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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.
Ryan Fitzmagic will certainly be a popular
waiver add for Week 2 but how long can he keep the job?
Mahomes, KC – I didn’t include Mahomes in my original
column because I didn’t even consider he’d go undrafted in some
leagues, but he was available in almost 25 percent of ESPN leagues
heading into Week 1. The strong-armed Chiefs starting QB is now
likely to be seen as a fantasy starter in 14-team leagues and
even some 12-team formats, especially with some of the underwhelming
outings of the veterans around his tier. Mahomes threw for 256-4-0
with no turnovers and 21 rushing yards, and he’ll bring that upside
most weeks this season.
Fitzpatrick, TB – Fitzpatrick (1-5 percent owned) had
a career day Sunday, throwing for 417-4-0 and rushing for 36 yards
and a TD. Some had predicted a shootout in the Saints-Bucs game,
but the journeyman QB ended up upsetting a New Orleans team that
was a huge favorite heading into Week 1. He turned 36 in November,
but there’s a good shot he holds onto the starting gig for a while
– even when Winston is available to play. He needs to be rostered
in 12-team leagues.
Trubisky, CHI – Trubisky looked sharp in the early
going before he had to protect a lead, but there were plenty of
good things to take away from what turned out to be a tough loss
to the Packers. The numbers weren’t great (23-35, 171-0-0; 7-32-1)
and he still needs to grasp Matt Nagy’s new offense, but we could
see QB2 status if he continues to improve.
Darnold, NYJ –UPDATE:
Darnold completed 16-of-21 passes after opening the game with
a pick-six, settling into a 198-2-1 day in a rout of Detroit.
He was smart, athletic, and showed off a strong and accurate arm
on his throws, keeping counsel with Josh McCown throughout the
game. There’s a good chance Darnold is a viable backup and
bye week fill-in this season, so I recommend adding him in 12-team
leagues over the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Dak Prescott and Sam
Bradford, to name a few.
Smith, WAS – Passing for 255-2-0 without a turnover,
Alex Smith looked like he’s found a solid home and a good fit
in Washington – a team that could definitely use his calming presence.
Smith will be on the radar as a QB2 each week and could be worth
some spot starts, DFS and/or bye week fill-in work.
Dalton, CIN – Dalton took a while wot get hot, but
his big second half allowed him to finish with 243-2-1 in the
win over Indy. He’ll have a tougher time facing the Ravens in
Week 2, but he’s worth a roster spot in 12-team leagues.
Prescott, DAL – After seeing Dak underperform against
a relatively beatable defense in Week 1, I’d be selling or dropping
him in favor of Fitzpatrick and Trubisky.
Keenum, DEN – Keenum was his usual gun-slinging self
Sunday, throwing for 329-3-3 in the win over Seattle. The offense
looks a lot more potent with Keenum under center and the veteran
QB is worth owning as backup in 12-team leagues for his upside.
He’s going to turn the ball over, but there’s a lot to like about
Carr, OAK –UPDATE: Carr completed 29-of-40 passes
for 303-0-3 in the Raiders' Week 1 loss to the Rams. He had a
solid first half and then the Rams just bulldozed Jon Gruden’s
squad. He relied heavily on Jared Cook and only targeted Amari
Cooper three times the entire game. It’s going to be tough
to trust Carr after a poor 2017 in an offense where he isn’t
asked to make a lot of downfield throws.
Ekeler, SD – Ekeler looked just as good as Melvin Gordon
in his role as the secondary back Sunday, rushing for 39 yards
on five carries and hauling in 5-87-1 on his five targets. Gordon
was solid too, rushing for 64 yards and recording 9-102-0 through
the air on 13 targets. This could be closer to a 60-40 split if
Ekeler (10-15 percent owned) keeps this up.
Lindsay, DEN –UPDATE:With
the Broncos backfield looking more like a committee than a lopsided
split, Lindsay appears to be headed for a viable fantasy workload
in 2018. One game isn’t enough to see the entire picture,
but this could develop into a hot hand approach or simply a “stay
out of the doghouse” scenario for these relatively inexperienced
backs. Lindsay rushed 15 times for 71 yards and hauled in 2-of-3
targets for 31 yards and a TD, so more than anything this effectively
closes the book on Devontae Booker’s relevance until an
injury happens to Royce Freeman or Lindsay.
Yeldon, JAC – Yeldon filled in for an injured Leonard
Fournette (hamstring) and rushed for 51 yards on 14 carries, adding
3-18-1 in an eked-out win for the Jags. He’s worth adding as a
flex option if he starts, and remains a necessary handcuff for
Fournette owners even if and when the starting RB gets back on
UPDATE: Leonard Fournette’s hamstring strain is apparently
mild, and he could be active as early as this week against the
Patriots. Still, this is a situation to monitor closely as workload
concerns and Fournette’s oft-injured ankles could present
more opportunities for Yeldon this season.
Sproles, PHI – Sproles looked excellent as the passing
down back in his first regular season game action since Week 3
of last season. He’s a fringe RB4 in PPR leagues.
Breida, SF – Breida rushed the ball 11 times for 46
and caught 1-5-0 on two targets Sunday. Touches were split equally
among Breida and Alfred Morris, with Morris favored moving forward
in positive game scripts and Breida getting more looks when the
49ers are trailing.
