Monday, September 20, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 3 TE Waiver Wire

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some tight end waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (43%)

There are 16 tight ends that are rostered in more than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues. In other words, it is slim pickings when were are discussing tight ends that fall into the TE17+ category.

While Cook has yet to score a touchdown (and most TEs in this range are TD-dependent), the 34-year-old veteran has seen at least five targets in each of his first two games as a Charger. In fact, he is one of seven tight ends to average at least 6.5 targets per game through Sunday Night Football. (That list includes Detroit's T.J. Hockenson, who had 10 targets in Week 1 and plays on MNF.)

Facing Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City's high-powered offense in Week 3, the Chargers could be forced to throw often. Only three teams have allowed more points through Sunday night than the Chiefs.

2. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (48%)

The good news is that Hooper led the Browns in targets in Week 2. The bad news is the team high was only five targets, which Hooper converted into 5/40.

Hooper could have some Week 3 value if Odell Beckham misses his third consecutive game to start the season. In addition to another potential absence by OBJ, Jarvis Landry has a sprained MCL.

Earlier this offseason, coach Kevin Stefanski talked about increasing Hooper's role in the offense and this week could require it.

3. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers (7%)

A deeper-league add, Freiermuth caught all four of his targets for 36 yards in Week 2. In contrast, Eric Ebron had a two-target catchless outing. Drawing some comps to former Steeler Heath Miller, Freiermuth could continue to emerge as the team's primary pass-catching tight end.

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Fantasy Football Week 3 WR Waiver Wire

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some wide receiver waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals (33%)

Fantasy managers can't always count on 77-yard touchdowns, but Moore showed off his elite speed in Sunday's win. It wasn't just one big play for the rookie, however, as he actually led the team in targets (eight) in Week 2 and finished with seven catches for 114 yards and a score.

Moore now has solid performances in back-to-back games. He finished with 4/68 in Week 1. The Cardinals get a soft matchup in Week 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have now lost 17 consecutive games.

2. Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears (45%)

One of my favorite sleepers heading into this season, Mooney has a chance to build upon his impressive rookie season. The former fifth-rounder out of Tulane had a 61/631/4 line last season and Matt Nagy talked up Mooney earlier this offseason by saying that he "has a rare element of speed, combined with route-running, hands and passion. And commitment."

The second-year receiver led the team in receptions (six), yards (66) and targets (eight) in Week 2. With Allen Robinson commanding much of a defense's attention, Mooney has the talent and potential to develop into a WR3/flex option.

3. Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (22%)

Patrick had three catches for 37 yards and a score against the Jaguars on Sunday and has now scored in back-to-back games. While both Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant had more targets than Patrick (four), he was more targeted than fellow wideout K.J. Hamler (three). With Jerry Jeudy (high-ankle sprain, IR) out, Patrick and the Broncos get another favorable matchup in Week 3 against the New York Jets.

4. Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons (13%)

A RB/WR hybrid in fantasy, Patterson now has seven carries in back-to-back games. Even though he gained only 11 yards on his seven carries this week, he added five catches for 58 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns against the Buccaneers.

Mike Davis has had at least 16 touches in each of the team's first two games this season, but C-Patt has a total of 21 touches through two weeks. With Wayne Gallman a healthy scratch, the only other back to get touches this season has been Keith Smith (seven).

On his fifth team since entering the league in 2015, Davis has career averages of 3.7 YPC and 6.5 Y/R. Through his first two games as a Falcon, he's averaging just 3.63 YPC and 4.8 Y/R. Patterson may never be the team's RB1 as long as Davis is healthy, but if he continues to be much more efficient than Davis, it's not an impossibility either.

5. Elijah Moore, New York Jets (31%)

It was a brutal performance by the offense as Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson threw four interceptions on Sunday. Targeted eight times (24.24% target share) on Sunday, Moore finished with four catches for 47 yards. The Jets have a tough matchup in Denver in Week 3, but there are some softer pass defenses on the schedule after that as they face the Titans and Falcons in Weeks 4 and 5, respectively.

6. Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders (34%)

While few, if any, started Ruggs in Week 2, he posted a big game (5/113/1 on seven targets) against a difficult defense (Steelers). Given his rare speed, there's always the potential for the big play (61-yard TD on Sunday), but it was encouraging to see the seven targets. The first receiver off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, Ruggs is worth the bench stash for now to see if he's able to earn consistent volume in his second season.

