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Fantasy football waiver wire: Week 3

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Fantasy football waiver wire: Week 3

Tony Romo owners, New York Giants fans and Survivor pool players all agree Week 2 was a freaking bloodbath. That is unless you own Larry Fitzgerald, somehow started Crockett Gillmore or root for a certain burgundy and gold team. Either way, it's on to Week 3. That means it's time for some Waiver Wire talk.

  • Let's start with the quarterbacks especially since Romo (broken clavicle), Drew Brees (shoulder) and Jay Cutler could be out multiple weeks. 

  • Andy Dalton's numbers after two weeks: 483 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions. The Week 3 matchup against Baltimore is playable as is Dalton most weeks even if he'll drive you mad at times. 

  • Oakland's Derek Carr was one of my favorite QB2 targets in drafts this year - yes, over Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston - because of the enormous potential flashed during his rookie season. Then the Raiders added Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. That's a legitimate passing game trio as we saw in the stunning win over Baltimore. Be judicious when using your Raiders, especially on the road the two next weeks. At home, they should be fine, but even falling behind has upside for a team capable of slinging the pigskin. 

  • Deeper leagues: Nick Foles looked rather blah against the Redskins in Week 2, but he'll likely have to throw plenty in catch-up mode against a beatable Steelers defense in Week 3. Colin Kaepernick finished with 335 yards and two touchdowns in last week's blowout loss in Pittsburgh. For Week 3, I'd rank Foles over Carr, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and...Kirk Cousins, who has played counterpuncher to the running game, but now faces a Giants pass defense that ranks last in pass defense after two weeks. 

  • The folks at FantasyPros.com asked me and a few other fantasy football writers to rank 21 (non-quarterback) potential and pre-selected free agents this week. For the sake of space, here's my top 12:

(Don't get caught up in the overall order when comparing say a running back with a wide receiver. In one league I lost Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson for a while, which meant starting Rueben Randle this week. Yikes. Seeing as my backs aren't horrible, adding a receiver is a greater priority. That's regardless of the rankings in most cases. Also, 0-2 teams need to consider if they need immediate help over those with greater upside.)

  1. Dion Lewis, Patriots, RB
  2. David Johnson, Cardinals, RB
  3. Matt Jones, Redskins, RB
  4. James Starks, Packers, RB
  5. Devonta Freeman, Falcons, RB
  6. Duke Johnson, Browns, RB
  7. Michael Crabtree, Raiders, RB
  8. Eric Ebron, Lions, TE
  9. Crockett Gillmore, Ravens, TE
  10. Karlos Williams, Bills, RB
  11. Allen Hurns, Jaguars, WR
  12. Rishard Matthews, Dolphins, WR

  • In addition to ranking the players, I was asked to answer questions, including what % of FAAB budget would you recommend fatntsy owners spend on your #1 rated target? My response:

The definition of insanity is attempting to predict how Bill Belichick plans on deploying his running backs week to week. Various Patriot insiders* talked about the end of Dion Lewis’ run as the starter and viable option heading into Sunday’s game at Buffalo. They were wrong. Anyone thinking LeGarrette Blount is stuck on the bench won’t be right either. Those weak at RB can consider spending 20-25% of FAAB budgets for Lewis, a potential starting RB whose floor is the 2015 version of Shane Vereen.

  • Both JP Finlay and I liked Lewis much, much more than the aforementioned Patriot Insiders and said as much during last week's Fantasy Football show (Friday's, 6:00 p.m.). Score one for the fantasy guys, though I doubt either of us projected Blount's complete nothingness. I'm also not ready to assume this is the pecking order going forward. Don't cut Blount, but do add Lewis.

  •  James Starks was originally my top selection, but a report surfaced just as I submitted by order that Packers RB Eddie Lacy (ankle) might not miss much time. The Green Bay starter is no less than an RB2 each week and Starks looked the part with over 90 yards against the Seahawks. Lacy owners, who clearly didn't listen to my handcuff advice, should do whatever is needed to grab Starks if their guy is ruled for any length of time. If that means spending 25-30% of the FAAB, so be it. Non-Lacy owners, especially those at 0-2 who can't stand their current RB crop, can make an aggressive move for a little less.

  • Both Lewis and Starks are ultimately more shot-term plays. Matt Jones, Devonta Freeman and the two Johnson's are the lottery tickets. 

