Week 1 always feels like a firm reminder that we know nothing. Per a tweet Sunday night from Adam Schefter, eight underdogs won outright with five of them coming on the road. We saw some underwhelming performances such as Brandon Aiyuk putting up as many fantasy points as my wiener dog and a couple surprise inactives like Trey Sermon and Zack Moss. This came after neither player showed up on Friday’s injury reports. But we have a few players to key in on for waivers this week. By no means should we blow a ton of FAAB this week, but assess your team’s needs and see what you should spend. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t overreact now by costing your team later on.
For this week’s waiver wire, I will be in the NFL Seasonal Discord answering just waiver wire questions. I’ll be in the Discord from 8:00am-12:00pm ET and then again from 8:00pm-10:00pm ET. I will not be fielding start/sit questions, only waiver wire inquiries. Next week I am on vacation so I will not be in the Discord following Week 2, but I’ll provide a reminder when the time comes.
Jameis Winston (NO; FAAB Bid: 7-8%) Jameis shocked everyone on Sunday against the Packers. The volume wasn’t there for him, but he proved to be a fairly efficient passer and most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. The same can’t quite be said for Aaron Rodgers who had one of the worst games of his career. Can we completely trust Winston yet? No, but a year serving as the backup to Drew Brees is one hell of an internship and if he’s improved as a player and decision maker then he could improve an abundance of fantasy teams.
Kirk Cousins (MIN; FAAB Bid: 6-7%) We can’t expect 49 pass attempts on a weekly basis from Kirk Cousins. For starters, Minnesota and Cincinnati played 70 minutes on Sunday and it turned into a pretty competitive game where Minnesota failed to get much going on the ground. And if you look at the upcoming schedule for Minnesota, the matchup is either really nice or the Vikings find themselves playing catch up or in a shootout and Cousins may be called upon to throw more. Over the next four weeks, Minnesota will play Arizona, Seattle, Cleveland, and Detroit. Cousins should be rostered in all two-quarterback/superflex formats.
Justin Fields (CHI; FAAB Bid: 5-7%) Spending FAAB on a quarterback is always so hard to gauge. For starters it depends on the format and you have to assess the likelihood that you would start said quarterback over your every week starter. In two-quarterback formats, Fields needs to be owned in all formats. It’s not a question of if, but when Fields takes over. It likely should happen within the next few weeks especially if Andy Dalton continues to struggle and the Bears aren’t winning games. Matt Nagy’s job isn’t exactly synonymous with the word “secure” so get Fields if you have a lack of confidence in your current quarterback situation.
Teddy Bridgewater (DEN; FAAB Bid: 5-7%) No Jerry Jeudy? No problem. It’s a loss, sure. But the Broncos have plenty of weapons to utilize on offense. Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, Melvin Gordon, and Javonte Williams are viable weapons in this offense so the Broncos shouldn’t miss a beat. Bridgewater was accurate and efficient last week throwing for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Broncos draw the Jaguars next week who just allowed TyRod Taylor to throw for 290+ yards and a pair of touchdowns and rush for 40 yards.
Elijah Mitchell (SF; FAAB Bid: 20-25%) This 49ers/Lions game just had weird storylines throughout. From Trey Sermon being a surprise inactive, to Brandon Aiyuk either having a hamstring injury or being punished by the team, to the overall distribution of targets; we should have seen this coming. One thing that was the right call was starting Raheem Mostert. It was a great spot and even on Sunday’s live stream Howard said that Mostert was Cash game eligible. Unfortunately, Mostert is now set to miss the next six-to-eight weeks with a knee injury. That’s just crappy luck. That opened the door for Elijah Mitchell and Jamycal Hasty. Both scored, but it was Mitchell who got 19 carries and over 100 rushing yards. To go all in this early would be bold. We also don’t know the issue surrounding Sermon’s demotion. but Mitchell’s going to see a dramatic spike in ownership as a worthy stash, but try to approach the waiver wire with an objective mindset. If your draft strategy left you lacking running back depth you may need to pay up here. I’ve seen some folks mention going as heavy as 40%, but I don’t quite know if I’d want to pay such a premium. In deeper leagues you can obviously look at Jamycal Hasty as well, but this is still a backfield that could boil down to whoever has the hot hand that week.
