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    Is Darrel Williams or Eno Benjamin a waiver wire add in Week 3?

    Should fantasy football managers target Darrel Williams or Eno Benjamin on the Week 3 waiver wire after James Conner's injury last week?

    Last week we saw both Darrel Williams and Eno Benjamin having to step up as James Conner left the game with an ankle injury. As we wait for further news on Conner’s timeline, should fantasy football managers add either Benjamin or Williams on the Week 3 waiver wire? Let’s take a look a closer look at the Arizona Cardinals‘ backfield situation.

    Should you add Darrel Williams or Eno Benjamin on the Week 3 waiver wire?

    The timeline of Conner’s injury is key to determining the value of Williams and Benjamin on the waiver wire. As of Tuesday morning, all we know is that Conner’s injury is not deemed serious or long term, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The fact that Conner remained on the sideline during the game and did not head to the locker room already indicated that, but we got some level of confirmation on Monday morning.

    However, ankle injuries can be tricky for a football player. They are easy injuries to aggravate when making cuts and avoiding tacklers. Therefore, just because it may not be considered serious or long term now does not mean Conner is completely out of the woods. Therefore, fantasy managers need to be prepared going forward. If the injury is still causing a slight issue during the week, the Cardinals may even decide to sit him for Week 3.

    With that in mind, let’s examine the merits of both Williams and Benjamin as Week 3 waiver wire targets. With both of them less than 5% rostered in ESPN leagues, fantasy managers will likely have a tough decision to make.

    Williams had a good day in relief of Conner last week

    It was somewhat surprising when Williams did not see a single snap in Week 1 of the 2022 season. However, even before the injury to Conner, we started to see him working in a little more. Conner was still clearly the lead back, but Williams and Benjamin were both getting opportunities.

    After the injury, Williams split snaps with Benjamin but greatly outperformed him in the run game. Williams took his eight attempts for 59 yards, while Benjamin managed just 31 on his eight. Williams only recorded three yards on two receptions but crucially was on the field for all the goal-line opportunities. That goal-line role for the Cardinals is one that Conner proved last year is extremely valuable for fantasy managers.

    Benjamin struggled somewhat this week

    The only real saving grace for Benjamin was his work in the receiving game. He turned his four targets into three receptions for 20 yards. It meant he finished with a 51-yard performance on 11 touches. Not great, but not a disaster either if you started him in deeper leagues.

    Watching the game, it very much felt like Williams slid into the Conner role, while Benjamin remained in as a change-of-pace back, but with a slightly higher workload than he had with Conner. This is the second year running when the starting back or backs have gone down for Arizona, and Benjamin has not been given the opportunity to step and lead the unit. That is somewhat telling about how the coaching staff appears to view him right now.

    Of course, that could change if Conner is out this week and Benjamin gets a full set of practices as the starter. However, that is two ifs we need to happen for Benjamin to be a reliable fantasy starter.

    Williams or Benjamin?

    My priority on these two this week is Williams over Benjamin. The goal-line work is so incredibly valuable for fantasy football, and Williams had a firm grip on it. He also looked like the more dynamic of the two backs when he was on the field. If Conner is out, he would be the one I would feel more comfortable starting in a 12-team league.

    If you are speculating on a starting RB option for Week 3, Williams would be my second priority this week. J.D. McKissic is available in more than 55% of ESPN leagues and would be the first priority, especially in PPR formats. Otherwise, it is Williams in what is a rather bleak set of waiver wire options at RB this week. The news of Conner’s injury being serious limits the amount I am willing to offer to around 5-10% of my budget.

    Benjamin is someone to target in 14-team leagues or deeper. It is hard to project him ever having enough of the work to be a 12-team league starter. If you were going to project which of Williams or Benjamin gets 70% of the work out of the backfield in Conner’s absence, you would lean to Williams.

    However, regardless of whether it is Conner or Williams leading the backfield, Benjamin appears to have a role in the offense. That gives him enough standalone value in deeper leagues to be well worth a waiver wire add. In those deeper leagues, if you need a player you can trust on a weekly basis to just give you something, Benjamin actually jumps above Williams. It seems that Williams’ value depends on Conner missing time, while Benjamin has more standalone value.

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