I promise I am not going to lead every waiver wire article in with a Jurassic Park reference, although there is enough material to do so. We had a lot of John Hammond’s in the fantasy football universe last week “sparing no expense” when it came to San Francisco running back Elijah Mitchell. Bids of a full 100% of FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) were not just uncommon, they were the standard. Not since Woody Harrelson took one million dollars from Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal has a monetary for goods exchange left someone feeling so cheated. Well, it wasn’t so terrible; 7.3 PPR fantasy points aren’t atrocious. Mitchell seems to have held onto the job with the entire backfield in San Francisco, and possibly the training staff too, getting injured on Sunday. Let’s hope it works out for those who did end up spending a lot. Just remember, this isn’t Brewster’s Millions. You don’t need to spend every penny of your FAAB right away to risk losing it all. Spend up when you need a player and make competitive bids when you want a player. There is nothing worse than needing to put IOUs in a Samsonite briefcase to salvage your season, possibly leaving you feeling a bit Dumb and Dumber.
In case you didn’t read the Wright on Waivers: Week Two column, a few notes on how this article will run every week. I want to keep it simple, player, team, roster percentage, free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) dollar amount (in percentage) I would use on the player, and of course a little background on why the player is being suggested. The players will be listed by position in order of priority. I also want to provide you something quick and easy to pull up while making your waiver claims on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. At the bottom of every article, you will find the “wavier cheat sheet.”
QUARTERBACK – The combination of Tua Tagovailoa, Andy Dalton, Carson Wentz, and Tyrod Taylor dealing with injuries and the underperformance of Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Tannehill could have fantasy managers scrambling for a quarterback especially in leagues where two are able to be started. Here are a few options for your teams.
Derek Carr| Las Vegas Raiders
27% Rostered | 25% of FAAB
If you had Derek Carr leading the NFL in passing yards after two weeks on your Fantasy Football bingo card, congratulations. Carr has looked excellent this season with 817 passing yards, four touchdowns, and only one interception. Coming into the season, the only player most people were talking about in Las Vegas was Darren Waller. Carr has turned the sands, there are no tides in Vegas unless you are staying at the Wynn I believe, for the Raiders as he has peppered four players with double-digit targets in 2021. While he is creating fantasy assets, he’s also made one out of himself. Carr faces a tough matchup with the Dolphins this week but has just come off great performances against tough defenses in the Ravens and Steelers. Carr looks to be breaking out.
Justin Fields | Chicago Bears
51% Rostered | 15% of FAAB
The “well I mean we didn’t want him to get hurt, but we will take it” prayers of every Chicago Bears fan were answered this week. Andy Dalton looks to be out for at least this week, and I fully anticipate Justin Fields to win the job based on his next three games. Earlier this season I pumped up the Bears schedule once it got outside the first week. Now Fields will have matchups against the Browns, Lions, and Raiders: three of the worst teams against the pass last season. This year all three of those teams have given up at least 300 total yards or multiple touchdowns to each quarterback they’ve faced.
Taylor Heinicke | Washington Football Team
4% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
I was really impressed with Taylor Heinicke last Thursday night. Any fears I had for Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas were put to rest in one half of football. If you lost Ryan Fitzpatrick last week and had to pick him up to start, you were rewarded with a respectable twenty-four-point fantasy performance. Heinicke gets the Falcons in Week Four so he may be a quarterback to stash for one week if you have the room for the potential of a week-winning performance then. You shouldn’t need to invest much, and it could pay off greatly especially with a fantasy playoff schedule I mentioned last week of two Dallas and two Philadelphia games.
Daniel Jones | New York Giants
19% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
When the phrase “Konami Code Quarterback” was thrown around this offseason, few were including Daniel Jones in the conversation. Still, he has thrown and rushed for a touchdown in both of his games this season including his thirty-one-point fantasy performance against the Football Team last Thursday night. Jones has the Falcons this week which have given up both over 300 total yards and multiple touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Jones could very well be a Top 12 quarterback this week but will be running into the Rams and Saints two out of the following three weeks. Still, I am adding him in any two quarterback leagues where he is available and dropping the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz to secure his services.
Sam Darnold | Carolina Panthers
15% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
Many thought Darnold would have the best game of his early season in Week One against the New York Jets, but he was waiting to unveil his talents in a divisional matchup against the Saints. I’m not overly excited for Darnold but can’t ignore his next four matchups against the Texans, Cowboys, Eagles, and Vikings. If you are streaming quarterbacks week to week, Darnold is someone you can roll with for the next four for sure.
