Deep Dive: QB, RB help still exists on the waiver wire

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Each week, I'm tasked with picking the top 10 waiver wire targets for fantasy football fans. That article is a more cursory glance at the waiver wire, helping the countless fantasy players in more casual leagues on NFL.com figure out who is worth adding to their roster.

However, for those of you degenerates ... err I mean "die-hards," in more intense leagues, my weekly "Deep Dive" column is the one for you. As the season progresses, this is where I'll highlight the players you want to be a week early on, as opposed to trying to get in on the waiver-wire bidding war post-breakout. So far we've had Rishard Matthews, Karlos Williams and Dion Lewis here, but I can't promise anything. Fantasy is far from a guaranteed game, as we all know too well. I did recommend picking up Chad Henne once last year, and for that I sincerely apologize.

Any way, enough blathering. On to the "Deep Dive" waiver wire targets for Week 3.

Running backs


Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Cowboys (3.2 percent owned)

We talked up Dunbar a ton on the site last week, as he was trending towards owning a large share of the Dallas passing attack, and had a prime matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. On Sunday, Dunbar hauled in all 10 of his targets for 100 receiving yards -- a 20-point PPR day. Dunbar merits consideration in deeper standard leagues, but is verging on must-add status this week in PPR. Brandon Weeden can't push the ball downfield, and will continue to seek dump off passes (thus, why Cole Beasley, Joseph Randle and Dunbar combined for 16 of Weeden's 22 completions) which means Dunbar's role (and weekly floor) is relatively safe.

Ronnie Hillman/Juwan Thompson, RBs, Denver Broncos (19.8/0.2 percent owned)

C.J. Anderson owners dodged a bullet when he returned to action on Sunday night after suffering what was thought to be a concussion. However, Anderson has been far from the electric back we saw last year, and if that doesn't change soon, we could start seeing more carries slide towards Hillman (who had a touchdown while Anderson was out in Week 3) and Thompson (who also looked solid while CJA was out). Both need to be rostered, as the Broncos offense will need a running game later in the season to help Manning keep his arm intact. Someone will step up ... won't they? WON'T THEY?!?!

Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets (0.8 percent owned)

Chris Ivory was "active" in Week 3, but maybe the Jets just meant he was actively using his brain? Like with a Sudoku puzzle on the bench? Because Ivory didn't receive a single touch or target as he nursed a groin injury, paving the way for Powell to rack up 75 total yards. Powell isn't the same type of talent as Ivory, but if Ivory is forced to miss more time, Powell will merit flex consideration with the right matchup. Like next week against the Miami Dolphins and their struggling defense for example. Pick Powell up if you're an Ivory owner or hurting for some running back depth. As awesome as Ivory is, he hasn't exactly been the pinnacle of health in his career. Powell should be rostered in more than 1 percent of leagues.

Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins (0.0 percent owned)

Thompson came out of nowhere to vulture a touchdown from Matt Jones and Alfred Morris owners on Thursday night, but he played the most snaps of any Washington back and saw 11 targets -- second most on the team. He, like Dunbar, is worth adding in PPR formats, and in deeper standard leagues. He could very well be finding a niche role in this offense, one that fantasy owners would be wise to take note of.

Antonio Andrews, RB, Tennessee Titans (0.1 percent owned)

This backfield is an absolute mess. In Week 1, Bishop Sankey led the way. Week 2 was Dexter McCluster's turn for a career outing, and in Week 3 the ball bounced to Andrews. If you're in need of a desperation add at the running back position, it appeared as if Andrews was the leader of this pack on Sunday. Whether or not that holds true next week remains to be seen, but in deeper leagues, he'll present enough upside to warrant a waiver claim.

Fred Jackson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (19.6 percent owned)

While it was rookie Thomas Rawls who received the lion's share of the carries for the Seahawks with Marshawn Lynch battling injury, Jackson will still be an important factor in the Seattle offense if Beast Mode misses some time. Jackson only saw two targets this week, but that was partly because this game was over pretty early. In more competitive games, Jackson is more likely to see a healthy amount of third-down work. He's more valuable in PPR formats, but is worth rostering in all as a potential handcuff to Lynch.

Lorenzo Taliaferro/Javorius Allen, RBs, Baltimore Ravens (22.3/0.5 percent owned)

Justin Forsett was a darling of the 2014 fantasy season, but how long can the Ravens expect to remain competitive with Forsett averaging a meager 3.18 yards per carry? Both Allen and Taliaferro have been more effective in limited work, and it could be a matter of time before the offense tries to see if one of these two youngsters can get hot in a game. Taliaferro is still pretty highly owned, but both he and Allen need to be rostered in deeper leagues.

Wide receivers


Kenny Britt, WR, St. Louis Rams (0.5 percent owned)

We had a discussion today at the NFL Fantasy stronghold (as we call it) that we're officially going to stop trying to make Brian Quick a thing. Because it's apparent that the St. Louis Rams aren't cool with that. That's why I'm writing about Britt, and not Quick, as a name to pick up off of waivers. Britt saw 10 targets come his way in Week 3, more than he had in the previous two weeks combined. He was able to turn that into a seven-catch, 102-yard afternoon. I wouldn't suggest wasting a top waiver spot on Britt, but if you're looking for a WR4 or WR5 in a deeper league, Britt could be worth an add.

Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Carolina Panthers (0.9 percent owned)

I'm not going to lie to you, it feels a little weird to be writing about Ginn in a positive capacity for fantasy football. But given the state of the Panthers offense, this is the world we live in. Ginn has emerged as the Panthers' No. 1 wideout with Kelvin Benjamin on IR. Ginn has 22 targets through three weeks, far and away the most of any Carolina pass-catcher not named Greg Olsen, and is averaging about 60 yards per game so far. Ginn's big-play potential is still there, as he's currently averaging 18.8 yards per reception. It's not a pickup you'll make and immediately feel confident about, but Ginn can offer some nice upside when the right matchup is available, like in Week 4 against the Buccaneers.

Leonard Hankerson, WR, Atlanta Falcons (0.2 percent owned)

Hankerson struggled with a few bad drops over the last two weeks, but he seems locked in as the No. 2 option in the Atlanta passing attack after Julio Jones. Of course, that means he's left with the scraps, as Jones has already gobbled up 46 targets this season. However, if Hankerson can correct some of the mental mistakes and fend off Roddy White, he'll have plenty of upside running in the space created by Julio Jones. He's definitely worth an add before he has a breakout game that increases the awareness surrounding him.

Quincy Enunwa/Devin Smith, WRs, New York Jets (0.0/0.2 percent owned)

It was clear the Jets offense missed Eric Decker this week, as the team had to rely on Brandon Marshall almost exclusively. However, Enunwa did earn 10 targets, but converted just five of them into 50 yards. Devin Smith saw his first game action after missing time with a punctured lung but looked raw and rusty. Enunwa's the better deep option to add for right now, but Smith has more upside if he can unlock the deep speed he showcased back at Ohio State. Jeremy Kerley had 11 targets as well, but only turned them into 33 yards. More looks could be coming Enunwa and Smith's way soon, which is why it'd be wise to get in early before more people are clamoring for their services.

Tight ends


Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns (0.2 percent owned)

We talked up Barnidge in print and on the podcast this week, largely because he had a matchup with the Raiders, who were giving fantasy points to tight ends like Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters. Well, Barnidge didn't disappoint, with 104 yards and a touchdown, bringing the Raiders' three-week total against tight ends to 297 yards and FIVE TOUCHDOWNS. This means you play Martellus Bennett against them next week, but it also means that Barnidge could be building a bit of a rapport with Josh McCown as well. The veteran has targeted Barnidge 12 times, to just four from Manziel. If you're in a deeper league looking for a frisky TE or flex play this week, you could do worse than Barnidge against the Chargers.

Richard Rodgers, TE, Green Bay Packers (7.2 percent owned)

Rodgers hasn't played yet in Week 3 as of the writing of this article, but his red zone presence is still a reason to give him a look in deeper leagues. Aaron Rodgers trusts him, and he has been getting more and more comfortable in the offense. Any target of Aaron Rodgers is a friend to fantasy owners.

Virgil Green, TE, Denver Broncos (0.6 percent owned)

I still like Green's ability and upside, as he displayed on his impressive 26-yard catch and run against the Lions. However, he's still very much behind Owen Daniels in the pecking order and has an uphill battle for snaps and targets. He's only a stash for those with deep benches at this point.

Quarterbacks


Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders (10.1 percent owned)

After a disappointing Week 1, where he left the game early with a hand injury, Carr has come back and showed progress as a passer. A big knock on him last year was his inability to push the ball downfield accurately, as evidenced by his putrid 5.5 yards per attempt. Well, so far in 2014, including his dismal Week 1, Carr is averaging 8.07 yards per attempt, with five touchdowns to just one interception. Carr beat the Ravens and Browns in back-to-back weeks, both of whom were supposed to have good secondaries (although upon further review, both might have been a bit overrated). However, Carr finally has weapons around him and is doing something with them. He's a great option to target if you lost Ben Roethlisberger/Drew Brees/Tony Romo in recent weeks and are in need of quarterback help. He gets to face the Bears porous secondary in Week 4.

Michael Vick, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (0.8 percent owned)

If you lost Big Ben today, I wouldn't rush right out and put your top waiver claim on Michael Vick. The 35-year-old looked like a far cry from the electric player we once knew. In New York last year, he completed just 52.9 percent of his passes with a putrid 5.0 yards per attempt and a 60.4 passer rating, the latter two stats being the worst marks of his career when he started more than one game in a season. Yes, Vick will have talent around him in Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, but he was barely able to move the offense once he came in for Big Ben on Sunday. Vick merits a look in deeper leagues, as he'll be the starter for several weeks. But there are better options out there to pursue.

Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets (0.2 percent owned)

Smith hasn't seen the field since suffering a broken jaw in the preseason, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick struggling in Week 3, we have to wonder just how long his leash will be before he gets pulled for Smith (once he's fully healthy). A lot of smart people believe Smith could thrive in Chan Gailey's system, as we've seen Fitzpatrick do at times for the first three weeks. Geno won't return on your waiver wire investment immediately, but he's at least worth a look in case he comes back into the line up and starts lighting things up with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker (once he returns from injury, too).

-- Alex Gelhar is a fantasy football writer and editor for NFL.com, and the producer of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast. He saw "Everest" this weekend, which was pretty good. Hit him up on Twitter @AlexGelhar for movie recommendations or fantasy advice.

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