest matchups of the year in Week 1. In Week 3, he faces the Raiders, so he'll likely be a popular streamer.
Carson Wentz, Colts (15)
Wentz looked solid in Week 1 with his new team, and he faces the Titans' putrid secondary in Week 3. Any quarterback who faces the Titans will get major buzz ahead of their game.
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos (14)
Bridgewater threw for two touchdowns in Week 1 and will likely shred the Jaguars' defense in Week 2, bringing more fantasy attention to himself. Grab him now because he plays the Jets in Week 3.
Week 3 Waiver Wire Watchlist: RB
Zack Moss (54)
Moss' ownership took a nosedive after he was ruled inactive in Week 1, but it's a little too early to completely write him off. If he continues to be inactive, obviously we want no part of him. However, he's worth monitoring moving forward. If he even gets back to handing half the workload in one of the best offenses in football, he's worth a roster spot.
Michael Carter (52); Tevin Coleman (22); Ty Johnson (9), Jets
In Week 1, Coleman led the backfield with nine touches while Carter and Johnson had five touches each. This isn't a big enough difference for us to know who will be the lead back in the offense. It's quite possible it could be close to an even split all year long or it could fluctuate week to week. It's worth monitoring until further notice.
David Johnson (50); Phillip Lindsay (42), Texans
Mark Ingram was the hot waiver wire add after the Texans slaughtered the Jaguars. He led the team with 26 carries, but the game script was very favorable to him. They were leading all game, so pounding the rock with their best between-the-tackles runner was their plan of attack. Moving forward, we don't expect them to be leading often, so they'll have to get Johnson and/or Lindsay involved. All three RBs scored touchdowns, so it's smart to watch them to see if any of the three emerge as the lead back.
James White, Patriots (39)
White feels like a must-own in PPR leagues, regardless of size. For years, White was Tom Brady's safety blanket coming out of the backfield, and he did the same for Mac Jones in Week 1. White had 10 total touches, but six were receptions (61 total yards). A rookie QB with a top-tier pass-catching RB is a recipe for fantasy points. Grab him while you can. He should be productive regardless of matchup because dump-downs to the RB are even more prevalent when facing a suffocating defense.
Peyton Barber, Raiders (8)
Barber is supposedly going to be the "lead back" for the Raiders with Josh Jacobs (toe/ankle) out. Considering he'll be playing the Steelers, we don't expect much from the veteran back, but if he has a short touchdown or two, he'll at least be on the fantasy radar. Chances are, he'll get stuffed, Kenyan Drake will outproduce anyway, and Jacobs will be back next week, but we still need to add him here given the reports out of Vegas.
Damien Williams, Bears (6)
Williams received 10 touches (@ Rams) and looks to be in the Tarik Cohen role behind David Montgomery for now. He's not attractive in standard leagues but has sneaky value in PPR, as he got five targets in the opener. When Cohen returns from the PUP list, Williams might be phased out of the offense, but that's no guarantee.
Tony Jones Jr., Saints (24); Larry Rountree, Chargers (6); JaMycal Hasty, 49ers (5)
For now, these guys are handcuffs that are tough to start, but they'll all get touches every week. Rountree looked like he's taken the primary backup RB job behind Austin Ekeler, and given Ekeler's injury history, that's a valuable position. We know Alvin Kamara's handcuff (Jones Jr.) always has value, and the 49ers aren't above featuring their third-string RB (Hasty) on any given week.
Week 3 Waiver Wire Watchlist: WR
Sterling Shepard, Giants (55)
Shepard will be locked on waivers after Thursday Night Football, but he looked like Daniel Jones' favorite target in Week 1. He saw nine targets for seven catches, 113 yards, and a touchdown. Whatever your opinion is about Daniel Jones, that stat line and usage is undeniable. He may be the No. 1 WR in New York. It doesn't hurt to grab him now since he'll be a top pickup if he goes off.
Cole Beasley, Bills (49)
Beasley was an All-Pro last year and received 13 targets in Week 1 (vs Steelers). It's odd that he's less than 50 percent owned given those facts. In PPR leagues, he must be rostered. Emmanuel Sanders and Gabriel Davis are also worth monitoring, but it's going to be tough to rely on them as starters very often, though Davis has more boom-or-bust WR3 value in standard leagues.
Christian Kirk (48); Rondale Moore (30), Cardinals
Kirk caught all five of his targets for 70 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Yes, it was against the awful Titans' defense, but it was still a noteworthy performance. You should take a flier on him and/or monitor him moving forward, but he will probably be a boom-or-bust risk each week. Moore caught four-of-five targets for 68 yards and was targeted on a deep shot in the end zone. Since the Cardinals run four-receiver sets more than any team in the leagues, there is plenty of work to go around in that group.
Nelson Agholor, Patriots (47)
We still view Jakobi Meyers as the No. 1 WR in New England, but Agholor can be the top Patriots' producer on any given week. With Mac Jones in the huddle, the passing game is competent, and there is plenty of work to go around. In a tough matchup with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones vs. Miami, Agholor caught five-of-seven targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. New England plays the Jets this week and a Saints' defense in Week 3 that will likely be without Marshon Lattimore (thumb).
