Part of the reason the start of the NFL season is always fun is finding the names that emerge seemingly from nowhere for fantasy football purposes. If you had told me a month ago that Ashton Dulin would be a Week 3 waiver target, I wouldn’t have believed it. Yet, here we are after he’s seen consistent usage through the first two weeks. Let’s examine what Dulin’s projections look like going forward and whether he’s worth adding on the Week 3 waiver wire.
Is Ashton Dulin a Week 3 waiver wire target for fantasy managers?
Entering the season, Dulin appeared to be behind Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell in terms of the Colts’ WR depth chart. In Week 1, we got conflicting signals. Pittman, Campbell, and Pierce all played a higher proportion of snaps, but Dulin finished third at the position in targets with six.
The Colts then lost both Pierce and Pittman to injury in Week 2, opening up the depth chart for Dulin, who played on 64% of the offensive snaps and saw a further seven targets as well as getting a carry. While his snap number remained third on the team in Week 2, Dulin led the team in targets. He finished the game with two more targets than Campbell and Mike Strachan combined.
Can Ashton Dulin’s playing time remain high enough going forward?
This is really the big question. Six targets in Week 1 on 32 snaps is an extremely high ratio, which would likely be unsustainable. Therefore, Dulin needs to get more playing time, and that will likely come at Campbell’s expense if anyone. Dulin has the versatility to take the role that Campbell has seen in the slot. He has a solid all-around game, which is needed for that position.
When Pittman comes back, he will most likely slot back in as the clear No. 1. But at this point, we don’t have a clear timetable for his quad injury. Frank Reich seemed unconcerned last week, suggesting it’s not something they view as a long-term issue. Therefore, we should expect Pittman to slot straight back in at some point in the near future, and his 25% target share is something we can pencil in most weeks when he is active.
Pierce is dealing with a concussion, which is always hard to predict. However, in Week 1, he saw just two targets and dropped a wide-open touchdown reception. He’s certainly no lock to limit Dulin, who can also operate out wide effectively.
There is certainly a path to Dulin having a role in this offense going forward. When Pittman is back, we should project Dulin’s target share to be closer to the 12% we saw in Week 1, as opposed to the 23% he saw against the Jaguars. The question is whether that will be enough volume if the Colts are throwing the ball 30 times a game and leaning on the run with Jonathan Taylor. At around three to four targets per game, Dulin’s fantasy output will be limited if he doesn’t find the end zone.
What should we do with Dulin on the Week 3 waiver wire?
Where Dulin sits among the priorities this week is tough. At WR, there are some juicy options on the Week 3 waiver wire. He’s almost certainly behind Noah Brown, Jakobi Meyers, Sterling Shepard, and Garrett Wilson. Greg Dortch arguably has a higher short-term upside, but Dulin might be the better long-term play.
If Dulin gets the usage we project (12%), then he needs touchdowns to have consistent fantasy value as a potential 12-team starter. He did see two red-zone targets in Week 1 against the Texans — both inside the 10-yard line — which is promising. He didn’t see any red-zone targets in Week 2, but the Colts only had seven red-zone plays all game, making it hard to judge.
With all of this in mind, Dulin’s value sits as a back-end-of-the-bench type priority in 12-team leagues. He’s an intriguing player to add in order to observe if this strong start through two weeks continues. If Dulin continues to see 5+ targets per game and pushes past Pierce and Campbell as a starter, then he will have Flex value down the line. However, those types of players are really only worth a minimal priority on waivers at this point in the season.
In deeper leagues, he’s more intriguing as a 5% FAAB option, especially as a short-term consideration if Pierce and Pittman miss more time.