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. I’ll
also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous
Rivers, IND – Rivers’ debut for Indy
wasn’t a great one – he threw for 363-1-2 and the two ill-fated
picks likely cost them the game. Now without Marlon Mack (torn Achilles),
the Colts will be forced into more passing downs than normal. There’s
definitely fallout in the RB ranks as well, but Rivers makes for
a decent play in Week 2 against the Vikings, a defense that gives
up most of its yardage through the air. In fact, three of the next
four matchups are quite favorable (MIN, NYJ, @CHI, @CLE).
Trubisky, CHI – Full disclosure:
I think Trubisky (2-5% owned) is a terribly inaccurate and less-than-appealing
real-life quarterback. But he had a day on Sunday thanks to a
stirring divisional comeback against the Lions, throwing for 242-3-0
(including a perfectly placed game-winner to WR Anthony Miller)
and avoiding a turnover for what might be the first time in his
career (joking!). The Bears face the Giants next week, and we
could see another passable performance from the embattled QB.
Roethlisberger, PIT –UPDATE:
Ben (60-70% owned) looked quite rusty in the first quarter but
soon found his rhythm and finished with 229-3-0 against an admittedly
poor Giants defense, which applied some pressure initially with
the front seven but ultimately was done in by their pitiful secondary.
If Ben is out there, he’s worth a look.
Cousins, MIN – The loss of Stefon
Diggs may affect Cousins and the Vikings more than I initially
expected. He’s still an option moving forward, but there’s a couple
other QBs I prefer as my backup given the matchups.
CIN – He was solid if not great in his debut (193-0-1;
46 rushing yards, TD), making some very nice throws and a few
mistakes, but that’s to be expected from anybody thrust into the
fast-paced NFL game. I’m really looking forward to his next start
against the hapless Browns.
Brown, LAR – Brown was the clear lead
back for the Rams on Sunday night, rushing 18 times for 79 yards
and two TDs while adding three receptions (four targets) for 31
yards in the 20-17 win over Dallas. He’s owned in just 5-10% of
fantasy leagues and is a must-add in all formats.
Hines, IND – Rookie RB Jonathan
Taylor and Hines (30-35% owned) will be shouldering most of the
load after the loss of Mack, and Hines got off to a great start
on Sunday with a TD among 28 rushing yards and 8-45-1 receiving.
Expect more big things from the third-year back (but maybe not
another game like that) in 2020.
Snell, PIT –UPDATE: It didn’t
take long for James Conner (ankle) to get hurt, and while Mike
Tomlin said Tuesday the Steelers would “leave the light
on” for Conner in Week 2, the writing is on the wall that
a committee approach might be the best thing for that backfield
this season. That could mean more opportunities for Snell, who
finished with 19 carries for 113 yards in Week 1. Keep any eye
on the injury report, but what transpired on Monday night could
be an indication that Snell will have value this season.
Barber, WAS – Barber (0-5% owned)
resumed his hobby of frustrating the majority of fantasy owners
with a monster day on Sunday, rushing 17 times for 29 yards and
two TDs during the 27-17 win over the Eagles. He only averaged
1.7 YPC, but if his efficiency improves he could hold onto the
gig and continue vulturing TDs from the more talented backs.
Kelley, LAC – Austin Ekeler was
a Week 1 bust thanks in part to Kelley’s big day (12 carries for
60 yards and a TD) in the win over the Bengals. It’s looking like
Kelley (10-15% owned) will assume the Melvin Gordon role in the
Chargers offense with the veteran back in Denver.
NYJ – I’m not excited about rostering him, but with Le’Veon
Bell (hamstring) out for a couple of weeks and La'Mical Perine
(ankle) still nursing an injury, the Jets will be rolling Gore
and Josh Adams out of the backfield in the near future. Gross.
Mattison, MIN – I expected a larger
role for Mattison, who had six carries for 50 yards and 4-30-0
receiving (on four targets) in Sunday's loss to Green Bay. He
looked sharp on his runs and this performance bodes well for him
exceeding draft value in deeper formats – even when resident stud
is 100 percent.
Johnson, HOU – Duke suffered an
ankle injury on Thursday night against Kansas City, deemed "questionable"
almost immediately, and he missed practice Monday. His absence
means David Johnson will be handling three-down load similar to
his days in Arizona, at least for Week 2.
Thompson, JAC – Robinson had 16 carries for 62 yards
in the Jags’ Week 1 win over the Colts. He also added one catch
for 28 yards, while Thompson didn’t have a carry and caught just
2-6-0. It’s Robinson’s backfield (for now) and he’ll have a decent-sized
workload in Week 2 facing the Texans.
Williams, KC – Krueger’s “homer”
pick for decent production (and I was right there with him on
that front) didn’t pan out in Week 1 as Clyde Edwards-Helaire
left no doubt as to who the main back in KC will be this season.
Williams did log seven carries for 23 yards and hauled in a couple
passes for seven yards (on two targets), but the opener against
the Texans showed us that CEH will be hogging most of the value
in the Chiefs’ backfield in 2020.
