Fantasy Football 2014: Week 3 Waiver Claims


Since most leagues waiver claims for week 3 have already been processed this is really more of a free agency claims column, but in future weeks I’ll be targeting late Monday/Early Tuesday. Below I’ve outlined a handful of players I think are being undervalued, next to their name I’ll put their team and position as well as ownership percentages for ESPN and leagues. I’ll also put my picks for a streaming Defense, Quarterback and Kicker for those of you who are in to that sort of thing. If you think I forgot someone, included someone who didn’t deserve it, or want the ownership numbers for a different site, just leave a comment and I’ll respond accordingly. Without any further delay, here are my pickups for week 3:

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Colts: (39.7% on NFL)(50.2% on ESPN) I’m late to the party on Bradshaw with his ownership numbers doubling on the heels of his week 2 performance, but if you happen to be in a league where Bradshaw isn’t owned, pick him up. Trent Richardson still isn’t picking up the offense and Bradshaw continues to be effective when he’s healthy. That said, Bradshaw didn’t practice today and against the Jaguars after everyone’s given up on him would be the time that Trent Richardson decides to go off.

Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers: (27.1% on NFL)(15.4% on ESPN) I was actually stunned to find that Rainey is still owned is so few leagues after exploding against the Rams for 174 total yards. Doug Martin could play this week against the Falcons, but considering it’s the Thursday game it wouldn’t be a shock to see him held out or on a limited snapcount, especially considering that Rainey gashed Atlanta for 163 yards and 2 TDs on 30 carries the last time these teams met. If you own Doug Martin you should absolutely find a spot for Rainey, and if you don’t own Martin you should try to beat your league’s Martin owner to Rainey as he could easily carve out a role for himself in the Bucs offense alongside Martin if he continues to run well.

Donald Brown, RB, Chargers: (5.3% on NFL)(88.5% on ESPN) No idea how this discrepancy happened, but if you have a team on, go grab Donald Brown. Ryan Mathews is expected to miss at least a month, and while the matchup this week against the Bills isn’t great there are games against the Jaguars and Raiders coming before Matthews returns. I actually don’t even mind Brown against the Bills as he’s got added value in the passing game and could sneakily be deployed on a few screens usually reserved for Danny Woodhead to try and catch the Bills off guard.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: (9.7% on NFL)(2.6% on ESPN) This is a tricky one. Crowell is an incredibly talented runner who went undrafted due to off field concerns and questions about his maturity. So far he’s impressed coaches with his work ethic and is a great fit for Kyle Shanahan’s system. Unfortunately, so is fellow rookie Terrance West. Crowell should continue to split carries with West and after another impressive outing could see closer to a 15-15 split than the 11-19 split in West’s favor from week 2 (West would likely add another 3-5 touches in the passing game.) The real issue is the Browns week 4 bye and impending return of Ben Tate that threatens to turn Cleveland’s rookie tandem into a full blown 3 headed monster that would hurt the fantasy value of all 3 backs. I still think Crowell is worth an add in deeper leagues, any sort of keeper league, or if you’ve got an open roster spot and are willing to wait a few weeks to see how things shake out.

Andrew Hawkins, WR, Browns: (9.6% on NFL)(15% on ESPN) He’s getting 10+ targets a game, and while he’s not catching as many of them as I’d like, that kind of volume is rare and gives Hawkins a level of consistency that is hard to find at the WR position. (6 for 70 week 1, 8 for 87 week 2) I also like his chances to score against Baltimore this week, not sure why, just feels like he might be due.

Brian Quick, WR, Rams: (2% on NFL)(13.4% on ESPN) With questions about Kenny Britt and Tavon Auston dominating the preseason and the first two weeks of the season revolving around the QB carousel and rapidly fluctuating fantasy value of Zac Stacy, Quick has quietly dominated the St. Louis passing game for the first two weeks. He has 14 catches for 173yds, no TDs yet, but they shouldn’t be too far off. The Rams do have a week 4 bye, and games against Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman twice each are further down the schedule, but at 6’3 218lbs he’s the toughest receiver to match up against physically and the Rams will continue to feed him the ball, especially if 2nd year QB Austin Davis continues to start for the injured Shaun Hill.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Steelers: (24.7% on ESPN)(27.7% on NFL) He flashed his potential with a 97 yard game in week 1, and despite not doing much in week 2 it was encouraging to see him get involved in the running game. With defenses keying on Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, Wheaton has the potential to make a major fantasy impact and is worth an add for receiver needy teams.

