Waiver Wire: Week 2

Welcome to the Week 2 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2019 season. Week 1 brought numerous injuries to the table including Joe Mixon’s and Tevin Coleman’s ankle sprains, as well as Tyreek Hill’s broken clavicle (and ensuing unknown timetable). Nick Foles’ absence also makes it crucial to correctly assess the value of Jacksonville’s wideouts both in the short-term and the remainder of the year.

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are no longer must-roster assets, recommended adds are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list consists of players who are worthy of a roster spot if possible, and deep cuts are players rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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Most will probably find it tough to keep Coleman around considering he’s looking at a month and a half absence at the very least. If applicable, there’s nothing wrong with stashing him for a potential postseason run…It’s probably shocking to see Dante Pettis (two snaps) avert this list, but it’s still too early to cut the cord given his direct path to good graces following San Francisco’s abysmal offensive showing while he was an afterthought. One more week of information is necessary before parting ways…I’m personally against shedding Darrell Henderson at this time, but there are shallow-roster leagues that understandably force the issue…As for the Hunt recommendation, I’m just genuinely confused as to why he’s still rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Defense/Special Teams
1. Carolina Panthers
2. New York Jets

QUARTERBACKS
1. Josh Allen, Bills – Rostered in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues

Allen proved the high-floor prowess of a scrambling signal-caller last week, single-handedly accounting for four turnovers but escaping Week 1 as fantasy’s QB18 due to his 10 carries and 292 all-purpose yards (with two scores sprinkled in). He won’t get as much brushback from the Giants, who recorded a league-low one pressure en route to getting carved for 12.7 yards per attempt (and 400-plus passing yards) against Dallas’ new-look offense in Week 1.

Even in missing four offensive linemen (Jonah Williams, Cordy Glenn, Clint Boling, Christian Westerman) from their opening day roster, Andy Dalton’s league-high amount of play-action attempts (17) in coach Zac Taylor’s offense surprisingly kept the ninth-year quarterback unscathed on a median 35.7 percent pressure rate while under center. With 4.22 40-speedster John Ross active as the sole beneficiary of Dalton’s 20-plus yard grenades, there’s suddenly promise in an offense that wasn’t expected to compete beforehand. Any life from Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners only heightens Dalton’s ceiling in a potential shootout on Sunday.

3. Derek Carr, Raiders — Rostered in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
If there were ever a time to confidently stream Carr, it’s this upcoming week against a scattered Kansas City secondary that allowed sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew to flash poise and surgical accuracy in a 22-of-25 showing off the bench. Carr’s last two games at home against the Chiefs (285 and three scores > 417 and 3) seal the deal.

Watch List: Case Keenum miraculously went 11-of-18 for 143 yards and two scores while under pressure at the 10th-highest rate in Week 1. Odds are that type of precision in the face of danger won’t carry over…Ryan Fitzpatrick returns to Miami as a 19-point underdog prognosticated to stay attacking through the air. Interpret that however you want.

RUNNING BACKS

1. Malcolm Brown, Rams – Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brown played second-fiddle to Todd Gurley (as expected), logging 21 snaps to the starter’s 53, but it’s the former who plowed forward for two scores in being gifted five of the team’s six red zone touches, including 4-of-5 inside the 10. Even if Brown were to continue seeing merely 27 percent of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps, he has RB2 value in this particular role (and should be prioritized as such).
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Giovani Bernard, Bengals – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
Once Joe Mixon exited mid-third quarter with an ankle sprain, Giovani Bernard handled every single touch among Cincinnati’s backfield to close the game. Bernard lacks long-term value since Mixon is considered “day to day”, but he should arguably be prioritized over Brown if desperate for a one-week fill-in immediately. Bernard’s ceiling in any titls sans Mixon is that of a workhorse RB1.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

