League Office: Waiver Wire Pick-Ups – Week 2

Football is back, and like a plate of biscuits and gravy for breakfast, it was a great way to start things off … for some of us, at least.

Whether your fantasy football team is 0-1 or 1-0, it’s time to visit the waiver wire and pick up something — or perhaps a few things — to help your team succeed.

But before we get to the menu and delve into some of the delicious items available, we need to talk strategy. Be selective with your waiver claims. Just like ordering from a menu at a restaurant, you can’t just rattle off everything that sounds good or you’ll be left with more food than you can handle, a stomach ache and perhaps a check you can’t afford.

I’m sure the food analogy on this one may be lost in translation, so we’ll just address the fantasy football aspect of this.

  • Stomach Ache: If you rush to the wire and add every Week 1 hot ticket, you could be left with a bad roster in short order. Remember, there’s a reason these players weren’t on many rosters before the season started.
  • Ordering Too Much: Another aspect to consider is to keep depth at receiver and running back. Loading up on quarterbacks or receivers off the wire may sound like a good idea, but stacking your roster with players you will never use is the same as ordering more food than you can possibly eat. Those extra receivers will waste away on your bench while your running back depth suffers for it.
  • Paying the Check: To pick up a player, you have to drop one. Going after three players who had great first games may be able to make your team better. But in acquiring those three players you may have to part with someone who is a solid starting option for you. Getting what could be some flashes in the pan for the cost of a starter is a high price to pay.

Now that we’ve addressed some common waiver wire mistakes, let’s look at a great way to take advantage of the waiver system using one of my teams as an example.

In a 12-team PPR Superflex keeper league, my starting roster consists of a quarterback, two each of running backs and receivers, a tight end, a flex, and a superflex. I have what I feel is pretty solid running back depth (Gurley, Cook, Howard, Kerryon Johnson, and Breida). Because of this depth, I imagine I will always have a running back in my flex spot. I also plan on always fielding a second quarterback in the superflex spot (I have Rodgers, Luck, and Tannehill). So this means I will only ever start two wide receivers, barring injuries. Receiver is also my weakest position (Cooks, Goodwin, Cole, Richardson — that’s right, just four receivers in a PPR league, but like I said, I’ll only ever start two).

With this team, my waiver plan heading into Week 2 is to increase the strength of my receivers, but I’m not willing to weaken my running back depth or sacrifice my third quarterback to do it. So, I plan to drop my lowest receiver in an attempt to get one that I feel will provide better value moving forward.

For this, I have keyed on three targets and submitted a claim for each one. But each claim is identical (add Player A/B/C and drop Player X). I then ordered these by priority for which receiver I want the most, followed by second-most, then third. So waivers will process and I may get my first option. If I don’t, I may get my second, or my third if I don’t have leading priority for the second. But in any case, I will only add one wide receiver while dropping one. There is no need for me to submit claims on each of the three with a different drop player because I don’t want to potentially add all three receivers to my roster.

OK, OK, I’m boring you and I’m sorry. But this is something that I feel is important to impart in even the casual of the casual fantasy players.

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The tip portion is now over and we can get on to the good stuff.

Do Not Drop List

It’s important to take Week 1 for what it is — 6% of each team’s season. If you drafted a player who was projected to be a fantasy starter for you this season, do not lose faith when there is 94% of the season left.

Players who disappointed us a bit in Week 1 that you should not drop when submitting waiver claims include:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Le’Veon Bell
  • LeSean McCoy
  • Derrick Henry
  • Royce Freeman
  • Matt Breida
  • Alfred Morris
  • Kenyan Drake
  • Chris Carson
  • Rashaad Penny
  • Kareem Hunt
  • Jamaal Williams
  • Chris Hogan
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Travis Kelce
  • Jimmy Graham
  • Trey Burton

Quarterbacks

Add

Tyrod Taylor

(ownership: 35% on ESPN, 12% on Yahoo)

Taylor made the list prior to Week 1, and he’s still on it. Taylor showed exactly what type of fantasy QB he is when he battled the Steelers. Taylor logged more than 24 fantasy points and was QB6 for the week. He’s still more of a streamer than a set-it-and-forget-it QB1, but he gets the Saints in Week 2 (the Saints gave up 48 real football points and 42 fantasy points to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1).

Case Keenum

(ownership: 13% on ESPN, 25% on Yahoo)

Keenum had a solid showing in Week 1, putting up 22 fantasy points. He did throw three picks, but those aren’t killers if you play in a 4/-1 scoring format. Like Taylor, Keenum is a streamer-type option rather than who you want to ride with as your QB1. Still, he gets the Raiders in Week 2 and has enough options to put up some good numbers in favorable matchups.

