It was satisfying enough to see a full slate of regular-season NFL games being played on Sunday. Then, the level of play exceeded expectations, as we weren’t subjected to sloppy play and didn’t see a slew of injuries.
For fantasy purposes, it was great to see a lot of high-scoring games. The stars did their thing and some rookies wasted no time impressing us. That said, there were also a couple of duds and some players who may need replacing.
This season, waiver wire options at eaposition will be listed in order of priority so you can plan accordingly based on your league’s availability. Players listed here will be under approximately 40% rostered across Yahoo leagues. For a deeper look at each position, check out our separate weekly waiver wire columns at QB, RB, WR, and TE.
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Quarterbacks – Waiver Wire Options
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears – 3% rostered
That’s right, in 2020 it’s only right that Trubisky is the top waiver option at QB. For those that missed it, after a rough first half in Detroit, Trubisky finished with three touchdowns and an opening-week win. His impressive fourth-quarter comeback shows promise of what he can do when motivated but it’s the matchup that makes him the top choice of all passer pickups. Trubisky draws the New York Giants, who allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs in 2019.
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts – 32% rostered
Rivers as a Colt looked pretty much like Rivers as a Bolt. He piled up passing yardage (363) but threw two INT and got much of his production due to sheer volume in a losing effort. All Pro guard Quenton Nelson has been dealing with a back issue so Rivers may not have gotten the type of protection we expected but his lack of mobility will continue to hamper his production. Week 2 brings a home tilt with the Vikings, who were just shredded by nemesis Aaron Rodgers. Rivers still has the upside to be a QB2 or Superflex starter but isn’t the best streaming option out there.
Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars – 25% rostered
Minshew will be a popular streamer all season, as his team situation and stat totals won’t every make him a weekly set-and-forget QB but he is likely to continue exceeding expectations. He started off by pulling an upset over the Colts and tossing three touchdown passes. Still, don’t overlook the fact he only threw for 173 yards and the upcoming Week 2 matchup on the road at Tennessee will be a tough one. If you need a safe QB2 for the early half of the season because Tom Brady or Baker Mayfield has you nervous, Minshew does have a nice schedule from Week 3-6 until the Jags’ bye in Week 7.
Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers – 4% rostered
It was far from a great start to the season for Taylor, who failed to reach the end zone and barely completed half his passes on the day against the Bengals. That said, he took care of the football and played well enough to stave off Justin Herbert by leading the team to victory. It should be a far more high-scoring affair next week when they take on the Chiefs. The promise of garbage time production is great, so prefer Taylor over someone with a better statline like Minshew (below) based on the defensive matchup.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers – 22% rostered
Teddy Two Gloves didn’t earn a W for his rookie head coach in his first game as a Panther but that was mostly due to a terrible defense. Bridgewater threw for 270 yards and a touchdown and didn’t turn the ball over. As long as Christian McCaffrey scores the bulk of the touchdowns, as he will continue to do, Bridgewater is relegated to a bye-week filler and fantasy backup.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders – 18% rostered
Much like his Week 1 opponent, Teddy Bridgewater, Carr is a safe but boring fantasy pick because his TD upside will always be capped. Josh Jacobs found the end zone three times and will be the top option any time the team is in the red zone. Losing Henry Ruggs doesn’t help his outlook either. Carr gets a MNF matchup with the Saints in Week 2. New Orleans limited Tom Brady and his dynamic receivers for the most part so it’s not encouraging for a player like Carr.
Running Backs – Waiver Wire Options
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts – 18% rostered
Watching Hines, who was supposed to be the RB3, pass-catching specialist, and forgotten man in the Indy backfield, score twice and see 15 touches must have been nauseating for those who took Jonathan Taylor in the third or fourth round. If Marlon Mack has torn his Achilles as has been reported, Hines becomes a must-add. Taylor will earn more carries as the season goes on, but it’s clear Frank Reich trusts Hines in the red zone as well as on passing downs. Make him your top priority this week at running back, especially in full PPR.
Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers – 12% rostered
In non-PPR leagues, Kelley might hold as much appeal as Hines. There had been rumblings among beat writers that the Chargers would like something close to a 60-40 split in the backfield between Ekeler and another back; we just didn’t know if it would be Kelley or Jackson and whether the team would hold true to that. Kelley took 12 carries to Ekeler’s 19 and saw the goal-line carries so it appears that his role will, in fact, be solid. Justin Jackson has been battling injury but he did suit up and didn’t do much with two rush attempts. Meanwhile, Kelley has impressed throughout the preseason and showed off in Week 1 by running for 60 yards and a touchdown. There’s a reason I drafted Kelley in three-fourths of my redraft leagues, after all.
Of all the premature victory laps I’m not taking, watching Joshua Kelley bowl into the end zone and get the amount of work he has so far is the first one I’m not taking.
— Pierre Camus (@Roto_Chef) September 13, 2020
Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams – 25% rostered
As a Cam Akers truther/stan, it was infuriating to see Brown get the ball at the goal-line and punch it in twice. The veteran does deserve credit though, as he piled up 79 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards too. It appears this is a two-man committee for now, which gives Brown fantasy relevance in 12-team leagues and deeper. He will be a risky start in Week 2 against the Eagles, who are always tough against the run and limited Washington to 80 rushing yards on the day.
Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers – 11% rostered
We had to see it to believe it. Now, it’s time to believe. After two years off the field nursing injuries, McKinnon was back on the field. He turned three carries and three receptions into 44 yards and a touchdown. That’s not a heavy workload but there is a good chance it ramps up as the year progresses. The fact that the Niners visit the Jets next week is reason enough to consider flexing him in PPR leagues.
Peyton Barber, Washington Football Team – 3% rostered
Barber is to the waiver wire what broccoli is to your dinner plate. You don’t really like it but it’s in your best interest, whether you admit it or not. Barber played the role of vulture quite well, scoring twice while getting way more carries than he deserved. He only produced 29 yards on 17 attempts but Ron Rivera kept feeding him the ball, especially in the red zone. Antonio Gibson is the sexier name but Barber seems to have the trust of the coaching staff and will continue to be part of the backfield for the foreseeable future as long as Bryce Love is inactive and working back into shape.
Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs – 20% rostered
Williams got a fair amount of touches on Thursday night with seven carries and two receptions but it’s pretty obvious he is no threat to Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Even in the dynamic Chiefs offense, Williams continues to average three yards a pop as he did last year. He is far more valuable to Andy Reid in real-life than he is to fantasy rosters. He remains a high-end insurance policy and TD vulture threat, especially if CEH can’t get across the goal-line as it happened in Week 1, but he is simply a bench stash in standard leagues.
Devontae Booker, Las Vegas Raiders – 0% rostered
If Jerick McKinnon can be a thing again, why not Booker? He is the backup to Josh Jacobs, saw three targets to Jalen Richard‘s one, and even got touches in the red zone that almost resulted in a score. He doesn’t really have stand-alone value but now looks like a smart insurance policy for those who have Jacobs and can afford to stash him.
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins – 0% rostered
The first real shock to emerge as a waiver wire candidate is Gaskin, who many failed to remember was still on the Miami roster. The team added very capable backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida this offseason, then promptly gave Gaskin the majority of touches. He wasn’t bad either, rushing nine times for 40 yards and catching all four of his targets for 26 yards. There isn’t a lot of juice in this offense so even if he was guaranteed 20 touches a game, it would make him a marginal flex option. Gaskin could be stashed in leagues with 14 or more teams but can’t be started against Buffalo next week.
Frank Gore, New York Jets – 4% rostered
To the shock of nobody who read this column last week or has followed Adam Gase’s coaching career, Gore saw just as many touches as Le’Veon Bell in Week 1. Now that Bell has an injury to his hamstring, which apparently is not alright after all, Gore could see upwards of 15 carries in Week 2. You still don’t want to start him in a matchup with San Fran but standard or very deep-league GMs who are desperate could do worse.
