Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 3: Streamers, Jerome Ford, Zack Moss and more

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 04: Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Ford (34) attempts to hurdle a tackle attempt by Houston Texans linebacker Jake Hansen (49) during second half action during the football game between the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
By Jake Ciely
Sep. 19, 2023

Read the latest fantasy football waiver wire pickups advice. 

The Week 3 fantasy football waiver wire is a bit thinner than the past two weeks, but it might be the most painful, especially with Nick Chubb. With a big Zack Moss performance, a Saquon Barkley injury and another good Josh Reynolds showing, there are some solid pickups, and of course, streaming quarterbacks, DSTs and more.


  • Players must be under 60% rostered on Yahoo
  • Listed in order of preference — I’ll often prioritize potential upside over immediate middling production
  • No FAB suggestions: It varies wildly by league tendencies and always relative (ex: if you lost your RB1 to injury and there is a clear backup, you’re going to be more aggressive)
  • Streaming QB and TE are grouped together— weekly ranking can change once projections/ranks run — DST could shift a bit too

More Ducks (and Eggs) = More Concern

  • Justin Fields, CHI ?? — There is a lot of talk about only five designed runs through two weeks, but Fields looks more indecisive than last year.
  • Alexander Mattison, MIN ??? — The Vikings’ run blocking is doing him no favors, as Mattison has similar YAC to Javonte Williams (2.32 to 2.48) but just 0.89 YBC, which is 27th among running backs with 10+ carries. Ty Chandler could start eating into Mattison’s workload, but a good performance against the Chargers could quell our fears.
  • Khalil Herbert, CHI ??? — Similar to Mattison, Herbert has struggled with the Bears’ quality of blocking, and Roschon Johnson is getting significantly more before the snap (3.67 YBC to Herbert’s 1.00). As you’ll see with Johnson (below), the door is creaking open for him to take over, but the bigger concern is that even if that doesn’t happen, the 50/50 split caps any backfield upside.
  • Dameon Pierce, HOU ??? — And yet another running back dealing with poor blocking, Pierce has -0.04 YBC through two weeks. Pierce has a decent 2.69 YAC, but is 17th in Percent of Team’s Rushing Attempts (53.1%) with 7.0% of the Texans’ targets (36th for running backs). The blocking and non-bellcow role are reason for concern.
  • Ja’Marr Chase, CIN ?? — I was prepared to have an egg and nothing else for Chase because he’s Chase and has a 24.3 TmTGT%. Then we got word that Joe Burrow isn’t 100% and might miss time. That’s concerning, especially if his injury lingers.
  • DeAndre Hopkins, TEN ?? — Hopkins is fifth in TmTGT% (31.6) with 34.3% of the Titans’ Air Yards. The main concern at this point of his career is the lack of YAC — just 0.82 YAC and 8.6% of his yards are after the catch.



  • ? = I Tried to Tell Ya — players included for several weeks (not much more to add if you don’t want them)
  • ? = Check if Dropped — players whose managers might have cut for other need or impatient
  • ? = Long-Term Target — players with starter+ upside who require patience (stash picks)
  • ? = Backup/Next Man Up — players who have almost no value but starter+ upside if injury ahead of them


