Week 2 Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

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So, you’ve survived the “day of days” and now you’re looking for something, anything, to grab onto. Allen Robinson’s ACL is torn and David Johnson hurt his wrist (injured reserve), among other fantasy-relevant injuries to offensive players and defensive units. While we still have the Monday Night doubleheader to deal with, there's plenty to sort through already.

Below are my Week 2 waiver wire pickups, or free agents to consider adding to your fantasy football teams. I provide information on players that are owned in roughly 35% of Yahoo leagues or less, so that you can make an educated decision about who to add to your squad.

Be sure to also check out our positional waiver wire analysis columns, with in-depth analysis for all options heading into Week 2. Now let’s look around the league at many names who are worth mentioning as Week 2 approaches.

Editor's note: Purchase any NFL Lineup Optimizer pass (including daily DFS cheat sheets), and you also get access to NBA and NHL Optimizers and DFS cheat sheets.

 

Quarterbacks - Week 2 Waiver Wire

Alex Smith (QB, KC) - 22% owned

Kicking off the 2017 season in a most peculiar fashion, Smith appeared to be filming the sequel to Space Jam as he showed off all of the talents that have made Tom Brady, Tom Brady, in Brady’s own house. The disrespect! But seriously, it was pretty awesome to see Smith uncork that deep ball to Tyreek Hill before throwing a perfect strike to Kareem Hunt on a deep seam. There’s no undoing his career thus far and how he’s earned the title of “game manager,” as well as how big a role New England’s terrible defense/still potent offense played a role in KC keeping the pedal down so effectively.

But, this is a string absolutely worth pulling on for those in deeper waters. We’ll really see what he’s about in Week 2 at home against a solid Philadelphia defense that held Washington’s potent offense to 17 points, but I, for one, welcome our new Alex Smith overlord. The bottom line is that this pulls his range of outcomes up a bit in serious streaming consideration, but don’t get carried away.

Jay Cutler (QB, MIA) - 28% owned

We still have yet to see Cutler and the Dolphins take the field in 2017 thanks to the horrors of Mother Nature, nor have we seen his Week 2 opponent in the Chargers. Even if next week’s opener doesn’t go so well, his next five weeks go like this: @NYJ, NO, TEN, @ATL, NYJ. Miami gets their Jets games out of the way rather early, which is convenient for QB streamers. Those NO and ATL games could also turn into shootouts that require lots of action on Cutler’s part. For all of the hype around DeVante Parker, it’s Cutler who controls it all. He’ll throw a few questionable picks, I’m sure, but could find himself in the top-12 more weeks than not.

DeShone Kizer (QB, CLE) - 10% owned

Kizer made a lot of checkdown throws in his professional debut, completing 20-of-30 passes for 222 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed it five times for 17 yards and another TD, which makes him a QB1 this week. He also ate a lot of sacks and had to do quite a bit of dancing in the pocket against Pittsburgh, but kept his composure and wasn’t afraid to hit his safety valves. That’s not to say that the kid is unwilling to let it fly down the field, but he appears to be a legitimate streaming arm and should absolutely be owned/starting in all 2-QB leagues. That said, a road date with the Ravens next week is far from ideal, but Indianapolis in Week 3 and the Jets in Week 5 is healthy.

 

Running Backs - Week 2 Waiver Wire

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI) - 12% owned

Well, it seems that Chicago found their own version of Christian McCaffrey. Okay, while the elusive Cohen had a great day and showcased his highlight-reel abilities based on speed and strength, we need to stay grounded. He could be a wonderful PPR pickup and standard flex/depth option, but he’s unlikely to go on an Antone Smith-like hyper-efficiency kick with his touches. Jordan Howard may not have looked great, but he’s still going to touch the ball more (38 snaps to Cohen’s 28).

That said, Chicago is going to be playing from behind an awful lot and Cohen has some Danny Woodhead to him (McCaffrey was an exaggeration, just to be clear). The fleet-footed, five-foot-six running back’s stat line is going to make him the belle of the waiver-wire ball heading into a Week 2 matchup with the Bucs in Tampa Bay, but the Falcons are also not known for their ability to handle agile RBs like Cohen (cough James White cough). He’s unlikely to rack up big rushing totals, but seeing 6-8 targets per game is reasonable if Benny Cunningham is (rightfully) leapfrogged here if Benny’s even healthy.

Chris Carson (RB, SEA) - 15% owned

While it’s unfortunate for Carson speculators that Thomas Rawls could simply return next week in a soft matchup vs. San Francisco, there’s no doubting that Carson looked much better than Eddie Lacy. Seattle’s offensive line got eaten alive like they were mere dots in a game of Pac-Man and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, but Carson is electric enough to deal with it. He won’t unseat C.J. Prosise as Seattle’s passing-down back, but should absolutely be stashed on most benches in case Rawls can’t return yet or something happens to him down the road.

Kerwynn Williams (RB, ARI) - 4% owned

The fantasy Grim Reaper determined David Johnson’s fate, and Kerwynn Williams is likely to play the short-yardage role in a committee with Andre Ellington (0% owned) next week against a rather soft Colts defense. Week 3 holds Dallas for the Cards, but Week 4 brings another favorable matchup against the 49ers. No one could ever replace David Johnson, but Williams looks to be one most standard leaguers would want for his chances at cracking the goal line. Ellington makes for a decent PPR add, but I think part of his love was due to Arizona’s sudden turning of the tables against Detroit.

