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Fantasy Football Balancing Act: Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Each Tuesday we highlight the most valuable waiver wire pickups in fantasy football. We also give you a few guys who have "waiver buzz" but aren't worth picking up. 

Running Backs

Daryl Richardson - St. Louis Rams

Steven Jackson didn't see the field for part of the second quarter and for the entire second half. The announcers calling the game thought Jackson had been benched because of his 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty (spiking the ball). The Rams—and Jackson—later clarified that Jackson didn't return because of an injury to his groin. 

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During the preseason, it was common knowledge that Isaiah Pead was the handcuff to own in St. Louis. In Week 2, Daryl Richardson put that thought to bed. 

After Jackson left the game with an injury, Richardson exploded on the scene. He rushed for 83 yards on 15 carries and chipped in 19 yards on two catches. The most important fact is that Isaiah Pead didn't receive a single touch. Not. A. One. 

While Steven Jackson says he'll heal fairly quickly, we think his crystal ball is cloudy. Richardson is a nice waiver wire pickup this week, but not one to hold onto. 

If you decide to grab Richardson, you should look to move him in a trade. His next three games are @Bears, Seahawks and Cardinals at home. Those are all stifling run defenses. By that time, Jackson will be back as the starter. 

Mikel LeShoure - Detroit Lions

The Lions have officially reinstated Mikel LeShoure, and according to the Detroit Free Press, LeShoure should be taking over the reins of Detroit's backfield in the immediate future. 

We're not so convinced. 

Running backs coming off a torn Achilles tendon are notorious for struggling. Toss in the fact that Kevin Smith is a much better fit for the pass-heavy Lions offense, and LeShoure seems to be more of a short-yardage back for Detroit.

In fantasy, he's worth an add, but only as a roster stash until you see what explosiveness he has after his surgery. Even though he'll receive a ton of hype this week, you shouldn't rush to start him just yet. Lest we forget, LeShoure looked underwhelming in preseason action.

Andre Brown - New York Giants

The early word Monday on Ahmad Bradshaw was that he had a neck sprain. By the end of the day, it was reported that he couldn't even make it through Monday's simple walk-through practice.

From the looks of things, Andre Brown is the Giants back to own for fantasy purposes. If you recall, Brown was originally suspended four games for violating the league's PED policy. The NFL lifted Brown's suspension after it was determined that he was only using Adderall. 

Brown was attempting to add mass to fulfill the "Brandon Jacob's" type of role for New York. He beefed up to 240 pounds and looks lean.

After Bradshaw left the game with a neck injury, Brown took over as lead back for the Giants. He had 13 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown and 2-point conversion. David Wilson played on a mere 6-of-84 snaps and still managed to get further in Coughlin's doghouse—Wilson dropped a pass from Eli Manning. 

Brown is the back to own here, and against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3 (giving up 146.5 rushing yards per game), he makes for a nice pluck-and-play if Bradshaw isn't able to suit up.

Bilal Powell - New York Jets

We're not sure what the excitement is over Powell after Week 2. Yes, he out-performed "starter" Shonn Greene, but that's not hard to do. We only put his name here to advise you to let someone else waste the roster space on Powell. 

And besides, Powell runs against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3. The Dolphins rank 4th in the league against the run after two weeks. That's after facing Arian Foster and Darren McFadden. We doubt Powell will do much against the 'Fins. Nor do we think he'll do much against the Niners in Week 4, or the Texans in Week 5. 


Wide Receivers

Danny Amendola - St. Louis Rams

Just prior to the regular season, the Rams wanted to sign Amendola to a contract extension. The two sides didn't come to an agreement, but the desire shows Amendola's worth to the team. Amendola is clearly Sam Bradford's No. 1 option and with Steven Jackson suffering a groin injury that may linger, Amendola's even more so. 

In Week 1, Amendola led the team in targets with nine looks. He went 5-for-70 yards in that game. This past week, Amendola exploded for 160 yards and a touchdown on 15 catches. 

After just two weeks of play it's hard to tell fact from fiction...this isn't one of them. Amendola is fantasy gold, especially in PPR leagues.  

Julian Edelman - New England Patriots 

It appears that Edelman has beat out Wes Welker for the No. 2 job for the New England Patriots. I think now we have the answer to the offseason question as to why the Pats weren't willing to offer Welker an extension. 

