The Waiver Wire 9/12
A look at pickup options for week 2
This is an expanded version of an article posted on WEEI earlier today.
NFL Week 1 was a wild ride. Hurricanes changed the slate before we even got started. The Patriots got our attention by coming up short in the NFL kickoff. The consensus number one overall pick may be done for the fantasy regular season. The chalk quarterbacks mostly looked like chalk outlined quarterbacks. It was rough out there. Seriously, I’ve only scratched the surface here. Now it’s time to start picking up the pieces. There’s not much that I can say to you David Johnson GMs, apart from letting you know that I feel your pain. The bottom dropped out on more than a few of my teams when DJ went down. It’s a bitter pill, but one we must digest.
The first thing to do, if Johnson was your core player, is to consider going after Kerwynn Williams. I feel pretty confident that he is the Arizona back to target, though Andre Ellington certainly adds some complexity in full PPR formats. In leagues with deep benches, you can consider adding both. I’ve already handcuffed Williams in my Johnson leagues, because they are both deep bench formats. This helps me as I can focus on the upside options. If you do not have Williams, you will need to walk a fine line, because, as much as Williams is big for you, there are other players who have a bigger ceiling, who can help as much or more.
Before we look at things by position, here’s a look at the top players, with ownership rates under 20 percent. You need to go after these players in all leagues, with no regards to the positional needs you may have. This is where the value is right now.
- Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
- Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
- Evan Engram, TE, Giants
- Tarik, Cohen, RB, Bears
- Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals
- Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
- Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars
- Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars
- Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks
- Kendall Wright, WR, Bears
- Buck Allen, RB, Ravens
- Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles
I project these players to have season long appeal with the possible exceptions of Williams and Allen, because we are still working on the exact timetables for the returns of Davis Johnson and Danny Woodhead.
Sadly, we already know the timetable for Allen Robinson. He is finished for 2017. That’s why you see both Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee on the list. Both are now starters and primary options going forward. Remember, Jacksonville already placed Dede Westbrook on IR. Hurns and Lee are both in line for major and sustainable target increases.
This is where knowing your league is very important. Having some knowledge of how your league-mates will bid and how active they will be in general, could have a big impact on how you want to play things. If it’s a league where only a few people will be active, then you can go after most of these players with value bids, save some money, and still get some nice talent. If your FAAB process (bidding system) is like the Wild West, then you ought to get aggressive and make sure you get a high-end player or two. This is obviously based on you having a few players to cut. By the way, you do NOT want to cut David Johnson. Not yet anyway. If he is going to return for the fantasy playoffs (or perhaps sooner), he is, at worst, a huge trade chip for you. You need to stash Johnson for now.
There will be an accompanying podcast posted around 3pm. It’s a good idea to check that out if you have the time. It will be a quick listen—probably less than 30 minutes, but it will add some nice context to this article. I will get into how I would stagger my bids in certain situations, so check it out if your league uses bidding rather than waivers.
The ownership rates listed were sourced from Yahoo! They reflect a player’s ownership, not their availability.
Sam Bradford, Vikings, 25 percent
He looked fantastic last night, and sure, you have to factor in that the Saints are less than average on defense. Still, we saw that the Vikings have improved a bit on the offensive line. They have established weapons who all work well with Bradford. The Vikings’ offense looked well oiled and Bradford is a solid matchup fantasy QB at minimum. He can be a weekly starter in deeper leagues and in 2QB formats.
Jay Cutler, Dolphins, 28 percent
Everybody hates him. Maybe it’s jealousy over Kristin Cavallari. Maybe it’s the interceptions. Maybe it’s his body language after the picks. Maybe it’s his punchable face. Regardless, people are hesitant to see Cutler’s appeal as a Dolphin. With big time weapons and a coach (Adam Gase) who knows how to get the best out of him, Cutler ought to be owned in all leagues. He makes a very nice QB2 as a guy with weekly upside who is now past his bye week.
Trevor Siemian, Broncos, 6 percent
I have always been a believer in this kid and I liked what I saw last night on Monday Night Football, Part Deux. He was composed and was able to make multiple reads without hesitation. With all the weapons in the Denver offense, he should be a stable commodity and at least a solid matchup play. And, if you look at Denver’s schedule, there are plenty of solid matchups to target.
Joe Flacco, Ravens, 26 percent
He’s not pretty or flashy, but he’s locked in with zero competition for his job. There’s value in that if you need to roster a QB to cover a late bye week.
