Let’s kick this off by pouring one out for those that had an unfortunate Week one. David Johnson, Danny Woodhead, and Allen Robinson owners, we salute you. If your week was lost by Thursday because you got Kareem Hunt-ed, we salute you. If your first-round pick wet the bed for you, we salute you.
But remember: this is just one week. If you’re looking at this column because you had Michael Thomas disappoint you on Monday Night, I’m going to need you to reel it in. It is infinitely more likely that Thomas bounces back then it is finding first-round value on the waiver wire. This piece should be used by those who have to deal with player injuries or those just looking to bolster their bench. I’m not sure any of these targets will win your league. But fantasy football is hardly predictable, and it’s always better to be proactive.
Candidates for the waiver wire are supposed to be widely available on ESPN and Yahoo platforms. The arbitrary number is under 50% ownership with some sort of unscientific aggregate to account for both platforms. It makes sense if you don’t think about it. And because this is a Los Angeles Rams blog, I’ll try my best to fit in a Ram every week.
Tyrod Taylor, BUF (owned in 21% of ESPN leagues, 50% of Yahoo leagues)
“T-Mobile” was a popular replacement for Jameis Winston in Week 1, but that’s because he possesses the pedigree to be a safe, high-floor quarterback. My only guess as to why he’s been ignored in drafts is becuase he lost Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. But Taylor was a QB1 last season with Sammy Watkins hardly playing. His value comes from rushing. He gives you a handful of points from running the ball that many QBs at the top don’t.
Alex Smith, KC (48.7% and 43%)
I feel like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone. I’ve always considered Alex Smith as the benchmark of mediocrity for quarterbacks, but we saw an Alex Smith that was not afraid to throw it beyond 5 yards against the Patriots. I don’t expect his ownership to skyrocket, but he is going to be a strong bye week fill-in depending on his matchups.
Tarik Cohen, CHI (44.8% and 78%)
One of the most popular adds this week will be the rookie Bear who took more of the workload from incumbent Jordan Howard than most people predicted. He’s a strong stash that could eventually emerge as a flex play with room to grow if anything happens to Howard. Howard owners should strongly consider adding Cohen as a handcuff.
Javorius Allen, BAL (4.5% and 43%)
Buck Allen is going to see an expanded workload with Danny Woodhead sidelined for upwards of 2 months. He will have to compete with Terrence West for backfield touches, but may see himself filling the Woodhead role because he is a superior receiver compared to West. Allen is a good player to stash and wait a week to see how ball touches are distributed.
Cooper Kupp, LAR (30.8% and 59%)
While I might not be the conductor of the Cooper Kupp hype train, I am fully on board. He’s a sure-handed receiver with a knack for getting open, and I fully expect him to jump Woods as the number 2 receiver for Jared Goff. All aboard!
Kenny Golladay, DET (38.8% and 66%)
Perhaps the most popular add this week will be Golladay, the big wide receiver that made a splash in the preseason. His big debut makes a case that the hype is real, and we know Matthew Stafford loves his big targets. He’s still considered third on the wide receiver depth chart, but his production can jump Marvin Jones and eventually make him a week-to-week starter in fantasy.
Charles Clay, BUF (16.7% and 20%)
Tight end is extremely top-heavy and gets weird really fast. Clay managed to get into the end zone in week 1 and was among the top-scoring tight ends. He’s one of Tyrod Taylor’s holdovers from last season and there’s an inherent level of trust in him. I wouldn’t knock people over to get him, but he’ll be as productive over the course of the season as anybody else in that low-end TE1 tier.