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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.
Sam Bradford looked comfortable running
the Vikings offense after only two weeks with the club.
Bradford, MIN – Bradford led his team to victory over
the rival Green Bay Packers in his Vikings debut, throwing for
286-2-0 on 22-for-31 passing. Over a third of those targets went
to Stefon Diggs, who’s discussed below. Bradford has never been
a gunslinger, favoring a measured approach over uninhibited chucking,
but on a team with such a strong lead back he might find more
room to operate downfield and show off his arm. He’s only owned
in about 10-25 percent of leagues and could be worth adding in
deeper formats, especially if your backup was RGIII or you’d like
to replace the unexciting options of Trevor Siemian or Blaine
Tannehill, MIA – Like Bradford, Tannehill (available
in 40-60 percent of leagues) is an underachiever, but he had a
monster Week 2, throwing for 389-2-2 and rushing for 35 yards.
What that stat summary doesn’t show is that Tannehill didn’t complete
a pass until the second quarter, and much of the yardage he compiled
was late in the game with the Dolphins frantically playing catchup.
There are still fractals of light popping through the rock wall
at the end of the tunnel, but the Dolphins train is going to need
to pick up a lot of steam with Arian Foster already fighting a
groin injury and facing a slew of tougher defenses after Week
3 (Browns). He may be a one-week plug-and-play at home versus
Cleveland, and only a drastic sea change in offensive philosophy
can profoundly affect his value going forward.
Flacco, BAL –UPDATE:
It’s almost a universal law that whenever I include Flacco in
this column, he flames out spectacularly that week, but he’s available
in about 40-50 percent of fantasy leagues and there are more inconsistent
QBs being scooped off the wire. Flacco has three TD passes (all
Wallace) through two weeks and 560 passing yards (as well
as three turnovers: two INTs and a fumble). He’s more experienced
Wentz and gets Jacksonville in Week 3, Oakland in Week 4 and
Washington in Week 5. He’s worth adding in 12-team leagues and
might make a nice spot starter in deeper formats ahead of guys
Taylor and Jameis
Winston, who all have tough matchups.
Hoyer, CHI –UPDATE:
Just kidding. Don’t grab Hoyer unless you’re in a 14- or
16-team league and you don’t have a backup. He’s pretty
awful, and even a tasty matchup against the Cowboys (assuming
Jay Cutler’s mangled thumb keeps him out) can’t bring
his upside to the point where it’s worth the risk. I’d
have Hoyer ranked about 28th this week, which only puts him ahead
of guys like Siemian, Gabbert, rookie Cody Kessler and Rams QB
Smith, KC – Now there’s the Alex Smith we know. Smith
(about 40-50 percent owned) was an unmitigated fantasy disaster
Sunday, finishing with 186-0-0 and two lost fumbles. It was facing
the Texans, but there’s just not enough consistent upside to make
me roll him out versus the Jets or Steelers in the next two weeks.
He’s also on bye Week 5. He’s a drop candidate if you’re willing
to take a shot on Bradford or Tannehill.
Osweiler, HOU – Osweiler had 268-1-2 against the Chiefs
and has a relatively difficult schedule coming as well. He’s got
weapons, but there’s just not enough upside given what we’ve seen
the first couple weeks.
Wentz, PHI –UPDATE: Wentz successfully navigated the
enemy territory at Soldier Field (190-1-0, 10 rushing yards) en
route to his second consecutive victory to start his career –
becoming the first rookie QB in NFL history to do so without a
turnover. He’s a must-own in 12-team leagues and could warrant
a start or two down the road in the right matchup.
Stafford, DET – Stafford also had a disappointing Week
2 performance throwing for 260-1-1 with 30 rushing yards in what
should have been a better matchup for the Lions offense. Stafford
was scooped up in whatever leagues he was still available in,
but Week 3 facing the struggling Packers could be a better chance
for him to break out. Don’t give up on him just yet.
