Week Two Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Dion Lewis, Mike Davis & More
Week 2 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Dion Lewis, Mike Davis And More
We knew that fantasy football was going to bizarre in 2020. A global pandemic, protests in the streets, no preseason and a truncated training camp. Well, certainly no one saw it all coming to a head in Week Two. The list of players who suffered season-ending injuries or who have been placed on short-term IR is literally too long to list here. Before we get into the meat of the player suggestions on the wire this week I do want to make one strategic point: the amount of carnage that occurred this week is not going to be unique. My best prognostication is that just as in Major League Baseball, we see multiple periods of a laughable number of injuries to star fantasy players. While there are some excellent waiver wire targets this week, my overall approach is going to be slightly different to the waiver this year.
I am going to try and make more low-cost adds and churn the bottom of my rosters as opposed to “all-in” style bids, especially in non-high scoring NFL offenses. For example, you would have rather spent 5% of your budget on Myles Gaskin last week than 50% of your budget on Dion Lewis this week.
Each week, we will take a look at three tiers of players: the “must adds” or players that we expect will be picked up in every league and in every format, the “borderline” tier, and the deep-league darts. The focus will be on 12-team PPR leagues as our frame of reference and as always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @DavisMattek or in the Daily Roto NFL Slack channel.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
Absolutely Should Be Owned In Every League But You Will See There Name In Other Fantasy Football Waiver Pieces: CeeDee Lamb, Joshua Kelley, Dallas Goedert, Mecole Hardman, Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas, Preston Williams, N’Keal Harry, Jerick McKinnon
Safe Fantasy Football Drops: Jordan Howard, Rex Burkhead, Justin Jefferson, Carlos Hyde, Damien Harris, Duke Johnson, AJ Dillon, LeSean McCoy, Kyle Rudolph, Justin Jackson, Tyler Eifert, Sammy Watkins, Willie Snead, Larry Fitzgerald, John Ross
Potential Difference Makers (These are players worth > 25% of your FAAB, or the #1 overall waiver claim) From The Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
When SaQuon Barkley left the game for the New York Giants, Lewis handled every RB touch for the rest of the game. The team clearly signed him to handle passing downs and pass blocking (something Barkley admitted that he was not great at) and because the Giants seem so terrible on offense, that role was going to grow regardless. Wayne Gallman will likely chip in for some early-down work, as the team reportedly told Gallman earlier this offseason that if Barkley were to get injured, they felt he could “carry the load”. Devonta Freeman may also potentially sign with the Giants which would make all 3 RBs useless. Lewis is going to require aggressive bids to acquire, especially in high stakes formats but less so in regular 12-team PPR leagues. 25% should be the right number for Lewis but you are not guaranteed to get him.
With Christian McCaffrey out 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, Mike Davis actually seems like clearly the best waiver wire pickup of the week. Davis has already been targeted eight times (in Week Two alone) which is actually only one less than Reggie Bonnafon had in ALL of 2019. While the Panthers offense isn’t amongst the leagues best, the fact that Davis plays the passing downs for a team with a terrible defense builds in a floor on a weekly basis. If Darrell Henderson or Joshua Kelley are NOT on your waiver wire, Davis is the highest priority and you can go as high as 40% for him.
Not only did Cam Akers probably break his ribs in the Rams game against the Eagles but Malcolm Brown sustained a finger injury. This leaves Darrell Henderson as their only healthy “running back” though Xavier Jones is on the 53-man roster and John Kelley will be called up for the teams’ Week Three contest. Henderson was left for dead by many but had a breakout performance against the Eagles with 81 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards and a touchdown. He and Kelley are the absolute highest priority on the waiver wire this week, though Henderson won’t be available in any casual leagues. You can go up to 50% on him if you need a RB starter immediately.
Sammy Watkins was never the picture of health. Tyreek Hill has missed NFL time with injury and Travis Kelce is 31 years old. There was always a chance that one of the Chiefs starters would get injured and it has happened with Sammy Watkins leaving Sunday’s game early with a head injury. There were a million reasons to draft Mecole Hardman and if he is on your waiver wire, I consider him the highest priority outside of Kelley and Henderson, even over Dion Lewis and Mike Davis.
With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman both out for multiple weeks due to lower-body injuries, McKinnon is ALSO a priority add. Given that McKinnon both catches passes and plays for a good team, he is actually the best waiver add of the week. He should be available in your more casual style of leagues though he will be owned in any “high stakes” format such as the FFPC or NFC. Do whatever is required with your FAAB to acquire McKinnon.
Borderline Starters (These players likely are coming off a good game but do not project as multi-week starters, worth less than 25% of your FAAB) From The Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
Given what I expect it is going to take to acquire Dion Lewis, I much prefer spending 10% or less of my FAAB budget on Gallman who has already filled in fine for Barkley in the past. Gallman is not a special talent at all but in his lone start last season before sustaining a concussion, Gallman played 60% of NYG’s staps while being targeted seven times and scoring two touchdowns. He is a fine player on a bad team and if Dion Lewis gets typecast in the role he has always played, Gallman is going to be the better waiver buy.
