Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 1
Already looking to make some changes to your fantasy football roster? A few interesting players are available on the waiver wire in most leagues.
Ownership totals are in ESPN Leagues as of Tuesday
Marcus Mariota – QB – Tennessee Titans – 34.5 percent
A young quarterback with plenty of upside is often worth at least a look in the later rounds or on the waiver wire as a backup option. Mariota fits that description well for now, with the potential to grow into something more by the end of the season.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner and second-overall pick posted video game-like stats last season with Oregon, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 4454 yards with a TD:INT ratio of 42:4 and another 770 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. There are questions about how his college scheme will translate to the pros, but Mariota has the skills to become an immediate success.
While it’s always hard to project a rookie quarterback before his first start, Mariota showed excellent decision-making, accuracy and athletic ability during his college career. Mariota also looked very polished in training camp and the preseason, leading the Titans to scoring drives on five of 11 possessions. There aren’t a lot of weapons for Mariota to work with, but at least he is playing behind a better offensive line than most young quarterbacks.
Dorial Green-Beckham – WR – Tennessee Titans – 29.9 percent
If owners are willing to look at Mariota as a waiver wire pickup, the receiver who could soon be his top target is also worth consideration. Green-Beckham was one of the top college recruits in the country prior to the 2012 season due to his rare combination of size, athleticism and ball skills. He showed off those abilities as a sophomore with Missouri, catching 59 passes for 893 yards and 12 touchdowns.
At 6-5, 237 pounds, Green-Beckham doesn’t need much polish to be a monster in the red zone, helping his fantasy value. Green-Beckham was easily a first-round talent, but slipped due to numerous off-the-field incidents. The Titans were willing to take a risk on Green-Beckham with the No. 40 overall pick, and now are raving about his abilities. Green-Beckham offers plenty of upside and could start to be picked up in the majority of leagues soon.
Richard Rodgers – TE – Green Bay Packers – 18.6 percent
It was a bit of a mystery when Rodgers declared a year early and entered the 2014 NFL Draft. The potential was always there for Rodgers to be an excellent tight end, but he struggled with injuries and his weight at Cal and wasn’t very productive for much of his college career.
Green Bay selected Rodgers in the third round, and he wasn’t used very much in the passing game as a rookie. This season, Rodgers looks poised to break out and is is likely to push Andrew Quarless out of the Packers’ starting tight end role.
Rodgers isn’t the most physically imposing or athletic tight end you’ll see, but he’s demonstrated great body control and an ability to come down with contested throws. Rodgers emerged as a frequent target in the red zone during training camp and had a nice preseason, hauling in a touchdown in Green Bay’s second preseason game. It never hurts to have Aaron Rodgers throwing to you, and the Packers will be looking for additional targets with Jordy Nelson out for the season.
Christine Michael – RB – Dallas Cowboys – 17.5 percent
Fantasy owners have always been tantalized by Michael’s raw ability, but he has disappointed in the NFL so far. A change-of-scenery might be exactly the thing to kick-start Michael’s career.
Michael has seemingly impossible athletic ability for someone at 220 pounds, and scored an off-the-charts SPARQ rating of 152.1 before the draft. The problem has been inconsistency, in addition to likely correctable things like fumbles and struggling in blitz pickups.
There wasn’t much chance Michael was going to get playing time ahead of Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin with the Seattle Seahawks. In Dallas, the depth chart is much less crowded – Michael has more upside than Joseph Randle or Darren McFadden – and it’s easy to project him running wild behind the best offensive line in football.
Nathaniel Reeves is a correspondent at FantasyPros. Follow him @njr3701.