Fantasy Football Week 2: Waiver-Wire Must-Adds After First Action
Week 1 of NFL action didn't tell us everything we needed to know about running back rotations and wide receiver target shares. However, several players caught our attention with a strong start to the 2020 season.
As you shuffle your roster in preparation for Week 2, think about some buy-low player stocks that won't land on everyone's radar but may steadily increase over time. As always, check out the upcoming slate of games for favorable matchups.
This week's list features eight players with high-end flex appeal. Some of them can move into the RB2 or WR3 lane with another solid outing. On the other hand, some of the selections below will have more value now than late in the season, so capitalize on touch or target volume before a shift in the pecking order.
These waiver-wire recommendations are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Monday at 7 a.m. ET.
RB Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams (25 Percent Rostered)
At some point, rookie second-rounder Cam Akers will likely take over the majority of carries. Right now, though, Malcolm Brown leads the Los Angeles Rams backfield. He logged 18 rush attempts for 79 yards and two touchdowns Sunday while the first-year tailback ran the ball 14 times for 39 yards.
Until Akers shows more efficiency with his touches, expect head coach Sean McVay to lean on Brown. Fantasy managers can add and trade him for an asset at another position or use the sixth-year tailback until he loses his grip on a good share of the carries.
The Rams will go up against the Philadelphia Eagles, who allowed the Washington Football Team 2.2 yards per carry in Week 1. However, McVay's commitment to the ground attack (35 carries for running backs) in the season opener suggests Brown should have another opportunity to reach the end zone.
Brown isn't the strongest add on this list, but he's in line for a decent workload until further notice. Take advantage of his volume while it lasts.
Free Agent Budget (FAB): $3
RB Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (19 Percent Rostered)
Unless the Indianapolis Colts sign a running back, Nyheim Hines will probably see more touches going forward.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo, the Colts suspect running back Marlon Mack tore his Achilles on Sunday. If that's the case, he will likely go on injured reserve and miss the remainder of the campaign.
Without Mack, rookie second-rounder Jonathan Taylor could handle the majority of touches, but Hines has more experience in head coach Frank Reich's scheme and established himself as the pass-catching tailback over the past two terms. He's hauled in 115 passes for 790 yards and three touchdowns for his career.
Quarterback Philip Rivers targeted running backs on 17 of his 46 pass attempts Sunday. If he continues to highlight the position in the short passing game while acclimating himself to the system, Hines has strong flex value in point-per-reception leagues.
In Week 1, Hines ran for a score and caught a touchdown pass, so he'll move up to a top spot on the waiver-wire add list for Week 2.
RB Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions (45 Percent Rostered)
The Detroit Lions have a three-man backfield with Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson and D'Andre Swift. However, the pecking order didn't seem complicated in the first game.
Peterson recorded more carries (14) than Johnson (seven) and Swift (three) combined. Although those numbers can fluctuate based on the game script, Detroit clearly signed the 35-year-old running back to run downhill.
Johnson hasn't been able to fill that role with consistency because of durability issues. He's missed 14 contests in two terms because of knee injuries. Swift hasn't gained much ground as a reliable threat in between the tackles, logging three carries for eight yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut.
Peterson has made a living out of making one cut and grinding out tough yardage. The Lions signed him a week before the first game, and he rushed for 93 yards on 14 attempts.
Until Swift shows he's able to handle a sizable role on the ground, plug Peterson into the flex spot in your starting lineup.
RB James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (56 Percent Rostered)
James Robinson ran for 62 yards against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, setting the record for most yards on the ground for an undrafted rookie in an NFL debut. The Illinois State product also caught a pass for 28 yards.
Going into Week 2, Robinson doesn't have any competition for carries among Jacksonville Jaguars running backs. For the most part, Chris Thompson has been a pass-catching back in his career. He saw two targets and didn't log a rush attempt in the season opener.
Before Week 1, the Jaguars placed Devine Ozigbo (hamstring) on injured reserve. Ryquell Armstead went on the reserve/COVID-19 list again Sept. 4.
Workhorse running backs have become a rarity in the league. Robinson has a big role that can expand if he continues to play well. Fantasy managers would probably like to see him catch more passes, but that could come along as the rookie gains more experience.
