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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 2)

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 2)

Over the last several days we have celebrated the return of fantasy football and all the good that comes with it — the intellectual challenges, the thrill of victory, the strengthening of friendships.

But we were also reintroduced to the frustrations our little game brings. J.K. Dobbins‘ torn Achilles was a reminder of how cruel and mischievous the fantasy gods can be. Coaches often fail to accommodate our player expectations, as any Drake London, Cam Akers or D’Andre Swift investor can attest. And of course, players disappoint us all the time.

In fact, disappointment is probably why you’re here. You’re looking to upgrade your roster because someone on your team doesn’t appear capable of pulling his weight. You’re looking to upgrade, to patch holes, or maybe to overhaul an entire position.

We’re here to help. Welcome to FantasyPros’ weekly waiver wire article. Let’s make your fantasy team(s) better.

Which players should you try to roster? How much should you bid on the players you’re trying to acquire? Which players should you drop? Who deserves a second chance? Which possible waiver wire additions are fool’s gold? We’ll answer all of those questions and more.

Not only will we make recommendations on how much of your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) to spend on a waiver-wire player, we’ll make three recommendations on how much to spend: a “true value” bid, a “desperate need” bid for players you badly want to acquire, and a “budget-minded” bid for when you’re trying to acquire talent as inexpensively as possible.

After recommending possible waiver adds at every position, we’ll make suggestions about which players to drop and which players not to drop (at least not yet).

Oh … and one more thing. We’ll also give a grade to the waiver crop each week. Some weeks we get a bounty of waiver-wire talent. Other weeks it’s tumbleweeds out there.

This week, there are quite a few intriguing and talented players who are rostered in under 50% of Yahoo leagues (our threshold for inclusion in this article).

The shelves are well stocked. Let’s go shopping.

Grade: A-

(Rostership percentages are based on Yahoo leagues, Recommended FAAB bids are based on a $100 budget.)

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice

Quarterbacks

Written by Bo McBrayer

Jordan Love (GB): 31% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ATL, NO, DET
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate Need: $9
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Love was solid on Sunday vs. the Bears despite operating without WR Christian Watson. He tossed three touchdown passes – two to Romeo Doubs and another to Aaron Jones. Chicago’s defense was abysmal, which covered up some of Love’s poor decision-making. Still, the upcoming schedule indicates that adding Love on waivers is a strong move.

Sam Howell (WAS): 22% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @DEN, BUF, @PHI
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate Need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: The second-year pro from North Carolina matched his two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) with a pair of turnovers against the Cardinals in Week 1. Howell was a preseason breakout candidate of mine and certainly showed poise beyond his years (and draft capital). His upcoming schedule is brutal, but don’t overthink it. Howell has a safe floor with his underrated rushing ability.

Derek Carr (NO): 38% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, @GB, TB
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate Need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: The Saints’ offense struggled to punch the ball into the end zone in Week 1 against the Titans. Carr passed for more than 300 yards but had only one touchdown. It was eerily reminiscent of his days with the Raiders. Without Alvin Kamara, I expect New Orleans to continue to air it out down the field. Carr still has a penchant for big plays and occasional monster games.

Bryce Young (CAR): 18% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NO, @SEA, MIN
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate Need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: While it might not seem like a wise idea to add a rookie on waivers before he shines on the field, the reigning Heisman winner’s schedule is extremely favorable in the first half. Young’s weaponry was dinged up in Week 1. He still managed to look very poised in defeat against Atlanta. Young is simply too talented to ignore, and all signs point to a quick learning curve.

Stash Candidates: None.

Don’t worry about stashing QBs in 1QB redraft. You are better served using the roster spot on a skill player.

Running Backs

Written by Bo McBrayer

Tank Bigsby (JAX): 46% rostered

  • Next Opponents: KC, HOU, ATL
  • True value: $12
  • Desperate Need: $18
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: There was only one thing to cheer about on Sunday for Tank Bigsby managers. He plunged into the end zone for a goal-line touchdown, but he only compiled 13 yards on his seven carries and lost a fumble in his NFL debut. Why add him on waivers? The Jaguars face a long homestand, with three-consecutive games in Duval County. Even better, all three opponents showed vulnerabilities against the run in Week 1. Tank’s role figures to grow, but getting short-yardage work is a great start.

