In this weekly series, I will highlight players that are speculative adds in deeper dynasty leagues, since the majority of players often covered in typical waiver wire columns have long been rostered.
No matter how deep your league is or how large the rosters, you should always keep a watch list of players you are considering adding, should the opportunity present itself. The group of names below will help you form that list.
I will note that the data presented is based on all Yahoo leagues, not just those designated as keeper or dynasty.
First, let’s look back at last week’s waiver wire suggestions that gained value, with current Yahoo ownership percentages and percentage change in parentheses.
Paul Richardson, SEA (15%/+12%)
Tarik Cohen, CHI (14%/+10%)
Chris Carson, SEA (15%/+6%)
Charles Clay, BUF (11%/+4%)
Kenny Golladay, DET (19%/+3%)
Kendall Wright, CHI (14%/+3%)
Nelson Agholor, PHI (14%/+2%)
Scott Tolzien, IND (1%/+1%)
Alvin Kamara, NOS (13%/+1%)
Matt Breida, SF (4%/+1%)
Not all suggestions gain value though. Here are some players whose ownership value dropped since last week.
John Ross, CIN (10%/-5%)
Vance McDonald, PIT (4%/-2%)
Deshaun Watson, HOU (11%/-2%)
Mike Williams, LAC (5%/-2%)
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (2%/-1%)
Curtis Samuel, CAR (4%/-1%)
Juju Smith-Schuster, PIT (1%/-1%)
Kasen Williams, CLE (0%/-1%)
1) DeShone Kizer, CLE (10%)
2) Jared Goff, LAR (6%)
3) Deshaun Watson, HOU (11%)
4) Jacoby Brissett, IND (1%)
o Facing a strong Steelers defense, expectations were somewhat low for Browns rookie QB DeShone Kizer in his NFL debut, but the former Notre Dame star surprised. Kizer threw for 222 yards and a touchdown to his top WR Corey Coleman, and added 17 rushing yards and a score on the ground. That performance was good enough for a surprising QB8 performance in his first career start and offers dynasty owners hope for the future. With a rushing floor, Kizer has weekly upside that makes him a high-upside fantasy backup with potential for more in the future. He is a must add after what we saw in Week One against the toughest team he’ll face all year.
o With new HC Sean McVay calling the shots and several new weapons on offense, second-year QB Jared Goff looked like a completely different player. Goff took advantage of the Rams defensive dominance of the Colts and was clearly confident much of the day, throwing for over 300 yards for the first time in his short NFL career, along with one touchdown to his new favorite receiver, rookie Cooper Kupp. Considering they were facing the Colts porous defense, let’s not make too many assumptions for the future, but the Rams offense looks much crisper, thanks to the arrival of Kupp and former Bills WR Sammy Watkins. Goff can be a solid backup moving forward.
o After a terrible first-half start from veteran QB Tom Savage, Texans HC Bill O’Brien pulled the trigger and brought in rookie Deshaun Watson. The former Clemson star was held in check by the Jags defense, throwing for 102 yards and rushing for 16 more, throwing for one score.
o Once again, an option for deep 2QB leagues is Colts QB Jacoby Brissett, who took over for a struggling Scott Tolzien. Unfortunately for the Colts, Brissett didn’t fare much better, throwing for just 51 yards in his limited action. With a Sunday report suggesting franchise QB Andrew Luck could miss up to a month, Brissett could be in line for some starting work. He’s an option only for those who need a spot starter in a super-flex league.
1) Tarik Cohen, CHI (14%)
2) Alvin Kamara, NOS (13%)
3) Shane Vereen, NYG (17%)
4) James Conner, PIT (12%)
5) Marlon Mack, IND (9%)
6) Kerwynn Williams, ARZ (7%)
7) D.J. Foster, ARZ (0%)
o You don’t need me to tell you that Bears rookie RB Tarik Cohen should be the top waiver wire option this week, but I will remind you. Cohen stepped in for an injured Benny Cunningham against the Falcons and then wasted no time in showing why the Bears selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Cohen was active in all aspects of the game, totaling 158 yards as a runner, receiver and return man. Most impressive was Cohen’s role in the pass game, where he led all RBs with 12 targets, catching eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. With WR Kevin White out for the year, expect Cohen to continue to see plenty of targets.
o The good news is the Saints were not afraid to use rookie RB Alvin Kamara, despite the presence of veterans Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram. The bad news is the New Orleans offense looked like a shell of itself, so expecting the typical Saints production might not be advisable. Peterson also looked like a 32-year-old back who missed most of the past two season…oh, and he pouted.
o The Giants offense struggled as a whole in a Sunday night matchup against the Cowboys, but PPR RB Shane Vereen still managed to get his. While he didn’t carry the ball at all, he did catch nine passes for 51 yards, good enough for an RB14 finish. That volume should dip once WR Odell Beckham returns to the field, but Vereen has clearly proven he can be a fantasy asset in this role, provided he can stay healthy himself.