3. Chris Thompson, Redskins – Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Adrian Peterson was infamously inactive Sunday, which propelled Thompson to a 64 percent snap rate and 10-touch outing once Derrius Guice (MCL) was unable to return. Peterson will play while Guice is sidelined, but it’s Thompson who still holds the cards given Washington’s questionable pass-pro with Donald Penn and Ereck Flowers standing guard on the left side of the line. Reminder Thompson’s only one-season removed from averaging 15.9 fantasy points per game over a monstrous 10-game stretch before breaking his fibula.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

4. Ronald Jones, Buccaneers – Rostered in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite finishing third among Tampa Bay’s backfield hierarchy in snaps (22), Jones absolutely looked the part in averaging 5.7 yards per carry and pin-balling between tackles. FAAB still need be contained as coach Bruce Arians blatantly stated the second-year pro would mix in when Peyton Barber gets tired ahead of him. Jones achieving his ceiling still seems like a long-term outlook, which does have value dependent on your roster structure.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. Raheem Mostert, 49ers – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Once Tevin Coleman (ankle) exited in the first half, Matt Breida out-touched Raheem Mostert 10-6 down the stretch as the team’s lead back. Assuming Jeff Wilson doesn’t get called-up from San Francisco’s practice squad, Mostert still makes for a legitimate RB3/FLEX in Coleman’s shoes as the only available runner behind Breida. If the former action weren’t a possibility, Mostert would arguably sit as the No. 3 option on this list.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues and RB-desperate teams

6. Dare Ogunbowale, Buccaneers – Rostered in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
While Barber and Jones continue jockeying for carries ahead of him, Ogunbowale stumbled upon the golden ticket in earning Tampa’s coveted pass-catching role. The latter’s backfield-high 38.6 percent snap rate and 18 routes from Sunday have an outside chance of making him the most valuable option among this group sooner rather than later if he’s awarded any amount of carries in the near future.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Adrian Peterson, Redskins – Rostered in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
Even if Peterson leads the Redskins in carries every week from this point forward, Thompson has more value as the Skins’ only receiving option out of the backfield. Bidding low (if at all) on the future Hall of Famer is a bet against weekly negative game scripts for Washington moving forward.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. Carlos Hyde, Texans — Rostered in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hyde played 23 snaps behind Duke Johnson (41) last night, averaging 8.3 yards per carry on his 10 totes. A zilch in the passing game, it’s much safer to work under the assumption last week’s final cuts-candidate get phased out as Houston’s swiss-cheese defense continues to leak yardage, forcing the offense to stay a one-dimensional passing unit weekly.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

Watch List: James Conner merely logged 46 percent of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps to Jaylen Samuels’ 33 percent in Sunday’s blowout loss. The latter’s probably sitting on one of your league mate’s benches, but it’s worth noting his involvement wasn’t just for game script purposes. Two of Samuels’ three touches on the evening occurred in the first quarter…Dion Lewis played 24 snaps behind Henry’s backfield-high 36 in a game that favored the latter’s stylistic usage…As if there were any doubts, third-round rookie Alexander Mattison got nine carries as Minnesota’s clear-cut No. 2 behind Dalvin Cook (21/111/2) Sunday…Tony Pollard remains the league’s premiere handcuff, but only three of his 13 touches in Week 1 came in the first three quarters of regulation…Dontrell Hilliard notched two touches and a short-yardage score on just 12 snaps in the Duke Johnson-role before leaving with a concussion. There’s more than enough time for him to pass the league’s protocol considering the Browns don’t take the field until Monday, but D’Ernest Johnson would be in play in single-game DFS slates if Hilliard’s ruled out…Ito Smith mirrored Devonta Freeman in snaps (39) but didn’t actually log his first touch until mid-way through the second quarter with the Falcons already trailing 21-0. Don’t be tricked into a timeshare.

