Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 2
If the opening slate offers any indication, the passing revolution will only intensify in 2019. The only running backs to accrue at least 20 carries, Marlon Mack and Dalvin Cook, were among just five rushers to reach triple-digit yards on the ground. Meanwhile, 17 players accumulated 100 or more receiving yards entering the latter end of Monday night’s doubleheader. Plenty of them, despite their immense potential, went undrafted because of rickety floors. Even with the Antonio Brown saga leaving him off the gridiron, gamers saw that most other Brown’s can do a lot for their fantasy squads.
The following players all hold a consensus rostered rate under 30% prior to Week 2’s waiver-wire window. The cited rates, taken on Monday, round to the nearest whole number. Keep in mind that some FAAB leagues allow $0 bids, so don’t waste precious capital on a defense or kicking streamer.
Josh Allen (BUF): 26% Rostered (2% FAAB)
In typical Allen fashion, he scrounged together 18 fantasy points with help from 38 rushing yards and a score despite surrendering two picks and fumbles apiece. The Bills will stay in New Jersey this week to face the Giants, who hardly resembled an NFL defense when guiding Dak Prescott to 405 passing yards and four touchdowns on a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. Big Blue is going to be a big streaming target all year long.
Matthew Stafford (DET): 21% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Because of his name recognition and past success prior to a down 2018, Stafford will likely be added frequently after accruing 385 passing yards and three touchdowns in a Week 1 tie with Arizona. He did, after all, exceed 4,250 passing yards in seven straight seasons before cratering to 3,777 behind a depleted receiving corps last season. At the least, he’s proven himself as a capable matchup play with upgraded options at his disposal. While he’s not worth starting against the Chargers this Sunday, he’ll warrant a long look in September’s closing contests against the Eagles and Chiefs.
Malcolm Brown (LAR): 9% Rostered (10% FAAB)
For all the concern about Todd Gurley, Brown received little draft buzz beyond a deep-league handcuff. In hindsight, this already looks like a huge mistake. While popular preseason sleeper Darrell Henderson got stuffed on his lone touch, Brown managed 11 carries and 53 rushing yards for the defending NFC champions. More importantly, he punctuated two goal-line touchdowns. That usage is a major takeaway, as Gurley led the NFL with 64 red-zone handoffs last season. Alvin Kamara placed second at 51. If Brown maintains such a heavy workload, he could approach double-digit touchdowns with standalone value in a prolific offense. With or without Gurley, bid aggressively or make him the top waiver-wire priority at running back.
Giovani Bernard (CIN): 23% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Derailed by a sprained ankle, Joe Mixon mustered just 17 yards in Sunday’s 21-20 loss to Seattle. His MRI returned “all good,” as a source told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, and there’s a chance he could play Week 2. Just in case, anyone rostering Mixon should especially target Bernard as insurance. The 49ers just relinquished 171 scrimmage yards to Tampa Bay’s lackluster running backs in Week 1, so Cincinnati’s reliable back-up immediately becomes a decent flex play if given the starting nod.
Chris Thompson (WAS): 16% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Making his long-awaited NFL debut, Derrius Guice suffered a knee injury during Week 1’s 32-27 loss to Philadelphia. He’s expected to miss some time. A healthy scratch Sunday, Adrian Peterson (32%) is now worth adding in hopes of reclaiming last year’s lucrative role that led to 1,042 rushing yards.
With Guice hurt and Peterson inactive, Thompson saw 43 snaps in a close game that Washington led late into the third quarter. Harkening back to his 2017 role, he led the team with seven catches and 10 targets. He should remain the primary pass-catcher and perhaps even siphon some carries if the club isn’t reticent to ride Peterson again. After a down year, Thompson could return to offering flex value in PPR formats.
Rex Burkhead (NE): 4% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Expected to be at best a third wheel in New England’s backfield, Burkhead played just one fewer snap (32) than James White in Sunday’s night clinical 33-3 triumph over Pittsburgh. Despite playing with a hefty lead, the seven-year pro notched 85 total yards (44 rushing, 41 receiving) on eight carries and eight targets. Tom Brady had too many mouths to feed before the Patriots added Antonio Brown, so don’t be surprised if Burkhead vanishes from the game plan too often for comfort. In deeper leagues, however, it doesn’t hurt to purchase a cheap piece of the defending champion’s offense.
Marquise Brown (BAL): 30% Rostered (8% FAAB)
A day after his cousin forced his way out of Oakland and onto New England, Hollywood Brown momentarily stole the spotlight with 47- and 83-yard touchdown grabs. Not bad for the first quarter of his first NFL game. Don’t go overboard and spend all your FAAB. Deep touchdowns are tough to replicate, especially on a Baltimore team that engineered 26 throws to 46 passes in a 59-10 laugher. Also, Miami’s futility is as big a fantasy takeaway as the Ravens’ sterling success behind a superb Lamar Jackson.
