Waiver Wire Week 1: Examining Top Fantasy Pickups and Drops on Yahoo

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (38) performs a drill during an NFL football workout, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Before you set your starting lineups for Week 1, take a good look at waiver-wire trends. Perhaps your roster needs a slight tweak. 

As teams gear up for opening week, we've heard more news on injuries and seen the complexion of depth charts across the league. Managers should create space for players with rising fantasy stocks. Perhaps the absence of an offensive skill player leaves room for an under-the-radar pickup to handle a bigger role.

Usually, running back acquisitions cause some headaches because of the divided touch share. However, the Detroit Lions provided some clarity when they signed Adrian Peterson. Who's going to benefit most with him in the backfield committee? 

We've listed the top 10 Yahoo adds and drops below as of Monday 10 p.m. ET.


Players to Add 

1. Jacksonville Jaguars RB James Robinson, 15 percent rostered, 44,001 adds   

2. Jacksonville Jaguars RB Chris Thompson, 40 percent rostered,, 13,164 adds   

3. Indianapolis Colts Defense, 65 percent rostered, 12,556 adds   

4. Philadelphia Eagles Defense, 64 percent rostered, 9,671 adds   

5. Los Angeles Rams RB Malcolm Brown, 8 percent rostered, 9,602 adds   

6. Minnesota Vikings K Dan Bailey, 66 percent rostered, 7,216 adds   

7. Atlanta Falcons K, Younghoe Koo, 49 percent rostered, 7,185 adds   

8. Free Agent RB Devonta Freeman, 22 percent rostered, 5,751 adds   

9. Kansas City Chiefs RB Darrell Williams, 24 percent rostered, 5,669 adds   

10. Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson, 73 percent rostered, 4,828 adds   


RB James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

John Raoux/Associated Press

You may not recognize the name listed above, but pay close attention to the Jacksonville Jaguars' running back situation following Leonard Fournette's departure. 

According to Randy Reinhardt of The Pantagraph, they will split early-down touches between Devine Ozigbo and undrafted rookie James Robinson. He also noted that Chris Thompson will serve as a third-down option while 2019 fifth-rounder Ryquell Armstead has fallen into a backup role.

Per John Shipley of SI.com, the Jaguars placed Armstead on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the second time. His extended absences through camp likely explain why he fell behind Robinson and Ozigbo.

At 6'2", 225 pounds, Ozigbo has a bigger frame than Robinson (5'9", 219 lbs), so the former may see more goal-line carries. Yet, the latter's strong camp factored into Fournette's release, according to general manager David Caldwell.

Eugene Frenette @GeneFrenette

Caldwell says timing of Fournette’s release wasn’t as odd to him as it might appear to others, pointing out he didn’t know much about James Robinson and also wanted to give Leonard time to find a new employer once they felt comfortable with other backs. #Jaguars

Don't fade the Jaguars offense because you think the team will struggle in 2020. Robinson lists as the starting running back on the depth chart, and he could become a waiver-wire steal.


RB Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

Kirthmon F. Dozier/Associated Press

Peterson's arrival in Detroit adversely affects D'Andre Swift's fantasy value more so than Kerryon Johnson's 2020 outlook.

At camp, Swift suffered a leg injury, which doesn't bode well for the rookie's workload in the first few weeks. Head coach Matt Patricia talked about the difficult transition for first-year players during a typical offseason, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

"I think (missing time) in general, with rookies, is a concern," he said. "Just in general with a normal season when we have the spring and we have the preseason and when we get to the regular season, things happen a lot quicker and they’re a little bit more complex than what we’ve seen."

While we shouldn't bury Swift on the depth chart, he's unlikely to see many touches with Peterson in the mix. 

At 35 years old, Peterson isn't likely to handle the majority touches, either. Johnson has the most fantasy appeal. If he's able to stay healthy, the third-year running back has RB2 value until Swift finds his way in the offense.


Players to Drop

1. Free Agent RB Devonta Freeman, 22 percent rostered, 18,259 drops   

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers K Matt Gay, 26 percent rostered, 17,208 drops

3. New England Patriots RB Damien Harris, 37 percent rostered, 15,083 drops   

4. Jacksonville Jaguars RB Ryquell Armstead, 24 percent rostered, 11,580 drops   

5. New Orleans Saints Defense, 90 percent rostered, 8,694 drops   

6. Los Angeles Rams Defense, 58 percent rostered, 5,702 drops   

7. Detroit Lions RB Adrian Peterson, 47 percent rostered, 3,597 drops   

8. Jacksonville Jaguars RB Devine Izigbo, 12 percent rostered, 3,455 drops   

9. Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams, 52 percent rostered, 3,308 drops   

10. Washington Football Team RB Bryce Love, 11 percent rostered, 3,022 drops 


RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots

Steven Senne/Associated Press

Damien Harris stood out at camp—enough that he had a chance to move up the depth chart after logging just four carries for 12 yards with five offensive snaps through his rookie campaign.

By late August, the 23-year-old split first-team reps with Sony Michel, who returned to action from knee surgery, per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.

"Michel was a full participant during individual and team drills," she wrote. "He pretty much traded reps with Damien Harris, the second-year back who has starred in his absence."

Harris seemed destined for a bigger role this season, but the New England Patriots placed him on injured reserve Monday, which sidelines him for at least three weeks, per ESPN's Field Yates

Because of Harris' solid camp showing, he's worth a look once his pinkie heals from surgery. Right now, the Alabama product belongs on the waiver wire.


WR Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers 

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Over the last few days, we've seen conflicting reports concerning Mike Williams. He sprained his shoulder at camp, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

According to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, the Chargers believe the 25-year-old could miss an extended period.

"NFL Network reported Tuesday that Williams is expected to miss two to four weeks, but I'm told that timeline is extremely optimistic," Popper wrote. "According to a team source, four to six weeks is the more realistic timeline, and the Chargers are preparing for the possibility of playing without Williams for the majority of September." 

Fantasy managers should keep a close eye on Williams' status. Head coach Anthony Lynn said the wideout will "likely" be a game-time decision for Week 1.

Nonetheless, even when healthy, the Clemson product draws minimal interest because he's part of an offense with multiple pass-catching options, including wideout Keenan Allen, tight end Hunter Henry and running back Austin Ekeler.

Furthermore, because of Tyrod Taylor's modest career-high 3,035 passing yards, Williams may struggle to carve out a consistent role as a secondary or tertiary option in the aerial attack.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.