The NFL is just about finished with Week 3, closing things out with Washington hosting the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. There are plenty of fantasy matchups waiting to see what the game brings to close things out, but all of us are also beginning our look ahead to Week 4.
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The good and bad teams are starting to separate themselves in fantasy leagues, but we all can find ways to improve our rosters. And with the first bye week arriving, there are going to be holes to fill in the short term.
With that in mind, here are the top nine players available in at least 50 percent of fantasy leagues, per ESPN ownership rates. We have some players who had breakout performances, or are starting to show consistency enough to justify rostering in most leagues. But, the list is topped by a potential injury replacement for arguably the best running back in fantasy football.
Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants (1.2 percent)
Saquon Barkley went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter on Sunday, and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. The injury is being reported as a high ankle sprain, and he will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage. In the meantime, be prepared to place your claim on Gallman. He had only 13 yards on five carries after Barkley went down, but the Giants were playing catch-up. He would be a bigger part of the game-plan if he is starting next week vs. Washington.
DJ Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (41 percent)
This is likely the last week he will sit under 50 percent ownership. Dede Westbrook is getting plenty of looks, but Chark is the playmaker in this offense. On Thursday, he he had four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, marking his third straight game with a touchdown. The Jaguars face a Broncos defense that is tough but inconsistent and presents a solid matchup for Chark.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (44.3 percent)
The Chiefs are churning out big play pass catchers with ease. Sammy Watkins was the first big option after Tyreek Hill got hurt. A week later Demarcus Robinson was the popular waiver play. Now, Hardman is set to join them above the 50 percent ownership mark. He only had two receptions in Week 3, but he made the most of them against a tough Ravens defense, finishing with 97 yards and a touchdown. KC travels to Detroit in Week 5, and it’s hard not to see them building on their Week 3 win.
Frank Gore, RB, Buffalo Bills (44.3 percent)
Every week people are scrounging the waiver wire for running backs, and Gore remains a perfectly viable option. He rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown and had two receptions for 13 yards in Week 3. He loses value when Devin Singletary returns, but if Singletary continues to miss practice, Gore is a clear starter worth rostering. And with bye weeks upon us, he’s a solid starting option.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (37 percent)
The Eagles are dealing with a host of injuries at wide receiver, with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery sidelined in Week 3. Jackson is expected back in Week 5, while Jeffery could be back in Week 4, but is more likely a Week 5 return. Regardless, Agholor stepped up in their absences, catching eight passes for 50 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions. If they are absent in Week 4 at Green Bay, Agholor will be worth another start — even facing a tough Packers defense.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts (18.6 percent)
The Colts quarterback is quietly chugging along. He’s thrown at least two touchdowns in each of his first three games, and has only one interception to go along with it. He broke through in Week 3 with 310 yards after throwing for 336 yards combined the first two weeks of the season. The Colts host an atrocious Raiders team in Week 4, which bodes well. If you need a bye-week replacement or just have a shaky QB situation, Brissett is a strong add right now.
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants (12.7 percent)
It was quite the starting debut for Jones. The rookie quarterback replaced Eli Manning and guided the Giants to a huge comeback win over the Bucs in Week 3. All seemed lost when Saquon Barkley was lost to an ankle injury, but Jones rose to the occasion and carried the Giants to victory. He threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 28 yards and two more touchdowns. He faces a tough Washington defense in Week 4, so temper expectations. If you’re in a keeper league he’s a great add, and in a single season league, he’s worth a spot on your bench while we see how he develops.
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys (20 percent)
Pollard benefited from what turned into a blowout win over the Dolphins. He had 13 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown, with much of his work coming as the late game replacement for Ezekiel Elliott. He’s not a guy you’ll start, but if Elliott got hurt, Pollard would immediately slot in as a starting running back. Even if you don’t have Elliott, if you have a roster spot to spare, he’s a lottery ticket worth purchasing even in a single-season re-draft league.
Will Dissly, TE, Seattle Seahawks (24. 3 percent)
We didn’t know if Dissly was a one-hit wonder after five receptions, 50 yards, and two touchdowns in Week 2. We still don’t know just what he is, but six receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 is not too shabby. The TD came in the most garbage of garbage time as the clock expired in a loss, but he was a regular target of Russell Wilson. It’s hard to find waiver value at the tight end position, but Dissly is worth a look.