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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer


Through The Wire - Week 2
9/12/16; Updated: 9/13/16

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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business, but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious selections to help your team from week to week while you strive to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.



Carson Wentz

Sure, it was against the Browns but Carson Wentz was the right call to be the Eagles Week 1 starter.


Quarterbacks

Alex Smith, KC In the absence of Jamaal Charles, Smith (25-50 percent owned) completed 34-of-48 passes for 363 yards, two TDs and an INT in Sunday's win over the division rival Chargers. He added 15 yards and a TD on four rushes and stuck to his usual script of dumping off short passes to open targets underneath (24 of his 34 passes went to backs and tight ends). Fantasy owners normally dont have much to get excited about regarding Smith, known primarily as a game-manager, but the veteran QB flashed some athleticism and panache on Sunday in the comeback win that marked the first time in his three plus seasons that he went over 300 passing yards with more than one TD pass.

Brock Osweiler, HOU Osweiler has excellent weapons in DeAndre Hopkins and rookie WR Will Fuller (more on him later), and he played well in his debut for the Texans (22-for-35, 231-2-1, 16 rushing yards). Hes owned in about 50-75 percent of leagues and is worth adding as a solid-upside backup in 12-team leagues. The Texans will likely use a balanced attack this season, but hell be a little more free to throw downfield than he was in his seven starts for the Broncos last season, when he threw for over 300 yards just once.

Carson Wentz, PHI Owned in just 10-20 percent of leagues, Wentz will be a popular pickup this week after a sparkling NFL debut (278-2-0, lost fumble) and a 29-10 win over the lowly Browns. He was an unknown fantasy commodity heading into Week 1, and heads to the road to face the Bears in Week 2 where hell likely have a more difficult time.

Matthew Stafford, DET UPDATE: It never occurred to me that Stafford might be available in enough 10-team leagues to be of use in this column, but hes apparently still out there in almost 25 percent of ESPN leagues. This offense seems freed up by the retirement of Calvin Johnson, so dont hesitate to add Stafford as your main backup and possible spot starter in prime matchups.

Josh McCown, CLE – UPDATE: With RGIII on the shelf for most of the season, if not all of it, McCown takes over under center. This likely improves the value of TE Gary Barnidge, so despite the quiet Week 1 we could see more of him post-haste. McCown is a chucker, and the Browns have nothing to lose after the devastating Week 1 loss to the Eagles. Give him a look in deeper leagues and DFS going forward.

Running Backs

Theo Riddick, DET Ownership percentage for Riddick is all over the map (40-85 percent) as hes got much more value in PPR leagues and wasnt picked up in many shallow leagues despite the Lions plans to keep him involved in the run game. Riddick had 80-697-3 receiving last season but had just 43 rushes for 133 yards on the ground. In Week 1, he had seven carries for 45 yards and a TD and added 5-63-1 receiving. Its safe to assume that hell be snatched up in the balance of leagues heading into Week 2, so jump on him unless you have much more pressing needs.

UPDATE: Riddick had to pass a concussion protocol before returning to the game Sunday and rocking a couple of big runs, so he appears good to go heading into Week 2.

Isaiah Crowell, CLE
Hes about 70-90 percent owned and isnt sexy as fantasy options go, but Crowell is still getting carries and turned in a solid performance in Week 1 with 62 rushing yards and a TD on 12 carries and 2-16-0 receiving. Its already a thin field at RB in most formats, but Crowell is available in a couple of my 10-team leagues.

Christine Michael, SEA With ownership levels similar to Crowell, Michael is surely to close to 100 percent owned after Week 1, when he was much more effective than Thomas Rawls (ankle). It is hard to say exactly how this situation will play out when the Seahawks face the Rams next week, but expect a balanced timeshare between the two backs going forward until someone gets hot.

UPDATE: The Seahawks will likely play it safe and give Michael a bunch of carries against the Rams in Week 2. If you were disappointed in his performance against Miami, he might just get back in your good graces this week.

Jalen Richard, OAK While Latavius Murray is the lead back in Oakland and fellow rookie DeAndre Washington got much of the preseason hype, Richard (0-1 percent owned), an undrafted rookie out of Southern Miss, locked up a roster spot and had a stellar debut. He was third in carries behind the other backs but busted a big 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, totaling 84 rushing yards and adding 2-11-0 on two receiving targets. He may be buried a bit on the depth chart, but Richard has likely earned more snaps going forward.

Chris Thompson, WAS UPDATE: Matt Jones out-touched Thompson 8-6 and looked sluggish and still a little beat up, while Thompson appeared fresh and was a better participant in the passing offense. Despite assurances that Jones is fine, Thompson (four carries for 23 yards, TD; 2-16-0) saw more snaps Monday night and Im inclined to make room for the shifty Florida State back in deeper PPR leagues. He could be an overlooked weapon against the Cowboys in Week 2.

Shaun Draughn, SF UPDATE: There is no question that Carlos Hyde is the workhorse for the Niners, but Draughn is a solid passing down back who looked good in the opener (seven rushes for 18 yards and a TD; 2-18-0 receiving). Hes not as valuable as Darren Sproles or Theo Riddick, but could be worth adding as an RB4/5 in PPR leagues especially if they fall behind and need to play catch-up.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Willie Snead, NO Owned in about 75-80 percent of leagues heading into Week 1, Snead will be the first player selected to replace the injured Keenan Allen in most shallow leagues this week, while Fuller (below) gets that honor in most 12-team leagues. His 9-172-1 combined with Brandin Cooks 6-143-2 created a monster 315 receiving yards between the two gaudy numbers which came in a losing effort to Oakland.

