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Waiver Wired

Waiver Wire: Week 1

by John Daigle
Updated On: September 4, 2019, 4:14 pm ET

Welcome to the Week 1 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2019 season. This column will run every Tuesday morning in-season, but for the time being it’s important to at least make sure your roster is up to date prior to Week 1.

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.

Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Start/Sit Tool, Trade Analyzer, Consensus Rankings, Projections and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!

The Drop List
The drop list will return following Week 1, but now’s the time to shed those late-round darts for starting kicker and D/ST options in order to fill-out your lineup. It should go without saying but, just in case, prioritize cutting all players who will miss the season, then drop your secondary quarterback (outside of 2-QB leagues), 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 year. And whatever you do, do not drop Tony Pollard. You didn’t draft a league-winning handcuff with standalone FLEX value just to hand him over to someone else when the player ahead of him signs (as expected).

Quarterbacks
1. Nick Foles
2. Josh Allen
3. Matthew Stafford

Running Backs
LeSean McCoy rostered in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Tony Pollard rostered in 71 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
1. Justice Hill
2. Justin Jackson
3. Darwin Thompson
4. Ty Montgomery
5. Frank Gore
6. Chase Edmonds
7. Giovani Bernard
8. Alexander Mattison

Wide Receivers
1. Rashard Higgins
2. John Brown
3. Marquise Goodwin
4. Jamison Crowder
5. Albert Wilson
6. DK Metcalf
7. Marquise Brown
8. Miles Boykin

Tight Ends
1. Jack Doyle
2. Darren Waller

Defense/Special Teams
Eagles rostered in 74 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Seahawks rostered in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.

1. San Francisco 49ers

Kickers
1. Matt Bryant
2. Chris Boswell

QUARTERBACKS

1. Nick Foles, Jaguars – Rostered in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kansas City’s front office did their part in collecting a cavalcade of blue chip defensive talent this offseason, but the Jaguars have an answer for them in the sheer health of their offensive line, which will get back both C Brandon Linder and LG Andrew Norwell following season-ending injuries in late-November. The Chiefs also permitted the second-most plays per game (69.8) to opposing offenses last year, setting up Foles and the Jags’ offense for more opportunity as home dogs. The $88 million acquisition peppered slot wideout Dede Westbrook on 7-of-10 attempts in their lone preseason contest together, which should only continue against Chiefs CB Kendall Fuller, who limped to the finish line in allowing 29-of-34 targets thrown his way to get hauled-in during the team’s last seven games (playoffs included).

2. Josh Allen, Bills – Rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
While New York’s front-seven boasts top-five talent following the offseason additions of C.J. Mosley, Henry Anderson, and No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams, the Jets arguably roster the league’s worst set of corners imaginable. Trumaine Johnson’s (hamstring) soft-tissue injury doesn’t help matters. That’s great news for Allen, who tossed a league-high 19.7 percent of pass attempts 20-plus yards downfield in his rookie year. He’ll continue to take shots in this one, all the while providing standalone rushing value — as he did on 8.2 rushes per game over the final month last season — on top. Prioritize over Foles (especially with a cinch first-quarter schedule) if looking for a long-term solution.

3. Matthew Stafford, Lion — Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
Stafford’s Week 1 matchup is admittedly better than Allen’s (especially given Patrick Peterson’s absence), but the former holds very little value moving forward with the Chargers, Eagles, and Chiefs on deck, all three of which beefed up their (already formidable) trenches through free agency and the draft this offseason. The veteran signal-caller still warrants streaming in this instance as he’ll benefit as a participant across from coach Kliff Kingsbury’s hike in play-volume. Detroit notably returns 4-of-5 starters on an o-line that kept their 31-year-old face of the franchise clean for the ninth-lowest pressure rate (27%) last year.

Watch List: Jimmy Garappolo’s average draft position (158.9) plummeted a full round because he went 1-for-6 with a pick in a preseason game. He’s undoubtedly a QB1 in 12-team leagues against the Bucs, and potential trade-bait the ensuing Monday if/when Kyle Shanahan’s offense foreseeably clicks.

