The important thing to remember, is that it has only been one week. You never want to fall too far behind, but even if the sky has fallen in on your world, know that you are only 0-1 with the rest of the season in front of you. Hardly any team goes undefeated in fantasy. Dust yourself off and get back out there. Most importantly, if you imploded in Week 1 and lost a stud along the way, then you should be higher up on the waiver wire for this week – which happens to be the most important waiver week of the season.
How long ago now it seems like New England was going to run the table, with odds-makers setting the odds when, or if, they might lose a game. Kansas City walked into Gillette Stadium and rained on banner day, handing New England a humbling defeat. If this were fantasy, then Bill Belichick would be “on to the waiver wire.” Despite what the callers are saying on the local New England sports shows, there is plenty of time to rebound … and there is plenty of time for you.
So here we are with the first real look at the season’s waiver wonders. As a brief reminder, we split up the column into four categories. The “Smokin’ Hot” listing is the grouping of the top players available this week. These are players who can have both an immediate and long-term fantasy impact. The “Solid Pickups” are players who are on the cusp of moving into the top category. They might be only a week away from making headlines, so those of you buried at the bottom of the waiver wire can look here to get a jump on next week’s prime time players.
After that, the “On the Radar” types are those who are starting to make some noise. A shuffling of an NFL team’s depth chart might get them a mention in this listing. These are speculative adds to consider before they blow up and become consistent fantasy contributors. Finally, the “Deep and/or Dynasty Only” players are just that, only for those in leagues with deep rosters or dynasty leagues. The players listed here are weeks, if not an entire season away from making a fantasy impact.
Wherever you are on the waiver wire, take a look and see what is out there. Now is not the time to panic on an early draft pick who did not perform well in the opening game, but the flier at the bottom of your roster can certainly be sent packing.
We start this week with a general discussion about defense. There are some bad NFL teams, and some atrocious offenses out there. Jacksonville was the top-scoring defense on opening week, followed by the Los Angeles Rams. The offenses they played against, Houston with Tom Savage at the controls, and Indianapolis minus Andrew Luck, are going to be very bad. Cincinnati looks to be in bad shape as well, but the jury is still out on them. The point is, this is shaping up to be a year where you hold one “good” defense, but keep your options open and stream teams that are playing against Houston and Indianapolis. Other teams are sure to also develop, but for now, defenses playing those offenses are worth grabbing. On the flip side, defenses like Arizona and New England are going to be OK. They did not score particularly well this opening week, but their in-division schedule will provide enough times for them to be your starter. So hold onto those defenses.
And speaking of the New England, the team was so fed up with the way it played at home in the two preseason games and the home opener, management decided to tear up the turf that had just been installed this past May. A bad break for the soccer teams scheduled to play there next week as it will take a couple weeks to lay down the new fake sod. So there’s always that. When laying eggs, rip things up and start over.
As always, thanks for reading, best of luck and onto this week’s wonders!
RB Tarik Cohen, Chicago
At the top of this week’s must have waiver wire additions is Tarik Cohen. Despite being in a timeshare with Jordan Howard, Cohen had the kind of game that the Chicago coaching staff cannot ignore – this is a player that they need to make sure gets plenty of touches on the ball. He ran for 66 yards on only five carries, and caught eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. He will be very involved in the Chicago offense going forward, so grab him if you can and enjoy his production.
QB Alex Smith, Kansas City
On a night where New England raised a banner, it was Alex Smith who became the star of the show. He was on fire from start to finish, torching the New England defense for 368 yards and four touchdowns. With Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill running wild, the Kansas City offense looks to be as potent and fast paced as ever. This may be the year that Smith establishes himself as one of the go-to fantasy quarterbacks in the league.
WR Allen Hurns, Jacksonville
Hurns had a solid preseason for Jacksonville, working primarily as the slot receiver. The team’s top receiver, Allen Robinson was injured in Week 1 and has been ruled out for the rest of the season, thrusting Hurns into a more prominent role in the offense. Unfortunately, we are talking about a player in the offense where Blake Bortles is throwing the rock, but someone has to catch the ball. Jacksonville will be playing from behind much of the season, creating good opportunity for the entire passing offense.
K Giorgio Tavecchio, Oakland
Quick side story: like most, I’m in a re-draft league with a great group of guys. We believe it’s our 22nd year, with 11 of the original 12 owners still in the league. I mentioned on draft day that I would be drafting two kickers because each of the last two years I’ve only drafted one and he somehow ended up getting injured before the first game, thus earning me a zero at that position as we do not have waivers prior to the opening game. I liked Sebastian Janikowski, being an old timer, he is well under the fantasy radar so he can be had late in the draft. Oakland is an offense that is going to score points, while also generating plenty of opportunity for three pointers from their kicker. The streak is now up to three years, Janikowski ended up on Injured Reserve prior to the first game, opening the door for Tavecchio to kick for Oakland. He did not disappoint, connecting for four field goals, with two of them coming from a distance of longer than 50 yards.