Others to consider: Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (37% rostered); Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (6% rostered); Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks (19% rostered); Darrynton Evans, Tennessee Titans (4% rostered); Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons (4% rostered); Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles (2% rostered)
Wide Receivers – Waiver Wire Options
Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers – 32% rostered
Despite moving away from the Jets and being lured to the Panthers with a two-year, $20 million deal, many fantasy managers were skeptical of his value. He would compete with D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel for targets on a team already leaning on its running back for 40% of the offense. In his first game with Carolina, Anderson outgained them all with 115 yards on six receptions. Much of that came on a 75-yard bomb that went for a score in the fourth quarter but he saw one fewer target than Moore and the same as Samuel. Moore only caught four of his nine targets while Samuel was mostly targeted on short-to-intermediate routes. With a new QB and head coach in town, last year’s target shares become meaningless. This doesn’t mean Anderson is officially the WR1 in Carolina but he definitely belongs on fantasy rosters based on this strong start.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons – 1% rostered
Knowing that Gage would be the starting slot receiver for an offense that led the league in pass attempts last year, you’d think he would have been drafted somewhere in fantasy leagues outside of best ball. Shout out to the one percent of fantasy GMs who saw this coming. Gage came away with 112 yards but most importantly, his nine receptions and 12 targets were the same as both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Atlanta was playing from behind much of the day, forcing Matt Ryan to pass 54 times. Get used to that with Atlanta’s inferior secondary and tough schedule that brings a road game with Dallas next week. Add Gage wherever possible.
Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 6% rostered
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Miller was just behind Chris Godwin as Tom Brady’s favorite target in his Tampa Bay premiere. Miller finished with five receptions on six targets for 73 yards, whereas Godwin had six receptions, seven targets, and 79 yards. This isn’t to say Miller will finish the year with similar numbers to Godwin or that Mike Evans won’t be more of a factor once his hamstring fully heals. It does indicate that Miller has Brady’s trust and should be picked up in full PPR leagues all over the place.
Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins – 38% rostered
The final numbers were ugly but we expected that going into Week 1. Williams was playing his first game since ACL surgery last year and went up against the Patriots Defense. Ignore the two catches for 41 yards; focus on the team-leading seven targets and the fact he was on the field for most of the game with no other receiver stepping up in any way. Another tough draw with Buffalo in Week 2 should keep Williams on fantasy benches but he certainly belongs on fantasy rosters.
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts – 22% rostered
Campbell tied with T.Y. Hilton for the team lead with nine targets but came away with more catches (six) and yards (71). It’s a promising start for the receiver that could become the Indy version of Keenan Allen for Rivers.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers – 7% rostered
Looks like Aaron Rodgers meant what he said about MVS improving this offseason. On a day where Rodgers looked like his old self, Valdes-Scantling looked like his best self. He caught four passes for 96 yards and made a tough touchdown grab as well. He will need to string together multiple games of productivity before we can fully buy into him as a fantasy starter but a contest with Detroit next week is a great opportunity.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars – 12% rostered
The rookie made an immediate impact, catching three balls for 37 yards and a TD. He was also used out of the backfield as was reported via Twitter, rushing twice for 10 yards. Shenault is the type of player that will serve as a Swiss Army knife for this offense and can reach the end zone in a hurry. Volume isn’t guaranteed, so the ceiling is somewhat limited on a weekly basis. Still, he can serve as a bye-week or injury fill-in regardless of matchup since his usage is hard to predict for opposing defenses.
N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots – 35% rostered
Harry held a questionable designation all week but was able to play with no restrictions. He showed much better than last year, catching all but one of his six targets. Unfortunately, he only averaged 7.8 yards per catch and didn’t stretch the field at all. If he develops chemistry with Cam Newton as the weeks progress, we could have a fantasy WR3 on our hands. For now, he is still a stash-and-see.
Breshad Perriman, New York Jets – 18% rostered
It’s hard to stomach having any Jets on a fantasy roster these days but Perriman still has the most upside of all. A 27-17 final score in Week 1 was a bit misleading, seeing as how the Jets scored a meaningless last-minute touchdown and benefited from a pair of Josh Allen fumbles. The Jets will be playing from behind often, which means a high projected air yard total for Perriman. He can be a boom-bust flex option in good matchups, although Week 2 vs San Fran is not one of those.
