Last-minute pickups for Week 3 include Frank Gore, Rex Burkhead

AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Each week of the NFL campaign, we will sift through the deeper options at each position with an eye on identifying streaming fantasy commodities with valuable matchups to consider.

Do you need replacement options for injured or suspended players? Or are you merely dealing with depth issues? We have some choice names to consider for those seeking widely available options at each position.


Editor's note: Rostered percentages have been updated since column published on Tuesday, so some players are less likely to be available than they were earlier in the week.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (69.2% rostered; vs. Bengals)

Allen, coincidentally, reminds me of Tyrod Taylor a bit as a fantasy option -- Taylor was a stellar streaming option for much of his starting tenure with the Bills thanks to the high fantasy floor his rushing production supported. Allen's 10 rushing scores since the start of last season are most among quarterbacks and tied for sixth most among all players. Per the passing phase, Allen is quietly averaging just over 250 passing yards thanks in large part to productive early rapport with offseason acquisitions Cole Beasley and John Brown. The Bengals come to Orchard Park this week allowing a wildly generous 11 yards per attempt to opposing arms through two weeks, with only the lowly Dolphins (11.9) proving weaker against the pass on a per-attempt basis. Many people took this advice earlier this week, and it's much less likely he's still available in your league. But if he is, you know what to do.

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers (10.3% rostered; at 49ers)

In traditional fantasy formats that ask you start one quarterback, I might prefer to stream Rudolph's opponent, Jimmy Garoppolo (24.3% rostered), given how well the 49ers moved the ball in Week 2 in Cincinnati. To satisfy the growing subset of leagues that feature multiple quarterbacks and superflex inclusions, it's worth mentioning the widely available Rudolph as a viable play. Thrust into action against the Seahawks on Sunday in place of Ben Roethlisberger due to a season-ending elbow injury, Rudolph tallied two touchdowns and kept his team competitive in a close loss. The 49ers have the league's lowest blitz rate through two weeks and have proved susceptible to the big play in the passing phase, but this is admittedly also somewhat of a gut call based on some quality preseason and Week 2 tape from Rudolph.

Running back

Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots (14.6% rostered; vs. Jets)

The Patriots' leader in scrimmage yards (153) through two weeks is surprisingly Burkhead. It's time to flex Rex in all formats now that it's clear he's going to play a meaningful role, and that was the case even before we learned James White would miss Sunday's game due to his child's birth. Burkhead is enjoying an awesome 4.15 yards before initial contact per rush thus far, signaling dual-threat potential helping to fuel solid yardage results. Facing a reeling Jets defense that could again be without elite linebacker C.J. Mosley helps Burkhead's case as a streaming option this week, as does his team's perch as massive home favorites, as there is noted positive correlation between running back production for teams that are sizable home favorites.

Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills (40.6% rostered; vs. Bengals)

Exciting Bills rookie Devin Singletary was 7 years old when Gore made his NFL debut for the 49ers in a win over the St. Louis Rams back in 2005. There's a reasonable argument that Singletary should eventually become the Bills' featured back given he's averaging nearly 13 yards per carry and is a real threat in the passing phase, but the talented FAU product is dealing with a hamstring ailment and it still simply appears the staff trusts Gore's veteran savvy enough to afford him valuable opportunities on offense. Gore, for example, leads the team with four touches in the red zone already and has compiled 32 total touches to Singletary's 15. Per the favorable matchup, the Bengals are one of just three teams to have allowed at least 2,100 rushing yards to tailbacks since the start of last season and one of just two allowing as many as five yards per carry to opposing backs.

Wide receiver

Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys (28.9% rostered; vs. Dolphins)

With Michael Gallup expected to miss multiple weeks due to a knee injury, Cobb, who is currently third on the team in routes run, receptions and receiving yardage, could emerge as a more premier target for Dak Prescott. The other factor buoying Cobb's appeal this week is facing the Dolphins, a team proving historically poor on defense, particularly against receiving threats. We can still expect Cobb to do most of his damage after the catch given a Beasley-like role for the Boys, but the combination of a potential uptick in usage in a great matchup propels this veteran receiver into the flex tier in PPR leagues.