McCown, CLE – McCown briefly left the game with a possible
shoulder injury but returned and threw a couple TD passes to Corey
Coleman (more on him below), finishing with 260-2-2. He’s a hit-or-miss
fantasy option with laudable upside and a dank dirt basement for
a fantasy floor.
Editor’s Note: Reports
early this morning indicate McCown’s shoulder injury could be
Ajayi, MIA – Ajayi took over the reins from Foster
(groin) and rushed five times for 14 yards in Miami's Week 2 loss
to the Dolphins, adding four catches for 31 additional yards and
a lost fumble. He’s not a world beater and isn’t likely to engender
much interest following a poor performance in what looks like
a full-fledged RB committee, but the Boise State product will
likely be the lead back in Week 3 facing the hapless Browns defense
– and could make a low-end RB2 if he can hold onto the football.
UPDATE: Adam Gase said Monday that Foster is day-to-day, which
still leaves the possibility of him playing against the Browns.
If not, Ajayi will be joined in a timeshare by Kenyan Drake, who
scored on a late TD against the Pats in Week 2 and could be the
better PPR back.
Whittaker, CAR – Whittaker replaced an injured Jonathan
Stewart (hamstring, ankle) in the first quarter and finished with
16 carries for 100 yards and 3-31-0 receiving in Sunday's Week
2 win over the 49ers. He briefly left to be checked for a concussion
after a second-quarter fumble, but only missed one drive. Stewart
is going to miss “a week or two”, so Whittaker (almost universally
available in all fantasy leagues) will be a popular pickup and
will fight for carries with Cameron Artis-Payne – a healthy scratch
the first two weeks.
UPDATE: A day later, it looks about what we expected; Stewart
will miss anywhere from 1-6 weeks (we still don’t have an
official diagnosis on the severity of the hamstring injury), Artis-Payne
will be activated and assume a change-of-pace role, and Mike Tolbert
will vulture some crucial touches where the good stuff happens.
It’s likely a situation to avoid, but Whittaker probably
has the most value.
Morris, DAL – Ezekiel Elliott didn’t have a carry after
his second fumble on Sunday, and Morris only managed seven yards
on his five carries – but he did have a TD and is a must-own handcuff
for Zeke owners and a solid bench stash in 12-plus team leagues.
McKinnon & Matt
Asiata, MIN –UPDATE:
The torn meniscus suffered by Adrian Peterson won’t end
his season, but it’s likely to keep him out of Week 3 against
the Panthers and require a multi-week absence. Peterson is a notoriously
fast healer, and neither Asiata nor McKinnon are meaningful long-term
adds but I’ve seen some screenshots of seriously depleted
rosters sent to me in the past few days (I’m looking at
you, Langer!) and both of these guys will be picking up extra
touches. It’s likely to be a 65-35 split (McKinnon-Asiata),
but the latter could exceed the former’s value by picking
up additional goal-line work.
Farrow & Andre
Williams, SD –UPDATE:
Farrow is a relatively unknown rookie commodity with some latent
value. Williams was a healthy scratch the first couple weeks,
but with Danny Woodhead (torn ACL) out for the year, somebody’s
going to have to back up Melvin Gordon, who’s now a high-upside
fantasy RB1. Williams got a bad reputation as a weak runner during
his time with the Giants, but if Farrow falters or fumbles away
the backup role, he could see a mild fantasy resurgence in San
Riddick, DET – Riddick had a relatively quiet Week
2 but he remains heavily involved in the passing game and could
pick up additional carries if Ameer Abdullah (foot) misses any
UPDATE: Abdullah is unfortunately headed to North Carolina to
meet with Dr. Robert Anderson, a well-known specialist, about
his sprained foot. That probably means Riddick and rookie Dwayne
Washington will handle the load for Week 3 and the immediate future.
Riddick’s value is well-known, but Washington (at 6-1, 223
pounds) offers a more punishing style more suited to goal line
work and short yardage. He makes a nice dynasty stash and could
emerge as the primary ball carrier if Abdullah misses an extended
period of time.
