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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 1
9/5/17 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.

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

Here are some options for leagues that offer a Week 1 waiver wire or open the free agent pool post-draft. With injuries to Spencer Ware, Julian Edelman and Cameron Meredith, many owners who drafted in early August are scrambling to fill those spots will viable bodies.


Carson Palmer, ARI – I’m not bullish on his long-term prospects for fantasy greatness this season, but he’s not a bad QB2 in Week 1 given the defensive issues in Detroit. Palmer is available in about two-thirds of fantasy leagues and he’s a better bet to succeed in the first half of the season while he’s healthy.

Joe Flacco, BAL – Owned in just 12% of ESPN leagues and largely forgotten by most fantasy owners, Flacco has a decent Week 1 matchup (@CIN) and could surprise in 2017. He’s more worthy of a high draft selection than Jay Cutler, but is owned in fewer leagues. The back seems to be healed and he’ll have a full complement of offensive weapons in Week 1.

DeShone Kizer, CLE – Kizer will get a long leash as the Browns starter and has shown flashes of talent in the preseason. He’s far from a sure thing and doesn’t have the polish required of an NFL starter just yet – but he wouldn’t be the first rookie to surprise and show us some dynamic upside.

Deshaun Watson, HOU – Tom Savage is the Texans’ starter, per Bill O’Brien, but Watson could be a sneaky waiver wire selection in deeper leagues for his upside and mobility. Don’t expect success right away, but after Week 8 he could be a hot commodity.

Other QBs to consider: Sam Bradford (MIN), Jared Goff (LAR), Brian Hoyer (SF)

Shane Vereen

Shane Vereen should be a waiver wire consideration for those of you playing in deep PPR leagues.

Running Backs

Shane Vereen, NYG – I really like Vereen for PPR formats and he’s often overlooked given his injury history. Fortunately, these haven’t been knee or soft-tissue ailments, but ankle and arm injuries that have been addressed. A healthy Vereen can give you a monster stat line and the Giants are likely to go to him if Paul Perkins struggles. Only 30 percent owned, Vereen should be owned in all 12-team PPR leagues.

Samaje Perine & Chris Thompson, WAS – With Matt Jones off to Indianapolis, both Perine and Thompson are assured of touches in the Redskins offense behind de facto starter Rob Kelley. Washington is a team without a lot of stability, so things can change quickly here. Thompson is available in about 40-50 percent of leagues and could be a decent RB3/flex option in PPR formats, while Perine (10-15 percent owned) is a superior talent who could overtake Kelley’s primary role before long.

Marlon Mack, IND – Mack got some preseason hype, but he’s still almost universally available in shallow formats and is only 4.6% owned in ESPN leagues. He’s got similar upside to Philly’s Wendell Smallwood and Oakland’s DeAndre Washington in that he could explode if given the chance to tote a large workload. For now, all three of these guys should be monitored and/or added in deeper formats.

Dion Lewis, NE – I’m a shameless supporter and shill for Lewis, but he’s got a chance to help fill some of those targets left by Julian Edelman. He’s a RB, and while that position is a carousel of touches in New England, it’s also a place for high-upside if Bill Belichick is warm to your abilities. Lewis is a staggeringly low 7.7 percent owned in ESPN leagues and could conceivably get 10-15 touches/targets a game if he’s healthy.

Matt Breida, SF – The word is that Carlos Hyde is poised for a breakout season, but the undrafted Breida (Georgia Southern) appears to be the primary backup now and should have an immediate role as a pass receiver and change-of-pace back. He should be drafted in most 12-team leagues or picked up if he managed to make it through your draft un-rostered.

De’Angelo Henderson, DEN – Our very own Steve Schwarz included Henderson in his deep sleepers column a few days ago and there’s reason to pay attention – given the upside that fringe Broncos backs have shown in recent years. If he gets an opportunity, which history tells us he will, the rookie could be a waiver wire steal.

Other RBs to consider: Jacquizz Rodgers (TB), Alvin Kamara (NO), Charcandrick West (KC), Jeremy Hill (CIN), Tarik Cohen (CHI), Aaron Jones (GB)

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Chris Hogan, NE – Hogan often steps up in the absence of Edelman, and he’s got his chance heading into 2017 to be an every-week contributor. He’s 96 percent owned because most leagues drafted after the Edelman injury, but he’s available in a couple of my leagues that drafted before Edelman tore his ACL.

Cole Beasley, DAL – I knew Beasley would have a breakout season in 2016 and he responded with career highs in targets (98), receptions (75) and yards (833), even if he only scored 5 TDs. This season, he should be right back in the slot doing his thing, but he’s only 26 percent owned in ESPN leagues. Pick him up, even in 10-team formats.

Cooper Kupp, LAR – Kupp has built up a nice rapport with Jared Goff and has superior route-running skills that often translate into fantasy success despite being undervalued. Just 16 percent owned in ESPN leagues, he’s one of those rare rookie WRs who could be an immediate and prolific contributor. Don’t let him languish on the waiver wire, because he won’t be there for long.

Taylor Gabriel, ATL – It’s mind-boggling that more folks don’t have Gabriel on their teams, and his 9.1 percent ownership rate is a slap in the face to his contributions in the second half of 2016. He may not be a world beater, but he deserves to be owned in 12-team leagues.

TE Julius Thomas, MIA – Thomas is a dynamic player and solid red zone target who lost some valuable time during his years in Jacksonville. I’m no Cutler apologist, but he is capable of finding Thomas (15-20 percent owned) and making him a valuable fantasy option in 2017.

TE Austin Hooper, ATL – Hooper should see lots of snaps and targets this season, and he’s being undervalued because he’s not a big name. But he’s one of my picks for breakouts at the position, despite his low ownership rate (11.5% in ESPN leagues).

TE Jack Doyle, IND – With Erik Swoope on IR and Dwayne Allen long gone, Doyle won’t have much competition for targets and Scott Tolzien could look his way a lot in Week 1.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Marqise Lee (JAX), Kenny Golladay (DET), J.J. Nelson (ARI), Travis Benjamin (SD), Paul Richardson (SEA), Tyler Boyd (CIN), TE Antonio Gates (LAC), TE Vance McDonald (PIT), TE Gerald Everett (LAR)