Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 3: 8 Guys You Have to Pick Up

Alex Joseph@alex_brosephAnalyst ISeptember 19, 2011

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 3: 8 Guys You Have to Pick Up

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    After tonight's Monday Night Football game between the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants, fantasy owners will be scrambling to make their Week 3 waiver wire pick-ups. 

    Some Week 1 waiver wire guys didn't exactly pan out in Week 2, such as Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb. After an exciting Week 1 performance that netted him 15 fantasy points, Cobb failed to record a touchdown as a return man and finished with only two receptions for 25 yards against the Carolina Panthers.

    That just goes to show how hard it is to truly judge a player based on just one game. Especially a guy who starts out on waiver wires. 

    With that being said, there are eight guys who will be on waiver wires this week who really stand out and have a good chance of putting up big Week 3 numbers.

    Some will be gone quickly, so now is the time to get them. 

Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez: Tight End (New England Patriots)

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    Percent Owned (ESPN): Gronkowski: 96.3, Hernandez: 86.7

    Week 3 Opponent: Buffalo Bills

    In a year where the top fantasy tight ends were supposed to be popular names like Antonio Gates, Jermichael Finley, Jason Witten and Dallas Clark, who knew the top two scorers would be on the same team? 

    What's going on in New England? Rob Gronkowski was a bit of a fantasy surprise last year, so he was a sleeper coming into this season, but where did Aaron Hernandez come from? 

    In two games this season, Gronkowski has 10 catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns, totaling 34 fantasy points. Hernandez has 14 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns, totaling 28 points. Can they really keep this up all season?

    It might get difficult, but for now, everything is working just fine. There's no need to stress about the future if something is working so well today. 

    Gronkowski will be a hard pickup, as he is almost owned in every league already, but Hernandez is available in 13.3 percent of all leagues. Even though Gronkowski is currently the higher scoring fantasy option, Hernandez is a more intriguing pick-up. 

    He's more of a receiver than Gronkowski and sees more targets from QB Tom Brady. There's a good chance he'll end the season with the most points between the two, possibly the entire league. 

    Pick them up if you can. 

Cam Newton: Quarterback (Carolina Panthers)

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    Percent Owned (ESPN): 89.9

    Week 3 Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars 

    I know that Cam Newton is already owned in almost 90 percent of all fantasy leagues, but if he's somehow still available in yours, now is the time to pick him up. 

    I'll admit, I was skeptical about Newton going into Week 2. In Week 1, Newton completely ravaged Arizona's defense, but was it really that surprising? Arizona has one of the weakest defenses in the league. Rex Grossman threw for almost 300 yards against them yesterday, for crying out loud. 

    Against a more talented Green Bay Packers defense in Week 2, Newton was really going to have to step up to make me believe in him, and what did he do? Oh, just throw for 432 yards, score 26 fantasy points and almost lead his lowly Panthers team to a Week 2 upset over the Super Bowl defending champs. 

    Unfortunately, for the second week in a row, the Panthers fell short. Newton, though, has continued to impress. He's on path for fantasy stardom, and his numbers are sure to look good again in Week 3.

    Hop on the Newton bandwagon before it's too late! 

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Quarterback (Buffalo Bills)

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    Percent Owned (ESPN): 68.3

    Week 3 Opponent: New England Patriots 

    First Cam Newton, now Ryan Fitzpatrick. Unlike Newton's Panthers, Fitzpatrick has the Buffalo Bills off to a 2-0 start. What's going on this season? 

    After showing signs of life last season in Buffalo, Fitzpatrick has really stepped up this year. Did anyone really expect this? 

    Through two games, Fitzpatrick has thrown for just 472 yards, which Tom Brady surpassed in just Week 1. But the really telling stat is his 7:1 touchdown to interception ratio. He has amassed 46 fantasy points in two weeks time, which is good enough for fifth among all quarterbacks.

    He's only trailing Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford. So, after two weeks of fantasy football, there are only two guys, possibly three, in the top five of scoring that were projected to be good enough to start in any 12-team league. 

    It's going to be a long season. In the meantime, pick up Fitzpatrick for Week 3. Fitzpatrick's Week 3 opponent, the New England Patriots, have already given up 794 yards through the air this season. Chad Henne threw for 417 yards against them in Week 1. Chad. Henne. 

    That is all. 

Ben Tate: Running Back (Houston Texans)

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    Percent Owned (ESPN): 63.1

    Week 3 Opponent: New Orleans Saints

    The Houston Texans are 2-0 this season and looking good, and Arian Foster has only carried the ball 10 times for 33 yards. 

