The first NFL weekend is in the books, it’s time to focus our energy on the waiver wire. Whether the injury bug has hit or you’re looking to replace some wasted space on your roster, we’re here to help.
As always, we’re bringing our weekly waiver wire rankings. We ask our featured experts to rank this week’s top readily available players (rest of season value). Read on to view the pundits’ consensus advice as well as their hot pickups for week 2.
Waiver Wire Rankings (STD Scoring)
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Week 2 Waiver Wire Advice
Each expert was asked to share advice about a target or two they like this week along with any other waiver wire suggestions they have. Here’s what the experts had to say.
Q1: Give us your thoughts on a waiver wire target (or two) you especially like as a pickup.
A lot of fantasy owners are going to be lured in by Isaiah Crowell’s two-touchdown performance on Sunday, but Terrance West was clearly the top dog in that backfield after Ben Tate went out with injury. West got over three times as many touches as Crowell, who won’t be scoring long touchdowns every week to cover up the fact he got only five carries.
Nobody loves Malcom Floyd but me? The San Diego receiver is rife with injury risk, but he is also the No. 2 wideout on an offense with a pretty good quarterback in Philip Rivers. He was one of my deep sleepers heading into the season, and I like him as a waiver wire pickup this week.
Justin Forsett should be your top priority after the release of Ray Rice. The Ravens don’t appear to be happy with Bernard Pierce, who was benched after a fumble on Sunday, so Forsett stands to inherit a large workload. Chris Ivory should be your #2 priority this week in standard leagues. The Jets will continue to make the run game a huge priority this year (29 passes to 34 runs in week 1) and Ivory saw pretty much a 50/50 snap split with Chris Johnson. While game flow is a huge factor for Ivory, as he won’t play on too many passing downs, he’s a very talented runner that should be able to crack your lineup on most weeks. Terrance West is #3 for me because we don’t know if Ben Tate will be out for any extended period of time as of this writing. As for Markus Wheaton, I love him going forward. He and Ben didn’t look on the same page at all in the preseason, but he looked very impressive hauling in 6 of his 7 targets against the Browns.
If you’re playing in a league with me, you won’t be able to add Ahmad Bradshaw because he has been on my team since draft day. Don’t forget that he’s still on the right side of 30, and he actually doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his odometer. Circumstances early in his career limited him to about 1,100 career touches. Trent Richardson was one of the worst backs in the league last year by almost any metric, so it’s only a matter of whether Indianapolis is going to stick with the guy they gave up a first round pick for or go with the guy that makes them better.
You obviously need to grab guys like Terrance West, Bobby Rainey and James Starks due to injuries (ranked in that order), but Isaiah Crowell might be my favorite guy on this list. He didn’t even think he was going to play this week and he mashed up a solid Steelers defense for two scores. If Tate’s injury is serious, he’s a dark horse to go off later in the year. I’m still a believer in Travis Kelce, too. His pure upside makes him a top-5 must own player off your waiver wire.
I won’t harp on the obvious pickup (West) as he could be the Browns’ starter if Ben Tate gets some bad news, and any starting running back should be picked up en masse. Two non-West guys I like on this list are Markus Wheaton and Andrew Hawkins — and for very different reasons. Wheaton almost topped 100 yards on seven targets (one more than Antonio Brown) and has solidified himself as the clear-cut second option in what should be a more exciting Steelers’ offense. And while Hawkins isn’t a physical freak or anything, he led the Browns with 10 targets yesterday (which doubled the next-highest on the team’s target list, Jordan Cameron). Hawkins’ value will take a hit if Josh Gordon is re-instated in the near future, but until then…he could be PPR gold.
We knew the Browns were going to commit to running the football this season given their personnel sans Josh Gordon, but they really showed their hand week one. Even down 24 points at the half, Cleveland ran 19 times for 121 yards in the second half Sunday. If Ben Tate is held out (the Browns have an early week four bye), Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell will garner early waiver capital and can be used immediately. Both will see plenty of touches. Also, Ahmad Bradshaw already outsnapped Trent Richardson week one and caught five passes. Indy has no power run game and their defense should force them into beneficial offensive script for Bradshaw to play over Richardson.
If you’re really desperate this week, Forsett does have some one weak PPR appeal based on what we’ve seen from him and the Steelers defense, but if I had a roster spot to hold for Lorenzo Taliaferro, I would pick him up now while owners scoop up Forsett because I believe he is the long play here to help aid fantasy championship runs. There’s a non-zero chance that Pierce could bounce right back into our good graces this Thursday if he starts, and we should at least have a read on him ROS based on his involvement Thursday. We’ve just seen Pittsburgh give up 183 rushing yards and 6.1 yards per carry this past week to the same rushing system that the Ravens use. If Pierce was to get dropped this week in your league, definitely pick him up.
Q2: For owners looking to rent a D/ST in week 2, what readily available option should they target first?
It’s hard not to like anyone going up against Washington these days, making the Jaguars a very attractive option for week two. My favorite defense has to be the Miami Dolphins, though. Owned in just 3% of Yahoo leagues, Miami has a terrific pass rush and a very balanced secondary. This is a unit that made a good Patriots team look average and even shut them out in the second half in week one. They’re a good bet to return value against an average Bills offense in week two.
The New York Giants defense really came on strong at the end of last season. They ranked 16th for the season in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, but they ranked 4th in weighted DVOA which gives more weight to games later in the year. They’ll face off against an Arizona team that has a solid offense but is led by Carson Palmer who is averaging more than an interception per game over the last three seasons.
They won’t be under 50%-owned come Wednesday morning, but Week 1’s highest-scoring defense (the Houston Texans) is currently sitting on a lot of waivers wire…and they get to play the Raiders next week! Oakland wasn’t quite as bad on Sunday as we all expected (and the Texans will be without Jadeveon Clowney), but Romeo Crennel’s defense looked like the one we all remembered from 2012 against Washington. I’d like them a lot more if they were at home next Sunday, but I don’t think there are any better spot-starts sitting out there at the moment.
I don’t have official ownership numbers, but Houston Texans is an easy week two target versus Oakland if available on your wire. Derek Carr didn’t push the ball downfield at all week one and Houston forced Washington into nickel and dime pass plays all game this past week. In what will surely have one of the lowest over/unders of the upcoming week, grab the Texans.
This week I would target the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite allowing 34 2nd half points to the Eagles on Sunday, the Jaguars look very improved on the defensive side of the ball. They got constant pressure on Foles which led to 5 sacks, an interception, and recovered fumbles (Foles lost both). This week, they’ll take on a Washington team that struggled against a solid Texans’ front in week 1. They should be able to get RGIII pretty rattled in this one.
Thanks to this week’s Featured Pros for sharing their advice! You can check out more picks from the pundits as their weekly rankings are unveiled soon.