With week one of the fantasy football season in the books, now comes the race to the wire and sift to find the gems. Plenty of injuries and situations impacting the young season early on and time to scour the wire for help.
All players focused on here are owned in less than 50% of all NFL.com leagues and could be available in your redraft leagues. Ownership % shown in parentheses.
Marcus Mariota (19.8%) – Looked good in his debut and was efficient in his passing going 13 for 16 with 4 touchdowns. Granted this was against a weak Tampa Bay defense but he was poised and made wise decisions. His next two matchups (Browns and Colts) should provide good stats before going up against the Bills and Dolphins.
Alex Smith (37.8%) – With better weapons in Maclin and a full time starting Kelce, Smith posted a good stat line. On a short week, going up against the Broncos, Smith may regress against a defense that held Flacco to 117 yards, 0 TDs and 2 picks. Smith can be a decent streamer in the right matchup but don’t depend on him week in and week out.
Andy Dalton (13.6%) – Dalton really enjoyed having a healthy Tyler Eifert (see below) and it showed in the box score. Throwing for two touchdowns to Eifert and almost getting another with Green, Dalton and the Bengals coasted to a win over the Raiders. The next three contests (Chargers, Ravens and Chiefs) should prove to be more difficult and should provide for more passing opportunities as the games should be close.
Tyrod Taylor (4.1%) – Taylor wasn’t asked to do a lot of passing evidenced by only 19 attempts, but he did chip in with 41 yards on the ground. When he did pass, he did have a nice touch on the ball and made good choices. His dual threat ability was definitely on show for this game but the run heavy offense (36 rushes – 19 pass attempts) will limit his ceiling. There will definitely be good games and bad stat wise but Taylor should be around to stay for the foreseeable future.
Johnny Manziel (1.6%) – As of today, McCown is still in concussion protocol and Manziel is preparing to start. Now this is the same Browns with a terrible receiving core and struggling run game so don’t get too excited. If he starts, Manziel goes up against a Titans defense that shut down Tampa Bay and held Winston to a QB rating of 64.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (0.8%) – Fitzpatrick made use of his new weapons in Marshall and Decker and the Jets defense helped him to an easy win. Ivory and the dominant run game along with the aforementioned strong defense will limit Fitzpatrick’s ceiling making him a low end streaming candidate.
Ryan Mallett (0.1%) – We don’t know for sure if he is starting but Mallett did look better than Hoyer in the Texans loss. Bill O’Brien as of today has not named a starter but don’t be surprised if he sticks with Hoyer and doesn’t let one game sway his decision from the offseason. With the uncertainty, this may be a situation to avoid season long.
Danny Woodhead (52%) – Woodhead is my lone over 50% add as he should be universally owned in PPR leagues. He is the go to back in the red zone for the Chargers and has added appeal in PPR leagues getting 7 targets. With Gordon relegated to the sideline when the Chargers are up on the goal line, Woodhead is a must add.
Duke Johnson (47.3%) – Yea I know Duke plays for the Browns and they are bad at football but they still have a dominant offense line. Johnson outgained Crowell on the ground with less carries but strangely Crowell had two receptions. With West gone, it’s only a matter of time before Duke takes over the backfield so buy in now.
David Johnson (15.4%) – Ellington is sidelined for the next few weeks with a PCL injury, leaving the door open for David Johnson to show what he can do. His lone touch was a pass but he did take it to the house for 55 yards. The only other competition in Arizona is CJ?K so the opportunity is there. If I had to choose I would go with David over Chris.
Ronnie Hillman (11.2%) – Baltimore’s run defense is legit so it is no surprise that Denver found little room to run. What is a surprise is Hillman outgaining CJ Anderson (41-29) on the ground. Not saying that Hillman is going to take over but there is cause for worry if you are a CJA owner. Denver is playing on a short week so the same kind of split could be in store Thursday night against the Chiefs.
Chris Johnson (2.8%) – Only thing CJ?K has going for him is that Arians trusts a veteran over a rookie. If David Johnson had played in the preseason and had not been injured, I would see this as his job. Let someone else grab Chris and be their headache.
Matt Jones (2%) – Morris is still the bellcow in Washington but Jones is making a case for at least a piece of the offense. Alf and Jones were similarly productive (4.8 to 4.7) on the ground but Morris did get the lion share of the touches at 25-6. Jones is a name to monitor as he could fill in nicely if Morris would to go down.
Dion Lewis (0.8%) – Meet the new Shane Vereen for the Patriots. The one thing to keep in mind with Lewis is that Blount was suspended for this game. With the suspension over, Lewis will slide back to the COP/passing back role ala Vereen. Lewis is a strong add in PPR leagues but standard leagues can be left out there on the wire.
Khiry Robinson (0.9%) – Robinson filled in nicely for Spiller and essentially made the backfield a 50/50 split with Ingram. He also chipped in with 5 catches for 51 yards making him 3rd on the team in receiving yards. As long as Spiller is out, Robinson will continue to contribute.
