Some years, the higher powers of fantasy football just aren't on your side. But this year, it doesn't seem as if they're picking any favorites. Practically every team in every fantasy league has dealt with injuries in some capacity this season, so consider yourself lucky if you can't say that about your own squad.
For those of you who did have Saquon Barkley, or Christian McCaffrey, or Raheem Mostert, running back help is now of the highest priority. And for those of you who have Davante Adams, Courtland Sutton, Sammy Watkins and other star wide receivers who suffered injuries of varying severity, you may need to dig a little deeper into your bench than you may like. Perhaps a solution to both of those problems lies within the waiver wire.
And hey... just because you're one of the lucky ones who didn't have an injury bug spread around your roster doesn't mean you shouldn't be active on the waiver. Heck, you should probably be more aggressive, taking advantage of your relative health and using your pickups as insurance, or even better (and slightly more evil), as trade bait.
There are plenty of names to choose from as the 2020 season continues to act in such a 2020 way. Let's take a look.
Be sure to check out last week's list of waiver wire pickups, too. None of them will appear on this list, though some (most) of them are still worth adding if available!
Ownership percentages retrieved from Fantasy Pros.
RB Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
Ownership: Yahoo! | 31%; ESPN | 45%
Two running backs I didn't mention in my intro are Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown, the two running backs who were owned by most fantasy football players going entering Week 2. However, after Akers (rib) left the game and Brown (finger) apparently dealt with some issues and was significantly outmatched by Henderson, it's back to the 2019 third-round draft pick as the guy to own in the Rams backfield.
Of course, this situation remains as volatile as ever, but Henderson's 121 total yard performance against an Eagles defense that's supposed to be good at defending the run makes us excited that he could finally break out, as many have expected.
RB Devonta Freeman, Free Agent
Ownership: Yahoo! | 10%; ESPN | 8%
There are a number of teams that could potentially become Freeman's next team as his free agency seems to finally be coming to a definite end. The lead contender right now, in my opinion, would be the New York Giants, as they just lost Saquon Barkley for the year to a torn ACL and will bring Freeman in for a visit.
Should he land with the Giants, it's likely that he gets a feature back role right away, as the rest of the running back depth chart doesn't inspire too much confidence. Other teams, such as the 49ers, Eagles and Chiefs, wouldn't be as exciting in terms of his fantasy prospects. However, it's worth the gamble right now, especially if you're working with a depleted group of running backs.
RBs Dion Lewis/Wayne Gallman, New York Giants
Lewis ownership: Yahoo! | 5%; ESPN | 1%
Gallman ownership: Yahoo! | 1%; ESPN | 0%
This is a situation I'm not too high on, especially because it seems likely that Devonta Freeman joins the party. If he doesn't, though, then it will be interesting to see how the carries are divvied up between Lewis and Gallman. Lewis got all the RB touches after Barkley went down, but that's because Gallman was a healthy scratch. However, Lewis doesn't hold much promise as a feature back, with a 5-foot-8, 195-pound frame and only one season where he really held the title of a "lead" running back, leading the 2017 Patriots with 180 carries.
Gallman, on the other hand, had over 100 carries as a rookie and played the feature back role in 2019 when Barkley was dealing with injuries, turning the opportunity into a monstrous 24.8-point performance (1/2-PPR).
Whichever way the situation ends up, I'm not too high on either player. With that said, beggars can't be choosers right now. The advantage goes to Lewis if you have to choose between these two.
RB Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers
Ownership: Yahoo! | 22%; ESPN | 19%
Injuries to Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman will force both of them to miss Week 3 -- and likely more, though the severity of Mostert's injury has not yet been revealed in full -- meaning that Jerick McKinnon should be thrust into a feature roll. In the high-powered rushing offense that is the 49ers, any opportunity like this should be seized by fantasy owners, especially given the fact that San Francisco has continued to show loyalty to McKinnon through injuries.
McKinnon showed off his potential with a 55-yard run, and with a workload that should exceed double-digit touches, he has as high a ceiling as any waiver wire pickup.
RB Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers
Ownership: Yahoo! | 1%; ESPN | 1%
The handcuff you never knew you needed now has a big opportunity to put up big numbers. With eight catches on eight targets in Week 2 against the Buccaneers, Davis proved his versatility is there. Now, throw in an increased workload that could total some 15-20 touches per game while Christian McCaffrey is injured, and you've got a startable running back for a good chunk of the season.
The other running back on the roster, Trenton Cannon, has not logged a single snap on offense to this point in the 2020 season.
WR: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
Ownership: Yahoo! | 36%; ESPN | 17%
MVS was presenting some standalone value even with a fully healthy Davante Adams, posting two very respectable stat lines through the first two weeks of the season for a total of 160 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. Though it seems as though the injury that sidelined Adams in Week 2 isn't a serious one, MVS should still be someone to look for as a deep bench stash or in a good matchup. He had some good games with a healthy Adams in 2019 and can give you a good fantasy outing with just one deep ball. And, with Adams' somewhat questionable injury history, MVS would immediately become a very startable wideout if Adams missed any time.
WR Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
Ownership: Yahoo! | 15%; ESPN | 15%
Through two weeks of the season, Pittman and Parris Campbell are neck-and-neck in the race to be Philip Rivers' favorite target behind T.Y. Hilton. Now, with a PCL injury to Campbell that will leave him sidelined indefinitely, Pittman has an opportunity to swallow up a lot of those targets for himself. He showed improved chemistry with Rivers in his second career game, bringing in four of his six targets for 37 yards. With a big frame that's similar to that of Mike Williams, who Rivers targeted frequently all over the field, Pittman can take advantage of his WR2 opportunity and translate it into solid fantasy value.
TE Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
Ownership: Yahoo! | 67%; ESPN | 48%
These numbers might shoot really close to 100% after his dominant Week 2 performance (11 targets, eight catches, 130 yards, one touchdown). Gesicki showed flashes in 2019 -- he was the TE6 from Week 9 to the end of the year -- and he's currently in the top five most-targeted tight ends in 2020 with 16. He's also the most-targeted receiver on the Dolphins so far, as no wide receiver has more than 13. In a relatively shallow position, being the lead receiver on a team bodes well for Gesicki's fantasy success, and it's a surprise he's still available in so many leagues.
TE Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals
Ownership: Yahoo! | 1%; ESPN | 0%
Continuing the trend of players with barely any ownership becoming relevant due to injuries, Drew Sample filled in the void left by C.J. Uzomah after the Bengals starting tight end left with an Achilles tear, enough to keep him out for the season. That means that Sample, who drew nine targets and hauled in seven of them, will be the primary tight end going forward for Burrow.
Before Uzomah's injury, he had drawn a solid share of targets from Burrow and found the end zone in Week 2. Thus, combining Uzomah's solid fantasy stat line through one-and-a-half games (eight catches on 11 targets) with Sample's strong outing in relief bodes well for the latter's fantasy prospects going forward.