Drop

Dak Prescott

(ownership: 51% on ESPN, 65% on Yahoo)

Whoever plays quarterback for the Cowboys will be a popular player. But recognition isn’t a category in fantasy football. Prescott has mobility, but he doesn’t have many weapons. The Dallas offense looked pedestrian against the Panthers, and the Cowboys should be blowing up Dez Bryant’s phone begging him to come back so Prescott can have a receiver besides Cole Beasley to throw the ball to. But they won’t, and Prescott can be dropped as he is on the very back-end of streaming options.

Matt Ryan

(ownership: 86% on ESPN, 89% on Yahoo)

You’re mad I put him on this list, and I get it. But like Prescott, Ryan is more of a real football name than he is a fantasy asset. The Falcons’ offense is not the same as it was when he was QB2 in 2016, as offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s schemes are not doing Ryan and company any favors from a fantasy standpoint. Under Sarkisian, Ryan was QB15 last season and then put up a giant 9.8-point performance in Week 1. He gets the Panthers at home in Week 2, so he should be better, but not “put him in your lineup” better. There are better streaming options available this week, and Ryan is simply a streamer (which he’ll be good for in Week 3 when he gets the Saints).

Running Backs

Add

Phillip Lindsey

(ownership: 2% on ESPN, 1% on Yahoo)

Royce Freeman was supposed to be the man in the Denver backfield after looking great in the preseason and beating out Devontae Booker for the starting job. But Lindsey had other ideas in Week 1. He and Freeman had identical rushing lines (15 carries, 71 yards), but Lindsey added two catches for 31 yards and a touchdown on three targets (Freeman was not targeted). Lindsey may not take over the backfield, but if he receives a good share of the workload, he could be a great PPR flex option with upside moving forward.

Austin Ekeler

(ownership: 11% on ESPN, 16% on Yahoo)

Those who follow me on Twitter know that I love Ekeler. That infatuation felt reciprocated in Week 1 when he turned 10 touches into 126 yards and a score. He’ll be behind Melvin Gordon all season, but the Chargers’ offense can support Ekeler having fantasy value moving forward. I expect him to see 10-12 touches a game, which is certainly flex-worthy in PPR.

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Other Waiver Claims to Submit: T.J. Yeldon (8% ESPN, 9% Yahoo), Darren Sproles (10% ESPN, 4% Yahoo), Kenneth Dixon (4% ESPN, 1% Yahoo)

Drop

Ty Montgomery

(ownership: 62% on ESPN, 29% on Yahoo)

Despite being the No.2 running back in Green Bay, Montgomery logged just four touches in Week 1. While he did have 21 receiving yards while catching two of three targets, Jamaal Williams got almost all of the work in the backfield. With Aaron Jones coming back in Week 3, Montgomery could be relegated to the real-life bench, not just your fantasy one.

Ronald Jones

(ownership: 53% on ESPN, 52% on Yahoo)

Much like the call to drop Matt Ryan, this is sure to be unpopular. But let’s look past the name. Jones was bad in camp to the point that coaches joked about his lack of pass-catching skills in media interviews. He looked dreadful in the preseason and was demoted to third-string entering the season. If that wasn’t enough, he was inactive for the Week 1 game against the Saints. The team decided it was better with him in sweats on the sideline than in a uniform. As long away as he is from seeing significant NFL playing time, he’s even further away from making a difference for your fantasy team. He can be safely dropped in redraft leagues.

Others Who Can Be Dropped: Jeremy Hill (18% ESPN, 4% Yahoo; torn ACL reported, out for the season)

Wide Receivers

Add

John Brown

(ownership: 22% on ESPN, 19% on Yahoo)

I was high on Brown heading into the season. He can be a very good receiver if he’s healthy. Well, he’s healthy and has shown to have a solid rapport with an angry Joe Flacco. He’s my top PPR WR target on the wire this week.

Geronimo Allison

(ownership: 9% on ESPN, 11% on Yahoo)

Allison is another familiar face for my pickup list, as he also was on the post-draft shopping list. Allison was in on 42 of 60 offensive plays for the Packers and drew eight targets (five catches, 69 yards, one touchdown). The analysis on Allison remains the same now as it was last week: if you’re on the field a bunch with Aaron Rodgers, you can be a fantasy asset, and he proved that right in Week 1.