o The box score wasn’t all that impressive for Steelers rookie RB James Conner, but he was the clear backup to starter Le'Veon Bell. Conner carried the ball four times for 11 yards and should be rostered by all Bell owners, considering the star’s injury history.
o Yet another rookie RB that should be targeted if on the waiver wire is Marlon Mack of the Colts. He and veteran starter Frank Gore split the carries evenly, but the rookie managed only 24 yards on his ten carries. He did find the end zone and led the Colts RB in fantasy scoring, but if this team struggles early in the season, Mack could be given a heavy workload of touches as the team searches for their stars of the future.
o Let’s get to some bad news for many fantasy players. Cardinals RB David Johnson suffered a wrist injury and is expected to miss at least two months. There is not a player, and certainly not a player on the Cardinals roster, who will replace Johnson’s production. With that said, his absence will offer some volume upside to backup RB Kerwynn Williams, who scored a touchdown after taking over for DJ on Sunday. Also, for those of you in the deepest leagues, the Cardinals poached pass-catching specialist D.J. Foster from the Patriots taxi squad. All signs indicate the Cards will rely on a committee approach, but with deeper rosters, taking a shot on a player like Foster could pay off.
1) Kenny Golladay, DET (19%)
2) Nelson Agholor, PHI (14%)
3) Marqise Lee, JAX (16%)
4) Allen Hurns, JAX (9%)
5) Paul Richardson, SEA (15%)
6) Jermaine Kearse, NYJ (2%)
o Just as he did in the preseason opener, Lions rookie WR Kenny Golladay went off, catching a pair of touchdowns on just four receptions, finishing as the WR5 on the week. The Northern Illinois product saw the second-most targets on the team, behind only WR Golden Tate. Golladay probably isn’t on many dynasty waiver wires after his exciting preseason play, but if he is, he should be a top priority.
o The offseason hype was not just a smokescreen in Philadelphia as Eagles QB Carson Wentz looked for slot WR Nelson Agholor early and often, especially in the first half of Sunday’s game. Agholor finished with a 6/86/1 line on the day and his first WR1 rank of his three-year career. With several other options in the passing game, Agholor’s production will be inconsistent, but he is clearly part of the game plan, which has not been the case in the past.
o Another serious injury has put the Jaguars in a bad spot as star WR Allen Robinson tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. The Jags and QB Blake Bortles will need WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns to step up and they attempt to replace ARob’s production. Lee had a bit of a breakout season in 2016, while Hurns showed he could play in the league as a UDFA in 2014. Both players have dealt with injuries themselves though, so things could get ugly quickly in Jacksonville.
o For the Seahawks on Sunday, it was WR Paul Richardson, not veteran WR Doug Baldwin, who led the team in targets. The young receiver, who has a lengthy injury history, saw seven looks from QB Russell Wilson, catching four balls for 59 yards. The Seahawks were confident enough in Richardson that they traded veteran Jermaine Kearse. The only hiccup for Richardson could be fellow youngster Tyler Lockett, who coaches expect to play a larger role as he continues to return from a broken leg late last season.
o Speaking of Kearse, he led the Jets in receiving with seven catches for 59 yards. No other WR had more than 25 yards. In general, the Jets are going to be a team to completely avoid in all aspects of fantasy football this year, but Kearse falls under the old “someone has to catch the ball” theory as a desperation play.
1) Charles Clay, BUF (7%)
2) George Kittle, SF (1%)
3) Gerald Everett, LAR (0%)
o With WRs Sammy Watkins and Anquan Boldin gone, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor found himself often looking for his most reliable target, TE Charles Clay. Clay tied for the lead among all TEs with nine targets, catching four for 44 yards and a touchdown. Expect this to continue, at least until Taylor and rookie WR Zay Jones become more familiar.
o Last week, I speculated that rookie TE George Kittle could end up as the starter for the 49ers, and that’s what happened. Kittle caught five of his six targets for only 27 yards. The yardage is a small concern, but the volume is encouraging as he tied for second most targets on the team, only behind veteran WR Pierre Garcon.
o Rams rookie TE Gerald Everett caught just one pass for 39 yards, but displayed athleticism, as expected based on the comparisons made between he and Redskins TE Jordan Reed. Everett may be a player who doesn’t get used in starting lineups at all this season, but I still want at the end of my roster.
Players on Injured Reserve worth stashing for 2017 (under 20%) Cameron Meredith, Spencer Ware, Julian Edelman, Ryan Tannehill, Rico Gathers, Kenneth Dixon, Carlos Henderson, Tajae Sharpe, Erik Swoope, Malcolm Mitchell, Dede Westbrook