Kenneth Gainwell (PHI): 46% rostered

  • Next Opponents: MIN, @TB, WAS
  • True value: $11
  • Desperate Need: $16
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: Some fantasy managers were surprised to see Gainwell earn the start for Philadelphia in Week 1, with Rashaad Penny a healthy inactive. I was not. Much like his former Memphis teammate, Tony Pollard, Gainwell was ready to step into a newly expanded role on a winning team. He was impressive, with 18 touches (four receptions) and 74 scrimmage yards. The only missing piece was a touchdown. D’Andre Swift was far from impressive alongside Gainwell, which bodes very well for Gainwell the next few weeks.

Joshua Kelley (LAC): 4% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @TEN, @MIN, LV
  • True value: $10
  • Desperate Need: $16
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: One major difference between the old Joe Lombardi offense and the new Kellen Moore offense for the Chargers is a renewed emphasis on establishing the run game early and often. Austin Ekeler is the unquestioned starter, but Kelley was a physical presence in Week 1 with his 16 attempts. He compiled 91 yards and scored a rushing touchdown in the Week 1 shootout loss to Miami. Now, Kelley could be in line for an enhanced role — and possibly a Week 2 start — with Ekeler now dealing with an ankle injury. Although Kelley won’t sniff any real receiving work, expect the UCLA grad to maintain steady volume and benefit from a lot of scoring chances. Bump up your bid by a couple of bucks if we learn that Ekeler’s injury is a high-ankle sprain rather than a run-of-the-mill low-ankle sprain.

Kyren Williams (LAR): 5% rostered

  • Next Opponents: SF, @CIN, @IND
  • True value: $9
  • Desperate Need: $15
  • Budget-minded: $5

Analysis: Until the Rams’ convincing victory over the Seahawks was in hand, everyone was wondering what happened with supposed starting RB Cam Akers. By the end of the game, Akers had 22 carries for a paltry 29 yards. The second-year back from Notre Dame was still the story, with a pair of rushing touchdowns on 15 attempts. LA’s line did not get very much push up front, but Akers’ managers are rightly freaking out about the early leverage opportunities largely going to Williams. It should also be noted that Williams is a stellar receiver and will be tough to pull off the field.

Jaylen Warren (PIT): 48% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CLE, @LV, @HOU
  • True value: $8
  • Desperate Need: $13
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: Don’t sleep on this offense after one brutal performance. The Steelers were engulfed and overmatched versus the mighty 49ers, but it is certainly noteworthy that Warren shared an even split of RB snaps with “starter” Najee Harris. The Oklahoma State grad is a better receiver than Harris and has more explosive play capability in the open field. Pittsburgh’s schedule is much easier going forward, and Warren will be a main cog in the Matt Canada offense.

Gus Edwards (BAL): 20% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CIN, IND, @CLE
  • True value: $7
  • Desperate Need: $13
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: There are two hot waiver additions in this backfield. Each of them is worthy of a bid, but I prefer the reliability of the veteran Edwards. Every fantasy manager will seek light beyond the gloom of J.K. Dobbins‘ unfortunate injury. Edwards is a bruiser who will excel in short yardage and is a far superior pass blocker to Justice Hill. Melvin Gordon is expected to be elevated from the practice squad, but the Week 1 priority assures us that Edwards is the one to prioritize.

Justice Hill (BAL): 3% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CIN, IND, @CLE
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate Need: $12
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Where I expect Gus Edwards to see more action than Hill in this backfield, Hill is a better receiver and fits the new Todd Monken offense better than the veteran plodder. It will be tough to bid high enough on Hill this week, since he scored two touchdowns. I’m hard pressed to spend a lot of FAAB on a player who barely averaged a single yard on his eight carries, but Hill will be an appealing flex play if you are fortunate to acquire him.

Stash Candidates:

One very poor throw by Ryan Tannehill ruined a nice Tyjae Spears statement play. He still saw the field more than expected alongside Derrick Henry and averaged nine yards on his three rushing attempts.

Ford coughed up a fumble in rainy Cleveland in Week 1, but Kevin Stefanski still rolled him out there for 15 carries in the blowout win over Cincinnati. We have yet to see the receiving prowess from Ford, but rest assured it’s on its way.

