Fantasy Football Week 1 Waiver Wire: Best Adds to Kick Off 2022 Season
The 2022 NFL season kicks off this week, making it time to get your fantasy lineup in tip-top shape to start a championship push.
The fantasy landscape has changed since many leagues drafted. Projected contributors have suffered injuries, roster cuts were made, and depth charts were finalized. These occurrences opened doors for some players to make bigger impacts.
There are also sleepers who are still widely available in most leagues. If you are rostering a low-upside veteran who won't be more than a bye-week fill-in, it's worth sending them back to the free-agent pile and picking up a high-ceiling young talent.
With that in mind, here's a look at five players you should consider adding via the waiver wire before Week 1 gets under way.
All suggested players are rostered in 50 percent or less of Yahoo leagues.
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Jameis Winston, QB, New Orleans Saints (46% Rostered)
Last year's New Orleans Saints struggled to air it out, but this season should be much different. After finishing with a league-low 187.4 passing yards per game, the Saints worked to improve that area of their offense.
One of those moves was to bring back quarterback Jameis Winston on a two-year deal after he performed efficiently in seven games prior to his season-ending torn ACL.
The Saints also traded up in the draft to select Chris Olave. The Ohio State product adds an edge the receiving corps has been missing, providing a unique blend of speed, athleticism and catching ability in a 6'1", 189-pound package.
With Michael Thomas returning after an extended hiatus and veteran free-agent Jarvis Landry in the fold, there is good reason to believe New Orleans will once again be a threat through the air. Factor in a backfield led by an elite pass-catcher in Alvin Kamara, whose possible suspension because of felony battery charges is unlikely to be handed down this season, and the Saints could field one of the better passing games out there.
Now that Winston is healthy and surrounded by his best supporting cast yet, he is primed for a solid fantasy performance. Managers who aren't satisfied with the quarterback they drafted or have a bench deep enough to roster a backup signal-caller should look no further than Winston as the top waiver pickup at the position.
Rachaad White, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (35% Rostered)
DraftKings DFS Value: $4,000
Tom Brady has a long history of making his pass-catching running backs major fantasy stars. That could again be the case this season.
Versatile weapons such as Kevin Faulk, Shane Vereen and James White thrived with Brady behind center during their time with the New England Patriots, but none of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers backfield members has stood out as a dynamic pass-catcher who can rack up fantasy points in PPR leagues.
While starter Leonard Fournette improved in that area last year—reeling in 69 receptions, almost double the 36 he had in his first year with the Bucs—he could be replaced in passing situations this season by rookie Rachaad White.
White, a third-round pick out of Arizona State, is 6'0", 214 pounds and could become a three-down back.
The 23-year-old should get an opportunity to earn considerable playing time with his great hands and solid pass-protection capabilities. He could even log enough snaps to become fantasy relevant early in the season.
If White catches a bunch of passes from Brady in Week 1, he will be one of the top waiver targets next week. Those in PPR leagues who are thin at running back can avoid having to place a claim by making White a priority addition before the opener.
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys (35% Rostered)
DraftKings DFS Value: N/A
The Dallas Cowboys went from having one of the league's deepest receiving corps to one of the thinnest in the span of a year. After Cedrick Wilson Jr. departed via free agency and they traded Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup were their only proven pass-catchers.
But Gallup is still working his way back from a late-season torn ACL. While he has already said he will miss Week 1, he did avoid the PUP list, meaning it is possible he can come back as early as Week 2.
Given Dallas' lack of established options behind Lamb—rookie Jalen Tolbert is the default No. 2 after free-agent pickup James Washington suffered a foot injury—Gallup will almost certainly get a significant amount of targets upon his return.
He could very well play nearly every snap once he's healthy because of how depleted the receiver room is. Gallup was on the field for 75 percent of the snaps, per Pro Football Reference, in 2021 despite all the talent surrounding him.
The 26-year-old received more than 100 targets in each of his last two healthy seasons and had 62 in nine games last year. Gallup has been productive with that volume as well, amassing 2,395 yards and 13 touchdowns on 160 catches since the start of the 2019 campaign.
With quarterback Dak Prescott's options limited, Gallup could emerge as a fantasy WR2. Managers in all but the thinnest formats should consider stashing him before the season starts, as he has upside and would be a great depth option when bye weeks begin in Week 6.
This pickup won't pay off right away, but you'll be glad you have Gallup when there's a waiver wire rush before his return.
Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans (32% Rostered)
DraftKings DFS Value: $4,200
The rebuilding Houston Texans may not be a hotbed for fantasy stars right now, but second-year wideout Nico Collins could be one in the making.
Last year, Collins showed glimpses of what could lead to his developing into one of the game's better wideouts. Despite an unideal quarterback situation and working within an abysmal offense in general, he still caught 33 of his 60 targets for 446 yards and one touchdown.
The Michigan product possesses elite size at 6'4", 215 pounds and uses it to come up with contested catches consistently. He's a fierce competitor with strong hands and good ball tracking ability, making him a tough mark for defensive backs.
While Collins still needs to improve his route running and polish his game, he should look more comfortable as a sophomore.
There won't be much competition for looks, either, outside of WR1 Brandin Cooks. The third-round pick should capitalize on that by posting respectable fantasy numbers on a weekly basis.
Put a claim in for Collins if you need a steady WR3 with a solid floor and the upside for much, much more.
Isaiah Likely, TE, Baltimore Ravens (10% Rostered)
DraftKings DFS Value: $2,500
In Isaiah Likely, the Baltimore Ravens have a rookie tight end who could make waves.
Though the team already employs one of the league's top players at the position in Mark Andrews, Likely is still talented enough to carve out a role in an offense that needs playmakers.
After Baltimore parted ways with Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman will be the No. 1 wideout in only his second season, while the little-used James Proche II and Devin Duvernay will vie for targets behind the sophomore.
Even if he does not line up as a traditional tight end, Likely could be on the field as a receiver. He ran nearly half his routes for Coastal Carolina out of the slot and could perform similar duties for the Ravens.
Baltimore will likely maintain a run-first offense, but there should be plenty of weeks wherein quarterback Lamar Jackson throws enough to make Andrews and Likely fantasy-relevant.
The Patriots showed it's possible to have two high-performing fantasy tight ends on the same team in 2011. That year, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez finished in the top three in points at the position, a feat the Ravens could replicate as early as this season.
Fantasy managers who struck out on one of the few elite tight ends should think about rostering Likely over a veteran with a ceiling of a few points per week.
Andrews' managers may also want to open up a roster spot to add his counterpart. Handcuffing a tight end may be far from standard fantasy football practice, but this is the rare situation that warrants the strategy.