Fantasy football Week 3 waiver wire pickups: Devonta Freeman, Mike Davis

Sunday of Week 2 was absolutely horrific for injuries to major players across the NFL. Saquon Barkley is out for the year with a torn ACL and Christian McCaffrey is going to miss four-to-six weeks with a high-ankle sprain.

It’s going to be a frenzy on the waiver wire to backfill a lot of roster spots. Check out who is worth adding this week.

Players are ranked by rostership on Yahoo and any fantasy points are calculated in half PPR scoring.

Quarterbacks

Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars (33% rostered)

Minshew had yet another solid fantasy outing in a close game against the Titans. He completed 30 of 45 attempts for 339 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions and picked up 19 yards on four carries. His recent performances should dispel some of the “Tank for Trevor” talk for now. Minshew offers good upside as a week-to-week streaming option, including this week against the permeable Dolphins pass defense.

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (3%)

Herbert surprisingly got the start for the Chargers after Tyrod Taylor reportedly suffered a chest issue related to a pregame injection. On virtually zero notice, the 2020 first-rounder from Oregon kept the game very close before ultimately faltering in overtime to the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Head coach Anthony Lynn says Taylor will start if healthy, but Herbert certainly demonstrated poise and ability in the two-touchdown outing opposite the Chiefs, who aren’t a cakewalk on defense. He could be worth a bench stash in deeper leagues and has QB2 upside against the Panthers next week.

Running Backs

Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers (40% rostered)

This exciting rookie should be well over 50 percent rostered come Wednesday after yet another strong performance in Week 2. He led the Chargers with 23 carries for 64 yards and caught two of three targets for 49 yards. It’s clear he’s going to be utilized in this offense alongside Austin Ekeler and his value goes beyond a role as Ekeler’s handcuff, especially if Justin Jackson continues to miss time with a quad injury.

Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams (33%)

This backfield continues to baffle fantasy managers as popular waiver-wire pickup Malcolm Brown saw limited work in Sunday’s Week 2 matchup in Philadelphia. Rookie Cam Akers went down on the first drive of the game with a rib injury and is listed as day-to-day. It was later revealed that Brown had suffered a finger issue which shouldn’t impact his usage going forward. Henderson did, however, look like the stronger runner of the group and should be rostered in most leagues as there is a legitimate possibility he takes over this committee in the coming weeks.

Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers (24%)

The 49ers suffered major losses due to injuries during Sunday’s game at MetLife. Raheem Mostert suffered a “mild” MCL sprain and Tevin Coleman sprained his knee and will be sidelined for multiple weeks. Up next on the San Francisco running back depth chart is McKinnon, who has been plagued with injuries since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2014. He should be worth rostering while the team remains lean at the position.

Devonta Freeman, free agent (14%)

The most significant loss of the day for fantasy was Barkley, who is done for the year after sustaining a torn ACL against the Bears. The Giants have very little depth at running back and appear to be in the market to add a free agent for their remaining 14 games. They are set to host Freeman on Tuesday. The 28-year-old free agent has 3,972 career rushing yards, 32 rushing touchdowns, 2,015 receiving yards, and 11 receiving touchdowns through six seasons with the Falcons.

Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers (7%)

Christian McCaffrey was another devastating injury for fantasy managers. He is set to miss four-to-six weeks with a high ankle sprain he suffered while scoring his second touchdown of the day. He was replaced by Davis, a six-year veteran previously waived by the Bears who tallied a respectable 74 yards on eight attempts. He is worth the top add in most leagues this week in the Panthers offense that loves to throw shallow and often.

Dion Lewis, New York Giants (6%)

If there’s anyone worth rostering that’s already on the Giants, it’s probably Lewis. Wayne Gallman has proven in the past he can’t seamlessly transition as a fantasy-worthy starter like other top handcuffs (Alexander Mattison, Tony Pollard, Latavius Murray, etc.).

Lewis stepped in after Barkley went down and had 20 rushing yards on 10 attempts and a touchdown, and four catches for 36 yards. If the Giants do not sign Freeman, Lewis could be a widely available short-term option if you are desperate.

Devonta Freeman and Mike Davis
Devonta Freeman and Mike DavisGetty Images

Wide Receivers

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (36% rostered)

Valdes-Scantling caught three of seven targets for 64 yards on Sunday with Davante Adams exiting early with a hamstring issue. The issue isn’t serious but Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard (47% rostered) will continue to offer high-risk, high-reward returns in an explosive Packers offense that doesn’t have a clear No. 2 option behind Adams and has scored a whopping 85 points on offense through the first two games.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (23%)

Gage put up another solid day for fantasy and was the Falcons’ second-most targeted receiver behind Calvin Ridley and ahead of Julio Jones. He reeled in six of nine targets from the slot for 46 yards and a touchdown and is emerging as a top target in Matt Ryan’s pass-happy offense.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (6%)

The exciting second-round rookie from Notre Dame reeled in all three of his targets for 88 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. He is a boom-or-bust option so long as Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster remain healthy, but could be worth an add in deep leagues.

KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos (1%)

With Courtland Sutton now out for the season, Hamler tied Jerry Jeudy for the most targets in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. He tallied 48 yards on three catches and is an intriguing bench stash in deeper leagues, especially in this Broncos offense that may find itself in negative game scripts behind Jeff Driskel.

Tight Ends

Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers (7% rostered)

You know the injury situation is dire when Reed ends up as a top-six tight end. The 30-year-old caught seven of eight targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s injury-laden game against the Jets. Reed was once widely considered a very talented tight end, but health — specifically concussions — was always his undoing. He’s worth starting as long as George Kittle is injured.

Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts (1%)

Alie-Cox got the start with Jack Doyle injured and caught five of six targets for 111 yards in Sunday’s beatdown against the Vikings. He’s an interesting streamer with or without Doyle this week against the Jets defense that Reed just lit up for two touchdowns.

Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals (1%)

Both Cincinnati tight ends Sample and C.J. Uzohah saw respectable workloads in Thursday’s loss to the Browns. Sample caught seven of nine targets for 45 yards and Uzomah — who tore his Achilles during the game — caught four of six targets for 42 yards. It’s clear rookie quarterback Joe Burrow is going to target his tight ends as he acclimates to the NFL. For now, Sample is a high-upside TE2 option.

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