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Fantasy Football: Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 3

And just like that, we are now done with Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season. If your fantasy football team has been undefeated so far, congratulations. If you’re 1-1, not bad! For those who have careened to a 0-2 start, the season is still far from over, and some fixes could be made to right your ship. Whether you’re finding ways to reinforce your lineup or looking to get help from the waiver wire, here are 10 players we want you to consider.

1. Alex Smith (43.6% owned in ESPN)

Smith had a more silent follow-up to his Week 1 explosion during an upset win over the New England Patriots, passing for 251 yards and a touchdown in the Kansas City Chiefs’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Smith has done enough, however, to snuff any remaining rumors of him being eventually replaced this season by rookie Patrick Mahomes – which could also be a reason why some have avoided drafting the 13-year veteran signal-caller. But after his efficient display in Week 1 and a good showing the following game, Smith should expect a rise in ownership percentage entering the Chiefs’ match against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3.

2. Coby Fleener –New Orleans Saints TE – (31.0% owned in ESPN)

There aren’t a few fantasy football managers out there that nearly threw their phones and banged their keyboards upon learning of injuries to top-tier tight ends in Week 2.

Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, and Jordan Reed all got hurt Sunday, which means owners of those players should be busy sifting through the waiver wires this week. Among the top recommendation as a possible replacement is Saints TE Coby Fleener, who’s recorded a touchdown in each of the first two weeks of the season. The Saints remain a pass-heavy offense, and while it’s unfair to expect Fleener to sustain his success throughout the season, the fact that he’s getting looks from Drew Brees is an encouraging sign for owners and would-be owners.

3. Marqise Lee – Jacksonville Jaguars WR – (30.6% owned in ESPN)

With Allen Robinson out for the foreseeable future, it was presumed right after his injury in Week 1 that Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee would inherit a good chunk of targets on the Jags’ passing attack. That’s exactly what happened in Week 2, when Lee paces the team with 12 targets, finishing the game with seven catches for 76 receiving yards. A lot of that success happened during garbage time, though of course, fantasy football sees all success just the same. Having Blake Bortles as the team’s quarterback limits the value of Lee, but slotting him as a WR3 doesn’t sound that bad of an idea.

4. Jamaal Charles – Denver Broncos RB – (21.2% owned in ESPN)

The old Jamaal Charles is gone, but he can still be efficient with the limited opportunity he’s having behind C.J. Anderson in Denver. Charles has fewer than half of Anderson’s rushing attempts with just 19, but the 10-year veteran cobbled together 86 rushing yards on a team-best 4.5 yards per carry. He’s seen at least nine touches in each of his last two games. Efficiency is proving to be the name of Charles’ game, and while he’s not an ideal play as a starter, he’ll be very much sought after anytime Anderson goes down. For now, a flex slot in deeper leagues sounds just about right for the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per

He’s seen at least nine touches in each of his last two games. Efficiency is proving to be the name of Charles’ game, and while he’s not an ideal play as a starter, he’ll be very much sought after anytime Anderson goes down. For now, a flex slot in deeper leagues sounds just about right for the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per carry (5.5) among backs with at least 1,200 career attempts.

5. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks RB – (8.6% owned in ESPN)

The Seattle Seahawks starting running back position has yet to be won by anyone on the team, but if you’re going to bet, you might as well put your money on rookie Chris Carson.

Selected all the way down in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Carson wasn’t expected to figure that much in the Seahawks’ backfield that already has Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and C.J. Prosise, but that’s not what’s happening so far in the season. Even with Rawls returning in Week 2 after missing Week 1, Carson remained the clear leader in snaps, carries, and rushing yards. Just owned 8.6 percent in ESPN leagues, Carson should receive a nice bump in ownership following his performance and team usage against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in which he had 93 rushing yards on 20 touches.

Even with Rawls returning in Week 2 after missing Week 1, Carson remained the clear leader in snaps, carries, and rushing yards. Just owned 8.6 percent in ESPN leagues, Carson should receive a nice bump in ownership following his performance and team usage against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in which he had 93 rushing yards on 20 touches.

6. Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens RB – (8.2% owned in ESPN)

The injury to Danny Woodhead in Week 1 has opened the door for Terrance West and Javorius Allen to assume bigger roles. Of the two, however, it’s Allen who’s seen the bigger jump in workload. In the Ravens’ 24-10 home win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Allen led the team in carries (14) and rushing yards (66). He also seems to have a role on passing plays; he was targeted six times against the Browns, catching five and converting it to 35 receiving yards and a touchdown. Allen’s pass-catching skill is what gives him the edge over West.

7. Jermaine Kearse (5.9% owned in ESPN)

The New York Jets are a mess, but you shouldn’t be totally ignoring their pieces on the waiver wire. Take for example wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who is coming off a great week. The former Seattle Seahawk wideout pulled down four catches for 64 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Notwithstanding the loss, Kearse appears to be settling in well on the Jets’ passing plays. Amazing what playing in a wasteland such as the Jets could do to some player’s fantasy value.

8. Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers WR – (5.9% owned in ESPN)

Funchess is currently second on the team in receiving yards with 88, and an increased role downfield could be in store for the Michigan product after it was reported that tight end Greg Olsen would sit out several weeks with a lower-body injury.

So far Kelvin Benjamin is the top go-to-guy for Cam Newton, but Funchess still warrants a long look, especially for those playing the matchup game. The Panthers get the leaky New Orleans (worst in the league in passing yards allowed per game) defense up ahead, which means a big opportunity to build on his good showing last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in which he had four catches and 68 receiving yards.

9. Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins RB – (2.1% owned in ESPN)

With Robert Kelley in danger of missing games with a broken rib, Samaje Perine could be in line for more work. He did get that in Week 2 when he got 21 carries and rushed for 67 yards. That’s not a pretty carry-to-rushing yards ratio, but it speaks a lot about the Redskins’ dedication to using the rookie running back out of Oklahoma. Handcuff him now.

10. Rashard Higgins – Cleveland Browns WR – (0.3% owned in ESPN)

Just who exactly is Rashard Higgins? Until last Sunday, Higgins wasn’t rostered on any NFL team. Then the Browns decided to promote him from their practice squad, and now, he’s among the most popular searches on waiver wires across the nation. Higgins didn’t waste much time announcing his season debut, finishing with seven receptions for 95 receiving yards off of a team-high 11 targets in the loss to the Ravens in Week 2.

Managers can be prone to overreaction, but Higgins could actually be the go-to guy downfield for the Browns’ passing game, especially if Kenny Britt continues to disappoint – arguably among the reasons why the Browns added Higgins to their lineup in the first place.