Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: September 12
Dan Malin brings you his top waiver wire adds for Week 2 of the fantasy football season!
Welcome back for another edition of the Thursday Waiver Wire column! This article won’t be as in depth or list nearly as many players as Tuesday's Article. There were NUMEROUS players listed, most of them being running backs, wide receivers, and a handful of tight ends. For what it’s worth, all those players are still worth monitoring if they slipped through the cracks so don’t just throw that article away because Tuesday’s waiver claims have already processed. If they get a follow up mention in this article it’s only because their ownership is still too low. This article will touch on some players that have been dropped, and maybe some players we can get a head start on picking up before Week 2 kicks off, and in general it’ll feature some commentary on ownership trends as well.
Jameis Winston is seeing his ownership drop and it might be even worse after Thursday night’s game. If you aren’t an owner of Famous Jameis you should be rooting for a terrible performance. Come next Wednesday more people are likely to drop him and if you look at his schedule, it’s not great. But we knew that going into the season. If you drafted Winston you were hoping the game script would call for the Bucs to air it out more as they trailed. In Week 1 they fell behind, but Winston was still prone to disastrous mistakes. Just this past week he was dropped in 15% of Yahoo leagues and 6.2% of ESPN leagues to bring his ownership total to 48%.
Josh Allen is still vastly under owned and it might be the stigma that he isn’t a good passer. Regardless of your feelings of him as a NFL quarterback, he’s a perfectly fine fantasy option. He threw for over 250 yards and a touchdown on Sunday while managing to get things going on the ground with his legs with his first rushing touchdown of the season. I am one of the people that touted that the Bills improved the offensive line so Josh Allen would run less, and I still stand by that. But things happen and there will be times he has to scramble and make something happen on his own.
In the wake of the more recent news regarding Derrius Guice ’s injury, Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson both saw their ownership spike. Peterson is actually owned in more leagues at this point than Thompson. Yes, the same Adrian Peterson who was a healthy scratch on Sunday. The same AP who is 34 years old and if the Redskins fall behind they’ll likely abandon the running game in favor of Chris Thompson . Thompson is getting close to being a must own in PPR formats after catching seven of his ten targets on Sunday. The fantasy community likely went with Peterson over Thompson for the sheer fact that the former will get more carries, but there are some questions regarding how effective he’ll be.
Some of the biggest drops this week for running back have been Tony Pollard, Darrell Henderson, Darwin Thompson, Kalen Ballage , and Tevin Coleman according to ESPN. Coleman is an interesting name to appear on this list. He’s still 82.3% owned, but it’s clear that players are viewing him as a droppable player. He’s dealing with a high ankle sprain that won’t require surgery. While he has been rules out for Week 2, his injury was given a week-to-week designation so he could be back sooner than most people are projecting. Another player that was dropped was Nyheim Hines due to the successful running game the Colts established against the Chargers. The Colts won’t always be playing that competitive and Hines still has some PPR appeal for those moments when the Colts are trailing.
Justin Jackson is actually becoming more available and if you own Austin Ekeler it might be wise to grab his handcuff. Jackson has been dropped in 6% of Yahoo leagues, but was added in about 4% of ESPN leagues, but his ownership is still below 40%. I’m not entirely sold that Ekeler’s body can hold up and that he can maintain the workload he saw in Week 1. There will be the occasional game that he misses due to some minor injuries and Jackson stands to benefit. As awesome as Ekeler’s game was on Sunday, it overshadowed the fact that Jackson rushed for 57 yards on six carries. I was higher on Ekeler than Jackson in the preseason, but it’s time to keep an eye on Jackson’s ownership numbers because he is a talented player.
A deep league option worth keeping an eye on is Rex Burkhead . Sony Michel was the lone Patriots running back that had a bad game. Burkhead and James White managed to find fantasy relevance through receptions and they looked better running the ball than Michel. Burkhead actually had 13 touches in the game for over 80 all-purpose yards. The game flow may not always be in his favor and to be honest, it probably isn’t for this week’s contest against Miami. This matchup reads more as a bounce back opportunity for Michel. However, Burkhead is still a part of one of the more explosive offenses in the league and there will be similar weeks where he ends up getting 10-15 touches.
John Ross was the most added receiver in ESPN formats. He was added in over 50% of leagues and to be completely honest, that was not expected. He had a big game on Sunday and if that is what we can expect from Zac Taylor’s offense then Ross is worth a shot in deeper formats. But keep in mind Tyler Boyd is still around and the Bengals will be getting A.J. Green back at some point this season. Additionally Andy Dalton does like getting his tight ends targets, especially in the red zone. John Ross was mentioned in Tuesday’s article and he’s a nice option, but it is surprising he was the most added wide receiver ahead of Terry McLaurin , who is still available in over 60% of leagues on varying sites.
