Waiver Wire Week 3: Gardner Minshew, Dion Lewis Highlight Pickups to Know

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars have exceeded expectations through two weeks of the 2020 NFL season.

The second-year quarterback has played so well that he has turned into one of the top waiver-wire pickups ahead of Week 3. 

Jacksonville beat Indianapolis and was competitive until the final whistle with Tennessee, which suggests it should perform better against a weaker opponent Thursday in the Miami Dolphins.

One of the other top fantasy football adds going into Week 3 will be forced into action because of an unfortunate injury to Saquon Barkley.

With one of the NFL's top running backs reportedly out for the season, the focus will turn to his potential replacement and other players who are not rostered in a large number of leagues. 

        

Week 3 Waiver-Wire Pickups To Know

Gardner Minshew II, QB, Jacksonville

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Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

Minshew opened the season with the two of the best scoring performances of his young NFL career. 

The Jaguars quarterback threw for three scores in back-to-back games against the Colts and Titans to prove he could be a viable fantasy football option. 

If you include Week 17 of 2019, Minshew has a streak of three straight three-touchdown performances. Before his current run, he had a single game with that many scoring throws.

Minshew is in the perfect position to be a fantasy football streamer in Week 3 since he faces the struggling Miami Dolphins Thursday night. 

The Dolphins have allowed the sixth-most passing yards and the most yards per attempt through two games against New England and Buffalo.

A year ago, Minshew turned in a 204-yard, two-score outing in the Week 3 Thursday night game to beat Tennessee.

The Washington State product could eclipse those numbers at the current rate he is performing at, and that could lead to his being a substitute for a primary quarterback with a much tougher Week 3 matchup.

          

Dion Lewis, RB, New York Giants

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The New York Giants' running back situation will be closely monitored all week. 

Dion Lewis received 10 carries and five targets after Barkley went down with his injury at Soldier Field. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Barkley tore his ACL, and "the belief is" one of the top fantasy running backs is out of the season. 

No one should expect Lewis or any other New York running back to replace Barkley's production on his own. At the moment, it looks like Lewis will receive the bulk of the touches at the position moving forward. 

Rapoport reported that the Giants plan on bringing in former Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman for a workout. 

Even if things go well with Freeman and he eventually signs, it may take a week or two for him to get up to speed with the Giants' offensive system. 

Lewis has been a serviceable back throughout his career when New England and Tennessee needed him to step into a larger role. 

In 2017, he had 896 rushing yards and six touchdowns for the Patriots, and two years ago, he had 517 yards on 155 carries for the Titans. 

Since Lewis is a veteran player the Giants can trust to put next to Daniel Jones, he should receive a decent chunk of the Week 3 touches against San Francisco.

However, there are other options available on the waiver wire if you do not feel comfortable with the Giants' upcoming matchup.

         

Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Rams' running back situation took another twist in Week 2 when Cam Akers left the win over Philadelphia with an injury and Darrell Henderson eclipsed Malcolm Brown in production.

Henderson finished with 81 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and he brought in two of his three targets for 40 yards. 

Brown was not a factor in the passing game and produced 47 yards on the 11 carries he received. 

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Akers suffered a rib injury and was declared out for the contest in the first half. 

If Akers has to miss time with his injury, it would give the Rams a defined one-two punch in Henderson and Brown. 

If that is the case, Henderson is worth the pickup because the Rams seem committed to splitting production as evenly as possible. 

In two games, each of the three running backs has at least 15 carries, while Henderson and Brown have combined for five receptions on seven targets. 

Sean McVay could use his running backs at a higher volume in Week 3 against Carolina, who allowed Leonard Fournette to run for 103 yards on 12 carries Sunday. 

The Panthers have allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL with six, and they have conceded 4.8 yards per carry.

The Rams' situation may be fluid based on Akers' health, but you need to have an eye on Henderson because of the favorable matchup ahead for the NFC West side. 

         

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta

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Russell Gage experienced a dip in yardage from Week 1 to Week 2, but he still received a high volume of targets from Matt Ryan and found the end zone for Atlanta. 

Gage owns five more targets from Ryan than Julio Jones, and he is only 21 yards beneath the No. 1 wide receiver in the yardage category.

Typically, you should shy away from picking up the No. 3 wide receiver on a team's depth chart after two weeks, but it appears the Falcons are set to throw at a high volume all season.

Ryan attempted 90 passes against Seattle and Dallas, which is the highest total in his career over the first two games of the season. The previous high was 87 from 2014.

More importantly, Ryan completed 67.8 percent of those passes, and if his completion rate goes higher, Gage's targets and receptions could remain consistent alongside Jones and Calvin Ridley.

Gage's ceiling is still a No. 2 fantasy wide receiver, but his early totals suggest he could be in for a larger role in Atlanta's offense, and he may be worth the pickup now before his numbers and roster percentage rise.

          

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.