 

RUNNING BACKS

1. Justice Hill, Ravens – Rostered in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Baltimore’s third running back averaged a 20.3 percent snap rate over the team’s final six games, Week 15-dud and Wild Card included. Even so, the team’s second-softest schedule of run defenses isn’t being factored into Hill’s (incorrect) RB56 ADP. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman hasn’t been shy in his hype for the fourth-round rookie this offseason, stating Justice “has shown that he can run a variety of run schemes” and “you love it when, if something breaks down...he can fix it on the fly.” Unofficial No. 2 RB Gus Edwards is an afterthought on a one-year, $570,000 contract.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Justin Jackson, Chargers – Rostered in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jackson morphed from a deep-league commodity to everyday asset the moment Melvin Gordon passed on his $330,000 Week 1 game check. The second-year slugger is expected to split early-down work with teammate Austin Ekelerjust as they did in a 40-21 timeshare in favor of the latter during the preseason — but could viably produce on goal-line reps, too. He’s listed ahead of those below if only because Jackson has a direct path to touches.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. Darwin Thompson, Chiefs – Rostered in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues
Universally dropped once the McCoy signing was announced, Thompson still has tremendous value in being the third-down back in the league’s most efficient and explosive offense. Early-down usage is now out the question (especially with both Damien Williams and McCoy healthy to start the year), but Thompson should still be owned as a potential end-of-season league-winner and FLEX option on a week-to-week basis.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

4. Ty Montgomery, Jets – Rostered in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
Reporters in Jets camp were adamant that Montgomery would be utilized as a “significant piece” of the offense and that showed in New York’s second preseason game as the converted-wideout logged 16-of-16 first-team snaps — lining up out wide in 10 personnel twice — with Le’Veon Bell inactive. Montgomery’s complementary usage in this offense makes him much more valuable than if he were simply being treated as a handcuff.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. Frank Gore, Bills – Rostered in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
LeSean McCoy truly could have been released to keep rookie Devin Singletary involved early, but Gore did notably out-snap the third-round back 9-1 in Buffalo’s third preseason game with the first-string offense. Odds are the 36-year-old leads this backfield in carries at season’s end, as unappealing as that may be.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Chase Edmonds, Cardinals – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kingsbury acknowledged David Johnson would have an “extensive role” this year, but also hinted he’d like to keep the Cardinals’ starting runner fresh. That would entail Edmonds’ reported “really nice role” coming to fruition in Week 1. Either way, he’s still ranked second only to Pollard in mandatory handcuffs to own given his inevitable usage if the guy ahead of him goes down.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Giovani Bernard, Bengals — Rostered in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Bernard’s recent two-year, $10.3 million extension was a telling sign for his pending usage considering the same front office drafted RB Trayveon Williams, who Bengals o-line coach Jim Turner helped to a career 600/3,615/34 (6.0 YPC) rushing line and 66/561/1 receiving at Texas A&M, in the sixth-round back in April. Given the absence of warm bodies (Jonah Williams, Clint Boling, Christian Westermann) in Cincinnati’s swiss-cheese pass-pro, A.J. Green’s extended absence is a plus for Bernard, who could legitimately be the Bengals’ second ‘wideout’ from the backfield in the short-term.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. Alexander Mattison, Vikings – Rostered in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Vikings coaches “raved” about Mattison throughout camp, and the third-round rookie will likely have value independent from Dalvin Cook sooner rather than later. The issue is the depth behind him as 93rd-percentile SPARQ plug Mike Boone is inarguably more explosive than the rook despite being listed fourth (behind Ameer Abdullah) on the team’s unofficial depth chart. Talent will rear its head and win out if Cook misses his 18th game in only his third-year in the league. Until that time, Mattison is the direct handcuff to own in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

Watch List: Still firmly planted at the tail-end of my Top 150, Dare Ogunbowale would’ve garnered higher regards if Bruce Arians hadn’t just claimed T.J. Logan, the same back he lobbied for and drafted with the Cardinals in ’17, off waivers from his ex-team…The Texans actively traded a final cuts-candidate (OG Martinas Rankin) for Carlos Hyde. There's a chance he's used on early downs, but Duke Johnson will render the veteran useless in no time (keeping Hyde tremendously low on this list)...Nyheim Hines played second-fiddle to Marlon Mack with Jacoby Brissett under center this preseason, but any doubts in Indianapolis’ offense sans Andrew Luck should lead to the former being dispersed as a prolific pass-catcher in negative game scripts…Malcolm Brown supposedly remains ahead of Darrell Henderson as Todd Gurley’s direct backup. Time will tell.

