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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.
Giovani Bernard will see an increased workload
while Joe Mixon is out 2-4 weeks with a knee injury.
Dalton, CIN – I covered him before Week 1 and he had
a monster Week 2, finishing with 265-4-0. He did struggle in the
second half against Baltimore, but he’s worth a roster spot in
12-team leagues – and is owned in just 15-20 of fantasy leagues.
Bortles, JAC – Bortles looked sharp against the Patriots,
throwing for 377-4-1 in a decisive victory. He’s owned in just
10 percent of fantasy leagues and while most weeks Jacksonville
will rely on the running game and defense to notch wins, there’s
some upside to Bortles considering his rapport with this young,
talented receiving corps.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco is not elite, and he’s basically
a low-end QB2 with some upside in particular matchups, but when
he’s working with a negative game script and if forced to throw,
he can put up numbers. He finished with 376-2-2 on Thursday night
against the Bengals and gets the Broncos in Week 3.
Mahomes, KC – Well, THAT was something! Mahomes went
off for 326-6-0 in a huge Week 2 win over the Steelers. At this
point, he’s generating buzz like Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson
did last season, and his skills are just as impressive. Considering
all the weapons the Chiefs possess and this guy’s arm, the sky’s
the limit. We’re just two games in, but with 10 TDs and zero turnovers
thus far, he should be considered an elite QB1 until he proves
Fitzpatrick, TB – Fitzpatrick is playing great right
now and has 819-8-1 and a rushing TD through two weeks – both
wins. He’s earned QB1 status moving forward and faces the Steelers
in Week 3.
UPDATE: On Monday, Bucs coach Dirk
Koetter declined to commit to Jameis Winston as the team's starting
quarterback when he comes off suspension in Week 4, but that’s
just him toeing the company line. Fitzmagic is working wonders
and should remain the signal caller.
Trubisky, CHI – UPDATE: Trubisky completed 25-of-34
passes for 200-2-2 in the Bears’ Week 2 win over the Seahawks,
but he didn’t look sharp on several throws and there’s
a lot of room for improvement. The Bears stalwart defense should
make it easier for him to experiment in this offense, so fantasy
owners should hold on him (if possible) until he’s played
a few more games. There’s QB2 upside but he’s not
a must-own in 12-team leagues.
Darnold, NYJ – Darnold experienced some growing pains
in his second start, throwing for 334-1-2 in a loss to Miami.
The Dolphins played well on defense but the Jets’ QB missed a
couple throws. He’s a QB2 next week facing the Browns and could
be worth a look in DFS as a low-ownership punt.
Bernard, CIN – With Joe Mixon out for the next few
weeks, Bernard (35-50 percent owned) is the top waiver wire pickup
at RB heading into Week 3. He’s a proven performer with plenty
of versatility, but isn’t the athlete or runner that Mixon is.
Still, he’ll be getting close to a full workload with fourth-rounder
Mark Walton getting some carries as well.
Ivory, BUF –UPDATE: Adam Schefter reported Monday
that embattled RB LeSean McCoy is dealing with cracked rib cartilage
and is questionable for Week 3 – putting Ivory on the possible
pickup list. While McCoy is not expected to miss more than a game,
the Bills may choose to get a longer look at Ivory and give Shady
a little more healing time. Keep an eye on the injury report and
temper your expectations of Ivory considering the tough matchup
at Minnesota this week.
Clement, PHI – Clement didn’t do much in week 1 but
figures to be the main ball carrier in Philly should Jay Ajayi
miss any time. Ajayi suffered a back injury early in Week 2 and
was spelled by Clement and Wendell Smallwood before returning
in the second half. Clement is a viable DFS dart throw some weeks
but only has steady value in redrafts if Ajayi goes down and Sproles
White, NE – Regardless of who’s doing most of the early-down
running, White (70-80 percent owned but available in most shallow
formats) gets the passing game work and has 11-111-1 receiving
through two games. It’s also possible the Patriots offense is
forced to throw more than they want to in dome of the games moving
forward, and Tom Brady sees White as a reliable pass catcher.
UPDATE: The Josh Gordon acquisition shouldn’t have too much
of an effect on White’s role in this offense.
Powell, NYJ – Just 55-60 percent owned, Powell is an
excellent passing down back with plenty of FLEX upside in this
Jets offense. He’ll be a frequent check-down target for Darnold
this year and is coming off a 5-74-1 receiving performance in
Mack, IND – Mack (50-60 percent owned) practiced last
week after missing much of the preseason with a hamstring injury
and played sparingly in Week 2. He finished with 34 yards on 10
carries and is clearly part of a committee in the Indy backfield.
Even with HC Frank Reich is fine with this approach to the position,
Mack is the most proven producer of the bunch and should be rostered
in all 12-team leagues.
