Week 3 Waiver Wire Deep Dive
In our 2nd installment of Waiver Wire Deep Dive, I’ll focus mostly on players who were not mentioned in the Week 1 edition. However, if a player flashed again in the data and is still largely unrostered, I’ll mention him again just to put him back on your radar.
We now have 2 of the most important influxes of information we will get this year about how coaches feel about players, and what they want to accomplish within their offenses. Things shift week to week, as you’ll notice in some of the information below, so we must constantly be taking in new data and deciding what to do with it. Some information must be discarded, like if there is a short-term injury to a starter and the back-up player will not stay involved after he returns. But other times, even seemingly small shifts are signs that a bigger change is on the way.
I’ve studied the data for this week, and below are some deep-dive players I would consider either adding to your rosters or keeping a close eye on for future weeks. Which you need to do will depend on your roster size, how desperate you are for an option at a certain position and how aggressive your league is.
Joshua Kelley, RB, Chargers
We saw a shift in the way the Chargers used Kelley (and Sony Michel) in Week 2, and it appears like they might be feeling like Kelley might be a better player. He played on 19 snaps, while Michel only played on 9. They both received 4 carries, but Kelley was more effective with his (22 yards to Michel’s 13).
Neither is particularly exciting, but it’s a smart move to roster the back who would see the most work if a starter was lost to injury, and it is looking like that might be Kelley. However, most likely both backs would share the load if Ekeler were to go down with a major injury. Still, Kelley might be worth a speculative add if you have space.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Chiefs
In a big surprise, McKinnon actually played more snaps than Clyde Edwards-Helaire on Thursday night (27 to 25). Don’t read too much into it for a couple of reasons. First, CEH had twice as many touches (12 to 6). Second, this was a game where the Chiefs trailed, so that may have been why they had their designated pass-game back on the field more often than normal.
Still, McKinnon seems to be very trusted in the passing game and comes in to spell CEH throughout the game in various situations. Isiah Pacheco is still hanging around (5 snaps), but McKinnon is the clear #2 RB for the Chiefs and should be rostered everywhere as a result.
Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons
Allgeier did not play in Week 1.But after Damien Williams was too banged up to play this week, the rookie got his first NFL action. He ended up playing on 31% of snaps, while Cordarelle Patterson played on 59%. Both got 10 carries.
Allgeier only went for 30 yards, but his involvement is a positive sign that they’d rather not overwork Patterson. Damien Williams might take back most of that work when he’s healthy, so be aware of that.But Allgeier could be a decent add in deep leagues as we wait to see how it shakes out.
Ashton Dulin, WR, Colts
Although it was Parris Campbell (86%) who played the most snaps at WR without Michael Pittman, Dulin was far better on only 64% of snaps, producing 5-79 on 7 targets (a 23% target share). If the coaches feel this is a disparity in talent and that Dulin deserves more playing time than Campbell, he could be on the field on almost every snap, with Pittman on the other side (as soon as he’s back to health).
If so, Dulin could provide some nice value if the Colts offense gets going, since defenses will be very focused on shutting down Pittman and Jonathan Taylor. First, though, the team needs to figure out how to score a point again.
Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor, WRs, Patriots
Meyers is unlikely to be on your wire, but in some leagues he might be. He needs to be rostered everywhere, even on a bad team. He got 13 targets on Sunday and caught 9 for 96 yards. That was a 37% target share! He is a good slot player and should stay heavily involved throughout the season, even if his potential to score is low.
Agholor, meanwhile, caught 6 balls for 110 yards and a score on Sunday, despite only playing 50% of snaps. After that performance, one could assume he will see more snaps next week, since Devante Parker played on 76% of snaps and did not catch either of his 2 targets. Parker seems too slow to earn targets at this stage of his career. Agholor has flashed and then disappointed several times in his career, so don’t blow a bunch of your FAAB on him. But he’s certainly worth watching.
George Pickens, WR, Steelers
Disappointed managers start dropping players they probably shouldn’t drop about this time every season.If Pickens is on the wire or gets dropped, I’d pick him up immediately. He is a talented player, even if raw, and I feel confident he is going to flash at some point this season. It might just require some patience.
In Week 2, Pickens played on 85% of snaps. He only received 3 targets and went 1-23, but the Steelers are likely to trail in a bunch of games this season and will have to throw it more. Also, Mitch Trubisky has been awful so far. Either he will improve, which will lead to more targets for Pickens, or he will be benched and rookie Kenny Pickett will come in. Either way, Pickens still has upside.