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (27.2% rostered; vs. Lions)

Early reports suggest Alshon Jeffery's calf injury could land him on the doubtful side of the availability spectrum for this visit from the Lions, while DeSean Jackson's groin ailment isn't considered as serious. With two games in the next 10 days, Philly could prove cautious with these soft-tissue injuries to key playmakers. The Lions have allowed the most yards per catch to receivers (14.3) since the start of last season, suggesting there is some upside for Agholor this Sunday in South Philly, especially as he was so close to breaking several big plays in Atlanta this past week as the top target of Carson Wentz.

Tight end

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (37.5% rostered; vs. Dolphins)

Another affordable path to the Dallas offense could be deploying Witten in his quest to score a touchdown in every game this season. You can expect some regression to hit Witten's scoring pattern, since he's seeing just 12.9 percent of the team's targets, but one important element working in his favor is the fact he's tied with Travis Kelce for fourth in the league with three targets within 10 yards of the goal line this season. Most streaming tight end plays are essentially touchdown-or-bust outcomes and Witten's unique red zone role in context with this choice matchup with Miami's weak back seven could drive yet another solid showing.

Defense/special teams

Seattle Seahawks (14.7% rostered; vs. Saints)

The Saints will be without Drew Brees this Sunday afternoon, and we don't yet know how Teddy Bridgewater will handle a difficult road game in Seattle. Bridgewater netted just 5.5 yards per attempt in spot duty for Brees last week against the Rams while getting sacked twice on 32 dropbacks and producing one fumble that his team recovered. The Seahawks are 12th in pressuring quarterbacks (per dropback) this season and compiled five sacks at home in Week 1. Bridgewater, meanwhile, has completed just 46 percent of his attempts with a nearly even interception-to-touchdown ratio while pressured in the pocket since 2014. The Saints' bevy of skill weapons and Bridgewater's experience behind center do present some risk for this Seattle D/ST, but with the point total dipping below 45 and with the Seahawks positioned as solid favorites, there are several strong indicators that this group should prove productive in Week 3.

Green Bay Packers (52.6% rostered; vs. Broncos)

A retooled defensive roster is thriving thus far in 2019 in allowing the fifth-fewest points per drive (1.07) while forcing a turnover on 26.7 percent of enemy drives, good for the second-best rate in the league. The Packers have pressured opposing passers on 42.9 percent of dropbacks, the third-highest clip in the league. Hosting an immobile Joe Flacco in Lambeau this week, Green Bay's defense should be considered an ideal streaming target. Much like Allen above, many of you took this advice, as this defense has seen its rostered rate increase significantly since Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.0% rostered; vs. Giants)

The Bucs' defense made Cam Newton look like, well, Eli Manning last week. This week, they face Manning's former understudy Daniel Jones, who will be making his first career start. The Bucs have yet to shake their well-earned reputation as a subpar defense from the past several seasons, but there is some reason to believe this D/ST's revival is legitimate, at least for the purposes of streaming this week. For instance, the Bucs have blitzed opposing passers on 46.4 percent of dropbacks thus far, sixth most in the league and a hallmark of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' aggressive tendencies. This has helped the Bucs force the ball out earlier and in turn, they claim the league's sixth-best interception rate. Facing a Giants offense that claims a few special playmakers but serious questions behind center could prove rewarding for those in deeper formats this week.

Individual defensive players

Defensive line

Dante Fowler Jr., Los Angeles Rams (13.3% rostered; at Browns)

The Browns have allowed Baker Mayfield to get pressured on nearly 29 percent of his dropbacks, a rate well above league average and an indicator that Fowler could thrive against a somewhat leaky Cleveland line. With a career-best tackle percentage and established pass-rush skills, Fowler is a strong streaming option for Week 3.

Defensive back

Terrell Edmunds, Pittsburgh Steelers (6.5% rostered; at 49ers)

It's often not a good sign for a defense to have a safety tied for the team lead in tackles, as Edmunds has been quite busy corralling ball carriers in the second level. With a presence on all 139 defensive snaps for the Steelers this season, Edmunds could continue to mimic linebacker-like tackle production in San Francisco this week.