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Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 1

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 1

What is up, everyone! Andrew Erickson of Gridiron Experts here. This season my job will be to help you scour the waiver wire to help lead your team to fantasy glory. From diamonds in the rough or finding a bye week replacement, I will serve as your waiver wire guide all season.

I am sure by now you have drafted your team and are highly anticipating the start of the season. However, if you drafted awhile back chances are some things have changed for your team. Injuries and suspensions have plagued fantasy teams so far, but do not fret! I am here to provide you with some assistance!

Whether you are looking for a player to stash for the 2017 season or a player that you need to plug-in-play, here are your waiver wire targets for Week 1.

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford

Quarterback|MIN

  • ESPN: Less than 10% owned
  • MFL: Less than 70% owned

If you are an owner looking for a quarterback to fill in for Andrew Luck or are worried about Tyrod Taylor’s availability, Bradford is your best bet. Coming off a career year, Bradford finally got an entire offseason with the Vikings offense. In Week 1, Bradford will take on the New Orleans Saints defense at home. A defense that allowed the ninth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2016. They also allowed the fourth highest quarterback rating to opposing quarterbacks while playing on the road. Bradford is also appealing because he plays on Monday night, so you can wait till the last minute to see if your starting quarterback will play or not.

Brian Hoyer

Quarterback|SF

  • ESPN: Less than 4% owned
  • MFL: Less than 50% owned

Hoyer in five games last year was a top twelve quarterback three times. That is the same amount of times Philip Rivers was a top twelve quarterback…all season. Hoyer is an underrated fantasy asset and in the Kyle Shanahan offense could really thrive. In Week 1, Hoyer will take on the Carolina Panthers at home. Shanahan is very familiar with Carolina and has had success calling plays against the Panthers in the past so expect him to use that to his advantage. The betting line in this game is at 48, so there is a good chance it is high scoring.

 

Running Backs

Matt Breida

Running Back|SF

  • ESPN: Less than 1% owned
  • MFL: Less than 16% owned

With Joe Williams being sent to injured reserve Breida has now taken over the number two running back spot in San Francisco. Breida an undrafted rookie free agent out of Georgia Southern, impressed enough throughout training camp to beat out both Williams and Tim Hightower. According to general manager John Lynch, he is a big option in their plans going forward. “Carlos is going to be featured in this deal but Matt Breida is very much part of our plan,” Lynch said. “He’s a guy who from Day 1 showed up here and you didn’t have to be a football savant to see the guy can move, and move fast. He’s a smart football player. And he has the intangibles.” With Hyde having a history of injuries, Breida is a guy that you want to stash on your team if you can. However, Shanahan has a history of rotating running backs so Breida could provide some stand-alone value while Hyde is still in the picture.

Chris Carson

Running Back|SEA

  • ESPN: Less than 5% owned
  • MFL: Less than 30% owned

Chris Carson has turned the heads of the Seattle coaches in hopes of making the final 53 man-roster. As a seventh-round pick, obviously, nothing is guaranteed. But what is known is that Carson played very well during the preseason. Averaging 4.3 yards per carry on 24 attempts he has gotten on the radar of many fantasy owners. With Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise already dealing with injuries, Carson could be quick to take over the third down role as he has shown effectiveness in the passing game. Eddie Lacy will be the starter opening day, but Pete Carroll has made it quite clear that it is about as set in stone has Lacy’s weight on the scale.

Mike Tolbert

Running Back|BUF

  • ESPN: Less than .1% owned
  • MFL: Less than 2% owned

We all had Johnathan Williams slotted in to take on that number two role in Buffalo after the departure of Mike Gillislee. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Williams has been released, and Mike Tolbert seems to be in place for the backup role. Now, it is hard to get excited about a handcuff, but the number two back on the Bills is not just a handcuff. They have stand-alone value. In 2015, Karlos Williams finished as the 31st overall running back and in 2016, Gillislee finished as the 27th overall running back. It appears that Tolbert will be filling that role so he will have value in most fantasy formats. Especially because he will most likely be used near the goal line.

 

Wide Receivers

Danny Amendola

Wide Receiver|NE

  • ESPN: Less than 60% owned
  • MFL: Less than 38% owned

Julian Edelman is gone and the only receiver left on the Patriots that can fill his position right away is Danny Amendola. Now I do not think that Amendola is a season long play at the wide receiver position for your fantasy team because of his injuries. However, he is healthy now and you should take advantage of it. Amendola will get targeted often because Tom Brady trusts him. Think back to Super Bowl 51. On a key fourth down, Brady went right to Amendola to convert. Then again, on the two-point conversion play to tie the game, Brady went right back to Amendola. Amendola right now has the most fantasy value so grab him in your PPR leagues and reap the rewards.

