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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
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Through The Wire - Week 1
9/4/18 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business, but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious selections to help your team from week to week while you strive to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

I’ll provide you with some options for leagues that offer a Week 1 waiver wire or open the free agent pool post-draft. With the injury to Jerick McKinnon, roster finalization, and a clearer picture emerging in some position battles, many owners who drafted before this news are looking to make some tweaks at the season’s outset.


Alex Smith, WAS – Smith jumps off the board as the most viable, efficient QB in the free agent mix, and owned in the highest percentage of leagues among this group (65-75 percent). He’s also coming off a 4042-26-5 season for the Chiefs. The only thing keeping him from 100 percent ownership is the move to Washington, a franchise heading in the opposite direction of Kansas City. While the weapons are not as dynamic, look for Smith to immediately form a bond with Jamison Crowder, involve the promising Paul Richardson and target Jordan Reed while the beleaguered TE is still healthy.

Andy Dalton, CIN – Dalton’s completion percentage fell below 60 percent in 2017 (first time since his rookie season), so it’s not surprising he’s owned in just 15-20 percent of fantasy leagues heading into Week 1. But, he led the NFL with a 130.9 passer rating during the preseason, and the Bengals QB is reportedly excited about the 'aggressive' offense that OC Bill Lazor has installed. The squad is healthy and Dalton has looked sharp over the last month.

Dak Prescott, DAL – With a bevy of new and untested weapons in the offensive mix, Prescott is a riskier roster selection than the previous two quarterbacks, but his upside is just as high. The 2017 season showed a more tentative, flat QB than we saw during his breakout rookie season, but perhaps the omission of Dez Bryant and the cloud hanging over Ezekiel Elliott will help usher in a new mental approach for Dak, who’s currently owned in about half of fantasy leagues.

Case Keenum, DEN – The change of scenery hurts Keenum’s statistical prospects but should improve the offense tremendously. He’s a little unpredictable, but he’s capable of leading the Broncos on scoring drives and has his confidence in the offense should only improve. A true sleeper, Keenum could easily end up among the top 15 or 20 QBs if he stays healthy, making an excellent QB2.

Derek Carr, OAK – We haven’t seen much of Carr this preseason and the Raider are a team in disarray. Carr’s outlook is similar to Prescott’s; he’s got some upside but a dangerously low floor (even if his is a tad higher than Dak’s). Jordy Nelson could replace Michael Crabtree as his “security blanket”, and Amari Cooper has changed his body to better absorb the punishment of playing 16 games.

Other QBs to consider: Marcus Mariota, Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles

Matt Breida

Replacing Jerick McKinnon: The 49ers are looking to Matt Breida and Alfred Morris to fill the void.

Running Backs

Matt Breida / Alfred Morris, SF – Breida made the initial column of 2017 as well, as an undrafted rookie threatening Carlos Hyde’s touches. Now Hyde is off to Cleveland, the presumptive 2018 starter (McKinnon) has a torn ACL, and Breida will get his shot to carry more of the load in San Francisco where Alfred Morris projects as the early-down ball carrier. Breida is the better target for PPR leagues while Morris is more appealing in Non-PPR formats.

Adrian Peterson, Rob Kelley & Samaje Perine, WAS – Peterson (75-80 percent owned) and Kelley (5 percent) are both ahead of Perine on the depth chart. Derrick Guice (a steal in the second round of the NFL draft), tore his ACL in early August, vaulting this bunch into relevance. Passing down back and PPR darling Chris Thompson is nearly universally owned since Guice was slated to handle a lot of pass protection. It’s hard to imagine a clear picture emerging after a game or two, but this appears to be a bona fide committee with changing roles the entire season.

Latavius Murray, MIN – Dalvin Cook resumes the starting role he lost due to injury last season, and Murray (40-50 percent owned) once again looms as a fumble-prone goal line back who could vulture some TDs. He had a slew of big games in 2017 as the Vikings lead back but would need another injury to Cook to vault past his RB4/5 status.

Corey Clement, PHI – Clement (20-30 percent owned) is a dynamic back who brings production when he gets touches, and there’s a clearer path to them in 2018. He had zero fumbles in 74 attempts last season and will have a larger role with LeGarrette Blount in Detroit.

Theo Riddick, DET – I’ll make this simple. Riddick needs to be owned in 12-team PPR leagues, but not in standard scoring. He’s never going to have an early down role due to his size but projects to catch 50-60 passes.

Other RBs to consider: Frank Gore, LeGarrette Blount, Javorius Allen, Austin Ekeler

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Tyler Lockett, SEA – Lockett (50-60 percent owned) just doesn’t get the target volume needed to crack the Top 25 in WR projections, but he does have some big games once in a while. With Richardson off to the Redskins, maybe Lockett will get more of those looks from Russell Wilson.

John Brown, BAL – Brown’s medical diagnosis (sickle cell trait) and injury history have prevented him from being drafted in some leagues, but he’s poised for success in 2018 and had a strong preseason working with Flacco. He’s reportedly healthy after getting over the ailments that plagued him in 2017, and believes the bigger issue relating to his health was a cyst on his spine, which caused pain and fatigue in his legs over the past couple seasons. He’s available in about 70-75 percent of leagues and could have a monster 2018 campaign.

Keelan Cole & Dede Westbrook, JAC – Cole’s (50-55 percent) ownership dwarfs that of Westbrook (7-10 percent) since Cole is expected to have the bigger role, but it’s hard to say how the targets will shake out in this run-heavy offense with the Allens (Hurns and Robinson) off to other teams.

Ryan Grant, IND – Grant signed with the Colts after a four-year stint in Washington, where he wowed coaches with his utility but didn’t get much love from pundits. A fifth-round pick back in 2015, Grant totaled 68 targets in his first three seasons before busting out with 45-573-4 on 65 targets last season. He’s only 10-15 percent owned despite a solid work ethic and earning a starting role.

Anthony Miller, CHI – The rookie WR out of Memphis is earning rave reviews and looks to be the starting slot receiver in Chicago in what portends to be a pass-heavy offense. He’s 25-35 percent owned and may have the biggest role among rookie receivers.

TE Charles Clay, BUF – The Bills offense is a mess, and that means Charles Clay (50-60 percent owned) could see a huge target volume early on this season. Without many trusted targets, the inexperienced QBs (Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman) will need s safety valve like Clay, who had at least 50 catches in four straight seasons before dropping to 49 last year.

TEs O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, TB – Brate signed the big deal and is the more popular target, but Howard is probably the guy who’ll be on the field more. Howard is a more explosive player who could emerge as a viable option in 2018.

TE Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI – RSJ had some off-field issues this summer but looks forward to an expanded role in 2018 after a couple big games last season in weeks 11 and 12. Owned in just 5-10 percent of leagues, he’s a sleeper with upside and a low floor, so he only makes sense in deeper formats to start the season.

Dez Bryant, FA – If he signs with a team and carves out any kind of role, his talent should make him fantasy viable within weeks. I’ve drafted him in a couple leagues with my last pick as a late-round flier, so I’m not expecting much.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: John Ross, Cole Beasley, Kenny Golladay, TE Vance McDonald, TE Eric Ebron, Mike Williams, Michael Gallup

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