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Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups: After the Draft Free Agent Adds

Khalil Herbert - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Many fantasy football drafts have come and gone as the 2022 NFL season gets set to officially kick off. Smart fantasy managers know that once the draft is over, the real work begins. Leagues are often won through the waiver wire, not the draft. While there's no need to worry about byes or injuries yet, it's never too early to start digging for gems that could pay off in a big way during the coming season.

As we will do every week throughout the regular season, we now present the top waiver wire options at each position with analysis of their values, both immediate and long-term. We will look only at players who are rostered in 50% or fewer leagues, according to Yahoo. Players are listed in descending order by rostered percentage, not in order of priority.

If your draft hasn't taken place yet, don't forget to check our preseason rankings!

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Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options

Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts - 46% rostered

Any doubts as to whether Ryan still has anything left in the tank should be put to rest quickly. The Colts take on the Texans in Week 1, which is a perfect opportunity to pile up points on a defense that allowed the second-most total yards in 2021. He is a veteran QB who is used to taking on a heavy volume of pass attempts. He's only missed three games over a 14-year career. Ryan is the ideal backup QB who can be inserted into a starting lineup at any point in the season or a reliable QB2 in Superflex leagues.

Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints - 45% rostered

The Big Easy version of Famous Jameis wasn't nearly as interesting as the gunslinger from the Sunshine State. In 2021, Winston averaged 167.1 passing yards and two touchdowns per game. That should improve now that Michael Thomas is ready to return to the field along with new additions Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave. A Week 1 matchup with Atlanta is the perfect way to kick things off.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans - 21% rostered

Tannehill was decent for fantasy last year, finishing as the QB12 overall. Much of that was due to the fact he played a full schedule and was forced to pass more through the second half once Derrick Henry went down. On a per-game basis, he was the QB16. Now, he no longer has top target A.J. Brown and Henry is set to go for Week 1. That's not a ringing endorsement but there's a reason he's on here – the schedule.

The New York Giants were a bottom-10 defense in terms of points last year and their biggest offseason addition, No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux, is unlikely to play. They overhauled the secondary out of necessity, although it's not necessarily going to be much better. Tannehill is better used as a floor play in deep leagues or as a second QB in Superflex formats than a streamer.

Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers - 17% rostered

THE REVENGE GAME! It's an overused and often meaningless cliche in sports, but this time, it actually matters. Mayfield was ditched in favor of Deshaun Watson and must now try to prove he can be a franchise quarterback outside of Cleveland. He'll also do what he can to save coach Matt Rhule's job this season. No pressure.

Mayfield may have to fight just to stay upright based on the number of sacks Carolina gave up last year. He can always just dump it off to Christian McCaffrey though. There are enough weapons in Carolina to give Mayfield deep-league appeal and one would think he'll be motivated to play the best he has in a long time.

Joe Flacco, New York Jets - 1% rostered

The other revenge game. It's not a stretch to say that, seeing as how the Ravens moved on from Flacco years ago and he's still motivated to prove he can be a starter in the NFL. He'll be just that in Week 1 as Zach Wilson recovers from a preseason knee injury. With weapons like Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson at his disposal, along with Breece Hall to boost the run game, Flacco could do some damage against a defense that allowed the most passing yards and third-most passing TDs a year ago.

Others to consider: Mac Jones, New England Patriots (37% rostered); Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders (13% rostered)

 

Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options

Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins - 45% rostered

If Mostert is healthy enough to play, he's a threat to rip off big runs. That's a big if considering he's missed one and a half seasons worth of games the past two years. So far so good in Miami where he's playing under coach Mike McDaniel, who was OC and run-game coordinator in San Francisco when Mostert had his success. He'll share time with Chase Edmonds, so he will need to be efficient with his runs and/or get into the end zone to deliver high-end fantasy production.

Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears - 40% rostered

The role Khalil Herbert will play in the new Bears offense relative to starter David Montgomery is a point of contention. ESPN's Dan Graziano stirred the pot by implying that Herbert would take over the lead role.

The new staff seems to like David Montgomery just fine, but there is some skepticism about whether his style fits the new offense as well as [Khalil] Herbert's does.

Pump the brakes for now – Monty is the starter and should play the vast majority of snaps initially. We should see more of Herbert this year, however, due to a new scheme and the desire to rotate backs more frequently. Herbert was very efficient with his touches as a rookie, grading out at 84.4 as a runner according to PFF, higher than all but five running backs. He was far lower as a receiver and won't bring any sort of a safe floor in PPR leagues. His main appeal as the season starts is as a handcuff to Montgomery.

Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 34% rostered

Not much is expected from the rookie as he backs up Leonard Fournette, nor should it be in Week 1. They'll face the Cowboys on the road and likely lean on their bell cow. White is an intriguing long-term add, however, as he could carve out a role on passing downs and is the RB2 behind Fournette.

J.D. McKissic, Washington Commanders - 33% rostered

The unfortunate incident involving Brian Robinson Jr. has made Washington suddenly thin at RB. McKissic is already set to be the pass-catching back but if Antonio Gibson were to get injured or fumble, this backfield will belong to McKissic. The upside isn't absurdly high and he is less valuable in non-PPR leagues but don't sleep on McKissic given his path to touches.

Mike Davis, Baltimore Ravens - 26% rostered

Is Davis the RB in Baltimore? It looks that way. J.K. Dobbins is clearly not ready, Gus Edwards is on PUP, Tyler Badie was released, and Kenyan Drake was just signed a week before the season begins. He was a disappointment in Atlanta with the lead role handed to him but that was a bad situation and this is a much better rushing offense. If they could squeeze fantasy value out of Devonta Freeman last year, why not Davis this year?

Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders - 15% rostered

Consider this author the conductor of the Zeus hype train. It sounds like Josh McDaniels and the new coaching staff loves White so it might not be long before they insert him into the offensive scheme.

Others to consider: Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs (31% rostered); Mark Ingram II, New Orleans Saints (22% rostered); Ameer Abdullah, Las Vegas Raiders (7% rostered); Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans (7% rostered); Tyrion Davis-Price, San Francisco 49ers (5% rostered); Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals (5% rostered)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options

DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins - 45% rostered

There looks to be a whole lot of payback in Week 1 with the way the schedule is set up. Parker might not be in line to deliver much against his former team in Miami but it wouldn't be surprising if he led the team in receiving. Last year's breakout, Kendrick Bourne, appears to be in the doghouse. Jakobi Meyers is solid but doesn't profile as an alpha. Parker hasn't lived up to his first-round billing and probably won't in New England. He does have the ability to make plays down the field and get into the end zone, which is all you can ask of a wideout when searching the waiver wire.

Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs - 42% rostered

Some of the hyperbole over Moore's breakout potential in KC has died down since the NFL Draft but he's still a trendy sleeper in many circles. Not enough to get him over the 50% hump. Moore may start slowly as he acclimates to the pros but he is worth a stash if you are in a deep-enough league.

Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots - 39% rostered

Nobody's excited about the Pats' passing game and that's understandable. They have no clear WR1 and it looks like Matt Patricia is calling the plays this season. While Parker (above) is the better choice for standard leagues, Meyers should be favored in PPR. He led the team with 126 targets a year ago and finally got into the end zone twice. The lack of scoring upside or chunk plays puts a clear cap on his ceiling, so consider him nothing more than a low-end WR3 this week and beyond.

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys - 38% rostered

If you can afford to stash a receiver short-term, Gallup is your guy. He won't be out there for the first game of the season but he avoided the PUP list which means he could be active at any point.

The Cowboys will need Gallup out there with Amari Cooper gone, so it won't be long before he resumes his role as the WR2 in a pass-heavy offense.

Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers - 31% rostered

Wherefore art Romeo's position on the Green Bay depth chart? For now, he's one of several options who will be sprinkled lightly with targets as part of their innovative WRBC. In other words, neither he nor any other receiver will be the next Davante Adams. That shouldn't take away from the fact Doubs impressed in training camp and has home-run ability as a deep threat. He shouldn't be started anywhere but it's reasonable to hold onto him and see how things shake out.

Nico Collins, Houston Texans - 29% rostered

Collins is one of the headliners on my All-Sleeper Team for 2022. The Texans will need to pass quite a bit to keep up with teams this year and that could be the case in the season opener against Indy. Collins is in line for a bunch of targets and he has the size/speed combo to do some damage with them.

K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings - 11% rostered

As previously stated, the increased use of '11 personnel' should work in Osborn's favor. He was productive in spurts last season in Mike Zimmer's conservative offense, he should be better this season.