Chandler is going to seize the starting RB role from Alexander Mattison this season. He had one nice play in Week 1 with an 18-yard reception. Chandler is more athletic than Mattison and a far superior receiver. Stash him with devious intentions.

I don’t have anything bad to say about D’Onta Foreman and Khalil Herbert, but Texas rookie Roschon Johnson just looks better. His seven passing targets in mop-up duty were only overshadowed by his brutish rushing touchdown. It’s a messy committee, but Johnson is only weeks away from carving a bigger piece of the pie in neutral scripts.

Tony Pollard is a stellar RB, but he was alternated off the field every third series for Rico Dowdle. This is a nice chunk of a run-heavy Mike McCarthy “Texas Coast Offense” that we didn’t necessarily foresee before Dallas’ 40-0 romp over the Giants in Week 1. Dowdle is a high-value handcuff.

No one should be remotely surprised that Tampa Bay struggled to run the football in Week 1. They were the worst rushing team in the league last season and jettisoned Leonard Fournette. Rachaad White is abysmal between the tackles and turned in another inefficient 39 yards on 17 carries in Minnesota. Syracuse rookie Sean Tucker was slightly better with his five rushing attempts and matched White with two targets in the win. Tampa Bay won’t have much patience for White if he continues to struggle with the starting job.

The focus will be on Gus Edwards and Justice Hill this week, but it’s worth making a $1 or $0 bid on Melvin Gordon if you have the roster space. He’s been on the Ravens’ practice squad but will likely be added to the roster this week following the season-ending injury to J.K. Dobbins. Even though he’s 30 now, Gordon is still a better pure runner than Hill — and possibly better than Edwards, too.

Wide Receivers

Written by Derek Brown

Puka Nacua (LAR): 5% rostered

  • Next Opponents: SF, @CIN, @IND
  • True value: $15
  • Desperate Need: $25
  • Budget-minded: $12

Analysis: Well, I tried to tell everyone. Puka Nacua is the truth. OK, let’s keep it 100 here. I have loved Nacua since I broke down his film and college production in preparation for the Reese’s Senior Bowl, but I would have never imagined this type of start for his NFL career. Nacua earned a ridiculous 39.4% target share In Week 1 operating in the Cooper Kupp role. Since 1980, only six wide receivers have finished Week 1 with more receiving yards than Nacua posted. Kupp remains on the shelf, and as long as he is, Nacua will continue to operate in this insane high-volume role. Nacua was given the keys to the car in Week 1, and he showed that he not only belongs in the race but is ready to put the team on his back. Even when (if) Kupp returns, Nacua will remain a key cog in an offense that will throw early and often this season. Nacua has empty-the-clip type upside in 2023.

Jakobi Meyers (LVR): 50% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @BUF, PIT, @LAC
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate Need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: OK, let’s get one thing straight. Meyers probably won’t out-target Davante Adams in another game this season. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss Mr. Meyers. He had a monster game with a 38.4% target share (10 targets), as Jimmy Garopppolo only threw the ball 26 times. Luckily for Meyers, this target tree is extremely thin, so while I don’t anticipate him seeing more volume than Adams again, it’s plausible for Meyers to earn a consistent 20% target share in this offense. Meyers finished with 81 receiving yards and two scores as icing on the cake. His upcoming matchups are laced with teams that love their man coverage. The good thing for Meyers is that he has shown the ability to beat man coverage, ranking 20th in receiving grade and 25th in yards per route run against the coverage type last season (per PFF). Meyers is a decent flex play weekly with more intrigue in PPR formats.

Rashid Shaheed (NO): 16% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, @GB, TB
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate Need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Shaheed is up to his old tricks. Last season, he came on strong down the stretch, flashing impressive route-running chops and blinding speed. These skills helped him finish third in yards per route run last season and 24th in receiving grade (per PFF). I wondered if he would get buried in the target pecking order with an emerging star in Chris Olave and an aged veteran in Michael Thomas returning. Or was his talent legit, and could he carve out the WR2 role in 2023? Well, so far, so good for Shaheed’s prospects of giving Thomas a run for his money for targets. Shaheed finished Week 1 with an 18.1% target share and 3.56 yards per route run (89 receiving yards) while chipping in two rushing attempts (11 rushing yards). A plus for Shaheed with the upcoming schedule is that Thomas or Olave could face a shadow matchup from Jaycee Horn or Jaire Alexander. This would conceivably push targets in Shaheed’s direction. Shaheed falls into the WR4/5 bucket with weekly WR2/3 upside.

