Week 3 fantasy pickups: Widely available options to help replace injured players

If your fantasy rosters somehow escaped injury on a Sunday notable for widespread carnage … well, wow. Most of us are dealing with battered lineups. Week 2 definitely left a mark.

The list of damaged players is loaded with stars: Drew Brees (thumb), Ben Roethlisberger (elbow), Damien Williams (knee), James Conner (knee), LeSean McCoy (ankle), DeSean Jackson (groin), Alshon Jeffery (calf), Michael Gallup (knee), Devin Singletary (hamstring). We’ve already learned that Brees is expected to miss at least six weeks and Ben is done for the year. So that’s horrible.

While we wait for the slow release of additional MRI results, let’s place a few claims.

Priority running back pickups

Carlos Hyde, Houston Texans (43% rostered)

We can obviously play lots of ridiculous games with on-pace numbers this early in the season. Here’s one that might just mean something: Hyde is currently on pace to finish the year with 1384 rushing yards. We’re not going to promise that he’ll actually challenge for a rushing crown, but he’s a good bet to reach the 1000-yard plateau if the Texans continue to feed him carries. Hyde out-touched Duke Johnson in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville, 20 to 6, and he out-snapped him as well (40 to 26). He’s never been a highlight reel runner, but he had a few excellent moments in Sunday’s 90-yard performance.

It’s possible you’ve been burned by Hyde in the past, but we’d advise you to get over it. He’s the primary early-down back for an explosive offense; he needs to be rostered in pretty much every league. Get aggressive with your bids.

Recommended FAAB bid: $26 of $100 budget

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers (16%)

Mostert handled 16 touches in Sunday’s mauling of the Bengals, converting them into 151 scrimmage yards and a highlight touchdown…

For however long Tevin Coleman is sidelined (high ankle sprain), we can expect Mostert to function as a flex-worthy fantasy asset. Matt Breida is the head of the Niners’ backfield committee, but Mostert will clearly have a role. Jeff Wilson Jr. scored a pair of short-yardage touchdowns on Sunday, we should note, so this looks like a three-headed RBBC at the moment. If you play in an 8 or 10-team league, maybe you can avoid this group. But the rest of us will need to invest.

FAAB bid: $9

Running back discussed last week and still deserving attention: Chris Thompson (now up to 12 receptions).

Various other add-worthy running back options: Peyton Barber (still available in shallower leagues), Jaylen Samuels (understudy for the injured Conner), Frank Gore (what is dead may never die), Jeff Wilson Jr. (benefiting from Coleman’s absence), Ito Smith (outproducing Freeman, seeing plenty of snaps) and Darwin Thompson (gains value with Williams damaged).

Top wide receiver waiver adds

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (14%)

We keep trying to sell you on Samuel, but the fantasy community has been reluctant to buy. It’s gotta change this week, right? Samuel has started each of San Francisco’s first two games and he led the team in targets (7), catches (5) and receiving yards (87) in Sunday’s win. He cooked the Bengals secondary for an easy 2-yard touchdown grab that effectively ended the game in the third quarter.

Samuel’s big-play ability was evident early in the preseason and it was very clear in Week 2. For fantasy purposes, consider him a WR3 moving forward. Whatever plans you might have had for Dante Pettis this season, transfer them to Samuel.

FAAB bid: $16

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (15%)

Philadelphia’s receiving corps suffered a medley of injuries on Sunday night, losing not only D-Jax and Jeffery, but also tight end Dallas Goedert (calf). As a result, Agholor was targeted 11 times in the loss to Atlanta, catching eight balls for 107 yards and one score (and one horrific drop). Depending on the severity of the Eagles’ various injuries, Agholor could be in line for an absurd target share in the weeks ahead. He isn’t exactly the league’s most sure-handed receiver, true, but we assume your fantasy league doesn’t penalize drops, so don’t sweat it.

FAAB bid: $8

Receivers discussed last week and still deserving attention: Mecole Hardman (six targets with a TD on Sunday), DK Metcalf (somehow still available in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues) and DJ Chark (another week, another score).

Various other add-worthy receiver options: James Washington (because they can’t keep throwing to Moncrief), Damiere Byrd (seven targets in each of his two games), Geronimo Allison (absent in the opener but involved on Sunday) and Demarcus Robinson (coming off a monster game, tied to the NFL’s best offense).

Examining quarterback pickups

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (19%)

Last month, we were telling you the quarterback position had never been deeper. Today, we’re saying you’d better hope to win your waiver claim for Dalton, or you’re [expletive] toast.

So, um … fantasy comes at you fast. After injuries to Ben and Brees, plus the early-season faceplants by Cam, Cousins, Jameis and others, QB is looking like a wasteland.

It should go without saying that Dalton has his flaws. He’s been known to make a few head-scratching, game-altering throws. But Dalton has already attempted 93 passes through two games, which puts him on pace for well over 700 on the season. He leads the league in completions (61) and he’s second in passing yards (729). New head coach Zac Taylor, a Sean McVay protege, seems determined to elevate Dalton to fantasy relevance. The Bengals have put the ball in the air nearly three times as often as they’ve run it (93 to 33). John Ross currently ranks as the overall WR1 and Tyler Boyd is top-25.

And another thing: Cincinnati gets AJ Green back relatively soon, perhaps within a week or two. Dalton has a clear shot at a career year, assuming good health. He’s a priority add for those in need.

FAAB bid: $18

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (40%)

Allen opened his season with a pair of friendly matchups, and, fantasy-wise, he crushed ’em. It’s not a clinic at all times with Allen, but his rushing ability gives him win-your-week upside in our game. He’s run for six touchdowns over his last six games dating back to last season. John Brown was an ideal addition to Buffalo’s offense, too. Allen somehow managed to overthrow him on what should have been a long TD on Sunday, but the pair has connected 14 times for 195 yards. The Bills will host Cincinnati next week, so Allen has an exceptional matchup on deck.

FAAB bid: $10

Various other add-worthy quarterback options: Jimmy Garoppolo (coming off a 3-TD game, with PIT up next), Mason Rudolph (played well on Sunday in relief of Big Ben, should be your superflex priority), Teddy Bridgewater (he’s the guy throwing to Kamara and Thomas, with Brees expected to miss time) and Daniel Jones (it’s almost time, folks).

Priority add on defense: Tennessee Titans (6%)

With two games in the books, the Titans have the NFL’s No. 2 pass defense (182.5 YPG), plus the team ranks first in takeaways (5) and second in sacks (8). This D might be something more than a streaming option. Tennessee travels to Jacksonville to face this warrior in Week 3. The Titans have plenty of matchups ahead with turnover-prone passers, so keep them in your fantasy plans.

FAAB bid: $3

Various other add-worthy options: TE Will Dissly (two TDs at Pittsburgh), K Zane Gonzalez (weirdly the centerpiece of Kingsbury’s offense), K Eddy Pineiro (this young man is already a legend).

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