Welcome one and all to Waiver Wire Wonders!! Once again, it will be my honor to organize the weekly wonders for consideration to be picked up on your waiver wire. Thank you to our regular readers and to those that are just finding this column! Now that drafts are over, it’s never too early to get a peek at who is available! Many leagues have open free agency before the first regular season game, check your league rules to see if you can jump in and correct those draft day mistakes.
Though this column usually lists pickup potentials in order of relevance, we start the season grouping the players by position. There were a lot of moves made over the weekend, as teams prepare to pare their rosters down to 53. Lots to choose from this week, on to the wonders!
QB Dak Prescott, Dallas
The streak of bad luck continues to follow Tony Romo, opening the door for Dak Prescott to begin the season as the starter for the Cowboys. The rookie has been impressive all preseason, enough so that Dallas will open the season with a wide open playbook. Quarterbacks in the NFL go down early and often, so the astute fantasy owner will carry two or three NFL starters. Likely undrafted in most leagues, Prescott is available in half the online leagues. Grab him now before he is able to mix in a couple 250+ yard passing games.
QB Sam Bradford, Minnesota
This will be the third stop on his “disappointing high expectations” NFL tour. Things never worked out that well in St.Louis, and his tour in Philadelphia was extremely disappointing. The loss of Teddy Bridgewater thrust the Vikings into desperation mode, forcing their hand and necessitating the trade for Bradford. They’ve given up a couple draft picks, so the expectation will be that Bradford will be the starter. The Vikings have a conservative playbook, so they will be asking Bradford to be mistake free. This may be his last chance, so he will have to perform. The fantasy numbers are likely to be conservative, but as a second or third QB on a fantasy team, Bradford will be getting playing time so he is worth a look off the waiver wire.
QB Trevor Siemian, Denver
Many are expecting Siemian to be a placeholder until Paxton Lynch is ready to be the starter, but the feeling here is that Siemian can hold onto the job deep into the season, possibly the entire way through. The Broncos are a team that will win games, and with Siemian leading them to wins, the coaching staff will be reluctant to make a move away from him. As mentioned above, starting quarterbacks in the NFL are worth a roster spot on fantasy teams, those in need of a second or third can grab Siemian early to cover a bye week later on.
RB Spencer Ware, Kansas City
The Chiefs are flying the warning flags, saying that starter Jamaal Charles is not yet in game shape. This means that at worst Ware will open the season at the starter. He has been showcasing his wares all preseason, becoming heavily involved in the passing game. This translates into a long term role in the Kansas City offense, with the potential for more should Charles take his time working into game shape. He is worth owning in all formats as veteran players getting a slow start on the season have a higher potential for getting hurt and missing time later in the season.
RB Terrance West, Baltimore
The Ravens released then re-signed Justin Forsett, but we believe that this will be a wide open competition for carries in the early portion of the season. Forsett is likely to carry more than the rest, but West made enough of an impression this preseason to be in the mix. Running backs that get playing time are hard to come by, so those fantasy owners with a couple spots at the end of their roster would be wise to add a player like West to see if he pans out and become the full-time starter.
RB Rob Kelley, Washington
The backfield for the Redskins is very crowded, with several talented players vying for playing time. Undrafted rookie Rob Kelley got a chance to shine in the preseason, and he took advantage of the playing time he was given. Preseason and regular season are two different animals, but Kelley has impressed enough to at least be “in the mix” for Washington. He is worth a flyer for owners looking to stash a potential starter at the end of their bench.
RB Mike Gillislee, Buffalo
Another crowded place for a backfield player is in Buffalo, where veterans LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush are being counted on to be team leaders. Lurking in the shadows is youngster Mike Gillislee, who some are saying has already established himself as the backup to the starter McCoy. Rex Ryan can go off the rails at any time, so this situation is likely to be fluid for much of the season. The likelihood of McCoy and/or Bush staying healthy all season are slim, so Gillislee is worth owning early in the season for a late season bounty.