The first two weeks of NFL action are in the books, and the fantasy football landscape is starting to take shape. After months of projection, the first one or two weeks of the season are the most crucial times to nail your waiver wire selections. There aren’t many great running back waiver wire options on the table, so you’ll need to make sure to grab Carlos Hyde, Jaylen Samuels, or Raheem Mostert.
Note that in order to make this list, the player had to be available in over 50% of fantasy leagues. If you’re in smaller leagues, there may be better players available. Make sure to check your waivers to see if there are any diamonds in the rough before submitting your claims.
Carlos Hyde, Jaylen Samuels Highlight Fantasy Football Week 3 Running Back Waiver Wire Claims
Duke Johnson truthers, look away. Despite having all the hype entering the season, it’s clear that Carlos Hyde is the lead guy in the backfield. Johnson’s going to get all the passing work, but Carlos Hyde is going to be the early-down runner. Surprisingly enough, Hyde has turned back the clock and actually looked good through the first two games of the season.
Hyde saw 20 carries in Week 2, turning those touches into 90 yards for a healthy 4.5 yards-per-carry. This came one game after Hyde recorded 83 yards on 10 carries in Week 1. He’s not going to make a difference in the passing game, but he provides a safe floor with some touchdown upside. Hyde’s going up against a banged-up Los Angeles Chargers team in Week 3 and should be a solid start in deeper leagues.
Jaylen Samuels/The Injury Handcuffs
As of this posting, Jaylen Samuels is a must-add in each and every fantasy football format. James Conner left Week 2’s matchup with an injury and never returned. If he misses Week 3, Samuels should provide RB1 upside with a safe floor.
Head coach Mike Tomlin loves to use a workhorse running back, and he won’t turn to a committee approach with Conner sidelined. Last year, Samuels started three games in place of Conner. During those games, the North Carolina State product played in 80, 62.5, and 70% of the offensive snaps. You need to put in a claim for Samuels, but make sure to monitor the injury report. If it looks like Conner is going to play, Samuels has no fantasy value. If, however, Conner misses the game, Samuels is a must-start in all formats.
In a similar vein, Frank Gore and Darwin Thompson could have big days if Devin Singletary and Damien Williams/LeSean McCoy aren’t ready to go. Gore is going up against an atrocious Bengals defense while Kansas City’s starting running back is always going to be fantasy relevant. Make sure to monitor these injury situations and make the appropriate adds.
Week 2’s matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals got out of hand fast, but Raheem Mostert looks like he’ll have a sizable role in the San Francisco 49ers offense. Matt Breida saw his fair share of action, but Mostert actually had the bigger game. Mostert ended the night with 13 carries for 83 yards to go along with three receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Even though Mostert got more touches, Matt Brieda is still probably going to remain the starter moving forward. This game turned into a blowout pretty early, so the running back usage got a little weird. That said, Mostert is still going to be a big part of this backfield moving forward. As long as Tevin Coleman isn’t playing, Mostert’s going to be a solid flex play with RB2 upside.
Honorable Mention: Ito Smith