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Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 1: Top Free Agent Streamers and Adds Include Justin Fields, Marcus Mariota, Davis Mills

justin fields fantasy football rankings news NFL DFS lineup picks

The 2022 season is finally here and it is time to start making moves to win your fantasy championship. By Thursday, fantasy drafts will be done and we can start focusing on the next season. Everybody loves their team after the fantasy draft, but it is always a great idea to keep an eye on the fantasy football waiver wire starting Week 1 to make any necessary upgrades to improve your chances of taking down the title.

The most confidence any of us feel about our fantasy teams is after the fantasy draft. But understanding players to monitor early in the season to stash on the bench or hold for upside is a big part of fantasy football that can help push teams over the top. One position where it pays to be proactive can be the quarterback position.

In this article, I will be focusing on players who are under 65% rostered in fantasy leagues while adding a couple of deep sleepers for two-quarterback leagues (less than 20% rostered).

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Single-QB League Waiver Wire Options

Justin Fields (QB, CHI)

Yahoo: 65% rostered

Justin Fields (and the Bears offense as a whole) struggled mightily in 2021 which ultimately led to a total overhaul of the front office and coaching staff this offseason. Many expected the new front office to spend money in free agency or draft capital to improve the offense around Fields to see what they have in the second-year quarterback.

Ultimately, that didn’t happen. The Bears made added a bunch of complementary wide receivers (Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown) in free agency and invested just a third-round pick in 25-year-old rookie Velus Jones Jr. during the draft. The offensive line also saw just marginal upgrades.

Despite all of that, the reports about Justin Fields have been extremely complimentary throughout this offseason. New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has designed an offense to accentuate Fields’ strengths and has shown a willingness to use his athleticism in boot action plays and quarterback runs.

Even though we don’t feel great about the offense, the truth is that if Fields is talented, then he will be able to put up strong fantasy numbers as a dual-threat quarterback regardless of the talent around him. This showed in the last preseason game, where Fields completed 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns.

Dual-threat quarterbacks are a cheat code in fantasy. The Bears will be one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, but that doesn’t mean that Fields will be useless for fantasy. Chicago plays four teams in their first six games with questionable secondaries (Week 1 San Francisco, Week 3 Houston, Week 4 New York Giants, Week 5 Minnesota, Week 6 Washington), which could give Fields a chance to have big passing games.

At the very least, Chicago will be an underdog in all of those contests, which leads to the potential for negative game script stat padding.

Fields is worthy of a bench stash in all formats and could have streaming (or even starting) upside if the fantasy quarterback you drafted has a tough matchup to begin the year. He’s a high-upside player that can easily be dropped if players at other positions get injured.

Jameis Winston (QB, NOS)

Yahoo: 46% rostered

Jameis Winston played just seven games last season, but he was highly effective during that time. The veteran quarterback completed just 59% of his passes for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns. Most importantly, he seemed to have the questionable decision-making he displayed during his tenure with the Buccaneers in check, throwing just three interceptions in 161 attempts.

Context matters here as well. Last season, the Saints passing attack consisted of Alvin Kamara and a bunch of questionable receiving targets like Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris after Michael Thomas underwent season-ending ankle surgery in August.

The Saints brought Winston back after an ACL injury ended his 2021 season prematurely, signaling their belief in what Winston showed them last season. More importantly, the Saints finally invested in their receiving corps to give him weapons to throw to. Thomas is back and looked healthy during training camp until a hamstring strain limited him the last two weeks of the preseason.

New Orleans also brought in free agent slot receiver Jarvis Landry and invested a first-round pick in Ohio State’s wide receiver Chris Olave. New Orleans will have a much better offense this year, which should lead to much better production out of their quarterback.

Winston offers very little rushing upside, but he’s been a great fantasy option as a pocket passer throughout his career. If his decision-making truly improved as we saw in 2021, then Winston can provide a great weekly floor in fantasy. New Orleans opens the season with games against Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Minnesota, and Seattle, so the opportunity to throw will be there.


Two-QB Waiver Wire Options and Stashes

Marcus Mariota (QB, ATL)

Yahoo: 9% rostered

The Falcons moved on from veteran quarterback Matt Ryan this offseason, replacing him with Marcus Mariota in free agency and rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder out of the University of Cincinnati. Once the draft concluded, many wondered which quarterback the Falcons would use as their starter. Both quarterbacks were effective throughout the preseason, but all indications point to Mariota getting the first opportunity to run Arthur Smith’s offense to begin the 2022 season.

Mariota was on the field for just four total series in two preseason games with the Falcons’ offensive starters. While he was on the field, the veteran quarterback captained two touchdown drives and one series that ended in a field goal.

Mariota himself looked very efficient working with the starting offense, completing 8 of 12 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown while adding three carries for 23 yards and an additional score. The veteran quarterback still offers solid rushing upside in fantasy leagues essentially for free.

Atlanta has an offensive line littered with former first-round picks that have had varying levels of success at the NFL level. More importantly, they have spent the last two years investing in perimeter playmakers, drafting tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Drake London inside the top-10 in the last two seasons.

If Mariota can stay healthy, he has playmakers to work through some level of rushing upside. The team may eventually look to Desmond Ridder if the season gets out of hand, but to start the year, he's an excellent upside QB3 to stash on the bench in 2QB or Superflex formats.

Davis Mills (QB, HOU)

Yahoo: 6% rostered

Mac Jones had the most successful rookie season of the 2021 quarterback class, but an argument could be made that Davis Mills wasn’t far behind him. The 2021 third-round pick completed 66.8% of his passes for 2,664 yards and 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season with the Houston Texans. Houston showed faith in his development this offseason, failing to add any relevant competition in free agency and repeatedly passing on the 2022 quarterback class in the offseason.

The Texans will be bad again in 2022, but Mills has a solid supporting cast around him to put together another good season. Brandin Cooks remains one of the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL and the team will hope young players like Nico Collins and Brevin Jordan can take a step.

Laremy Tunsil is healthy at left tackle, but Tytus Howard looked extremely good in his place last year and will start the season at right tackle. The combination of A.J. Cann, Justin Britt, and first-round pick Kenyon Green should provide solid play as well.

Houston won’t win many games this season, but Mills looks to be entrenched as the team’s unquestioned QB1 for at least one more season. He will provide a solid weekly fantasy floor thanks to a solid offensive line and one top receiver and could have consistent streaming upside if any of the team’s other young players take a developmental step forward.

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