By Pat Pitts
“You cannot win your league in the first round, but you can for sure lose it.”
The second element to fantasy football separates who is and who is not serious about winning some extra cash. For first-time fantasy players, here’s a simple definition: The waiver wire is the free agency pool of players who are not on a team. Each week, fantasy managers must keep a close eye on the waiver wire in case of an injury or much-needed position upgrade. Those who control the wire hoists the trophy at the season’s end.
Week 1 ended with a lot of top scorers available in a majority of fantasy leagues. However, the injuries to Jerry Jeudy and Ryan Fitzpatrick leave some teams with an empty spot on the lineup. Have no fear, Pitts is here! Let’s begin.
Jameis Winston (Rostered in 44% of Yahoo leagues and 26.2% of ESPN leagues)
Winston worked efficiently on Sunday afternoon, throwing for 148 yards, five touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. He consistently found open receivers and even moved the ball with his legs, gaining 37 yards on the ground. The Saints are 8-1 without Drew Brees over the past three seasons and if Winston can continue to play with the poise and precision he did on Sunday, Winston belongs on fantasy rosters before Week 2.
Jared Goff (Rostered in 7% of Yahoo leagues and 5.6% of ESPN leagues)
No one believed me… No one thought Jared Goff would play well in Detroit.
The Lions may have lost their season opener, but Goff was far from the problem. He finished the game with 338 passing yards, three touchdowns, two 2-point conversions, and an interception. He also added 14 yards on the ground. Goff is a serviceable QB2 in 2QB or SuperFlex leagues and he could fill a bench spot in case of a bad matchup.
Tyrod Taylor (Rostered in 4% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues)
Tyrod Taylor shocked the football world when the Texans upset the Jaguars. Taylor shined against the new-look Jags, throwing for 291 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He made plays with his feet, scrambling for an extra 40 yards on the ground. Taylor is more of a two QB add this week as he takes on his former team, the Cleveland Browns, who squandered a lead against Kansas City in Week 1.
Eli Mitchell (Rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues and <1% of ESPN leagues)
Raheem Mostert left Sunday’s game against the Lions with a knee injury that will cost him 8 weeks of his season, according to reports.
Eli Mitchell stepped into the leading role, rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Trey Sermon being benched this week, but until then Mitchell is the running back to have on your roster, and is a must add this week.
Mark Ingram (Rostered in 21% of Yahoo leagues and 11% of ESPN leagues)
Tyrod Taylor was not the only Texan to shock the fantasy world as Mark Ingram rose to the occasion rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown on 26 (!!!) carries. Ingram is a deep league roster stash, but if any team is dealing with injuries he should be a must-claim as a low-end RB2/FLEX.
Kenneth Gainwell (Rostered in 9% of Yahoo leagues and 3.4% of ESPN leagues)
Gainwell carried the ball nine times for 37 yards and found the end zone in the Eagles big win over the Falcons. Gainwell was the clear-cut RB2 for the Eagles and kept Boston Scott off the field all afternoon. Miles Sanders remains the obvious RB1, but Gainwell is showing that he is going to be involved in this offense and could wind up being an elite handcuff for Sanders.
Christian Kirk (Rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues and 3.6% of ESPN leagues)
Christian Kirk stepped on the field as the WR3 in his offense; however, that might change after his stellar performance on Sunday.
Kirk caught five passes for 70 yards and two trips to the end zone. The Cardinals offense is going to be explosive, and while Kirk has proven to be a huge boom or bust player in his career, he should still be on rosters heading into Week 2 against a shaky Minnesota secondary.
Zach Pascal (Rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues and 2.4% of ESPN leagues)
The Colts offense entered the season with a lot of question marks looming over their locker room. On Sunday, Zach Pascal answered one of those questions.
Pascal shined on Sunday, catching four of his five targets for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns. Pascal provides safety as a FLEX option, but has a ceiling of WR2 and should be on a roster going into Week 2.
Nelson Agholor (Rostered in 33% of Yahoo leagues and 30% of ESPN leagues)
Death, taxes, and Nelson Agholor landing on my waiver wire blog. I wrote about him nearly every week last season and he makes a list again, but this time as a New England Patriot.
Agholor played well in his Patriots debut, catching five of his seven targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. Agholor acts as a significant and reliable deep threat for Mac Jones. His performance was not a fluke… Agholor is a WR2 in New England and on fantasy rosters.
Juwan Johnson (Rostered in 11% of Yahoo leagues and 1.3% of ESPN leagues)
The WR turned TE finished his first game with three catches for 21 yards and two touchdowns. His size in the red zone proved to be lethal and could be a weapon for Winston for the foreseeable future. Johnson demonstrated he would be helpful in the Saints’ offense, making him deserving of at least a bench spot as a speculative add.
Gerald Everett (Rostered in 66% of Yahoo leagues and 10.5% of ESPN leagues)
Everett played well in his Seahawks debut, catching both his targets for 20 yards and snagging a touchdown on the afternoon. Everett sits as a solid backup TE option who could launch into a TE1 role depending on his relationship with Russ and how they click in the red zone. I’m putting a waiver claim on him to show you how confident I am in Everett.
Dalton Schultz (Rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues and 1.2% of ESPN leagues)
Fantasy managers drafted Blake Jarwin in their drafts with hopes of him becoming a Top-10 TE. However, Dalton Schultz finished with more catches (6) and yards (45) than Jarwin (3/20) last Thursday night. Dak Prescott targeted Schultz the entire second half, while Jarwin did not see a single target. Schultz will be used in this offense, making him worth a speculative TE2 claim this week.
Fantasy football has returned, giving me a purpose in life again! Week 1 brought us a lot of memorable moments and exciting plays. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the players above develop into must-starts in lineups.