Fantasy Football waiver wire candidates after Week 3

Week 3 of the NFL season is officially behind us, and those who may be heading towards an 0-3 start in fantasy football may be looking to make some big changes to their respective fantasy teams.

For those who are looking to turn around their fantasy football fortunes, here are the top five pickup candidates that are available in over 50 percent of leagues on the ESPN Fantasy Football platform going into Week 4.

Week 3 Recap:

There were some players listed in the Week 3 fantasy waiver-wire article that ended up having big weeks. Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss finished in the top five of all running backs in PPR leagues with 22.5 fantasy points. Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Ford, my No. 1 priority add for Week 3, ended slightly outside of the top five in seventh place at his position in PPR scoring with 19.1 fantasy points. And Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love continued his impressive play by finishing as the No. 6 fantasy quarterback with 24.26 fantasy points.

5. Rashee Rice, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Week 3: 10.9 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 8.3 percent

Rice didn’t have the biggest game in Week 3 largely because the Chiefs completely blew out the Chicago Bears in a 41-10 victory. But Rice continues to play a pretty big role in this Chiefs offense, receiving the most targets amongst wide receivers on the team in Week 3 with seven.

This may be more of a long-term pickup, but Rice presents a ton of upside if he continues to see the field catching passes from star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. There will be plenty of touchdowns to go around on this dynamic Chiefs offense, and Rice has shown to be one of the more intriguing young receivers in the NFL early on this season. He also had a touchdown called back on Sunday that would have led to a much more productive game.

4. Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers

  • Week 3: 24.26 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 47.6 percent

As stated above, Love was named as one of the top five players to add in the Week 3 fantasy waiver-wire article. And he rewarded those who took this advice with his third straight 20-plus fantasy point performance in a come-from-behind win against the New Orleans Saints.

This Packers offense continues to produce with Love at the helm. And with a number of quarterbacks disappointing in fantasy thus far, (Justin Fields, Joe Burrow, etc) Love could be a sneaky quarterback to plug and play in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions. It also doesn’t hurt that he could get a number of key offensive weapons back after Aaron Jones and Christian Watson were both sidelined on Sunday.

3. De’Von Achane, RB, Miami Dolphins

  • Week 3: 51.3 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 16.1 percent

You may be asking yourself why in the world Achane is No. 3 on this list after his unbelievable 51.3 fantasy point performance on Sunday. Obviously, Achane looked spectacular in the Dolphins’ downright laughable beating of the Denver Broncos. But Dolphins starting running back Raheem Mostert also had a terrific day, recording 45.2 fantasy points in his own right. And Mostert is most likely going to receive a larger portion of the backfield work moving forward even after Achane’s great day.

It’s important to remember that Achane was a healthy inactive for the Dolphins Week 1 game. Clearly, Achane has earned a role in this Dolphins offense after this spectacular game. But he will almost assuredly never play quite as well as he did in Sunday’s game.

On a more positive note, Achane did look great, and should be used more regularly as a change of pace back with Mostert. And he provides this Dolphins offense with some much-needed explosiveness out of the backfield that can result in some big fantasy football performances.

2. Tank Dell, WR, Houston Texans

  • Week 3: 25.5 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 23.3 percent

Dell was listed just outside of the top five in my Week 3 waiver-wire article and rewarded those who took a chance on him with a huge game in an upset win for the Texans against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished with five receptions on seven targets for 145 yards and a touchdown, and he was the clear top option for rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud.

The Texans didn’t exactly come into the season with an established  No. 1 option at wide receiver. And while it may be too soon to call Dell their No. 1 option, he clearly has a big role in this offense as their primary downfield threat offensively. Dell may be a boom-or-bust option for those who do add him, but his big games will likely be massive for fantasy owners, as all it takes from him is one big play each game to justify putting him into their lineups.

1. Quentin Johnston, WR, Los Angeles Chargers 

  • Week 3: 3.0 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 46.2 percent

The Chargers drafted Johnston in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft with the expectation that he would get additional opportunities as he learned the offense throughout his rookie season. And those opportunities may come quicker than the team may have anticipated with the devastating knee injury suffered by star wide receiver Mike Williams in the Chargers’ Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Williams has been diagnosed with a torn ACL, ruling him out for the remainder of the season. And that presents an opportunity for both Johnston and Joshua Palmer to get to compete for the No. 2 WR role behind Keenan Allen.

There’s an argument to be made about who out of Johnston or Palmer will end up winning that No. 2 role. But give me the player that the Chargers invested heavily in recently in Johnston. The Chargers passing game is one of the most dynamic in all of football, so whoever does end up winning that starting job should be a weekly start consideration for fantasy football owners for the rest of the season.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Joshua Palmer (WR, Los Angeles Chargers)
  • Josh Downs (WR, Indianapolis Colts)
  • Jake Ferguson (TE, Dallas Cowboys)
  • Luke Musgrave (TE, Green Bay Packers)
  • Romeo Doubs (WR, Green Bay Packers)

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.