7. K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings (2%)

Osborn is now two-for-two in strong performances this season. After a 7/76 outing in Week 1, the second-year receiver had five catches for 91 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.

Even if he's clearly a distant third behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in rest-of-season expectations, Osborn has 12 catches on 15 targets for a team-high 167 yards and a touchdown through two games. Osborn should be rostered in deeper leagues and the Seahawks-Vikings matchup has an early 55-point total in Week 3.

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Fantasy Football Week 3 RB Waiver Wire

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

So that means that players like Tony Pollard (53% rostered) will be excluded from our list due to our self-imposed restrictions, but he's clearly worth adding in your league whether you roster Ezekiel Elliott or not.

With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. James White, New England Patriots (42%)

Once again, White appears on this list.

In his two final seasons playing with Tom Brady (2018-2019), White had a minimum of 95 targets, 72 receptions and 645 receiving yards each season. Through two games with Mac Jones, White is on pace to better those numbers.

White now has six receptions in back-to-back games and has a total of 32 rushing yards and a touchdown plus 12 receptions for 94 yards on 13 targets. Heading into Monday Night Football, White is fantasy's RB14 (half-PPR) and the RB9 in full PPR formats.

2. Michael Carter, New York Jets (50%)

The UNC rookie generated positive buzz early in camp despite beginning the season as part of an uninspiring three-headed RBBC. Based on talent, it wouldn't be surprising if Carter emerged as an RB3/flex option at some point during the season.

In a game where there were very few bright spots, Carter averaged more than five yards per carry as he gained 59 yards on 11 carries and added a couple of receptions for 29 yards. Through two games, here are the team's running back touches: Carter (18), Ty Johnson (17) and Tevin Coleman (14). Johnson had 12 carries for 50 yards on Sunday.

The Jets have a difficult matchup against the Denver Broncos in Week 3, but they face softer matchups in Weeks 4 (Tennessee Titans) and 5 (Atlanta Falcons).

3. J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team (29%)

McKissic was a non-factor in Week 1 (one carry for eight yards), but the usage was much better in Week 2. Not only did he haul in five catches for 83 yards on six targets, but he added 10 rushing yards and a score as well.

Antonio Gibson had five targets in Week 1, but he only had two in Week 2. That's clearly frustrating for those that roster Gibson, but McKissic is one of the league's best receiving backs and only Alvin Kamara (83) had more receptions than McKissic (80) in 2020.

4. Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons (13%)

A RB/WR hybrid in fantasy, Patterson now has seven carries in back-to-back games. Even though he gained only 11 yards on his seven carries this week, he added five catches for 58 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns against the Buccaneers.

Mike Davis has had at least 16 touches in each of the team's first two games this season, but C-Patt has a total of 21 touches through two weeks. With Wayne Gallman a healthy scratch, the only other back to get touches this season has been Keith Smith (seven).

On his fifth team since entering the league in 2015, Davis has career averages of 3.7 YPC and 6.5 Y/R. Through his first two games as a Falcon, he's averaging just 3.63 YPC and 4.8 Y/R. Patterson may never be the team's RB1 as long as Davis is healthy, but if he continues to be much more efficient than Davis, it's not an impossibility either.

5. Peyton Barber, Las Vegas Raiders (10%)

As uncomfortable as I'd be having to start Barber, the journeyman back handled the bulk of early-down opportunities in the absence of Josh Jacobs in Week 2. If Jacobs isn't available in Week 3, it's possible that Barber sees another 10-15 carries. Jon Gruden has called Jacobs "very questionable" for Week 3.

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Fantasy Football Week 3 QB Waiver Wire

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some quarterback waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Daniel Jones, New York Giants (19%)

Doing their part to surround Jones with more talent, the Giants' front office signed Kenny Golladay to a big free-agent contract this offseason and drafted Kadarius Toney in the first round. Neither Golladay nor Toney has contributed as much as one might expect given the capital required to add them to the roster and the team has also been without last season's target leader (Evan Engram, 109) as well.

Even though Sterling Shepard has been productive (16/207/1), Jones has had limited passing success against two difficult defenses. Throwing one touchdown in each of those two games, Jones has passed for 249 and 267 yards, respectively, against the Washington Football Team and Denver Broncos.

Even so, he has scored 21-plus fantasy points in back-to-back games to open the season and has more than 50 fantasy points through two games. Heading into MNF, he's the QB5.