Scott, PHI – A murky injury and
poor performance (nine carries for 35 yards and 2-19-0 during
Sunday’s 27-17 loss to Washington) don’t translate into much optimism
for a big role in Week 2. I’m off him for now.
Edmonds, ARI – As expected, Kenyan
Drake and Kyler Murray dominated the rushing game and Edmonds
carried just six times for 26 yards, but he did haul in three
of his five targets for 19 yards and a TD during Sunday's 24-20
win over the 49ers. He’s a solid back with mondo upside should
something befall Drake.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
GB – He’s the No.2 in Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers looks
rejuvenated in the post-McCarthy era. Lazard had 4-63-1 on four
targets and is just 25-30% owned. He’s the top WR add this week,
so just grab him.
Gage, ATL – I’d expect that Julio
Jones and Calvin Ridley will continue to get theirs each week,
and that it will be Gage (who hauled in nine of 12 targets for
a career-high 114 receiving yards during Sunday's 38-25 loss to
the Seahawks) and TE Hayden Hurst alternating productive weeks.
He’s a talented receiver owned in just 3-5% of leagues (and somebody
who showed us some of what he’s capable of in limited snaps last
season), and he’s a priority add in 12-team leagues.
Valdes-Scantling, GB – If you can’t
get Lazard, MVS (0-5 percent owned) is a decent consolation prize.
The third-year WR caught four of six targets for 96 yards and
a TD in the Packers’ 43-34 win over the Vikings on Sunday.
Davis, TEN –UPDATE:
I’m trying not to get to excited over the big MNF
performance by Davis (about 5% owned), who hauled in seven of
eight targets for 101 receiving yards during Monday's 16-14 win
against the Broncos. But he was playing through a hamstring injury
and looked much like the WR we expected would soon break out a
couple years ago – the last time he had 100 yards in a game
(on Nov. 11, 2018). He’s worth an ad in 12-team leagues.
Shenault, JAC – Shenault (5-10%
owned) was one of my sleeper picks in 2020 drafts, and he got
off to a solid start. The Colorado product had 3-37-1 on four
targets in Week 1 against the Colts, and he added two rush attempts
for 10 yards – a feature that means he could continue to be utilized
in the backfield and motion sets.
Washington, PIT –UPDATE:
Washington (about 5% owned) only finished with 2-34-1 on three
targets in Week 1, but he really beasted his way into the end
zone on the TD reception and that kind of effort usually means
more scoring opportunities and targets in the red zone. Right
now he’s more of a deep-league add but definitely a guy
we should keep an eye on this season.
Goedert, PHI – The Eagles are a MASH unit right now,
and with so many WRs injured, Goedert (25-30% owned) could be
in line for more big games like Week 1 against Washington, when
he hauled in 8-101-1 on nine targets.
Slayton, NYG –UPDATE: Yesterday
I thought Robby Anderson would have been my best al of the week,
but by 9 p.m., it was obvious that Slayton was the gem of the
recommendations. The second-year WR continued to show great chemistry
with Daniel Jones and finished with 6-102-2 on nine targets. He’s
a WR3 with WR2 upside in this offense, which could be playing
form behind a lot this season given their defensive woes.
Anderson, CAR – Boom! This was my
best call of the week. Anderson immediately showed great rapport
with Bridgewater and that chemistry translated into 6-115-1 on
eight targets. He could see another big day in Week 2 as their
opponents, the Buccaneers, have a strong front seven but have
some question marks in their secondary.
Harry, NE– Harry (45-50% owned)
was nursing a shoulder injury coming into Week 1 and it showed.
He caught five of six targets for 39 yards and lost a fumble in
Sunday’s 21-11 win over the Dolphins. He was a 2019 first-round
pick and he’s got plenty of talent, but the Patriots don’t look
fondling upon costly fumbles and he’ll need to figure a few things
out and get before he emerges from Bill Belichick's doghouse.
Miller, CHI – Yes! Another hit in
our picks last week, Miller caught four of six targets for 76
yards, including the game-winning 27-yard TD alluded to in the
Trubisky blurb. He should be owned in all formats.
Campbell, IND – Campbell could be
a monster in 2020, and he got off to a decent start with 6-71-0
on nine targets. Don’t sleep on this guy.
Gesicki, MIA – Gesicki wasn’t great in Week 1 (3-30-0
on five targets) but it was an admittedly difficult matchup. It
doesn’t get any easier in Week 2 against a good Buffalo defense.
I’m not giving up on him yet.
Herndon, NYJ – Herndon caught six of seven targets
for 37 yards and lost a fumble in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to Buffalo,
and he’ll see a bunch of targets next week as well. Keep him on
Smith, TEN –UPDATE: I love Jonnu’s upside
this year given the retirement of Delanie Walker and he came through
in Week 1 with 4-36-1 on seven targets from Ryan Tannehill. The
efficiency wasn’t there, but the volume will be in 2020
and he could easily be one of the Top 10 TEs once the final tally