Darnell Mooney, Bears (46)
Mooney wasn't all that impressive in Week 1 (@ Rams), but he did draw seven targets. He seems locked in as the No. 2 WR in Chicago, and he's just waiting to take off when Justin Fields takes over the offense. As always, he's more of a PPR contributor.
Jalen Reagor, Eagles (24)
Are you not entertained? The Eagles' offense looked good in Week 1 under Jalen Hurts (albeit @ Atlanta), and Jalen Reagor is a part of the success. He caught all six of his targets and scored a touchdown late in the game. With DeVonta Smith drawing the opposing No. 1 corner, Reagor has the opportunity to produce moving forward. A juicy matchup with the Cowboys awaits him in Week 3.
Russell Gage, Falcons (20)
Gage was one of the top cut casualties after Week 1, and for good reason. He drew just two targets and wound up with a 0-0-0 stat line. We know his first game leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but we have the think the Falcons' offense will eventually pick up steam. He's no better than the No. 3 target for Matt Ryan, but he still has the chance to be valuable in what will be forced to be a pass-heavy attack.
Tim Patrick (19); K.J. Hamler (6), Broncos
Patrick and Hamler both drew four targets in Week 1, and Jerry Jeudy (ankle) is expected to be sidelined for four-to-eight weeks. This shouldn't be a high-octane passing attack, but the opportunity is there for either to emerge as the No. 2 WR beside Courtland Sutton. They play the Jaguars and Jets in the next two weeks, so the matchups couldn't be much better.
Possible IR Steals: Curtis Samuel, Washington (37) T.Y. Hilton, Colts (17); Rashod Bateman, Ravens (13)
These three have steal potential when they return from IR, as early as Week 4. Bateman and Hilton can both immediately step into WR1 roles, while Samuel will serve as Washington's No. 2. If you can afford to stash these guys and wait, it's definitely worth doing. If you have to decide between the three, Samuel (groin) is the most valuable guy with the safest floor, while Hilton (neck) and Bateman (core) have higher upsides purely because they can be the alpha WR in their offenses.
Week 3 Waiver Wire Watchlist: TE
Austin Hooper (49); David Njoku (7), Browns
Especially with Odell Beckham Jr. still dealing with his knee issues, Hooper and Njoku have chances at increased volume. Njoku tied for the team lead with five targets in Week 1 (@ Chiefs) and served as the No. 1 target for Baker Mayfield. Hooper saw three targets, but we'll see if that picks up. Both are talented players, and it's not a given that Hooper is the primary tight end. These two are similar to Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry in that they both command first-team reps and are often on the field together. Watch this moving forward, especially with games vs. Houston and Chicago coming up.
Cole Kmet, Bears (37)
Kmet is another guy waiting for Justin Fields to take the starting nod to unlock his potential, but he played a lot of snaps and saw seven targets, catching five for 42 yards in a tough matchup with the Rams. As a preseason breakout candidate, the seven targets is promising. At such a tough position to figure out in fantasy football, he has streamer potential every week and could eventually be a guy that is heavily rostered.
Juwan Johnson (34), Adam Trautman (10), Saints
Johnson was Jameis Winston's red-zone weapon in Week 1, catching two touchdowns. However, Trautman doubled him in targets (six to three) and played more snaps, so both should be trending upward heading into Week 2. Their Week 3 matchup with the Patriots isn't ideal, but keep a watchful eye on them moving forward. Johnson will probably be a standard play, while Trautman is more viable in PPR.
Jared Cook, Chargers (32)
Cook caught five-of-eight targets for 56 yards in a tough matchup in Washington in Week 1. He probably exceeded expectations, so monitor his usage moving forward. He's been underrated for a while and facing Dallas in Week 2 before Kansas City in Week 3.
Week 3 defense streamers and sleepers
Colts (48) and Dolphins (25)
The Colts (@ Titans) and Dolphins (@ Raiders) don’t have great matchups next week (or the week after in Miami’s case), but they’re overall strong D/STs that will start having more value when their respective schedules open up. If you don’t want to “stash” a second D/ST, that’s fine, but at least keep an eye on these two squads.
Saints @ Patriots (54)
The Saints (@ Patriots) are also a solid long-term D/ST, and they’re definitely worth using in Week 3 against a rookie QB. Chances are, New Orleans’ ownership percentage will creep up closer to the start of their Week 2 game against Sam Darnold and the Panthers, so availability might be an issue in even 10-team leagues.
Cardinals @ Jaguars (46); Panthers @ Texans (22); Giants vs. Falcons (7)
The Cardinals (@ Jaguars), Panthers (@ Texans), and Giants (vs. Falcons) fit the classic “streamer” mold for Week 3. The Texans might be more efficient on offense than we give them credit for (we’ll see how they fare in Cleveland in Week 2), and the Falcons aren’t “sure points” either (though we like that game is in New York). Still, all three of these D/STs should be solid enough options if you’re in need of a rental.