Unless you drafted your fantasy football team early in August many fantasy owners won’t look for a waiver wire pickup before the first week of games. Still, there are always options to keep in mind as we move into the start of the season and beyond.
Below we have listed a few quarterbacks, running backs and receivers who may be sitting on your waiver wire and could be a valuable option for depth.
Matthew Stafford: The Lions second year quarterback will have his up and downs in his second year but one thing he will do is be aggressive in the passing game. The Lions focused on making the passing attack a top priority this offseason and from their play in the preseason it looks to have paid off.
With a healthy Calvin Johnson and better compliment players like Tony Scheffler, Nate Burleson and Jahvid Best the Lions will be a productive offense. If you don’t have a good backup on your roster, I highly suggest you grab Stafford before the first week of games.
Kyle Orton: How the heck can Orton be a relevant quarterback after losing Brandon Marshall you ask? Well, he’s not a player you’ll want to be starting every week but the Broncos may end up passing more than people think.
In week one Orton plays the Jaguars, and he’s still in the AFC West. Throw in the fact that the Broncos play the NFC West this season and Orton has a decent schedule to pass against. Look for Eddie Royal and Jabar Gaffney to be Orton’s top receivers early on this season.
Running Back Pickups
Larry Johnson: The Redskins are likely to have Clinton Portis back for the first week against the Cowboys but fantasy owners shouldn’t expect Portis to last long. Last season Portis really showed his age and even this preseason he couldn’t stay on the field with an ankle injury.
Johnson isn’t the player he was years ago, but he could be a decent bye week fill in option for your squad this season. If Portis should go down at any time fantasy owners will be looking for Johnson on the waiver wire. Be smart and nab him up right now if you have the bench depth.
Fred Taylor: It’s hard to recommend a Patriots running back for a roster spot on any fantasy squad but New England is a winning team, and Taylor is projected to be the starter. With Laurence Maroney battling an injury (who knows how long he will be out) the Patriots will probably give Taylor the highest share of carries until his wheels fall off.
Wide Receiver Pickups
Jabar Gaffney: I like Gaffney this year as a nice player to stash on your squad for depth. As I talked about in the section for Kyle Orton the Broncos may pass more than expected. Orton tends to like the bigger sized receivers and Gaffney fits that mold well. Last season Gaffney enjoyed success (especially for PPR leagues) when he totaled 21 receptions for almost three hundred yards and two touchdowns in the final two games of the year.
This success was highlighted by his week seventeen game when he had 14 receptions for 213 yards when Brandon Marshall was suspended. Week one Gaffney gets to play the Jaguars, and he is worth a flex play start in PPR leagues this week if needed.
Mike Williams (Buccaneers): The rookie Mike Williams should have a nice season as the Buccaneers top receiver. Right off the bat Williams gets a nice matchup against the Browns, and he should post a decent day. Many fantasy experts have been talking about Williams for the past few weeks, so he may be gone in your league already.
Nate Washington: With Kenny Britt probably finding the bench for awhile because of his poor play and immaturity, it is Washington that should be the top target in the Titans’ passing game. Last year Washington posted six touchdowns and is worth a look in deep fantasy football leagues.
Mike Williams (Seahawks): The USC standout and first round bust is getting another chance to prove himself in Seattle. Reunited with his old Coach Pete Carroll, Williams is now in the starting lineup and actually looking like a decent receiver. I don’t recommend you pick up Williams right away, but he is a player worth keeping on your watch list for a couple of weeks.
NFL fantasy football player rankings writer Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com