Fantasy owners must really be overlooking the fact that Mecole Hardman didn’t receive a single target in Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. Tyreek Hill ’s injury opened the door for Hardman to see the field on 53 offensive snaps. The passing game will go through Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce in Hill’s absence, but Hardman’s involvement in just seeing the field is enough to take notice. Hardman’s ownership hardly jumped to 30% so it looks like some people are worried about the potential WR2 in one of the most explosive offenses in the league. The same can almost be said for Terry McLaurin , but at least for McLaurin there is room for him to be the WR1 in his offense.
In terms of importance, running backs are more important that have depth at than wideouts. So you’ll see fantasy players overreacting and dropping receivers over running backs at an alarming rate. Dante Pettis was the most dropped receiver on ESPN and for good reason. He could be injured, or the coaching staff may not like him after he was on the field for two snaps. But one player to possibly flag is Donte Moncrief . Moncrief was dropped in 10% of ESPN leagues and 15% of Yahoo leagues. Some people are overreacting and dropping Moncrief as if they didn’t check the box score. A majority of Washington’s production was from a 45-yard catch where it looked like he ran out of bounds despite not really losing his balance. And even then he only finished with two receptions for 51 yards on six targets. Here’s what people aren’t talking about: Moncrief actually led the team in targets with ten on Sunday. And in the preseason he was on the field for more first-team snaps than Washington was. Moncrief finished with an abysmal three catches for seven yards, but he got the targets. New England just managed to shut down virtually everybody on the Steelers. Moncrief still appeared on the field for 60 offensive snaps, while Washington was on for 35. It’s clear the Steelers want to get Moncrief more activity.
The three top tight ends listed in Tuesday’s column are still pretty available in shallow leagues, and it’s looking like the tight end position could be deeper than it’s been in years. T.J. Hockenson , Darren Waller , and Mark Andrews are between 55-65% owned on ESPN and 71-86% owned on Yahoo leagues. Like I’ve said before, Yahoo fantasy owners are a little more “in the know” so ownership numbers will be higher. But on ESPN the ownership is still incredibly light on Hockenson, Waller, and Andrews. In shallow leagues, see if Vance McDonald was dropped in your league. He was dropped in 6.6% of ESPN leagues, which isn’t a tremendous dent, but the Steelers were dominated by the Patriots. There’s still plenty of optimism surrounding McDonald’s fantasy prospects.
As smart as Yahoo players can be, Rob Gronkowski is 24% owned on Yahoo and only 7.5% owned on ESPN leagues. In this case we can give credit to ESPN players for laying off the currently-retired tight end, while Yahoo players may have fallen victim to a prank by Gronk and the Pardon My Take podcast. There are those speculating (including me) that he could return in December, but we haven’t even kicked off Week 2. There’s no need to roster Gronk.
A guy to keep an eye on that has been mentioned in the past is Chris Herndon . He’s one game into his four-game suspension so it doesn’t hurt to get ahead and keep an eye on him. Over the next two weeks he’ll see his ownership slowly climb. He’ll be a very large target for Sam Darnold to get the ball to since he won’t be targeting Jamison Crowder 17 times every week.
There isn’t a big need to spend much time on D/ST’s for the upcoming week. Personally picking up a D/ST for a Week 3 or Week 4 matchup is not wise if you aren’t playing them in Week 2. If you’re going through with that then you’re likely owning 2 D/ST’s, which is not advisable, to put it politely. The Carolina Panthers are still under 50% owned with a great home matchup Thursday night. It’s a short week and we can probably expect the same old shortcomings from Jameis Winston . Unfortunately he’s negatively impacting the performances of those around him.
The Buffalo Bills are also available in 10 or 12 team leagues and they’re actually a D/ST you can stream this week and next. Buffalo gets the Giants in Week 2 and then the Bengals in Week 3. The Bills defensive line looked very good last week against the Jets. They collected four sacks and limited the Jets to ten points (the Jets scored on a pick six, which doesn’t count against the Bills defense) and 223 yards of total offense. The Bills go against two pathetic offensive lines in the coming weeks so they’re very much in play. In deeper leagues, the San Francisco 49ers are an intriguing play. They’re on the road yet again this week in Cincinnati. They looked very good shutting down the Buccaneers this past Sunday and this is the kind of matchup where they could put up a repeat performance.