Karlos Williams (0.2%) – With Rex Ryan dedicated to running the ball, there is a case for owning Karlos Williams. He offers a different style than McCoy and makes good use of his touches. Take away the long run of 26 yards, Williams was still 5 for 39 for a 7.8 average. Take away McCoy’s longest run of 16 and he was 16 for 25 for a 1.5 average. Let that sink in.
Donte Moncrief (31.2%) /Phillip Dorsett (4.1%) – With the TY Hilton injury (out for several weeks – knee bruise) and Andre Johnson not looking good, Moncrief becomes a must add this week with Dorsett to a lesser extent. Moncrief turned his 11 targets into 6 receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown with Dorsett grabbing 2 out of 3 targets for 45 yards. There will be plenty of receptions to go around in the Colts offense and Moncrief and Dorsett should be able to capitalize.
Stevie Johnson (3.4%) – Stevie had been hyped all offseason as a good add in the middle to late rounds that could pay off and on Sunday he did. He grabbed all 6 of his targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. He showed great chemistry with Rivers and was a big part of the aerial attack of the Chargers over the Lions. He is a great addition for owners that lost Dez Bryant and should be a steady weekly contributor.
James Jones (7.9%) – The loss of Jordy Nelson was a little less felt with the arrival of Jones who was cut from the Giants. His addition essentially extinguished the fantasy hopes of Janis and Montgomery for the foreseeable future. The familiarity of the offense and chemistry with Rodgers helped him secure all 4 of his targets and 2 touchdowns. I would temper expectations though with the Seahawks, Chiefs, 49ers and Rams up over the next month.
Brandon Coleman (1.2%) – Coleman has quickly climbed the depth chart over the summer and has possibly passed the aging Marques Colston. Coleman secured 4 out of 7 of his targets and the lone touchdown reception. With Colston’s age and pass happy Saints offense, he is a good roster addition that may pay off big towards the end of the season.
Terrance Williams (17.3%) / Cole Beasley (3.8%) – With Dez Bryant out for the next 6-8 weeks, Romo will need someone to throw to not named Jason Witten. Williams should see more targets as will Witten with Beasley staying in his traditional slot role. Williams should be the waiver target as he has the most value.
Allen Hurns (5.1%) /Rashad Greene (0.1%) – Hurns and Greene led the Jaguars in targets in an ugly loss to the Panthers. Hurns was efficient in catching 5-7 for 60 yards. Greene was peppered with 13 targets but only managing to grab 7 for 28 yards although he did manage to catch the lone Jaguar touchdown. With Marqise Lee still on the sidelines and Allen Robinson not being on the same page as Bortles, Hurns seems to be the go to receiver. Greene did get hurt with a back injury so will need to monitor the injury report. Blake Bortles and his struggles limits the Jacksonville offense so be willing to take a few down weeks.
Heath Miller (30.2%) – Essentially Big Ben’s security blanket, Miller grabbed 8 out 11 targets for 84 yards. Lower expectations as this was with Martavis Bryant on suspension. Once Bryant comes back and relegates Wheaton to the bench, Miller will come back down to earth to his usual middling stat line.
Kyle Rudolph (21.1%) – With the Vikings playing from behind, Teddy Bridgewater found Rudolph 5 out of 7 times for 53 yards. When healthy, Rudolph can be dominant and had to be as the other Vikings receivers were non-existent. Key to his dominance will be to stay on the field.
Tyler Eifert (16.2%) – Posting almost Gronk numbers, Eifert was a huge part of the thrashing of the Raiders. After missing essentially two years, Eifert came back with a vengeance. He secured 9 out of 12 targets for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns and looked the part of a TE1 that we thought he could be. He is a must add if he is on your waiver wire as he will be a major part of the Bengals offense this year.
Ladarius Green (13.5%) – Green did a good job filling in for the suspended Gates as he hauled in 5 out of 6 targets for 74 yards and a touchdown. Gates suspension will be over in 3 weeks so Green will have more time to shine. After Gates returns, this could be a rotation so keep that in mind.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3.4%) – The one bright spot in an ugly win, ASJ provided Winston with a sure handed outlet securing 5 out of 7 for 110 and 2 touchdowns. Granted this was with Evans out and one of the receptions was off a deflection, Seferian-Jenkins still played well. With the return of Mike Evans, I can see the touchdowns going down but ASJ should be a good part of this young Bucs offense.
Eric Ebron (3.2%) – Has Ebron finally arrived? Well he did get 5 targets and managed to haul in 4 and a touchdown for 53 yards. Ebron is still fighting for scraps behind Calvin, Tate and now Abdullah but he was the only TE on Detroit to catch a ball.
Jordan Reed (2.5%) – Like Rudolph, when healthy, Reed can be a dominant force. With the loss of Desean Jackson, Reed should get more looks as Cousins is still bad at football evidenced by his line of 21/31 for 196 yards. With 11 of those attempts going to Reed, he caught 7 for 63 and the lone touchdown for the Redskins. It has never been a question of talent for Reed but has been can he stay on the field.
Until next week, may you find some of those waiver wire gems!
All stats from ESPN.com