Week 2 Waiver Wire Rundown
By Alex Gregory
After an up and down Week 1, no league-shifting free agents are waiting to take over as your RB2 and it’s too early to anoint the next out-of-nowhere star. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should sit on your hands, either. There are defenses to stream and out-for-the-year vets to replace.
As is generally the case, quantity trumps quality. Mike Gillislee looked consistently great last year when spelling LeSean McCoy, just as Karlos Williams did the year prior. However, that’s relatively insignificant when we’re talking about seven touches and the occasional touchdown.
At the same time, you should avoid overvaluing someone just because they have a relatively clear path towards targets. When the inevitable Dez Bryant injury occurs, Terrance Williams will still be a hard no and that’s based on four years’ worth of underwhelming play.
It’s a balance and an educated guess that’s more reliant on anticipation than past performance. You wouldn’t trade Le’veon Bell for Kareem Hunt, who just put up what might be the best single game performance we’ll see from a running back all season.
Lastly, don’t make the mistake of giving up on players with one bad week just for a shot in the dark on someone like Nelson Agholor. Look at matchups in the next few weeks to see where these guys might actually play a role. You might be better off taking a great D/ST matchup for Week 3, like the Dolphins or Rams (against the Jets and 49ers, respectively) than someone you’ll probably be dropping next week. And remember to keep an eye out for midweek injuries.
The following recommendations take into consideration ceiling, floor, strength of schedule, and position. With that said, let’s get to it.
Worth a Shot…
Tarik Cohen (RB, Chicago Bears) — Cohen looked quick, explosive and sure-handed in his NFL debut, posting 113 total yards, a TD and 8 receptions on 12(!) targets. Unless trailing big throughout, which is a distinct possibility with this team, Jordan Howard will win the carries battle but Cohen appears to be a lock to contribute in the passing game. Aside from touches, Cohen certainly met the eye test as he showed excellent balance and burst turning tight corners at the sideline and finding space against Atlanta all afternoon. Cohen could play a huge role in Weeks 3 and 4 if the Bears get down big against the Steelers and Packers, respectively. Kevin White going down for the year is one less option through the air, too. With that in mind, deeper leagues can consider, with reservations, Deonte Thompson of the Bears.
Corey Coleman (WR, Cleveland Browns) — If you’re in a shallower league, Corey Coleman should be priority number one. When healthy, Coleman’s looked like a potential star in need of a QB (feel free to be cautiously optimistic with Deshone Kizer). Coleman’s the leader in the clubhouse for targets with Terelle Pryor in Washington and Kenny Britt as his only real competition.
Kenny Golladay (WR, Kenny Golladay) — Rarely does the preseason star and late-round sleeper find his way to relevance during the regular season, but that’s exactly what happened Week 1 with rookies Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp. Golladay, who finished with 4 catches on 7 targets for 69 yards and 2 TDs, will have boom or bust potential given his size in the redzone and he’s probably worth an add if you have room. The Lions don’t have the most appealing schedule in the near-term with the Giants and Vikings coming up in the next 3 weeks but Golladay is a player whose role could expand as the season progresses and likely has the highest ceiling of any player available at this stage. Stafford has fallen in love with big targets over the years, turning borderline incompetent players like Joseph Fauria and Eric Ebron into redzone threats early in their careers.
Cooper Kupp (WR, Los Angeles Rams) — Cooper Kupp picked up where he left off after a brief groin injury kept him sidelined for the second half of the preseason. Kupp was targeted early and often by Jared Goff, finishing with 4 catches on 6 targets for 74 yards and a TD. Kupp played just 60% of the snaps in Week 1, but expect him to see more of the field moving forward and separate himself from Robert Woods. Kupp offers a higher floor than Golladay but could be held back by Goff.
Kerwynn Williams (RB, Arizona Cardinals) — Kerwynn Williams looks like the RB to own at the moment and for the glass half full crowd, his value could increase with Andre Ellington a lock to be banged up sooner rather than later. A kickstart from the Colts porous defense might earn Williams more playing time and more value in the coming weeks. Still, manage your expectations.
Buck Allen (RB, Baltimore Ravens) — Allen played exactly half of Baltimore’s snaps in Week 1. Expect Terrance West to outperform Allen, especially in standard leagues, but for Allen to be more of a factor through the air with Danny Woodhead sidelined indefinitely. If he is able to wrestle away some early down touches, Allen could prove to be a steal.
Marqise Lee (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars) — While getting shut out certainly isn’t ideal, Blake Bortles will have to throw the ball at some point and he’s running out of bodies. Allen Hurns is the de facto number two option and also worth consideration in deeper leagues. Dede Westbrook might prove to be the best add by year’s end but Lee seems like a safe bet to bounce back in select games that require a comeback through the air.
Jesse James (TE, Pittsburgh Steelers) — James is going to need TDs to hold value as his yardage will always be limited by Pittsburgh’s focused offense. Roethlisberger always plays significantly better at home and the Vikings defense just allowed a decent game to Colby Fleener, who’s also available on many leagues and could be worth a shot, if desperate. Evan Engram is the long play if you have space.
Tyrod Taylor (QB, Buffalo Bills) — If you’re in a bad spot or in a deeper league, Taylor is really the only option in the coming weeks that warrants starter status. Keep an eye on Jay Cutler and Alex Smith, who could emerge depending on matchups moving forward.
Baltimore D/ST — The Ravens are worth a look after a dominating performance against the Bengals. Fantastic matchups against the Browns and Jaguars are followed by a couple of rough trips on the road against the Steelers and Raiders before the schedule softens up again.
Oakland D/ST — The Raiders will take on the Jets in Week 2 and that’s all that really needs to be said.
Cincinnati D/ST — Cincinnati takes on a horrific Texans QB tandem Week 2 and could offer starting potential in Week 4 at Cleveland.
Pittsburgh D/ST — The Steelers take on Big Shot Sam Bradford in Week 2 following his dismantling of the Saints secondary. Unfortunately, Bradford won’t be playing the Saints (finished 31st and 32nd in points allowed in 2015 and 2016) again and should come down to earth. Games coming up against Chicago and Jacksonville look more promising.
Giorgio Tevecchio (K, Raiders) — Kickers are generally a crapshoot, but go with the some balance of a quality kicker who’s not a complete head case, with a good offense against a mediocre defense, in a winnable game, and decent (or no) weather. Tevecchio nailed four kicks, including two 50-yarders in Week 1. Blair Walsh, Chris Boswell and Younghoe Koo are other valid options.