Zay Jones (JAX): 30% rostered

  • Next Opponents: KC, HOU, ATL
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate Need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: The year is 2023, and I have learned to put respect on Zay Jones‘ name. Jones dealt this swift lesson to me last year, when he finished as the WR31 in fantasy points per game. It’s conceivable he will threaten WR3 status again in 2023. Jacksonville is an ascending offense with one of the best young passers in the NFL at the helm. Jones was a trusted red zone weapon for Trevor Lawrence last year (12th in red zone targets), and I expect that to continue this year while Jones’ target volume becomes more erratic with a true alpha now present (Calvin Ridley). Christian Kirk pulled a disappearing act (three targets, nine receiving yards) in Week 1. I anticipate Jones and Kirk trading off spike weeks with Evan Engram sprinkled in. The WR4/5 bucket with weekly upside for more is stocked to the brim on the waiver wire this week. Jones could be the bargain bin option of this herd who takes pennies to procure off the waiver wire.

Tutu Atwell (LAR): 3% rostered

  • Next Opponents: SF, @CIN, @IND
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate Need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Don’t let Atwell’s strong Week 1 performance get lost in the shuffle of Puka Nacua‘s monster game. Atwell was a full-time player (79% snaps), commanding a 21% target share while rocking an eye-popping 3.4 yards per route run against Seattle’s corners. Atwell was set in motion and utilized in bunch formations all game, giving him free releases. As long as Sean McVay continues to do this, look for Atwell to be productive. He was adept at finding the soft spots in Seattle’s zone. His next two opponents aren’t pushovers, but luckily for Atwell, they are zone-based defenses. Atwell looks like a decent WR4/5 who can pop off with WR2/3 production in the right matchups. That belongs at the end of any bench in fantasy land.

Jayden Reed & Romeo Doubs (GB): 12% & 31% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ATL, NO, DET
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate Need: $3
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Could I suggest more aggressive spending for either player? Sure, but that’s probably not needed at this juncture. The waiver wire is plentiful this week with wide receivers. The Packers’ WR group will be led by Christian Watson when he returns from injury, so don’t get it twisted in thinking either of these players will take that mantle in 2023. The limiting factors for Reed and Doubs’ respective upsides are real. The Packers seem content with operating as a run-based offense, as they only logged a 45.7% passing rate in Week 1. Reed and Doubs each managed 18.5% target shares, but because Jordan Love only threw the ball 27 times, those amounted to five targets apiece. Touchdowns helped to save each of their fantasy days. It’s difficult to rely on that week to week, especially in low-volume passing offenses.

Kendrick Bourne (NE): 2% rostered

  • Next Opponents: MIA, @NYJ, @DAL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Bourne’s Week 1 production is borderline Fool’s Gold. It’s not that we haven’t seen Bourne produce in fantasy for extended stretches, because we have. But there’s a lot to dislike here beyond the box score. First, Bourne played 91% of the snaps in Week 1, but we have no clue if Coach Bill will awaken Monday morning and decide Bourne is in the doghouse. We’ve seen this happen before. Second, Bourne produced his lovely 64 receiving yards and two scores with Mac Jones dropping back to pass 54 times. Do we really think this is the way that the Patriots want to operate weekly? I doubt it. Bourne’s 20.3% target share doesn’t look so sexy when put into context, and neither does his 1.18 yards per route run. If you miss out on other wide receivers, pick up Bourne if you’re in a wide receiver pinch, but he’s not a priority target.

Josh Reynolds (DET): 1% rostered

  • Next Opponents: SEA, ATL, @GB
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Reynolds is a deep league or desperation; add if injuries have struck your team. Reynolds drew a 20% target share in Week 1 while leading the team with 80 receiving yards. His production will be spotty and matchup-dependent, like last week against a Chiefs squad that struggles against the deep ball. Seattle and Atlanta held opposing teams to bottom-10 completion rates on deep balls in 2022 (per Fantasy Points Data). Look to stream Reynolds against the Packers, who allowed the second-highest completion rate on deep passes last season (per Fantasy Points Data).

