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Waiver Wizard 2019 Week 2
By Evan Tarracciano
Welcome back!Each year when I begin to write the Waiver Wizard and Crystal Ball columns for our website, I’m filled with a sense of hope and excitement. There are plenty of breakout candidates to discuss, including rookie performances that caught my eye that I wish to cover below. The good news? No football team is truly out of contention… yet (thought the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants face an uphill battle). Hope, as they say, springs eternal. It is human nature to attempt to find fresh cause for optimism. So, continuing on that optimistic theme, let’s work together towards bringing home another championship, and dive right into this week’s hot topics, waiver wire recommendations and latest news.
Rookies making an immediate impactPerhaps the most saturated topic in Fantasy Football (other than listing off and weeding through copious amounts of sleeper and bust candidates), rookies have the innate ability to captivate attention like no other. In this day and age where the newest and shiniest toys catch our eyes, rookie players entering the Fantasy Football landscape are often times over-hyped, coupled with unrealistic projections and expectations from pundits. This isn’t to suggest that the 2019 crop of talent can’t have its own immediate impact players, far from it. Though last year’s NFL Draft was widely considered defensive-heavy, plenty of players fell into favorable situations, and are already making an immediate impact.
T.J. Hockenson – Given that the tight end position comes with an exceptionally high learning curve with blocking assignments and route running, younger players traditionally fail to produce Fantasy relevant numbers until their second or third year in the league. Hockenson was hyped by many as one of the best tight end prospects in several years, and owners who took a gamble on him bucking the trend were instantly rewarded. Hockenson finished Week 1 with six receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown on nine targets, and appears to already be a favorite outlet for Matthew Stafford. He’s currently owned in just 30 percent of leagues, but appears to already be on the verge of a plug-and-play TE1 option.
Worth owning in all formats, and is worth of a 15-20 percent waiver wire bid, given the shallow nature of the position.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown – For those wondering why Kyler Murray enjoyed so much success last season at Oklahoma, look no further. Brown repeatedly torched secondaries and demonstrated elite elusiveness in the open field during his college days, and has already cemented himself as the deep threat and big play option in Baltimore for Lamar Jackson. His value declines in PPR formats given his boom-or-bust tendencies, and it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see numbers that mirror others with his skillset, ala DeSean Jackson or John Brown. Baltimore will remain a run-heavy team that relies upon its defense to win games, and it would be foolish to think that every secondary will be as pathetic as Miami’s.
Worth a pickup in 12-team or deeper leagues, especially those in standard formats. Worthy of a 5-10 percent waiver wire bid.
A.J. Brown – I’ll be the first to say that I was skeptical of Brown having any sort of value in the Tennessee Titans offense as long as Marcus Mariota remained at quarterback. Brown fell under the umbrella of rookies that I was willing to let other owners acquire during drafts, assuming that his upside was severely hindered by both the playcalling and ineptitude at signal caller. That aside, Brown did break the 100-yard receiving mark in his first game, and was the only player on the Titans capable of warding off the Cleveland secondary. Brown only caught three passes, and while I’m willing to keep an eye on him, this situation still scares me off enough that I’m not willing to go crazy over adding him.
Worth flagging as a "wait and see" option.Miles Sanders – Along with fellow running backs Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery, Sanders received plenty of praise and hype entering the year, and was drafted largely ahead of Jordan Howard as the main option in the Philadelphia Eagles backfield. Despite rushing attempts being spread between Darren Sproles, Howard and himself, Sanders led the team with 11 touches out of the backfield, and was also targeted sparingly in the passing game as well. His first game would have received much more publicity if the fantastic rushing touchdown that he had against the Washington Redskins defense would have stood, rather than being called back for a silly holding call. It is evident that the Eagles are very high on his services. His arrow is pointed strongly upwards, especially in dynasty or keeper formats.
Worth owning in all formats. Worthy of a 35-40 percent waiver wire bid, if he isn’t already owned.
