Either foolish luck or full blown denial is the only reason you’re not in need of a waiver wire pickup after Sunday’s relentless body count of top-tier names. You didn’t come to read my blathering, so let’s get to it:
Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs: Jamaal Charles owners who had the wisdom to handcuff Davis enter Week Three with a potential RB1 replacing their first round pick. As for the rest of the Charles owners? Well….
Davis tallied 22.50 Fantasy points after replacing Charles, accounting for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries while also adding six catches for 26 yards. Those who wondered if Davis, owned in 22 percent of polled Fantasy leagues, is capable of becoming a RB1 now have that reality thrust upon them indefinitely, as Charles will be sidelined with a high ankle sprain. While Davis will see extensive touches, his next three games don’t initially come across as Fantasy-friendly, as the Patriots (22nd) are sandwiched between matchups with the Dolphins (13th against the run) and 49ers (seventh). He’s a low-end RB1, yet is a definite must-start as a high-end RB2. Who knows? Maybe Davis pulls a Larry Johnson and ends up becoming a Fantasy beast in the same manner Johnson did when he was plucked off the waiver wire to replace an injured Priest Holmes in 2005, becoming an elite Fantasy performer while running for 3,539 yards and 37 touchdowns for the Chiefs over the 2005-2006 campaigns. One can dream, right?
Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers: Let’s just get the subject out in the open: Doug Martin is teetering on the verge of being a one-year Fantasy wonder. There, I said it. Martin is doubtful for Thursday’s game against a Falcons run defense that is 26th overall, which makes Rainey a strong RB1 for at least a week. Like Charles owners, those who added Rainey as an end-game selection have one less thing in the world to stress over, although there are scant few of those considering that Rainey is owned in just 24 percent of polled standard leagues. Rainey is an all-purpose threat, as his 174 yards from scrimmage on 25 touches on Sunday indicates. He’s got the potential to rattle off solid numbers in the immediate future, as the Steelers (29th vs. the run) and Saints (21st) loom ahead. My hunch is that Rainey is capable of putting up numbers that could make Martin a reserve once he returns from his knee injury. He will fluctuate between low-end RB1/high-end RB2 as long as he’s receiving the bulk of the carries for a Bucs offense that has yet to break out.
Donald Brown, RB, Chargers: Remember when Fantasy owners scoffed when Brown inked a deal with San Diego in March? Look who’s laughing now. The annual Ryan Mathews excursion to the injured list came earlier than expected ($100 to the lady who had Week Two on the over/under on Mathews being sidelined), which makes Brown the Chargers lead back for at least the next 4-6 weeks. With Danny Woodhead expected to remain as the team’s third-down RB, Brown should see at least 75 percent of the carries and will be a weapon near the goal line. If you miss out on Davis or Rainey, Brown (owned in a mere 12 percent of polled standard leagues) is an intriguing waiver wire consolation prize, who won’t hurt you with his receiving skills in PPR leagues. He’s a solid RB2 and a sound Flex option. Brown also is sure-handed, having fumbled just twice in 646 career touches.
Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints: Funny how time changes your view of a player. Last week, Robinson was being dropped in leagues, as it appeared the Saints had settled into a Mark Ingram-Pierre Thomas duet. Now, with Ingram gone for at least a month with a broken hand, Robinson now has more Fantasy appeal than he did during his impressive preseason. He enters the week with a 14-59-1 line and should evolve into a low-end RB2/Flex performer. The Saints offense is in a state of confusion right now with only TE Jimmy Graham living up to expectations for Fantasy owners. Yet, Robinson will be able to fill the Ingram role as a goal line threat, who is also a more reliable receiver than Ingram was. There is upside to Robinson, who will face a trio of average run defenses in the Vikings (16th), Cowboys (14th) and Buccaneers (18th) over the next three weeks. You have to know the Saints will get their act together offensively, and Robinson is a good bet to be a part of it, so grab off the waiver wire and partake in the feast.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals: Depending on how much you believe in A.J. Green’s truth-telling, Sanu is either going to remain a fringe Fantasy player or one who could step up and thrive as Green’s “It’s not broken, but it hurts pretty damn bad” toe becomes a sidebar to the Bengals’ season. Sanu (owned in 11 percent of polled standard leagues) has just 7-120-1 thus far, yet his 76-yard scoring catch against the Falcons last week showed a flash of his potential should Andy Dalton begin to target him more frequently, a fact of life that must become a reality in the wake of Green and TE Tyler Eifrert being injured. Sanu, who has an arm stronger than many quarterbacks, is also a threat to throw, having connected on a 50-yard pass to Brandon Tate last week. There’s WR3 potential in Sanu, so keep him in mind if you’re looking to add depth (and a possible sleeper) to your wideout corps.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins: With one snap of an ankle, the Redskins added yet another controversy in the nation’s capital. Robert Griffin III is out indefinitely with a dislocated ankle, pushing Cousins into the starting job. Based on his 17.9 Fantasy point effort in relief of RGIII, Cousins flashes Fantasy-worthy production. He’s a very intriguing option to start when Washington takes on Philadelphia this week. Yet, keep in mind the Eagles (11th vs the pass) have a much better defense than last year. There are weapons surrounding Cousins, especially if he remembers where Pierre Garcon — who was targeted just four times against the Jaguars last week — is on the field. Cousins is owned in 10 percent of polled standard leagues, which means RGIII owners can scoop him up as a wait-and-see with his performance. He’s also a good waiver wire grab in two-QB leagues.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: While it may feel that Stewart was in the same backfield with Kerry Collins during the Panthers’ dash to the NFC Title game, he’s just 27. DeAngelo Williams had pushed Stewart to the wayside, but with Williams still nursing a sore hamstring, Stewart is now the lead horse in Carolina’s run-oriented attack. His 24-57 line against the Lions last week was helped with a late touchdown, but with the Steelers’ defense ranked 29th against the run and allowing 5.2 yards per tote, Stewart comes into Week Three as a middle-tier RB2 and a Flex option worth latching on to. His short-term value is strong, yet it will be interesting to see how Stewart is used once Williams returns to the lineup.