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2017 Fantasy Football: Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups

Jake Ciely Senior Writer September 5, 2017 12:05AM EDT
Looks like we made it. Look how far we’ve come my baby. We mighta took the long way. We knew we’d get there someday. They said, “I bet, they’ll never make it,” but just look at us… ready for the 2017 NFL season!

First off, if you don’t know those lyrics, I don’t know whether to yell old man things at tweeners doing snapagram things on my lawn or just show you a GIF of the magic that was/is Shania Twain.

Okay, we’re going with the GIF because I was crushing hard during this “That Don’t Impress Me Much” video!

Now, you may be asking, “How can you have a Fantasy Football waiver wire piece before the season starts?” Well, people were drafting weeks and even months ago. Not only have several things changed since the middle of August, let alone June, but we recently had significant injuries, trades and releases that have shaken up the Fantasy Football world. Need a Week 1 starter or a bench stash? I have both for you.

Guys… Fantasy Football and the NFL are back!!! Oh yea… and so are the GIFs!

Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups: QBs

Carson Palmer, ARI – With Andrew Luck officially sidelined for Week 1 and having “no timetable” for a return, Palmer is a perfect substitute and available in a high percentage of leagues. The Cardinals start the season with five straight favorable matchups: @DET, @IND, DAL, SF and @PHI. Instead of playing the streaming game, just grab Palmer until Luck is back for the Colts and your team.

Sam Bradford, MIN – If Palmer isn’t available, Bradford might be, and check out his Week 1 matchup. Yep, it’s the Saints, a team that still has a weak pass defense and terrific offense. That points to Bradford needing to pass more than normal this week, and the Saints won’t do much to stop Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph and even Dalvin Cook out of the backfield.

Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups: RBs

Jacquizz Rodgers, TB – I was surprised to see Rodgers well under the 60-percent threshold. People realize that Rodgers did quite well as the Bucs top option late last year, right? They also realize that Doug Martin isn’t back from suspension until Week 4… right? Darren McFadden is 85 percent owned, and while the Cowboys offense line is amazing, is DMC really worlds better than Quiz?

Update: Bucs-Dolphins postponed to Week 11

Theo Riddick, DET; James White, NE; Darren Sproles, PHI – If you are in a PPR league, every one of these running backs needs to be on a roster. Both Riddick and Sproles are consistent RB2s in PPR, and White has Top 30 upside if the reports are true that he’ll see some line-of-scrimmage work with Julian Edelman out for the year. All three are worthy of a flex spot in PPR… although, I can understand your hesitancy with a Patriots running back.

Jamaal Charles, DEN – C.J. Anderson has injury issues dating back to his college days, and Devontae Booker is currently out as well. Not only is Charles the next man up, but he’s looked impressive in the preseason. Sure, Charles is as risky as they come being on his sixth and seventh knees, but if CJA misses time or simply bombs again, Charles will have value.

Jamaal Williams, GB; James Conner, PIT; Wendell Smallwood, PHI; D’Onta Foreman, HOU; Tarik Cohen CHI; Matt Breida, SF – If you don’t need running back help in the near future, start stashing the upside plays. Everyone on this list could end up as a team’s lead option and with 20 touches per game if there is an injury in front of them. In truth, some of these could surpass the running back in front of them due to performances: Williams, Smallwood and Foreman. Start stashing now where possible before you have to spend big on the waiver wire (see: Jordan Howard 2016, David Johnson 2015).

Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups: WRs

Kevin White and Kendall Wright, CHICameron Meredith is out for the year, and as of today, White is finally healthy! I know, right? White is a great talent, and the path is clear to No. 1 use… if he can stay on the field. As for Wright, he can turn in a real value for PPR owners, as offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains coached Wright in Tennessee. With Wright’s familiarity and ability to be an easier target for mediocre Mike Glennon, Wright shouldn’t be sitting on waivers.

