Week 1 is OFFICIALLY IN THE BOOKS! With that, we get into my personal favorite part of the weekly grind: the waiver wire. Whether you play in a league that does standard waivers or FAB (free agent bidding), we will highlight players below based off roster percentages in ESPN leagues. For the sake of this article each week, I will focus on players owned in less than 40% of leagues. Fantasy football leagues come in all shapes and sizes, as some play in leagues with as little as 8-10 owners, while others, like our Betting Predators listener league, has 20 (!) teams. You should do your best to prioritize these adds based on your roster's most glaring needs OR the most glaring needs of your main opponents, which in Week 2 is tougher to visualize so early in the season, but can prove extremely valuable down the stretch. RB's, which are at a premium in 2020, especially due to COVID-19 related risks, are often our main targets, to add both trade value and depth/insurance at the position. We want to constantly chase volume and usage, which for WR's/TE's will be primarily tracking targets and air yards, as opposed to just touchdowns and overall fantasy points.
We had a Week 1 chock full of important injuries and scheme revelations. While we don't want to overreact to just a one-week sample size, we do want to jump on the opportunity to improve our rosters as often as humanly possible, through waivers, trades and streaming multiple positions like QB, TE, D/ST and Kicker. The ability to drop these players at the start of the week and make at least one additional, speculative add can be the difference in hitting on a league-winner off the waivers each week. Don't be afraid to drop multiple guys after Week 2, either. It's the owners who stand pat and stay stagnant who often see their fantasy fortunes fade down the stretch each year and into the playoffs. Again, it's so important to stress not chasing touchdowns, but chasing opportunity (air yards, targets, carries, goal-line work, etc.). TD's are fluky and you cannot bet on them from week to week when looking to which guys to add off waivers and who to spend your FAB on.
Have a specific add/drop question or anything more specific that isn't covered? Hit me up on Twitter @maddjournalist or @betpredators. I will do my best to address each one of you before our first set of claims go through on Tuesday night. Without further adieu, here is our first weekly addition of "Hunting The Waiver Wire" below. I will keep this short and sweet, with just one graph or less on each guy listed below. Here we go:
- Tua Tagovailoa (Roster Percentage - 9.4%): Yes, I'm aware Ryan Fitzpatrick has already been named the Week 2 starter for Miami. I'm also aware that Fitz seemingly lost his Magic in Week 1 to the tune of 3 INT's and leading the Fins to put up a measly 11 points in the process. The Dolphins have no reason to throw Tua into the fire against Buffalo's defense in Week 2, sure, but a poor showing by Fitz combined with a Bills blowout could possibly lead to some second-half practice reps for the rookie out of Alabama. Once Tua does get the starting nod, however, it will simply be too late in most cases (or too expensive) to put in a waiver claim/bid. Stash him now while you can. Tua time is coming, and it's coming fast. Prioritize Tua above the QB's listed here if you have an extra roster spot to play with.
- Gardner Minshew (14.9%): I can't get over the idea of Minshew being the modern day Ricky Vaughn - the front office, and most fans for that matter, want the Jags to #TankforTrevor or tank for whichever college QB emerges as the #1 pick for the 2021 draft. Minshew was QB12 for Week 1 despite throwing just 20 pass attempts in a game the Jaguars actually won. Jacksonville will trail more often than not, contrary to Week 1's upset win, and the pass attempts/garbage time points will follow. Expect closer to 30-35 pass attempts in future weeks, which means his floor of 20+ points can not only be relied on from game to game, but his ceiling can vault him into Top 10 QB status week in and week out.
- Teddy Bridgewater (14.7%): I touted Teddy as a "buy" QB based off his ADP (average draft position) leading up to fantasy drafts last month. What we saw in Week 1 bodes well for that stance. A solid stat line of 270 pass yards on 34 attempts, in addition to 26 rush yards and no turnovers, shows both the floor and upside that will surface in most weeks with the Panthers often trailing and in catch-up mode. Robbie Anderson was a stud in Week 1 and has history with new head coach Matt Rhule. The weapons are nice, with DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel and CMC all as viable passing game options for Teddy. The Panthers' (lack of) defense will put Teddy in a prime position to be pushing the offensive pace all year.
