Week 3’s Best Waiver Wire Options: All in on Royal

Two weeks in and many fantasy owners are in panic mode.  Especially if you spent a first or second round pick on Ray Rice, Frank Gore, DeMarco Murray or David Wilson.  Unfortunately you’re in a bit of a bind with those guys because much of their trade value has plummeted. However it’s only been two weeks and many, if not all of them, may turn it around and end the season as fantasy studs. That’s the beauty of our little hobby!

But who is going to help you in Week 3 and potentially beyond? Let’s examine the most attractive waiver options, currently available in less than 50% of FleaFlicker leagues. (Except for one example where I cheat a bit.)

The No-Brainers

Eddie Royal, Chargers WR (16% owned): Last week I snagged Royal in free agency to stash him on my bench. Sadly I kept him stashed. Royal’s 5 TDs to start the season are no fluke.  His reunion with Mike McCoy, Royal’s coordinator in Denver, has been a fantasy dream but not a surprising one when you examine just how intricately McCoy is utilizing Floyd. Royal reminds me of 2010 Dwayne Bowe who had a plethora of monster games, yet fantasy experts continuously deemed him unsustainable. Bowe wound up with 15 touchdowns that season. He had zero through Week 2. Royal has 5.

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans WR (46% owned): Hopkins should be drafted for this spectacular game-winning TD in overtime alone. And even if Andre Johnson weren’t suffering from a concussion, Hopkins is a legit fantasy pickup. In two weeks he has 12 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, you can see a progression of trust between Matt Schaub and Hopkins.  This is in no way a one game dandy.

The (Possible) Injury Replacements 

James Starks, Packers RB (6% owned): Eddie Lacy left Sunday’s game with a concussion and will have to pass all the testing protocol to play at Cincinnati.  Since there’s a good chance Lacy doesn’t play – many don’t come back in a week with the new process – James Starks is the next man up. Starks filled in perfectly for Lacy Sunday – amassing 132 rushing yards and a touchdown (plus 4 catches for 46 yards.) Like any team, Cincinnati’s front is a major upgrade over Washington’s but Starks could sill be productive.  Note: You’ll likely need to decide on Starks before we receive an update on Lacy.  As an armchair neurologist, I again believe there’s a decent shot Lacy sits this week, particularly since the Packers have their bye Week 4.

Bernard Pierce, Ravens RB (54% owned): Ray Rice’s hip-flexor injury does not appear to be serious and the Ravens are calling him day-to-day. Regardless, Pierce should have a decent opportunity for now, not because Rice is hobbling but because the backup is somewhat outrunning the starter. Pierce has a pretty low average yards per carry yet should snag about 8-12 carries this week — and more if Rice’s injury turns out to be more problematic during the week.

The Up and Comer

Tyler Eifert, Bengals TE (30% owned): Eifert has yet to score but you can see his chemistry developing with Andy Dalton. Through two games, the rookie only has 113 total yards, numbers that won’t exactly get your opponents quivering. But after last night’s spectacular 61-yard Gronk/Graham/Davis-esque catch and run last night, it’s clear this kid should be getting more targets in future weeks.

The Week-to Week Guy

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos RB (42% owned): The Denver running back situation is a little clearer. Knowshon Moreno is 1 and Montee Ball is 1a, maybe even 1f. Moreno has one more carry than Bell is each of the first two games, and with 13 touches, 98 yards and 2 touchdowns last week, is a solid pickup against the Raiders. There are no guarantees with Moreno given his history and the presence of aell. Yet for now, the elder statesman of the crew is running very well and there’s no reason an increase in carries is coming his way this week in what may be, ahem, a bit of a blowout.

Meh, But Passable

Marlon Brown, Ravens WR (20% owned): Brown has put up eerily consistent numbers though two weeks – 4 catches, 65 yards and a score in Week 1; 4 catches, 45 yards and a score in Week 2.  Joe Flacco is still navigating his options as he tries to get an offensive rhythm going. But at this point there’s no reason Brown won’t continue to drum home some respectable fan.