Nevertheless, Brown assuaged any health concerns associated with a foot injury suffered last season at Oklahoma. He could have the makings of a boom-or-bust WR3, so the No. 25 overall pick at least looks like the Baltimore wide receiver to roster in 12-team leagues. And for what it’s worth, I didn’t cheat; his exact rostered rate was 29.6% on Monday.
John Ross (CIN): 7% Rostered (7% FAAB)
Prior to Sunday, Ross registered 21 catches for 210 yards in 16 career games. In Week 1, he snagged seven of 12 targets for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He didn’t shine with or without A.J. Green last year, but perhaps the 23-year-old is finally harnessing his raw abilities in Zac Taylor’s new offense. Ross remains an upside play as a starter with Green sidelined. Just don’t get too comfortable, as this could easily prove a mirage or yet another boom-or-bust playmaker.
Terry McLaurin (WAS): 5% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Yet another rookie wideout to spread the field in his debut, McLaurin went deep for a 69-yard touchdown. He would have had another, but Case Keenum overthrew the wide-open target. After merely settling for 125 yards in Week 1, this year’s third-round pick finally gives Washington a wideout with fantasy upside. Although McLaurin could also delve into a hit-or-miss option, this won’t be the first time he puts his 4.35 40-time to good use.
D.J. Chark (JAC): 7% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Chris Conley (JAC): 5% (3% FAAB)
I’m still not convinced Gardner Minshew is a real name of an NFL quarterback, but he went 22-for-25 for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick in relief of the injured Nick Foles. Don’t expect Jacksonville’s passing offense to remain so prolific behind a sixth-round pick whom Tom Coughlin might not have even heard of before Sunday. That said, there are some interesting receivers brewing in Duval.
Dede Westbrook opened 2019 with 30 yards and a touchdown, but Chark and Conley out-shined the popular breakout selection. After connecting with Foles for a 35-yard score, Chark reeled in a 69-yard grab from Minshew en route to 146 yards. Conley, meanwhile, produced 97 yards and a touchdown alongside a team-high six catches and seven targets. A 6’4″ with upper-echelon speed, Chark is more likely to emerge as a startable fantasy option. Following a successful Revenge Game against Kansas City, Conley is worth watching closely in case he blossoms into Minshew’s favorite target.
A.J. Brown (TEN): 4% Rostered (4% FAAB)
While he wasn’t the most impressive rookie receiver named Brown, Tennessee’s neophyte also made a stellar first impression, corralling three of four targets for a team-high 100 yards. That’s three more catches and 100 more yards than Corey Davis delivered. Brown commenced his career by escaping Denzel Ward for a 47-yard grab and eluding multiple defenders for a 51-yard catch-and-run gain. He’s the type of big-play talent you want rounding out your roster.
Danny Amendola (DET): 4% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Stafford took an instant liking to Amendola, connecting with the slot receiver for seven of 13 targets for 104 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones combined to catch eight of 13 targets for 108 yards and a score. Amendola made every play count while logging 47 of 88 snaps in Week 1’s tie with Arizona. He likely just capitalized on a great matchup. Most defenses probably won’t forget to cover him, so don’t go overboard on a receiver yet to eclipse 700 yards in a single season. Maybe he evolves into a handy depth piece for larger leagues.
Vernon Davis (WAS): 1% Rostered (1% FAAB)
I nearly gave up and decided to cheat by writing up T.J. Hockenson (41%) or Darren Waller (34%). Anyone playing in the 35% of leagues where Mark Andrews remains unclaimed should remedy that. For those seeking a tight end without the ability to add any of those three, good luck. As expected, the pickings were slim beyond the brand names. Yet with Jordan Reed out — shocking, right? — in Week 1, Davis once again proved capable of using in a pinch. The 35-year-old looked a decade younger when hurdling his way to a 48-yard touchdown. Washington hopes Reed will return from a concussion, but Davis is a usable fill-in if his teammate needs more time.
Houston Texans: 26% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Houston’s defense should have been dropped or not drafted on the simple account of opening 2019 at the Superdome. They’ll go from facing the Saints to hosting Minshew and the Jaguars. Don’t expect the replacement rookie to replicate his strong debut on the road.
Carolina Panthers: 11% Rostered (1% FAAB)
The fantasy community is intent on willing a Jameis Winston breakout into existence, but he’s a subpar quarterback. After beginning 2019 with three interceptions against the 49ers, who secured two picks throughout all of 2018, Tampa Bay’s signal-caller has tossed 22 picks in his last 16 games. Even in a losing effort, Carolina contained Jared Goff to 4.8 yards per pass attempt. The Panthers are a viable streamer with a solid chance of compiling multiple takeaways.