If Week 1 of the NFL season provided some answers to some of our biggest questions from the offseason, Week 2 gave us more questions than answers. The biggest of which, of course, center on the spate of significant injuries we saw around the NFL Sunday. Heath Cummings covered some of the fallout of Saquon Barkley's potentially season-ending knee injury here, and we reacted to the rest of the injuries to the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Drew Lock, Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert and more.
But, of course, that's not all we have to account for heading into Week 3. Finding replacements for those two for Week 3 (and, in Barkley's case, beyond) will be the priorities, but we also saw several other running back situations get shaken up after just one week, plus the emergence of some potential difference makers at every other position.
Let's start with six running backs you'll be looking to add for Week 3's waiver runs before moving on to the rest of the position's priorities. Here's how I rank the top running back targets for waivers this week, beginning with McCaffrey's replacement after we learned he is likely to miss multiple weeks Monday.
Nobody can replace Christian McCaffrey, but it's likely the Panthers will ask Mike Davis to do just that for the next few weeks. McCaffrey left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter and Davis came out and played 18 snaps in that final frame as the Panthers were chasing points and had seven receptions for 70 yards. Back in 2018, Davis looked at least serviceable with the Seahawks, and with news that McCaffrey is expected to miss multiple weeks, Davis has to be the top target on waivers this week. Sure, maybe Trenton Cannon sees a larger role or the Panthers re-sign last year's backup Reggie Bonnafon, but all indications from training camp were that Davis was going to be the primary backup if anything happened to McCaffrey, and I expect him to get a ton of usage for however long McCaffrey is out. He should be a borderline PPR No. 2 RB.
I had Malcolm Brown as the top running back to add on waivers last week, so of course, his backfield mate is the No. 2 add for Week 3. It might sound like flip-flopping, but in this case, Cam Akers' injury could make both of them formidable Fantasy options. The Rams have created a ton of value in their running game in the early going, and if Akers is out, both Brown and Henderson could be viable starters. Brown led the team in snaps at running back Sunday, but it was Henderson who got hot and led the team with 81 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown — he also added two catches for 40 yards. Brown had 47 yards on 11 carries and no targets, but Henderson mostly did his damage in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand and Brown was dealing with a finger injury. Brown should be the lead back, but Henderson showed off his upside Sunday, and will be well worth targeting on waivers in all leagues.
At the very least, McKinnon looks like he hasn't really lost a step since missing two seasons with knee troubles. He was explosive Sunday, rushing for 77 yards on three carries with a touchdown, but he also played just seven snaps after Raheem Mostert left with a knee injury at halftime. With Tevin Coleman expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury of his own, McKinnon could be in line for a huge game in Week 3 against the Giants.
You can make a case that Lewis should be higher on this list, given that Barkley is likely out for the year, but I'm hedging just in case the Giants bring in someone like Devonta Freeman to be the primary option. If not, Lewis figures to see a significant role moving forward, as he played every single snap after Barkley exited the game. 46 of his 56 snaps did come on pass plays as the Giants played from behind and Wayne Gallman was a healthy scratch so he could have a role next week, but Lewis would be the back to target anyway here. He could be a No. 3 PPR back if he's the primary option.
Myles Gaskin was totally overlooked in the last waiver run, but he confirmed he is the Dolphins No. 1 back again Sunday, playing 36 snaps to Matt Breida's 14 and Jordan Howard's six. Howard will be more involved in games where the Dolphins aren't chasing points from the start, but you would still just be hoping he falls into the end zone as a desperation start. Gaskin's role in the passing game makes him the back to target here, though he still doesn't need to be a huge priority. But it might be worth throwing a low-dollar FAB bid out there to see if you can add him to the end of your roster while everyone else is chasing the bigger fish.
Here are the other players you should be trying to add heading into Week 3.
Early Waiver Targets
Mike Gesicki TE
MIA Miami • #88
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Mike Gesicki has been threatening to have a game like this for a while. He has a hugely valuable role in Miami's offense running downfield routes as the team's primary slot receiver, and he ran 35 routes on 45 snaps per TruMedia and PFF. He made some incredibly impressive catches Sunday, and this could have been the start of something big. I might view him as a top-six TE in Week 3 against the Jaguars.
Russell Gage WR
ATL Atlanta • #83
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Another solid game for Gage after his Week 1 breakout could have been even more impressive if Julio Jones had been able to haul in a sure-thing touchdown from Gage on a direct snap where he lined up at QB. That would have been a 41-yard passing touchdown to add to Gage's day, but he was impressive enough, coming in second on the team in receptions and targets in addition to his touchdown. The Falcons are going to have to keep throwing the ball, and Gage is going to be a big part of that, it seems.
JAC Jacksonville • #15
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Minshew's line is pretty great, and he was even better than that, as one of his two picks was the result of a wide receiver who wasn't targeted leaping for a pass and tipping it into the defender's hands. As is, he has consecutive three-touchdown games to open the season, averaging 7.9 yards per attempt and completing 75.4% of his passes. Minshew is always a threat to add at least a few points with his legs, and a matchup against the Dolphins might make him a top-12 QB for Fantasy in Week 3. And then he gets the Bengals in Week 4, with another great matchup in Week 6 looming against the Lions. Minshew might be a top-10 QB for the first third of the season!
Jordan Reed TE
SF San Francisco • #81
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
After Reed was limited to just 10 snaps in Week 1, I didn't really expect him to have a big game in George Kittle's absence, but I did end up starting him in a few spots for lack of a better option, and it worked out well. Ross Dwelley played more snaps than Reed, but Reed ran 20 routes to Dwelley's 11, and should remain the primary pass catcher here if Kittle remains out, as expected. He was targeted eight times for seven catches and 50 yards plus a pair of touchdowns, proving he still has the playmaking chops. With Kittle's absence likely to extend at least another week, Reed figures to be a fine streamer for Week 3 again.
Keelan Cole WR
JAC Jacksonville • #84
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I still firmly believe D.J. Chark is the best receiver in Jacksonville, but it's hard to ignore what Cole has done so far. It's likely not sustainable — he's caught 11 of 12 targets compared to a career 57% catch rate, but he has two touchdowns in two weeks and has out-targeted Chark in each game. He's a relatively low priority add, but in a deeper PPR league Cole is worth a look.
DAL Dallas • #86
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The thought in the wake of Blake Jarwin's injury was that Dallas would further consolidate targets between Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott, but Schultz actually led the Cowboys in targets Sunday, shockingly. It was a weird game where the Cowboys couldn't hold on to the ball and fell behind big early, but Schultz was fifth on the team in routes run and was part of the game plan early, leading the team with three catches on four targets and 33 yards in the first quarter. Maybe it was just a one-game thing against a terrible Falcons defense, but we can't ignore it. This is a great offense to have a piece of.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #10
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
We'll have to see what Tyrod Taylor's status is moving forward, because head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Taylor will be the starter if he's healthy. However, Herbert has to have made Taylor's margin for error so much slimmer with his impressive showing Sunday in an emergency start when Taylor suffered a chest injury before the game. Herbert showed guts in the performance and justified our preseason belief that the team's Fantasy options would be better off with him under center than Taylor. If Taylor does play in Week 3, Herbert won't be worth pursuing, but he showed enough Sunday to be worth taking a chance on whenever he does get another opportunity. It shouldn't be long.