Week 2 Waiver Wire: Options Abound
The waiver wire will be extremely busy to officially kick off Week 2. Injuries to big names such as Nick Foles, Derrius Guice, and Tyreek Hill plus the huge rookie receiving performances will have owners scrambling to the wire in droves. If you have the number one waiver claim in your league, the decision on who to claim will likely be based on team needs.
The basis of this article is to point out key players at every position who are readily available (less than 40% owned) in Yahoo! and ESPN leagues that you may be able to add to your roster for upside. Percent owned is shown in parentheses. Keep in mind, each fantasy team is unique, as are scoring and roster formats.
Think of this as a road map to your team’s success. Factor in whether or not your league uses PPR scoring, allows you to play two quarterbacks or other variables that impact your decisions to claim a player off of waiver. Let us get started.
Several quarterbacks performed well Week 1 that is worth a look if you are in deeper leagues. Surprisingly some of these are veterans or young starters with high potential that went undrafted. Here is a quick rundown.
With the news that Nick Foles will be placed on the IR, Gardner Minshew (.1% ESPN, 1% Yahoo!) is likely entrenched as the starter in Jacksonville for the foreseeable future. The Jaguars did make a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers for third-string quarterback Joshua Dobbs. It is hard to imagine this was more than just a trade for backup depth. It would take Dobbs too long to get up to speed and learn the offense.
The rookie from Washington State showed well on Sunday, going 22 for 25 with 275 yards, 2 touchdowns, and just 1 interception. For those of you who are not familiar with the young signal-caller, Minshew played for Mike Leach in the air raid offense while in Pullman. He is no stranger to throwing the ball around. Minshew averaged 50.92 pass attempts per game while he was a Senior under Leach.
The young gunslinger also threw for 38 touchdowns with just 9 interceptions on the year last season. He is certainly worth a speculative add if you require a quarterback and should be available in just about every league out there.
The veteran quarterback of the Detroit Lions is readily available if you need him (16.3% ESPN, 26% Yahoo!) in most leagues. Stafford had a nice showing, albeit against an underwhelming Arizona Cardinals defense, going 27 of 45 with 385 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. It is easy to forget that the Georgia grad has finished as a QB1 a total of six times in his 12 years in the league.
Grab Stafford if you have an injury-prone starter or even as a bye week fill-in for later in the season. He won’t be available long if he keeps putting up performances like this. Here is a look at the yearly finishes courtesy of FFStatistics.
The recently extended quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts (13% ESPN, 12% Yahoo!) did not disappoint in a tough road matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Brissett was an efficient 21 for 27 with 190 yards, 2 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He added another 3 rushes for 9 yards. Perhaps the best news coming out of this one is that T.Y. Hilton’s fantasy career does not appear to be over. Hilton was on the receiving end of both of the passing touchdowns for the former New England Patriots backup quarterback.
The North Carolina State grad did show some promise as a full-time starter in 2017, finishing as the QB21 that season. Brissett did manage four QB1 finishes that year. If you are desperate for a bench stash at the position, you could certainly do worse. Keep in mind, the young quarterback has had much more time to learn the offense than his first go-round and Frank Reich is a much better offensive coach than Rod Chudzinski.
Quarterback Honorable Mentions
Marcus Mariota (6.2% ESPN, 8% Yahoo!), Sam Darnold (18.3% ESPN, 26% Yahoo!), Andy Dalton (4.2% ESPN, 10% Yahoo!), Josh Allen (20.5% ESPN, 32% Yahoo!)
The Week 2 waiver wire report continues with the running back position. There were a couple of injuries and some interesting usage that gets these players added to this column. Let us fullback dive right into them.
All of the offseason hype surrounded rookie Darrell Henderson as being the backup to own if you were a Todd Gurley owner. The Los Angeles Rams backfield was a near-even split between Malcolm Brown (6.5% ESPN, 13% Yahoo!) and Gurley in Week 1, with Brown getting both of the rushing touchdowns. While it is only one week, Gurley owners should be sure to make a play to handcuff Brown this week in case this is a sign of things to come.
Gurley’s value is tied to his goal-line usage and his passing game involvement. The stud running back saw neither this game. If Brown is to be this heavily involved in a high-potent offense on a week to week basis, then he clearly needs to be owned in all formats. While the Texas alumn was not involved in the passing game this past Sunday, he has shown the ability to be almost as good as Gurley on a point per opportunity basis.
Could the Purdue grad (.1% ESPN, 1% Yahoo!) finally be getting the opportunity he needs? The injury to Tevin Coleman may be just the opportunity the veteran backup needs. Mostert never put up big numbers in college but has been able to stick around the league for several years now. Last season saw the journeyman get the most carries of his career with 34. All he did with those carries is rush for 261 yards. This was good for 7.7 yards per carry.
