Forget about Sundays, fantasy football championships are won on Tuesdays. I’ll be providing you with weekly advice for navigating what could often be an intimidating waiver wire claim process. It’s a fun mix of deep stashes, dynasty roster changes, and FAAB suggestions. If you enjoy this article or want to discuss any of the players with me-I’m always happy to engage with readers and fellow dynasty degenerates on Twitter, @Top2Matt.
Josh Rosen (Owned in 1.3% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Stash
Rosen was touted throughout the draft process as being the most pro-ready quarterback in the 2018 class. Rosen drew praise for his poise in the pocket and accuracy. Bradford hasn’t shown either of those things in his first two weeks. Bradford has completed 37-61 of his attempts (60%), putting himself on a career low pace. In Week 2 he threw for just 90 yards on 27 attempts, which was just 63 yards less than in Week 1. Bradford has failed to throw a touchdown in either game but has thrown an interception in both. It appears obvious that Arizona is due for a rebuild, and Bradford surely will not be a part of it. Grab Rosen now for cheap (you shouldn’t need to spend more than 5% of your FAAB budget), he should be starting by Week 5.
Mark Walton (Owned in 0.3% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
Following Mixon’s knee injury, which will keep him out 2-6 weeks, the majority of players will be driven to Gio Bernard. Bernard will be an effective PPR threat while Mixon is out, however, Bernard has never been the main back in an offense- before Mixon, he had Jeremy Hill in 2014-2016, the BenJarvus Green-Ellis in 2013. Walton, the 4th round rookie out of Miami, is positioned to jump into the backfield and split volume with Bernard. While at Miami, Walton accumulated 2,006 rushing yards and 624 receiving yards in just 31 games. Walton proved to be a legitimate dual-threat that can help balance a Bengals offense that has been very successful so far this season. With the majority of attention being driven to Gio, the savvy dynasty player should be able to snag Walton for less than 5% of your FAAB budget.
Corey Clement (Owned in 22.6% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Priority
Clement proved to be the dual-threat running back that Sproles failed to be in Week 1. Clement made this most of his 11 carries-racking up 56 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 5 of his 6 targets for 55 yards. Whether Ajayi is injured or not moving forward, Clement should be an integral part of an offense that is re-gaining their MVP-caliber quarterback. The 23-year-old second year back out of Wisconsin should be your top waiver wire priority if you need running back help but be prepared to pay up 30-40% of your FAAB budget.
Ito Smith (Owned in 0.7% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target/Stash
As Devonta Freeman continues to battle injury, the other running backs in Atlanta gain value. You’re too late to get Tevin Coleman (owned in 94% of ESPN Leagues), which makes Ito Smith the next best thing. The 5-9” rookie out of Southern Mississippi did well in his first taste of NFL action; rushing for 36 yards on 9 carries and catching his 1 target for 8 yards. Smith’s qualifies as a target and a stash-he has the ability to contribute this season while Freeman is out, but he becomes even more valuable next season. Coleman is on the last year of his contract, and Atlanta is unlikely to pay Coleman the money he deserves with Freeman’s monster contract already on the payroll. That means Smith will be the RB2 in an offense that does well to consistently utilize two running backs-he will also be backing up the injury-prone Freeman. You should be able to snag Smith for 5-10% of your FAAB; don’t feel bad paying up for him-this is a long-term investment.
Willie Snead (Owned in 5.9% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
Joe Flacco has started the season off hot (well as hot as Joe Flacco can get) throwing for 57-89 (64%) 612 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He’s made a point to spread the ball around: Crabtree is leading the offense with 16 targets, John Brown has 14 targets, and Willie Snead also has 14 targets. Snead has pulled in the most receptions (9) of any of the receivers and has caught more yards (103) than Crabtree. All three receivers have a touchdown. We very well could be seeing a return for the 2015 & 2016 Willie Snead who totaled 141 receptions, 1,879 yards, and 7 touchdowns in 30 games. Snead is much more likely to be on your waiver wire, compared to Brown (24% owned.) or Crabtree (94% owned). You should be able to snag Snead on the cheap-somewhere between 5-10% of your FAAB should get you this solid flex option.
Zay Jones (Owned in 0.9% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Stash
Yes, I know what you’re thinking…yes, I know this is a hard sell but I’m asking you to think beyond his disappointing rookie season and off-season stories. Jones is currently leading the Buffalo wide receiver corps. in receptions (5), catch percentage (55%), and yards (89). Jones is connecting well with Rookie Josh Allen-catching 2 of his 3 targets for 63 yards in Week 2. Jones was also on the receiving end of a Josh Allen deep ball that made his truthers drool. The 2017 2nd round pick is still just 23 years old if he’s the favorite target of the Bills new franchise quarterback he’s worth stashing. Take advantage of his failure to follow through with fantasy expectations: nab him for less than 5% of your FAAB budget.
Jacob Hollister (Owned in 0.1% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Stash
Hollister outperformed his perennial All-Pro Tight End counterpart Gronkowski in Week 2. Hollister caught of 3 of his 3 targets from perennial Super-Bowl champion Tom Brady for 35 yards. Hollister is still a stash, but he’s worth keeping an eye on. There’s a lot of talent around him but Brady is desperately trying to find dependable targets. The 24-year-old second-year man out of Wyoming could develop into that guy. You should be able to get help at the shallow tight end position for 0-2% of your FAAB budget.
Jesse James (Owned in 3.2% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
James is coming off a monster game against Kansas City: he caught all 5 of his targets for 138 yards and a touchdown. James also saw 5 targets in Week 1 against a tougher Cleveland defense; he caught 3 of those targets for 60 yards. After two weeks, Roethlisberger has thrown the 2nd most passing yards in the league and has the most passing attempts. That leaves a lot of upside for a James, playing in the shallowest position in fantasy football. I’m always hesitant to blow my FAAB on tight ends but if you need a tight end James is worth 10-15% of your FAAB budget.