Ekeler, SD – Through two games, Ekeler (40-45 percent
owned) already has 116 rushing yards on 16 carries and 8-108-1
receiving. He’s earned plenty of touches and RB3 status moving
forward, and if Gordon's health is impacted, he’d be the main
beneficiary in the Chargers backfield.
Lindsay, DEN – Lindsay had 14 carries for 107 yards
and 1-4-0 receiving in Week 2 and is looking like the better runner
than Royce Freeman. He’s a must add in all formats despite ownership
in the 50-70 percent range.
UPDATE: Broncos HC Vance Joseph said the Broncos will continue
using a “hot hand” approach in the backfield, which
should keep both Lindsay and Freeman locked in as viable RB3s,
and Devontae Booker as the odd man out.
Yeldon, JAC – Yeldon’s ownership spiked over 70 percent
after Fournette went down in Week 1, and he responded with 10
carries for 58 yards and 2-13-0 in the win over New England. His
value in contingent on Fournette being out.
Sproles, PHI – Sproles is nursing a hamstring injury
and was out for Week 2.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Cole, JAC –UPDATE:
I’m adding Cole (60 percent owned) to the top spot by request
from the comments section (see below). Cole is the most talented
receiver on the Jags and their clear No.1 WR, and should be owned
in all formats. If you haven’t seen the one-handed catch against
New England, you haven’t been watching highlight packages
from Week 2.
Golladay, DET – Golladay followed up his excellent
Week 1 performance with 6-89-1 and appears to be surpassing Marvin
Jones as the best WR option in Detroit behind Golden Tate. He’s
a huge red zone target and should put up top-end WR3 numbers this
season as he sees more snaps and targets.
Westbrook, JAC – I included Westbrook in my Week 1
preview and he had a nice game against the Patriots, going for
4-83-1 on five targets. He’s not a high-volume receiver but given
how potent the Jags offense looked on Sunday, he’s worth owning
in 12-team leagues and stands to benefit when the backfield isn’t
at full strength.
Boyd, CIN – Boyd was targeted nine times on Thursday
night, finishing with 6-91-1 in the win over Baltimore. He’s a
sure-handed compliment to John Ross and makes a fine WR3/flex
play in the right matchup. He’s also almost universally available
and could see more usage with Joe Mixon out.
James, PIT – Heading into the season I pictured Vance
McDonald as the go-to TE in Big Ben’s arsenal, but McDonald has
dealt with injuries and James has played well through the first
two weeks, going off for 5-138-1 in Week 2. He’s just 3-5 percent
owned and is a solid TE2 moving forward – or until McDonald surpasses
him in targets.
Ridley, ATL – I was not high on Ridley entering 2018
drafts because there’s just not a lot of rookie wideouts in conservative
offenses like the Falcons who fare well. But Ridley now has his
first TD under his belt after a solid Week 2 (4-64-1) and he looks
to be an emerging red zone target for Matt Ryan.
Jackson, TB – Jackson has now caught all nine of his
targets in 2018 for 9-273-3, with 4-129-1 over his former team
in Week 2. He’s about 60-70 percent owned and is clicking with
Fitzpatrick in the Bucs new-look offense.
Cook, OAK – Cook followed up his huge Week 1 with 4-49-0
in the tough loss to Denver. He’s still on the TE1 radar, but
firmly in the second tier of options.
Enunwa, NYJ – Enunwa (55-60 percent owned) had another
solid week with 7-92-0. He could have had an even bigger day had
Darnold not missed him on a wide open look in the back of the
end zone in the second half.
Dissly, SEA –UPDATE: The rookie TE caught 3-of-5 targets
for 42 yards and a TD in the Seahawks’ Week 2 loss to the
Bears. He’s the clear top TE for Seattle and marches forward
into a favorable matchup with the Cowboys in Week 3.
Dorsett, NE – Dorsett (25-30 percent owned) had 5-44-0
in Week 2, but it was Chris Hogan who pulled down both of Brady’s
TD passes. He’ll be a decent flex option in Week 3 facing the
UPDATE: Gordon must pass a physical to officially join the team,
but when that happens, Dorsett’s immediate value takes a
hit, and his long-term viability has to be called into question.
Williams, LAC – Williams got off to a great start with
a TD catch but finished with just 2-27-1 in Week 2 in a game where
the Chargers RBs rolled over Buffalo. His 35-40 percent ownership
should spike with Travis Benjamin still dinged up.
Marshall, SEA –UPDATE: The veteran wideout caught
4-of-6 targets for 44 yards on Monday night, with all of his targets
coming in the first half. With just 90 yards receiving through
two games, he’s a TD-dependent WR4 or flex play moving forward,
though he still has some upside when he gets a good matchup.