Fantasy Football: Raiders, Latavius Murray headlines the waiver wire targets to track

(Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Every year, names emerge from the waiver wire to become fantasy starters that owners are able to rely on. Players like Miles Austin, Josh Gordon, Jarrett Boykin and Bobby Rainey have become difference makers for active owners. Waiting until these guys emerge can be a risky proposition. While by no means am I saying drop guys you already have to rush out grab these players, if you need to comb the waiver wire, know these names and be ready to click add. Five guys stand out to me as players who have the ability and the path to become viable fantasy starters this season.

Latavius Murray (RB | Oakland Raiders)

Latavius Murray is a name deeper league or dynasty owners have know about for a few seasons. His coming out party season is still being anticipated by owners in those leagues. This however is the season Murray should find value. The Raiders have drastically improved their offensive line, especially for running the ball. While Murray may currently be third on the depth chart, an injury to Maurice Jones-Drew would likely allow Murray to see a fair amount of touches. The Raiders want to try and keep Darren McFadden healthy all season. McFadden and Murray would likely a timeshare with McFadden getting 10 to 15 touches a game. If he gets the lion share of the work, he would be a solid bye week fill in or replacement for an injured stud.

Steve Johnson (WR | San Francisco 49ers)

Steve Johnson is a talented wide receiver that has been fantasy relevant in past seasons but due to an anemic offense in Buffalo and quarterbacks who could not utilize his talents, he’s somewhat fallen off the last two years. While Johnson doesn’t appear to be a fantasy monster waiting to happen because of a shaky path to consistent playing time, I expect the 49ers offense to look much stronger this season in part because quarterback Colin Kaepernick should take a dramatic leap.

The 49ers defense has taken quite a hit this offseason. Aldon Smith will miss the first nine games due to suspension. NaVorro Bowman will be out at least eight games recovering from offseason surgery. Ray McDonald will likely miss six games, if not more due to his recent domestic violence charge. A depleted defense will require more from the 49ers offense and ask their quarterback to throw more often.

Steve Johnson could see a larger role than some may anticipate, in multiple receiver sets and giving the starters a blow. He will likely by flex worthy or serve as a bye week fill in.

(Ron Schwane / USA Today Sports)

(Ron Schwane / USA Today Sports)

Santonio Holmes (WR | Chicago Bears)

Santonio Holmes is another guy who has had value in the past, but is now in a much better situation. Holmes heads to Chicago to join the Bears pass friendly offense. He will be featured alongside Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, who will garner all the attention for the defense.

Marquess Wilson will be going onto the IR with designated to return designation. Holmes will fill the role vacated by Wilson. Holmes will likely see single coverage in most situations often times with a safety or linebacker on him.  He will have the potential to be a reliable flex option or bye week fill in.

Tim Wright (TE | New England Patriots)

The New England Patriots newly acquired tight end, Tim Wright has the potential to be very interesting this season. I have heard some people assume Wright could take over the role vacated by Aaron Hernandez. While I don’t believe this to be the case, he will however have the potential to garner a valuable role in this offense. He has the ability and athleticism to be used in a multitude of ways and Coach Bill Belichick will do just that.

Malcom Floyd (WR | San Diego Chargers)

(Harry How/Getty Images North America)

(Harry How/Getty Images North America)

The question has never been about talent with Michael Floyd. If the Chargers are able to keep Floyd healthy, the potential is there for a massive season. Coach Mike McCoy seemed to reinvigorate the offense last season with help from Ken Whisenhunt. While Coach Whisenhunt has moved on to Tennessee, Phillip Rivers and the Chargers passing attack looks to keep it rolling. Floyd can help second year wide receiver Keenan Allen and Ladarius Green garner less attention this season if he can produce up to his ability.

Others to keep tabs on

Owners should keep tabs on these players as the season progresses. Be ready to put in a waiver claim when it feels like they can help. Picking these players up a week or two before you need them allows you avoid missing out on their production.

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