Mark Ingram (HOU; FAAB Bid: 10-15%) While most people went into the weekend hoping the Texans would trade Ingram back to Baltimore, is anyone disappointed by what they saw? For what it’s worth, the snap distribution was pretty even. Ingram saw 35 snaps, David Johnson had 22, and Phillip Lindsay saw 20. However, the overall workload fell on Ingram as he had 26 carries compared to just 11 between Johnson and Lindsay combined. Ingram wasn’t efficient as he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, but he found the end zone. As of right now, he looks like RB1 in Houston.
Nyheim Hines (IND; FAAB Bid: 10-15%) Fresh off a shiny new contract, the Colts were true to their word and got Hines more involved in the offense. Hines saw 15 total touches including six receptions for 48 yards and ultimately he finished with 14.2 points in full-PPR formats. I would be pleasantly surprised if he saw 15 touches every week. However, if that’s going to be the case then he’s arguably a Flex option/low-end RB2.
Tony Jones (NO; FAAB Bid: 10%) Jones saw a dozen touches on Sunday and accumulated 50 rushing yards. He looked good in relief of Kamara but it will be hard to start him any given week unless we get an injury to AK41. Like most running backs you’ll see on the waiver report every week, Jones is a great stash but needs an injury to see his value spike.
Kenneth Gainwell (PHI; FAAB Bid: 7-8%) I really liked what I saw from Gainwell. He only appeared in 25-of-71 snaps but saw 11 touches. Miles Sanders got most of the carries between the 20’s for Philadelphia. However, when they needed to get him some rest they brought in Gainwell and he found the end zone on the ground while also having a receiving touchdown called back due to a penalty. As of right now he’s more of a stash and not as much of a priority as Mitchell. But this was an impressive debut. I don’t believe Boston Scott saw a single snap on Sunday. It’s pretty evident Gainwell is the backup in Philly.
Sterling Shepard (NYG; FAAB Bid: 12-15%) We don’t typically prioritize wide receiver transactions as much as we do running backs. The depth at this position is readily available on the waiver wire, but Shepard stands out as the top pass catcher this week on waivers. The G-Men didn’t have many highlights from Sunday’s game, but this catch-and-run certainly stands out…
Shepard finished with seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. He led all pass catchers in almost every major statistical category for wide receivers in New York. The Giants might be trailing on a consistent basis this season, which means plenty of pass attempts to go around.
Elijah Moore (NYJ; FAAB Bid: 10%) Those who just read the box score could be quick to drop Moore. But all the reports from training camp held him in high regard, but he was on the field for 57 of the team’s 65 offensive snaps. Despite finishing with just one catch for negative yards, Moore was targeted four times and Zach Wilson was looking at him deep down field…
Once they start connecting, bigger results will follow.
Christian Kirk (ARI; FAAB Bid: 7-8%) I want to keep expectations in check for Kirk because while this offense looked phenomenal in Week 1, it was against the Titans who have had an awful defense since Dean Pees left. I’m mildly concerned that Kirk was only on the field for about half the team’s offensive snaps while A.J. Green saw 17 more snaps, plus Green ran more routes (32) on Kyler Murray’s drop backs than Kirk did (23). Alas, Kirk went on to catch all five of his targets including a pair of touchdowns. There will be games where he frustrates you, but he’s a trendy add heading into Week 2. As an honorable mention, you could spend a similar bid on Cole Beasley if he’s floating out there on waivers. The only reason he’s not written up in depth is because he isn’t as available but he did see 13 targets on Sunday against the Steelers. That number won’t always be that high, but he could be worth a modest bid.
KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick (DEN; FAAB Bid: 5%) With the news that Jerry Jeudy is about to miss a handful of games, there are options in the Denver passing attack that could see an increased role. It boils down to Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler. Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant are the easiest options to see more work, but their ownership numbers are already so high. Patrick and Hamler are great acquisitions this week. Hamler has deep threat potential and Tim Patrick is a big target for Teddy Bridgewater when they get into the end zone. Pick your poison.
Nelson Agholor (NE; FAAB Bid: 5%) Agholor’s a bit of a walking joke in fantasy circles for his history of dropping passes. But the Patriots gave him a respectable contract in the offseason and they got their money’s worth on Sunday. Agholor saw 64 snaps and caught five-of-seven targets for 72 yards and he found the end zone. He’ll likely never be a lock in your lineup, but he has flex appeal going forward.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB; FAAB Bid: 3-4%) I won’t commit a significant amount of FAAB to MVS because while he does have a nice ceiling, there’s just too much variance in his game as a fantasy asset. But the fact he was fourth among all players in terms of air yards does catch my attention. He only finished with three receptions for 17 yards, but he did have seven targets. He was looked at deep down the field and there were reports during training camp that MVS had improved his ability as a pass catcher. That’s good to hear since he has been considered a deep threat with a tendency to drop passes.