Other Waiver Claims to Submit: Phillip Dorsett (5% ESPN, 4% Yahoo), Desean Jackson (42% ESPN, 25% Yahoo), Ryan Grant (10% ESPN, 3% Yahoo), Cole Beasley (13% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)

Drop

John Ross

(ownership: 52% on ESPN, 26% on Yahoo)

Ross was third in snap counts among Bengals receivers, which doesn’t lend itself to the belief he was going to be the No.2 wideout behind A.J. Green. However, in addition to only being on the field for 36 snaps in a game, the Bengals had to come from behind, Ross only saw two targets. Yes, he caught one of them for a massive gain of 3 yards and a touchdown, but his playing time and target share have me fading on him big time.

Dez Bryant

(ownership: 30% on ESPN, 26% on Yahoo)

This one is simple: Bryant is still a free agent who spends his Sundays tweeting on his couch instead of on the field. If you own him in a redraft league, cut bait and add someone who can actually make it into your lineup.

Others Who Can Be Dropped: Cameron Meredith (41% ESPN, 24% Yahoo), Allen Hurns (71% ESPN, 36% Yahoo)

Tight Ends

Add

Jake Butt

(ownership: 3% on ESPN, 4% on Yahoo)

The tight end position was hit hard by injuries in Week 1 with Delanie Walker suffering a season-ending injury and Greg Olsen also getting hurt. If you’re in need of a tight end, I suggest taking a look at Butt. He should have gone in the first or second round of the NFL draft in 2017, but an injury resulted in him sliding to the fifth. The talent is there, and he started off his 2018 campaign with two catches for 29 yards on four targets. I expect to see his targets increase as the season goes along and he gets his legs under him on the NFL level. He also gets the Raiders in Week 2.

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Will Dissly

(ownership: 0% on ESPN, 2% on Yahoo)

If you don’t have a high-end waiver priority, you’re likely not getting Dissley after his 19.5-PPR-point performance (three catches, 105 yards, one touchdown). He’s certainly worth a look, but if I have a high waiver priority, I’d prefer not to waste it on a tight end. There should be some streaming options available, and a top claim is better spent on a more valuable position like running back or receiver.

Other Waiver Claims to Submit: Jonnu Smith (0% ESPN, 1% Yahoo), Mike Gesicki (11% ESPN, 12% Yahoo), Benjamin Watson (36% ESPN, 39% Yahoo)

Drop

Delanie Walker

(ownership: 98% on ESPN, 97% on Yahoo)

Walker suffered an ankle injury that resulted in the team placing him on injured reserve and ending his season. He needs to be cut loose in redraft leagues.

Cameron Brate

(ownership: 23% on ESPN, 42% on Yahoo)

Brate is unreliable when Jameis Winston isn’t under center. With Winston out until Week 4, Brate should be placed back on the waiver wire. In the opening game, Brate saw just two targets and caught neither one. Despite his team scoring 48 points, Brate was not part of the picture for Tampa Bay.

Others Who Can Be Dropped: O.J. Howard (16% ESPN, 70% Yahoo), Ricky Seals-Jones (7% ESPN, 30% Yahoo), Charles Clay (54% ESPN, 30% Yahoo)

Kickers

Add

Zane Gonzalez

(ownership: 1% on ESPN, 1% on Yahoo)

The Browns get the Saints in a dome this week. The Saints just gave up 48 to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers, so that’s a defense I’m looking to stream against. There’s also no wind or rain inside a dome.

Other Waiver Claims to Submit: Graham Gano (37% ESPN, 22% Yahoo)

Drop

Ryan Succop

(ownership: 17% on ESPN, 19% on Yahoo)

As of Monday afternoon, there were no weather concerns reported for the weekend. So this is a drop simply because the Titans have a tough matchup against J.J. Watt and the Texans defense. There may not be many points to be had for the Titans, so I’m fading on their kicker this week.

Others Who Can Be Dropped: Dan Bailey (3% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)

Defenses/Special Teams

Add

Los Angeles Chargers

(ownership: 83% on ESPN, 93% on Yahoo)

These ownership percentages are too high to make this list. However, after the Chiefs shredded the Chargers in Week 1, I expect many will drop them. If you have them, don’t do that. If they are dropped in your league, pick them up. Why? Because they play the Bills this week. There is no better offense to stream defenses against than the Bills.

Other Waiver Claims to Submit: New York Giants (1% ESPN, 6% Yahoo)

Drop

New Orleans Saints

(ownership: 76% on ESPN, 87% on Yahoo)

Maybe the Saints will turn out to be like last year’s unit — ripped apart the first two weeks before becoming a sound option. Or maybe the Saints’ 2017 season was the exception and not the rule. In any case, I can’t trust them in the lineup and it’s hard to carry multiple defenses.

Others Who Can Be Dropped: Arizona Cardinals (24% ESPN, 20% Yahoo)

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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at Sports Talk Line
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook