You won’t win your league at the draft, and the injury report for Week 2 is evidence enough for that.
Hey, David Johnson owners, how are you feeling about your team after the first week? What about those of you who nabbed Allen Robinson with the hope he would return to his 2015 form?
It’s easy to feel some sickening sense of doubt and regret after the dust from Week 1 settles, but you literally don’t have the time to sit back and wait for things to get better. The time for action is now, and the waiver wire is the first, and only, place you need to look for talent this early in your league’s season. Any type of trades you draw up are going to end up costing you too much, because the price of Mike Gillislee, for example, effectively doubled after his LeGarrette Blount-esque performance on Thursday’s edition of “Sunday Night Football.”
Here are a few players at each position that could end up paving your way to a league championship by season’s end:
Tyrod Taylor - available in 83.5 percent of leagues
The top quarterbacks around the league weren’t the guys you or the rest of your league were expecting it to be. Aaron Rodgers, the first QB off the board in most leagues, finished behind the likes of these guys:
- Alex Smith
- Matthew Stafford
- Sam Bradford
- Trevor Siemian
- Carson Wentz
- Tyrod Taylor
- DeShone Kizer
After suffering a concussion during the preseason, and seemingly falling out of favor in Buffalo for the umpteenth time, it seemed like Taylor’s tenure as starting quarterback for the Bills had a quickly approaching expiration date. Instead, he went out Week 1 and lit up the fantasy box score to the tune of 224 passing yards, two touchdowns and eight rushing attempts for 38 yards. Taylor’s ADP during draft season? 154th overall.
The lesson, as always, kids: Wait to draft your signal caller, and play the matchups. If you have yourself a Brady, Brees, or Wilson, add Taylor to give yourself some valuable flexibility.
Philip Rivers - available in 33.3 percent of leagues
Rivers should be rostered, so adding him to your team might be a long shot, but after his performance against the Broncos, the guy can still put up gaudy fantasy numbers against even the best of defenses.
Next week, the Chargers get the Dolphins, fresh off their bye week. In 2016, Miami surrendered the fourth-most points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks, and it wouldn’t come as any surprise to see Rivers sling his way to another top-10 start for a second consecutive week.
Tarik Cohen - available in 76.3 percent of leagues
Due to his height and play style, Cohen has been compared to fellow scatback Darren Sproles, and last week, Cohen proved he could produce like him on the stat sheet too: 66 yards on five rushing attempts, and eight catches for 47 yards and a touchdown sounds like vintage Sproles.
His numbers were nothing short of impressive, finishing the week third amongst running backs in fantasy points, but what was even more stunning were the 12 targets he earned right out of the gate. Howard will continue to be the lead back, but Cohen is certainly an integral part of an offense desperate for receivers and speed.
Chris Thompson - available in 45.1 percent of leagues
Different name, same theme. Pass-catching backs showed up in a big way during Week 1, including Thompson from Washington who finished 14th among RBs in fantasy points. Rob Kelley didn’t have quite the game many were expecting from him, rushing for just 30 yards on 10 carries and getting targeted only once.
Thompson didn’t fare any better running the football, gaining four yards on three carries, but his ability to catch it out of the backfield makes him an intriguing commodity, especially in PPR formats.
Kenny Golladay - available in 78.7 percent of leagues
No team in the NFL lined up in more three wide receiver sets than the Lions in Week 1, and with the performance Golladay had in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, there’s no reason for Detroit to change things up. The rookie wide receiver clearly has a role.
Obviously, it’s unrealistic for you to expect another day out of Golladay like his debut—4 catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns—but his rough first half included two drops. Besides, the team clearly views him as a matchup mismatch. On a two-point conversion attempt against the Cardinals, Stafford lobbed up a jump ball for Golladay as he faded towards the back of the end zone. The pass was incomplete, but the message was sent.
Kendall Wright - available in 93 percent of leagues
Injuries to Cameron Meredith and Kevin White have left the Bears extremely lean on pass catchers. Wright was brought in this past offseason from Tennessee, where their run-heavy offense led to him seeing the field less—the Titans lined up with three wideouts a league-low 422 times.
Wright’s skillset best suits him to play in the slot, and you’d have to imagine the Bears thought he’s occupy that spot, flanked by the likes of Meredith and White on the outside. Meredith is out of the season and it wouldn’t surprise me if White misses the majority of the rest of 2017, so someone has to be on the receiving end of passes in Chicago. Sure, the Bears will lean on Jordan Howard to run the ball, and even the dynamic, aforementioned Tarik Cohen could be in line to keep getting the ball thrown his way, but Wright is bound to see an uptick from the four targets he saw on Sunday.
Eric Ebron - available in 62 percent of leagues
Something to keep in mind when it comes to Ebron’s relatively quiet effort last week when it comes to fantasy numbers: the Cardinals’ linebackers are an especially good unit in coverage. Detroit attacked Arizona in a variety of ways, but Ebron’s production suffered, getting targeted just three times for two catches and 9 yards.
Don’t be so quick to give up on Ebron’s fantasy potential. This week, the Lions head to New York to play the Giants. In 2016, the Giants gave up the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing tight ends. On Sunday night, the 2017 Giants gave up seven catches, 59 yards and a touchdown to Jason Witten—not exactly a run after the catch kind of guy.
Ebron is in store for a big day against the second level of the Giants’ defense next Monday, and it would be wise of you to pick him up, even if it’s just for Week 2 and to use him to grease the wheels on a deal later on in the season.