Alex Smith, Chiefs, 23 percent
He is what he is. I’m not chasing the points from last week because they represent a peak in Smith’s production rather than a new trend, but he is a reasonable backup if your starter has a bye coming up. Smith could lose his job by midseason, so if your starter has a late bye, Smith’s appeal is lessened.
Jared Goff, Rams, 6 percent
If you followed our offseason podcasts and my content on Rotobahn, you know we kept an open mind with Goff. You have to give any player a chance to shake off the affects of Jeff Fisher. He looks like a decent QB2 option in deeper formats.
DeShone Kizer, Browns, 10 percent
In deeper leagues and in 2QB formats, he can help you. He’s not losing his job and he has enough weapons around him to be viable in plus matchups. He’s also a threat to rush for more touchdowns. Check out his matchup on your starter’s bye week and maybe he’s a fit.
Alvin Kamara, Saints, 14 percent
He’s not available in any league I play in, but by the numbers he is wildly available, and he would easily be my top option based on what we saw last night. I was a middle of the roader with Kamara as a prospect, but it’s clear that I was a bit too low on him and it’s even more clear that the Saints are really high on him. They were using him in tons of ways and he out-snapped both Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram in Week 1. This kid could be the Saints’ lead back as soon as now. He is a must add and I would go after him above all others if he is out there in your league.
Samaje Perine, Washington, 33 percent and falling
I am putting him up near the top for emphasis. It’s important to not fall victim to the shiny Week 1 objects and keep your eyes down the road. Perine has lead back upside despite his lack of usage in the opener. If there is a 2017 version of Jordan Howard, Perine is the guy. He could start getting some love soon and could be a weekly RB2 by October. He is getting released in a lot of leagues as we speak, so keep your head on a swivel and go get him if he is cut free in your league. As far as bidding on him tonight goes, you may be able to steal him. He will not be at the top of most lists. He’s one of my top stash options right now.
Tarik Cohen, Bears, 15 percent
He is the guy who everybody’s talking about and for good reason. We know Cohen well at Rotobahn. In fact, we were one of the few outlets who were on Cohen before he was drafted high by Chicago. He was a top 20 prospect in ours thanks to our lead scout, Bain “Coach” Turner. So, while we’d love to just keep pimping our guy and ourselves, I think I’m going to go with a bit of cold water instead. Do you want to add Cohen? Absolutely. Is he worth selling out for? Probably not. First of all, I’d make Kamara a bigger priority and probably a few others. Do not forget that Cohen is a 181 pound running back. If they continue to feature him as they did in Week 1, he may not last very long. My guess is that the use him more and more as a receiver to keep him away from the monsters of the interior. He is a special talent. He is worth getting excited about. He’s also behind a high-end volume runner in Jordan Howard, and Howard isn’t going anywhere.
Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals, 9 percent
He has a big ceiling now. Williams is a guy who really hits the hole and can rip off some long runs. He could be the primary runner for the next 12 games in Arizona, if we are to believe the longer rehab estimations for David Johnson’s injured wrist. Williams will give up some snaps to Andre Ellington, especially in passing situations, but Williams is the sturdier back on the ground. If help now is what you need, Williams can deliver it. He plays Indianapolis this week and could really light them up. The schedule leading up to the Cardinals’ Week 8 bye is quite friendly. I’m not worried about the addition of Chris Johnson. If Arizona liked Johnson better, he'd have made the team out of camp.
Buck Allen, Ravens, 4 percent
Danny Woodhead went down with what looked like a bad hamstring injury. I was recommending a fade on Woodhead for this potentiality and I have no confidence that Woodhead exhibits durability when he does return. Allen has a legit role going forward and can help you in PPR formats while Woodhead is out and potentially beyond. He is a must add in 12-team leagues and in most PPR leagues. He actually outsnapped Terrance West 33 to 27 in Week 1.
Chris Carson, Seahawks, 15 percent
Here’s another great potential pick up. Another reason to bid broadly rather than going after a few players single-mindedly. Carson is not special in my view, but he has diverse skills and can help on all downs. He is tough and smart and has good vision to compensate for average speed and agility. He is a real thing, not a fluke. If Thomas Rawls cannot get healthy and if C.J. Prosise cannot expand his role and hold up to more carries, then Carson could end up being the Seattle back to own this year. He should be owned in all leagues. His 26 snaps led the Seahawk running backs in Week 1, and by a sizable margin. Eddie Lacy had only six. Yikes!