One of the reasons why I was higher on Jones in the preseason (QB18) compared to the FantasyPros ECR (QB25) was his sneaky rushing upside (in addition to the upgrades to the receiving corps). Jones had the seventh-most QB rushing yards (423) in 2020 and he leads the Giants in rushing (15/122/2) through two weeks.

Not only should Jones get more help from the team's bolstered receiving corps, but he gets a couple of favorable matchups in the near future. The Giants face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 and the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5.

2. Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (39%)

Even if he doesn't play (like in Week 2), Lance's value increases weekly as we continue to move closer to a potential transition to the rookie as the starter. Lance took a few snaps and threw a touchdown on his only pass attempt in Week 1. Even though he gained only two yards on three carries, Lance has elite dual-threat upside that will allow him to become a weekly top-10 option once he replaces Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter.

The 49ers have a Week 6 bye, the earliest possible bye. Perhaps that makes for the most logical transition point. The only concern is the 49ers continue to employ a rotation where they use Lance on occasion, as the 49ers have one of the league's best rosters and Kyle Shanahan may prefer to keep the steady hand of a veteran quarterback until next season.

3. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (26%)

While Carr has historically lacked upside, he typically outperforms expectations. Not only was he fantasy's QB13 in 2020, but he has never finished outside the top 20 fantasy quarterbacks (yearly).

Upcoming matchups are difficult, but he has just faced the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers to open the 2021 season. Granted, these numbers included overtime, but Carr threw for 435 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens and followed that up with 373 yards and another two touchdowns against the Steelers.

4. Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers (15%)

In his first two games as a Panther, Darnold has scored at least 19 fantasy points each week. On the year, he has completed 50-of-73 (68.5%) for 584 yards (8.0 Y/A), three touchdowns and one interception.

Darnold and the 2-0 Panthers will take their show on the road to the Lone Star state as they face the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football and then the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. Both defenses provide the 24-year-old quarterback with an opportunity to post a couple of productive fantasy outings if you're in need of a streamer.

5. Teddy Bridgewater, Denver Broncos (17%)

If you're looking ahead to Week 4 (vs. Ravens) or Week 5 (at Steelers), difficult matchups face Bridgewater. But if you have your sights on what's directly in front of you, it's a soft matchup against the New York Jets for Bridgewater.

Even without Jerry Jeudy, who seemed poised for a breakout, Denver's signal-caller had another efficient outing, albeit against a fantasy-friendly defense in Week 2. Bridgewater completed 26-of-34 for 328 yards and two scores against the Jaguars. With back-to-back 20-point fantasy performances, Bridgewater has completed 77.1% of his pass attempts for 8.46 Y/A, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Carolina Panthers Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Carolina Panthers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 23.4 (24th)
  • Best ranking: 23rd (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 25th (NFL.com)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for the Panthers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 23

Top rookie: CB Jaycee Horn

Horn wasn't perfect, as he did give up an 8-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but that was on a perfect pass from Zach Wilson to Corey Davis. What he didn't do in playing all but one defensive snap was give up anything big down the field. He kept the plays in front of him and his man-to-man coverage allowed the defensive front to pressure Wilson. Not a bad start for the son of former NFL receiver Joe Horn. -- David Newton

NFL.com -- Rank: 25

Sam Darnold got his Revenge Game, but the most exciting development to come out of a 19-14 win over the Jets was a Carolina defensive front seven that used speed and athleticism to completely outclass its opponent. Brian Burns and Shaq Thompson led a swarming Panthers defense that had rookie Zach Wilson running for his life from the first series. Darnold overcame some early miscues to deliver a strong performance in his Panthers debut, while Christian McCaffrey -- who offered up a ho-hum 187 total yards -- was back to looking like the best running back in football. These Panthers could be frisky.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 23

They did some good things in beating the Jets, but they have to be better than that going forward. It sure has to be good to have Christian McCaffrey back running the football.

USA Today -- Rank: 23

QB Sam Darnold's relaunch and RB Christian McCaffrey's return understandably commanded a lot of attention, but Carolina's defense opened season with a stifling performance (6 sacks, 252 yards allowed).