    While star WR Andre Johnson is impressive every week, it's been RB Ben Tate that has really shined for the Texans. 

    Filling in for an injured Foster in Week 1, Tate carried the ball 24 times for 116 yards and one touchdown. In Week 2, Foster started the game, but sat out the entire second-half after re-aggrivating his hamstring. This allowed Tate from carrying the ball 23 times for 103 yards. 

    Tate was also utilized in the receiving game, catching four passes for 32 yards. 

    As long as Foster is healthy, he is going to have the upper-hand on carries, but Tate has more than proved himself in the last two weeks. With Foster still having problems with his hamstring, the Texans have to feel confident enough to keep Tate as the starter for as long as necessary. 

    Tate is still available in a lot of fantasy football leagues, but I'm sure his percent owned average will be closer to 80 by the end of the day. 

    Jump on the chance to get him now, but be wary of his opponent this week. The Saints have a pretty solid run defense. 

Devery Henderson: Wide Receiver (New Orleans Saints)

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    Percent Owned (ESPN): 51.4

    Week 3 Opponent: Houston Texans

    Before the season began, I wrote an article describing why fantasy owners should stay away from New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston this season. 

    Did I foresee Colston getting injured in Week 1? No way. I just knew that the Saints had too many talented options at wide receiver. Two weeks into the season, Devery Henderson is proving that point.

    DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace may be the best deep-threats in the league, but Henderson is quietly throwing his name into that pot. 

    Here are Henderson's stats through the first two games: nine catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Not only does Henderson have a touchdown in each game this season, the guy is averaging 22.6 yards a catch! 

    The speedy receiver is currently leading the Saints in yards, which is great news when your quarterback loves to spread the ball around. 

    Until Colston and Lance Moore are completely healed, Henderson should continue to start and receive a decent amount of targets every week. 

    For a guy who is averaging 22.6 yards per catch, it doesn't take too many targets for the yards to add up. 

Dexter McCluster: Running Back/Wide Receiver (Kansas City Chiefs)

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    Percent Owned (ESPN): 7.0

    Week 3 Opponent: San Diego Chargers 

    Is anything ever going to go right for the Kansas City Chiefs? After getting annihilated by the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, the only bright spot it had was their young star RB Jamaal Charles. 

    What happened in Week 2? Not only did the Chiefs get embarrassed 48-3 by the Detroit Lions, but Charles was carted off the field in the first quarter after supposedly tearing his ACL. He has an MRI on Monday, and if he has torn it, Charles will be out the entire year. 

    This would be a huge blow to both the Chiefs and all Charles fantasy owners. Charles was the third highest drafted player on average in every fantasy league. An injury like this is terrible to see. 

    So who is going to be the Chiefs bright spot now? Thomas Jones will likely see the bulk of the carries as the team moves forward, but second-year-combo-player Dexter McCluster is going to be the more attractive option. 

    McCluster has shown the ability to be a big-play dynamo. He only has four carries so far this year, but he is averaging 10.5 yards per carry. He is also a receiving option out of the backfield, as well as a dangerous return man. 

    McCluster's speed and shifty running style will help the Chiefs offense, but what could really hurt it? In two games, the Chiefs have scored 10 points. 

    While this isn't a promising stat for fantasy owners who are looking to add McCluster, you have to take into consideration that it can't get much worse. Hopefully McCluster will be able to provide a spark to a seemingly dead offense. 

Eric Decker: Wide Receiver (Denver Broncos)

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    Percent Owned (ESPN): 4.3

    Week 3 Opponent: Tennessee Titans

    Eric Decker was what I like to call fantasy comatose before the season began. Some believe he was a legitimate sleeper, but I think he was even deeper than that. 

    Decker is only owned in 4.3 percent of all fantasy leagues, but he has proven to be a legitimate fantasy option. Playing in the slot, Decker has caught eight passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Most of those yards and both of those touchdowns came in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but his promising performance is a good sign of things to come. 

    Brandon Lloyd was scratched at the last minute on Sunday, so that gave Decker an opportunity for more targets. If all goes well in practice this week, Lloyd will likely play in next week's game, but Decker should still be a go-to target.

    Decker is the prototypical slot receiver. He's quick and shifty enough to be good in short yardage situations, but he's fast enough and has good enough hands to be a legitimate deep-threat. 

    Decker is probably the most risky waiver wire pick-up on this list, but he does have a lot of upside. If he can keep forming good chemistry with QB Kyle Orton, Decker could be a nice flex option every week.