- Mitchell Trubisky (2.7%): As long as he's the Bears' starter, "Truthbisky" is a viable streamer due to his solid rushing floor (26 rush yards in Week 1) and a budding WR duo in Robinson/Miller. Trubisky started Week 1 looking absolutely atrocious and outright benchable by halftime, but coach Nagy stuck with him, and he led a 27-23 comeback rally, totaling 3 TD's and 24+ fantasy points, good for QB7.
- Honorable Mention: Ryan Tannehill (32.6%), Jimmy Garrapolo (39.5%), Tyrod Taylor (4.5%)
- Deep(er) League Stashes: Dwayne Haskins (3.3%), Justin Herbert (2.0%), Jalen Hurts (1.2%)
- Nyheim Hines (Roster Percentage - 34.2%): Marlon Mack tore his achilles in Week 1 and is out for the remainder of 2020. While that is terrible news just in general, what's impressive for Hines is that he was the Colts' featured back before Mack even went down. Phillip Rivers in Week 1 targeted his RB's on 37% (!) of his 46 pass attempts, and we all know that is Hines' specialty. Add to the fact he received work near the goal line and will work in tandem with newly-minted starter/rookie Jonathan Taylor, then bidding big on Hines isn't an overreaction despite the small sample. He's worth at least 25% of your FAB if you need help at the position. The Phillip Rivers' RB receiving game narrative is real.
- Chase Edmonds (32.1%): I don't know why Edmonds is only rostered in 32% of leagues. He flashed major upside when given the starting job last season and just two weeks ago Kenyan Drake was in a walking boot. Even with a healthy Drake in Week 1, Edmonds tied for second on Kyler Murray's target list with five and also notched a receiving TD. Those five targets were more than double Drake's 2. He also received 6 carries, proving that he might provide standalone value as a passing-down, change-of-pace back in a high powered offense, even without injury to Drake. But if Drake ever did go down or even miss a little time, Edmonds is prime to be a week-winner and season-long winner.
- Joshua Kelly (11.3%): Justin Jackson's return looms for Los Angeles and potentially caps the rookie Kelly's upside, but until that happens, Kelly has a real chance to form a near committee with Austin Ekeler. The 4th round pick out of UCLA saw 12 carries to Ekeler's 19 and added a rushing TD. He didn't see a single target, sure, but at the same time Ekeler saw just one. We're betting on the fresh legs of a rookie RB to prove valuable to the Chargers' coaching staff. Kelly will help keep Ekeler fresh, and provide a change of pace with his bruising, yet elusive style of running.
- Jerick McKinnon (16.1%): The 49ers will still be a run-heavy team in 2020, but a team that also will look to target their RB's in the passing game, where McKinnon thrives. McKinnon tied for the team lead in targets in Week 1 with the likes of Mostert, Kittle, Bourne and Taylor. Eight touches, five targets and a TD for a guy who hasn't played real life in football in over two years is impressive, to say the least. McKinnon was originally brought in to be the workhorse for Kyle Shanahan, and while Mostert owns the RB1 job (for now), McKinnon's touches will only continue to increase.
- Honorable Mention: Adrian Peterson (21.3%), Malcolm Brown (7.9%), James Robinson (29.1%), Benny Snell Jr. (14.6%), Devonta Freeman (6.6%), Carlos Hyde (11.3%)
- Deep League Targets: Peyton Barber (1.3%), Josh Adams (0.0%), Myles Gaskin (0.1%)
- Parris Campbell (Roster Percentage - 29.8%): Campbell tied TY Hilton for the team lead with 9 targets while leading the Colts with 71 receiving yards. The former Ohio State star WR is essentially playing his rookie season and now operating as Rivers' underneath weapon out of the slot. A valuable, yet explosive target valve over the middle of the field as well, Campbell makes Rivers' job much easier week to week by turning quick, easy passes into potentially big plays. He should've been drafted in all 12 team leagues or larger. If he's available, however, scoop him asap. He's a viable WR2 with a safe floor in PPR. Oh, and Campbell will outscore TY Hilton in fantasy this year. Bold take? I don't think it is.
- Anthony Miller (37.9%): Miller opened up Week 1 with a bang, leading the Bears with 76 receiving yards and finishing third in targets behind Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham, respectively. A versatile WR who can operate out of the slot and run routes deep, Miller will benefit week to week from the extra attention Allen Robinson receives from opposing teams' top DB's. My guess is that he's owned in your league already, but he fits our threshold of under 40% owned in general and if you're hurting at WR after Week 1 he's worth a pickup, and a spot start, over the next month of action if needed. The Bears play the Giants in Week 2 and follow that up with the Falcons and Colts.