The Athletic -- Rank: 23

Overreaction: Sam Darnold! Robby Anderson! Against the Jets, no less. It's only the sixth time in his 39 career games Darnold has accounted for multiple touchdowns without any interceptions. The defense took a shutout late into the third quarter, so maybe things are on the rise in Matt Rhule's second season with Carolina. Perhaps they catch the Saints overconfident? -- Auman

Reality check: Darnold gets somewhat lucky in that he'll face a Saints team without Marshon Lattimore. But I don't think his streak of games without a turnover lasts long. -- Jones

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Indianapolis Colts Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Indianapolis Colts rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 20.8 (T-21st)
  • Best ranking: 16th (ESPN)
  • Worst ranking: 25th (USA Today)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for the Colts in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 16

Top rookie: DE Kwity Paye

The 21st overall pick played 40 of 53 defensive snaps (75%) in the 28-16 loss to the Seahawks. He tallied three tackles -- including one for a loss -- and a fumble recovery on a play where linebacker Darius Leonard punched the ball out. Paye would have also had a sack, but the play was negated because of a penalty. -- Mike Wells

NFL.com -- Rank: 21

"If you're a Colts fan, no need to worry, no need to fret, you'll be fine." That's how CBS analyst Jonathan Vilma summed up Indy's 28-16 loss to the Seahawks at Lucas Oil Stadium, and I must say, I do not entirely agree. The Colts' defense allowed an average of 11 yards on 23 Russell Wilson attempts, and the offensive line struggled mightily in both pass protection and short-yardage situations. Carson Wentz was the biggest bright spot: Despite constant pressure, Wentz moved well and avoided the killer mistakes that marked the end of his Eagles tenure. Still, Wentz took too many hits in this game. Catastrophe awaits if the Colts can't make the necessary adjustments up front.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 21

The defense didn't play well against Seattle, which has to be concerning as they ready to play a good Rams team this week. They can't go 0-2 at home to open the season.

USA Today -- Rank: 25

Carson Wentz became Indianapolis' fifth different Week 1 starter in the past five seasons. The Colts lost all five openers.

The Athletic -- Rank: 21

Overreaction: For all the worrying about Carson Wentz, this Colts defense gave up four long drives that ended with Russell Wilson touchdown passes. Two botched fourth-down attempts in Seattle territory didn't help in the second half, but Wilson had it way too easy on the road. I had these two teams one spot apart in my initial rankings, but they didn't look that close Sunday. -- Auman

Reality check: When you can't pinpoint which player or position group was most to blame for a Week 1 flop, all criticism is warranted. -- Jones

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Cincinnati Bengals Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Cincinnati Bengals rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 23.2 (23rd)
  • Best ranking: 20th (USA Today)
  • Worst ranking: 25th (CBS Sports)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for the Bengals in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 24

Top rookie: WR Ja'Marr Chase

Chase put his preseason drops behind him with a game-changing performance against the Vikings. He caught five passes for 101 yards, the most by a Bengals rookie in a season opener. Chase didn't drop a single target and showed how he can help the offense find bigger plays in the passing game. He beat his man down the right sideline and snagged a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Burrow right before halftime. It's that playmaking ability the Bengals wanted when they drafted Chase with the fifth overall pick in April. -- Ben Baby

NFL.com -- Rank: 23

After a summer dotted with foreboding news on multiple fronts, the Bengals opened their season with a feel-good home win over the Vikings that restores hope in Western Ohio. Joe Burrow played extremely well in his return from reconstructive knee surgery, while first-round pick Ja'Marr Chase reminded us that a thousand critical notebook ledes in July can evaporate with one productive afternoon in September. Then there's coach Zac Taylor, whose bold fourth-and-inches call in overtime led to the 32-yard C.J. Uzomah reception that set up the win. "Ballsy," Uzomah said of his coach's decision. "I have to say, that's some big cojones there by him." These Bengals could be fun!

CBS Sports -- Rank: 25

That was a big overtime victory over the Vikings for this young group. The fears about Joe Burrow are now alleviated after he played well in his first real game back from a torn ACL.

USA Today -- Rank: 20

And now we know why rookie Evan McPherson was the only kicker drafted in 2021, his game-winning FG in overtime following a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter. Icy.

The Athletic -- Rank: 24

Overreaction: No reason to worry about Ja'Marr Chase! His hands are fine! Don't we all look silly now for stressing about whether the No. 5 pick (and the first wide receiver selected) in this draft class could catch? Chase had five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in his regular-season debut. -- Jones

Reality check: They did still give up five sacks, and Minnesota ranked 28th in sacks last season, so you still fear a little for Joe Burrow's life. Seeing him go 20-for-27 for 261 yards and zero turnovers is a promising return. -- Auman

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