Week 3 Free Agent Focus | Draft Sharks

Free Agent Focus

Week 3 Free Agent Focus

By Matt Schauf and Jared Smola 10:09am EDT 9/19/16

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-10%

It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but Tannehill racked up 389 passing yards and 2 TDs — plus 35 more yards on the ground — in Sunday’s loss in New England. He seemed to benefit from getting WR DeVante Parker back in the lineup.

Tannehill targeted Parker 13 times in his 1st action of the season -- which tied Jarvis Landry for the team lead -- and connected 8 times for 106 yards. We'll see if Parker can become a consistent factor, but he has now compiled 80+ yards in 4 of his past 6 outings. The young wideout adds explosiveness to a passing game that needs it.

Tannehill and the Dolphins get a home opener in Week 3 against the Browns, who’ve allowed 580 yards and 4 scores to Carson Wentz and Joe Flacco over the first 2 weeks.


Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings

Blind-bid recommendation: 50-60%

This is why we listed McKinnon as 1 of the few "locks" in our summer handcuffs article -- not because we knew Adrian Peterson would go down at some point, but because any significant injury would propel this dynamic athlete into a big role.

Peterson's headed for a Monday MRI on his right knee, so we should gain clarity on his outlook before your league's waivers run. But he hopped from the field all the way through the apparently lengthy player runway in the new stadium Sunday night (propped up by a couple of trainers), without letting his injured leg touch the ground.

Matt Asiata actually carried 5 times vs. just 2 for McKinnon after Peterson suffered his right knee injury in the 3rd quarter Sunday night. That situation presents some risk to McKinnon's outlook. But McKinnon stepped in 1st and took the 1st 2 handoffs after Peterson left. Asiata's 5 came over Minnesota's final 2 possessions, when the Vikings were nursing a lead and trying to run out clock.

Asiata has drawn goal-line work in Peterson's absence before, and McKinnon holds just a 3-catch edge in receiving over Asiata since the start of 2015.

The situation keeps us from blowing the entire free-agent budget on McKinnon, especially when you consider that Peterson has averaged just 1.6 yards per carry so far behind a shaky O-line. But McKinnon presents a much higher ceiling than Asiata, including a 4.9-yard career per-carry average vs. Asiata's 3.6.

And don't forget that this was the league's 2nd most run-heavy team in 2015. There should be enough work for McKinnon to help even if Asiata continues to get a bit more work than he probably should.


Fozzy Whittaker, RB, Panthers

Blind-bid recommendation: 15-20%

Here's your most run-heavy team from 2015, which is what props up Whittaker's value.

He stepped in as Carolina’s feature back Sunday against the Niners after Jonathan Stewart left with his hamstring injury. Whittaker took 16 carries for 100 yards and tacked on 3 catches for 31 more. His 4 targets marked a level Stewart reached just twice all last season (granted, on a day that saw Cam Newton attempt 41 passes).

We’d likely see some Cameron Artis-Payne if Stewart misses more time — and Mike Tolbert will remain in the mix — but Whittaker has played well ahead of CAP through the 1st 2 weeks.

Carolina gets a solid Vikings defense in Week 3 but a better matchup vs. Atlanta the following week. The Saints loom in Week 6. We'll see, of course, how significant Stewart's injury proves to be. But even if he's back next week, the history of lower-body injuries makes Stewart a threat to miss further time.


Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings

Blind-bid recommendation: 15-20%

As we said, McKinnon's the exciting, high-upside add if Peterson's going to miss significant time. But we can't forget about Asiata (no matter how much we'd like to).

Asiata has caught just 3 fewer passes than McKinnon since the start of 2015, garnered the primary goal-line role when Peterson missed the final 15 games of 2014 and carried 5 times to McKinnon's 2 after Peterson left Sunday night.

If we find out Monday (or Tuesday) that Peterson's gone for a month or more, then Asiata belongs on a roster in most fantasy leagues.


Phillip Dorsett, WR, Colts

Blind-bid recommendation: 20-25%

Dorsett predictably struggled vs. Denver’s elite secondary, managing just 1 catch for 30 yards. But his 5 targets ranked 2nd on the team. And his role would grow further if Donte Moncrief misses time with his concussion.

Dorsett and the Colts get a much better Week 3 matchup against the Chargers. San Diego has seen 2 straight opposing QBs throw for 320+ yards.


Victor Cruz, WR, Giants

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%

Cruz looked even better in Sunday's win over the Saints than he did during his 4-34-1 opener.

He hauled in 4 balls for 91 yards, including a 34-yarder late in the 4th to set up a game-winning FG. Cruz also delivered a 40-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline (though he lost a fumble at the end of it).

Cruz’s 8 targets tied Sterling Shepard for 2nd on the team, just 3 behind Odell Beckham.


Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%

Enunwa was heavily involved in the Jets’ passing game for the 2nd straight outing Thursday night.

He played 61% of the offensive snaps and hauled in all 6 of his targets for 92 yards. That gives him 14 targets over the first 2 weeks — a solid 20.3% of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s total attempts.

Enunwa is quickly working his way into the spot-start WR3 discussion.


Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-12%

Crowder entered 2016 in a seemingly crowded pass offense, but he hasn't had much trouble finding room so far. Crowder has out-targeted Pierre Garcon in each game so far and led the team with 8 looks in Sunday's loss to Dallas. Crowder has caught 6 passes in each game so far, a number he reached just 4 times all last season.