Deep Leagues: As previously mentioned, Mike Boone is currently listed as the No. 4 back behind Ameer Abdullah on Minnesota’s unofficial depth chart. Still, it’s hard to fathom his 90/391/3 rushing and 13/145 receiving from the past two preseasons go overlooked if Cook goes down…Arians nonchalantly told us to “learn [T.J. Logan’s] name quick.” Any back that wins the pass-catching role in this offense is awarded immediate FLEX viability.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Rashard Higgins, Browns – Rostered in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Arguably the offseason’s biggest riser, the stars aligned for Higgins once second-year pro Antonio Callaway was slapped with a four-game suspension. Not only will the contract-year wideout start as the Browns’ Z receiver across from Odell Beckham (and possibly ahead of Jarvis Landry), he’s already proven his rapport with Baker Mayfield in vacuuming 33-of-43 targets for 487 yards and four scores in the No. 1 overall pick’s rookie season. Higgins is an immediate FLEX option in what we can confidently project as an explosive offense from the get-go.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. John Brown, Bills – Rostered in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
Overlooked for his lowly production with the Ravens once Lamar Jackson took over under center, Brown had quietly climbed to WR22-status on the third-most air yards (1,160) among all skill players with Joe Flacco feeding him as an over-the-top downfield threat. Fully expected to collect those deep looks from Allen for a full season this time around, Brown need be stashed in Week 1 before it’s too late. Brown doesn’t square off against a true shutdown corner (Stephon Gilmore) until Week 4 and has the lowly Giants and Bengals to raise his stock until then.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. Marquise Goodwin, 49ers – Rostered in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
Any uncertainty surrounding Dante Pettis’ starting role, Jalen Hurd’s (back) limitations, and Trent Taylor’s (foot) availability moving forward only enhances Goodwin’s involvement in this offense. Garappolo’s also flashed proven rapport with Goodwin, targeting the 4.27 40-speedster on a team-high 26.4 percent (47-of-178) of pass attempts in their six starts together to close out ’17. Goodwin’s a viable WR3/FLEX option in Week 1 that could pay further dividends against the Bengals and Steelers in San Francisco’s next two games.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Jamison Crowder, Jets – Rostered in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
It need turn into a shootout for Crowder to immediately contribute in Week 1, but his connection with Sam Darnold has been on display throughout the offseason as the Jets’ new slot wideout reported to all phases of New York’s voluntary minicamp and workouts in an effort to create a harmonious relationship with the second-year signal-caller. It showed as recently as Gotham Green’s second preseason game in which Crowder notched a 2/31/1 receiving line on Darnold’s five attempts.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

5. Albert Wilson, Dolphins – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Wilson was initially set to grapple with Kenny Stills for slot duties, but the latter’s departure to Houston allows Wilson to roam free as the Fins’ primary interior wideout (with teammate Jakeem Grant sprinkled in). Fortunately, that’s the exact position Ryan Fitzpatrick’s targeted on 26.4 percent of his total passing attempts the past decade, far and away above the league-average rate (19.9 percent) in that span (per PFF’s Scott Barrett). He’s the wideout to favor in any potential shootouts.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. DK Metcalf, Seahawks – Rostered in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Already back practicing ahead of Week 1 following his knee scope from two weeks ago, Metcalf’s expected to open the season across from Jaron Brown in three-wide sets. It’s tough to imagine the No. 64 overall pick soaking up too many snaps during his debut, but he still need be owned for the weeks ahead as Seattle faces five consecutive voluminous shootouts (at Steelers, in the Superdome, in Glendale, against the Rams, at Cleveland) before running into the Ravens’ vice-grip of a defense in Week 7.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Marquise Brown, Ravens – Rostered in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
Clocking in at 21 mph during a rehab run prior to returning to the field for Baltimore’s third preseason game, Brown is reportedly a “full go” for Week 1 but “will have to get up to speed quickly.” Inconsequently nabbing him off the wire is a steal compared to his previous-high mark of being drafted in the 10th round.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. Miles Boykin, Ravens – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
It wasn’t without its fair share of rookie mistakes, but Boykin’s preseason performance (5/83 on 14 targets) spelled a No. 1 wideout in the making. Despite having a disastrous weekly floor, his ceiling is obviously the highest among Baltimore’s receiving corps. Don't expect anything from him against Xavien Howard's blanket coverage in their season opener.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Adam Humphries got $9 million per year from the Titans this offseason and was immediately looked to on 8-of-20 passing attempts from Marcus Mariota this preseason…Devin Funchess quietly led the Colts with a team-high five targets from Brissett in August…Color me skeptical, but it’s at least worth noting that Arizona listed Michael Crabtree as the starter opposite Larry Fitzgerald in the team’s first depth chart.

