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Through The Wire - Week 2

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 9/14/20; Updated: 9/15/20 |

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 week.

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


Philip 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).

Mitchell 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.

Other QBs to consider: Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmy Garoppolo, Gardner Minshew


Ben 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.

Kirk 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.

Joe Burrow, 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.

Malcolm Brown

Running Backs

Malcolm 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.

Nyheim 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.

Benny 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.

Peyton 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.

Joshua 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.

Frank Gore, 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.

Other RBs to consider: Jerick McKinnon, Giovani Bernard, Corey Clement, Royce Freeman (PPR)


Alexander 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 Dalvin Cook is 100 percent.

Duke 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.

James Robinson/Chris 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.

Darrel 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.

Boston 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.

Chase 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

Allen Lazard. 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.

Russell 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.

Marques 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.

Corey 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.

Laviska 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.

James 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.

TE Dallas 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.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Willie Snead, TE Hunter Henry, Scotty Miller, Adam Humphries


Darius 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.

Robby 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.

N’Keal 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.

Anthony 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.

Parris 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.

TE Mike 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.

TE Chris 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 your radar.

TE Jonnu 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 is in.