Steven Sims, Washington Football – 7% rostered
Sims wasn’t among the favorite receivers for Dwayne Haskins this week, catching three passes and being out-targeted by the likes of Dontrelle Inman and Logan Thomas. He doesn’t necessarily need high volume to be productive, however, as he’s shown big-play ability with the ball in his hands. He’s a dice roll next week against Arizona but the matchup with slot corner Byron Murphy is hard to ignore.
Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers – 13% rostered
Although Bourne wasn’t highly involved in Week 1, the same could be said for all San Francisco wide receivers. His fortunes could be better in Week 2 based on the matchup with the Jets although he is mostly dependent on touchdown potential for a big fantasy day.
Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions – 2% rostered
The absence of Kenny Golladay led to a fairly productive day for Amendola. He caught five of seven passes for 81 yards, making him the leading receiver in Detroit for the time being. If Golladay returns for Week 2, Amendola doesn’t belong in starting lineups but is still a bench option in deeper leagues and a decent insurance policy.
Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders – 24% rostered
It was a quiet debut for Edwards who caught his lone target for nine yards. Better days will be ahead but his low usage compared to Henry Ruggs puts him on the backburner for now.
Others to consider: Randall Cobb, Houston Texans (8% rostered); Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (23% rostered); Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (31% rostered); Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders (21% rostered); James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (12% rostered); Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (8% rostered); Bisi Johnson, Minnesota Vikings (1% rostered); Willie Snead IV, Baltimore Ravens (1% rostered)
Tight Ends – Waiver Wire Options
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 17% rostered
It is with great trepidation that I place Howard at the top of this list. His sky-high potential has been known since he entered the league but he managed to decline in his third season when he should have broken out. In a year where Tampa Bay passed for a league-high 4,845 yards and was third with 33 passing touchdowns, he scored just once and saw his yardage total go down from the previous year when he only played 10 games. Naturally, he teases us again by scoring a touchdown and catching more passes than Gronk. Take a chance here if you have the stomach.
Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears – 6% rostered
He scored a touchdown in his Chicago debut and came within a yard of another. That puts Graham back on the fantasy radar for a 10th season. Next week’s opponent is the Giants, who weren’t great against the tight end (or anybody for that matter) on defense last year.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts – 27% rostered
Honestly, Doyle’s Week 1 output was disappointing based on expectations. He had no competition for snaps with Trey Burton sidelined, a passer that loves the TE, and a choice matchup with Jacksonville. Three receptions for 49 yards doesn’t hack it in fantasy. The situation remains promising so those in need of a tight end should still consider Doyle for the immediate future.
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team – 5% rostered
The former QB who is with his fourth team in five years was the sixth-leading scorer at tight end in Week 1. He was second on Washington behind Terry McLaurin in receptions but actually led the way with eight targets. Thomas shouldn’t be overlooked based on his sketchy track record as a pro. He’s landed in a great situation based on opportunity, since there is little WR depth.
Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks – 26% rostered
Plenty of receivers got involved for Seattle in Week 1 and Olsen was one of them, catching four passes for 24 yards and a TD. He was on the field more than Will Dissly and saw twice the targets. Dissly can be ignored for the time being while Olsen is a stream-worthy option.
Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys – 1% rostered
Blake Jarwin‘s hopes for a TE1 season as the successor to Jason Witten are gone. It appears he suffered a torn ACL on a non-contact play and will miss the rest of 2020. That leaves Schultz, a former fourth-round pick, as the primary TE in Dallas. This gives him the chance to become fantasy-relevant in a strong passing offense but don’t necessarily expect a third-year breakout. Despite being active for all 16 games last year, Schultz caught all of one pass for six yards. He didn’t look too impressive in his 2020 debut either, committing a dumb penalty and dropping a pass.
Others to consider: Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers (39% rostered); C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals (1% rostered); Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings (13% rostered); Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers (15% rostered)
Team Defense – Waiver Wire Options
Arizona Cardinals Defense – 2% rostered
The Cards may give up their share of points on defense but are usually good for some sacks. They took down Jimmy Garoppolo three times in Week 1 but couldn’t force any turnovers. They could have better fortune when they face Washington in Week 2.
Miami Dolphins Defense – 1% rostered
We’re talking deep-league streamers here and there aren’t many with choice matchups this coming week. The Bills are solid offensively but Josh Allen is usually good for a pair of turnovers.
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