Welcome to QB List’s first “Waiver Wire” installment, where multiple impressive rookie performances plus fallout from two major injuries highlight some of this week’s recommendations. David Johnson’s injury is devastating for fantasy owners, as well as the Cardinals offense who is stuck with some middling talents at the position still. Nevertheless, those middling talents are among the top waiver options at the RB position this week along with impressive rookies Tarik Cohen and Chris Carson. At the WR position, Allen Robinson’s ACL tear opens up more targets for Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns while rookies Cooper Kupp and Kenny Golladay were very impressive in their NFL debuts.
NOTE: Players mentioned will be owned in 40% or less of leagues across popular fantasy football platforms.
12+ Team Leagues and 2 QB Leagues
Sam Bradford (Minnesota Vikings): No schedule is easier for any QB this season than Bradfords perhaps. It starts tonight against the Saints in a game where he should move the ball easily. He’s not going to give you 300 yards for the most part, but he will rarely hurt you with turnovers and should see plenty of TD opportunity this season.
Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs): Smith had the game of his career on Thursday night against a good Patriots secondary has got to put him on the fantasy radar. He led all QB’s in fantasy points this week by a fairly wide margin and while his schedule is hit or miss going forward, he provide solid QB2 value thanks to the 3 play makers around him.
14+ Team Leagues and 2 QB Leagues
DeShone Kizer (Cleveland Browns): Kizer’s NFL debut was the definition of up and down. His interception to T.J Watt was a horrible decision, a true “rookie mistake” to be cliché. He also took 7 sacks, with most of them coming from holding on to the ball too long. Still, he finished with respectable numbers against a tough defense and proved he can make plays with both his arm and feet. He should have a steady floor given his rushing usage, and you can certainly do worse in 2 QB leagues.
Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams): Yes, Jared Goff just dismantled an NFL defense yesterday. No, it’s not yet time to consider Goff as a fantasy starter. To his credit, Colts defense or not, Goff looked great in going through his progressions and making accurate throws all day. There is the chance Sean McVay can continue to be the QB whisperer and will turn Goff into what was expected of him. I’m still skeptical, but his schedule is juicy for the next 2 to 3 weeks at least. We should have a better feel for the Rams offense and how good they and Goff are after weeks 5-11 though.
10+ Team PPR Leagues/12 Team Leagues
Kerwynn Williams (Arizona Cardinals): Here’s a prime example of choosing opportunity over talent. Williams was the main “lead back” after David Johnson’s wrist injury forced him to leave the game, so he for now is the priority add from the Cardinals backfield. He is a diminutive “scat back” type runner, who has had some success in the NFL over a small sample size. We should have a good idea of what his fantasy value may look like after he’s week 2 matchup with the lowly Colts. I’d imagine the offense stays the same for the most part, meaning lots of targets available for the RB’s.
Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears): Cohen looked every bit as explosive as his preseason reports mentioned, and it seems that we can pencil him in for most of the passing down work moving forward. Jordan Howard will still have a prominent role until further notice however, so it is tough to say Cohen is a must add in standard 10 team leagues. I’m making Cohen a priority add in any PPR format, but don’t see him as a must add in standard 10 teamers and would advise caution in spending FAAB bucks in 12 team standard leagues.
Buck Allen (Baltimore Ravens): One of the more surprising usage numbers this weekend has to be the fact Allen piled up 21 carries, which was actually 2 more than “starter” Terrance West. It’s a surprise as Allen was viewed as more of an insurance policy to Danny Woodhead then an actual 3 down back. But Allen out snapped West 33 to 27 and with Woodhead out for a significant amount of time, Allen is a must add in all PPR leagues, and perhaps even standard 10 teamers. There’s a good chance he out touches Cohen going forward, but Cohen’s talent gives him a slight boost over Allen.
12+ Team Leagues
Chris Carson (Seattle Seahawks): This one hurts a little because I thought Carson looked awesome against the Packers. The problem is that Thomas Rawls is back next week and that just adds another back to the stable that looks willing to be a strict timeshare. Eddie Lacy should eventually be either released or a game day inactive, with Carson spelling Rawls and Prosise being used on passing downs. This still makes Carson an interesting stash though, primarily due to Rawls and Prosise’s history of being injured often. It’s also not out of the question he straight up takes the job from Rawls.
12+ Team PPR Leagues
Chris Thompson (Washington Redskins): Thompson found the end zone this weekend, which was basically the only reason he had fantasy value on the day. He is locked in to the team’s passing down back role for the season, but I there may not be enough targets on a week to week basis for him to have weekly value.
Andre Ellington (Arizona Cardinals): Ellington should hop into a timeshare of sorts with Kerwynn Williams, with Ellington acting as the teams 3rd down/passing down back. He has been productive in that role in the past and I don’t see Bruce Arians changing up the Cardinals playbook all that much on short notice, so expect the RB’s to be very PPR friendly until Johnson returns.
Giovanni Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals): Bernard was the most effective Bengals RB yesterday which isn’t saying a whole lot. He did however look healthy and fully recovered from his ACL tear and should continue to have a role as the teams 3rd down back if/when the Joe Mixon hype train comes full circle.
Shane Vereen (New York Giants): Vereen caught a team high 9 passes on a team high 10 targets Sunday night, which can’t be something we expect on a week to week basis. OBJ will obviously cut into those numbers and the Giants should be playing more games in front than behind like they were all night. He’d be much more interesting if the team would give him a chance to run the ball since Paul Perkins is looking like a JAG.
