Bruce Ellington back on the deep waiver fantasy radar


Week 3 is wrapping up and chaos rolls on. Backfields continue to turn over and the new realities the NFL reveals constantly remind us not to cling to our conceived notions. It's a reminder that pain is always present in the joy that is fantasy football. Now we must look forward to options to assist in beefing up our fake teams to move forward, whether it be long-term replacements or a streamer just to get by.

It's just those sort of symptoms that the Deep Dive is prescribed to help alleviate. NFL Fantasy's editorial overlord Alex Gelhar dutifully attacks the waiver wire to give you the top adds for the coming week in hopes of bolstering your roster. However, in this area, we'll look at options to help those of you looking to go a little bit further down the rabbit hole, whether you play in a deeper format or are at the mercy of your incredibly sharp league-mates who scour the waiver wire relentlessly. A player can only qualify for the deep dive if they're owned in less than 10 percent of NFL.com leagues. With that, here are 11 players you can consider adding before Week 4 either as deep FLEX plays or simply as bench stashes.

RANK

1

Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans


After a shaky Week 2 start under bad circumstances amid teammate injuries, Deshaun Watson offered up a strong showing against the Patriots on Sunday. The rookie passer put up 300-plus yards and rifled a pair of touchdowns to Bruce Ellington and Ryan Griffin. With a positive performance under his belt, he's officially on the low-end streaming radar for Week 4. Watson gets to return home to face a Titans defense that just gave up 373 yards and four touchdowns to Russell Wilson and a slumping Seahawks offense. Watson's improvisational tendencies help boost his fantasy floor. He attempted 30.3 percent of his passes outside of the tackle box in Week 3 and has 13 rush attempts to his name through two starts.

RANK

2

Alex Collins, RB, Ravens


After a decent showing in Week 2 following a promotion from the practice squad, Alex Collins showed why he's worth an add again in Week 3. Collins went out for 10 plays, the same as Terrance West, in the Ravens blowout loss to the Jaguars. He ripped off 82 yards on his nine carries with a long of 19 yards. Investing in the currently broken Baltimore offense is unlikely to net you any "league-winners" but Collins is playing snaps in a backfield that lacks clarity. That fact alone makes him worth a stash for those who can swing it, or at the least having him firmly on waiver-wire speed dial.

RANK

3

Corey Clement, RB, Eagles


Darren Sproles' season is over after he tore his ACL and broke his arm on the same play. He was far and away the favorite to lead the Eagles backfield in snaps played this year before this. With Sproles out of the mix, fantasy owners will rightly chase veteran touchdown hammer LeGarrette Blount and second-year back Wendell Smallwood, who led the running backs in snaps played yesterday. However, keep an eye on undrafted rookie Corey Clement out of Wisconsin. He saw his first offensive action in Week 3, earning six carries and scoring a touchdown. Clement is 220 pounds and could be in line for more work if any more injuries hit this backfield.

RANK

4

Mike Tolbert, RB, Bills


The Bills sure seem intent on making Mike Tolbert happen as much as they can. Tolbert has double-digit carries in two of the Bills' three games thus far and went out for 31, 22 and 33 percent of the team's plays. Outside of LeSean McCoy, no other Bills back saw the field in Week 3. As painful as it is for McCoy owners, Tolbert is always a low-probability dart throw for a touchdown with three carries inside the 10-yard line this year. McCoy will push for 20 touches in every contest this year and should that workload ever induce an injury, Tolbert stands to benefit from any absence.

RANK

5

Damien Williams, RB, Dolphins


Jay Ajayi came into Week 3 on the team's injury report with a knee malady and missed a handful of plays with another ailment against the Jets. The Dolphins blowing this game was the bigger culprit in Ajayi's sub 20-yard day but it's worth wondering if he's operating at 100 percent. If Miami's starter were to miss any time, the smart money would be on Damien Williams to assume the biggest slice of the backfield touches. It was Williams who spelled Ajayi in Week 3, as Kenyan Drake didn't see a snap until the fourth quarter.

RANK

6

Bruce Ellington, WR, Texans


Bruce Ellington was featured on this list heading into Week 1 coming off a strong preseason that netted him a spot on Houston's roster. He left their opener against Jacksonville early with a concussion and missed Week 2. Ellington was back in the fold for the Texans narrow loss to New England going out for 99 percent of the plays, drawing seven targets and snagging an impressive touchdown. Six of his seven targets came from the slot. He's clearly a focal point of the shallow Houston passing offense, which is no surprise. This is a legitimately talented NFL wide receiver who has not stayed healthy to this point in his career. Ellington gets a matchup against the Titans in Week 4, who just gave up over 100 yards on 15 targets to slot receiver Doug Baldwin.

RANK

7

Robert Woods, WR, Rams


Sammy Watkins was the story of the receiver group Thursday night with over 100 yards and two scores, but Robert Woods also crossed the century mark and tied his counterpart for the team-lead in targets (seven). Woods has target totals of just five, four and seven through the first three weeks of the season, so there isn't much in the way of reliable volume here, but Woods was a sneaky bet for triple-digit looks this year before the Watkins trade came through the wire. Watkins found himself in the concussion protocol following Thursday night's win over the 49ers. The Rams reborn passing game has an enticing Week 4 matchup against the Cowboys undermanned secondary.

RANK

8

Trent Taylor, WR, 49ers


The undrafted rookie receiver only went out for 47 percent of the team's plays in Week 3 but he remains a name to know. Trent Taylor lined up in the slot on 56 percent of his plays against the Rams and provided a short-area option for a team that needs one. Outside of volume-hog Pierre Garcon the only other mainstay for San Francisco is hit-or-miss deep route specialist Marquise Goodwin. With the 49ers set to find themselves in negative game scripts often, Taylor could see decent target volume if his playing time continues to trend upward.

RANK

9

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers


The second-round pick's playing time appears to be on the rise. JuJu Smith-Schuster was on the field for 49 plays in Week 3 after going out for 22 and 36 in Weeks 1 and 2. He was on the field more than Martavis Bryant in the Steelers' loss to the Bears. Smith-Schuster is the team's future at the big slot receiver position, and he lined up inside on 61 percent of his plays in Week 3. A road trip to Baltimore is unlikely to cure what ails them, but if the Steelers offense ever does get around to firing on all cylinders we will care about any player seeing significant playing time with the starters.

RANK

10

Vernon Davis, TE, Redskins


With Jordan Reed out against the Raiders, Vernon Davis reminded everyone he's still got it. The veteran tight end went out for 82 percent of the team's plays and caught all five of his targets for 58 yards and a touchdown. Even better: he looked damn good doing it. Davis was essentially a plug-and-play option for Reed last year, so this is nothing new. Reed may return with Washington having an extra day for him to rest up for their Week 4 Monday night game but Davis should remain on the fantasy radar going forward.

RANK

11

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Jets


Optimism regarding Austin Seferian-Jenkins usage coming off a suspension to start this season was rewarded. The talented tight end went out for 78 percent of the Jets' Week 3 plays and tied Robby Anderson for the team-lead in targets (six). The current state of the tight end market in fantasy football is dire with top players injured and mid-round sleepers like Hunter Henry and Martellus Bennett underwhelming. There's no reason to turn your nose up at any option playing this much with a direct path to volume. The Jets welcome the Jaguars in Week 4, who allowed 15 catches off 19 targets to the tight end position in their first three games.

It's not too late to play NFL Fantasy! Join or create a league for FREE.

Matt Harmon is a writer/editor for NFL.com, and the creator of #ReceptionPerception, who you can follow on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB or like on Facebook.