by Will Overton
Managing the waiver wire at the beginning of the season can be very tricky. You have to walk that fine line between not overreacting to one game and not missing out on some potential value, as you don’t want to blow up your draft after one game. With that in mind, here is my take on some names that are sure to be popular on the wire this week:
Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Flacco – QB, Baltimore Ravens
I am lumping the two of these together as their situations are similar. There were reasons they didn’t get drafted in leagues outside two QB formats, and I’m not sure we should change things based on one game. Both looked fantastic in Week 1, but I think it may say more about the competition. The Saints were supposed to be stout on defense, but I’m not so sure after this one. As for the Bills, wow this is going to be a long year. I think if anything we have learned that the Bills may be an excellent option to stream against and the Saints may not be a team to fear playing your guys against.
Latavius Murray – RB, Minnesota Vikings
We’d been hearing throughout the preseason that Murray was going to play a real role for the Vikings and that’s how things played out. Murray got 11 carries, compared to the 16 for Dalvin Cook. Murray was a Top 12 running back last year when Cook went down and if he is going to regularly get double digit carries there will be some value. You won’t want to use him often but on bye weeks he can be serviceable, especially if we see him get goal line work when the time comes.
Austin Ekeler – RB, Los Angeles Chargers
There was some buzz early on in the preseason about Ekeler having potential value this season, but it somewhat fizzled as it came draft time. I expect after Week 1 that the buzz will be picking back up. Melvin Gordon is clearly the lead back and I don’t expect Ekeler to get many carries, but he’s obviously going to be part of the passing game. Ekeler caught all five of his targets for 87 yards and a TD. He did run the ball five for 39 yards, but the value is going to come through the air. In half point and full point per reception leagues Ekeler is going to be a solid own to have in the same realm of Theo Riddick and Duke Johnson and we know there’s a place for that at this point.
Frank Gore – RB, Miami Dolphins
The ageless one carries on, and while Gore went largely ignored in the preseason he’s going to have to be paid attention to now. He split carries with Kenyan Drake and ended up with 9 carries and 61 yards. It was a solid start to the season, but is the role really different than expected? We knew Drake wasn’t going to be able to handle 20 – 25 touches per game. Gore’s tank isn’t on empty, but do you really see yourself using him? There are guys with more upside you’d be better off with on your bench, even after this solid performance.
Phillip Lindsay – RB, Denver Broncos
Here’s your Week 1 shocker. All the buzz in Denver has been about Royce Freeman, but it was Lindsay who came in and stole the show. He ended up with the same number of carries and yards as Freeman, rushing 15 times for 71 yards. Lindsay also added 2 catches for 31 yards and a TD. While a surprise, it seems clear that the undrafted rookie has taken the number two back role from Devontae Booker. Lindsay is undersized, but looks to have some explosion which will make for a solid third down back. I don’t expect Lindsay and Freeman to have equal carries every week, but Lindsay appears to have a role and I think there is some upside to him making him someone worth grabbing.
Phillip Dorsett – WR, New England Patriots
Everyone has been speculating as to where the targets given to Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman would go. Despite being named the starter Dorsett was still overlooked, but maybe not after this game. He caught all seven of his targets for 66 yards and a TD. History shows us that Tom Brady utilizes his slot receiver as much or more than just about any QB in the league. Edelman is only out for three more games so Dorsett has work to do before his return to hold value, but for at least a few more weeks, and maybe longer, he holds some value.
Ryan Grant – WR, Indianapolis Colts
It wasn’t a perfect game, but Andrew Luck looked good in his first game back under center after missing all of last season. Frank Reich is clearly not going to bring Luck back slowly as he threw the ball 53 times. Nine targets, third most on the team, went to Ryan Grant who started opposite T.Y. Hilton. Grant caught eight passes for 59 yards working as Luck’s underneath guy throughout the game. The Colts are going to throw a lot all season, but there are plenty of options. Grant is still the third option after Hilton and Jack Doyle, and they seem to want to utilize two tight ends with Eric Ebron as well. Marlon Mack’s return will also take some targets away, especially underneath or dump off targets. I believe Grant will see a role similar to that of Mohammed Sanu of the Falcons, useful in a pinch but limited on upside.
Brandon Marshall – WR, Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks added Marshall in the offseason in hopes that he would be a red zone threat and things went according to plan in Week 1. He was targeted a team high six times, catching three passes for 46 yards including a TD. The Seahawks were spreading the ball all over with 10 players getting targets, but it was nice to see Marshall be involved. With Doug Baldwin spraining his MCL Marshall could be even more involved over the next couple weeks. I do think he will be TD dependent this season, but if Russell Wilson locks into him as a go to in the red zone he could put up 8 – 10 TD.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings: