It's just three weeks into the football season, and already the fantasy waiver wire is looking a bit bare.
Almost all the breakout stars that went undrafted were snapped up after the first two weeks of the season. The top undrafted QBs (Newton, Fitzpatrick) are gone. Most every running back is at least deep on a team's bench. As the season progresses, more guys will become available due to injuries or coaches shaking things up. Right now, it's tight.
Normally, you don't want to overreact to one great game from a player. But if your team is in deep trouble this week -- if you're 0-3, for example -- it's probably time for a Hail Mary. Take chances on guys. Work some trades. Gamble on guys with upside. If you keep losing, you're going to miss the playoffs. 0-4 and 0-5 are probably too late to turn things around.
The biggest fantasy injury this week is Kenny Britt, who tore his ACL and is out for the year. The main beneficiary is Nate Washington, who was targeted five times after Britt left the game and nine times in all, catching eight passes for 92 yards and a score that came before Britt's injury. He's owned in only 35 percent of leagues.
Washington was already looking like an intriguing option in larger leagues and is now a must-add. Even with Chris Johnson struggling, the Titans passing game looks better than expected. Washington will get more attention with Britt out but he'll also get a lot more looks.
Also worth a look is tight end Jared Cook. He's been a bust so far, but the Titans are going to use him in three-receiver sets now that Britt's out. He's most likely out on the waiver wire, as he's owned in only 30 percent of leagues.
Chad Henne, Dolphins (42 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues):The Dolphins quarterback remains out there in over half of leagues, and he's put up the seventh-most points in fantasy so far. The Dolphins have Brandon Marshall and a decent receiving corps. The AFC East defenses don't look great. Henne will be a starting option all season.
Colt McCoy, Browns (33 percent): In bigger leagues he's worth looking at. With Peyton Hillis out, McCoy went 19-for-39 for 210 yards and two scores. That's a pretty low completion percentage, but the Browns are going to end up throwing a bit this year, even when Hillis is active.
Cut bait on: Matt Cassell, Chiefs. The 34 percent of you still holding on to the Chiefs quarterback can safely drop him without worry. The Chiefs are going nowhere.
Kendall Hunter, Niners (8 percent): Like Frank Gore, Hunter wasn't impressive on Sunday -- nine carries for 26 yards -- but after Gore got hurt Hunter scored the game's only touchdown in the 49ers' 13-8 win over the Bengals. Is he a great pickup? Not really; the 49ers running game is 29th in the league, and Jim Harbaugh says Gore is still the starter. But Hunter was in on San Fran's final drive, and if the 49ers offense continues to struggle, Hunter could be worked in more.
Bernard Scott, Bengals (12 percent): Scott hasn't done much this season, and Cedric Benson is healthy. But Benson is facing a three-game suspension from the league, which would make Scott the de facto starter. Benson's had two straight so-so games after a solid opening week.
LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets (62 percent): He's probably gone in your league, but LT was involved in the Jets' passing game extensively on Sunday against the Raiders, catching five passes for 116 yards and a score (on six targets). He also rushed six times for 38 yards. He's getting older, and Shonn Greene is the clear No. 1 in New York, but LT is an option as a flex play against poorer defenses.
Cut bait on:DeAngelo Williams, Panthers. Don't drop him. But after just 61 rushing yards in three games, it's time to see what you can get for him. You'd be selling low, but he continues to be outplayed by Jonathan Stewart and his value could continue to plummet.
Torrey Smith, Ravens (16 percent): The Ravens got Lee Evans because they weren't comfortable with Smith going opposite Anquan Boldin. Evans has been hurt and was inactive for Week 3. Then, of course, Smith caught three touchdown passes in the first quarter against the Rams on Sunday. Smith was targeted eight times in all. It's doubtful the rookie will match his production again this season, but if you're stuck he's worth taking a flier on, especially in keeper or dynasty leagues. Evans is no lock to get healthy.
David Nelson, Bills (50 percent) and Donald Jones, Bills (2 percent): Nelson has better numbers this season -- and caught six passes for 84 yards on eight targets Sunday -- but Jones is technically the No. 2 and had his first solid game of the year, catching 10 passes for 101 yards on Sunday. Nelson is probably the better option, but if he's gone in your league Jones is an intriguing guy to take a flier on, especially with the Bills offense moving the ball in the air the way it is now.
Denarius Moore, Raiders (53 percent): Moore is still available in almost half of leagues after two straight double-digit fantasy performances. He led the Raiders in targets on Sunday with six, and although most of his point total came from a 23-yard rushing touchdown, he's a good play against favorable matchups.
Victor Cruz, Giants (9 percent): The UMass product had three touchdowns in a preseason game last year before a hamstring injury forced him to injured reserve. Against some shaky Eagles pass defense, he caught three passes for 110 yards and two scores. He was targeted five times. The Giants are thin at wide receiver, and running backs are going to get lots of looks from Eli Manning, too, but Cruz could be an option later in the season.
Cut bait on:Chad Ochocinco, Patriots. The Patriots are throwing a lot and Ocho's isn't getting that many looks. Plus, he dropped a sure touchdown catch on Sunday. He's funny, he's likable, but he's not much of a fantasy factor anymore.
Ed Dickson, Ravens (15 percent): The Ravens rookie was targeted nine times by Joe Flacco, catching five passes for 51 yards. Nothing incredible, but being targeted that much by the QB is a good sign for later in the season.
Scott Chandler, Bills (57 percent): The Buffalo offense continues to hum, and Chandler was targeted in the red zone again, catching a three-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Cut bait on:Zach Miller, Seahawks. He's staying in to block for Seattle most of the time and was barely targeted on Sunday.
San Francisco (67 percent): Currently one of the league's top-scoring fantasy defenses, the 49ers are still available in over 30 percent of leagues. This is probably their last time on the list: They face the Eagles -- who will likely have Mike Kafka under center -- on Sunday, a team that's turned it over seven times, most in the NFC.
Tampa Bay (10 percent): The Buccaneers have some tough games coming up, but they've forced five fumbles already and don't give up a ton of points. If you're stuck, they Bucs are worth taking a flier on.
Jason Hanson, Lions (33 percent): After a shaky first half Sunday, the Lions' offense rose to life after halftime. Hanson hit four field goals, including a 50-yarder. Kickers are always kind of a crapshoot, but it can't hurt to have a kicker on an offense that's scoring almost 34 points a game.
Rian Lindell, Bills (6 percent): OK, so he kicks in Buffalo, where the Bills play three times from Weeks 13-16. But that's a long time away; for now, the Bills have a high-powered offense that should continue to get Lindell plenty of opportunities.