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Waiver Wired
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Waiver Wire: Week 1

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

*Update: With Le'Veon Bell not reporting on Wednesday, James Conner is now the No. 1 add across all positions. 

Welcome to the 1st edition of Waiver Wired for the 2018 season. Things are constantly changing in the world of fantasy football, and that means the buzz saw of a team you drafted in early August may now look like a team destined for the No. 1 overall pick. Thankfully, the waiver wire provides. Even before the first ball is kicked, there are options available at every position for streamers and stashers alike.

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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The Drop List
The drop list will return in full force following Week 1, but the reality is all of the players rostered enough to be called a drop were drafted for a reason. There are two basic rules, though. First, cut all players who will miss the season, which seems obvious. Second, unless your league is deep, a multi-quarterback format, or it is difficult to find quarterbacks on the wire, drop your second quarterback. The same goes for tight ends, defenses, and kickers in standard leagues. Those rosters spots are much better occupied by an upside running back or receiver, especially early in the season.

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Quarterbacks
1. Andy Dalton
2. Tyrod Taylor
3. Blake Bortles

Running Backs
Alfred Morris rostered in 73 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
Adrian Peterson rostered in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 3 add if available.

1. James Conner 
2. Matt Breida
3. LeGarrette Blount
4. Jordan Wilkins
5. James White
6. Mike Gillislee

Wide Receivers
1. Keelan Cole
2. John Brown
3. Mike Wallace
4. Michael Gallup
5. John Ross
6. Tyler Lockett
7. Allen Hurns
8. Phillip Dorsett
9. Cameron Meredith
10. Danny Amendola
11. Quincy Enunwa

Tight Ends
1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
2. Ricky Seals-Jones
3. Ben Watson

Defense/Special Teams
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Atlanta Falcons
3. Cincinnati Bengals
Looking Ahead: Cincinnati Bengals

Kickers
1. Daniel Carlson
2. Caleb Sturgis
3. Adam Vinatieri
Looking Ahead: Robbie Gould

QUARTERBACKS
1. Andy Dalton, Bengals – Rostered in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
With healthy weapons and a better offensive line, Dalton would have been a good bet to surprise Week 1 no matter who he faced, but getting one of the worst defenses in the league in the season opener helps. Perhaps they end up being better than the sum of their parts, but the Colts will likely be a defense to target all season.

2. Tyrod Taylor, Browns – Rostered in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Taylor is a streamer’s dream. Because the set-it-and-forget quarterback drafters were scared off by the specter of Baker Mayfield, late-round and waiver-wire quarterback adherents can add Taylor in almost every league. The matchup with the Steelers is not ideal, but he is at home and can always create points with his legs.

3. Blake Bortles, Jaguars – Rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jacksonville’s matchup against the Giants might look tough for those expecting to see the 2016 defense return this year, but the reality is New York’s defense lacks talent at several key areas, especially with Olivier Vernon hobbled by an ankle injury. This is a good spot for Bortles.

Watch List:
Case Keenum also deserves a long look this week, but the top three are simply better options…Nick Foles looked miles away from the Super Bowl MVP during the preseason, and the Falcons have an underrated defense…Perhaps Eli Manning will develop into a streamer simply based on his weapons, but the Jaguars are not the matchup to test that theory…Both Mitchell Trubisky and Sam Darnold are intriguing options who could develop into usable fantasy quarterbacks, but there is enough depth to wait and see…The Titans have some injury questions with their pass rushers, but they are still not a defense to target with Ryan TannehillSam Bradford has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his last three complete games. It is an interesting stat, but he is not working with the same kind of weapons in Arizona…Angry Joe Flacco will have a good shot to prove he is not terrible against the Bills.

~RUNNING BACKS
3. James Conner, Steelers – Rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues
He was originally No. 3 on this list, but with Le'Veon Bell not reporting on Wednesday and his agent suggesting he could sit out the first nine weeks, Conner has to be the top add. 
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues 

