Already preparing to raid the Waiver Wire after Week 3? Let’s take a look at the wide receiver options who may be available (owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues) and prioritize who you should be targeting and who is better left for someone else:
- Chase Claypool – Pittsburgh Steelers
- Mecole Hardman – Kansas City Chiefs
- Laviska Shenault Jr. – Jacksonville Jaguars
- Travis Fulgham – Philadelphia Eagles
- Brandin Cooks – Houston Texans
- Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals
Chase Claypool – Pittsburgh Steelers
It was a monster day for Claypool, who led the Steelers in targets (11), receptions (7) and yards (110) while racking up 3 TD. Just for fun he added a 3 yard TD run, padding his breakout performance The second round rookie had been targeted 9 times over the first three games, but he brings a blend of size and speed that could rise up the depth chart quickly. While JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson were expected to be the top two options, both suddenly face questions:
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – He’s averaged 6 targets per game, only once having more than 6 in a game (he was targeted 8 times vs. Denver). Over the past two games he has 8 catches for 71 yards and he’s topped 50 yards in a game once this season. He’s clearly struggling, and Claypool’s sudden rapport with Ben Roethlisberger could further send him tumbling.
- Diontae Johnson – He was forced from Week 5 with a back injury, something that’s become a concerning trend in 2020 (he seems to consistently be banged up). After being targeted 23 times over the first two weeks, Johnson has 1 catch on 3 targets the past two games and if he’s forced to miss time he could lose his spot.
Mecole Hardman – Kansas City Chiefs
On radars since being drafted, you have to wonder whether or not his time has finally arrived. With Sammy Watkins going down with a hamstring injury, Hardman should get the chance to join Tyreek Hill and DeMarcus Robinson as one of the top three receivers for Patrick Mahomes.
There obviously will be a battle for targets, so Hardman is not an every week starter at this point, but we all know he has huge breakout potential. Now may be your last chance to stash him before he explodes.
Laviska Shenault Jr. – Jacksonville Jaguars
Shenault is generally the second receiver for Jacksonville, playing behind D.J. Chark, and has looked strong over each of the past two weeks:
- Week 4 (at Cin) – 5 catches for 86 yards
- Week 5 (at Hou) – 7 catches for 79 yards
With Chark injured (ankle), this could be Shenault’s opportunity to expand his role further. Jacksonville doesn’t own a dynamic passing game, but as Gardner Minshew’s top target, Shenault would be a Top 40 option most weeks.
Travis Fulgham – Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles receiving corps has been destroyed by injury, opening the door for an unheralded option to emerge. Fulgham appears to be that guy, turning 13 targets into 10 catches, 152 yards and 1 TD (he’s now scored in back-to-back games). A sixth round pick in 2019, it will be interesting to see if he can maintain the top spot once the Eagles start getting healthy. Alshon Jeffrey, Desean Jackson and Jalen Reagor are all on the mend, so keep that in mind before assuming Fulgham is locked into a starring role.
Brandin Cooks – Houston Texans
Cooks showed that he could still be a game changer, turning 12 targets into 8 catches, 161 yards and 1 TD in Week 5. Considering he was averaging around 5 targets over the first four weeks, only surpassing 23 yards in one of the four, it’s hard to say that Week 5 is going to suddenly become the norm.
Cooks has generally been inconsistent throughout his career, and that’s going to make him a tough sell as a trustworthy weekly starter.
Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals
A 2020 second round pick, Higgins has at least 4 receptions and 7 targets in three straight games. With A.J. Green injured, Higgins should be the second option for Cincinnati behind Tyler Boyd. That should be a good spot, with Joe Burrow developing at QB, but there could be a lot of highs and lows making him difficult to trust.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com