Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver-Wire Must-Adds
After Week 1's scoring outbursts, fantasy football owners shouldn't overreact to every sparkling performance. Some of the first week's top producers will disappear within the next game or so—try to invest in the long haul.
Of course, if you're coming off a loss, feel free to jump on a streamer in a favorable matchup. Nonetheless, we'll focus on eight players who could keep a spot on your roster for the remainder of the year.
Surprisingly, this week's must-adds highlight offensive units that didn't jump out to most fantasy footballers during the offseason. Teams like the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans have some potential gems; one of them could also field an elite defense this year.
The selections below are owned in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Monday, 1 a.m. ET. The free-agent acquisition budget amount (FAAB) is based on a $100 threshold.
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QB Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (7 Percent Owned)
Marcus Mariota makes the list for three reasons.
For starters, he has one of his most productive targets back on the field in tight end Delanie Walker, who recorded five catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Secondly, the Titans defense, which stifled quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns, will give Mariota extra possessions throughout the season because of forced takeaways and quick three-and-outs.
Finally, the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee's Week 2 opponent, went on the road and gave up 30 points in an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1.
When fantasy managers combine those three factors, they should feel good about plugging Mariota into their starting lineups. He may not throw for 300-plus yards, but the fifth-year signal-caller clearly has a strong rapport with Walker, which should help boost his numbers. And of course, he's a threat to pick up points on a few rush attempts.
RB Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams (11 Percent Owned)
The Los Angeles Rams went into the regular season with one of the biggest fantasy football mysteries. Given running back Todd Gurley's arthritic knee condition, how would head coach Sean McVay divvy up the touches at the position?
Although the carry distribution could change every week, Malcolm Brown seems like he's first in line as the complementary running back to Gurley. According to James Koh of Next Generation Stats, Brown played 26 percent of offensive snaps. Yet the fifth-year tailback registered 11 carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
More importantly, Brown scored on carries inside the 10-yard line, which indicates a goal-line or short-yardage role. Because of his potential to score with those responsibilities, he deserves attention on the waiver wire while Darrell Henderson stands on the sideline as a non-factor. Henderson logged one carry for zero yards, and quarterback Jared Goff didn't target him in the passing attack.
Keep in mind: During the offseason, the Rams matched a contract offer from the Detroit Lions for Brown, who was a restricted free agent. He's clearly in their offensive plans this year.
RB Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins (12 Percent Owned)
The Redskins opted to dress running backs Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson and Wendell Smallwood in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving Adrian Peterson on the sideline as a healthy scratch.
According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Guice suffered a meniscus injury. Assuming he misses time, Peterson would likely handle the majority carries.
Thompson offers tremendous upside because he's familiar with head coach Jay Gruden's offense and provides pass-catching value. The 28-year-old didn't produce much on the ground Sunday (three carries for 10 yards), but he caught seven passes for 68 yards and led the team in targets (10).
Fantasy owners may have forgotten about the seventh-year pro because he missed six games last year with knee and rib injuries, but he's a solid receiving option out of the backfield. In 2017, Thompson logged 39 catches for 510 yards and four touchdowns. That bodes well for quarterback Case Keenum, who's used his running backs frequently in the passing game.
In 2017, running back Jerick McKinnon hauled in 51 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns with Keenum under center in Minnesota. Last year, Denver Broncos tailbacks Phillip Lindsay and Devontae Booker combined for 73 receptions for 516 yards and a touchdown.
If Keenum continues that trend, Thompson should have a busy season provided he stays healthy.
WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (31 Percent Owned)
Marquise Brown underwent Lisfranc surgery during the offseason. The procedure limited his participation in practices this summer, but he showed no ill effects in Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
Brown burned a hapless Dolphins defense multiple times and finished with four catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Going forward, he'll face more competitive opponents, but fantasy managers should acquire and start him in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, who don't have starting cornerbacks Patrick Peterson (six-game suspension for violating league policy on performance-enhancing drugs) and Robert Alford (fractured tibia).
If Week 1 is any indication of quarterback Lamar Jackson's development as a passer, Brown will benefit most because of his big-play ability. At Oklahoma, we saw him stretch defenses, averaging 18.3 yards per reception.
Because of his upside and the opponent, Brown looks like a must-add and a definite starter in Week 2.
WR John Ross III, Cincinnati Bengals (9 Percent Owned)
John Ross III dropped some passes, but he feasted on the Seattle Seahawks defense, which isn't easy to do with head coach Pete Carroll at the helm.
Ross converted a team-leading 12 targets into seven receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Coming into Sunday's contest, he had recorded 210 yards and seven scores through the air in 16 games (11 starts).
Perhaps new head coach Zac Taylor will help Ross turn into a significant, consistent factor in the aerial attack. He'll have time to establish himself while wideout A.J. Green recovers from ankle surgery.
For now, Ross seems like a viable receiving option in the Bengals offense. Based on Sunday's outing, he's capable of turning opportunities into solid fantasy production. Owners should scoop him up while the 24-year-old holds a prominent role in Cincinnati's passing attack.
WR Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins (3 Percent Owned)
The Redskins may have a new lead wide receiver on the field. The front office waived 2016 first-rounder Josh Doctson before final roster cuts; he signed with the Vikings and left his 4.9 targets per game behind.
In Week 1, Case Keenum found a new comfortable target in Terry McLaurin, who logged five receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. He was one of three pass-catchers to see seven targets against the Eagles.
While many thought McLaurin would serve as a solid target for Dwayne Haskins, the Redskins' quarterback of the future, because of their shared time at Ohio State, the rookie third-rounder made an early impact with Keenum under center.
The continuity between Keenum and McLaurin could ebb and flow because of the quarterback's conservative arm, but managers should take a chance on him. For now, he seems more in-sync with his quarterback than his fellow wide receivers.
TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (51 Percent Owned)
T.J. Hockenson didn't just post solid fantasy numbers. His 131 receiving yards were a record for a tight end in a debut game, per ESPN's Field Yates.
While it's uncommon to see first-year tight ends make an immediate impact in fantasy football, Hockenson's output isn't a major surprise. Last season at Iowa, he registered 49 catches for 760 yards and six touchdowns. His former coaches would probably say they saw this performance coming.
Managers should do whatever it takes to acquire Hockenson after his eye-popping regular-season debut. Don't worry too much about fifth-year veteran Jesse James unless he becomes a hot target in the flow of a game. The 25-year-old had fewer than 45 catches in each of his four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As the No. 8 overall pick in the draft, Hockenson will likely remain a significant component of the weekly game plan. Quarterback Matthew Stafford targeted him nine times Sunday against Arizona.
DEF Tennessee Titans (7 Percent Owned)
As mentioned earlier, the Titans defense flustered Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the pocket, sacking him five times and intercepting three of his passes. Edge-rusher Cameron Wake recorded a safety, and cornerback Malcolm Butler put the exclamation point on a dominant performance with a pick-six late in the fourth quarter.
Don't look at Tennessee's defensive performance as a fluke. Last year, under head coach Mike Vrabel, the Titans ranked eighth in yards allowed and gave up the third-fewest points.
Tennessee signed Wake in the offseason after the Dolphins allowed him to hit the free-agent market. Apparently, the 37-year-old still has some juice left; he recorded 2.5 sacks Sunday.
The Titans will attempt to corral Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett in Week 2. If they can't sack him, Butler, Adoree' Jackson and Logan Ryan will provide resistance on the back end.
Indianapolis isn't likely to have Devin Funchess in next week's matchup with the Titans. He broke his collarbone in the season opener, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The absence of the 6'4", 225-pound wideout takes away a potential big-body red-zone target.