2. Matt Breida, 49ers – Rostered in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Jerick McKinnon officially on injured reserve, Alfred Morris is expected to take over a lead role which netted Carlos Hyde 240 carries and 88 targets a season ago, easily making him the No. 1 add in the 27 percent of Yahoo leagues he is available. It is important to not forget about Breida, however. Even with Hyde’s touch total last season, Breida managed 131 touches of his own and averaged 11 a game over the final five weeks, all starts by Jimmy Garoppolo. Limited in the passing game, Morris has never caught more than 17 passes in a season, so Breida’s role as a receiver should be even more pronounced moving forward. He should have been drafted in most leagues even before the McKinnon injury, but he has to be rostered now.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. LeGarrette Blount, Lions – Rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
It remains unclear why Blount continues to be overlooked by the fantasy community. Sure the backfield is crowded, but he worked as the clear lead during the preseason and is all but guaranteed the goal-line work regardless of what happens between the 20s. Blount is a better redraft asset than Kerryon Johnson.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Jordan Wilkins, Colts – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
After Marlon Mack missed Monday’s practice, Wilkins is likely to earn the start for the Colts this week. That alone makes him worth adding in most formats, but there are reasons for caution. First, it is likely both Nyheim Hines and Christine Michael are involved even if Wilkins gets the start. Second, the Colts struggled mightily to run the football in the preseason, and the Bengals have a solid defensive front. Even if he starts, it is more likely Wilkins has an underwhelming game than a top-24 outing.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. James White, Patriots – Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
No matter what happens on early downs, the one constant in New England’s backfield is James White, and his role will likely be even larger with the Patriots extremely thin at receiver to start the season. The receiving back has averaged over five targets per game over the last two seasons, and he saw eight of Tom Brady’s 44 attempts in the preseason. He is worth rostering even in standard formats, and he would be the No. 2 add in PPR leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Mike Gillislee, Saints – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
His ability to play meaningful snaps Week 1 is still in question, but Gillislee looks set for the role people expected Jonathan Williams to fill while Mark Ingram is suspended the first four games. That might not result in many carries behind Alvin Kamara, but he could vulture a touchdown or two in one of the best offenses in the league. Boston Scott likely would have been in this spot before Gillislee was added, but he is just a deep league stash at this point. 
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: With Jay Ajayi back at practice Monday, Corey Clement looks like he will start the season as a change-of-pace option. That makes him worth rostering for a team with an open bench spot. The same can be said for Austin Ekeler…Passing-down backs like Ty Montgomery, Giovani Bernard, Devontae Booker, and Theo Riddick need to be rostered in PPR formats, but it is tough to call them must-adds in standard leagues, especially since all four face uncertain workloads…Doug Martin continues to look washed, but it seems like the Raiders are going to give him a real shot. That at least makes him interesting…Frank Gore is going to get work, but he is more likely to be a thorn in Kenyan Drake’s side than a realistic fantasy contributor…He had a terrible preseason, but it would not be surprising to see Nyheim Hines emerge with fantasy value out of an unsettled backfield…John Kelly was impressive in the preseason, but rostering a handcuff, especially one who might not even be the handcuff, over a player who can earn fantasy value without an injury does not make much sense. T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory fall into the same category.

Deep Cuts: It does not seem like Christine Michael is going to get a real chance even if Marlon Mack is out early in the season, but he is worth adding in deep leagues to find out…Matt Breida will likely serve as the passing-down complement to Alfred Morris, but it is not out of the realm Kyle Juszczyk ends up as the best PPR back. He had 24 catches over the final seven games last season…It remains unclear if Javorius Allen or Kenneth Dixon will operate as the passing-down back, but that role had fantasy value last season, especially in PPR formats…Jeremy Hill beat out Mike Gillislee in the preseason, and now he sits behind two running backs who were injured during training camp. The Patriots average more rushing touchdowns than any team in the league…He is squarely behind Adrian Peterson right now, but it would not be shocking if Rob Kelley made starts this season…It is impossible to know how much Darren Sproles has left in the tank, but he is not a bad pickup in deep PPR leagues…Handcuffing does make sense in deep leagues because there is not much else on the wire. Rod Smith is one of the most overlooked options. Alfred Blue is also interesting with D’Onta Foreman out at least the first six weeks…Corey Grant is the most interesting, but there are several high-upside dart throws who could earn value with a few injuries. Roc Thomas and Mike Boone in Minnesota, Phillip Lindsay in Denver, and Buddy Howell in Houston are names to know.

~WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Keelan Cole, Jaguars – Rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues
There are so many receivers available on the wire, it does not make sense to litter the bottom of a roster with the likes of Mohamed Sanu because receivers like that will be available all season. Instead, the final few spots should be reserved for upside players, and Cole is atop that list. Working with the first-team even before Marqise Lee went down, Cole is at worst the 1A receiver in Jacksonville’s offense heading into the season – Donte Moncrief and Dede Westbrook will round out the top three – a year after recording 748 yards and three touchdowns as an undrafted rookie. The Jaguars’ passing attack is by no means exciting, but Cole can be an every week starter if he gets a No. 1 target share.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. John Brown, Ravens – Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brown’s injury history is a legitimate reason for concern, but that concern disappears when he is available for free on the waiver wire. When healthy in Arizona, Brown was a dynamic weapon who looked on his way to being one of the better receivers in the league. Even with Joe Flacco as his quarterback, Brown is talented enough to be worth a roster spot.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. Mike Wallace, Eagles – Rostered in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
Philadelphia’s decision to replace Torrey Smith with Mike Wallace this offseason could pay immediate dividends. While Nelson Agholor is likely to serve as the No. 1 receiver while Alshon Jeffery is sidelined, Wallace will be the top option on the outside. That role would be more exciting if Carson Wentz was healthy to start the season, but it is still worth an investment in all formats.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Michael Gallup, Cowboys – Rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
Allen Hurns still might end up being the Cowboys’ top receiver this season, but Gallup is a more interesting fantasy stash coming out of the preseason. The third-round pick made his work count this August, catching seven passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, and has a wide-open path to targets in Dallas’ offense.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. John Ross, Bengals – Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
Ross might look like a similar investment to some of the upside receivers down in the Watch List, but his defined role sets him apart. Although Tyler Boyd played a few more snaps in the third preseason game, Ross looked like the No. 2 receiver behind A.J. Green, and he showed off his big-play ability with an outstanding touchdown in which he made a couple defenders look silly. With Brandon LaFell gone, Ross should get the targets, and he has the talent to do a lot with them.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
Lockett has had opportunities in the past to become more than a lightly-used deep threat, but he has never taken advantage of them. It is possible will be just a 70-target player the rest of his career. It is also possible, however, he finally emerges to take over the No. 2 job and has a season like the 44-703-6 campaign Paul Richardson managed a year ago.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Allen Hurns, Cowboys – Rostered in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
While Michael Gallup is a better bench stash because at least I believe he is a better player with a higher ceiling, it remains eminently possible Hurns emerges as the No. 1 in a passing game which should be better than people think.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. Phillip Dorsett, Patriots – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Julian Edelman suspended, Dorsett is currently the No. 2 receiver on New England’s roster. That might mean he is just the No. 4 option in the passing game behind Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, and James White, but it is still a profitable fantasy position in a Tom Brady-led offense.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

9. Cameron Meredith, Saints – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
Meredith has the worrying smell of Willie Snead on him following a preseason in which he worked at times with the second-team offense. That said, he looked healthy in the preseason finale, making a long catch and then finding the end zone. If he is healthy, he should emerge as the No. 2 weapon in a great passing attack.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

10. Danny Amendola, Dolphins – Rostered in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
Amendola might not seem like an “upside” receiver, but he is currently in a role which netted Jarvis Landry 292 targets over the last two seasons. It is unlikely Amendola reaches those heights, but he has a good shot to average seven to eight targets a game, especially with DeVante Parker out to start the season. He is a must-add in PPR formats, and he is going to surprise in standard leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

11. Quincy Enunwa, Jets – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Especially with Jermaine Kearse injured to begin the year, Enunwa looks like at worst the No. 2 option in a passing game which should be competent with Sam Darnold at quarterback. Enunwa caught 58 passes for 857 yards and four scores in 2016 before missing all of last season with a neck injury. It would not be shocking if he posted similar numbers again this season.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: In addition to the players listed above, there is a long list of receivers who could blow up if given the targets. Chris Godwin, Anthony Miller, Courtland Sutton, Taywan Taylor, Dede Westbrook, Christian Kirk, D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Donte Moncrief, James Washington, Tre’Quan Smith, Dante Pettis, Curtis Samuel, and even the ghost of DeVante Parker could easily find themselves as top-24 options this season. With receiver as deep as ever, it will make sense to churn the bottom of the roster most weeks…With so many options, keeping Dez Bryant on a roster in the hopes he signs with a team does not make much sense, especially considering how he has played the last couple seasons…Rishard Matthews’ availability remains a mystery, but he could easily be a top-30 option if healthy…Ted Ginn and DeSean Jackson probably should be rostered in more leagues, but they are both aging deep threats in crowded passing games. Tyrell Williams is not aging, but his usage last season does not create much excitement, especially with Mike Williams healthy…Geronimo Allison looks like the No. 3 receiver in Green Bay…There are targets available for Cole Beasley, but he has not been good for a while now…If the Brandon Marshall performance we saw in the third preseason game is real, he could shock people in this offense.

