Football is a violent, unpredictable sport where anything can happen. Injuries can derail a player’s season and dash any hopes you may have had for your fantasy football squad. The best way to protect yourself is always to have a plan B. That can be through acquiring your rostered players’ “handcuff” or backup or having deep stashes on your bench in an emergency.
Week 2 saw some players emerge as possible value additions to fantasy football rosters many managers overlook for the waiver wire darlings, like Nico Collins and Tank Dell. Here are two WRs and two TEs that could bolster your lineups and ensure you’re not left out in the cold without breaking your Week 3 waiver wire bank.
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WR & TE Handcuffs & Stashes (Week 2)
If you’re looking for an inexpensive fantasy football acquisition that could make an impact down the line this season, look no further than Dallas Cowboys TE Jake Ferguson. Through two games, Ferguson is tied for second on the team in targets (10) with RB Tony Pollard. While 10 targets isn’t exactly a number that stands out, consider this: the Cowboys, who have led in all four quarters of football so far this season, have run the ball 74 times versus throwing it 62.
In Week 2, Ferguson was the PPR TE11, with three catches for 11 yards and a touchdown. While he will likely be a touchdown-dependent option at TE this season, the Cowboys offense will undoubtedly be forced to throw more with match-ups against New England, San Francisco and the Chargers looming. Ferguson is worth an inexpensive dice roll with the lack of depth at the TE position in fantasy football.
It wouldn’t feel like fantasy football season if I didn’t find a chance to hype up Tampa Bay TE Cade Otton. I didn’t expect it to be so soon, but after a Week 2 performance that saw Otton land as tied with Ferguson as the TE11, I couldn’t help it. After a rookie campaign that saw him catch 42 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns, he’s off to an efficient start in 2023.
In a Tampa Bay offense that has been much better than advertised, Otton has caught eight passes for 60 yards. His nine targets and his 60 receiving yards are third on the team behind WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. In Week 2, he solidified his rapport with QB Baker Mayfield, catching all six targets for 41 yards. Otton is in a situation that could see him get six to eight looks a game, and if one of those results in a touchdown, he could easily be a top 5 TE in that week. Of the options still available in free agency, Otton has the most upside with the safest floor.
When the season started, no one knew what to make of the New York Giants WR corps. An assortment of youth and aging veterans, it’s still unclear who, if anyone, will take the reigns. However, rookie WR Jalin Hyatt took a step towards emerging as the front-runner this past Sunday.
After seeing the field sparingly and seeing only one target, Hyatt grabbed both of his targets for 89 yards in a thrilling come-from-behind win in Arizona. Hyatt is building a rapport with QB Daniel Jones, and his ability to stretch the field and separate in space makes him a dangerous weapon for a team with big-time expectations. If he does gain steam, Hyatt could be an impactful early-season roster addition that makes waves down the stretch.
While there may not be much to like about the Pittsburgh Steelers offense through two weeks of the season, there is still value to be had in fantasy football. One of those values appears to be WR Calvin Austin. With marquee WR Diontae landing on IR, there will be more than enough opportunity for the second-year pass catcher to see consistent volume in the Steelers’ Passing game.
Through the first two games of 2023, Austin has seen ten targets, catching seven for 47 yards. While Week 2 saw a downturn in opportunity for Austin, he had a snap share of 76 percent. With WR Diontae Johnson on injured reserve until at least Week 6, this is Austin’s opportunity to implant himself in the Steelers’ attack as a WR2 to George Pickens. Should Johnson miss more time, Austin could have consistent weekly value as a flex start.