Week 3 of the 2012 fantasy football season often serves as the first major turning point for owners. Whether they're starting the season 2-0, 0-2, or with an even win-loss record, the waiver wire still serves as an important tool for improvement. Here's a look at some players that are likely available on the waiver wire and can be played for Week 3 action.
The following players are all owned in under 50% of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues as of September 18, 2012.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (at Washington Redskins, 48% owned)
Dalton had a nice Week 2 showing with 318 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception against the Cleveland Browns. Facing a Redskins defense that allowed a big performance by St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Dalton could do the same in Week 3. While his receiving core is largely unproven aside from A.J. Green, the Bengals have seen glimpses of growth and chemistry from Andrew Hawkins, Brandon Tate, and Armon Binns, making Dalton a decent Week 3 option. Cincinnati's schedule for the following three games (at Jacksonville Jaguars, vs. Miami Dolphins, at Cleveland Browns) could also make Dalton a solid play in the coming weeks.
Honorable mentions: Tennessee Titans' Jake Locker (vs. Detroit Lions, 42% owned), Buffalo Bills' Ryan Fitzpatrick (at Cleveland Browns, 39% owned), Kansas City Chiefs' Matt Cassel (at New Orleans Saints, 15% owned)
Andre Brown, New York Giants (at Carolina Panthers, 14% owned)
When Ahmad Bradshaw exited the Giants' Week 2 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a neck injury, Brown, not David Wilson, received the majority of carries. A seldom-used running back in past seasons, Brown is the favorite to start if Bradshaw is out against the Panthers. With a favorable matchup against a Panthers defense that has struggled against the run this season, Brown could be in line for a heavy workload on Thursday night and serve as an excellent flex option.
Honorable mentions: Detroit Lions' Mikel LeShoure (at Tennessee Titans, 38% owned), St. Louis Rams' Daryl Richardson (at Chicago Bears, 6% owned), Miami Dolphins' Lamar Miller (vs. New York Jets, 1% owned)
Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers (vs. New York Giants, 36% owned)
As the Panthers' No. 2 wide receiver, LaFell served as Cam Newton's top target in Week 2 due to Steve Smith's minor knee injury. With already nine catches, 155 yards and a touchdown this season, he's been a reliable receiver who will face a Giants team that has allowed an average of 38 fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. An emerging receiver and serviceable complement to Smith in the Panthers offense, LaFell could serve as a solid WR3 this week.
Honorable mentions: Washington Redskins' Aldrick Robinson (vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 8% owned), Indianapolis Colts' Donnie Avery (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 8% owned), Cincinnati Bengals' Andrew Hawkins (at Washington Redskins, 12% owned)
Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (vs. New England Patriots, 33% owned)
In just two weeks, Pitta has already been targeted 24 times by Joe Flacco. With a huge number of targets and solid performances against the Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles, Pitta has become a solid receiving option at tight end. In just two games, he has become a legitimate fantasy starter for the rest of the season.
Honorable mentions: New York Giants' Martellus Bennett (at Carolina Panthers, 39% owned), Pittsburgh Steelers' Heath Miller (at Oakland Raiders, 34% owned), Minnesota Vikings' Kyle Randolph (vs. San Francisco 49ers, 35% owned)
Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (vs. New England Patriots, 15% owned)
In Week 2, Tucker became the first Ravens kicker in franchise history to hit two 50-plus-yard field goals in the same game. With great back-to-back performances to start his NFL career, he has gone from unknown rookie to usable fantasy kicker. With a strong leg and a very good offense leading the team down the field, Tucker could become a great option this season.
Honorable mentions: Cincinnati Bengals' Mike Nugent (at Washington Redskins, 32% owned), Washington Redskins' Billy Cundiff (vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 32% owned), Philadelphia Eagles' Alex Henery (at Arizona Cardinals, 40% owned)
Arizona Cardinals team defense (vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 22% owned)
The Cardinals pulled off the biggest upset so far this season by stopping the Patriots offense and winning the season-opener at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady was sacked four times, intercepted once, and only led his team to one touchdown against a solid Cardinals defense. Up against a turnover-prone Eagles offense, the Cardinals could come up big in Week 3 against Michael Vick and company.
Honorable mentions: Buffalo Bills team defense (at Cleveland Browns, 42% owned), Miami Dolphins team defense (vs. New York Jets, 5% owned), Atlanta Falcons team defense (at San Diego Chargers, 18% owned)
Andy Dalton Profile, Yahoo! Sports
Fantasy Football Brandon LaFell, CBS Sports
Dennis Pitta News & Notes, Yahoo! Sports
Fantasy Football Justin Tucker, CBS Sports
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