Javorius Allen (RB, BAL) - 1% owned

Terrance West didn’t just automatically become an every-down back when Danny Woodhead exited with a hamstring injury, as Mr. Buck Allen totaled 21 totes for 71 yards in a Week 1 shellacking of the Bengals. Only five of those carries came before halftime so it remains to be seen whether he was leaned on more in a game that Baltimore had in hand early, but the usage is hard to ignore. Plus, the Ravens face the Browns in Week 2 so we could see a similar gamescript play out.

 

Wide Receivers - Week 2 Waiver Wire

Kenny Golladay (WR, DET) - 17% owned

Those of you who lost AR15 are likely throwing the bank at Golladay after seeing him catch four of his seven targets for 69 yards and two touchdowns -- the second of which was a very impressive diving grab into the promised land. Marvin Jones Jr. was pretty much taken out by Patrick Peterson outside of his own TD grab and Golden Tate absolutely ate out of the slot, but Golladay should have carved out a nice market share moving forward in a pass-happy offense. Those who were banking on an Eric Ebron renaissance won’t like this, but most of you should be able to enjoy it. The talent is real, and now the opportunity looks to be there. He does have to face the Giants and Vikings’ secondaries in Weeks 2 and 4, respectively, but you’re making this add.

Nelson Agholor (WR, PHI) - 13% owned

The bulk of Agholor’s 86 yards and his one touchdown came on a crazy 58-yard throw from Carson Wentz, who extended the play for an eternity before unloading a trebuchet shot down the field. Alshon Jeffery is still the No. 1 receiver and Torrey Smith is going to rotate in, but Agholor had a piece of the No. 2 duties and was the slot man in three-wide sets for Philly. This provides opportunity for a guy with a bounty of raw talent who has been held back by inconsistencies but could certainly hit a stride in his third season. It’s possible that next week’s matchup against Kansas City sees Jeffery similarly shadowed by Marcus Peters and Week 3’s game with the Giants yields a Janoris Jenkins blanket, so Agholor has a good shot at building some momentum early for fantasy owners.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR) - 26% owned

Kupp was the most exciting Ram in a 46-9 Week 1 victory over the Colts, catching four balls on six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. He locked down an 18-yard TD and showed off some strong ball-tracking skills and plus hands on a 28-yard catch after that, validating the preseason hype that came from Jared Goff’s chemistry with the Eastern Washington product. While Kupp isn’t a strong candidate to score in any given week, he should be able to creep up on double-digit points in PPR formats in a Rams offense that might finally be able to find itself without Jeff Fisher muddying things up.

Allen Hurns (WR, JAX) - 9% owned

Robinson is done for the season, which makes Hurns very intriguing despite playing in a Blake Bortles-led offense with an emerging talent at running back that should tilt the offense toward a run-heavy mode. Let alone that defense! Perhaps there won’t be nearly as much garbage time as 2016, but Hurns still possesses big-play ability compared to Marqise Lee’s more steady presence in the slot. Lee is only 15% owned and should also be added in the wake of the Robinson news, and both should see more action in Week 2 against the Titans at home.

Kendall Wright (WR, CHI) - 15% owned

Wright was a dud before Kevin White went down with what could be a season-ending collarbone injury and then ended up catching three of his four targets for 34 yards. The Bears final wide receiver snap count saw White total 47 before exiting, with Deonte Thompson notching 46 (but he only caught one of two targets for 15 yards) and Wright with 39. Part of the low receiving totals came from Tarik Cohen being such a beast, but Wright should be leaned on more with White out for an extended period of time. These are still Mike Glennon targets, but Wright is worth the PPR snag.

Jermaine Kearse (WR, NYJ) - 2% owned

With Jeremy Kerley inactive, Kearse was the clear No. 1 receiver in an anemic Jets offense. Seeing nine targets in all, the Jermaine train caught seven of them for 59 yards from Josh McCown. It’s worth noting that Kearse played in the slot a lot and that may speak to how McCown reads the field in this offense -- which would bode well for Kerley -- but the QB may just enjoy having a big frame to throw at. This is a deep-league addition, but the Jets won’t be in many close contests and could be airing it out early and often in Week 2 against the Raiders.

 

Tight Ends - Week 2 Waiver Wire

Jared Cook (TE, OAK) - 19% owned

Cook caught all five of his targets for 56 yards, which should be a reasonable expectation moving forward with the chance at a touchdown always looming. Oakland boasts several weapons on offense, meaning Cook should be able to run against either a linebacker who is slower than him or a safety who is no match for his size in an offense that can put up some serious points. The Raiders get to face the Jets next week, where Cook will look to find paydirt for the first time in his new uniform.

*For what it’s worth, I think Charles Clay (10% owned) is a fine pickup in a vacuum but has to face Carolina and Denver in the next two weeks and we know who he is at this point. Newcomers Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones will get up to speed with this offense and eat into this potential, most likely.

Jesse James (TE, PIT) - 6% owned

While I’m still of the thinking that Vance McDonald is the superior talent, it isn’t as though he’s been on the team for a significant amount of time while James knows the playbook. A game against the Browns is tough to extrapolate for future weeks, but James getting involved with a 6-41-2 line illustrates how much of a plus his size is. He looms large in the red zone, which is more than enough to be a TE streamer. The Steelers will have to dance with a talented Vikings defense next week at home, but James isn’t going to simply recede into the shadows with the addition of McDonald as I previous thought, so there’s that.

 

Early Defensive Streaming Candidates

JAX (v. TEN) - 35% owned, CIN (v. HOU) - 24% owned, TB (v. CHI) - 9% owned.

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis