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Fantasy Football Early Waiver Wire Pickups to Target (Week 1)

Fantasy Football Early Waiver Wire Pickups to Target (Week 1)

Welcome back!

Like we never left, right?

If you’re one of the drafters who was victimized by some rather late-breaking, upsetting news of injuries to top picks – you’re in the right place.

These are rapid reactions after the first slate of games (Thursday + early Sunday) meant to help you navigate what is often an overwhelming task of combing the waiver wire. Let’s take a look at some players rostered in fewer than 40% of leagues.

Fantasy Football Early Waiver Wire Pickups

Josh Reynolds (WR – DET)

  • Roster percentage: 0.4%

Earlier this year I said Reynolds would be a solid option if Amon-Ra St. Brown missed any time. Now, I think, Josh Reynolds might just be a – solid option?

Reynolds was creating separation, notably burning L’Jarius Sneed on a nice comeback route, then creating some yards after the catch.

He was the second-most-targeted Lion (seven) and out-snapped Marvin Jones by 15% (70 to 55)

If you snag Reynolds on waivers you’re not getting burner speed or a bonafide number one option – but this is week one waivers, and you might just land an above-average offense’s WR2.

This four-catch, 80-yard performance wasn’t out of nowhere, either.

Reynolds played more than 60% of snaps in 10 games last season and in five of those games he totaled 12.8 or more fantasy points.

If you’re looking to patch a hole at WR, you could do worse than Reynolds.

Rashee Rice (WR- KC)

  • Rostered: 9.5%

Rice’s three-catch, twenty-nine-yard performance didn’t turn any heads, but given the dearth of playmakers at receiver for Kansas City, why not throw a dart with the 2023 second-round pick catching passes from Patrick Mahomes?

Curtis Samuel (WR – WAS)

  • Rostered: 17.1%

The Commanders looked rough, but Curtis Samuel‘s performance was a silver lining (unless you roster Terry McLaurin or Jahan Dotson). Samuel is a reliable, and still fairly explosive player, making it hard for Washington NOT to involve him in the game plan.

Given the parity of weapons in Washington and the team’s general lackluster, I don’t see Samuel’s ceiling being all too high, but I’d also be shocked if he weren’t touching the ball at least five times a game as a receiver or running back.

Rashid Shaheed (WR – NO)

  • Rostered: 2%

Chris Olave briefly left the game with an injury but did return. Irrespective of Olave’s availability, Shaheed looked good. He’s in his second season and today ascended as a true deep threat with the ability to become fantasy relevant on any one reception.

With Michael Thomas, Chris Olave and Juwan Johnson healthy, Shaheed is a higher-risk play, but his ceiling is tantalizing.

Allen Robinson (WR – PIT)

  • Rostered: 1.7%

I genuinely cannot believe I’m writing this. Allen Robinson is once again sniffing fantasy relevance.

He led the Steelers in receiving yards (64) and targets (eight) in their abysmal loss to San Francisco. Do I think he will have a 2020 repeat and catch 100+ balls for 1,000+ yards? I do not. There are still too many mouths to feed in Pittsburgh, even if Diontae Johnson is banged up. However, it appears as though Robinson is currently a serviceable fantasy option.

Zay Jones (WR – JAX)

  • Rostered: 30.1%

If there weren’t so many solid receiving options in Jacksonville I’d be higher on Jones. However, five catches on seven targets for 55 yards and a touchdown is nothing to gloss over. Trevor Lawrence threw the ball efficiently and Jones looked solid enough.

Gus Edwards & Justice Hill (RB – BAL)

  • Rostered: 21.8% | 0.3%

J.K. Dobbins tore his Achilles today, and I suspect Baltimore brings in another running back. For that reason and others, I’m not too high on Edwards or Hill. However, in the meantime, they both have a shot at double-digit touches per game and the unpredictable touchdown(s). Neither have shown to be particularly explosive, and Lamar Jackson will still vulture carries and touchdowns.

Deon Jackson (RB – IND)

  • Rostered: 36.4%

With Evan Hull and Zack Moss out, Jackson is the guy in Indianapolis. I’m not very optimistic given Anthony Richardson‘s talent running the football as well as Jonathan Taylor‘s potential return, but Jackson will serve as the team’s RB1 if Evan Hull and Zack Moss miss more time.

Chuba Hubbard (RB – CAR)

  • Rostered: 11.4%

Hubbard is playing second fiddle to Miles Sanders in the Carolina backfield. However, that role yielded 69 yards on 11 touches today. He’s getting close to must-roster territory for people who roster Miles Sanders. Even with Sanders healthy, he’s a borderline flex play given Carolina’s propensity to lean on the run with their rookie quarterback Bryce Young under center.

Zach Ertz (TE – ARI)

  • Rostered: 39.7%

Twenty-one yards on 10 targets and six catches is certainly a stat line. Assuming the Cardinals get crushed quite a bit this season, Ertz is definitely a safety valve for whoever is under center. In the world of tight end dart throws, we know he’s his team’s TE1, and we can pray for a touchdown if we need to start him.

Sam LaPorta (TE – DET)

  • Rostered: 34.6%

Sam LaPorta had more receptions in his first NFL game (five) than Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, Zach Ertz and Rob Gronkowski.

The chances of his being a league winner are still slim to none, but if you’re spinning the wheel of tight end doom streams – why not LaPorta?

Hayden Hurst (TE – CAR)

  • Rostered: 4.8%

Hurst was a first-round draft pick in 2018 for a reason. His potential as a pass catcher absolutely still exists. He proved to be reliable and has a rapport with rookie QB Bryce Young today, hauling in five catches on seven targets for 41 yards and a touchdown. Given the lack of formidable pass catchers and mediocre offensive line in Carolina, Hurst’s performance today feels sustainable.

Brock Purdy (QB – SF)

  • Rostered: 24.5%

This is one of those “Wait, why did he fall in drafts again?” situations. The infrastructure is there in spades. All Purdy had to do is play solid football, and he did just that. Purdy is a matchup-dependent borderline QB1 the rest of the way.

New York Giants D/ST

  • Rostered: 2.3%

They’re playing the Cardinals. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Indianapolis Colts D/ST

  • Rostered: 0.9%

The Colts just lost in heartbreaking fashion after keeping pace with the Jaguars for most of the game. I’d expect them to bounce back against a Texans team that managed just nine points today.

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