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High-Upside Bench Stashes: Weekend Waiver Wire for Week 2 Includes Sam Howell, Chuba Hubbard, Rashee Rice, Zach Ertz

Chuba Hubbard - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Just because waivers have already run for your league this week doesn't mean there isn't some mining for gold to be found out there on the waiver wire! Unfortunately, with injuries being as prevalent as they are in the NFL, being able to spot the next relevant fantasy player on the waiver wire by already having them stashed away on your bench is an underrated skill and can help win fantasy championships.

One such player in 2022 was Kansas City Chiefs RB Jerick McKinnon. After not being rostered for much of the season, McKinnon exploded in the fantasy playoffs and won people leagues after he finished as the overall RB1 in Weeks 14-15 and was the RB7 in Week 17. While we aren't looking to spend FAAB on the players listed below, if we are in deeper formats with more roster spots these are players we shouldn't mind stashing away on our roster just in case.

If you are on a platform like Yahoo, typically you can drop a player on your bench after their game has been played. This can give you multiple chances of rostering a backup running back who ends up doing something that would make them more valuable once waivers run or someone who would be picked up in all formats if there was an injury to the starting RB. While this might not be the most ethical of methods, taking advantage of an open loophole if other league mates are doing it isn't technically cheating. Nonetheless, if you are looking for some names to know for later in the year or want to get out ahead and save your FAAB, here are some players to consider for the end of your benches in deeper fantasy football formats.

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Weekend Waiver Wire Stashes Before Week 2

Chuba Hubbard, (RB) Carolina Panthers - 17% rostered

While he's the RB2 on the Panthers' depth chart behind veteran Miles Sanders, Hubbard had some nice stats in Week 1 rushing 9 times for 60 yards (6.7 YPC) while earning an 85.1 rushing grade from PFF. While it is just a small sample size, Hubbard was a dynamic running back in college at Oklahoma State who once rushed for 2,094 yards in the 2019 season. Just 24 years old, the talent disparity between him and Sanders isn't all that much.

Sanders is still likely to get the bulk of the touches for now, but Chubbard would have some fantasy value if Sanders were to miss any time. The Panthers offense only scored 10 points last week in their opener against the Falcons, but if Panthers QB Bryce Young is who we think he is the offense could get a lot better as the season goes along. Just 24 years old, Hubbard has some of the special traits that make him a potential fantasy league winner if he gets more playing time.

Curtis Samuel, (WR) Washington Commanders - 13% rostered

A player who has shown flashes as both a runner and receiver, Samuel hasn't quite been able to put it all together but he is one of the better WR3s in the league currently. We don't yet know if Sam Howell can consistently support multiple WRs for fantasy, but if Samuel were to see more playing time he could have fantasy upside. One of the biggest mistakes that we tend to make in the fantasy landscape is the idea that somebody out there has to catch passes, but if the team has no one who can consistently get open it's usually a fool's errand. In Samuel's case, he has talent despite being a WR3 on the depth chart.

While he's battled injuries for part of his career, Samuel had 64 receptions for 655 yards and 4 TDs in 2022. He likely isn't startable at this point in the season, but if an injury were to happen to Terry McLaurin or Jahan Dotson, then Samuel could get very interesting. We still need to see if QB Sam Howell can be the guy to finally get the Commanders' offense going, but it's an offense worth keeping an eye on. Samuel is one of the few backup WRs out there with the speed and the skills to command targets when he is in the game.

Ty Chandler, (RB) Minnesota Vikings - 5% rostered

Technically, you won't be able to pick Chandler up until waivers run since the Vikings already played on Thursday Night Football. While it's still early in the season, starting RB Alexander Mattison hasn't done himself any favors. His longest rush so far is just 9 yards and the Vikings running game has looked terrible. Some of this is purely on the offensive line, but most of the best minds in the fantasy community saw Mattison as a clear dead-zone RB that should've been avoided in fantasy drafts all summer long.

Chandler looked solid in the preseason and showed more burst upfield than Mattison did. Chandler ran a 4.38 at the NFL Combine and could earn more touches in the future with how bad Mattison has looked. Is it Mattison's fault for practically getting hit in the backfield on every carry? Of course not, but sometimes the starter is the one who gets blamed anyway. There's a decent chance that Chandler will start seeing more touches in an offense that will score a lot of points. Be patient.

Zach Ertz, (TE) Arizona Cardinals - 28% rostered

It's understandable to be leery of the Cardinals' offense for fantasy this season. Many expected Trey McBride, a second-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2022 NFL Draft to play more as the team's leading tight end, but he was largely buried behind Zach Ertz in Week 1.

Ertz averaged 11.6 fantasy points per game last season, which was 6th among TEs before a knee injury cut his season short. Ertz played for the majority of the game and saw 9 targets in Week 1. There's still a chance he could get traded to a contender at the deadline as it's clear the Cardinals will start playing for 2024 soon. Imagine if that team is the Chargers.

Rashee Rice, (WR) Kansas City Chiefs - 31% rostered

Many are expecting a breakout from WRs Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney this season, but both were downright terrible in Week 1. Rice had just 5 targets on TNF against the Lions but finished with 3 receptions for 60 yards and a TD while averaging 2.42 yards per route run.

Rice is a bigger WR at 6-1 and brings versatility to their offense by being able to line up in the slot as well as play outside. If a WR steps up on the Chiefs this year they will be a smash as far as fantasy is concerned. We've known Andy Reid's offense to be tough on rookie WRs, but its hard not to like what we saw from Rice in Week 1. He's worth adding as a potential home run stash with upside.

Sam Howell, (QB), Washington Commanders - 15% rostered

A lot of the quarterbacks including Josh Allen and Joe Burrow didn't look good at all in Week 1, so why are we being so harsh on Sam Howell, who was only making his second career NFL start? Howell has more value in 12 or 14-team leagues and is likely rostered in most superflex formats, but he does have some upside.

Howell rushed for 828 yards and 11 TDs during his junior year at North Carolina in 2021 and could be a solid fantasy asset on the ground with his legs. In Week 1, Howell was 19 of 31 for 202 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, but he should get better as the season progresses. Many thought he was the best QB in the 2022 NFL Draft despite falling to the first pick in Round 5. Mobile QBs are always a cheat code in Fantasyland.

Sean Tucker, (RB), Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 4% rostered

The Bucs running game was downright putrid in Week 1. Incumbent starter, Rachaad White ran 17 times but tallied just 39 yards while adding two receptions. Tucker had a solid college career at Syracuse but went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft due to uncertain medical conditions that have now been cleared.

He signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent and seems to have earned the No. 2 RB job right out of the gate. Tucker didn't do himself any favors with 5 carries for just 15 yards in Week 1, but he is a better inside runner than White. We still don't know what to expect from the Bucs' offense at this point, but don't let Tucker going undrafted deter you from the fact that he's a really good player.

Jayden Reed, (WR), Green Bay Packers - 12% rostered

While Reed is likely the WR3 on the Packers, he could have immediate upside due to the reality that WR Christian Watson will likely be sidelined for Week 2 with a hamstring injury, as well as starting RB Aaron Jones. Reed was a 2nd round pick for the Packers in the 2023 NFL Draft.

We still don't know how their pass-catching corps shakes out with Watson, Romeo Doubs, Reed, and rookie TE Luke Musgrave all in the mix for targets. The Packers' schedule is favorable for their offense over the next few games with Atlanta, Detroit, and Las Vegas coming up in 3 of their next 4 games. If Jordan Love continues to look good then grabbing pieces of the Packers pass catchers will bear fruit for fantasy this year.

 

I hope you enjoyed these picks. Remember that it's a long season and it's best to be patient and wait for some of these situations to unfold. By being proactive and prepared ahead of your league mates you can save that valuable FAAB for later in the season when you might really need it! Feel free to follow me on Twitter for more waiver and player analysis throughout the season!



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