Crowell, CLE – Through two weeks, Crowell (about 75-90
percent owned) has been a top 15 fantasy back, even in PPR formats
that tend to favor the complementary Duke Johnson. Crowell’s ownership
went up after a solid Week 1, and after his 133 yards and a TD
on 18 carries in Week 2 (most of the yardage came on an early
85-yard TD run), he won’t be available in many.
Michael, SEA – Despite reports that Thomas Rawls (ankle)
was ready to go for Week 2, Michael assumed much of the workload
after Rawls exited following a leg contusion. The Seahawks may
have just been playing it safe, but they lost the game despite
an admirable performance form Michael. The fourth-year back had
60 yards on 10 carries and a lost fumble adding 3-26-0 on four
Richard, OAK – Richard totaled just 17 yards on seven
carries in Week 2. The Raiders employed a three-man RBBC on Sunday
and Richard might be best left to deep dynasty leagues.
Thompson, WAS – Thompson had 3-57-0 on four targets
but managed just one rushing yard on two carries. He’s definitely
second fiddle to Matt Jones but should continue to see work in
the passing game. When Washington falls behind – which should
happen quite a bit this season – he could make a sneaky-and-cheap
Draughn, SF – Draughn had nine carries for 21 yards
in the loss to Carolina. At best, he’s a deep-league stash.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Diggs, MIN – I was down on Diggs heading into 2016
with the conservative Teddy Bridgewater at the helm and most touts
showing more excitement for the raw talent of rookie Laquon Treadwell,
and I demoted him even further after the injury to the Vikings
signal caller. But both Shaun Hill in Week 1 (7-103-0, nine targets)
and Bradford (9-182-1, 11 targets) seem enamored with getting
the ball to the shifty playmaker. He’s only available in about
5-20 percent of fantasy leagues, but if he’s somehow still available
in yours (maybe a 10-teamer?), he makes one of the top adds of
Coleman, CLE – Coleman is available in about 20-40
percent of fantasy leagues despite leading the NCAAs in receiving
TDs last year and 69 yards in Week 1 – I neglected to include
him last week (as I picked him up in one 10-team league and should
have been aware he’d be available in some) and regret his omission.
He clicked with Josh McCown (5-104-2 on eight targets) in Week
2 and seems a decent bet for WR3 value on a team that has nothing
to lose but more games.
UPDATE: With McCown (shoulder) likely down for multiple weeks,
Coleman’s immediate value takes a hit, especially given
the uncertainty of rookie Cody Kessler. The Browns situation just
went from bad to much, much worse.
Austin, LAR – He’s a longshot for viable week-to-week
production, and had just 5-50-0 on nine targets in Week 2, but
he’s been targeted 21 times in two games and has an excellent
matchup in Week 3 facing the Buccaneers, who will likely crowd
the box to stop Todd Gurley.
Dorsett, IND – Donte Moncrief is having an MRI on his
injured shoulder, vaulting Dorsett – who had an impressive training
camp – into must-own territory should the injury be serious. Dorsett’s
ownership levels are all over the place depending on league size
and format (he currently ranges from about 35-70 percent owned),
but the Colts schedule gets a lot more pleasant in the coming
weeks and Dorsett’s 120 receiving yards through two games could
triple after tilts with San Diego and Jacksonville in weeks 3
Enunwa, NYJ – Enunwa, (who is admittedly dealing with
a rib injury suffered in Week 2) is physically between a WR and
small TE, and he took on a Gronk-like role for the Jets on Thursday
against the Bills, finishing with 6-92-0 on six targets from Ryan
Fitzpatrick (giving him 13-146-1 on 14 targets through two games).
He’s the third option following Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker,
but on a team boasting better offensive weapons in 2016, he could
make a big impact. He’s just 15-25 percent owned and is definitely
worth adding in 12-team and deeper formats. I really like how
this guy plays and runs with the football after the catch – just
keep an eye on that rib injury.
Beasley, DAL – “The Beas” was once again a fantasy
factor and a Dak Prescott favorite, catching 5-75-0 on six targets
from the rookie QB. He’s a must-own in 12-team PPR leagues.
