Fantasy Football 2016: Top Waiver-Wire Additions for Week 1
Claiming a surging statistical star on the waiver wire is one of the most satisfying feelings in fantasy football. Just ahead of that? Acquiring a stud before the market realizes his value.
Last season, guys such as Tyler Eifert, Danny Woodhead, Dion Lewis and Jordan Reed weren't hot commodities before the year but ended up being fantasy difference-makers. Bottom line: valuable assets are set to emerge from the depths of free agency.
The following players are available in at least 30 percent of ESPN leagues, and they could become prominent waiver-wire additions after Week 1. As always, feel free to share any players you are eyeing heading into the regular season in the comments below.
Kansas City Chiefs' Spencer Ware Offers Immediate RB1 Upside
Head coach Andy Reid told reporters Friday that Jamaal Charles, who's coming off an ACL tear suffered in Week 5 last season, might not be ready for Week 1. That means Spencer Ware could earn the start against the San Diego Chargers' soft rush defense.
Ware tore the Chargers up last season, rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns in two games. However, he's owned in just 36 percent of ESPN leagues thanks to an average draft position of 183rd overall, per Fantasy Pros.
According to ESPN's Adam Teicher, Reid said: "It's just a matter of time [with Charles' recovery], and we're OK there. We're OK with that."
Charcandrick West would see touches too in Charles' absence, but West is poised to rack up early-down and goal-line roles. Even when Charles is at full capacity, Ware could retain independent flex value.
Veteran Speedster Mike Wallace Could Thrive as Ravens' Top Reciever
The Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco was on pace for 4,466 yards before suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2015. Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's fantasy-friendly scheme would normally lead to early-round picks, but the Ravens have question marks at receiver and running back.
Enter journeyman Mike Wallace, who could ascend to fantasy prominence given the rapport he and Flacco have enjoyed this offseason. ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote: "Wallace has caught passes on fade routes in the end zone. He has pulled in tough catches on back-shoulder throws. He has been a frequent target on underneath routes."
Flacco added: "Mike is awesome. I think he is going to be a really big hit for us."
Steve Smith Sr., 37, is recovering from an Achilles injury. Second-year speedster Breshad Perriman recently played his first professional snaps. Wallace is rostered in just 32 percent of ESPN leagues, and he could be in line for big numbers.
The fantasy fun could begin against the Buffalo Bills and their exploitable safeties—as Corey Graham earned a negative coverage grade and ranked 28th overall among safeties last season, according to Pro Football Focus. This is helpful when considering a deep threat like Wallace. It's also worth noting Wallace delivered at least eight scores in four of five seasons before last season's disappearing act in Minnesota.
If there is anything left in the tank for this once-elite speedster, the rewards could be rich for early investors.
Steelers' 3rd Receiver Could Be a Prime PPR Addition
Did you miss out on the New York Giants' Eli Manning in your fantasy draft despite really wanting to roster a dude named Eli? No sweat; why not add the Pittsburgh Steelers' under-the-radar Eli Rogers?
Rogers is an undrafted Louisville product who came out of the amateur ranks in 2015 and has impressed in the preseason. He has hauled in seven of 10 targets and earned the 11th-highest grade among receivers, according Pro Football Focus.
Markus Wheaton is set to move outside and start in two-receiver sets with Antonio Brown. Sammie Coates was the presumed starter in three-receiver sets, which the Steelers often feature, but he's looked raw in preseason (No. 212 ranking).
Others are seeing Rogers' potential too, including offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Everything we've seen to this point, we haven't had a slot guy like him since I've been here. It hasn't been close."
Haley added: "Most of the college guys we get are outside receivers in college, and then you're trying to convert them. Well, he played inside a bunch, so he's got a very good feel already. He's ahead of the game and he's lightning quick."
Rogers is owned in fewer than 4 percent of ESPN leagues and is an option in deep PPR leagues.
With Le'Veon Bell suspended for the first three weeks of the season, Rogers could fulfill the high-percentage short and intermediate routes. Don't be surprised if he ranks second in targets behind Brown for this Week 1 visit to Washington.
Colts' Dwayne Allen Could Become a Red-Zone Weapon
The Detroit Lions allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends last season. Further, Coby Fleener is out of the picture now that he's in New Orleans. It all means good things for Dwayne Allen in Week 1 and beyond.
Allen ranked seventh among tight ends in PFF's grading at the position in 2014 thanks to a blend of blocking and efficiency in the red zone (eight total touchdowns). As we all know, the Colts offense took a step back in 2015 thanks in large part to injuries.
The Colts could have one of the league's worst defenses this season, which could mean fantasy upside across the roster of skill players. This extends to Allen, who tied for ninth in 2014 at the position in targets within 10 yards of the goal line.
Tight end is a notoriously fickle fantasy position. As a top red-zone target for Andrew Luck in 2016, Allen merits interest for those seeking upside at the position.
Chris Hogan and Tyler Boyd Could Be Waiver Gems
The Cincinnati Bengals' A.J. Green will likely draw coverage from the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis in Week 1. The New England Patriots' Julian Edelman, meanwhile, will likely see a lot of the Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson.
Chris Hogan (Patriots) and Tyler Boyd (Bengals) could thrive.
Boyd is a shifty rookie out of Pitt with experience as a high-volume target, as B/R's scouting report documents.
The Bengals are without tight end Tyler Eifert (injury) and lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency. That trio combined for 225 targets last season, and Boyd, available in over 65 percent of ESPN leagues, has a great opportunity.
We also find intrigue in Hogan, who enjoyed some big-play success with the Buffalo Bills last season before joining the Patriots this offseason.
Hogan has flashed his ability again this offseason, with this 37-yard score from Tom Brady as evidence. Available in over half of ESPN leagues, Hogan could be a hero this season and in the first week of the campaign (yes, that's an old sitcom reference).