Rookie Josh Doctson figures to grow his role as he gets comfier in the offense and further removed from his summer Achilles' issue, but he's also pegged for an outside role. With Garcon and DeSean Jackson each aging and facing free agency after this season, Doctson likely poses more of a threat to their roles than that of slot man Crowder.

A lagging run game and sluggish defense should only enhance Washington's passing volume across the board, while the schedule doesn't appear to present a negative matchup until a Week 8 trip to Cincinnati.


Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-12%

In San Diego’s 1st full game without Keenan Allen, Williams tied for the team lead with 6 targets. He turned those into 3 catches for 61 yards and a score. The highlight was a 44-yard, tackle-breaking TD.

His combination of physical ability and role give him intriguing weekly upside. He sits behind the other WRs on this list, however, until we see more of both him and his role. Anything close to Sunday's usage will make him a boom/bust weekly fantasy prospect.


Davante Adams, WR, Packers

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-10%

Adams tied Randall Cobb for 2nd on the team with 7 targets in Sunday night's loss at Minnesota. That came a week after his 7 targets fell just 1 behind Cobb and 2 behind Jordy Nelson for 3rd on the team at Jacksonville.

Adams finished each game with just 3 catches and tallied a weak 26 yards in Week 2. But he garnered a deep end-zone look from Aaron Rodgers a Week after catching a TD.

Rodgers gives this guy value, and a Week 3 home matchup with Detroit could bring it out.


Cole Beasley, WR, Cowboys

Blind-bid recommendation: 6-8%

Beasley followed an 8-65 receiving line on 12 targets (2nd on the team) in the opener by catching 5 balls for 75 yards in a Week 2 victory at Washington.

He ranked 2nd on the team in targets once again (with 6) and reached 60% playing time for the 2nd straight game. That's a level Beasley hit just 4 times all last year -- despite Dez Bryant missing half the season. At the same time, WR Terrance Williams garnered 0 looks at Washington -- despite playing 3 more snaps than Beasley.

Whether it's an expanded role for Beasley in general or trying to fit his short-range game with young QB Dak Prescott, Dallas' slot man is the 2nd fantasy wideout in the offense for now -- an offense that gets upside matchups in the Bears and Niners the next 2 weeks.


Clive Walford, TE, Raiders

Blind-bid recommendation: 6-8%

Walford hit pay dirt in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons and finished among the top 2 on the team in targets (7), catches (6) and receiving yards (50). He’s playing a significant role in a productive passing attack.


Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-6%

Pitta had his coming out again party in Sunday’s win over the Browns, snagging 9 receptions for 102 yards. His 12 targets were twice as many as any other Raven.

Pitta won’t be so central every week, but he’s the clear lead TE in a pass-heavy offense. And he looks reasonably good after those 2 hip injuries. Week 3 brings a potentially favorable matchup at Jacksonville.


Deep League Options:


Alfred Morris, RB, Cowboys

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-10%

He carried just 5 times vs. Ezekiel Elliott’s 21. But 1 of Morris’ totes was a 4-yard, game-winning TD late in the 4th quarter. That was after Elliott fumbled twice (losing 1). More mistakes like that could mean a bigger role for Morris (though coaches said after the game they're not worried about Elliott's fumbling). Morris is worth stashing.


Dwayne Washington, RB, Lions

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

Theo Riddick will lead Detroit’s backfield if Ameer Abdullah misses time, but he isn’t built to handle huge workloads. Washington would likely play an increased role, on top of the goal-line duties he already has. He carried 4 times for 31 yards vs. the Titans. Stash him in leagues of 12+ teams.


Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-10%

Boyd posted a 6-78 line vs. Pittsburgh and tied for 2nd on the team with 8 targets. It came on a day when QB Andy Dalton chucked it 54 times, volume that we obviously can’t expect going forward. But Dalton often looked Boyd’s way on 3rd down and seems to have plenty of trust in his rookie.


Anquan Boldin, WR, Lions

Blind-bid recommendation: 4-5%

Boldin caught 4 balls for 48 yards and Matthew Stafford’s only TD in Sunday’s loss to the Titans. His 7 targets tied Eric Ebron for 3rd on the team — 4 behind Marvin Jones, 2 behind Golden Tate. Boldin is playing a bunch in Detroit’s base 3-WR offense and could be useful when the bye weeks start to hit.


Jacob Tamme, TE, Falcons

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

Tamme saw a team-high 8 targets in Sunday’s win over the Raiders — his 2nd straight 8-target game. He’s caught 11 of those 16 total looks for 126 yards. Note that rookie TE Austin Hooper reeled in all 3 of his targets for 81 yards on Sunday and figures to pass Tamme in the pecking order at some point. That time isn’t now, though. You could worse than Tamme as a spot starter in PPR leagues. It's also worth noting that Julio Jones has finished each game so far with questions about the ankle he originally sprained in the preseason.


Jack Doyle, TE, Colts

Blind-bid recommendation: 2-3%

Doyle followed up his 2-TD opener with a 4-37 line vs. Denver. His 5 targets tied for 2nd on the team, behind only T.Y. Hilton and ahead of fellow TE Dwayne Allen. Doyle will remain largely TD-dependent, but games like this raise his week-to-week floor a bit. Week 3 will bring to town a San Diego defense that has seen 2 straight opponents throw for 329+ yards.

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