As the dust settles on yet another incredible week of NFL season, fantasy football managers find themselves headed back to the waiver wire with another casualty to replace.
Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams was on his way to an outstanding day against the Vikings, collecting 121 yards and a touchdown on seven catches, but left in the third quarter after suffering a knee injury. Results from his Monday MRI exam revealed he suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season. Williams is an incredible talent and will be tough to replace, but resourceful fantasy managers know that help is on the way.
We can start with the “next man up” philosophy and look at the Chargers depth chart, where we see third-year wideout Joshua Palmer and rookie Quentin Johnston waiting in the wings.
Through the first three weeks of the season, Palmer has seen roughly a 60 percent snap share and nearly five targets per game as the team’s No. 3 receiver. He actually finished Sunday with seven targets, as the one who stepped into Williams’ role in the fourth quarter, and he is, without a doubt, your first target. But be sure to set up a contingency pick for Johnston in case you don’t get Palmer first.
Johnston was in competition for the team’s No. 3 throughout training camp, and there was a reason the Chargers took the 6-foot-4 TCU receiver in the first round of the 2023 draft. He’s got the size and speed to enhance the vertical passing game and also has the physicality to fight for contested catches.
Keenan Allen has lined up in the slot for 65 percent of his snaps, and we know Kellen Moore loves his three-receiver sets and shots downfield. If Johnston’s snap count jumps from the current 25 percent mark to the 60 percent Palmer was seeing, you’re going to see plenty of targets come his way.
And if all else fails, get yourself some Adam Thielen. The Panthers veteran wideout teamed up with veteran quarterback Andy Dalton to make 11 catches on 14 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown. With rookie Bryce Young expected to miss Week 4 against the defensively challenged Vikings, Thielen is primed for the ultimate revenge game, facing the team that discarded him during the offseason.
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Though injuries to top players can tear you up inside, your fantasy team needs you to hold it together and be the general manager they want leading them. The wide receiver position is flush with talent if you know where to look.
Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on X @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to Fantasy-Alarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.