Waiver Wire Week 3: Blake Bortles, Giovani Bernard, John Brown, Antonio Callaway

Bernard will step in for an injured Joe Mixon starting in Week 3

After two weeks of football, fantasy owners may need to hit the waiver wire. Some fantasy owners have given up on some players they drafted (Robby Anderson, Duke Johnson?) while others have been hit by the injury bug. None of the players on this list are “must add” for all owners in all formats; rather, the waiver wire adds depend on individual team needs.

 

Week 3 Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Quarterbacks

 

Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (28 percent owned)

While his Week 1 start wasn’t spectacular, in Week 2, Bortles threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns. He did have one interception, but in the absence of Leonard Fournette, he looked good. While Fournette’s availability shouldn’t affect Bortles’ success, it is positive that he can thrive without a solid running game. The Jags face the Titans in Week 3, and Bortles is a high QB2.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23 percent owned)

After Week 1, Fitzpatrick’s performance was written off as a fluke. After all, Fitzpatrick’s resume shows a history of a solid performance followed by some mediocre ones. Now, it is quite possible that still happens, however, while he’s hot, start him. In two games, Fitzpatrick has 819 passing yards, eight TD passes, one rushing touchdown and one interception. He faces the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 and it’s clear that their defense can be thrown on (see: Patrick Mahomes, Week 2). It’s weird to say, but Fitzpatrick may just be a QB1 for Week 3.

 

Running Backs

 

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (28 percent owned)

Following the Bengals' Thursday night game, the news broke that Joe Mixon needed a knee scope and would be out for 2-4 weeks. Bernard would immediately step up to take over the No. 1 running back duties. When Mixon has been out in the past, Bernard has done well. He’s going to be a RB2 while Mixon is out, but fantasy owners need to be aware that Mixon will likely be back in a few weeks. Bernard is worth holding onto as a fantasy handcuff, however.

 

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (44 percent owned)

Even though Ekeler is typically the pass-catching back, in Week 2, he had 11 carries for 77 yards. He also caught three passes for 21 yards. Melvin Gordon had three touchdowns (two of them receiving) in Week 2, but there clearly is a place for Ekeler as well. The Chargers will lean on Gordon, but Ekeler will still be involved. He’s a Gordon handcuff, but Ekeler also has RB3 value on his own.

 

Wide Receivers

 

John Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (25 percent owned)

Brown only had four targets in Week 1, but he had 10 in Week 2. He only caught four of those passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, but it is clear that he is part of this offense. Brown will play behind Michael Crabtree, but he is an option for Joe Flacco. Brown has a history of injuries, but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the fastest receivers on the field. He’s a solid WR3 as long as he’s active.

 

Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns (7 percent owned)

When the Cleveland Browns surprisingly announced that they would be releasing Josh Gordon, fantasy owners scrambled to add the next man up. Callaway is a rookie, and he didn’t record a catch in Week 1, but he certainly started to shine in Week 2. He had three receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. Some weeks he will likely take a backseat to Rashard Higgins, but Callaway has potential to be a low WR2/high WR3.

 

James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (3 percent owned)

When the Steelers are home, Ben Roethlisberger plays better. In Week 1, when the Steelers were away, Washington was non-existent. However, in Week 2, he was targeted five times. He only caught one of those passes, but it was for a touchdown. Washington is worth an add in deeper leagues, as it is possible he'll have a more defined role moving forward. He’s not worthy of being started just yet, but could be seen as depth on fantasy benches.

 

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (2 percent owned)

After Boyd caught three passes for 26 yards on five targets in Week 1, fantasy owners weren’t exactly scrambling to pick him up. However, in Week 2, he had nine targets. He caught six of them for 91 yards and a touchdown. Both Boyd and John Ross are fighting for targets behind A.J. Green, and it may come down to game flow. Boyd at this point is a speculative add, but the No. 2 receiver in Cincinnati will have some fantasy value.

 

Tight End

 

Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (10 percent owned)

The tight end landscape is tough, as the replacements for Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker did not prove to be fantasy relevant in their first game as the starting tight end. James will share time with Vance McDonald, which will hurt both of their values. However, James has shown that he is a decent option in the passing game. In Week 1, he had three receptions for 60 yards. In Week 2 (with McDonald active), he had five receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. He’s a TE2 but some fantasy owners are desperate.

 

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

 

New York Jets (34 percent owned)

The Jets play the Cleveland Browns on "Thursday Night Football" this week. While the Browns have looked better on offense, they still haven’t won a game since late December 2016. The Jets didn’t look great against Miami, but they certainly did against Detroit in Week 1. Not many fantasy owners are streaming defenses at this point, but the Jets are worth a spot start in Week 3.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

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