Allen Robinson (PIT): 2% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CLE, @LVR, @HOU
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Robinson gains relevance because of Diontae Johnson‘s hamstring injury. Per our own Dr. Deepak Chona, the “video suggests moderate severity” with his hamstring injury, with an average of two weeks’ recovery time (possible return in Week 3 or 4). Much like Bourne, Robinson tip-toes the edge of Fool’s gold. Robinson finished Week 1 with a 17.3% target share and only 1.39 yards per route run. Neither of these are sparkling metrics, and his final stat line was aided by the fact that the Steelers got their collective butts handed to them by the 49ers. Kenny Pickett attempted 46 passes in Week 1, which could be a season-high when it’s all said and done. Robinson holds middling flex appeal against Houston, where he can sit down in the soft spots of their zone coverage.

Stash Candidates

The Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receiver room looks like a mess, but Rice could be the diamond in the rough. In his first NFL action, he was targeted on 41.6% of his routes with 2.42 yards per route run (per PFF). We’ve seen Andy Reid hold rookies back, but maybe Rice will reverse that trend, as Skyy Moore looks like a bust more and more each day (damn, that hurt to type). Stash Rice now with a 5%-10% FAAB bid. This might seem steep, but the upside is there.

Tight Ends

Written by Derek Brown

Luke Musgrave (GB): 19% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ATL, NO, DET
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate Need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: I have not been the biggest Musgrave fan, but we must adjust to new information. Musgrave’s Week 1 usage could lead to TE1 production as the season progresses. His 81% of snaps played and 85% route participation are numbers we love to see. While I have major questions about the Packers’ passing volume, the volume bar is much lower for tight ends to gain fantasy relevance than wide receivers. Musgrave finished Week 1 with a 14.8% target share and 2.17 yards per route run (per PFF). These numbers alone should perk up your ears, especially if you’re hurting at the TE position. I have no problem with anyone spending 10%-12% of their FAAB on Musgrave, depending on their scoring format and need at the position.

Hayden Hurst (CAR): 11% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NO, @SEA, MIN
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate Need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: If you pick up Hurst with streaming aspirations, I implore you not to start him against the Saints. They have been a no-fly zone against tight ends for multiple seasons. Chigoziem Oknokwo found out in Week 1 that it’s still real, as he posted a goose egg on the stat sheet with only two targets. Hurst’s fantasy finish has some intriguing pluses while also some worries in the deeper recesses of his usage. Hurst only played 53% of the snaps, but his route participation was decent (71%). We’re cooking with gas if he can inch closer to 80%. I don’t care if his snaps are limited because he’s running routes when he’s out there. Leave the run blocking to Ian Thomas and Giovanni Ricci. Hurst did see an 18.4% target share while producing 1.5 yards per route run as the best of a bunch of terrible receiving threats. Hurst could continue to soak up ugly targets weekly and volume his way to a low-end TE1 season. After New Orleans, Hurst has solid matchups against Seattle (second-most fantasy points allowed to tight ends in 2022) and Minnesota (tied for the ninth-most receiving touchdowns allowed to tight ends last year).

Hunter Henry (NE): 16% rostered

  • Next Opponents: MIA, @NYJ, @DAL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Like Bourne, Henry’s fantasy day was aided by the Week 1 game script. Henry’s 11.1% target share and 1.33 yards per route run aren’t as sexy as his 56 receiving yards and touchdown. His playing time (78% snaps, 77% route participation) is in line with low-end TE1 production when he happens to fall into the end zone, like in Week 1. His upcoming matchups after Miami are tough, so if you choose to stream him this week, I get it, but he’s likely right back on the waiver wire after Week 2.

