Week one is gone and you’re wondering when Kareem Hunt will show up? Or maybe Lev Bell’s holdout hit you hard? Bowled over by Greg Olsen’s loss as tight end? Or did Big Ben fail to chime for your team this week?
If so, there’s no need to worry, as the waiver wire can often solve a flawed roster if you pick up the right guys at the right time.
Tight Times at Tight End
JARED COOK – Raiders
With Olsen and Delanie Walker two of the biggest fantasy performer to drop this week, many will be scrambling for cover on the waiver wire, and, in truth, the position is a bit of a crapshoot.
There’s no clearer evidence for that than Jared Cook, who has bounced around the league for years, disappointing many a coach and FF manager alike. His dubious reputation is clear from the fact he’s owned in about half of all leagues.
However, he did look like one playmaker Derek Carr could come to rely on in Oakland against the Rams. He saw 12 targets, caught nine of them, and tallied 180 yards. 688 yards in 16 games last season shows that he can be hit-and-miss, but he’s a nice slot in coach Jon Gruden’s offence, and they’re likely to chasing games regularly given the state of their defence.
ERIC EBRON – Colts
Similar to Cook, this former first round pick for the Lions will have some readers groaning at memories of seasons past, but again, there’s a chance in this offence for him to be a productive play should you have lost your starter this week.
Luck is the key. Andrew Luck.
The gifted QB looked healthy in his return against the Bengals. Questions will linger about his ability to go deep following his shoulder issues, but that he can pass at all is enough for us. Jack Doyle and Ebron saw a 2:1 split of target on Sunday, but the volume should be there for receiving options given the still limited run game and poor defence.
Jesse James – Steelers
You could do worse than saddle up with this varmint, pardner.
OK, enough of that.
The Steelers haven’t had a properly fantasy relevant TE since mid-career Heath Miller, and James would do well to get near his 800-yard, eight touchdown 2012, but if you temper expectations there’s a chance he could develop into a regular receiver for Big Ben.
Le’Veon Bell’s contract dispute and Vance McDonald’s injury mean there are catches available in this offence at the moment. James Conner, rookie James Washington and second-year wideout Juju Smith-Schuster could soak them up, but James is in his fourth season as a Steeler and grab 60 yards off five targets in a drenched Cleveland game.
RUNNING BACK HELP
TJ YELDON – Jaguars
Assuming Pittsburgh’s James Conner isn’t available in your league (if he is, perform any favours necessary to get him), TJ Yeldon has to be your priority addition this week.
The Jaguars reserve running back showed in the playoffs last season his value as a receiving option. He’s had the starting role in Jacksonville before, but their improved line and scheming should see him capitalise on Leonard Fournette’s likely absence due to a hamstring injury now.
He had a nice 69 yards and a TD off 17 touches against the Giants when their primary back left the game. Corey Grant, now Yeldon’s backup, is also an interesting option in deeper leagues.
PHILLIP LINDSAY – Broncos
Royce Freeman was supposed to be the primary back in Denver, but their two rookies shared an almost even split of snaps in week one, and Lindsay made the most of his, streaking to 102 total yards and a valuable TD for any clairvoyants who actually started him.
With so much in flux in the Mile High City, it’s still hard to trust him based on one week, and coach Vance Joseph suggested they used him more because of his hot start – that could change from week-to-week.
But he looked electrifying against a Seahawks D in transition.
The Broncos have a similarly middling opponent in the Raiders next week, so there’s an opportunity there if you’re short at RB, especially in PPR leagues.
JORDAN WILKINS – Colts
Wilkins is owned in the majority of leagues already, and didn’t light up the Bengals game having got the start in Marlon Mack’s absence, but if you have been really hit hard (or drafted badly), he’s worth making a claim on because of the opportunity should Indianapolis’ first-choice back remain sidelined.
WIDE RECEIVER DEPTH
QUINCY ENUNWA – Jets
Enunwa has flashed his talent previously – 850 yards and 4 TDs in 2016 were enough to have him fancied for a more prominent role in a depleted Jets lineup last season before injury wiped out all of 2017 – but he looked to be a trusted target of rookie Sam Darnold in their Monday night blowout win over the Lions, so is worth adding to your bench if you’re short on receivers.
Terelle Pryor and Robby Anderson (who has priors) are the primary options in the Meadowlands, but that shouldn’t dent Enunwa’s appeal as the young QB finds his NFL feet and will return to those who make plays.
Phillip Dorsett – Patriots
The Pats seem to have tried out any uncontracted receiver not named Dez this off season, though not many have stuck. One who looks to have latched on is the former Colt Dorsett, who caught all seven targets thrown his way on Sunday.
With Julian Edelman suspended a further game, Chris Hogan inconsistent, Danny Amendola now a Dolphin, and numerous others deemed unworthy of the Foxboro stage, Dorsett can become a sneakily useful option in your fantasy lineup, especially in 3 WR or flex leagues.
Chris Godwin – Buccaneers
This is his second year in the league. He showed towards the close last season what he can do, and though Desean Jackson is still #2 WR behind Mike Evans – and gorged on the lax Saints secondary last week – it will be hard to keep Godwin off the field if he continues his trajectory upwards on limited play.
More of a stash at the moment than a plug-in-and-play starter, if you can find a space on your roster – drop a reserve QB or defence maybe – and try to secure him now.
Dante Pettis – 49ers
The Niners came back to earth after last season’s late run with a bruising loss to the Vikings.
Minnesota are one of the meanest defences in the league though, so there’s no shame in losing there.
Their cause wasn’t helped by buzz-friendly wide receiver Marquise Goodwin’s injury early in the first half. He returned to the game, and may be healthy this week, but rookie Dante Pettis stepped in during his break from the game to make one of the prettiest TDs of the opening week.
Should Goodwin miss time – keep up to date with his status here – or Pierre Garcon not perform, the rookie presents a tantalising prospect in Kyle Shanahan’s offence.
Backing out on your drafted QB?
Deshaun Watson was the most underwhelming fantasy QB of those who went early, but it’s still too soon to be calling time on a guy you’ve drafted in the fourth or fifth round, especially one who could go off like the Texans QB did last season.
Houston’s offensive line, however, is worrying. The Pats are expected to be one of the weeker pass-rushing defences this season, but managed to pressurise the returning quarterback, so it’ll be interesting to see how they cope at the Titans next week.
Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Stafford will also have caused some losses, but, unless you started Nathan Peterman this week – and I’m really not sure why anyone would’ve – I’d give these guys a second chance.
If you’re insistent on switching, Ryan FitzPatrick rolled back the years in place of a suspended Jameis Winston and has plenty of offensive weapons around him to put up decent fantasy totals in the next few weeks too, though Ryan Tannehill is who I’ll be watching after a solid effort in his interrupted game against the Titans.
If you’re rolling without a backup QB on your roster, keep an eye on him with the bye week in mind.