The Upside Down: Week 4 Waiver Targets
Thankfully Week 3 of the NFL saw far fewer injuries than the previous one, but with stars like Julio Jones and Davante Adams sitting out, it allowed players such as Allen Lazard and Brandon Aiyuk to shine for their teams in Week 3 action.
We have also seen a few rookies already performing above expectations at this early stage in their first seasons. CeeDee Lamb has had at least 5 catches in each game to start the year, the big bodied Tee Higgins brought down 2 touchdowns from Joe Burrow against the Eagles, and Justin Jefferson, who didn't exceed 3 catches or 44 yards in either of his first two games, exploded against Tennessee for 175 yards receiving on 7 receptions with a touchdown.
Although there are still plenty of injuries around the league that are of concern to fantasy managers, some of the unexpected performances in Week 3 should give you hope that your season is not over even if your first round draft pick's is. Let's start off with a player who scored the second most fantasy points at the wide receiver position this past week.
(Rostered % from Yahoo! Fantasy Football on 9/28/2020)
The Vikings' first round draft pick in the 2020, Justin Jefferson, entered the pro ranks as the presumptive replacement for Stefon Diggs who was traded to the Buffalo Bills in the offseason. The rookie was not able to impress in training camp and started off the year behind Olabisi Johnson on the depth chart. It didn't take long for Jefferson to have his aforementioned breakout performance, and his 7/175/1 line should be enough to establish him as the second receiving option across from Adam Thielen for the remainder of the season.
Justin Jefferson: 93.8 PFF grade in Week 3. Third-highest single-game grade by a rookie WR since 2006. https://t.co/1EvY3xsG5v— PFF (@PFF) 1601312522.0
While he is only showing a 30% ownership rate currently, he will be one of the hottest waiver wire pickups going into Week 4, so if you need help at WR put your claim in now and cross your fingers. Kirk Cousins has already thrown 6 interceptions and had a horrid Week 2 against the Colts, but if Jefferson can become a reliable option, he finished as the QB15 in 2019 and QB13 in 2018 with the duo of Thielen and Diggs at his disposal. If you need a backup QB and Cousins is available, Jefferson may give him the boost he needs to get his season back on track.
The rookie out of Arizona State missed the first game of the year and was eased back into action in Week 2 against the Jets. The 49ers have so many injuries on both sides of the ball, but offensively they were without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, their top two options at running back in Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, and star tight end George Kittle this past game against the Giants. Aiyuk provided the shot in the arm that San Francisco needed as they demolished New York on their way to a 36-9 route on Sunday.
Brandon Aiyuk goes untouched for the 19-yard TD run! #FTTB 📺: #SFvsNYG on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app:… https://t.co/WoevkEKnan— NFL (@NFL) 1601233725.0
The first round selection contributed 70 yards on 5 receptions to pair with 31 yards on the ground including a touchdown. The versatility that a player like Aiyuk brings to an offense as creative as Kyle Shanahan's should already be causing nightmares for defensive coordinators across the league. Once San Francisco starts to get some players returning from injury, Aiyuk may take on a bigger role in this offense being used as a Swiss army knife. Shanahan may look for mismatches he can create against opponents and get the ball into his speedy receiver's hands in a variety of ways.
Gaskin played in seven games for Miami in 2019 and was efficient in his limited usage, but after the Dolphins acquired Jordan Howard and Matt Breida in the offseason, nobody would have expected it would be Gaskin who would be leading their backfield. Howard and Breida will eat into goal line carries for Gaskin, but if the trend of seeing Gaskin take the majority of their offensive snaps, he must be owned in all formats at this point.
Myles Gaskin: - 11 touches - 52 yards Jordan Howard - 1 carry - 1 yard - 1 TD Gaskin managers: https://t.co/LP6wVDfAEJ— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF Fantasy Football) 1600995195.0
He's proven to be an effective pass catcher, and his 22 carries on Thursday night confirms that coach Brian Flores sees him as their best all around back. With so many running backs banged up right now, adding Gaskin to help patch up the holes in your lineup is a no brainer.
There's a lot to like about the 6'5" second year pro. He seems to be establishing a rapport with Aaron Rodgers, he's scored a touchdown in two out of three games in 2020, and his main competition for starting snaps is Marquez Valdes-Scantling, whose reception count has gone down in consecutive weeks, finishing with only 1 catch on Sunday night. While I do think that Lazard has done enough to earn a starting role with the Packers, I want to temper your expectations for the rest of the season first.
Note to self: Add Allen Lazard in fantasy.— Ian Rapoport (@Ian Rapoport) 1601258773.0
Once Davante Adams returns from his hamstring injury, he should see his normal target share again which just leaves table scraps for the rest of the pass catchers in the offense. Also, Aaron Jones is still going to remain a focal point of Matt LaFleur's offensive game plans moving forward eating up 20-25 touches per game. But if you need a WR to plug into your flex, or are looking for depth at the position if you're worried about existing or potential injuries, you could do much worse than Lazard.
Andy Isabella WR Arizona Cardinals (1% rostered) - For the second week in a row Isabella has been notable in fantasy. He had a 54 yard reception in Week 2 and finished with 2 touchdowns in Week 3. He will never be a target magnet in this offense, but if coach Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray continue to find him in space, Isabella appears to be earning the trust of his team.
Rex Burkhead RB New England Patriots (11% rostered) - With James White still away from the team on bereavement leave following the death of his father, Burkhead has been asked to step into his role. Rex produced against the Raiders and finished with a classic James White stat line to honor his teammate. He finished with 7 receptions, 98 total yards, and 3 total touchdowns. It's unknown when or if White will return this season. If you have stock in White, you may want to pick up Burkhead as a precaution.
Carlos Hyde RB Seattle Seahawks (18% rostered) - Hyde has been fine this year as the primary backup to Chris Carson. We saw Carson go down late in the game against the Cowboys, and it's believed to be a mild knee sprain. The oft injured Carson's situation will be closely monitored, and if he were to miss significant time Hyde would be thrust into starter touches.Tee Higgins WR Cincinnati Bengals (5% rostered)- Higgins had his best game so far as a pro this past week compiling 40 yards on 5 receptions including 2 TDs. Tyler Boyd has again been the Bengals' best receiving option, but as A.J. Green has continued to struggle to shake off over a year's worth of rust, it may be opening the door for Higgins to establish himself as Joe Burrow's second option over the pro bowl veteran.