RUNNING BACK- While not the most exciting options, injuries to a pair of West division running backs Josh Jacobs and Darrell Henderson may have you looking for replacements.
Cordarrelle Patterson | Atlanta Falcons
15% Rostered |15% of FAAB
Here’s hoping the platform you are playing on is progressive and has allotted the running back designation to Patterson since, well he’s absolutely been utilized there. Patterson the same amount of carries this season as Dolphins lead back Myles Gaskin and pretty much every second back on every team. If not, and you can only play him at wide receiver, he is still worth the add. Heck, he even lined up at quarterback this week. Patterson was absent from the waiver wire article last week but shows up this week following his twenty-five-point PPR performance against the Buccaneers. While he is trailing in carries to Mike Davis, Patterson seems to have found favor with Matt Ryan and has a role with the Falcons.
Tony Pollard | Dallas Cowboys
53% Rostered | 12% of FAAB
The Dallas Cowboys are now running a two back system and surprisingly Pollard has come out on top of teammate Ezekiel Elliott the last two weeks. Elliott is leading Dallas in carries and Pollard in targets. So especially in PPR leagues, you’ll be wanting to add Pollard. If your league gives points for return yardage, Pollard is used there as well. I don’t think we are witnessing a changing of the guard in Dallas, rather a reduction in workload. They could be wanting to keep Elliott for a playoff run late in the year. Either way, Pollard is looking great and is someone worth adding. He’s available in about half of leagues currently.
J.D. McKissic | Washington Football Team
29% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Any dreams of Antonio Gibson usage in the passing game are slowly fading away. Last Thursday night’s performance by J.D. McKissic may have been a nail, while not the final one, in the coffin. McKissic hauled in five receptions for 83 yards and added a rushing touchdown. There is also the chance McKissic’s usage was higher because of a four-day turnaround from the Football Team’s Week One matchup. Still, Heinicke seems to like targeting McKissic so he’s worth an add.
James White | New England Patriots
42% Rostered |10% of FAAB
I highlighted Patriots receiving back James White in my article last week and he went out and had another wonderful week with six receptions, sixty-five total yards, and a touchdown. His roster percentage only went up two percent last week. Expect that number to increase with his second double-digit fantasy performance in as many weeks. I don’t see White’s performance tied to the healthy scratch of Rhamondre Stevenson, so add him where you can.
Sony Michel | Los Angeles Rams
60% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
Rams running back Darrell Henderson left Sunday’s matchup against the Colts in the fourth quarter with a rib injury. Michel had ten carries for 46 yards in the game with all the work coming after Henderson’s exit. It was an encouraging performance in a small sample size and if Henderson were to miss Sunday afternoon’s matchup against Tampa Bay, Michel would be worth at least a flex start.
49% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
Devin Singletary has looked good this season with an eighty total yard performance in a Moss-less Week One followed up by eighty-two yards and a touchdown in Week Two. The change in Week Two was Moss was playing and getting majority of the goal line work. If Moss is going to be the back the Bills are handing off to inside the tens, he is worth a spot on your roster. Moss may have only had twenty-six yards rushing, but he packaged two touchdowns into them.
WIDE RECEIVER- Two must-add options highlight this week’s wide receiver waiver wire crop. Try saying that three times fast.
Rondale Moore | Arizona Cardinals
34% Rostered | 30% of FAAB
Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase may have been everyone’s preseason pick as the best rookie wide receiver, but after two weeks Rondale Moore is out to steal his spot. I recommended Moore as an add last week, but now I am putting him as the top waiver priority for Week Three in all my leagues. Moore has thirteen total targets, 182 yards, and a touchdown in his first two games in the NFL. Last season the Cardinals ran the fifth most plays in the league and their offense has shown no signs of slowing down. The Cardinals travel to Jacksonville to face a Jaguars team who have given up a 100-yard receiving performance and touchdowns to multiple receivers the past two weeks.
Sterling Shepard | New York Giants
57% Rostered | 20% of FAAB
Sterling Shepard was added in a lot of leagues last week after his 7/113/1 line in Week One against the Broncos. He may not have had a touchdown in Week Two against the Football Team, but he more than made up for it with nine receptions and ninety-four yards. He’s still floating out there in over forty percent of leagues, so if available he needs to be added.
