Fantasy Football 2020 Waiver Wire Pickups: Jared Goff and Justin Jefferson highlight this week’s top adds

The importance of the waiver wire showed up big time in Week 3. If you were like me and started James Robinson, you are probably pretty happy with how your week went. If you are also like me and dropped Justin Jefferson to add Russell Gage, you were probably a bit frustrated.

Not every player you add from the waiver wire is going to be a winner and sometimes, you have to take the risk that it will be a complete dud. That’s what anyone who started Gardner Minshew this week found out. You can also hit it big and win your matchup as a result, as anyone who started Rex Burkhead found out. It’s not an exact science, but there is a usually a bit of a method to the madness.

Goff came up big with 321 yards and three total touchdowns against the Bills. (Wikimedia Commons)

Jared Goff, QB, LAR
After a lackluster Week 1, Jared Goff has stepped up in back-to-back weeks. He went over 23 fantasy points for the second straight week. He now gets matchups against the Giants and Washington over the next two weeks. It is unlikely that he scores three touchdowns each week, but his efficiency has picked up and he seems to be in a groove with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee. If you need a streaming option at quarterback, Goff is my top choice for the week.

Nick Foles, QB, CHI
Welcome back to fantasy relevance Nick Foles! He took the starting job from Mitch Trubisky and led the Bears to a comeback over the Falcons. Now, Foles won’t benefit from facing the worst fantasy (and potentially real life) defense in the league every week, but he looked comfortable in the starting role. He has to face an improving Colts defense and the Buccaneers in the next two weeks. It is probably worth stashing Foles on your roster as a bye week fill in.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, MIA
If you haven’t hopped on the Fitzmagic train, it’s not too late. Fitzpatrick has scored 24 points in back-to-back weeks. Week 1’s dud against the Patriots aside, he has been one of the top five quarterbacks in scoring these past two weeks. He now faces a Seattle defense that is allowing the second most points to opposing quarterbacks through three games. The Seahawks will unquestionably be the favorite in that contest, but don’t be shocked if Fizpatrick puts up big numbers in a losing effort.

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, SF
No one can stay healthy on the 49ers. Jeff Wilson Jr. is likely to be the latest beneficiary of taking the starting role. It is not a guarantee that Jerick McKinnon misses Week 4 against the Eagles, but Wilson got plenty of usage even with McKinnon in action this past week. Assuming McKinnon is limited, Wilson will suddenly be a top option. Now the Eagles defense is good against the run, but Wilson got involved in the passing game as well. It is unlikely he scores two touchdowns again, but Wilson could be a flex play if you are suffering from injuries.

Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA
The preseason hype of the Miami backfield centered on Matt Breida and Jordan Howard. Myles Gaskin has emerged as the lead back in the Dolphins running back by committee approach. His usage went to the next level against Jacksonville as he finished with 27 touches. That feels unsustainable and now he faces two tough run defenses in Seattle and San Francisco up next. I would not recommend starting him any time soon, but he is worth adding to your roster for running back depth. He won’t be available for too much longer.

Carlos Hyde, RB, SEA
Another potential injury fill in here. Chris Carson’s status is up in the air against the Dolphins. He suffered a knee injury on a questionable play from Trysten Hill and could be out for a week or two. Hyde has not been fantasy relevant up to this point, but he could be thrust in the starting role on a high-scoring offense. Seattle has moved away from running the ball as much this season, but Hyde was a 1,000 yard rusher a year ago for the Texans. He is about as good of a fill in the Seahawks can hope to have if Carson misses time.

Jefferson flashed the potential that made him a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. (Wikimedia Commons)

Justin Jefferson, WR, MIN
There is the breakout we have all been waiting for. Justin Jefferson had five catches on six targets for 70 yards in his first two games. In Week 3, he came up with seven catches on nine targets for 175 yards and a touchdown. Now 71 of those yards came on his touchdown catch, but even if you remove that, a six-catch, 104-yard performance is more than impressive. If this is a sign of things to come, Jefferson is absolutely worth having on your roster. Maybe you were smarter than me and didn’t drop him in the first place. Either way, put in the waiver claim.

Allen Lazard, WR, GB
Maybe the Packers really didn’t need to draft a receiver. Allen Lazard stepped up big time with Davante Adams out. He torched the Saints secondary for 146 yards and a score on six catches. He might not see eight targets every week with Adams back in the fold, but he has emerged as the clear No. 2 receiver in this offense. It is unlikely he posts the same gaudy numbers he had against New Orleans every week, but he is worth grabbing if he is still available in your league.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, SF
Even with Jimmy Garoppolo out, Aiyuk had a big week. He had five catches and 70 yards receiving. That alone would be a solid performance. He also added three carries for 31 yards and a touchdown due to all of San Francisco’s running back injuries. His versatility makes him an interesting prospect going forward. Deebo Samuel will eventually return, as soon as this week in fact, but Aiyuk looks to still have value in this offense as the number two receiver. Expect him to grow into this role as the season rolls on.