Noah Brown, WR, Cowboys
Brown played on 85% of the Cowboys snaps. Ceedee Lamb was at 95%, and the next highest WR was Dennis Houston at 34%. This shows us that Brown is definitely in play for the Cowboys this season, even when Michael Gallup comes back, as long as Jalen Tolbert doesn’t eventually push him down the depth chart. In Week 2, Brown caught all 5 of his targets for 91 yards and a score, so he is showing he has talent and can produce.
But be cautious when adding him, since Dak Prescott is out for a while and this offense has not looked good. I would not spend much FAAB on him, and I’d advise remembering that when Gallup comes back Brown will have some games where he barely gets any targets.
Nico Collins, WR, Texans
Collins showed up much more strongly in Week 2, playing on 67% of snaps and getting 9 targets (4-58). He appears locked in as the #2 option in this passing game, and the Texans have looked surprisingly competitive so far. He looked like a potential drop after Week 1 for those drafters who saw him as a sleeper, and now he is a trendy pick up. That’s a reminder to not be too hasty in dropping players until we have a bit more data.
David Bell, WR, Browns
This is just a hunch at this point, but I think Bell might be pushing for the #2 WR job in Cleveland soon. I believe he’s a more talented player than Donovan Peoples-Jones, even if he’s not as fast. He again played on fewer snaps than DPJ (30% to 78%), but he had a reception while DPJ did not. I would not add him yet unless you have very deep rosters, but either way I’d at least keep an eye on this situation, particularly on whether the snap counts start to shift in the coming weeks.
David Sills and Richie James, WRs, Giants
David Sills played the most snaps among Giants’ receivers in Week 2 (92%). He got 4 targets, catching 3 for 37 yards. From my vantage point, Sills is not a special talent, but 92% is 92%. When you’re on the field that much, you are bound to get targets and score points.So if you’re desperate for WR help, you could consider picking him up, especially since it sounds like Kenny Golladay might be on the outs with the team.
James continues to play ahead of Kadarius Toney and get more targets. He played on 31 snaps to Toney’s 28 on Sunday, and got 6 targets to Toney’s 3. James also led the team with 51 receiving yards (5-51). I see James as another player without special talent.But if Daboll wants to use these guys over other players most see as superior talents, it’s the players on the field we should be paying attention to. This is probably just a situation to monitor for now to see what the data tells us in Week 3.
Mack Hollins, WR, Raiders
It has become clear that the Raiders really do want to use Hollins as their outside receiver opposite Davante Adams, with Hunter Renfrow in the slot. He played on 87% of snaps on Sunday and got 8 targets (5-66). Hollins has always had an athletic profile but perhaps not the route-running ability to be on the field much.
But if the Raiders are going to give him so many snaps, he has value. The Cardinals tried to take away Davante Adams on Sunday and were pretty successful (2-12-1 on 7 targets).So when teams employ that strategy, Hollins could see a lot of action and could put up some points.
Irv Smith, TE, Vikings
I mention Irv here mainly because after 0 catches in Week 1, I’m sure he was dropped in many leagues. If he’s on your wire, he’s worth an add after he was targeted 8 times in Week 2, and caught 5 for 36 yards and a score. His production will be up and down like most starting TEs, but he showed he can produce in this offense.
Tyler Conklin, TE, Jets
If you didn’t pick up Conklin last week after reading this article, this might be your last chance. In Week 2, he played on 100% of snaps and went 6-40 on 9 targets.
Juwan Johnson, TE, Saints
If you missed picking him up after Week 1 and he’s still available, consider it more strongly now. Johnson played on 78% of snaps and received 7 targets (an 18% target share) in the loss to the Bucs. He only went 4-40, which will again keep his price down. However, once he scores he will be a very sought-after target. He ran a route on 33 of his 38 pass-down snaps.
Isaiah Likely, TE, Ravens
Likely seems to be the preferred third option in the passing game for the Ravens. He played on 36% of snaps compared to 39% for Demarcus Robinson, and got 5 targets to Robinson’s 2. If he moves into a bigger role, he could become a valuable piece, particularly since he is being utilized more as a WR but has TE eligibility. On Sunday he went 4-43 on 5 targets, and the only players with more targets on the team were Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews.
Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who has been playing in high-stakes redraft and dynasty leagues for over 15 years. He has won over $100,000 playing fantasy football. He has written for Sports Illustrated, 4for4, Fansided, FFToday, and Chiefs Wire. You can follow him on Twitter @kevinscottff, or check out his podcast called Grinding the Data.