RB Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers (16 Percent Rostered)
Running back James Conner suffered a sprained ankle in the first matchup of the Monday Night Football doubleheader, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers maintained their bell-cow running back approach and relied on Benny Snell Jr. to finish the contest. He recorded 19 carries for a career-high 113 yards against the New York Giants.
Through three seasons, Conner missed 11 games. Because of his injury history, fantasy managers should add Snell on the Steelers' short week with the Denver Broncos next on the schedule.
In the second contest of the Monday doubleheader, Denver allowed 130 rushing yards to the Tennessee Titans. Snell isn't Derrick Henry, but he runs with power downhill, which may wear down the Broncos, who will also operate on a short week.
WR Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (45 Percent Rostered)
Based on offseason reports, wide receiver Mike Williams' status was all over the map going into Week 1.
According to The Athletic's Daniel Popper, the Los Angeles Chargers prepared to play without Williams through much of September. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the wideout would miss Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
But Williams suited up and caught four passes for 69 yards. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor seemed comfortable throwing to his 6'4", 218-pound perimeter target.
Williams racked up 1,001 receiving yards and averaged a league-leading 20.4 yards per reception with quarterback Philip Rivers under center last year. Because of his big-play ability, he belongs on your waiver-wire radar.
Notwithstanding his shoulder injury, Williams could have games in which he takes a backseat to fellow wideout Keenan Allen and tight end Hunter Henry.
Still, managers should start Williams when the Chargers have to keep pace with high-powered offenses. In Week 2, Los Angeles will go against the Kansas City Chiefs, who scored 34 points in their season opener against the Houston Texans.
WR Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (31 Percent Rostered)
Robby Anderson has the speed to stretch a vulnerable defense, and we saw him use that physical trait against the Las Vegas Raiders on a 75-yard touchdown pass.
Anderson set up rookie cornerback Damon Arnette on a double move and ran by safety Erik Harris for a score.
Anderson isn't going to face a first-year cover man every week with open field in front of him. However, Carolina has new starters across all levels of its defense. It dedicated the entire 2020 draft class (seven picks) to that side of the ball. Defensively, the Panthers could struggle as they did against the Raiders, allowing 34 points.
Consequently, Carolina may play from behind a lot this season, which would require quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to throw 30 to 40 times per game. Head coach Matt Rhule may call Anderson's number frequently to close scoring deficits.
Anderson averages 14.9 yards per reception for his career, indicating he's capable of producing big plays in any given week.
WR Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (56 Percent Rostered)
Managers should hop on the Anthony Miller fantasy train now. Even if you're skeptical about quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, roll the dice on the Chicago Bears wideout who generated his own buzz while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
Miller spoke about his expectations for the 2020 term with Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
"I feel like this is going to be my best year yet," Miller said. "I've matured a lot on the field and I've gained a lot of knowledge, especially this offseason."
In Week 1, Miller finished strong, hauling in the go-ahead touchdown inside the two-minute mark. He caught four passes for 76 yards and a score.
While Allen Robinson II has established himself as Trubisky's No. 1 pass-catcher, Miller seems to have a stronghold on the No. 2 spot.
The Bears will host the New York Giants in Week 2. Robinson may draw lead cornerback James Bradberry. Miller could have a more favorable matchup out of the slot.
TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (55 Percent Rostered)
The Washington Football Team's defense pummeled quarterback Carson Wentz, sacking him eight times Sunday. Yet Dallas Goedert made the most of a disappointing day for the Philadelphia Eagles offense.
Perhaps the Eagles attempted to target Washington's linebackers in coverage or Goedert had a favorable matchup. Either way, the tight end position can be hit-or-miss outside of the top five players.
However, coming off his first 100-plus-yard game, Goedert could have a jump start on his best season. The Eagles don't have the strongest wide receiver group. Alshon Jeffery remains sidelined while recovering from Lisfranc surgery. Rookie first-rounder Jalen Reagor hauled in one pass for 55 yards, though he still has to find his way in the offense. DeSean Jackson caught just two of his seven targets Sunday.
Wentz may lean on Zach Ertz and Goedert at tight end until he has a wide receiver unit that's up to speed and in sync with the offense. If the latter is available, pick him up.