Cole Beasley, WR, BUF
I can’t believe I am writing this, but it might be worth picking up Cole Beasley in fantasy this week. He has quietly earned at least six targets in each of his first three games and took it to the next level against the Rams by hitting the century mark in receiving yards. With John Brown out, it is hard to imagine his target share shrinking in an offense that is putting up a lot of points. He faces a solid Raiders defense in Week 4, but gets a disappointing Titans secondary the week after that. As long as Brown is out, Beasley seems like he will be worth grabbing.

Jimmy Graham, TE, CHI
It still seems like the Bears overpaid Jimmy Graham, but he has a real connection with Nick Foles. Graham caught a pair of touchdown passes and earned a solid seven targets after Foles took over at quarterback. It is no secret that Foles likes to rely on his tight ends. Zach Ertz put up good numbers still whenever Foles filled in on the Eagles. It is unlikely Graham becomes an elite tight end option, but he should be viewed as a solid streaming option, even if he is playing against a Colts defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Eric Ebron, TE, PIT
Slowly but surely, Eric Ebron is carving out a role for himself in this offense. He actually led the Steelers in receptions, receiving yards and shared the team lead in targets. Not to mention he added a touchdown to his statline to complete a really impressive week of scoring. The tight end position has been one of the most frustrating to predict in fantasy this season. Outside of Travis Kelce, is is hard to find a consistent producer at the position. He is far from a slam dunk, but you could do a lot worse than Ebron going forward, especially if Diontae Johnson misses any time due to injury.

Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL
It was not the same type of dominant performance we saw in Week 2, but Dalton Schultz clearly has earned the trust of Dak Prescott. He had four more catches for 48 yards on six targets. That won’t win you your fantasy matchup, but Schultz is deservedly in the conversation as a fringe TE1. With both the 49ers’ Jordan Reed and Eagles’ Dallas Goedert going on IR, this would be a good time to snag him off waivers to hold down the position for a few weeks.

Seattle tried to fix what wasn’t broken

Jimmy_Graham
Graham joined the Seahawks this offseason after five years in New Orleans.

On paper, it seemed like it would boost them to another level. No one would be able to touch the Seahawks after adding Jimmy Graham.

Fast forward a few months and Seattle finds themselves on the losing end of a game with the Rams in which the defending NFC champions they allowed Russell Wilson to be sacked six times. On a critical fourth and one, the offensive line got absolutely no push and Marshawn Lynch was stopped in the backfield. In the process of trying to elevate their offense to another level, the Seahawks created a whole new issue.

Max_Unger
Unger was elected to the Pro Bowl twice in his five years with the Seahawks.

Landing Graham was a big addition but it completely gutted the offensive line. As part of the deal, Seattle had to send All-Pro center Max Unger and a first round pick to the Saints. Remember also that left guard James Carpenter left this offseason in free agency and right tackle Breno Giacomini hit the road a year earlier. Suddenly, Seattle only has two of its offensive linemen that won the Super Bowl in 2014.

These problems should not come as a surprise to the Seattle front office either. The Seahawks have been great at finding the next man up to fill the void but that can only work so often. They rolled out a very inexperienced line. Center Drew Nowak made his first career start. Right tackle Gary Gillman made his second. Justin Britt entered only his second season as the starter. Everyone has to get their first start at some point but usually you don’t throw that many inexperienced players out to play at once and expect a good result.

Now, they look like a team without an identity on offense, stuck between wanting to join the vertical passing trend and sticking to their hard-nose grind it out approach they’ve had for the last five years. It has created a difficult situation for Seattle’s offense.

Between all four preseason games and the season opener, the Seahawks’ offensive line has allowed 20 sacks. That’s an average of four sacks a game and that doesn’t even take into account how many other times Wilson gets hit. Sure, the preseason does not count but more often than not, those tendencies you see in the preseason can continue to persist come the regular season.

Graham, over the course of the season, should prove to do well over the course of the season but not enough to justify dismantling the offensive line. I also don’t think Graham will ever be as effective as he was in a Saints uniform.

In addition to trading away Unger, Seattle could have spent that pick to improve their line even further with players like Nick Morse, Donovan Smith and Jake Fischer still on the board at number 31. Even if they weren’t starters, they could end up with some good line depth. Especially with Gillman listed as questionable heading into the season. The only depth they have is the inconsistent Alvin Bailey. Had they gone that route, we would be looking at the Seahawks offensive line as a strength rather than a weakness.

