by Will Overton
Working the waiver wire after week one is a tricky road to navigate. You have to balance that tension of not wanting to overreact to a one performance, either good or bad, with not wanting to miss out on a guy who might turn out to be a pretty solid player all year long.
I will try and help you navigate the murky waters a bit here by discussing some of the guys sure to be prime targets and giving my thoughts on what you should be doing with them. This week’s edition will be running back heavy:
Tarik Cohen – RB, Chicago Bears
Certain to be one of the hottest names on the wire, Tarik Cohen put the fantasy world on notice with a really impressive rookie debut. He ran the ball five times for 66 yards, including a 46 yard run at one point. Cohen also caught eight passes for 47 yards and a TD. Between his success and Howard dropping a critical pass in the 4th quarter, I think it’s pretty well established that Cohen will be the receiving down back.
Cohen isn’t going to take Howard’s job any time soon I don’t think, and the five carries might be the norm, but he is a big play threat and a potential PPR monster. I think the Bears will look for ways to get the ball in to his hands, hopefully even moving him out wide and using him some as a receiver. It’s only one game, but I do think he is the real deal, especially in PPR.
Verdict: Must Own In PPR, Worth a Claim in Standard Too
Kerwynn Williams – RB, Arizona Cardinals
The news on David Johnson is certainly not what any fantasy owner wants to hear right now. Johnson is currently expected to miss between 8 – 12 weeks of action, pending a second opinion. That leaves Arizona with a big hole to fill at running back, and as of now the leading candidate to fill the majority of that is Kerwynn Williams. Andre Ellington is there and will likely be a third down option, but I expect Williams to be in line for 70% of the carries. My expectations aren’t overly high, but the workload will be there so I think you have to put the claim in.
Verdict: Add Based on Projected Workload
Javorius “Buck” Allen – RB, Baltimore Ravens
The injury to Danny Woodhead was a big blow to the Baltimore Ravens, but it may have opened the door for fantasy relevance to Javorius Allen. I think the lead back is still going to be Terrence West, but Allen’s 21 carries on Sunday can’t go unnoticed. The Ravens want to run the ball a lot, though running it as much as they did Sunday won’t happen often. What I like about Allen is that he will likely be the featured pass catching back with Woodhead gone, which helps make up for the fact that he’ll likely play second fiddle to West on the ground.
Verdict: Add If You Can’t Get the First Two
Marlon Mack – RB, Indianapolis Colts
It’s tough to tell what would happen if the Colts weren’t getting blown away, but Marlon Mack got a lot of work on Sunday. He ran the ball 10 times for 24 yards and a TD, also catching one pass for 21 yards. The good news is that Mack seems to be the lead backup to Frank Gore. The bad news is the Colts offensive line is really bad and it’s going to be hard for a running back to do much. I don’t think Mack sees double digit carries if the Colts aren’t getting blown out, but I also think he will catch more passes when the QB isn’t Scott Tolzien. Mack is a bit of a mixed bag which puts him behind the other backs we’ve discussed, but still a viable option to add and see what unfolds.
Verdict: Option Four on the List, With a Bump in Dynasty Legaues for Long Term Upside
Carson Wentz – QB, Philadelphia Eagles
It was a strong start to the sophomore campaign of Carson Wentz, who lit up the Redskins for 26 – 39, 307 YDS, 1 TD and 1 INT. It was promising to see that Doug Pederson seems content to open up the offense and let him throw a lot and not just manage the game. At the same time I think the Redskins secondary isn’t anything to write home about, so I can’t overreact to this one game. To me Wentz is still more of a streaming option than he is a potential QB1, but time could change that.
Verdict: Streaming Option Now, But Watch for Continued Success
Kenny Golladay – WR, Detroit Lions
The hype train of Kenny Golladay got started in the preseason when he caught two TD passes in his first game. Now that he has caught two TD passes in the first real game in the NFL the train is bound to fill up in a hurry (especially if you saw how impressive that second TD grab was this last week). It was encouraging to see how much Golladay was on the field on Sunday, but I think expectations are going to get out of hand. The Lions have a multitude of threats to get the ball to, and Golladay isn’t the only red zone threat on the team. I think with his ability for a big game it’s hard to not add him, but it could easily be Marvin Jones or Eric Ebron with two TD’s next week.
Verdict: You Have to Add Him, But Temper Your Expectations
Nelson Agholor – WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Could Nelson Agholor actually be breaking out this year after all the false alarms we’ve had the last couple seasons? He caught six passes for 86 yards on Sunday and a TD, while being targeted a total of eight times. Agholor had the advantage of being the WR not being blanketed by Josh Norman like Alshon Jeffrey, but this is still promising nonetheless. I think Agholor may be the move the sticks guy for Wentz this season and that’s not a bad role to be in. I don’t see him blossoming into a Top 20 WR or anything, but he can certainly have fantasy value.
Verdict: The Safer WR Option, Without the Same Upside
Jesse James – TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Of course it was Jesse James who came out and led the Steelers in scoring for week one. He caught six passes for 41 yards and two TD grabs. In a week where a lot of the TE1’s underperformed there will certainly be a temptation to grab James. I wouldn’t jump on that too quickly though. The Steelers are loaded with offensive weapons and so it’s hard to see James catching multiple TD’s ever again. There’s also the fact that the Steelers traded for Vance McDonald at the end of preseason, not a great sign of faith in James. McDonald should see the field more going forward as he learns the offense and James should fade into the background with all the Steelers weapons.
Verdict: Resist the Temptation and Pass