Deep Cuts: Ryan Grant is the No. 2 receiver on an offense quarterbacked by Andrew Luck. There is no reason for him to be on the wire in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues…With Alshon Jeffery sidelined and Mack Hollins questionable, Shelton Gibson is a name to know…Considering the Patriots’ issues at receiver, Cordarrelle Patterson has a real shot at an early-season role…The same is true of Tavon Austin in Dallas…It is anyone’s guess what Albert Wilson’s role will be, but he has a shot to earn targets with DeVante Parker likely to miss games…Willie Snead was an afterthought in the preseason, but it would not be surprising if he saw a large target share in an offense quarterbacked by Joe FlaccoJohn Ross is the more interesting fantasy option, but Tyler Boyd did play more snaps with Andy Dalton in the third preseason game.

~TIGHT ENDS
1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars – Rostered in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Seferian-Jenkins had a quiet preseason and does not offer much season-long excitement, but he gets a tasty date with the Giants in Week 1. New York surrendered the most fantasy points to tight ends last season including a league-high 13 touchdowns, and their defense does not look any better this year.

2. Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals – Rostered in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jermaine Gresham did practice on Monday, but it remains unlikely he is able to play Week 1. That leaves Seals-Jones as the clear lead tight end in what should be a good matchup. RSJ went for 201 yards and three scores on just 12 catches last season.

3. Ben Watson, Saints – Rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is tough to know exactly what to expect from the 37-year-old tight end, but he projects to have a solid target share in a good passing offense. That will make him usable most weeks.

Watch List: It is impossible to trust Antonio Gates in a starting lineup after he just signed on Sunday, but it is important to remember he caught 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown in two games without Hunter Henry to close out last season. There might still be something left in the tank…Vance McDonald would be an outstanding streaming option if healthy, but he is at best questionable after missing Monday’s practice. Jesse James is considerably less exciting…Mike Gesicki did not show enough during the preseason to make him a Week 1 option, but he could certainly develop into a streamer…Austin Hooper does not have a particularly good matchup, and he has two games with more than 50 yards in his career…Charles Clay is always a desperation option because of his target share, but the Bills are likely to be shut down in Baltimore…With Ed Dickson out, Nick Vannett will get the start, but it is tough to get excited about him…He cannot be used this week, but Hakeem Valles’ Week 1 role will be one to watch.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Green Bay Packers – Rostered in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Getting a new coordinator would have been enough, but the Packers also added Muhammad Wilkerson to their front, two first-round talents at corner, and found a pass rusher this preseason in Reggie Gilbert. Chicago’s offense might end up being good, but they are not a scary matchup at home.

2. Atlanta Falcons – Rostered in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
He is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, but Nick Foles was terrible in the preseason. Atlanta’s defense has more talent than they get credit, and they are due some positive takeaway regression.

3. Cincinnati Bengals – Rostered in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
Quietly sporting one of the best defensive fronts in the league, the Bengals gets a Week 1 date with Andrew Luck, who has not played a real game since 2016, behind a questionable offensive line.

Looking Ahead: Things could change if Joe Flacco surprises in Week 1, but a home date with the Ravens on Thursday night should be another good spot for Cincinnati’s underrated defense. 

KICKERS
1. Daniel Carlson, Vikings – Rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues
Carlson is kicking inside his home dome for a team which is a comfortable favorite with a good implied total. What is not to like?

2. Caleb Sturgis, Chargers – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Assuming Sturgis is not given the boot this week, he is kicking for a home favorite in what should be favorable weather conditions.

3. Adam Vinatieri, Colts – Rostered in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues
While the Bengals defense is worth streaming, Vinatieri should offer season-long value in this offense. The last time Andrew Luck played close to a full season, Vinatieri was the K11.

Looking Ahead: Robbie Gould is also an option this week, but he will be a better one next week at home against the Lions.

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.