  1. Jerome Ford, CLE — Nick Chubb is done, which puts Ford in the top pickup spot. There is a chance the Browns 1) trade for Cam Akers, 2) sign Kareem Hunt, or 3) give Pierre Strong some of the share, but Ford is in the RB2 group with value around a Dameon Pierce type and ceiling for more.
  2. Zack Moss, IND — Looked better than I expected, and while I wouldn’t consider Moss a terrific running back, the workload offsets those concerns, also putting him in the Pierce value range.
  3. Justice Hill, BAL — Didn’t expect Hill to still be under 60%. The Ravens won’t be consistent in running back value, but both Gus Edwards and Hill are in the RB3 discussion with weekly Top 20 upside.
  4. Kareem Hunt, CLE — I felt Hunt looked good, not great, last year and hasn’t looked great since his hurt his calf in 2021. He’s signing likely to play his old role and not much more, unless Ford bombs as the lead. The chance of standalone RB3 half/Full-PPR value and potential to be an RB2 if Ford disappoints is worth the pickup.
  5. Matt Breida, NYG — You would have to be pretty desperate to start Breida against the 49ers, but Breida is likely first up with Saquon Barkley out three weeks, and the Seahawks are on tap in Week 4.
  6. Roschon Johnson, CHI — Khalil Herbert and Johnson are the Bears’ version of Gus Edwards and Hill with a lower upside, but Johnson could take over the lead in due time.
  7. Jaylen Warren, PIT — ? One of the best backups, Warren not only looked good in the passing game against the Browns, he looked more explosive than Najee Harris and could push for the lead.
  8. Tony Jones and Kendre Miller, NO — Jones looked good after replacing Jamaal Williams (hamstring injury). Miller has a style similar to Williams, and he could push Tony Jones for the lead if he’s healthy and Williams is out (until Alvin Kamara returns in Week 4 at least). However, the Saints could give Jones the lead based on Week 3 and with Miller making his rookie debut. We will have to watch reports this week, as Williams, Jones and Miller are all in play to be a decent RB3 gamble in Week 4.
  9. Tyjae Spears, TEN — ? Getting enough of a sprinkling for a deep, desperation start in the right matchup.
  10. Ty Chandler, MIN — Mattison’s leash on a bellcow role is fraying.
  11. De’Von Achane, MIA — ? Achane was limited in his return, and Jeff Wilson returning in two weeks can limit the value of all Dolphins running backs, but if used enough, Achane can be a half/full-PPR RB3.
  12. Tank Bigsby, JAX — ? Even with zero touches in Week 2, Bigsby is still the backup plan if Travis Etienne were to miss time.
  13. Rico Dowdle, DAL — ?
  14. Damien Harris, BUF — ?
  15. Craig Reynolds, DET — The Lions refuse to use Jahmyr Gibbs more than a timeshare — mostly passing game work. I’m not suggesting starting Reynolds in most lineups if David Montgomery is out, but it’s possibly more appealing than starting Breida against the 49ers in Week 4.
  16. Gary Brightwell and Eric Gray, NYG — Deep, deep fliers in case Brian Daboll surprises us and uses one heavily against the 49ers… and they don’t look terrible.
  17. Keoantay Ingram, ARI — ?
  18. Leonard Fournette, FA — Could land somewhere with Flex receiving value.


  • Latavius Murray, BUF — Splitting with Harris. Not going to gamble on Murray falling into the end zone, and Harris likely the slight lead if James Cook ever hurt.

DUMPSVILLE ?? (Order I’d Drop)

  • Rashaad Penny, PHI — Didn’t even get on the field until late.
  • Jerick McKinnon, KC — Distant third and not getting volume with Matt Nagy.
  • Antonio Gibson, WSH — Gibson has been relegated to a change-of-pace option.
  • Samaje Perine, DEN — Perine is nothing more than a backup plan for Javonte Williams at this point, and even then, he might share more with Jaleel McLaughlin than originally thought. I’d only drop Perine through Breida if I need a starter now, through Johnson if chasing future upside and no more than Hill if have depth already.

For a deeper look at drops, check out Gary Davenport’s “who do I drop?” column for Week 3