Wan'Dale Robinson, New York Giants - 9% rostered

If Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard are unable to go and Kenny Golladay is still moving 'like a mannequin' then we could see second-round pick Wan'Dale Robinson lead the G-Men in targets right away. The Tennessee secondary is very young and inexperienced while the defense also lost top pass rusher Harold Landry for the season. Fantasy managers were drooling over Toney's YAC potential but it might be Robinson who actually delivers.

Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders - 4% rostered

It was a lost season for Samuel upon moving to Washington in 2021 due to a lingering groin injury. All systems are go for 2022 to this point and he might fill the dual-threat role envisioned for him in Ron Rivera's offense. I'm not the only one who suspects that he might get more work in the backfield due to the loss of Brian Robinson.

Kyle Philips, Tennessee Titans - 1% rostered

It will be interesting to see how the targets are distributed in the Titans' passing game for the season opener. Treylon Burks has struggled to stay healthy and in shape all preseason while Robert Woods is set to see his first game action since tearing his ACL in Week 9 last season. It wouldn't be a shock if the rookie slot receiver, who has made a strong connection with Ryan Tannehill already, sees a lot of action right away.

Others to consider: Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans (46% rostered); Jarvis Landry, New Orleans Saints (39% rostered); Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals (30% rostered); Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders (21% rostered); Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers (18% rostered); Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts (5% rostered)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options

Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans - 37% rostered

For many of the same reasons listed above with Ryan Tannehill, Hooper is a decent play in Week 1. He also has potential for a decent target share given the lack of star power at receiver in Nashville. His numbers declined each of the last two seasons in Cleveland and he was let go in favor of David Njoku. He now gets a fresh start and a chance to assert himself as the starting TE once again.

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers - 25% rostered

Now that Matt LaFleur has declared that the Packers will go with a wide receiver by committee, that boosts the odds that the tight ends get involved. Tonyan needs to prove he's up to speed after recovering from an ACL tear last year but he also doesn't need a big target share to be valuable. What he brings to the table is his presence as a big body in the end zone who could score touchdowns. Minnesota vs. Green Bay is almost always a shootout and this year should be no different.

Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks - 24% rostered

Reveng-- never mind. Fant faces his former team in Week 1 but that's not a good thing. He'll be on the wrong side of what could be a lopsided outcome. If Seattle falls down by multiple scores, that could mean a lot of passing. The problem is that it will come from Geno Smith. Fant is a talented pass-catcher who's never quite put it all together due to a combination of injuries and QB issues. At least one of those is not an issue (yet).

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers - 23% rostered

Why should Everett suddenly be relevant in fantasy after five years of mediocrity? Besides the fact he's now tied to Justin Herbert, he might also have found an offense that suits him.

Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals - 11% rostered

The former first-round pick has mostly gone under the radar this draft season. He presents a big target in the red zone and should have his share of scoring opportunities in the Bengals' offense.

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens - 9% rostered

Don't put it past the Ravens to make their second tight end one of the main targets, especially given the state of their WR room. Although he's a rookie TE, which normally can be ignored in fantasy, Likely is a converted wideout with a penchant for big plays and touchdowns. If any team can support two players at the position, it's Baltimore.

Others to consider: Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars (24% rostered); Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (25% rostered); Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9% rostered); Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts (8% rostered); Brevin Jordan, Houston Texans (3% rostered)

 

Team Defense - Waiver Wire Options

Cincinnati Bengals Defense - 38% rostered

Unless there is a Super Bowl hangover from the losing squad, Cincy is in a good position to start the season; they get to face Mitch Trubisky and the Steelers at home. It's not as if Trubisky is a turnover machine but this will be his first NFL start in over a year and it's not as if he was overly impressive this preseason.

Cleveland Browns Defense - 18% rostered

It's doubtful that his former teammates will take it easy on Baker Mayfield once the first whistle blows. Carolina yielded the fifth-most sacks last season and Mayfield himself went down the fourth-most among all QBs despite playing behind an excellent offensive line in Cleveland. That's a bad combination that could lead to a good day for the Browns DST.

Washington Commanders Defense - 8% rostered

The Commies are favored by three in a home tilt with the Jags. There's no way this Jacksonville offense can be worse than last year but I'm not expecting them to suddenly evolve into the Greatest Show on Turf either. Washington is still without Chase Young but they are still solid across the D-line with three former first-rounders including Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne. In leagues where points allowed are heavily emphasized, Washington is a solid play.



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