Week 3 Fantasy Football Deep League RB and WR Pickups

James Starks
James Starks
Sep 15 2013 Green Bay WI USA Green Bay Packers running back James Starks during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field Benny Sieu USA TODAY Sports

With Week 2 in the books, we now know twice as much as we did about every player than we did a few days ago. Fellow XN writer Rich Hribar has you covered with PPR Adds and Salvatore Stefanile has your 2-QB waiver wire pickups but if you’re in a deep league, this is the waiver wire guide for you.

In deep leagues, we don’t have the option of being picky about free agent running backs with 20+ touches or receivers with five touchdowns. You also rarely get so lucky as to grab one of those guys with 13 others putting in a waiver claim. If you can’t get one of the top pickups, deep leaguers have to take a two-pronged approach; use your starting lineup for short-term hot buys and use your bench to store guys that don’t have much value now but have a good chance of being very valuable in the future. Let’s take a look at some backs and receivers that have deep league value – whether it’s this week or four weeks from now.


Marlon Brown (Owned in 25% of Yahoo Leagues): If you didn’t heed my advice last week, you missed out on a big 4-65-1 day. With Jacoby Jones out as long as six weeks, the 6-foot-5 Brown will continue to see plenty of looks opposite of Torrey Smith. Joe Flacco has already targeted him 12 times (twice in the red zone) for eight receptions, 110 yards, and two touchdowns on the season. If this guy is available in deep leagues or standard ones, jump on the chance to get him.

Eddie Royal (24%): I debated putting Royal on the list last week after his two touchdown performance but figured it would never happen again. Instead, with Malcom Floyd leaving with a neck injury, Royal came up huge with a 7-90-3 day, putting up a whopping 34 PPR points. With no depth at wide receiver and seven red zone targets already (14 total), Royal figures to have a very significant role in the suddenly-potent Philip Rivers-led offense.

Robert Woods (8%): After seeing just two targets (but a touchdown pass) in Week 1, Woods caught four passes on six targets in Week 2, bringing his season totals to 5-86-1. While Woods is the second option behind Stevie Johnson, he was on the field for 71-of-75 snaps on Sunday and continues to develop his chemistry with EJ Manuel. Look for the USC product to get better and better but until we see more of the Bills’ offense he’s not startable just yet.

Nate Burleson (10%): Burleson has now been targeted 14 times this season and owns a solid 13-123-0 season total. Not only is he efficient at reining in the passes, he has just three less targets and 30 less yards than Megatron. Reggie Bush‘s iffy health only increases his value that much more. Don’t let his 45 yards against the Cards fool you, Matthew Stafford trusts him and he did catch for 757 yards on 73 receptions just two seasons ago.

Stephen Hill (4%): Hill’s lost fumble was the only blemish on his 4-86-0 day but it was a ball that was kicked out of his hands, not the routine play fumble we’ve seen from him before. Although his hands remain suspect, he’s now been targeted 17 times by Geno Smith, five more times than any other wide receiver on the team (and that’s Clyde Gates who has embarrassingly caught just three of those 12). At 6’4” and with plenty of speed to burn, he’ll almost certainly be Geno’s favorite receiver this season and should get plenty of receptions on volume alone, even if he doesn’t have a great reception percentage.

Santonio Holmes (9%): Just because Hill figures to be the top guy doesn’t mean tried-and-true Santonio Holmes isn’t worth a look. At 5-foot-11, he’s a very different receiver and should see a lot more snaps and targets as he recovers from his foot sprain. He saw six targets against the Pats and played 93 percent of the Jets’ snaps after seeing just 45 snaps in his first game. He’s not fully back in game shape yet but Geno will soon find that he’s a much more reliable receiver than Hill in big situations.

Mohamed Sanu (10%): It looks like the Bengals will lean on their two tight ends more and more but Sanu still has deep league value as the only non-A.J. Green receiver threat on the team. Although he’s only caught for 59 yards through two games, he’s seen 13 targets and eight in his last game against the Steelers. He’ll be an interesting player to watch as the season moves forward but for now he’s just a guy you pick up just in case, not to start.

Running Backs:

James Starks (14%): I wouldn’t go near Starks in standard leagues but in deep leagues we can’t be picky about 100+ yard running backs. With Eddie Lacy out with a concussion, Starks saw 20 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown while also hauling in four passes for 36 yards. Lacy will almost certainly miss this week which means Starks will get most of the work once again. The only problem is, the Packers face a vicious Bengals defense this week that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. The week after, the Packers have a bye. That means Lacy will almost definitely be back by the Week five matchup against the Lions. How much action will Starks see with Lacy back? He saw no carries and just one reception in Week one. His touches and yards in Week 2 were only a result of a huge amount of garbage time after the Packers got off to a huge lead early. Unless you’re desperate enough to start him against the Bengals (and in a 14- and 16-team league that’s a strong possibility), his only value seems to be as a future-planning potential replacement in case Lacy goes down with another injury.

Jordan Todman (0%): If Maurice Jones-Drew is out, Todman is a must-own in deep leagues. That being said, there’s no way you start him or Drew against the Seahawks (fewest points allowed to running backs this season) this week so Todman’s only value will be if Jones-Drew is out a significant amount of time. MJD has a tendon strain in his ankle and missed 10 games last season with a foot injury so that gives Todman some bench value. Todman was impressive in the preseason, posting a 29-223-2 line over four games and is definitely going to get more looks than Justin Forsett.

Andre Ellington (1%): Ellington doesn’t have immediate value but after putting up four carries for 20 yards and three receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown, his stock is quickly rising in Arizona. Rashard Mendenhall isn’t an elite running back and only played last six games last season so, like Todman, Ellington is a good guy to put on your bench and see how MJD and Mendenhall hold up.

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Igor Derysh
Igor Derysh is Editor-at-Large at XN Sports and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, and FantasyPros. He has previously covered sports for COED Magazine, Fantasy Alarm, and Manwall.com.