Russell Gage (ATL; FAAB Bid: 1-2%) Truthfully, I think anyone who was rostering Gage likely drops him following the dud he posted on Sunday. Because of that I don’t see anybody also flocking to stash him. He had zero catches on two targets, but he was on the field for 48 of the team’s 71 offensive snaps. Olamide Zaccheaus saw the third-most snaps at wideout and he only saw 18. Gage won’t be a top two target for Atlanta, but we have to imagine the Falcons offense can only go up from here following an abysmal showing on Sunday and if Gage is on the field there’s value here and you could probably get him for absolutely nothing.
Jared Cook (LAC; FAAB Bid: 6-7%) Remember when everyone was falling over themselves giving Donald Parham and his 6’8” frame all the praise in training camp? Well Ole Reliable, Jared Cook, came through with a nice workload on Sunday. Cook saw 47 of the team’s 81 offensive snaps and caught five of his eight targets for 56 yards. The Bolts play Dallas in Week 2 and the Cowboys allowed Rob Gronkowski to catch all eight of his targets last week including a pair of touchdowns.
Cole Kmet (CHI; FAAB Bid: 6-7%) When Andrew Cooper tweets about a potential free agent tight end on waivers, you listen…
Kmet saw 59 snaps compared to Jimmy Graham who had just 19 and Kmet finished with five catches on seven targets for 42 yards. Once the Bears make the switch at quarterback, most positional players in this offense will see an upgrade in their fantasy value and Kmet could take off.
Juwan Johnson (NO; FAAB Bid: 2-3%) The two touchdowns are nice but we have to look deeper and not expect this every week. Game flow dictated most of the game plan for the Saints. They only had to attempt 21 passes and only one pass catcher had more than five targets and it was the other tight end for the Saints, Adam Trautman. However, red zone targets are valuable and Johnson did catch a pair of touchdowns on Sunday. He was only on the field for 12-of-62 snaps so while the box score is in his favor, keep expectations in check.
Dawson Knox (BUF; FAAB Bid: 2-3%) Knox only saw four targets but caught them all on Sunday. It was an off day for the Bills offense even as Josh Allen attempted over 50 pass attempts. The Bills ultimately did not trade for Zach Ertz and they cut Jacob Hollister at the end of training camp. Currently the Bills tight end depth chart consists of Knox and 2019 seventh-round pick, Tommy Sweeney. Sunday showed us that there are plenty of mouths to feed in this offense but keep in mind Knox did get more touchdowns later in the season last year so while he might remain a streamer for the time being, be sure to have Knox on your radar.
Indianapolis Colts – For what it’s worth, the Colts could be one of the most dropped D/ST’s this week. I received a lot of questions in the NFL Seasonal Discord about dropping them ahead of this past week’s matchup against Seattle. So you drafted the Colts only to possibly drop them before getting any use out of them? Are you admitting to a bad pick or just not knowing the team had a rough schedule to start to the season? This is still a good defense. They’re available in about 35-40% of leagues on Yahoo and ESPN. I suspect with a matchup on the horizon against the Rams, ownership likely dips a little more. The schedule becomes a little more favorable for Indy in Weeks 3-6.
Cleveland Browns – I don’t put FAAB recommendations next to D/ST’s because you shouldn’t waste FAAB here. But the Browns are available in about one-third of all leagues which likely means they’re probably a shallow league grab. If they are out there, they get the Texans at home next week. Sure, Houston posted nice offensive numbers on Sunday but the Browns defense is much better than Jacksonville’s and they won’t have to deal with Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs offense until January if they were to meet again.
Arizona Cardinals – I don’t normally recommend chasing points here, but the Cardinals are coming off a week where they grabbed six sacks and forced three turnovers against the Titans. Chandler Jones alone finished with five sacks including three in the first quarter. This is a team with a legitimate pass rush and overall they held the Titans to just 13 points and 248 yards of total offense. Arizona gets a similar matchup this weekend against Minnesota but this time they’ll have the luxury of playing at home.