- Laviska Shenault (6.7%): See Gardner Minshew above. The Jaguars will attempt way more than 20 passes in most weeks and be playing from behind, which means they'll need their explosive playmakers in Shenault and Chark to handle more volume. Shenault, who can line up at WR, RB an even QB, also had two carries and tied Chark for second on the team in targets (4), in addition to a receiving score. That's a ton of work for the rookie wideout in his first NFL game with no pre-season action under his belt. The talent is there, and so is the opportunity, in Jacksonville.
- Marquez Valdez-Scantling (1.9%): Known simply as MVS, Marquez backed up Aaron Rodgers' offseason hype saying that he had emerged as the team's #2 weapon in the passing game. Let's also not forget how MVS flashed major upside as a rookie in 2018 and was a mid-round upside pick in many fantasy football drafts last year. Sure, he had a down 2019 campaign, but let's not let recency bias make us overlook this talented wideout. MVS tied with Aaron Jones for second on the Packers in targets (6), two more than his 2B counterpart, Allen Lazard. MVS is the more explosive downfield threat and if he can stay consistent with his route-running and hands, Rodgers will keep him involved.
- Honorable Mention: Jalen Reagor (28.5%), Brandon Aiyuk (25%), Allen Lazard (24.8%), Russell Gage (3.8%), Corey Davis (3.9%), Scotty Miller (5.2%)
- Deep League Targets: Quintez Cephus (0.3%), Miles Boykin (1.1%), Keelan Cole (0.1%)
- Dallas Goedert (Roster Percentage - 27.2%): Is the Dallas Goedert TE1 hype real? We all though it would take an injury to Zach Ertz for Goedert to take the TE1 reigns in Philly, but he did that in Week 1 with Ertz playing a full compliment of snaps. Goedert saw a team-high 9 targets and led Philly with 8 catches, 101 yards and a score. A 6'5", 256-pound behemoth down the middle of the field, Goedert was taken in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft for a reason, out of South Dakota State no less. He might not be this good every week, but he's worth a sizable FAB bid for his standalone upside alone.
- Logan Thomas (0.5%): A converted QB from college and now getting the chance to start at TE, Thomas was beginning to build some buzz during the offseason as a potential breakout fantasy tight end. What impressed me more than his touchdown catch, however, was the fact he garnered a team-high eight targets, one more target than stud wideout Terry McLaurin. With a lot of TE disappointments and duds in Week 1, in addition to injuries to Kittle and Jarwin, among others, you could do a lot worse than adding and/or starting him in Week 2. The talent is there.
- OJ Howard (4.9%): Rob Gronkowski is one of the best blocking tight ends of all time. There is a reason why the Bucs brought him to Tampa Bay, other than the fact of his close relationship with TB12 of course. All this goes to say is that OJ Howard is still the best receiving tight end on the team. Finally out of Arian's doghouse, Howard flashed some of the potential that had many of us pegging him as the breakout TE of 2019. Howard finished tied with Scotty Miller for second on the team in targets (6), just one less than Chris Godwin. His ceiling might not be as high as we want it to be while having to split snaps with Gronk, but the athleticism/upside is there. Arch nemesis Brate saw only 1 target.
- Jimmy Graham (10.3%): Graham also garnered a lot of offseason buzz and clearly emerged from a crowded TE room in Chicago to receive 7 targets in Week 1 from Trubisky, just two targets shy of team-leader Allen Robinson. While the athletic upside may no longer be there for Graham, he is a savvy player who presents a decent amount of red zone/TD upside for an offense that lacks a big bodied threat down the middle. You could do a lot worse than streaming "the real Jimmy G" over the next three weeks with cake matchups against the Giants, Falcons and Colts upcoming.
- Honorable Mention: Jonnu Smith (22.1%), Jack Doyle (39.5%), Jordan Akins (11.9%), Greg Olsen (8.9%), Dawson Knox (2.4%), CJ Uzomah (0.6%)
- Deep League Targets: Harrison Bryant (0.2%), Dan Arnold (1.3%), Dalton Schultz (0.1%)