It’s almost a cliche at this point to say Fantasy Football is won on the waiver wire, but it’s true. You can have an amazing draft, but if you don’t stay active on the waiver wire your initially amazing team will slowly deteriorate.
And to dominate the waiver wire, you need to be proactive. You don’t want to be the guy that blows their entire waiver budget in the first few weeks. FAAB money is your emergency fund. Using it in large amounts should be avoided until something unforeseeable happens. You know that annoying feeling when you sit down you read some “top waiver adds” article on a Tuesday morning and all the players listed are already owned in your league? You want to avoid that too. In fact, you want to be the guy who already owns all those players.
The goal of this article is to help with that process. Every Friday I will list 5 players who I think if things go their way, will wind up in those waiver articles the following Tuesday. You don’t have to stash all of them – it depends on who you have on your roster, the depth of your benches, the scoring system of your league, etc. But these are guys that should at least be on your radar.
Stashing players is only something that can occur in deeper leagues with large benches, so to make this information worthwhile I will only be recommending guys that are under 15% owned on both Yahoo and ESPN, and in many cases, you’ll see percentages in the single digits. If you’re in a league where guys like Justice Hill (32% on Yahoo, 21% on ESPN) or Justin Jackson (39% Yahoo, 35% on ESPN) are on the waiver wire, you’re either in a league too shallow for stashing or you should go pick those guys up right away.
With that said, here are the Week 1 stashes. Ownership rates are listed next to each player’s name.
Dare Ogunbowale, RB, TB (8% on Yahoo, 5% on ESPN)
I’m already starting to see this name popping up on various deep sleeper lists. Ogunbowale had a relatively forgettable college career for a Wisconsin running back, mostly working in a timeshare or as a 3rd down back. He did, however, manage to catch 36 passes in 2015, the most by a Wisconsin RB since James White. After going undrafted, he bounced around the league and on and off of practice squads for 2 years. He seemed like the furthest thing from a fantasy sleeper when he entered training camp with the Buccaneers, but after a stellar preseason, he’s reportedly locked down the Bucs pass down RB role. This is notable because a) the Bucs are likely to throw the ball a lot and b) the Bucs don’t have any other good running backs on their roster. If Ogunbowale can be effective on passing downs while Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones continue to be unimpressive, then how long before Bruce Arians gives Dare a shot at the lead back role? Stranger things have happened, especially in Florida.
Dontrell Hilliard, RB, CLE (1% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN)
I don’t understand why the fantasy world continues to draft Kareem Hunt but completely ignores Dontrell Hilliard. Hunt is suspended for 8 games and will probably be worked into the offense slowly when he returns, meaning he’s not going to be startable in fantasy until week 11 at the absolute earliest. Hilliard, on the other hand, will be involved in some capacity immediately and is currently listed as the backup running back on the Browns depth chart. The Browns think highly enough of his skills that they’ve made Hilliard their primary return man, indicating that he might have a role in the offense as well. It’s unclear to what extent Nick Chubb will be used in the passing game, but we may see Hilliard in a lighter version of “the Duke Johnson role” from 2018. And if (god forbid) something happens to Chubb, we’d likely see Hilliard on the heavier side of a timeshare until Hunt returns from his suspension.
Preston Williams, WR, MIA (2% Yahoo, 3% ESPN)
It went mostly unnoticed because the Dolphins are terrible, but Preston Williams played primarily with the starters in the first 3 weeks of the preseason. He got held out of the 4th preseason game because he was already a lock to make the team. The Kenny Stills trade leaves a void in the Dolphins passing game and someone needs to fill it. Davante Parker has done nothing in 4 years as a pro. Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson are undersized slot receivers. If there’s a #1 receiver on the Dolphins roster, it just might be Williams. If you need depth at WR, this is a high upside play worth considering.
Tre Quinn, WR, WAS (1% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN)
The Redskins skill players are criminally under-owned throughout the fantasy football world. I get it, they’re a bad team. They don’t have anyone that excites you other than Derrius Guice. But someone needs to catch passes for them. Terry McLauren has gotten some attention since the surprising release of Josh Doctson and sleeper-of-the-past Paul Richardson is still on the team, but Quinn will be the one lining up in the slot. Could Quinn follow in the footsteps of Case Keenum‘s slot receivers of the past two seasons, Emmanuel Sanders and Adam Thielen? It’s unlikely because Quinn isn’t on the same level from a talent perspective, but they’re likely to be trailing in a lot of games and facing soft defenses. If the Eagles crush the Redskins this weekend, don’t be surprised if Quinn gets 10+ targets.
Noah Fant, TE, DEN (14% on Yahoo, 10% on ESPN)
If you aren’t familiar with Fant, he’s the latest super-athlete tight end to enter the league. Think of a bigger Evan Engram or a slightly faster George Kittle. Rookie tight ends usually don’t amount to much for fantasy, but Fant might be athletic enough to be an exception. Fant played in the first 3 preseason games (including the hall of fame game) before sustaining an ankle injury and was running with the starters. All 3 of his catches and targets came in the first quarter, indicating that he’s at least going to be part of the Broncos TE rotation from the very beginning. If you weren’t able to grab one of the top TE’s in your draft and are stuck with Delanie Walker or Eric Ebron right now, it might be worth picking up Fant just to see how (and how much) he’s used in week 1.
That’s it for week 1. Feel free to let me know if you think there’s someone I missed.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)