Let’s face it, your fantasy football team after Week 1 is sure to stink, so you better be fast to the waiver wire. OK, so that statement may not be totally accurate, but still, the rush to get to the wire after the first weekend of football is essential if you want to improve your team.
While Julius Thomas of the Broncos made a name for himself on Thursday night with five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns, he has already played and the sharks are already circling around him in many fantasy leagues.
No, this exercise is about predicting who the next waiver wire gem will be before they play their first game. With that said, here are five (ranked in order of fantasy relevance) vastly underowned players who may be targeted off the waiver after Week 1.
Other possible breakouts to watch this weekend who could potentially be found on the wire include: Kenny Stills, Quinton Patton, Joseph Randle, Stepfan Taylor/Andre Ellington, Brandon Weeden, Greg Little and Rod Streater.
There is a good chance the Buffalo Bills will be playing catch-up in their game against the New England Patriots, and that could mean of lot of targets and receptions for Robert Woods. Woods, the Bills’ second-round pick in April’s draft, has lot of potential, and if EJ Manuel can build on his relationship with Woods, there is no telling how good he can become.
Woods could have himself a good game, but it could take him some time to really hit his stride this year.
Mohamed Sanu was having a great stretch of games (11 receptions for 98 yards and four touchdowns in his Weeks 10-12) toward the end of his rookie season last year, but a season-ending injury in Week 13 halted his momentum. Now Sanu has suddenly become a forgotten man.
Well, with Andy Dalton maturing into a complete quarterback, he’ll have to learn to spread the wealth. With superstar receiver A.J. Green getting most of the attention, Sanu could do some damage as teams double-team Green.
Sanu is a great possession receiver, and with him being healthy this year and having his timing and rhythm down with Dalton, this could be the year he takes the next step in his game.
If you’re a Darren McFadden owner, you know one of the pitfalls of owning him is that he most likely will get injured. Suffice to say, you should target McFadden’s backup options as a handcuff.
Once such player is Marcel Reece.
Reece showed last year, while filling in for McFadden, that he can be a dangerous playmaker out of the backfield, especially catching passes. Last year, Reece had 52 receptions for 496 yards. While he is technically a fullback, he is more of a weapon than Rashad Jennings, who is in line for carries if McFadden ever goes down.
Reece could rack up some garbage-time receptions in Sunday’s game against the Colts, as Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor could be dumping the ball off a lot to Reece while Oakland potentially plays catch-up in Indianapolis.
The Pittsburgh Steelers backfield is one convoluted mess right now, and LaRod Stephens-Howling could emerge as the best weapon among this wounded corps.
With Le’Veon Bell likely out for a couple of more weeks and Jonathan Dwyer recently being released, the bulk of the carries will go to Isaac Redman and Stephens-Howling for the time being.
Stephens-Howling is an athletic back who can do well in open spaces, and he did have a good run late last year (with two 100-yard games and three touchdowns between Weeks 7 and 11) as the lead back in Arizona. Redman has had his chance before and his upside is rather limited, so don’t be surprised if Stephens-Howling (who could do well against the soft run defense of Tennessee) leapfrogs Redman on the Steelers’ running back depth chart.
Everybody loves a dual-threat quarterback, and the next in line to make an impact could be the Raiders Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor impressed the Raiders coaching staff this preseason, so much so that Pryor has supplanted Matt Flynn (who the Raiders acquired in the offseason to be their starting QB) as the team's preferred choice at quarterback. While Pryor isn’t the most polished passer (and no one will confuse him with Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton), he does enough things with his legs to affect the game.
Besides, the game between the Raiders and the Colts could end up in a lopsided affair in favor of the Colts, so Pryor may pile up some garbage-time statistics. With Streater emerging as a legitimate receiver, Pryor could work himself onto fantasy rosters as at least a No. 2 QB.