  1. Josh Reynolds, DET — Until Jameson Williams returns, Reynolds is in play, especially at home.
  2. Romeo Doubs, GB Jayden Reed is leading the Packers (more on him shortly) but Doubs is on the field in two-receiver sets, unlike Reed, and Christian Watson’s return means Reed needs to get past Doubs to be the other startable option (which is possible, for what it’s worth).
  3. Tutu Atwell, LAR — Another week, another good game. There are possibly just two weeks left of value (Cooper Kupp returns), but Atwell is a WR3 right now.
  4. Zay Jones, JAX — If he’s healthy (missed a chunk of the game in Week 2), Jones is the No. 2 after Calvin Ridley.
  5. Robert Woods, HOU — ? Solid floor; Texans will pass plenty; you could do worse.
  6. Jayden Reed, GB — Reed is still only playing in three-wide (11 set), but he’s been targeted on 34.2% of his routes (team-high) and leads in TmTGT% (25.0), with Romeo Doubs second at 15.4%.
  7. Skyy Moore, KC — ? Moore bounced back, a bit, and leads the Chiefs receiving options in fantasy points. It’s just 14.9 on 7-3-70-1, but The Athletic’s Nate Taylor said be patient, and it’s still worth stashing him.
  8. Adam Thielen, CAR — Volatile with the rookie Bryce Young, Thielen is similar to Woods but in a lower passing volume offense.
  9. Kadarius Toney, KC — ? Leads the team in targets… and drops.
  10. Jonathan Mingo, CAR — ? Nice Week 3 against a tough defense. DJ Chark could cause Mingo to be frustrating as Chark gets healthier and potentially moves Mingo back to third in opportunities, but Mingo is worth stashing where possible on his future potential.
  11. Tyler Boyd, CIN — ?
  12. Tank Dell, HOU — He’s third in opportunities, but Dell is explosive and the Texans should be passing a good amount each week.
  13. Michael Wilson, ARI — ? Second in routes, targets, yards and TmAirYD to Marquise Brown among Cardinals wideouts.
  14. Josh Downs, IND — ? Prefer Downs with Anthony Richardson for skill fits, but even if Richardson misses Week 3, Downs is a good bench stash for future upside.
  15. Rashid Shaheed, NO — Tough to trust most weeks as the No. 3 receiver, but in potential high-passing games, Shaheed is a dice roll, and if either Chris Olave or Michael Thomas got hurt, Shaheed would be a solid starter.
  16. Jalin Hyatt, NYG — The Giants need him, and it’s not going to take much longer for Hyatt to push his way to a top-two or three role.
  17. Marvin Mims, DEN — ? Big game, but still more of a stash with just six routes in Week 2.
  18. Quentin Johnston, LAC — ? Just like Mims (last week too) droppable in shallower leagues if you need help. Upside for Top 40 value, but buried, limited snaps/routes and likely needs an injury in front of him.


  • Nelson Agholor, BAL — Just 14 routes. If it’s tough to trust any Ravens receiver — even Zay Flowers — with Mark Andrews healthy, no way I want to risk it on one who is third or fourth on the depth chart.
  • Dontayvion Wicks, GB — Watson returning and fourth in routes (Week 2) even before that.
  • Brandon Johnson, DEN — Unless you’re counting on a weekly Hail Mary.
  • Kalif Raymond, DET — We’ve been here before, and Raymond will have 1-2 more Top 40 games. It’s what he does.

DUMPSVILLE ?? (Order I’d Drop)

  • Odell Beckham, BAL — Had the opportunity in Week 1, fell back further and banged up in Week 2.
  • Allen Lazard, NYJ — Unless the Jets trade for a quarterback, there won’t be any receiver worth starting outside Garrett Wilson.
  • Quentin Johnston, LAC — Yes, he has long-term upside and is worth stashing where you have room, but there are better options than someone who can’t even get to 25% of the team’s routes run. If you need earlier potential, you could drop Johnston for anyone through Shaheed.
  • Marvin Mims, DEN — Repeating last week. If you can stash, go ahead, but he is not a must-hold if you need help/starters. Would drop Mims through Wilson at most.



Week 3

  • JAX vs HOU
  • KC vs CHI
  • PIT vs LV
  • CIN vs LAR
  • SEA vs CAR
  • MIA vs DEN
  • DET vs ATL

Week 4

  • PIT at HOU
  • LAC vs LV
  • KC at NYJ
  • JAX vs ATL
  • CIN at TEN
  • SEA at NYG

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Get all-access to exclusive stories.

Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week on us.

Jake Ciely

Jake Ciely is rankings: Fantasy Football, Fantasy Baseball, candy, movies, video games, cereal... anything! Truly, Jake is a ranking prodigy. Oh, he's also the senior fantasy writer for The Athletic, an award-winning analyst and loves DuckTales. Make sure you #CheckTheLink and #BanKickers ... woo-oo! Follow Jake on Twitter @allinkid