My assumption is most reading this article are Redskins fans and therefore have already ordered their Jones 31 jersey after what they witnessed in Sunday's win over the Rams. The power, speed and pass catching combination was on full display as the rookie wowed with 123 yards and two touchdowns. The timeshare with Alfred Morris is here; Jones only played a handful of fewer snaps in the victory. He's also a true three-down back unlike Morris, a notorious non-factor in the passing game. Morris will remain the higher ranked option until further notice. That might mean the entire regular season and it might not be by much. If the Redskins remain committed to and effective with the run, both backs have weekly appeal even if the presence of the other limits upside. 

Arizona's David Johnson continued his explosive start with a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown. Now, that doesn't help in most fantasy leagues, but his 13-yard rushing score does. Chris Johnson had more touches (20-6), but didn't much with the extra opportunities. Expect David Johnson's role to expand when Andre Ellington returns. Don't force him into your lineup, but patience should ultimately pay off. I ranked him over Jones simply because I think he has a better chance of being his team's starter by Week 8. Owners can spend 20-25% of their FAAB budget on Jones or David Johnson.

Cleveland's Duke Johnson gained 43 yards on 12 carries in Week 2. The dual threat must wait for Isaiah Crowell to vacate the starting job before owners use in weekly lineups. That's not exactly mission impossible.

Devonta Freeman didn't take advantage of Tevin Coleman's exit via a cart due to his rib injury. Freeman certainly has the goods to take over for good or at least force a true timeshare -- and he might get the chance if Coleman misses time.

  • If you forgot Michael Crabtree was a thing, the ex-49er did some reminding in Week 2 against the Ravens. The new Raider caught nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. We know Crabtree can play. He's definitely worth the add and of WR consideration. ...Wide receivers not shown on the aforementioned list but are also worthy of consideration include Marvin Jones, Travis Benjamin and, wait for it, Leonard Hankerson. The ex-Redskin finished 6-77-1 on 11 targets in Week 2. Roddy White might not be finished, but he's not looking like a stud either.

  • As for the tight ends, Eric Ebron bombed as a rookie, but let's not forget he was the 10th overall pick in 2014. He's now starting to live up the hype. Ebron scored touchdowns in each game this season for the 0-2 Lions. There was no hype at all over Crockett Gillmore, but that's changing after the 6-foot-6 target went 5-88-2 in Week 2 against the Raiders. Gillmore is a matchup problem for defenders, but looking like Joe Flacco's No. 2 target behind Steve Smith. 

Click here for the entire FantasyPros article and here to ask me any fantasy question on Twitter.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 25, 17 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Five Redskins who will have to step up in 2018

Originally published 12/26/17

WR Josh Doctson—This list is in no particular order but if it was, Doctson would be right here at the top. The watchword for Doctson is consistency. He makes some incredible catches and then there are throws that he drops or doesn’t quite seem to make enough of an effort to catch. There is promise there. The first-round pick has shown his ability and his teammates say he has a chance to be elite. But the potential must translate into production on the field, week in and week out.  

RB Samaje Perine—There is plenty of chatter about the Redskins’ need to sign or draft a top running back. But a look at this team’s recent history tells us that they are unlikely to invest major assets in the position. That means that Perine, a fourth-round pick in 2017, will have to become a more consistent runner. It’s not all his fault that he hasn’t done much since he had back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 11-12; tough defense, offensive line issues, and game score situations have slowed his production. But he needs to be consistently productive in 2018 no matter who he lines up against.

CB Josh Norman—Unless he gets a pick against the Giants, he will go through the year without any interceptions. Sure, they don’t throw his way all that often and INT’s don’t give you the complete picture of his play. But a CB taking up $20 million in cap room needs to get a couple of picks almost by sheer accident. Norman battled some injury problems and if he wants to justify the final two years and $23 million of salary remaining on his contract, his age 30 2018 season needs to be more impactful.

OLB Preston Smith—The third-year player started strong, with at least half a sack in the first five games. And he’s finishing strong, with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the last two games. But in between, he had a total of just half a sack in eight games. This follows the pattern he displayed his first two years in the league of being dominant in some games and invisible in others. If he can develop some consistency in his 2018 contract year, he could cash in huge in free agency the following year.

Head coach Jay Gruden—Normally I only include players on lists like this one but if Gruden doesn’t do something to get the Redskins out of their near-.500 rut then nothing else will matter. He needs to change up something, whether it’s pushing the players hard in training camp or perhaps fine tuning his friendly approach to the players. Sure, better luck regarding injuries and a schedule that right now appears to be a bit less challenging will help. But Gruden needs to look at what he can change, too.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 4
—NFL Draft (4/26) 60
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 196

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197