Corey Davis, TEN – Davis has Terrell Owens upside, and while he’s behind due to missing the preseason, he has the ability to make noise fast and turn into a second-half WR2. Don’t let him sit on the waiver wire, as the moment Davis’ breakout game happens, it’s going to be too late.

Zay Jones, BUF – The quarterback situation… err… the Bills, period, are a mess. That doesn’t mean there won’t be Fantasy value, even in the passing game and even if Nathan Peterman stops watching the English Patient to quarterback the Bills in Week 1.

Jordan Matthews hasn’t had much time to build chemistry with the Bills or any quarterback in Buffalo due to his injury shortly after being traded from the Eagles. Jones is a reception machine and similar to Kendall Wright as the more QB-friendly option.

Robby Anderson, NYJ – Many might think Jermaine Kearse has more upside, but he failed to make an impact with opportunities in Seattle… with a much better quarterback. Sure, there is a chance that Kearse could hit in New York, but there’s also a chance Nina Dobrev finally accepts my date invitation or Odell Beckham unblocks me on Twitter. Anderson had some decent games last year, is familiar with this offense and is the Jets No. 1 receiver (or No. 2 behind Bilal Powell, honestly).

Cooper Kupp, LAR – Continuing a theme of more QB-friendly receivers, Sammy Watkins has plenty more upside, but Kupp is the easier target for Jared Goff… especially since Goff can’t throw a quality pass more than 20 yards down field… okay, maybe 15. Kupp and Goff have shown good rapport so far, and Kupp had some of the best hands in the draft. There is some PPR appeal here.

Marquise Goodwin, SF – This is more of a stash in case most of the options are taken in your league. News flash: Brian Hoyer is actually a decent quarterback. The evidence was no clearer than seeing the effect on DeAndre Hopkins once Brock Osweiler replaced Hoyer in Houston. Hoyer will pepper Pierre Garcon with targets, but he’s also found Goodwin and his speed on a few plays already. Goodwin is the No. 2 in San Francisco and a decent flier.

Brandon Coleman, NOWillie Snead is suspended for the first three games, and while no one on the roster fills that role well (more on that below), Coleman will see more snaps when the Saints go three-wide. Coleman is a big target, albeit a bit awkward, and Drew Brees has looked his way at times in the past. Coleman is more of a lotto ticket.

J.J. Nelson, ARI; Mike Williams, LAC; Travis Benjamin, LAC; Paul Richardson, SEA; Tyler Boyd, CIN – Similar to the running back backup stashes, these receivers could have significant future value. John Brown has significant health injuries, someone out there has a Keenan Allen voodoo doll, Tyler Lockett is always banged up and John Ross is out with Brandon LaFell being a mediocre receiving threat.

Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups: TEs

Austin Hooper, ATL – Even if the Falcons offense takes a step back as everyone expects them to, Hooper has a great opportunity to break out in 2017. As we all know, rookie tight ends rarely make an impact, and Hooper is now in his second season and a good red zone target for Matt Ryan. The Falcons have been searching for a tight end solution since Tony Gonzalez retired, and Hooper has the touchdown potential to reach TE1 status this year.

Coby Fleener, NO – With Snead out, someone has to fill the void, even if no one does it perfectly. That means Fleener should see more middle-of-the-field work and targets overall. Look for Alvin Kamara to get a few more opportunities as well. People are reluctant to own Fleener because they let their excitement get too high last year, thinking “Brees should make Fleener a Fantasy god.” They saw his Week 3 performance kept waiting and waiting for Fleener to do it again.

Brees has always spread the ball around, and while Fleener is no Jimmy Graham, he was still TE12 last year in a “disappointing” season.

Zach Miller, CHI – Miller has a lot of trouble staying healthy, but when he’s on the field, Miller has flashed TE1 potential and even provided that value at times. As mentioned for the Bears, the receiving core is now Kevin White, Kendall Wright, an injured Markus Wheaton and JAG receivers. Miller is a sneaky option in Week 1 for DFS tournaments or stash in deeper leagues.

Main Image Credit: Allan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire


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