Crowder, WAS – The unheralded diminutive 5-8, 185-pound
Duke product (owned in just 10-20 percent of fantasy leagues)
is still developing in his sophomore campaign and now has six-catch
games in back-to-back weeks for Washington, adding 6-39-1 in the
loss to Dallas. He’s a must-own in deeper PPR formats and a viable
WR4/5 in 14-team leagues.
Tamme, ATL – Tamme hauled in 5-75-1 on eight targets
in the Falcons' Week 2 win over the Raiders. He’s been an undeniable
factor in Atlanta's offense in back-to-back games, and while rookie
Austin Hooper is getting some playing time, the veteran Tamme
is locked in as the primary pass-catching TE. He’s easily a low-end
fantasy TE1 given the current scenario.
Pitta, BAL –UPDATE:
Only Wallace has hauled in a TD passes for the Ravens, but that
could change this week at Jacksonville. Pitta had 9-102-0 on 12
targets from Flacco Sunday, and he figures to be a low-end TE1
going forward with decent upside despite being owned in just 10-15
percent of fantasy leagues heading into Week 3.
Snead, NO – It’s now too late to grab Snead, who finished
with 5-54-1 on Sunday.
Sanu, ATL – Sanu was notably quiet during Week 2 but
finished with 3-19-0 on five targets. He could see more work Julio
Jones misses any time with his ankle injury. Stay tuned.
Fuller, HOU – With his second 100-yard game in as many
weeks, Fuller became just the second receiver in NFL history to
record 100 receiving yards in each of his first two NFL games.
He finished with 4-104-0 on seven targets and appears to be the
real deal. A top 10 fantasy receiver who was started in just 35
percent of leagues in Week 2, Fuller is gone from almost all free
agent pools now.
Adams, GB – Adams had just 3-26-0 in Week 2 but is
still worth rostering in better matchups.
Agholor, PHI –UPDATE: Agholor had 4-42-0 on seven
targets Monday night but is still struggling with drops. He’s
shown some improvement with his route-running and seems to fit
well into the offense, but his maturity needs a sharper upward
gradient if he wants the opportunities to continue.
Cruz, NYG – Cruz didn’t get to dance, but he played
74-of-79 snaps in Week 2 against the Saints and finished with
4-91-0 on eight targets. It pains me to say this, but he’s worth
owning in all 12-team formats.
Williams, SD – The 6-foot-4 Williams caught 3-of-6
targets for 61 yards and a TD in Week 2 against the Jaguars, and
makes a great big play complement to the WR1 brilliance of Travis
Benjamin and the red zone work of Antonio Gates. He’s not going
to have a big week every time out, but he’s got upside.
Rogers, PIT – Rogers (1-9-0 on three targets) failed
capitalize on Markus Wheaton’s absence in Week 2 but remains a
viable fantasy option in deeper formats.
Kerley, SF – Kerley returned to Earth and caught 3-of-6
targets for 29 yards in Week 2. He’s still a decent PPR league
bench player on an NFL team that’s looking for steady options.
Sharpe, TEN – Sharpe burned fantasy owners with lackluster
Week 2 (4-33-0 on seven targets) but he played every offensive
snap for the Titans and seems to have a lock on the No.1 WR role
in Tennessee. This was a bad week for a relatively bad offense.
Walford, OAK – There he is! Walford caught 6-of-7 targets
for 50 yards and a score in the Raiders' Week 2 loss to Atlanta,
and looks to be the No.1 TE for Oakland and one of Derek Carr’s
favorite targets. He’s a risk-reward, low-end TE1 moving forward,
but there aren’t a whole lot of steady TE options in the league
right now outside of the injured Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Jordan
Reed and Delanie Walker. Walford is probably a Top 12 or 15 TE
with upside and could be on par with Dwayne Allen as a boom-or-bust
Doyle, IND – Doyle had 4-37-0 on five targets in the
loss to Denver and remains a low-end TE2 with upside.