Deep Leagues: Darren Sproles out-snapped Jordan Howard 22-17 all the while tying Miles Sanders with 12 touches each. Given the newcomers combined -1 yards rushing in short-yardage down-and-distances, it will be interesting to monitor whether Howard’s used more in Week 2…As the only other back who touched the ball behind Leonard Fournette, it’s crystal clear Ryquell Armstead’s the direct handcuff to own in Jacksonville…Rex Burkhead buoyed New England’s strong start into eight carries and eight targets as the team’s second-half go-home runner. That type of backfield share won’t continue in competitive game scripts, but the Dolphins (+19) are all but at home against the Patriots this upcoming week. If already dependent on end-of-roster sleepers (Justice Hill, Darwin Thompson, Darrell Henderson, etc.), Burkhead makes for an extremely intriguing start who could again lead this group in production on Sunday.

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Marquise Brown, Ravens – Rostered in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
The time to buy-in below market value was last week, but Brown is never the less worth blowing your FAAB on after securing 4/147/2 on just 14 offensive snaps. Baltimore’s upcoming schedule (Cardinals, at Arrowhead, against the Browns, in Pittsburgh, Bengals, inside CenturyLink Field) is all the more reason to prioritize the rookie as the Ravens’ odds for voluminous shootouts over the next two months remains probable in each and every game.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Terry McLaurin, Redskins – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Even if Washington’s offense morphs into a sinking ship, McLaurin is certain to float and provide value against the eighth-softest schedule of secondaries over the rest of the year. The rookie’s box score (5/125/1) doesn’t come close to reflecting his actual impact on 93 percent of the team’s snaps as Case Keenum unsurprisingly missed him on a wide-open 73-yard score downfield, too. Brown only ranks higher due to the offenses both are married to.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues
 

3. John Ross, Bengals – Rostered in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
It wasn’t without its fair share of whiffs and boneheaded plays, but Ross’ (7/158/2) first-round pedigree was on full display and shockingly schemed open by Sean McVay disciple Zac Taylor. With Tyler Boyd demanding defensive attention, Ross should continue to be eyed often as the team’s only over-the-top threat.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Mecole Hardman, Chiefs – Rostered in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
Ignore the rookie’s lone target behind the line of scrimmage. Hardman quietly played 53-of-59 snaps against the Jaguars once Tyreek Hill (collarbone) went down for the count. Hardman’s (4.33 40-time) interchangeable with Ross on waiver rankings by simply being an every-down Hill clone tied to an All-World gunslinger.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

5. Geronimo Allison, Packers – Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
Allison’s 50 percent snap rate wasn’t ideal, but coach Matt LaFleur even confessed to game-planning heavy 12 personnel (two tight ends) to combat the Midway Monsters. Green Bay’s predominant slot wideout should be on the field more moving forward.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

6. Deebo Samuel, 49ers – Rostered in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
The uncertainty surrounding San Francisco’s receiving room led to Samuel leading all with 59 offensive snaps against the Bucs. Pettis’ foreseeable involvement moving forward is expected to suck out from inconsistent veteran Marquise Goodwin (1/7) rather than the No. 36 overall pick who secured 3/17 and a successful two-point conversion in his regular season debut.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. A.J. Brown, Titans – Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brown was a monster among men in his debut, silencing Corey Davis’ massive 25.6 percent target share from last year and breaking two tackles on his three catches en route to eclipsing the century mark in Week 1. He’s only downgraded in being tied to either Marcus Mariota or Ryan Tannehill rest of season.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. KeeSean Johnson, Cardinals – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Educated guess is Michael Crabtree’s reported availability Sunday takes Damiere Byrd off the field rather than Johnson, who shined throughout offseason activities and camp. There’s room for all to eat considering coach Kliff Kingsbury utilized four-wide sets on 73 percent of offensive play calls, per NFL.com’s Graham Barfield.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