Mohamed Sanu, ATL Sanus debut for the Falcons (5-80-1, 2XP on eight targets) went as swimmingly as his work during the preseason and in training camp, where he showed an early bond with Matt Ryan. While the former Bengal is owned in about 50-75 percent of fantasy leagues, theres a chance hes available in yours. The fourth-year receiver stands a good shot at eclipsing his solid 2014 numbers (57-790-5), which represent his career highs thus far.

UPDATE: Julio Jones tweaked his left ankle in the opener, so this could increase Sanus targets in the short-term. Stay tuned.

Will Fuller, HOU Fuller, a rookie out of Notre Dame, is owned in a little more than half of all fantasy leagues and had a wonderful debut for the Texans, hauling in 5-107-1 despite nursing an hamstring injury in practice last week. Hes a must-add in all formats and could be in line for a huge rookie season opposite Hopkins, who will draw frequent double coverage. Fullers not very big and there have been questions about his receiving skills but his speed and ability to add a vertical element to the Houston offense turned heads in the preseason.

Davante Adams, GB It looks like Adams (5-20 percent owned) could be more productive as a slot receiver in 2016 now that Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both healthy. The third-year WR made a nice TD catch on an Aaron Rodgers pass through a tight window Sunday, finishing with 3-50-1 in the win over Jacksonville. He wont be a consistent contributor, but theres no reason Adams should be left on the waiver wire heading into Sunday.

Nelson Agholor, PHI Agholor (5-10 percent owned) hauled in four of five targets for 57 yards and a score on Sunday. Almost completely absent from box scores in 2015, the beleaguered second-year receiver got his sophomore campaign off to a blistering start, scoring on a gorgeous 35-yard touchdown Sunday. Although he finished third in targets in Week 1, Agholor brings a dynamic dimension to the offense that Wentz will likely utilize going forward and hes available in almost all formats.

UPDATE: With TE Zach Ertz expected to miss a significant amount of time, Agholor could be a smart bet to pick up a few extra targets as an additional safety valve for Wentz.

Victor Cruz, NYG Cruz is probably not available in too many fantasy leagues based in New York, as Giants fans are insufferable homers when it comes to peppering their rosters with G-Men, but hes still out there in about 65-75 percent of leagues and makes a decent pickup after a strong 2016 debut. Knee and calf injuries forced him to miss the last two seasons, but a 4-34-1 performance (on four targets) means hell likely be in the fantasy mix this year if he can stay healthy.

Tyrell Williams, SD Williams (0-5 percent owned) caught two of five targets for 71 yards in Sunday's loss to Kansas City. The 6-4 WR is appears destined to follow in the footsteps of Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd as a tall-and-lanky small-school prospect with big-play ability who makes his mark for the Chargers. Should Allen's knee injury be season-ending, he and Dontrelle Inman (0-2 percent owned) will likely be the main beneficiaries along with more targets for Danny Woodhead and Antonio Gates. Williams was impressive in training camp and has the early edge in the competition to start opposite Travis Benjamin.

Eli Rogers, PIT UPDATE: Rogers had a dynamic debut (6-59-1) that included an early gaffe (a miscue that led to a Big Ben INT) and a 3-yard TD reception that bounced off teammate Sammie Coates in traffic. He was a presence in the slot and used frequently by Roethlisberger as a safety valve on underneath routes. The hype was warranted, and youll see his 10-20 percent ownership skyrocket heading into Week 2 against the Bengals.

Jeremy Kerley, SF UPDATE: Kerley (owned in just 0-5 percent of fantasy leagues) hauled in 7-61-0 on 11 targets on Monday night just a couple weeks after being acquired and making the 53-man roster. Hes a highly underrated PPR piece and will provide the 49ers with a steady veteran presence in the slot. He should be added in all 12-plus-team PPR leagues and should see about 8-10 targets per game in that role.

Tajae Sharpe, TEN UPDATE: Sharpe got the start in about 5-10 percent of fantasy leagues despite an ownership level around 40-60 percent. The rookie finished with 7-76-0 on 11 targets from Marcus Mariota in Week 1. Expect similar output with some upside for a possible TD when the Titans face the Lions in Week 2. This kid already has the trust of Mariota and theres not a lot of WRs clamoring for attention in Tennessee.

TE Clive Walford, OAK Walford (20-50 percent owned) had just 3-25-0 on five targets in Week 1, but he figures to be a bigger part of the Raiders offense this season. I personally expected more from Walford against the Saints with fellow Oakland TE Mychal Rivera inactive, notching the big guy as a cheap daily fantasy option at TE in a bunch of my GPPs, but the Raiders promise to be a bizarre team in 2016 capable of just about anything from week-to-week in terms of game plan and execution.

TE Jack Doyle, IND Doyle (0-1 percent owned) stole some of Dwayne Allens thunder by hauling in two TD passes from Andrew Luck, finishing with 3-35-2 on four targets in Week 1. After logging zero receptions during the preseason, he really surprised in the box score. The 6-6, 267-pound veteran is only worth adding in deep 16-20 team formats, as he probably won’t have many more two-TD games in his career.