Gio Bernard, Bengals, 17 percent
I missed his ownership rate when I did the numbers so I am adding him for the expanded wire. Gio looked really good in the opener and should be the back to maintain his role as Mixon takes over on early downs. Jeremy Hill is going to be toast soon.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots, 28 percent (and dropping)
If you listen to the Fantasy Football Hour or follow my fantasy content in general, then you know how much respect I have for Burkhead’s game. I think the Patriots absolutely stole this guy. If he stays healthy, his role will continue to expand. This is a rare running back in that he can legitimately do it all. If he gets released in a 12-team league, I say go get him, especially if your league uses PPR scoring.
Marlon Mack, Colts, 9 percent
He’s not worth much right now, though he did score in Week 1. Mack could be big in a few weeks, when Luck gets back on the field. Stash him now if possible.
Shane Vereen, Giants, 17 percent
If you play in a PPR league, then Vereen is worth rostering. Last week was probably not the week to evaluate him on, as the Giants played without Odell Beckham—causing them to play from behind and thus creating a bigger role for Vereen. Still, for as long as his health holds up, Vereen is a nice deep flex when you need him. That’s in full PPR only.
Alfred Morris, Cowboys, 4 percent
This is a big opportunity for those who rostered Zeke Elliott. As we told you back in August, Morris was a sneaky bet to beat out Darren McFadden and it looks like that’s happened. While others are assuming Zeke is here to stay, this is your chance to roster his handcuff while he is not a big priority. If there’s a break in the Zeke case this week, Alf’s price will skyrocket. The time to add him and stash him is now.
More deep league options….
- Charcandrick West
- James Conner
- Wendell Smallwood
- Matt Breida
- Andre Ellington
- Orleans Darkwa
- Matt Dayes
- Chris Johnson
Kenny Golladay, Lions, 20 percent
This is a player who is really breaking out. If receiver is your position of need, you should go after Golladay. In fact, you should go after him no matter what. There’s no reason to assume he will continue to shine so brightly, because this is a deep offense when it comes to guys who can catch the football, but his size and red zone ability are screaming “add me.” This is a player who has an outside chance to just take the offense over, so you have to go after him just for the potential upside. He’s also a huge trade chip if he has another big game in Week 2.
Cooper Kupp, Rams, 25 percent
He was a Rams regular in Week 1 and that’s not likely to change after he posted a touchdown and 76 yards receiving in a blowout of the hapless Colts. Kupp will see few number one corners with Sammy Watkins around and that should lead to steady targets. Kupp should be owned in all leagues.
Marqise Lee, Jaguars, 15 percent
The injury to Allen Robinson makes Lee the Jacksonville receiver to roster. He’s the guy with the most talent, though Allen Hurns also has strong appeal and is similarly available with an ownership rate of 10 percent. I would make both of them priority adds this week. They should both start going forward. Lee has been nursing a high-ankle sprain for four weeks now, and should be at full strength soon.
Kenny Stills, Miami, 28 percent
In deeper leagues, I think he’s actually a weekly starter and he makes a sweet add in mid-sized (10 teams with deep benches) leagues because he is now past his bye week. Stills can be your fill-in guy all season long and he has big play upside. Jay Cutler raises his appeal over what it was with Ryan Tannehill, because Cutler has a short memory and can deliver a good deep ball.
Paul Richardson, Seahawks, 15 percent
I would say go all-in to get him, because he is that good, but his injury history says that he’s living on borrowed time to some extent. Richardson can help you right now and if you get lucky, he can help you all season. Expect plenty of big plays when healthy. If Tyler Lockett is available in your league, I would pursue him with even more vigor.
Kendall Wright, Bears, 14 percent
I really like the upside here. It really sucks that both Kevin White and Cam Meredith are done for the year, but it’s a huge opportunity for Wright, who is far and away the best receiver left in the Windy City. No way you want to go after Deonte Thompson or Josh Bellamy outside of huge formats. Wright is the guy to go after here. He will have to play some snaps outside now in addition to his slot role. He has as much PPR upside as any of the other receivers listed today, and his value could rise if they make the switch to Mitchell Trubisky, who is less conservative than current starter Mike Glennon.
John Ross, Bengals, 10 percent
They could really use him and he is way under the radar right now. While everybody is rushing to add this week’s model, you could do that while also targeting Ross with a lower bid. Don’t be surprised if THIS is the guy we’re all talking about after say, Week Three.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles, 16 percent
I forgot to include him in this morning’s wire over at WEEI. Forgive me, I am in need of sleep after last night’s double slate. He’s a great pickup if you can get him. This guy’s had his struggles but the talent was never a question and now he is finding a nice niche as an inside out weapon. He can be a weekly flex in deep formats and he has real upside to become a weekly play in all leagues. It could happen. He played only six fewer snaps than Torrey Smith and he could easily pass Smith in the coming weeks. The downside to Agholor is that the Eagles play a pretty tough schedule for the pass.