Terry McLaurin – The Washington Redskins receiving core is one of the weakest offensive units in all of Fantasy, as outside of Paul Richardson, no player was owned in more than 10 percent of standard size formats. Another team going through a transitional season, the Redskins are hoping that rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins will be able to develop chemistry with someone in short order, and there is no stronger candidate than fellow Ohio State alum McLaurin. Finishing with five receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown on seven targets, McLaurin has already proven himself as the most dangerous outside threat on the team. Regardless if Case Keenum remains at quarterback or Haskins is eventually inserted, this is a player which screams relevance.
Worth owning in all 12-team or deeper formats. Worthy of a 10-15 percent waiver wire bid.
Players stepping into larger roles due to surrounding injuriesAdrian Peterson – With Derrius Guice suffering yet another lower body injury, Peterson immediately vaults back into Fantasy relevance. A healthy scratch for the first time in his illustrious career during Week 1, Peterson will be given back his old role of early-down work with an occasional passing target – enough to make him a FLEX worthy starter. Guice’s injury is currently being described as a meniscus problem, and early reports have this as a multiple-week absence. In the short term, Peterson is worth stashing, especially given that Guice can’t stay on the field and the Redskins will need to keep him heavily involved.
Worth owning in all formats as a temporary starter and upside handcuff. Worthy of a 10-15 percent waiver wire bid.
Cody Latimer – With Golden Tate still suspended until the fourth game of the season and Sterling Shepard currently going through the league’s concussion protocol after sustaining a hit while blocking for Saquon Barkley, Latimer is the last man standing. In a one-sided loss to the Dallas Cowboys during Week 1, Latimer led the Giants with 74 receiving yards and eight targets, and figures to see a significant increase in snaps moving forward. Projecting when players will or won’t return from the concussion protocol is a dart throw at best, so view Latimer’s value as week-to-week.
Worth owning in 12-team or deeper formats as a temporary FLEX option while Sterling Shepard recovers. Worthy of a 5 percent waiver wire bid.
Matt Breida/Raheem Mostert – The San Francisco 49ers crowded backfield became somewhat clearer after Tevin Coleman suffered a high-ankle sprain during Week 1, an injury that figures to sideline him between 2-6 weeks. During his absence, Breida will continue handling the bulk of the work with Mostert rotating in as a pass-catching option. Fantasy owners were fooled by Mostert in 2018 after seeing flashes, but as long as expectations are more realistic this time through the potential for letdown is limited.
Breida is already owned in near all formats, but Mostert is worth a pickup in 14-team or deeper formats as a temporary FLEX with added upside in PPR leagues. Worthy of a 5 percent waiver wire bid.
Deon Cain – Hyped by Adam Schefter during the offseason as potential breakout candidate, Cain’s stock value saw a significant rise following reports that Devin Funchess sustained a broken collarbone during Week 1, and is expected to miss significant time. Even with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback instead of Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts will continue to air out the ball. Given that this injury situation will last several months or more, the return on investment for owners adding Cain is significant.
Worth owning in 12-team or deeper formats as a stash player with upside. Worthy of a 5 percent waiver wire bid.
Gardner Minshew – Collarbone injuries are apparently all the rage these days. With their major offseason acquisition Nick Foles now shelved for at least half the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars will hand over the reigns to sixth round selection Minshew. Thrust into action he performed well enough, completing 22 of 25 attempts for two touchdowns and one interception. Minshew holds little value currently, but in certain league formats or situations he is interesting.
Worth adding in two-quarterback leagues or later in the season as a bye-week fill-in.Mecole Hardman – Tyreek Hill was rushed to the hospital to repair a sternoclavicular join injury (try saying that five times fast), so the Kansas City Chiefs will look to rely upon their 56th overall selection heavily for the short-term. Ironically enough, Hardman was drafted with the idea that Hill may miss time due to offseason issues that have been well documented, so one has to imagine that he was well prepared for this role. To put it bluntly, anyone on the Kansas City Chiefs offense is worth acquiring, given the gaudy numbers the team has the potential to generate.
Worth adding in 10-team or deeper formats as a FLEX option while Tyreek Hill is recovering. Worthy of a 10-15 percent waiver wire bid.
Best of luck to everyone in Week 2! Remember to trust in your instincts, and don’t let an early season stretch of tough luck or poor breaks lead to a knee-jerk trade or silly move! Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @Roto_Wizard for any assistance with lineup construction or feedback.