Waiver Wire Pickups Week 2
One of the golden rules in fantasy football is to not overreact to Week 1. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking for ways to make our teams better this early in this season. For the first time since draft season, we got to analyze the landscape of the NFL this season, including how teams are using their players. Of course, we had some surprises and everyone wants to get in on the action, but the real goal should be finding players on the waiver wire who could be able to give you consistent production throughout the season.
Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers (16% ESPN, 31% Yahoo)
Love did his best Aaron Rodgers impression in Week 1. He beat up on the Bears, threw for three touchdowns, and finished as the QB3 through Sunday in a very weird Week 1 for quarterbacks. While he still has a long way to go to be considered an every-week starter, there is absolutely a path for him to get there this season. His weapons are only going to get better with the eventual return of Christian Watson, the preseason favorite to be the WR1 in Green Bay, while his connection with Romeo Doubs will only get stronger. I’m not going to overreact to poor performances from some of the top players at the position after this week, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add Jordan Love to the bench while you still can.
Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons (44% ESPN, 56% Yahoo)
This one was a huge surprise to me. I mean, I expected Allgeier to get some goal-line touches, but I wasn’t expecting 15 carries, 75 yards and two touchdowns from a player who was sharing the backfield with No. 8-overall pick Bijan Robinson. However, this is the Arthur Smith-led Atlanta Falcons and we all saw how unpredictable he can be when it comes to the usage of certain players (Yes, I’m talking about Kyle Pitts). With this in mind, I’m absolutely going to put in a waiver claim for Tyler Allgeier, but I’m going to be a little tentative in putting him in the starting lineup until I see this kind of usage on a consistent basis.
Josh Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers (11% ESPN, 4% Yahoo)
Passing downs were non-existent, but there is a clear role for Joshua Kelley in the Los Angeles Chargers offense. He logged 16 carries, the same amount as Austin Ekeler, and rushed for an impressive 5.7 yards per attempt. Similar to Allgeier, Kelley proved to be more than just a handcuff. It’s telling that his usage is this high, this early. He’s worth a dart throw as I wouldn’t be surprised if his usage only increases while playing behind often-injured Austin Ekeler.
Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams (10% ESPN, 5% Yahoo)
Presumed backup running back Kyren Williams logged 15 carries for 52 yards and two touchdowns in the same game that presumed starting running back Cam Akers rushed 22 times for 29 yards and a touchdown. Who knew this backfield tandem would combine for 37 carries, 81 yards, and three touchdowns? If the Rams do, in fact, plan on being good this year, then I’ll be pretty excited about the rushing attack. Again, like Tyler Allgeier and Joshua Kelley, I’m taking the wait-and-see approach with this backfield, but things could get interesting if Cooper Kupp remains out past Week 5 and the Rams continue to lean on the run game.
Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams (3% ESPN, 6% Yahoo)
Nacua will undoubtedly be the most popular waiver wire pickup this week, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be. The fifth-round pick out of BYU saw an opportunity in the Rams’ passing attack and took it. While myself, and many others, looked at Van Jefferson and Tyler Higbee to see a significant increase in targets with the absence of Cooper Kupp, it was Puka Nacua who stepped up with 10 catches for 119 receiving yards. Only Tyreek Hill saw as many targets as Nacua’s 15 on Sunday and I don’t see any indication that this usage can’t continue into next week. With a tough matchup against San Francisco waiting in Week 2, I don’t think the Rams will be able to fit a league-leading 40 rushing attempts into their game plan against a team that just held Pittsburgh to a league-low 10 carries for 41 yards. Puka Nacua is a must-add and should get FLEX consideration next week in deeper leagues.
Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs (9% ESPN, 36% Yahoo)
We are now going on year two of trying to find the WR1 for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore didn’t do themselves any favors in Week 1, and Marquez-Valdes Scantling and Justin Watson are streaky, but there might be something to the team-high five targets that Rashee Rice saw on Thursday night. This waiver-wire add might just be for deeper leagues, but it’s never a bad idea to try to get in on one of Mahomes’ top weapons before they truly break out. Rice is a talented rookie receiver in an offense that looks lost without Travis Kelce. Even when Kelce returns, Rice can be an exciting fantasy player moving forward. I’m definitely going to try and add the potential WR1 for the Kansas City Chiefs while he is still a free agent in most fantasy leagues.
Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints (2% ESPN, 16% Yahoo)
I have last season’s Curtis Samuel in mind when talking about Rashid Shaheed. Versatility and big plays are a fantasy manager’s best friend, and I think Shaheed can provide exactly that this season. He scored the only touchdown for the Saints with a 19-yard reception, he caught five of his six targets for 89 yards and he carried the ball twice for 11 yards. They clearly want the ball in his hands and he could be in line for more touches as the season goes along. Let’s face it, the New Orleans Saints receiving core, namely Michael Thomas, hasn’t been very immune to the injury bug in years past. It’s safe to assume that there will be extra target opportunities for Shaheed which could turn him into an eventual weekly consideration for your FLEX spot in deeper leagues. Right now, I’m looking to add Shaheed as a solid bench stash with low risk and high reward.
Romeo Doubs (19% ESPN, 31% Yahoo)
As I mentioned earlier, Jordan Love and the Green Bay passing attack excites me. I want a piece of this offense before it’s too late and right now, Doubs is your best bet to do just that through the waiver wire. Touchdowns are frugal and I try to stay away from players who are strictly productive from their trips to the endzone alone, but I see more than that with Doubs. In addition to his two touchdowns, he saw a team-high five targets and hauled in a team-high four receptions. The eventual return of Christian Watson will eat into Doubs’ target share, but I’m not letting that shy me away from adding one of the prominent pieces of a highly productive offense while I still can. Go add Romeo Doubs and have no regrets about it.
Hunter Henry (4% ESPN, 16% Yahoo)
In a week where Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews missed with injuries, the obvious third-best player at the position stepped up and staked his claim as the TE1 through Sunday; Hunter Henry. All jokes aside, this is going be a really messy season for tight ends and those who chose to stream the position could benefit greatly. Henry made the most of his six targets with five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. While I’m not super excited about Henry as a weekly starter, he should be a viable streaming option available on the waiver wire if you’re going down that path.
Hayden Hurst (5% ESPN, 11% Yahoo)
Similar to Henry, Hayden Hurst isn’t the most exciting player to add this week but he can serve a purpose on a fantasy roster that streams the tight end position. The Carolina Panthers are going to be losing a lot of games this year which should mean more passing volume. Considering that Hurst just led the Panthers in targets with seven in Week 1, including a touchdown, there is a path to weekly starting consideration for the 30-year-old pass catcher if he continues to serve as the safety blanket for rookie quarterback Bryce Young.
Will Holtz is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism. He has been playing fantasy football for 15 years and hopes to help fantasy managers become fantasy champions. When he is not writing about fantasy football, he writes about the NBA and spends time with his family and girlfriend.