2021 NFL season

Fantasy Football Week 3 Waiver Wire: Best Pickups at Key Positions

Fantasy football managers must pay attention at this crucial juncture of the 2021 NFL season

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Fantasy football Week 3 waiver wire pickups: Pats RB a must-add originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Now is the time to strike, fantasy football managers.

While it's still too early to draw conclusions after two weeks of NFL action -- no, you shouldn't drop Saquon Barkley -- we're already seeing players take advantage of opportunities and show signs of being potential game-changers going forward.

Even if they don't hit right away, the players listed below are in situations where they could become legitimate fantasy contributors -- and are available for the taking on the waiver wire.

Here are five players rostered in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues (well, technically four players and an exception) who are worth picking up on the fantasy football waiver wire entering Week 3.

Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears (51% rostered)

OK, we're cheating here. But if you're in one of the 49% of Yahoo leagues where Fields is a free agent, go ahead and grab him. "Starter" Andy Dalton left Sunday's game with a knee injury, and while he avoided an ACL tear, his status for Week 3 is unclear.

If Dalton can't go and Fields gets the start, he has top-12 QB potential based on his dual-threat ability -- even in a tough matchup on the road against the Cleveland Browns.

James White, RB, New England Patriots (42% rostered)

The old James White is back, folks. The shifty running back has caught six passes from rookie Mac Jones in each of his first two games and added a rushing touchdown Sunday against the New York Jets for good measure.

Belichick heaps praise on James White after Week 2 win

White caught 72 passes in his final season with Tom Brady in 2019, and he sure looks like Jones' checkdown option of choice. He's on pace for 102 receptions over a 17-game season and is a must-add in PPR formats who's worthy of FLEX consideration regardless of matchup.

Cordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR, Atlanta Falcons (14% rostered)

Mike Davis has struggled as the Falcons' lead back (3.6 yards per carry), and Patterson has taken advantage. The ageless Swiss Army Knife caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown while adding a second score on the ground Sunday after getting nine offensive touches in Week 1.

His Week 2 outburst is probably an aberration, but he's worthy of WR3/FLEX consideration next weekend versus a shaky New York Giants defense.

Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals (34% rostered)

Who leads all NFL rookies in receptions and receiving yards through two weeks? That would be Moore, the Cardinals' second-round draft pick who torched the Minnesota Vikings for 114 yards and a TD on seven catches Sunday. He's seen 13 targets through two games -- more than both DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green -- and should continue to play a significant role in Arizona's high-octane offense.

Even if Moore regresses to the mean a bit, he has WR3 appeal with plenty of upside.

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders (35% rostered)

We pegged Ruggs as a fantasy sleeper this season, based mostly on the fact that the Raiders throw a ton and there isn't much competition for targets outside Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. Case in point: Week 2, where Ruggs, Waller and Renfrow all caught five passes on seven targets with Ruggs hitting the home run on a 61-yard touchdown catch.

While Ruggs still has a boom-or-bust feel, Las Vegas' high volume in the passing game makes him worthy of your consideration as a WR3.

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