Two weeks of NFL action are officially in the books, but this didn’t come without a good amount of injuries. Seemingly every team lost at least one important playmaker, which means the running back waiver wire should be busier than ever. Looking around the league shows that players like Dion Lewis and Mike Davis offer the best chance of positive performance moving forward.
Note that in order to be eligible for this list, the player needed to be available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues. Obviously, there is some variation from league to league, so make sure you peruse all available players before making your claims. There could be better players out there that didn’t qualify for this list.
Dion Lewis, Mike Davis Highlight Fantasy Football Week 3 Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups
Saquon Barkley is done for the year. The superstar running back reportedly tore his ACL during Week 2’s contest and won’t be back until 2021. This leaves a gaping hole atop New York’s depth chart, and Dion Lewis will be the guy to fill said void. Lewis obviously isn’t going to produce at the same level of Barkley, but he’s in a great situation to be a weekly start for the rest of the season.
Aside from Barkley, Lewis was the only running back to record a carry for the Giants last night. While he won’t get that type of volume moving forward, he’s clearly the top option on the depth chart and Daniel Jones was willing to target him in the passing game. Even if the Giants sign someone like Devonta Freeman, this should be Lewis’ backfield and the workload alone makes him a safe bet for a low-ceiling RB2.
Christian McCaffrey suffered an ankle injury late in Week 2’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As of this posting, nobody knows the severity of the injury and how much time he’ll miss, if any. That said, you need to take a flier on Mike Davis.
McCaffrey’s injury came late in the game when the Panthers had to throw the ball constantly in a last-ditch effort to get back in the game. Davis only recorded one carry on the night, but that was solely due to the gamescript. He’s the best fit for an early-down role and he saw eight receptions for 74 yards on eight targets. If McCaffrey misses even a week, Mike Davis is an easy start.
The Los Angeles Rams were not immune to Week 2’s barrage of injuries. Rookie running back Cam Akers suffered a rib injury and should miss at least one or two weeks. With him sidelined, Darrell Henderson should be able to carry fantasy relevance. Malcolm Brown will still be the 1A in this backfield, but the split should be even enough for Henderson to carry some standalone value. Again, low ceiling, but he’s certainly worth a pickup in deeper leagues.
Joshua Kelley (Again)
Sorry, Austin Ekeler owners, but Joshua Kelley isn’t going away. The fourth-round rookie looked fantastic in Week 1, and Week 2 proved that wasn’t a fluke. Overall, Kelley recorded 23 carries, two receptions, and saw a majority of the goal line touches. This is going to be a two-headed backfield, and Ekeler will still be the primary pass-catcher. However, Kelley will have a sizable role in this offense and could be a decent flex play in the right matchup.
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