By Matt Citak
(CBS)- Week 3 was a lot more forgiving on the injury front than the week prior. Tarik Cohen suffering a torn ACL was the only major injury to come out of the week, while all of the other ailments seem to be minor (as of this writing, Chris Carson’s knee injury is not expected to keep him out too long).
While there were not many injuries, we did see some breakout performances from a few rookie wide receivers in Week 3. It will be another busy week on the waiver wire, so let’s jump right into it.
Here are the top waiver wire adds at each position heading into Week 4.
QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams– Goff had a tough Week 3 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, but that did not stop him from having a great fantasy day. Goff completed nearly 72% of his passes for 321 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, adding a short rushing score as well. Through three games, Goff has a completion percentage of 70% while averaging almost 290 passing yards per game. The Rams offense is looking more like the 2018 Rams than the 2019 version, which bodes well for everyone in the offense, starting with Goff. The fifth-year QB could end up cracking the top 10 quarterbacks this season, so be sure to snag him off waivers before it’s too late.
QB Nick Foles, Chicago Bears– It didn’t take long for Matt Nagy to pull the plug on Mitchell Trubisky, as the young signal-caller was benched for the veteran Foles midway through the Week 3 game against the Falcons. What did Foles do once in? Oh not much, he only led the Bears to a huge second half comeback in which he threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Now it wasn’t all perfect, as Foles completed just 55 percent of his passes and threw an interception. However, with the inconsistency Trubisky has shown, the job is Foles’ for the Week 4 game against the Colts and likely for the rest of the season. Foles could end up being a solid QB option for the remainder of 2020, and thus has landed firmly on the fantasy radar.
RB Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins– Heading into the season, Jordan Howard and Matt Breida were
getting all of the attention in Miami’s backfield. But we’re now three weeks into the season and Gaskin has clearly emerged as the clear leader in the running back room. Against the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, Gaskin had a whopping 22 rush attempts, gaining 66 yards while adding five receptions for 29 yards. The Dolphins led for all of last week’s game, which likely won’t be the case in most weeks. But Gaskin’s usage in the passing game should keep him as a focal point of the offense even in games they’re trailing, making him a decent flex option moving forward.
RB Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks- As mentioned in the intro, Chris Carson’s injury is minor and may not even keep him out for this week’s game against the Dolphins. But if he is held out of Week 4 or beyond, Hyde instantly becomes a top add. Hyde hasn’t done much with his limited opportunities this season, averaging 3.6 yards per carry on 16 rush attempts. But a role as the lead back in the Seahawks offense would immediately catapult Hyde into RB2 territory. This will be a situation to follow this week, so keep an eye on Seattle’s injury report. Even if Carson doesn’t miss time, Hyde has some value as one of the league’s better handcuff running backs.
RB Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers- The 49ers have been decimated with injuries on both sides of the ball, but one of the groups hit the hardest, other than the defensive line, is at running back. Top backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman both went down in Week 2, and while Mostert is not expected to be out long, Coleman was placed on injured reserve. With both guys out against the Giants in Week 3, it opened the door for Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson to take over the SF backfield. McKinnon led the team in touches, but it was Wilson that found the end zone twice. McKinnon also suffered a rib injury during Sunday’s win, which could pave the way for even more touches for Wilson. With Nick Mullens likely under center again, Wilson could play another big role in the passing game against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. McKinnon’s injury status is another situation to monitor, but Wilson is worth a speculative add.
WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings- Jefferson was fantasy’s breakout darling in Week 3. The rookie wide receiver was inserted into the starting lineup over Bisi Johnson against the Titans and made the most of his opportunity. Jefferson led the Vikings with nine targets in Week 3, four more than Adam Thielen or any other pass-catcher in Minnesota’s offense. He reeled in seven of those targets for 175 yards and a touchdown, an impressive stat line for his first career start. This year’s No. 22 overall pick likely earned himself a nice role in the offense moving forward, serving as a strong replacement for Stefon Diggs, who was traded to Buffalo in the offseason. Jefferson is the top waiver wire add for anyone in need of a wide receiver.
WR Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers- It took just two games for Aiyuk to emerge as one of San Francisco’s top pass-catching options. The rookie wide receiver saw eight targets against the Giants, finishing the game with five receptions for 70 yards. But Kyle Shanahan also got Aiyuk involved in the run game, as he took three rush attempts for 31 yards and a touchdown. The rookie was starting to blossom into the 49ers’ top wide receiver during training camp before a hamstring injury derailed the start of his season. But now that he’s healthy, he is picking up right where he left off last month. The return of both Deebo Samuel and George Kittle could cut into his targets, but I’d be willing to bet that the first-round pick will still get a good amount of looks in this offense, regardless of who’s under center for the 49ers.
WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals- Week 3 was the week of the rookie receiver, as Higgins was yet another first-year WR to enjoy a big game in Week 3. Higgins finished second on the Bengals with nine targets against the Eagles, catching five of them for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Boyd is looking like Joe Burrow’s favorite target in the Bengals offense, but Higgins could be jumping ahead of A.J. Green as the second option in the passing game. The No. 33 overall pick in this year’s draft is beginning to develop a great connection with Burrow. Given Green’s recent injury history, Higgins could be looking at a significant target share if the veteran were to go down with an injury at any point this season. He’s worth an add.
TE Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts- Alie-Cox put together his second consecutive solid performance in Week 3. The third-year tight end caught all three of the passes thrown in his direction, finishing the day with 50 yards and a touchdown. While the stat line doesn’t necessarily jump out at you, it’s important to remember that this outing came with Jack Doyle back in the lineup. Doyle was held without a catch while playing on 53% of the team’s offensive snaps, while Alie-Cox was on the field for 60% of the team’s snaps. It appears as if Alie-Cox is emerging as the top tight end in the Colts’ offense, and we all know how much Philip Rivers loves throwing to his tight ends. I’d like to see him have another solid performance against the Bears in Week 4, but Allie-Cox is closing in on the TE1 range. One more good outing and he’ll be there.
TE Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears- Many people laughed at the Bears when they brought Graham in during the offseason, but the veteran showed he still has plenty of gas left in the tank against the Falcons. Graham was targeted 10 times in Week 3, finishing second on the team behind Allen Robinson’s 13 targets. The tight end had six receptions for 60 yards and two touchdowns, with four of those coming once Foles was under center. Foles offers a much more reliable option for everyone in the Bears’ passing game, which means the entire offense is likely to benefit with the veteran calling the shots. Graham’s floor and ceiling are both raised with the veteran at QB. One more good outing this week could make Graham one of the top waiver wire adds next week, so make sure you get ahead of the curve and add him to your team before he’s gone.