Cole Beasley waiver wire Week 3: Will he have fantasy value in Tampa Bay?

With Cole Beasley heading to Tampa Bay, should fantasy managers target the slot WR on the Week 3 waiver wire or steer clear of this situation?

After news over the weekend that Cole Beasley was close to an NFL return, it was reported Tuesday morning that he is set to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. Does Beasley now have fantasy football value going forward, and should fantasy managers consider adding him on the Week 3 waiver wire?

Is Cole Beasley a player to target on the Week 3 waiver wire?

It is little surprise that the Buccaneers decided to make an addition at WR. Chris Godwin and Julio Jones both missed their Week 2 game against the New Orleans Saints, while Mike Evans is facing a one-game suspension after his ejection on Sunday.

That has left the Buccaneers thin at the position, with Russell Gage, Breshad Perriman, and Scotty Miller the top three on the depth chart.

While it is easy to overlook Beasley’s addition to the practice squad, he very well could be active as early as Week 3. Each team can elevate two practice squad members to the active roster per week. Last week, the Buccaneers elevated Kaylon Geiger, and this week, it could very easily (and likely) be Beasley.

Beasley’s addition would indicate that Godwin is perhaps still a couple of weeks away from returning at least. Godwin’s role for the Buccaneers is predominantly out of the slot, which is where Beasley has operated throughout his career. Across the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Godwin was targeted 211 times, an average of 8.1 targets per game.

While Beasley may not see that volume right away, he is a candidate for five-plus targets a game once active. That would then allow the Buccaneers to push Gage out wide, where he played the majority of the time in Atlanta. The question then becomes whether Beasley still has the dynamic ability to provide consistent fantasy value on that volume.

During his last three years in Buffalo, Beasley averaged just over seven targets per game. In 2019 and 2020, he finished as a WR3 option in 12-team leagues but fell to the WR58 in 2021. The big difference between those seasons was a drop in the depth of his targets and, correspondingly, a decrease in his yards before the catch.

In 2019 and 2020, his average depth of target (ADOT) was over 7.8 yards, with a yards before catch number of around seven. Those numbers dropped to 5.6 and 4.7 in 2021. Godwin’s ADOT with Brady in the past two years has been 10.2 and 7.3, respectively.

Interestingly, his average yards before the catch dropped to 5.3 in 2021, but he made up for it by averaging six yards per reception after the catch. At 33, Beasley does not have quite the same potential after the catch.

What should you do with Beasley in your leagues?

The fact the Buccaneers added Beasley to the practice squad initially is intriguing. That gives them two free elevations before they have to sign him to the main roster. Therefore, the long-term future of his position in Tampa Bay is uncertain at this stage.

Additionally, his fantasy value appears somewhat capped. If he sees a similar usage to Godwin in 2021, he would likely not have the same ceiling, as he is more limited after the catch.

Therefore, we can view Beasley as a short-term fringe WR3 option in PPR formats. He should be able to catch enough balls to be in contention as a starting option in those formats.

However, in non-PPR, he will likely sit just outside of the usable range in a 12-team league. Additionally, the lack of long-term clarity restricts how much you should invest in Beasley on the Week 3 waiver wire.

If you are in desperate need of WR help for Week 3, then a 5-10 percent FAAB bid or low- to mid-level waiver priority in PPR leagues is something to consider. However, he still sits behind the likes of Noah Brown, Jakobi Meyers, and Garrett Wilson on the priority list.

In non-PPR, limit your FAAB bid to closer to the five percent range or waiver priority to the lower levels because the upside is limited with adding Beasley in that format.

Remember that with all of this, we could be looking at Beasley as a potential player to cut as soon as Godwin returns. Based on the fact he was not placed on the IR, we expect that to be around Week 4 or Week 5. Therefore, getting carried away with Beasley because he is the new weapon for Brady is not a wise thing to do.

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