Peterson, WAS – Peterson finished with 96 rushing yards
and a TD on 26 carries, handling a monster workload and adding
2-70-0 receiving on three targets. He’s looking like an RB2 after
his big Week 1 and should be a fine play facing the Colts in Week
Murray, MIN – Murray was limited to 42 yards on 11
carries and wasn’t involved in the passing game. Dalvin Cook looked
okay and should continue as the workhorse back in the Vikings
Clement, PHI – Clement never really got into the game
flow on Thursday night despite playing more snaps than Jay Ajayi,
showing some burst on a couple decent runs. He finished with 26
yards on five carries and didn’t get a target while Sproles handled
much of the passing down work.
Riddick, DET –UPDATE: Riddick had four carries for
20 yards and caught 5-15-0 on seven targets. He was on the field
a lot as the Lions played second-half catch-up and has a clear
lock on the pass-catching duties in this backfield. He’s
a must-own in 12-team PPR leagues, but mostly avoidable in standard
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Jackson, TB – Wow. Jackson (50 percent owned) and Fitzpatrick
turned back the clock and would have elevated the wide receivers’
fantasy status to “must-own” after just one week and a 5-146-2
receiving line – if it were not for the concussion that forced
him from action. He’ll be a top add heading into Week 2, even
with the injury designation as he gets ready to facing his old
team – the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. He’s definitely
worth an ad regardless of the injury – just make sure he’s active
before starting him at FLEX.
Cook, OAK –UPDATE:
Cook (owned in just 25-30 percent of fantasy leagues) caught 9-of-12
targets for 180 yards in Monday's Week 1 loss to the Raiders,
and seems to be Carr’s most promising target moving forward. The
veteran TE was used as an in-line receiver, even lining up in
the slot, and could easily return TE1 value if he can keep this
up. He should be owned in all formats.
Enunwa, NYJ –UPDATE:
If you’re a frequent reader of this column, you know I’m
a big fan of Enunwa and believe he’s an excellent, big-bodied
WR who shines when he’s given the opportunity. Darnold seems
like a great fit for him, and despite his current low ownership
(7-10 percent) and the prospect of fewer targets once Jermaine
Kearse returns from injury, I’m treating him as a must-own
in 12-team PPR leagues. He could exceed the value of plenty of
big names this season, and the Jets don’t appear to have
any reservations about involving him in the game plan.
Dissly, SEA – Dissly (0.1 percent owned) broke out
with 3-105-1 on five targets in Week 1, so he’s got my attention.
It’s unlikely he’ll produce like that every week, but he should
be on everyone’s radar.
Dorsett, NE – Dorsett surprised with an impressive
7-66-1, catching everything thrown his way by Tom Brady in the
Week 1 win. He’ll be a popular target early on this season with
Julian Edelman suspended, and his ownership (about 25-30 percent)
will double after this week.
Williams, LAC – Williams (65-85 percent owned) had
a nice game with 5-81-0 on six targets, and he’ll likely be a
reliable WR3/4 or flex in deeper formats.
Marshall, SEA – Doug Baldwin left the game early with
a knee injury (MCL sprain), and Marshall stepped in to record
3-46-1 on six targets from Russell Wilson. Baldwin, who is currently
expected to be week-to-week, could miss extended time, which forces
Marshall into a more prominent role and WR3 status.
Lockett, SEA – Lockett’s 3-59-1 was a nice opener,
and the injury to Doug Baldwin means more targets for Lockett
are on the way.
UPDATE: Baldwin has an MCL tear and won’t be back for several
weeks. Giddyup, Tyler.
Brown, BAL – In a different game flow, Brown could
have continued getting looks and catches, but he finished with
just 3-44-1 (after an early TD) with the game out of hand by halftime.
He and Lockett have similar ownership levels (60-70 percent) and
that should increase by about 10 points once waivers are finished.
He’s a solid WR3 play next week facing the Bengals.
Cole & Dede
Westbrook, JAC – The injury to Fournette could mean
more throws for Bortles, and targets for these two. Both were
steady in Week 1 (Cole: 3-54-0; Westbrook: 5-51-0) but didn’t
find paydirt. Next week, they should be more active against the
Grant, IND – As expected, Grant started and saw plenty
of targets (9), hauling in 8-59-0. He’s already a favorite of
Andrew Luck and should be busy this season as long as he stays
Miller, CHI – Miller was quiet in Week 1 (2-14-0 on
three targets) during his NFL debut, but there’s plenty of upside
in the rookie. Stay the path if you rostered him unless there’s
an obvious upgrade in the free agent/waiver pool, or you’re in
a keeper/dynasty league, where he holds more latent value.
Clay, BUF – Zero catches on two targets. Perhaps he’ll
do better with Josh Allen under center for the full game, but
the Bills outlook is bleak.
Howard and Cameron
Brate, TB – Brate went without a catch, but Howard
caught 2-54-0 on two targets. This is going to be a tough offense
to figure out, even with the obvious upside.
Seals-Jones, ARI – Seals-Jones had just 3-19-0 despite
six targets from Sam Bradford, who looked awful in his Cards debut.
Bryant, FA – Bryant has reportedly gotten some interest
in the past couple weeks, and he’s one step closer to getting
picked up. Unless you’re stacked at WR, he’s worth an add in deeper
(12+ team) formats.