While some of us may still have some last minute fantasy football drafts to get in before Thursday Night Football between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions, the majority of us have finished our drafts and are ready to set our lineups. Unfortunately, some of our teams are already dealing with injuries, whether it’s Cooper Kupp and his hamstring, Joe Burrow and his calf, or Travis Kelce and his knee, and we may need to hit the waiver wire to fill those holes. You may have also missed someone during your draft who may have fantasy relevance, and we never want to sleep on who is available on the waiver wire.
For this first week of waiver wire adds, we’re looking at players who may not have been drafted in your draft and have either stash value or Week 1 plug-and-play value. Again, we don’t want to wait until these players have the attention of everyone and have to blow some of your FAAB on them; we want to be on top of these players before the general public. These names are some to look at if you need a filler for Week 1. (ADPs are taken from our aggregate ADP table.)
Waiver Wire Quarterbacks
Jordan Love, GB-ADP of 151.76
Although we have a relative unknown in Jordan Love, we saw some promising things in the preseason and got some positive feedback out of camp from both coaches and teammates. In Week 1, Love faces off against the Chicago Bears, who were dead last in nearly every defensive category, and although they brought in some key pieces to help their pass rush, their secondary still has a long way to go. The Packers’ offensive line should give Love plenty of time to throw, and although we don’t know yet whether Romeo Doubs will suit up, Christian Watson and rookies Luke Musgrave and Jayden Reed have flashed their talent in the preseason. I wouldn’t ride with Love the entire season, but this matchup may be enough to get you through Week 1.
Sam Howell, WAS-ADP of 175.45
I’m not one to jump on the Sam Howell hype train after one decent preseason game, but if you need a filler for say, Joe Burrow in Week 1, this is a guy to look at, as he begins the 2023 NFL season against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have massive holes on both sides of the ball, but their defense is particularly porous after trading away Isaiah Simmons. Howell moved the ball well in the preseason, completing almost 76% of his passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, and he should be able to post similar stats against the lowly Cardinals. I wouldn’t say he’s a long-term option at quarterback, but if you are in need of a fill-in, Howell may be the best guy available this week.
Waiver Wire Running Backs
De'Von Achane, MIA-ADP of 121.97
Achane’s ADP looks fairly high, but if you’ve drafted over the past week or two, he may be sitting out there on your waiver wire due to his shoulder injury. While he may not be available in Week 1, with Jeff Wilson out for at least the first four weeks, he’s worth a look. Achane has incredible speed, running a 4.32 40, and in his final season at Texas A&M, he finished with over 1,100 rushing yards and tacking on an additional 196 receiving yards. With Wilson out, he will likely get a ton of work as a pass-catching back, a covetable asset in PPR leagues.
Ty Chandler, MIN-ADP of 196.44
Everyone is expecting Alexander Mattison to take over as a one-for-one replacement of Dalvin Cook, but that still remains to be seen. After training camp, Ty Chandler has clear hold of the number two role, and he’s going undrafted more often than not. If Mattison does not see the same kind of workload that Cook saw, Chandler has the opportunity to slide in and claim a large share of the word for himself. For those of you who don’t follow college football, Chandler replaced Javonte Williams and Michael Carter when they were drafted in 2021, and in that season, he finished with over 1,000 rushing yards with a yards per carry average of 6, and he tacked on an additional 216 receiving yards. He could be one of the early season dark horses at running back.
Deon Jackson, IND-ADP of 225.95
I want to preface this by saying that most of your options at running back right now are pretty sparse, and while Shane Steichen has hinted at a committee situation in Indianapolis, there just aren’t many options in that backfield with Jonathan Taylor out and Zack Moss’ status up in the air. Jackson has flashed in the past as a replacement for Taylor, and while we do have expectations for the Jaguars’ defense to get it together eventually, they’re still ranked near the bottom of the league to begin the season. Expect Jackson to lead this backfield for at least the first few weeks.
Waiver Wire Wide Receivers
Marvin Mims, DEN-ADP of 158.45
I’m typically hesitant to add rookies off the waiver wire until I’ve seen what they can do, but the reality is that there just aren’t many other options at receiver in Denver. With Jerry Jeudy likely out the first few weeks with a hamstring injury and other receivers suffering season-ending injuries earlier on in camp, Mims is set up to have a very large role from the get-go. In his final year of college, Mims finished with over 1,000 receiving yards with a 20+ yards per catch average, so he will be an excellent vertical complement to Courtland Sutton. Once Jeudy returns, he may slide back into the WR3 role, but if the Denver offense improves as much as the expectations are, he may still have value even then.
Van Jefferson, LAR-ADP of 176.24
We’re starting strong here with Van Jefferson. Despite Cooper Kupp still being in Minnesota seeing a specialist for his hamstring issue, Jefferson is still going undrafted in most leagues, even though he’s in line to be the number one wide receiver in this offense for likely the first few weeks. While he did have a down season last year, Jefferson finished as a fantasy WR3 in 2021, and that was with Kupp’s historic season. Week 1, the Rams face the Seattle Seahawks who are missing their first round draft pick Devon Witherspoon and strong safety Jamal Adams. He may only be a viable fantasy option until Kupp returns, but if he helps you through the first few weeks, that’s all you need.
Alec Pierce, IND-ADP of 181.44
I get the uncertainty around Indianapolis’ offense going into the season without Jonathan Taylor and with a rookie quarterback, but Alec Pierce is too good to not be on your rosters. The Colts also only have four healthy wide receivers on this entire roster, so Pierce will not be taken off the field unless he is injured. For fantasy, we want wide receivers with high snap shares, as this typically leads to higher target shares, etc, and Pierce should see around 100% route participation. He’s a dangerous vertical threat with 4.4 speed, and Anthony Richardson’s arm could help produce some big chunk plays.
Waiver Wire Tight Ends
Greg Dulcich, DEN-ADP of 148.96
I don’t get the fall that we’ve seen from Greg Dulcich this offseason. He’s currently going as the TE18 in aggregate ADP, and you should be targeting Dulcich for much of the same reason as Marvin Mims. From the limited sample size we saw from Dulcich last season, he was highly productive on an otherwise dismal offense, ranking third among tight ends in deep targets and average depth of target, seventh in target separation, and ninth in yards per reception. Yes, he is listed as the TE2 on the depth chart behind Adam Trautman, but Trautman has typically been an in-line blocker whereas Dulcich has been a receiving tight end. As we said with Mims, there just aren’t many receiving options in Denver, and he should see plenty of targets with these other guys out.
Luke Musgrave, GB-ADP of 167.74
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Green Bay just doesn’t really have a ton of receiving options, and if Romeo Doubs doesn’t play, they have one less. Luke Musgrave may be a rookie, but he’s an athletic freak, running a 4.6 40 at 6’6,” and he flashed his talents in the preseason. You’ve undoubtedly heard that rookie tight ends don’t produce in fantasy, but Musgrave has no choice but to have a huge role in this offense.
- Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet
- 2023 NFL Player Projections
- 2023 Fantasy Football Rankings
- 2023 Fantasy Football Round Up September 4: Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook Splitting Work in Week 1
- 2023 Fantasy Football: Preseason Hot Takes