An injury to a first-round pick can be a season-crusher in fantasy football. If it’s the No. 1 overall pick, as Saquon Barkley was in many drafts, it’s even more devastating.
As bye weeks begin with the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers off in Week 4, priorities on the fantasy football waiver wire can shift more toward team needs than the best players available.
Recommended bids based on a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) of $100 for the season.
RB Wayne Gallman, New York Giants ($21). Barkley could be out several weeks with a high ankle sprain, putting Gallman firmly in the spotlight. He hasn’t made much of an impact in his previous two NFL seasons, but Gallman should get most of the backfield touches while Barkley is out. If the Giants can continue to get solid quarterback play (more on that in a bit), it will give Gallman a better chance to succeed.
WR Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears ($16). Three touchdown receptions in a nationally televised Monday night game will do wonders for a player's fantasy value. However, Gabriel did leave early with concussion symptoms after catching six passes for 75 yards and three scores, so keep an eye on his progress this week in practice.
WR Phillip Dorsett, New England Patriots ($13). After Antonio Brown's one-week stint as a member of the Patriots came to an abrupt halt, Dorsett reclaimed his role as a dangerous home run threat. He hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass (after scoring twice in Week 1) and was targeted a season-high seven times, catching six. A chest injury to Julian Edelman could mean even more looks for Dorsett in Week 4.
Likely already on rosters (but check to be sure): WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers; WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs; RB Carlos Hyde, Houston Texans.
QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants ($16). Jones was on our list last week, but after throwing for 336 yards and totaling four touchdowns (two passing, two running) in his first game as a starter, his price has gone up. Barkley’s absence could put more weight on Jones’ shoulders, but if last week was any indication, he can handle it.
WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers ($8). The rookie moved ahead of veteran Donte Moncrief on the depth chart, catching three passes from new starting QB Mason Rudolph for 52 yards and a touchdown. There could be even more upside if he shows he's a viable complement to Juju Smith-Schuster.
WR Paul Richardson, Washington Redskins ($6). It didn't take long for rookie Terry McLaurin to prove he's the go-to receiver in Washington, but the Redskins have looked so bad in losing their first three games, there should be plenty of passing attempts to go around. With a Week 4 matchup against the Giants' NFL-worst passing defense, Richardson is a solid pickup.
RB Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs ($5). With starter Damien Williams out and backup LeSean McCoy battling a sore knee, the Darrel Williams was impressive in limited action. The second-year pro rushed for 62 yards on nine carries and caught five passes for 47 yards. In this offense, anyone who touches the ball can be dangerous.
QB Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers ($4). Allen was also impressive starting in place of the injured Cam Newton, throwing for 261 yards and four touchdowns. News of Newton's foot injury being a bit more serious than first thought could keep Allen in the lineup for more than just a week or two.
DEEP LEAGUES/FREE AGENT PICKUPS
TE Jordan Akins, Houston Texans. With George Kittle on bye, some fantasy owners will be looking for a one-week option at tight end. Akins put up the fifth-most fantasy points at the position in Week 3 with three catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Darren Fells also caught five passes for 49 yards and a score. Houston is at home this week against Carolina.
WR Auden Tate, Cincinnati Bengals. Tate played sparingly over the first two games, but contributed a team-leading 88 receiving yards on 10 targets at Buffalo. He was a fixture in the Bengals' three-wide sets, which should continue this week at Pittsburgh. However, his shelf life is limited with A.J. Green working his way back from an ankle injury.
WR Golden Tate, New York Giants. If you have an open roster spot, another Tate makes an excellent speculative addition, even though he still has one more game left on his season-opening suspension. The sure-handed veteran figures to have a significant role in the Giants' passing game when he returns in Week 5.