Zach Ertz (ARI): 5% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NYG, DAL, @SF
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Ertz is another nasty volume candidate who could offer up top-12 production in any week if he flops into the paint. Well, so much for being eased into action in Week 1 while returning from a major injury. Ertz played 77% of the snaps while rocking a 100% route participation. Ertz gobbled up a 33% target share, but he did almost nothing with it. He finished with six receptions and 21 receiving yards. In PPR leagues, this alone can pay the bills, but Ertz must show that he’s not total dust, or Trey McBride could begin to eat into his playing time.

Isaiah Likely (BAL): 34% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CIN, IND, @CLE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: I would not break the bank for Likely. You find him at the bottom of this list because Mark Andrews could easily be back in Week 2 and send Likely back to the bench. Likely was not the plug-and-play stud that fantasy GMs hoped for when Andrews was ruled out. While he played 71% of the snaps with strong route participation metrics, he could only manage one target. That’s not exactly the fantasy output you were hoping for. Even if Andrews is sidelined another week, Likely is, at best, the third or fourth target in an offense that only threw the ball 22 times in Week 1. I have no qualms if you read this with Likely on your roster and choose to cut bait.

Stash Candidates: None.

Defenses

Written by Pat Fitzmaurice

New York Giants (7% rostered)

  • Next Opponents: @ARI, @SF, SEA
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Giants were squashed by the Cowboys in Week 1, but the G-Men have a juicy Week 2 matchup against the Cardinals, a team that fantasy managers are going to be targeting with their streaming defenses all season long. Arizona generated only 210 yards of total offense in its season opener.

Cleveland Browns (10% rostered)

  • Next Opponents: @PIT, TEN, BAL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Cleveland’s defense stymied Cincinnati in Week 1, holding Joe Burrow to just 82 passing yards on 31 attempts. The Bengals could muster only six first downs while squeezing out a meager 142 yards of offense on 54 offensive plays. Next up for the Browns: a Steelers offense that struggled mightily against the 49ers in Week 1, followed by a Titans offense that sputtered in a Week 1 loss to the Saints.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20% rostered)

  • Next Opponents: CHI, PHI, @NO
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Buccaneers’ tour of the NFL North resumes in Week 2. The Bucs went up to Minnesota and held the Vikings to 17 points in their home opener. Now, Tampa plays its first home game of the regular season against the Bears. After taking a league-high 55 sacks last year, Bears QB Justin Fields was sacked four times by the Packers, and he also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Buccaneers are a solid one-week defensive play, but discard them before they face the Eagles in Week 3.

Los Angeles Chargers (9% rostered)

  • Next Opponents: @TEN, @MIN, LV
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Why pick up a Chargers’ defense that was blowtorched by Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins in Week 1? Only because the Chargers get an unattractive Week 2 date against a Titans offense that was sacked three times and intercepted three times in Week 1. The Tennessee offensive line is abysmal, and QB Ryan Tannehill looked awful in Week 1. Don’t be shy about firing up the Chargers as a streaming defense this week.

Indianapolis Colts (2% rostered)

  • Next Opponents: @HOU, @BAL, LAR
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Colts’ defense didn’t play especially well against the Jaguars in Week 1, but now it gets an appealing Week 2 matchup against the Texans and rookie QB C.J. Stroud, who was sacked five times by the Ravens last week in his NFL debut.

Stash Candidates: None

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Kickers

Written by Pat Fitzmaurice

Jake Moody (SF): 18% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @LAR, NYG, ARI
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate Need: $3
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: The 49ers’ rookie kicker made 3-of-3 FG tries and 3-of-3 PATs in the 49ers’ 30-7 Week 1 demolition of the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Niners’ schedule seemingly gets easier in the weeks to come, with matchups against the Rams, Giants and Cardinals, with the latter two matchups coming at home. San Francisco’s offense remains potent and should give Moody ample scoring opportunities.

Riley Patterson (DET): 47% rostered

  • Next Opponents: SEA, ATL, @GB
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate Need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: With one of the better offensive lines in the league, solid skill-position talent and a sharp offensive coordinator in Ben Johnson, the Lions are going to put up points this year. Patterson finished 11th in kicker fantasy scoring last season and has a good chance to crack the top 10 this year with Detroit.

Blake Grupe (NO): 2% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, @GB, TB
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Saints have a ridiculously soft schedule this year, so if their offense proves competent and Grupe proves accurate, he’s a kicker you can hang onto for the entire season, saving yourself the time and FAAB money it takes to swap out kickers every week or two. Grupe made all three of his FG attempts, including a 52-yarder, against the Titans last week.

