Waiver Wire Week 2: Top Pickups and Drops

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2020

Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown sprints with the ball during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

The fantasy football running back market experienced a few shifts in Week 1. 

The situations in Indianapolis and both Los Angeles teams piqued the interest of fantasy football players in need of injury replacements or improvements at the position. 

Since Jonathan Taylor is rostered in a large number of leagues, you may have to turn elsewhere to fill Marlon Mack's vacated position on your roster. 

Malcolm Brown, Joshua Kelley and Nyheim Hines are among the top pickups for Week 2 based off their Week 1 workloads. 

While running back deserves the add/drop spotlight, there are a few other players at wide receiver and tight end worth considering as usage rates and performance trends begin to develop.


Top Pickups

Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams

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Brown won the Week 1 competition for touches over Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers. 

The Rams running back recorded 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 carries and caught three passes for 31 yards. 

The four targets he received from Jared Goff were an added bonus to his rushing total and could make him an even more intriguing option in points-per-reception leagues. 

On Monday, Brown was the most added player that was not playing in one of the two Monday night games in Yahoo leagues

The 27-year-old is currently rostered in 25 percent of Yahoo competitions, per FantasyPros, but that total is expected to surge now that he appears to have won the top spot on the depth chart.

Brown may experience an uptick in production with three NFC East teams ahead over the next four weeks. 

After Week 1, the NFC East looks like one of the weakest divisions in football since Dallas, Philadelphia and the New York Giants all sit at 0-1.


Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

The other running back competition in Los Angeles is becoming more defined as well. 

Rookie Joshua Kelley put up 60 rushing yards on 12 attempts and produced the Chargers' only touchdown on the ground. 

Kelley was added over 8,500 times in Yahoo leagues Monday, which is a bit lower than the managers who went after Brown. 

The 22-year-old out of UCLA was on the roster in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues for Week 1, so he may more available than Brown in any league. 

The difference between the two players is caused by the presence of Austin Ekeler ahead of Kelley on the depth chart.

Ekeler had seven more carries than Kelley in the win over Cincinnati, but the high usage rate is a promising sign for his role in the offense. 


Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay

Green Bay's offense had the best fantasy output in Week 1, putting up 43 points on Minnesota.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was one of the beneficiaries of Aaron Rodgers' high passing-yard total of 364. He brought in four of his six targets for 96 yards and a score. 

Valdes-Scantling also caught the longest touchdown pass from Rodgers on a 45-yard hookup in the second quarter. 

At the moment, Valdes-Scantling appears to have the edge over Allen Lazard as the second option behind Davante Adams. 

If the Packers are able to open up more defenses in 2020, Valdes-Scantling could be one of the best early pickups. 

The 25-year-old should be available in most leagues since he is on the roster in seven percent of Yahoo competitions. 

Green Bay's Week 2 matchup could be too juicy to pass up the Green Bay receiver on the waiver wire since the Lions allowed 391 total yards in their opening loss to Chicago.


Top Drops

Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis

Blake Jarwin, TE, Dallas

Marlon Mack and Blake Jarwin were the most dropped players Monday, and they should have a high drop percentage throughout the week. 

Mack was confirmed out for the season with an Achilles injury Monday afternoon.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Jarwin suffered a "clean ACL tear" in Dallas' Sunday night defeat to the Rams. 

Mack was expected to lead the workload in the crowded Colts backfield that will now be led by Hines and Taylor. 

Jarwin was projected to occupy the Jason Witten role in the Dallas offense as a reliable target across the middle to complement Dallas' trio of wide receivers. 

Instead, both players will sit out the rest of the 2020 season and should not be on the roster of any single-season leagues. 


Chris Thompson, RB, Jacksonville

Chris Thompson was not involved in Jacksonville's offensive game plan much.

The experienced running back did not earn a carry in the win over the Colts and caught two passes for six yards. 

James Robinson carried the bulk of the load in the Jacksonville backfield with Leonard Fournette now in Tampa Bay and Ryquell Armstead out for the time being. 

Since he did not factor in the Jaguars offense much, Thompson is not worth carrying as a depth piece at running back with so many others available. 

Even if you wanted to keep him for Week 2, Thompson faces a tough matchup on the road at Tennessee that could produce a similarly low total.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.