Deep Leagues: It would likely take an injury ahead of him to get him on the field, but rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (12/147/1 this preseason) has done nothing but flash exactly why the Eagles called his name with the No. 57 overall pick…Chris Conley and D.J. Chark are clear-cut every-down receivers in an offense projected to finish top-five in offensive plays game in Week 1…Rookie N’Keal Harry’s trip to injured reserve opens the door for preseason standout Jakobi Meyers to potentially make an impact sooner rather than later…John Ursua outperformed fellow rookie Gary Jennings across the board during training camp and is a name to monitor given that the Seahawks felt comfortable outright cutting starter Jaron Brown (who re-signed with them the following day)...Jalen Hurd (back) won't be in action Week 1, but could legitimately return as a chess-piece lining up in numerous positions the following week.

 

TIGHT ENDS

1. Jack Doyle, Colts – Rostered in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues
Eric Ebron was already headed for regression in a more competitive target tree due to his outlandish career-high touchdown-mark (13) from last season, but Andrew Luck’s retirement makes the second-year Colts tight end undraftable. Rather, it’s Doyle who sets up to reap the awards as he’ll likely continue out-snapping and out-targeting Ebron while the two remain active together. Jacoby Brissett’s favoritism towards tight ends only solidifies Doyle as a high-floor TE1 for all those who waited to nab that position at the tail-end of drafts.

2. Darren Waller, Raiders – Rostered in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite donning a sling midway through camp, Oakland’s activity during final cuts ensured Waller remain an unproven every-down option ahead of rookie Foster Moreau and inline-blocker Derek Carrier. It takes a leap of faith (and desperation) to start him Week 1, but the Broncos did quietly give way to the seventh-most raw receiving yards (1,035) to his position just last year.

Watch List: Suffering the seventh reported concussion of his seven-year career in Washington’s meaningless third preseason game, Reed was initially on the verge of returning to full health and inevitably leading the Redskins in targets in Week 1 before getting rocked against the Falcons. He’s a fringe TE2 option with obvious upside if he somehow makes it back onto the field for Week 2…Only one season removed from posting double-digit scores in his final year with the Seahawks, Jimmy Graham soaks up whatever ancillary snaps were supposed to go to rookie Jace Sternberger (ankle) before the No. 75 overall pick landed on injured reserve…Eagles final cuts left Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert as the only tight ends on the roster, ensuring the latter’s glued to the field early and often. Reminder Carson Wentz averaged 8.0 yards per attempt and an 11:2 TD:INT ratio from 12 personnel in his 11 starts last year.

 

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

1. San Francisco 49ers – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
This total has only increased since Initially opening, but securing the Niners’ defense in what’s being forecasted as a shootout against Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay’s offense essentially makes for exposure towards a mass number of plays and turnover-prone quarterback. The Bucs will certainly hit offensively, but prioritizing defensive scoring opportunities over yards/points allowed will ultimately result in spiked (and winning) results. See the 2018 Chiefs, fantasy’s No. 4 D/ST last season, for proof.

Looking Ahead: Chances are they’re taken, but Denver’s new-look defense under coach Vic Fangio should terrorize Oakland’s hapless offense despite this being a road contest.

 

KICKERS

1. Matt Bryant, Falcons – Rostered in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Atlanta’s all-time leading scorer, ‘Money Matt’ should be rostered for the exact reasons Giorgio Tavecchio was being drafted as a starter in 12-team leagues before getting axed over the weekend. The Falcons ranked fifth-overall in field goal attempts per game (2.4) in ’17 but fell to 23rd (1.6) last year; any amount of positive regression could lead to Bryant finishing top-five at his position.

2. Chris Boswell, Steelers – Rostered in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
Signed to a four-year, $16.7 million extension at this time last season, Boswell had previously converted 89.5 percent of his kicks since 2015 before sailing seven field goals and five extra points in his abominable showing last year. Buying the dip could result in a harmonious marriage if the once-reliable placekicker returns to vintage form.

Watch List: Currently rostered in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues, Jake Elliott’s ties to a projected top-five offense and potential MVP candidate places the second-year Eagles kicker into must-own territory out the gates.