Week #2 Waiver Watch Of Truth
Week #2 Waiver Watch of Truth
The 2021 season is under way and with it comes what I consider the most important part of any fantasy team, working the waiver wire. Some fantasy managers believe leagues are won in the draft or through trades but I am not one of them. I have never seen a winning fantasy team that was completely unchanged from draft day to championship so it’s not a strategy I would recommend anyone rely on.
Waiver wire additions are always tricky, sometimes players break out and play great all season, think James Robinson or Phillip Lindsay the previous two years. Sometimes they are incredibly streaky that are great for a few weeks and then disappear. So it’s important to track how they play or who they are matched up against rather than just assuming a new addition will be a ‘plug and play’ option.
With that in mind, below are the best options that are not widely owned at the moment, but need to be 100% owned before week 2 starts.
Teddy Bridgewater, 16% rostered on Sleeper
I have been beating the drum on Bridgewater since my review of the NFC South Fantasy Review last season and Way Too Early Quarterback Sleepers and sure enough Bridgewater delivered once again that he is a competent and capable fantasy quarterback. In his first game he completed 28 of 36 for 264 yards, 2 TDs, and zero interceptions despite losing Jeudy to a high ankle sprain and Sutton catching just one pass since a torn ACL. If he can do this with Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler as his receivers, he can be successful with just about anyone. He also has a very favorable matchup schedule for the next two weeks getting to play the Jaguars and Jets, neither of whom have strong pass defenses. If he isn’t rostered in your league, he should be for at least the next few weeks.
Jameis Winston, 49% rostered on Sleeper
Against a team that made the NFC Championship Game last season Jameis Winston was 14 of 20 for 148 yards, 5 TDs, and zero interceptions. Full Stop. I don’t think more needs to be said but since some may want to know my reason, let’s consider the reputation Winston had as an interception machine in Tampa Bay. At least for the moment Coach Peyton has figured out how to stop most of the interceptions for Winston, he threw one on a contested catch to Juwan Johnson that was overturned by penalty. I should also mention Winston accomplished this with his leading receivers being Kamara, Deonte Harris, Juwan Johnson, and Adam Trautman being the primary beneficiaries, so a running back and two tight ends represented the bulk of his passes. That is a far cry from having Chris Godwin and Mike Evans in Tampa Bay, yes Winston probably won’t throw 5 TDs a game and probably will throw some picks, eventually, but for the moment he is both a good QB in real life and also in fantasy football.
Tyrod Taylor, 11% rostered on Sleeper
Taylor is another journeyman QB who has had some of the worst luck in football and losing jobs to up and coming players both for the Browns and the Chargers. However, he was still a mobile quarterback and it showed he had 40 rushing yards along with his 21 of 33 completions for 291 yards and 2 TDs. The Texans were projected to be one of the worst teams in football this year. Instead they demolished the Jaguars 37 to 21, and the Texans had an impressive showing among their wide receivers with Brandin Cooks, Pharaoh Brown, and Danny Amendola being the primary beneficiaries, they may not be as flashy as Hopkins and Fuller but the Texan wide receiver corps allowed Taylor to show off his talents, if he is available he is worth a speculative add.
QB Honorable Mentions
Taylor Heinicke (3% rostered)
Jared Goff (16% rostered)
Elijah Mitchell, 6% rostered on Sleeper
With Raheem Mostert once again injured early in the game and Sermon a healthy scratch, the 6th round rookie pick Elijah Mitchell proved again that the 49ers rotation of running backs just keep on cruising regardless of injuries but it also continues the difficulty in predicting who the primary running back in a Kyle Shanahan offense is. For now Mitchell looks like he will be the primary beneficiary especially if Mostert is out for a while but both Trey Sermon and JaMycal Hasty might supplant Mitchell at some point. This is probably one of the riskiest waiver wire adds because of the way Shanahan uses his running backs. However, Mitchell certainly showed he could be a reliable replacement in this offense, he turned 19 touches into 104 yards and had a rushing TD as well. I would not shy away from picking him up due to how common it is for running backs to get injured and the obvious trust Shanahan has in his running back group.