Prior to Aaron Hernandez leaving the game with an ankle injury, Edelman played as the No. 2 wideout in 15-of-18 plays when New England was in two-wide sets. Now that Hernandez will be out for multiple weeks, Welker may come back into Tom Brady's focus, but we think Edelman is worth a roster stash. Especially given the Patriots signing Kellen Winslow so quickly after Hernandez' injury. Winslow looks to slip into Hernandez' spot, which may send Welker back to the bench.

You have to remember, this is the Patriots—you never know what their game-plan will be week-to-week. And even though Edelman outpaced Welker in snaps, Welker had more targets (11-to-5, Welker's favor). Again, Edelman is a nice roster stash at this point.

Andrew Hawkins - Cincinnati Bengals

We recommended picking Hawkins off of the waiver wire and starting him in Week 2. And we're here to press "repeat" on that advice for Week 3. 

While Hawkins didn't explode statistically (two catches for 56 yards and a TD), he continued to show his impressive quickness and elusiveness on a 50-yard touchdown catch. 

Hawkins should already be rostered in all formats, but if he's not, go grab him. He's a legitimate threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. And in Week 3, the Bengals play the Washington Redskins and Hawkins should have a bigger role than he did against the Browns.

Donnie Avery - Indianapolis Colts

Avery is likely to be on a lot of waiver pickup lists this week, but we recommend shying away from him. He did have a nice performance in Week 2 (nine catches for 110 yards), but his play is likely to be inconsistent going forward. Austin Collie will return to action and become a target-hound for Andrew Luck, and Reggie Wayne remains the No. 1 option as it is now. 

This week Avery put up solid numbers but don't make a knee-jerk reaction and pick him up expecting more of the same.  He's similar to the Cecil Shorts hype that surrounded Week 1 waivers. 

Brian Hartline - Miami Dolphins

We like Hartline as a roster stash this week only because of the targets he's receiving from quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Even though Hartline is operating as Miami's No. 3 wideout, Tannehill has targeted him the most in both Weeks 1 (8) and 2 (12). 

In Week 2, Hartline turned those targets into a nice statistical performance (nine catches for 111 yards), but if you grab him of the wire, temper your expectations. He may be fantasy gold buried in the side of Waiver Mountain, but make him prove it at least one more week before trotting him out in your starting lineup. 

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Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett - New York Giants

There's no question that Bennett is getting looks from Eli Manning. And they're good looks because the targets are mostly red-zone targets.

The problem with Bennett is that he has a case of the dropsies. He's a viable fantasy option going forward, but be prepared to scream at your screen when you see him drop a couple more would-be touchdown passes. 

Scott Chandler - Buffalo Bills

Chandler will be a hot waiver add this week only because of his stat line. If you see him play, you'll realize that he's not going to be a consistent fantasy producer. 

He scored his touchdown in Week 1 late in the game when the Bills were in desperation mode. And in Week 2, he only had two catches, one just happened to be a touchdown. 

At his 6'7" frame, he makes an excellent red-zone target, but his production will be hit-or-miss each week. He's not worth a roster spot going forward.

Dante Rosario - San Diego Chargers

Anytime a player catches three touchdowns in one week he's going to be seen as a hot waiver add. Rosario is not. 

Rosario filled in for an injured Antonio Gates (ribs) for Week 2 and caught four passes for 48 yards and three scores. Look for him to not catch a single pass in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Gates came this close to playing in Week 2, so the prospects of him suiting up in Week 3 are great. As long as Gates is active, Rosario won't see the field.

Kellen Winslow - New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have built their offense around having two dominant tight ends. Now that Aaron Hernandez is out for at least one month, do you think they will change the blueprint of their offense? We don't. And neither do the Patriots.

Moments ago, the Pats signed Kellen Winslow to replace Hernandez. Winslow worked out for New England two weeks ago and passed his physical (his current signing is contingent upon him passing another physical). 

Because of Winslow's athleticism and soft hands, the Pats can continue to run its two tight end base offense, which gives Winslow instant fantasy appeal. 

Winslow caught 75 passes for 763 yards and two scores with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011. And that was during Josh Freeman's 16-touchdown, 3592-yard throwing season.

He's worth a look in all formats given the Patriots heavy reliance upon the tight end.

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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Featured Writer

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).