Breshad Perriman, Ravens, 9 percent
Here’s another player that snuck by me this morning. He played almost as much as the starters (42 total snaps on offense) and he’s got a higher ceiling than any player on the team at any position. Add him if you can. If he stays healthy, I think he breaks out—perhaps in a big way.
Josh Doctson, Washington, 12 percent (and falling)
This is a player to keep tabs on. I’d be stashing him if he is available and I have some roster space. Yes, he did nothing in Week 1, but he did play significant snaps without getting hurt. That’s actually a big deal for Doctson, who is in desperate need of reps. If he can stay on the practice field, his opportunities will increase and his big play potential will give him value in all leagues. I think he can start for you a month from now if he can avoid setbacks with his legs—the Achilles in particular.
Jermaine Kearse, Jets, 2 percent
He is not sexy, but he will accumulate garbage time stats every game and he played on virtually every snap last week. That’s impressive in that he had only been on the team for a few days. Josh McCown already seems to trust Kearse, so he can probably help right now in deeper formats.
Markus Wheaton, Bears, 1 percent
He has trouble avoiding broken bones and such, but Wheaton has a real chance at relevancy if he can find health soon. He’s a better player than current starter Deonte Thompson. I’d be stashing Wheaton where possible and you could catch some lightning in a bottle by Week 3. Wheaton is an add for leagues with 12 or more teams.
More deep league options…
- Devin Funchess
- Torrey Smith
- Curtis Samuel
- Seth Roberts
- Keelan Cole (deep stash)
Evan Engram, Giants, 24 percent
First off, understand one thing….This is not a tight end save for his fantasy designation. He’s a receiver who will line up as a tight end at times. He’s not out there to block, folks. Engram is a mismatch. He’s a deep threat. He’s a route runner and at 234 pounds, he can run as fast as Odell Beckham. People will say “tight ends develop slowly.” And, they’d be right, if only Engram was a tight end. Opponents will be double teaming Beckham very soon. That will open up plenty of big plays for Engram. Grab him now on the cheap if you can.
Austin Hooper, Falcons, 55 percent
He's probably taken, but check just in case because his breakout was no fluke. Folks will talk it down because he only had two receptions, but he played major snaps (47) and lost a third catch to a penalty. This guy’s target totals are going to rise. Teams have no answer for him working the underneath (and deep underneath) with Julio Jones drawing consistent safety help. Matt Ryan knows how to feed a tight end and work the seam. This is his first legit weapon at the position since Tony Gonzalez hung up his cleats.
David Njoku, Browns, 10 percent
Love this guy. He’s so long and athletic that he can make plays above literally any defender you can think of. He quick jumps like an NBA all star and he’s got the ability to elevate off of one or two feet. Seriously, as Tommy Callahan once said, he's got “cat-like reflexes.” People will look at his Week 1 snap total (split evenly with Seth DeValve) and his two receptions, and they’ll stop right there. What they will miss is the long PI call he drew on the goal line. It was a likely touchdown but the defender grabbed him. It led to a score and you can bet that the coaches took note. This guy is a future star and I think we see more and more of him as we move ahead. I’m stashing him now. Njoku is a great fit for DeShone Kizer’s aggressive downfield game.
Charles Clay, Bills, 10 percent
If you need help in the now, Clay may be a more practical add than a guy like Njoku. He’s starting and producing and he’s is healthy for now. Clay’s knees usually flare up as the season goes on, so I do not love him long term, but he’s a solution for the present and his targets are all but assured with no alpha receiver in Buffalo.
Jesse James, Steelers, 6 percent
He can help you right now. In time he will probably lose snaps to newly acquired Vance McDonald, but for now, he is getting all the reps. He has weekly touchdown appeal and scored twice in Week 1.
- Tight End Rankings Week 3
- Wide Receiver Rankings Week 3
- Running Back Rankings Week 3
- Quarterback Rankings Week 3
- The Waiver Wire 9/19
- Tight End Rankings Week 2
- Wide Receiver Rankings Week 2
- Running Back Rankings Week 2
- Quarterback Rankings Week 2
- The Waiver Wire 9/12