Fantasy Football Week 2: Waiver Wire Targets

It’s waiver time!

With the first week of the NFL regular season over with, it’s time for us to look at which players currently on the waiver wire can help your fantasy team in both the short and long term.

Below are a list of names at each respective position that you should be monitoring, or targeting, before waivers run on Wednesday morning. 

QUARTERBACKS 

There are a handful of quarterbacks that are intriguing on this week’s waiver wire, whether it be if you’re looking to stream someone or just want to play a more favorable matchup than what you have right now: 

+ Even though he struggled last week against Buffalo, Ben Roethlisberger takes on Las Vegas this week at home, where he tends to succeed more often than not. Roethlisberger’s career home splits are more promising than when he’s away from Heinz Field and he does tend to play poorly in season openers, too. I’d take a swing at him as an upside play against the Raiders’ secondary if you need a high ceiling play. 

+ Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos travel to Jacksonville this week, squaring off against a team that just made Tyrod Taylor look serviceable. Bridgewater played well against a quality New York Giants’ defense and I’d expect him to do the same against the Jaguars this week, especially because of the weapons he has at his disposal. 

+ As much as you might not want to do this, Jared Goff does get a matchup with Green Bay’s somewhat weak secondary in a game where the Lions will likely be trailing for a large part of the game. I’m expecting Aaron Rodgers to go nuclear this week after that abysmal performance against New Orleans, so expect Detroit to throw the ball a ton. 

+ If you’re looking for a true desperation play, or maybe a second quarterback in a dual-QB league, take a look at Mac Jones against the New York Jets this weekend. The Jets’ secondary is pretty terrible and it’s the perfect opportunity for Bill Belichick to let his rookie quarterback air it out. 

RUNNING BACKS

This week’s running back slate, as always, has some interesting pieces worth scooping up: 

+ Raheem Mostert recently announced on social media that he was going to miss the remainder of the regular season, which means you should absolutely spend your top priority claim, or a large chunk of FAAB, on Elijah Mitchell. Trey Sermon, the 49ers’ third round pick this previous draft, was a healthy scratch on Sunday for whatever reason, which isn’t a great start to his career. Mitchell handled a bulk of the work after Mostert went down against Detroit, totaling 104 yards on 19 carries and he scored, too. You’re going to want a piece of whoever the lead back is in this backfield and it looks like Mitchell is that guy right now. Sermon is certainly worth a stash  because of the draft pedigree and talent, but it’s Mitchell’s job right now. 

+ Both Ty’Son Williams and Latavius Murray should be rostered, regardless of what format you’re in. Baltimore wants to run the football and did so 34 times last night despite being in a somewhat negative game script for a good chunk of this game. They don’t have the passing weapons to let Lamar Jackson air it out, so I’d honestly expect both of these backs to play a role in the rushing attack, similarly to what they did last year when both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards played a factor. Should one of them go down, the other would likely vault into the unquestioned lead back role, which is obviously a positive. But, they’re both going to touch the ball right now and could both be productive when doing so. 

+ Like he’s done throughout his entire career, James White soaked up seven targets on Sunday afternoon for the Patriots and should continue to have passes thrown his way as the season rolls on. He plays such an integral role in Josh McDaniels’ offense and has for years, so he’s definitely worth a roster spot in PPR leagues. 

+ Washington Football Team’s star running back Antonio Gibson suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday’s game against the Chargers that won’t cause him to miss time, yet was described as “painful”. A running back sustaining a shoulder injury is never a good thing and it’s not out of this world to think he could re-injure it at any point in time. It was rookie running back Jaret Patterson who got touches when Gibson went out and, given how much Gibson touches the ball, it would be a smart move to pick him up as a handcuff or backup plan. 

+ If you’re looking for a shot in a deeper league, Kenneth Gainwell (Philadelphia Eagles) and Tony Jones Jr. (New Orleans Saints) are two potential names worth targeting. Gainwell handled the ball nine times and scored, but he’s also another passing game contributor for the Philadelphia offense that doesn’t have many weapons in that regard. As for Jones Jr., the backup running back in the Saints’ offense has been valuable in recent years and he looked really good on Sunday against Green Bay. Should Kamara go down at all, Jones Jr. would absolutely vault into the must-start category on sheer volume alone. 

WIDE RECEIVERS 

+ The Denver Broncos lost Jerry Jeudy for six-to-eight weeks on Sunday after the former Alabama standout suffered a high ankle sprain. That opens the door for K.J. Hamler to get on the field more, as the former second-round pick offers explosive speed that can add a different dimension to this offense. Hamler profiles as a slot option that can do damage in the short-to-intermediate game, where quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is best, and he can also use his wheels to create plays with the ball in his hands. Denver also plays Jacksonville and the Jets the next two weeks, both of whom are favorable matchups. 

+ Sterling Shepard seems to always produce when he’s on the field and it looks like he’s cemented himself as one of New York Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones’ favorite options. Primarily working out of the slot for the Giants, Shepard caught seven of his nine targets for 113 yards and he scored as well. While there may not be a whole lot to love about New York’s offense or Jones in particular, the Giants look like they’ll be in negative gamescripts more often than not and that’s a good thing for fantasy. Shepard is nothing more than a flex play, but he’s definitely worth a pick up in PPR leagues if you need a relatively safe play. 

+ Both Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfrow of the Las Vegas Raiders are worth stashing in PPR leagues. This offense is good enough to put up points on anybody and because their defense is really good at giving up points to opposing teams, they’ll likely have to throw the ball a lot. Derek Carr is capable enough to sustain multiple viable fantasy options and as much as I love Darren Waller, I don’t expect him to get nearly 20 targets on a game-to-game basis. Edwards and Renfrow are both on the field a ton and they’re both talented players in their own regards. Pick them up with the expectation that Edwards has the higher ceiling while Renfrow is certainly the safer play. 

+ Arizona Cardinals’ Christian Kirk developed somewhat of a repore with Kyler Murray towards the end of last season, particularly when it came to stretching the field. He had a handful of deep receptions in 2020 and it really looks like the Cardinals’ are comfortable with him being the “field stretcher” in this offense. Kirk hauled in two touchdowns this past week and caught all five of his targets for 70 yards. He’s definitely worth adding but you have to keep in mind that he’s a boom-or-bust play on a week-to-week basis that’s dependent on a huge play or touchdown. 

+ The New England Patriots paid Nelson Agholor a large sum of money to be their go-to receiver on the outside this year, a role he succeeded in this Sunday. Agholor was targeted seven times by Mac Jones, hauling in five of those for 72 yards and a touchdown. He draws the Jets’ brutal secondary this weekend and his schedule from weeks five through seven goes as follows: Houston, Dallas, New York Jets. As the number one receiver in this option, Agholor is definitely worth adding. 

TIGHT ENDS 

There aren’t many appealing tight end options on the waiver wire, but three names do stand out: Jared Cook, Cole Kmet, and Gerald Everett. All three of them were somewhat involved in their respective teams’ offense this previous week and could continue to see targets as the season rolls on. 

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

These are currently the defensive units I’m actively targeting and comfortable playing this week: Cleveland (vs. Houston), Denver (@Jacksonville), New England (@Jets), and Tampa Bay (vs. Falcons). 

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