Matt Breida cannot seem to stay healthy and even left the game in Week 1 for a short time with yet another injury. With Jerick McKinnon already on IR and Coleman set to miss some time, Mostert is a nice short term add in all formats. He has actually done as well or better on a per opportunity basis.
Fantasy football can be a fickle beast from time to time. Joe Mixon left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with an ankle injury and did not return. Rodney Anderson is already done for the year with a torn ACL during the preseason. Trayveon Williams is also still out, leaving just recently signed Samaje Perine behind Bernard on the depth chart was Mixon to miss time.
Giovani Bernard (32.3% ESPN, 14% Yahoo!) is all of the sudden fantasy relevant again. If you are a Mixon owner, you should make the claim. If you are thin at running back, you should make the claim. The former North Carolina Tarheel has shown the ability to get it done as a lead back in the NFL. Bernard was an RB2 for three straight years to start his career.
Running Back Honorable Mentions
Ronald Jones III (39.6% ESPN, 29% Yahoo!), Mike Davis (3.9% ESPN, 14% Yahoo!), Adrian Peterson (27.7% ESPN, 38% Yahoo!), Alexander Mattison (13.4% ESPN, 21% Yahoo!)
We roll on with the Week 2 waiver wire feature with the wide receiver position. What a weekend it was for a few rookies and for a few young stars we have been waiting to come into their own. Was this a Week 1 fluke or are some of these guys for real? A chance needs to be taken that some of the performances were legit. Do not be afraid to roll the dice on one or two of the new guys in town.
Well, look who appears to be healthy. It could have simply been the horrible defense displayed by the Miami Dolphins. What we cannot question is the speed that Marquise Brown (28.2% ESPN, 32% Yahoo!) showed on Sunday. If fully healthy, opposing defensive backs could be in trouble for years to come. The speedster from Oklahoma flew under the radar in fantasy circles all season long.
It was an impressive debut for the rookie. All told, Brown hauled in 4 of 5 targets for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 5 targets. You have to take a shot that he is the real deal and get him on your fantasy teams as fast as possible. Think DeSean Jackson in his prime.
John Ross III
Another speedster that may have arrived, John Ross (4.8% ESPN, 12% Yahoo!), showed why the Cincinnati Bengals spent a top-10 pick on him in 2017. The homecoming was kind to the former University of Washington grad who torched a solid Seattle Seahawks defense to the tune of 7 catches for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 targets.
The third-year wideout set career highs in all stats. With A.J. Green out until at least October, this may be Ross’s time to show he belongs. The big-play ability is evident in the Senior year stats shown after missing his junior year with an injury.
The second rookie to make the list is Terry McLaurin (7.3% ESPN, 5% Yahoo!). The under-the-radar rookie from Ohio State had a debut to remember. In total, the wideout posted 5 receptions for 125 yards and 1 touchdown on 7 targets. With Josh Doctson being released before the season and Jamison Crowder departing for the New York Jets, the targets could be there all season long.
The senior year in Columbus did not jump off the stat chart. What did stand out was the ability to find the end zone. McLaurin found paydirt 11 times on just 35 catches. While he may be raw, it is clear early on that the talent is there. Having a veteran presence at the helm in Case Keenum can only help matters in the district. We can see yardage was not a strong suit for the young pass catcher in college, but there is room to grow (chart courtesy of FFStatistics and FFStompy‘s article found here).
Wide Receiver Honorable Mentions
A.J. Brown (5.2% ESPN, 3% Yahoo!), Kenny Stills (30.7% ESPN, 23% Yahoo!), D.J. Chark (11.8% ESPN, 2% Yahoo!), Chris Conley (8.8% ESPN, 1% Yahoo!)
We close the Week 2 waiver wire report with the Tight End position. Some noteworthy performances were certainly put on paper in Week 1. This is a position that may make or break rosters in 2019. With the spot in flux most weeks, it is important to scour for opportunities when they present themselves.
The players worthy of mention are over 40% owned in either ESPN or Yahoo! but should be mentioned just in case they are hanging out on the wire in your respective leagues. If they are, be sure to pounce and get them on your squad.
Tight End Honorable Mention
T.J. Hockenson (30% ESPN, 53% Yahoo!), Mark Andrews (51% ESPN, 79% Yahoo!), Jimmy Graham (47.6% ESPN, 48% Yahoo!), Darren Waller (26.8% ESPN, 43% Yahoo!)
The hope is that this article helps make your waiver wire decisions a little bit easier. Come back every Tuesday for the latest rendition of this series to help you build your fake team into a contender if you happened to miss on some draft picks. Injuries play a vital role in fantasy and one of the biggest advantages you can have is to be active on the wire every week.
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