Week 3 of the fantasy football season has come and gone. While the first two weeks were mostly supbar, the third week brought the goods with plenty of exciting games and strong fantasy performances. With big-time performances from the likes of Russell Wilson, Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard, and Odell Beckham Jr., a lot of fantasy’s biggest stars are shaking off slow starts and starting to live up to their draft position. It looks like the best is yet to come for fantasy owners.
Another good bit of news from Week 3 was the relative lack of major injuries to important players. The biggest news involved Darren Sproles, who’s unfortunately done for the season (and possibly his career) after tearing his ACL and breaking his arm on the same play. It’s a brutal way for the 34-year-old to go out.
Elsewhere, Doug Baldwin picked up a minor groin injury, Kelvin Benjamin banged up his knee, and Sammy Watkins is in the concussion protocol. Those players will have to be monitored this week, but they’re not serious concerns. Otherwise, most of fantasy’s big stars escaped Week 3 unscathed.
The byes are still a week away, but fantasy owners should always be scouring the waiver wire for potential gems. Here are this week’s top five options owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues.
1. WR Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars (47 percent)
Lee was quietly the Jags’ most productive receiver last season, so when Allen Robinson went down with a torn ACL in Week 1, he once again had an opportunity to become the No. 1 guy. Lee didn’t have to do much in London, but with Blake Bortles inexplicably dismantling the Baltimore Ravens, he still managed four catches for 65 yards. With the Jaguars taking on the hapless New York Jets next week, Lee is shaping up as a quality starter in the near-term. Allen Hurns is still around, but he’s more of a touchdown-or-bust option.
2. WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (35 percent)
Something had to be done to resuscitate the Giants’ offense. Down 14-0 and looking as listless as ever, Ben McAdoo finally ditched their pathetic run game and left it up to Eli Manning. With an assist from Odell Beckham Jr., Manning racked up 366 passing yards against a good Philadelphia Eagles defense, nearly springing the comeback win. it wasn’t all Beckham, though — Shepard led the team with 10 targets, pulling down seven catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. While Shepard is still the No. 3 behind Beckham and Brandon Marshall, he’s still a nifty weapon out of the slot. It’s entirely possible the Giants’ offense turns back into a pumpkin, but Shepard is a tempting flex play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ injury-ravaged defense.
3. TE Vernon Davis, Washington (eight percent)
One of the low-key smartest moves of the offseason was Washington bringing back Davis on a three-year, $15 million deal. That’s a lot of money to pay a backup tight end, but not all that wild when Davis is backing up Jordan Reed, who is once again dealing with a lingering injury. Reed sat out Week 3 and Davis stepped right into his place, putting up five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Reed got limited practices and might return in Week 4, but he simply can’t be trusted to stay healthy. His owners need to scoop up Davis right away in case Reed sits again.
4. QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (12 percent)
Yes, the Jared Goff hype train starts here. Hop aboard! Freed from the shackles of Jeff Fisher and learning under a creative offensive mind in Sean McVay, Goff is reminding everyone why he was a No. 1-overall pick to begin with. After three games, he’s already matched his touchdown total from last year (five) and his yards per attempt have nearly doubled from 5.3 from 10.1. That’s obviously due to regress, and he’ll still be taking his lumps here and there. There’s also the concussion concern with Watkins, his best receiver by a mile. Nevertheless, Goff looks like he’s fantasy-relevant for the first time of his career. He’ll get a real test with a road date against the Dallas Cowboys this week.
5. RB Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (five percent)
The Eagles’ backfield was confusing enough with a healthy Darren Sproles. Now it’s a straight-up minefield after Sproles went down. Smallwood led the backfield with 43 snaps, taking 13 touches for 80 total yards. A talented but inconsistent back, Smallwood hasn’t done enough to run away with the starting job even with such a middling committee. He’ll be contending with LeGarrette Blount and possibly rookie Corey Clement for playing time. Sproles owners can feel free to grab Smallwood, but it’s very much a “wait and see” scenario.
Honorable mentions: RB Alvin Kamara, QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Samaje Perine, WR Allen Hurns, RB Jamaal Charles, WR Devin Funchess, RB D’Onta Foreman, WR Robert Woods