After a crazy week 2, there's more options on the waiver wire this week than we saw last Tuesday. Not only do we have a few nagging injuries for top-flight backs, but the receivers' targets question has now been answered in a big way for both St. Louis and Miami. And we also have a repeat player from last week, just in case you didn't pick him up the first time. Here we go.
Top 5 Waiver Pickups for Week 3
RB Andre Brown - New York Giants
Week 2 Fantasy Points: 16
Leagues Owned: 0.4%
Ahmad Bradshaw: owned in 100% of leagues. David Wilson: owned in 81.2% of leagues. Andre Brown being possibly the only Giants running back worth starting in week 3? Priceless. When Bradshaw went down with an injury in week 2, it wasn't the presumed second-string back Wilson that coach Tom Coughlin turned to, but instead the third-year pro Brown. Seeing as how Bradshaw has played in all 16 games exactly once in his five-year career, has never started more than 11 games in a season, and starts out the week as questionable for a Thursday game against the Panthers, I would be first in line to pick up Brown. There is a question concerning whether the Giants would still turn to Wilson to be its every down back, but Brown flat out looked better on Sunday. Brown's 5.5 yards per carry in week 2 was tied for tenth among all players with at least 10 carries, while Wilson has gained a total of ten yards in his five NFL carries. Just as big of a bonus for Brown was his receiving skills - he caught two balls on two targets for 19 yards, while Wilson missed catching both balls thrown his way. Against a Panthers defense that did not look strong stopping Doug Martin and the Pierre Thomas/Mark Ingram duo the first two weeks, I would consider Brown a potential starter candidate if Bradshaw indeed sits (which you'll know early because of the Thursday game).
RB Daryl Richardson - St. Louis Rams
Week 2 Fantasy Points: 9
Leagues Owned: 0.6%
Remember when I called him one of my Top Deep Sleepers for Week 2? As soon as I did that, you were one of the 0.6% of people who ran out and picked him up, right? No? Well that's a shame, because this week, he'll be one of the main pick-ups for fantasy owners. Now don't you feel dumb for not trusting a second-string Rams running back? (No? I wouldn't either.) Richardson remains a good pick up for all of the reasons I outlined in that article, most namely the "Holy crap, Steven Jackson's old and breaking down" one. Early indications are that Jackson is questionable for week 3's game against the Bears, calling Richardson to the forefront. Even with his fumble in the later part of the game, he gives no reason for the coaching staff not to trust him; the seventh-round pick has averaged over six yards per carry on 17 attempts this season. Get on the bandwagon: even if Jackson plays this week, I imagine Richardson will still begin to receive more touches as the season wears on.
WR Danny Amendola - St. Louis Rams
Week 2 Fantasy Points: 20
Leagues Owned: 17.3%
In speaking of predictions about Rams players I got correct last week (a very specific topic that normally has an answer of "nothing"), how about my call in the numberFire Week 2 Roundtable of Danny Amendola as this week's under-the-radar fantasy star? I think I'm pretty good at this predictions thing (furiously scrubs week 2 opinion of C.J. Spiller from the Internet). But now that the cat's out of the bag, if you don't pick up Amendola this week, you're probably not going to have another chance. Amendola is tied for second in the NFL with 25 targets, third in the NFL with 230 receiving yards, and oh yeah, first in the NFL with 20 receptions. Through two weeks, his catch rate is 80%, and I don't expect that to decrease too much considering his two catch rates of 69% (2009) and 68% (2010) in his two previous years starting. If I'm playing in a PPR league, I would give my non-existent first-born to have him on my team (in unrelated news, I take fantasy football very seriously). But even in a non-PPR league, Amendola has catapulted to near-must start status in just two weeks. This week may not be his best; the Bears have been solid in the secondary. But long term, he's easily the best option in St. Louis.
WR Brian Hartline - Miami Dolphins
Week 2 Fantasy Points: 11
Leagues Owned: 0.4%
If you're looking for Amendola Lite (aka, you're not in the top 2 of your waiver order or don't have a good amount of waiver cash to spend), why not take a look at Brian Hartline? I trust Ryan Tannehill at quarterback as much as I would trust Tim Tebow, which is not much at all. But if anybody's going to get stats from this receiving corps, Hartline is it. Through two weeks, Hartline is tied for 13th in the NFL with 20 targets, including a dozen passes going his way last week against Oakland. He has converted those passes at a 60% catch rate, slightly better than he performed his previous three years in Miami (his previous high catch rate was 59.7% in 2010). What may be important here, though, is just how much Tannehill is looking his way as compared to the rest of the Miami offense. Behind Hartline, Davone Bess is second on the team with 13 targets. Reggie Bush is third with 10, or half of Hartline's total. Anthony Fasano is fourth with 8 targets. And nobody else on the team has more than 4. With over 30% of looks going Hartline's way through the first two weeks, he looks to be a steady, even if often unspectacular, play.
TE Dennis Pitta - Baltimore Ravens
Week 2 Fantasy Points: 6
Leagues Owned: 24.3%
I wrote about Mr. Pitta in this space last week, and while about one-fifth of ESPN's users got the memo, everybody else playing fantasy football needs to get on board. So here's what you need to know about Pitta: through two weeks, he is tied with Jimmy Graham for the most targets among tight ends. He's fifth in yards, and he's converting catches at a 56% rate that is likely to improve considering his 71% rate last season. Among his team, he's first in both targets and yards, and he's one of only three Ravens to have caught a TD pass so far this season. Ed Dickson - the player most people were worried was going to steal Pitta's targets - has received only 30% of the looks from Flacco that Pitta has, and he only had one catch on four targets against the Eagles in week 2. Dennis Pitta has gone from "Oh, he's the best option among multiple solid tight ends available" to "He's a top five tight end right now, pick him up or you'll regret it". It's a tight end world, and Pitta is currently dominating it.
Who I would pick up this week, in order (with auction waiver $, assuming a $100 spending limit)
1. Amendola ($6)
2. Pitta ($4)
3. Brown ($3)
4. Hartline ($3)
5. Richardson ($2)