9. DeVante Parker, Dolphins – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
Parker was the one constant among Miami’s wideouts once Albert Wilson (calf) went down, seeing a team-high seven targets from Ryan Fitzpatrick all the while doubling up Preston Williams in air yards (163-73) as the Fins’ untouched downfield threat. His floor remains nightmarishly low until he proves to be consistent weekly.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: D.J. Chark and Chris Conley would have been higher on this list if it weren’t for Nick Foles (broken collarbone) being sidelined for an extended period. Minshew notably targeted Conley the second-most (5) behind Dede Westbrook (6) off the bench…Rashard Higgins exited early with an ankle injury and didn’t return Sunday. Even so, he didn’t start in two-wide sets — a far-fetched but plausible possibility — ahead of slot wideout Jarvis Landry. There’s no need to fret about the former Biletnikoff Award finalist just yet…Kenny Stills will be remembered in the ensuing days for his go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of regulation against the Saints, but his on-field usage once Keke Coutee’s (ankle) cleared remains a question mark…A slow start was probable for Anthony Miller given his absence from Chicago’s offseason program and training camp stemming from a lingering ankle injury. Mitchell Trubisky’s disastrous inaccuracy will hold him back well before any limited snap counts as the season progresses…As expected, James Washington (30) finished behind Ryan Switzer in total routes run (30). Washington’s 169 air yards, second only to DeAndre Hopkins’ 216 in Week 1, are still reason to buy in despite his place as No. 4 on the pecking order…Deon Cain led all Colts wideouts in Pro Football Focus’ predictive Yards Per Route Run (5.0) metric in Week 1. Expect a heaping pile of snaps over rookie Parris Campbell as the team’s No. 2 in place of Devin Funchess (broken collarbone, IR) next week…Danny Amendola’s (7/104/1) 13 targets are eye-popping, but the Lions as a whole experienced a (expected) hike in play volume in an overtime loss to the Cardinals. Detroit’s 5’11/188 slot wideout is the name to fade among their receiving corps as the offense returns to Earth.

Deep Leagues: Taylor Gabriel was in on an absurd 92 percent of Chicago’s snaps in Week 1 given Miller’s (ankle) limitations. He’ll be directly impacted by Allen Robinson kicking to the outside more once Miller is cleared for his normal allotment of slot snaps in the coming weeks…Allen Hurns morphed into Miami’s primary slot wideout on 77.8 percent of his routes without Albert Wilson (calf) available for a majority of play. With the Fins in full-on ‘TTP’ mode, it wouldn’t be shocking to see standout UDFA Preston Williams (3/24/1) get the call if Wilson’s out for an extended period…Cole Beasley was slung nine shallow targets in his typical unappealing floor-role. Robert Foster remained the league’s best bench-ridden receiver behind Zay Jones’ 15 routes against the Jets… Trey Quinn started in the slot (and hit pay dirt) for Washington but it was Paul Richardson who got seven looks as the outside option across from McLaurin in three-wide sets…Michael Crabtree was scratched Sunday but is expected to be active against the Ravens. He won’t interfere with Larry Fitzgerald’s and Christian Kirk’s 88-plus percent involvement from the slot…Ryan Grant played well ahead of fifth-round rookie Hunter Renfrow sans Antonio Brown, but the ex-Colts castoff was still an afterthought behind Tyrell Williams and Darren WallerPhillip Dorsett’s 4/95/2 on Sunday night was certainly impressive, but he’s obviously the odd-man out once AB takes to the field.

TIGHT ENDS

1. Chris Herndon, Jets – Rostered in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues
The fact coach Adam Gase had the testicular fortitude to play late-July add Ryan Griffin on 68-of-72 (94%) offensive snaps only reaffirms the fact that Chris Herndon need be owned prior to returning from suspension in Week 6. The second-year tight end will undoubtedly step into an every-down role immediately out the gates.