Mark Ingram, 12 % rostered on Sleeper
From a rookie 6th round pick to a seasoned veteran, the joys of waiver wire selections where the best pickups are frequently not who you expect prior to the opening kickoff. This is no exception, the Texans Mark Ingram is in another crowded running back room with Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson and yet he turned 26 touches into 85 yards and a TD. Again it will be difficult to predict this backfield and a lot of Ingram’s work was created due to positive game script but for the moment he seems to be trusted more by the coaching staff, than Lindsay who had 8 touches and David Johnson who had just 3 but did more work as a receiver. Any one of them might eventually emerge as the primary back in this offense but those other two backs are over 60% owned and far less likely to be available on your waiver wires.
Kenneth Gainwell, 32% rostered on Sleeper
Although it is clear that Miles Sanders is the lead back in the Eagles’ offense, do not sleep on Gainwell. He had 9 touches for 37 yards, a TD and two receptions for 6 yards. Those are not eye-popping stats but waiver additions frequently have less to do with stats and more to do with opportunity. If Sanders were to be injured Gainwell would be the lead back immediately and he showed that he can operate in the Eagles system and their mobile quarterback of Jalen Hurts. If he is available in your league, stash him on your bench for the moment.
RB Honorable Mentions
JaMycal Hasty (2% rostered)
James White (41% rostered)
Tony Jones (33% rostered)
Christian Kirk, 20% rostered on Sleeper
The Arizona Cardinal wide receiver started this season buried on the depth chart behind target hog DeAndre Hopkins, veteran AJ Green, and even rookie hype around Rondale Moore. However, Kirk proved his worth after a down year last season, as a receiver hauling in all 5 of his targets for 70 yards and 2 TDs. This offense will obviously be spreading the ball around a lot so Kirk probably won’t always be delivering games like this but he definitely showed he is still a very talented receiver. If you need depth at the wide receiver position he is an important addition in most leagues, especially with Kyler Murray as his QB.
Zach Pascal, 4% rostered on Sleeper
The Colts wide receivers group was hurt with the loss of TY Hilton and unfortunately Michael Pittman did not make the impact that many expected of him. Instead the biggest beneficiary outside of the Colts running backs was Pascal who had 4 receptions on 5 targets for 43 yards and 2 TDs. This most likely will be a run first offense but as long as Wentz maintains his proficiency and it sets up play action passes them Pascal and Pittman should remain somewhat of touchdown options in this offense.
Tim Patrick, 3% rostered on Sleeper
No one should ever underestimate Tim Patrick as a Bronco. He had zero drops in 2020 and he started the 2021 campaign with zero drops again, despite substandard play from Drew Lock last season and being constantly buried on the depth chart. With Jerry Jeudy suffering a high ankle sprain; KJ Hamler, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick should all see plenty of targets, especially with Teddy Bridgewater under center. If you doubt that, go check out the NFC South Review from last season where Curtis Samuel, Robby Anderson, and DJ Moore were all efficient in the passing game as well. Patrick caught all 4 passes tossed his way for 39 yards and a TD. I would recommend adding him to your league if he is available because that consistency is hard to replicate and he has shown an ability to manage QB changes with ease.
WR Honorable Mentions
Deonte Harris (4% rostered)
Sterling Shepard (41% rostered)
Anthony Schwartz (2% rostered)
Juwan Johnson, 6% rostered on Sleeper
I considered Johnson to be a fantasy sleeper with Vannett and Trautman dealing with injuries and even started him in a work league in week one and was well rewarded. Johnson hauled in all 3 of his targets for 21 yards and 2 TDs. It is always tough to guess who will break out as a tight end but this converted wide receiver has the potential to do so and in this offense with so few receiving options but a gun slinging QB like Winston bodes well for his potential if nothing else.
Jared Cook, 47% rostered on Sleeper
Cook has had up and down years his entire career so don’t bank on him too much. However, with Justin Herbert as his QB and Hunter Henry in New England he has a lot of potential as he caught 5 of 8 passes for 56 yards. That may not sound impressive but against the talented Washington Football Team defense, it was very impressive. His next outing will be against the Cowboys defense that was beaten by Gronkowski for 90 yards and 2 TDs. If that trend continues the streaming options for tight end might be through the Cowboys porous pass defense.
TE Honorable Mentions
Tyler Conklin (9% rostered)
Dawson Knox (8% rostered)
Good luck on the wire this week and as always, stay true.
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