Henry Ruggs| Las Vegas Raiders
35% Rostered | 20% of FAAB
Partnering off the Derek Carr recommendation, something special is going on in Las Vegas and it’s not just the cheap buffets. The Raiders’ deep threat second-year wide receiver went for 113 yards receiving a touchdown including a highlight-worthy sixty-one-yard bomb from Carr. He is currently third on his team in targets behind Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow (also mentioned as an add below!) but is averaging 22.7 yards a reception or 16.6 if you remove the aforementioned sixty-one-yard bomb. Ruggs is a good WR3 option or flex heading into a Week Three matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
Darnell Mooney | Chicago Bears
45% Rostered | 15% of FAAB
Darnell Mooney has not been much of a standout for fantasy managers in 2021. His 12.6 PPR points were serviceable, but the targets have absolutely been there. He is tied for the most targets on the Bears currently and is leading the team in receptions. Mooney was also a favorite of next-man-up/franchise-quarterback Justin Fields in the preseason. If Fields takes over and finds success, I see Mooney being a big part of it.
K.J. Osborn | Minnesota Vikings
3% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
K.J. Osborn did not have a single reception in the regular season for the Vikings in 2020, but he is making up for lost time with twelve in the first two weeks of 2021. Henry Ruggs wasn’t the only one with a highlight-reel catch, as Osborn hauled in a sixty-four-yard reception for his first career touchdown. The Vikings have a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Seahawks, who have allowed an average of 300 yards per game and a total of four touchdowns on the season. Osborn will be third fiddle in this offense, and he seems like the main beneficiary of tight end Irv Smith’s preseason injury.
Receiver is always deep, so here are a few more players rostered in less than 25% I would recommend rostering on your bench:
TIGHT END- There is no standout recommendation this week, but a few options who could end up finding work in their high-powered offenses.
Austin Hooper | Cleveland Browns
48% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
David Njoku | Cleveland Browns
8% Rostered | 3% of FAAB
Jarvis Landry was injured on Sunday, and no one is quite sure when Odell Beckham Jr. is going to return to the Browns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield needs to throw the ball to someone, and it seems he has found favor in his tight ends. Each of the past two weeks his most targeted player has been one (or two) of his tight ends. Hooper has the clearest role towards the most work, but he is also rostered in the highest percentage of leagues. There is also David Njoku, but injury concerns have me looking away from him. Priority here is Hooper and then Njoku.
Maxx Williams | Arizona Cardinals
1% Rostered | 3% of FAAB
“No, no, there’s two “o’s” in Goose boys.” Well, there are also two x’s in Maxx and his performance on Sunday honestly probably called for the additional letter. Williams was second on his team in receptions with seven which he turned into 94 yards in the Cardinals Sunday’s shoot-out victory over the Vikings. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense, but for a position where sometimes just workload is enough, Williams might just be serviceable. You might even be able to pick up off free agency once waivers process but throwing three dollars of a hundred-dollar budget should be enough to secure him.
Pat Freiermuth | Pittsburgh Steelers
7% Rostered | 2% of FAAB
This is a deep league and more speculative add than anything. Steelers star wide receiver Diontae Johnson looks to be out for Week Three against the Bengals and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks to be having trouble once again getting the ball downfield with any accuracy. Pat Freiermuth presents a great short-yardage option who has yet to drop a target in 2021. In 2020, the Bengals gave up the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends and Sunday will be their first matchup against a notable tight end. Freiermuth could end up finding the end zone for the first time since week two of the preseason.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS- One go-out-and-get option and a match-up based recommendation
20% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
I usually wouldn’t recommend using much, if any, FAAB on a DST. The Panthers have a perfect storm coming with a Thursday night matchup against a rookie quarterback with Davis Mills and the Houston Texans. The Panthers have given double digit points to fantasy managers the past two weeks highlighted by ten sacks and three interceptions. They will be the most added DST this week and for good reason. They are proving to be one of the best defenses in the league.
Las Vegas Raiders
2% Rostered | 2% of FAAB
Keep an eye if Tua Tagovailoa misses the start on Sunday, which would put Jacoby Brissett on the field for the Miami Dolphins. Brissett has not started a game in almost two years and when he did, his game logs were unimpressive only throwing for over two hundred and sixty yards once in his last ten games as a starter. The Raiders have been fine this year, especially containing Ben Roethlisberger last week sacking him twice and turning him over once.