2. Darren Waller, Raiders – Rostered in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
The time to grab Waller was last week once the Raiders transparently entrusted him with a full-time role by releasing veteran Luke Willson, but if he’s still floating around on waiver wires, he’s obviously worth the add. The soon-to-be 27-year-old played 100 percent of Oakland’s offensive snaps Monday night, hauling in 7-of-8 targets for 70 yards on a whopping 30.7 percent target share from Derek Carr. He’s arguably a top-12 option at his position the rest of the way and should be prioritized as your top waiver claim among all skill players if needing a starting-caliber tight end as early as Week 2.

3. Jason Witten, Cowboys – Rostered in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite offseason reports of his “25-snap” involvement this year, Witten (3/15/1) logged 41-of-52 snaps in OC Kellen Moore’s new-look offense in Week 1. Expect that type of on-field usage to continue, with Blake Jarwin (3/39/1) merely sprinkling in behind the veteran as a part-time seam stretcher.

Looking Ahead: The box score fails to reflect that Cam Brate (2/8) had not one, but two touchdowns negated for offensive penalties in the Bucs’ nightmarish showing against the Niners. Just another reminder that the veteran has ample TE1 upside in the event O.J. Howard goes down…C.J. Uzomah (36 snaps) and Tyler Eifert (23) essentially split reps in Cincinnati’s passing game, eating into each other’s target share from the position. There’s no guarantee Andy Dalton attempts 51 passes again all year…Mike Gesicki (2/31) quietly ran the second-most routes for the Dolphins, lining up from the slot on 20-of-33 snaps. That’s the exact type of usage you want to see from him, especially given the vast number of negative game scripts Miami will face moving forward… Vernon Davis (4/59/1) was in on 52-of-64 snaps without Jordan Reed (concussion) Sunday, but that’s bound to change once the latter returns.

Deep Leagues: It’s worth taking a flier on Rob Gronkowski in extremely deep leagues since Antonio Brown’s arrival presumably entices the first-ballot Hall of Famer to return in late-November. That’s the rumor, anyways…Unavailable for Week 1, former Patriots TE Jacob Hollister would likely get the call if Will Dissly (knee) is sidelined…Irv Smith unsurprisingly goose-egged on Kirk Cousins’ 10 (!!!) pass attempts. He’s obviously a dynasty hold.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Carolina Panthers – Rostered in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Niners somehow finished ’18 with only two interceptions at season’s end but were able to match that total in one game against Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay’s aerial assault (or lack thereof). The Panthers are in a similar position this week, being gifted Bruce Arians and Co. in a short turnaround at home. Early lines suggest the Bucs (+6.5) playing catch-up through the air in what’s being forecasted with one of the week’s highest totals (50).

2. New York Jets – Rostered in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Even in allowing 17 points at home, New York’s trenches stirred up chaos in collecting nine quarterback hits and a forced fumble against the divisional foe Bills in Week 1. This is purely a bet against Cleveland’s pass-pro, which outright failed against the Titans in allowing the second-highest sack percentage (41.7%) of opening week and now has to travel to MetLife Stadium.

Looking Ahead: It takes a leap of faith, but the Bengals’ defense (which somehow held their own in CenturyLink Field) plays a shaky Niners offense in Week 2 only to turn around and catch Josh Allen the following game. They’re viable for the next two weeks if keeping your options open in that span for positional skill darts.

KICKERS
1. Zane Gonzalez, Cardinals – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Gonzalez finished 4-for-4 with an extra point in Arizona’s first offensive showing of the season, successfully nailing from 20-, 28-, 34-, and 42-yards out. Rostering Gonzalez ahead of the Cardinals’ Week 2 showdown against the Ravens ensures a placekicker involved in a high-scoring affair.

2. Joey Slye, Panthers – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Hokies’ all-time leading scorer was only handed the starting gig once Graham Gano was placed on injured reserve, but Slye did notably sink 2-of-3 attempts including a 52-yard shot against the Rams in Week 1. Strong-legged, Slye’s job on an above-average offense is safe moving forward.



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