Trent Taylor

Wide Receiver|SF

  • ESPN: Less than .1% owned
  • MFL: Less than 5% owned

I swear I am not a San Francisco 49ers fan, but of course here is another 49er to the list. Taylor according to John Lynch will be the starting slot receiver for the 49ers. Compared to Wes Welker by the coaching staff, Taylor impressed so much that 49ers released Jeremy Kerley. A player that is not afraid to go over the middle of the field, Taylor could be a great weapon in the short passing game for Hoyer. Playing on an offense with Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin on the outside, Taylor has a solidified role.

Cooper Kupp

Wide Receiver|LAR

  • ESPN: Less than 16% owned
  • MFL: Less than 61% owned

Cooper Kupp looks to have built great chemistry with Jared Goff throughout the preseason and training camp. As a player playing out of the slot, I can just imagine all the dump offs from Goff that he will end up catching. With defenses more concerned with Sammy Watkins and Todd Gurley, Kupp could sneakily catch five or six passes a game, giving him great PPR value. Listed as a starter on the Rams official depth chart the situation seems favorable for Kupp in Los Angeles.

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald

Tight End|PIT

  • ESPN: Less than 2% owned
  • MFL: Less than 32% owned
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Vance McDonald was recently traded from the 49ers to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have Jesse James as the starting tight end, but I am not so sure they feel great about him. Mike Tomlin basically stated that the current tight end situation was not “varsity” enough. Basically, Tomlin was calling James “JV material”. McDonald is a very explosive tight end that can make plays down the field. I believe that he will end up taking the job over James and become a very fantasy relevant tight end in the high-powered Steelers offense. He also will play Cleveland Week 1, the same defense that allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends in 2016.

Coby Fleener

Tight End|NO

  • ESPN: Less than 25% owned
  • MFL: Less than 80% owned

Coby Fleener burned a lot of fantasy owners last year. But it is time to forgive and forget because he has a real opportunity to make an impact in the Saints offense. With Brandin Cooks gone and Willie Snead out for the first three games, there are targets that could be shifted over to Fleener in the passing game. With favorable matchups and game scripts against Minnesota, New England, and Carolina, Fleener could see some sneaky production over the first three weeks.

Charles Clay

Tight End|BUF

  • ESPN: Less than 3% owned
  • MFL: Less than 57% owned

Who led the Buffalo Bills in targets and red zone targets a season ago? You guessed it: Charles Clay. Regardless of who plays quarterback for Buffalo this season, look for Clay to have a steady amount of targets on a weekly basis. With some much change at the wide receiver position, Clay has remained one of the few passing options from a season ago. Clay played in 82% of the offensive snaps last year, and nothing about the offense shows that will change. Clay has a real opportunity to receive volume in the Buffalo offense, which is why I think he is a great waiver wire pickup. He also has favorable tight end matchups against the Jets and Panthers over the first two weeks.

Defense/Special Teams

Pittsburgh Steelers

Defense/Special Teams

  • ESPN: Less than 52% owned
  • MFL: Less than 64% owned
The Steelers defense needs to be owned in every single league. They have one of the juiciest schedules. Over the first five weeks, they will play the Browns, Vikings, Bears, Ravens, and Jaguars. That is more than an ideal situation for a starting defense.

Los Angeles Rams

Defense/Special Teams

  • ESPN: Less than 30% owned
  • MFL: Less than 48% owned

Scott Tolzien will get the start for Andrew Luck Week 1 on the road at Los Angeles. This is a very attractive matchup for the Rams D/ST.

Kickers

Younghoe Koo

Kicker|LAC

  • ESPN: Less than 3% owned
  • MFL: Less than 2% owned

Honestly, this guy would not even have been on this list if it were not for the video I saw of him kicking a field goal and then doing a back-flip. When I saw his name, I knew this guy had to make the list. Koo beat out starter Josh Lambo for kicking duties in Los Angeles. Lambo was not a great kicker, but it is still impressive that an undrafted rookie free agent could show enough to beat him out. Grab Koo before the video goes even more viral. By then he will have already been scooped up. But seriously a kicker in a productive offense like the Chargers is someone you want to target.

– Andrew Erickson is a fantasy writer for Gridiron Experts. Like and follow on

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About the author

Andrew Erickson

Andrew is a Roger Williams University graduate where he majored in Marketing. While there he interned at a sports marketing agency where he had the opportunity to work with many professional athletes like Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

After college, Andrew started to write his own fantasy blogs via Wordpress.com to show his friends why he calls himself the Fantasy Football Master. He calls himself this because back in '07 in his first ever fantasy football league he drafted the Bears defense in the 1st round. He then proceeded to win the entire league. #DefenseWinsChampionships

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