Russell_Wilson
Wilson signed a four-year $87.6 million contract this offseason.

Over time, this offensive line can develop some chemistry and gain confidence. This was not the start they needed or one that should have happened. Seattle did not have a proper contingency plan in place to deal with these major losses. Instead, they brought in Graham, who does not fit the system at all. On top of that, the Seahawks just invested a ton of money in Wilson, but what good is that if he consistently finds himself on his back. Wilson is definitely mobile enough to avoid the pressure but he cannot be counted to do that on every play.

The Seahawks panicked after the Super Bowl and tried to make a major change. If you ask me, Seattle just greatly shortened their championship window. Marshawn Lynch probably won’t play more than another two years in the league and now Seattle is trying to recreate their offensive line rather than making that push to win another title.

The saying goes though, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. Clearly that wasn’t something John Schneider heard enough in Seattle.

The NFL All-Disappointment Team

The NFL is an ever-changing playing field. Players adapt. Coaches adapt. The game adapts. Each season is different and it takes a special kind of athlete to keep up with the changes.

We’ve heard so much about the players who are destined for breakout seasons, but we haven’t quite thought about those primed for a major collapse.

The bottom line is these five players who were stars in 2014 will regress during the coming season. They will not put up the same production as they did a year ago.

DeSean_Jackson5. DeSean Jackson, Washington
Well he obviously isn’t able to produce with a hamstring injury, but let’s not pretend that is the reason why DeSean Jackson will regress in 2015.

Jackson finished last season with over 1,100 yards receiving. That was due in large part to his absurd 20.9 yards per catch. That number would be very tough for him to reproduce this season even if Washington had a competent quarterback under center.

If Washington’s first game was any indication, it looks like it will be focusing more on keeping the ball on the ground this year. Jay Gruden’s team ran the ball more than anyone other than the 49ers. That does not bode well for Jackson.

Jimmy_Graham4. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
Viewed as one of the biggest moves of the offseason, Jimmy Graham was supposed to be a major asset to this Seahawks offense.

Graham has immense talent but he also had plenty of opportunities to catch the ball in New Orleans. In his five years in the  Bayou, Drew Brees finished in the top three in passing attempts every season. Meanwhile, since 2012, when Russell Wilson entered the league, Wilson has attempted 727 fewer passes than Brees.

Marshawn Lynch is the centerpiece of the offense in the Pacific Northwest and Graham’s presence does not change that. I do not think he will replicate the production he had last year in New Orleans. He simply will not have enough opportunities to produce at that level.

Peyton_Manning3. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Peyton doesn’t need to be his vintage self for the Broncos to make the playoffs. This defense has shown through two games that it more than capable of holding its own and winning Denver football games.

Already, Manning has thrown already two pick-sixes on the year and his completion percentage is down to 59. His yards per game average is down by roughly 80 yards as well. His throws are no longer as crisp, which makes you wonder how much longer he can really hold up.

He is still Peyton Manning, and looked it at the end of Thursday’s game, so he will have a decent year. By his own standards though, he will definitely finish below average.

C._J._Anderson2. CJ Anderson, Denver Broncos
Say hello to the 2015 version of Montee Ball. Anderson is following very closely in his predecessor’s footsteps. He had a great run to end 2014, averaging about 96 yards per game during the second half of the year. Everyone figured that it would carry over into this season.

However, through two games this year, Anderson has amassed 56 yards on the ground on a meager 2.3 yards per carry.

Denver, for as long as I can remember, tends to ride the hot hand in their backfield. We’re already seeing Ronnie Hillman vulture carries from Anderson and it’s only been two weeks. Anderson might have a few good weeks here or there but he will not consistently be a bellcow runner that the Broncos can rely on with confidence.

DeMarco Murray1. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles
Murray was great last season because of his dependability. He averaged 5.03 yards per touch and thrived on 28.1 touches per game. However, Monday night saw Murray struggle to 1.67 yards per touch on just 12 touches. That is far from dependable.

There is simply no way that Murray replicates his production from a season ago. It would have been hard if he had stayed in Dallas running behind the league’s best offensive line. Now, he doesn’t even have those Pro Bowl blockers clearing the way.

I doubt Murray will eclipse 1,000 yards rushing this season. The Eagles threw the ball 52 times on Monday and kept it on the ground 16. That play calling is not conducive to Murray being a productive running back.

Note: All stats used in this article are from pro-football-reference.com. All images are from commons.wikimedia.org.