Brandon McManus (JAX): 39% rostered

  • Next Opponents: KC, HOU, ATL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate Need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Jaguars’ ascending offense scored four touchdowns on the road against the Colts last week, and the points should continue to flow with QB Trevor Lawrence spearheading an offense laden with talent at the skill positions. The Jaguars play there next three games at home, and after a potential shootout with the Chiefs this week, the Jags have attractive home matchups against the Texans and Falcons.

Stash Candidates: None

Fool’s Gold

Mooney was the most productive Bears pass catcher in Week 1, with 4-53-1 on seven targets in a loss to the Packers. Mooney’s involvement was somewhat forced, since Packers CB Jaire Alexander was shadowing and smothering the Bears’ No. 1 receiver, D.J. Moore. Bears QB Justin Fields took few shots downfield on Sunday, and the Chicago passing game as a whole looked sickly. Mooney is not worth adding.

Valdes-Scantling had two catches for 48 yards in the Chiefs’ opener, including a 34-yard grab that was Kansas City’s longest play of the night. But MVS drew only two targets on 33 routes, which wasn’t encouraging. Valdes-Scantling also has a notoriously unreliable pair of hands. Pass.

Drop Recommendations

Droppable:

Dobbins tore his Achilles on Sunday and will be out for the year. If it weren’t for bad luck, this poor guy would have no luck at all. Dobbins had a difficult recovery after tearing his ACL, LCL and meniscus in the 2021 preseason, and now this latest injury could be career-threatening.

Tannehill was horrendous in Week 1, completing 16-of-34 passes for 198 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions. A poor offensive line is partly responsible for the shabby performance, but Tannehill offered no signs that he’s going to be a useful fantasy asset this year. The Titans have not one but two interesting young QB prospects behind Tannehill — second-year man Malik Willis and rookie Will Levis — so the Titans could make a change soon.

Sometimes a player is all tools, no toolbox. That might be the case with Toney, a remarkably talented and athletic player who may be perennially ill-fated. Since entering the league, Toney has dealt with one injury after another, causing him to miss 15 games over his first two seasons. When he’s on the field, Toney draws targets at an extremely high rate. In 2021 and 2022, he drew a target on 17.3% of all his snaps. Justin Jefferson drew a target on 17.1% of his snaps last year, and he led the league in targets. In the Chiefs’ Thursday-night opener against the Lions, Toney played 16 offensive snaps and drew five targets. Unfortunately, he dropped four of those five passes, with one of the drops resulting in an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Toney averaged 0.2 yards per target in that game, and 1.2 Detroit Lions points per target. It’s time to abandon hope that Toney’s athleticism will ever translate into fantasy value.

Droppable with a chance of regret:

McKinnon was destined to be a dicey proposition for 2023. He scored 10 touchdowns last season but averaged only 7.5 touches a game. You’re never going to feel comfortable starting a player whose workload is so small. McKinnon played 20-of-65 offensive snaps in Week 1, didn’t have a carry, and caught one of his two targets for 10 yards. He’ll have better days this season, but good luck predicting when they’ll come.

Don’t Drop Yet:

Gibson is back in fumble jail after coughing one up against the Cardinals in Week 1. He’s served time there before — particularly in 2021, when he coughed up six fumbles over the course of the season. Commanders head coach Ron Rivera seems convinced that fumbling can be cured with a good old-fashioned benching, and so Gibson vanished into thin air after his mistake, and rookie third-stringer Chris Rodriguez got some snaps while Gibby cooled his heels. Gibson had double-digit touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first two NFL seasons. He’s big, fast and only 24 years old. Don’t bail out unless Rivera glues Gibson to the bench.

Moore failed to catch a single pass in the Chiefs’ home opener despite playing 45 snaps and running 29 routes in a game that star TE Travis Kelce missed. Moore drew only three targets. It was a bitterly disappointing performance to Moore investors expecting a big jump for the second-year receiver. But the snap and route participation suggests there will be other opportunities for Moore to prove his worth. It’s too early to ditch a talented young receiver connected to QB Patrick Mahomes.

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