Rod Streater, WR, Raiders: (2.6% on NFL)(2.5% on ESPN) he’s currently dealing with a hip flexor injury, but has been optimistic about his chances to play Sunday against the Patriots. It’s not a great matchup, but with James Jones as a popular pick up I wanted to put Streater’s name out there as a guy who seems to have solid chemistry with rookie QB Derek Carr and won’t be lined up across from Darrelle Revis (assuming he is healthy enough to play.)

Larry Donnell, TE, Giants: (8.2% on NFL)(2.2% on ESPN) If you’re looking for a Tight End, look no further than Larry Donnell. He seems to be the only receiver that Eli Manning can trust, and until the offensive line improves Manning likely won’t have time for much more than check down passes to Donnell and RB Rashad Jennings anyway. I also like Donnell better than Rueben Randle as a red zone target, despite the latter’s touchdown in week 2.

Niles Paul, TE, Redskins: (6.3% on NFL)(3.5% on ESPN) Two weeks of solid fantasy production officially make it a trend. No one’s going to confuse Paul for Jordan Reed, but with defenses busy taking away Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, the 3rd year WR turned TE will continue to find himself open over the middle.

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs: (9.2% on NFL)(3.4% on ESPN) So far it seems like the Chiefs will have to throw more than expected this season, especially if Jamaal Charles misses time. Those throws will have to go somewhere, and right now 2nd year TE is Alex Smith’s best bet. Smith has plenty of experience throwing downfield to a big bodied TE and Dwayne Bowe rejoining the team should help open things up a little more for Kelce who had 4 catches for 81 yards against the Broncos last week. He’s yet to record a touchdown, but at 6’5, 260lbs it won’t stay that way for long. If you’re looking for a TE, Donnell and Paul are safer bets, but Kelce has the biggest upside by far.

One to Watch: 

Jerrick McKinnon, RB, Vikings: (.5% of NFL)(.7% on ESPN) Despite seeing only 4 touches (2 carries, 2 receptions) McKInnon was on the field for 32% of the Vikings offense snaps in week 2 and could be in line for a bigger workload against the Saints. Matt Asiata is slated to once again get the start in week 3, but if Adrian Peterson continues to miss time McKinnon’s raw talent becomes hard to resist. He’s a rookie from a small school and still learning the playbook, but all it takes is one big run to earn a fantasy relevant role and with the Falcons (who are currently giving up the most fantasy points to RB’s) following this week’s game against the Saints, I like McKinnon’s chances to break out in the next couple weeks. UPDATE: Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner announced that the Vikings would ride the hot hand in the back field between McKinnon and Asiata in the coming weeks. This is coach speak for “we think McKinnon’s ready for a bigger role and he’ll carry the ball as many times as he can handle.” It might be wise to make room for McKinnon now, especially if you’re an Adrian Peterson owner, and beat the rush.

Streaming Defense of the Week:

Cleveland Browns (28% on NFL)(7.9% on ESPN) Fresh off an upset victory over the Saints the Browns will welcome the division rival Ravens. With 7 sacks in the first two games the pass rush should have no trouble getting after Joe Flacco, who was sacked 5 times and intercepted once the last time he was in Cleveland. The Ravens also had trouble scoring against the the Browns last year averaging just 16 points per game in their two meetings.

Streaming QB of the Week:

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins: (15% on NFL)(17.7% on ESPN) Having to go on the road to Philadelphia is a tall order for a guy who entered the season as the back-up, but Cousins is a guy who prepares like a starter even when he spends the game holding a clipboard. He seemed comfortable in Jay Gruden’s offense last week and throughout the offseason, and opposing QBs have a 5TD to 0INT ratio going through the first two weeks of the season.

Streaming Kicker of the Week:

Greg Zuerlein, K, Rams: (4.2% on NFL)(4.5% on ESPN) Just a reminder, there’s no huge need for you to rush out and change your kicker, but if you’d like a new one or need a guy to play in a one week league, I like Zuerlein this week against the Cowboys. The Rams should be able to move the ball down field, but they’ve struggled to score touchdowns and Zuerlein has a chance to put one through the uprights anywhere inside of 60 yards.