Welcome to my weekly waiver wire insider column. Every week, I’m going to supply you with my top 5 waiver picks for your season-long fantasy teams.
How do I define who to target? For this feature, I will be focusing exclusively on players rostered in less than 50% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
The rules are simple… If your league has a standard waiver system, then simply follow the order of my picks to determine your waiver priority. If your league has a FAAB system, I will assign each waiver pick a % of your FAAB budget I would be comfortable committing.
Before we get into it, remember that this week is overaction week. Week 1 is always the wild, wild west. Some players had no preseason reps, some teams have new coaches/schemes, some teams just aren’t ready to play, some players are considerably better when fully healthy in Week 1 but as attrition kicks in they fall off dramatically. I would say Week 1 is never a great representation of how the season will play out, but you can learn a lot about how some teams intend to attack their opponents and that is information worth holding onto! Enjoy!
- Elijah Mitchell (50% of FAAB budget) – Anybody with a fantasy bone in their body knew I was going here. Mitchell ran hard and with conviction in San Francisco’s opener. Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch, suggesting the 6th rounder Mitchell outplayed him in camp. Shanahan reiterated as much after the game. Schefter released a report just prior to kickoff stating that Mitchellwas a guy to watch, which spiked his ownership percentage from .2% to 3.8% in ESPN leagues. Raheem Mostert going down only threw gasoline on the fire. If you weren’t one of the lucky 4% to snag him prior to kickoff, and nobody in your league jumped on the opportunity either, then he’s your number 1 waiver addition this week. I was lucky enough to have a roster spot available in one league prior to kickoff and jumped on the opportunity. Now for my obligatory 49er’s disclaimer. Shanahan is wildly unpredictable with his running backs. I could just as easily see Trey Sermon leading this backfield next week as I could see Elijah Mitchell. Shanahan is not a fantasy-friendly coach. It isn’t often you get a shot at a starting running back in waivers this early in the season but exercise extreme caution here. I use “starting running back” very cautiously. That’s why I’m only committing 50% of a FAAB budget here and that’s assuming you really need a RB. If you’re desperate, I’m fine with a little more, but I don’t think this is a “throw everything you got at him” type of situation. If you don’t need a RB and just want to make a depth play, Ja’Mycal Hasty makes a ton of sense and probably won’t cost you anything.
- Jameis Winston (25% of FAAB budget) – Assuming you have a need a QB or a low upside starter. It would make a ton of sense to commit even more of your FAAB to Winston if you’re in a deep league and had somebody like Ryan Fitzpatrick but for the purposes of this column I’m assuming you’re in a 10-12 team league and probably not feeling super comfortable with the likes of Ryan Tannehill or Matt Ryan. I wouldn’t panic on either of those guys yet, but I do see the case for committing a quarter of your budget on Jameis. He looked excellent and in control of this Saints offense. He said all the right things about his decision making in the postgame presser and while he’s surely not going to throw 5 TDs every week, his yardage output will likely be much higher and he adds an additional running element to this offense that was absent with Brees under center.
- Sammy Watkins (10% of FAAB budget) – If you’re a Jerry Jeudy owner and looking for a quick fix, I love Watkins. I don’t think he’ll command a ton of your FAAB money and as long as Bateman and co. are absent from this Ravens offense, Watkins appears to be the guy. He was targeted 8 times on Monday night and had a burst that reminded me of his Buffalo days. Had Lamar made a better throw on that 49 yarder, Watkins had an easy score but Lamar led Sammy into the defender a little bit. Lamar also missed Sammy on a couple easy attempts. Comes with the territory when you roll with a Ravens pass catcher but I love what I saw from Watkins last night and fully expect him to be a viable WR3/flex for as long as Bateman & Boykin remain out.
- Mark Ingram (10% of FAAB budget) – Another difficult RB room to predict following Week 1 but anytime you tell me I can get a RB who had 25+ touches, I’m going for him. I don’t think you want to go crazy here, Ingram’s got a very low floor in this Houston offense, but if you whiff on Mitchell then this is a great fallback. There are probably people in your league willing to commit more of their FAAB here and that’s okay. It’s a long season.
- Terrance Marshall Jr. (5% of FAAB budget) – You may not even need to allocate any FAAB money to grab this sneaky sleeper. A lot of hype will understandably surround Bryan Edwards (#6 on my list) & Rondale Moore but I like Marshall all season long just as much, if not more. Any one of these options are #3 options in their respective offenses at best, but I think the gap between Marshall and Carolina’s 1 & 2 options is considerably smaller than the gap between Edwards and Moore in their offenses. Terrance Marshall is a sneaky add after seeing 6 targets following a dynamic preseason. He’s a guy I love for the rest of the year in daily fantasy and a sneaky sleeper in DFS circles as well.
Bonus Pick: Tim Patrick (5% of FAAB budget) – As a Broncos fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer up a Broncos add. Jeudy went down and I expect Tim Patrick to be the primary beneficiary, like he was last year. Many will turn to Hamler, but he’s more of a gadget guy/deep threat in this offense right now. Tim Patrick fits more of what Bridgewater wants to do, which is the intermediate and timing stuff. Patrick is one of the more underrated wide receivers in all of the NFL and a big reason why the Broncos won’t miss a beat without Jeudy.
-Cory, Fox Fantasy Football Insider