14+ Team Leagues
Marlon Mack (Indianapolis Colts): Mack was impressive on Sunday (outside of the lost fumble) and might have been the only positive take away from the game for the Colts. The Colts may be in for a rough season if Luck can’t return soon, so they might have to take a long look at Mack in a lead back role at some point this season. Frank Gore isn’t getting younger and it might make sense for the team to trade him at the deadline.
Mike Tolbert (Buffalo Bills): While Mike Tolbert isn’t the most appealing fantasy option typically, the Bills are committed heavily to running the ball and will more often than not wind up with 2 RB’s racking up 10 or more carries each. That, plus the fact he should get the bulk of the goal line carries makes him an add in deeper leagues.
Chris Ivory (Jacksonville Jaguars): Ivory showed this weekend that he can provide some value as the Jaguars #2 back after the team decided to run the ball 36 times. The only problem with this philosophy though would be if the Jaguars are playing from behind at any point, which will happen, Ivory and the running game could be phased out.
D’Onta Foreman (Houston Texans): After receiving just one carry on Sunday, Bill O’Brien said today that Foreman will receive a bigger workload on Thursday night. It’s a smart decision considering how poorly their QB play was and O’Brien should consider trying to run the ball as much as possible. There’s a chance Foreman can provide RB3/Flex value in the not too distant future if he shows well in next few games.
12+ Team Leagues
Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia Eagles): After failing to live up to his draft position for 3 years, something may have finally clicked for Agholor this season. There were nothing but glowing praise for him since training camp and he showed why on Sunday. Even with the additions of Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, Agholor has a very good chance to return WR3/Flex value as Carson Wentz slot receiver.
Marqise Lee (Jacksonville Jaguars): Lee is now the Jaguars #1 wideout, which isn’t all that exciting but still worth a look. He has flashed big play ability in the past and as long as he stays healthy can be an ok FLEX play. The Jaguars will almost never have an opportunity to pass as little as they did against the Texans, so expect Lee and Allen Hurns target’s to go up.
Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams): Cooper Kupp looked awesome this weekend, and whether it was against a horrendous Colts secondary or not, it’s clear Kupp and Goff have a pretty good rapport going. He looks like a legitimate 3 level receiver who can make plays at any part of the field. I still think we need to temper the Rams offensive options some, especially given their buzzsaw schedule from weeks 5-11. But Kupp is certainly worth an add in all PPR formats and standard 12 teamers.
Kenny Golladay (Detroit Lions): After some early preseason hype, Golladay’s hype train had steadily tailed off heading into week 1. That all changed Sunday after the rookie posted 2 TD’s, one being an impressive diving catch to seal the win for the Lions in the 4th quarter. He should eventually get all of the WR3 run over T.J. Jones, and it’s not crazy to think he becomes the number 2 receiver option over Marvin Jones.
Allen Hurns (Jacksonville Jaguars): see Marqise Lee above. Although it’s also worth mentioning that the team is really high on Dede Westbrook who looked pretty dynamic in the preseason. He could take snaps from both when he returns from I.R. in week 9. Keelan Cole is another name to consider in deeper leagues.
Kendall Wright (Chicago Bears): Wright didn’t do much in limited snaps this week, but with the season ending injury to Kevin White, he is now the teams most talented wideout by default. He should be looked at in most PPR leagues, and worth a flier in 12 team standard leagues.
14+ Team Leagues
Paul Richardson (Seattle Seahawks): Richardson out-snapped Tyler Lockett on Sunday but it sounds like that may change this upcoming weekend. He’ll still see a few targets a game, but it will be hard to trust any Seahawks receiving option until they fix their O-Line problems.
Robby Anderson (New York Jets): He is still the most talented receiver on the roster and may have some nice fantasy days. He will also have plenty of duds as the Jets offense will struggle mightily to move the ball most of the time.
J.J. Nelson (Arizona Cardinals): Nelson could have had a bigger day if he didn’t commit a bad drop on a sideline throw down the field. He’s only likely to have value if John Brown can’t stay healthy or if they are forced into more negative game script scenarios similar to Sunday’s.
Josh Bellamy/Deonte Thompson (Chicago Bears): It’s tough to recommend either of these two, but with the Bears hurting at the position, one of the two could provide value in deeper leagues.
12+ Team PPR Leagues
Charles Clay (Buffalo Bills): Clay should continue to be Tyrod Taylors favorite option and while he doesn’t typically give you great yards per catch numbers, he could do worse at the position in PPR leagues.
14+ Team PPR Leagues
Evan Engram (New York Giants): Engram was ok in his NFL debut last night but I still felt like their was more to be had for him in that game. With OBJ likely to return this week, it will be hard to justify him as a top 12 option as the 4th/5th pass catching option.
Jared Cook (Oakland Raiders): It’s probably safe to say we have all fallen for the Jared Cook hype train before. I’m still not buying in on him as 12 team option yet, but he did look good this week and there is an opening for someone to become that third pass catching option in Oakland.
George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers): He had a semi-respectable PPR day for a 5th round rookie Tight End making his NFL debut. Still, it’s unlikely more than 1 or 2 pass catching options will carry fantasy value on the 49ers all year.
Jesse James (Pittsburgh Steelers): He can never be a trusted option and will put up some 0 fantasy days, but he occasionally will catch a TD or 2, just like he did Sunday.