I have been hesitant to buy in to Gage in the Falcons offense simply because with both Ridley and Julio Jones demanding a 25%+ target share and Atlanta’s proclivity to throw to the running backs, it is hard to rank Gage as a weekly starter. However, with back to back nine and 12 target games, following a close to the 2019 season where Gage had 16, six and six targets, it seems like he might have a real role for one of the pass-happiest offenses in the NFL. He does lack long term “upside” in the sense that he will never be the top target in ATL and that will keep you from ever feeling incredible starting him but he is now at least a weekly flex option.
KJ Hamler/DaeSean Hamilton/Tim Patrick
Courtland Sutton is out for the year for the Denver Broncos. Noah Fant should be able to hold the mantle of being the top target for the team in the interim and Jerry Jeudy will be the most targeted wide receiver. Hamilton and Patrick are here simply so their names are known by our readers but I’m more interested in Hamler. Hamler did not run at the combine due to injury but is rumored to run in the 4.3’s and in fact in college, returned a kickoff for a touchdown in under 10 seconds; do the math on that. If any of these players is likely to make a fantasy difference, it will be Hamler.
I am absolutely kicking myself for not going harder on Dalton Schultz on waivers last week after Blake Jarwin was lost for the year due to an ACL tear. Schultz played 70% of the Cowboys offensive snaps and was targeted 10 times after being targeted four times in Week One. In any sort of tight end premium format, or where you are considering starting guys like Tre’Quan Smith or MVS in your flex spot, Schultz is a legit 10-15% add as an every down player on a great fantasy-friendly offense.
Last week I wrote about Gaskin”The University of Washington product, who lead the Dolphins in snaps at running back and also in carries. While Matt Brieda, Jordan Howard and Patrick Laird all still lurk (and the Dolphins offense is not looking likely to score buckets of points) but leaving a “starting RB” on the waiver wire is probably bad. What is interesting about Gaskin is that he was a legit workhorse in college and other than Brieda, profiles the best as a rusher + receiver at the NFL level.”
Well, I think that is going to end up looking bad. Gaskin now has 10 targets through two games and has played on 63% and 65% of the Dolphins total snaps. Even with Jordan Howard nicking goalline carries, Gaskin is a legit flex play.
Michael Pittman Jr.
One of the worst things we do in fantasy is we get overconfident. “Shenault is DEFINTELY better than Pittman!” but obviously, Pittman was drafted ahead of the likes of Shenault, Hamler, and other players who got more training camp buzz. However, Pittman now has one of the best opportunities of any rookie with both Jack Doyle and Parris Campbell out. Doyle will return before Campbell but Pittman is now a starting player for the Colts. Given that the Colts are going to be in more negative game scripts than we expected heading into the year, Pittman has a chance to be a fantasy viable WR4/5 the rest of the way and joins that hopeful bunch of rookie WRs with a clearly defined role on their team. With a 4.53 40 at 6’4, Pittman is a legit freak athlete and fits the sort of sterotypical mold of WR that Philip Rivers has had success with.
I will not make the same mistake I did last week with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz with C.J Uzomah and Drew Sample. Even if Drew Sample was not athletic (he is), he is in a prime position to succeed for fantasy football. The Bengals defense is terrible, but Joe Burrow’s early returns are even better than expected. Sample was targeted nine times (of 61) in Week Two against the Browns and projects as basically the every-down tight end for a pass happy Bengals team for the rest of the season. As a former second-round pick, a second-year breakout for Sample would not be wholly unexpected.
Other 10-20% FAAB bids: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jalen Reagor, Laviska Shenault, Frank Gore (gross), Gardner Minshew, Mike Williams, N’Keal Harry
Deep League Targets And Bench Stashes From The Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
Frank Gore had 21 carries in the absolute dismantling by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and Perine played only nine snaps, recording three rushes. However, the theory here is pretty simple. If there is a Jets RB who is going to have fantasy value it is going to be a pass-catcher and not the empty calorie early down rusher. Perine caught 40 passes his final season at Florida and profiles as a guy who could theoretically fill that role at the NFL level.
Mike Davis and Trenton Cannon are the RBs who are already on the Panthers roster and it is worth noting that Cannon is a legit athlete with 4.4 speed who can catch some passes. However, Bonnafon is likely to be called off the practice squad this week and was McCaffrey’s direct backup for all of 2020. For “guy behind the guy” $1 bids this week, I like Bonnafon but less than the 49ers backups.
DeMarcus Robinson/Darwin Thompson
With Sammy Watkins out for at least a week with a head injury (this is conjecture but a safe assumption in my opinion), DeMarcus Robinson is going to continue to be an almost-every-down player for the Chiefs. His target share is not great but in deeper formats or where you can start 5 WR, he should be rostered.
For Darwin, he actually played more snaps than Darrel Williams did in Week Two. This is pretty interesting because Williams just did not play well in Week One and the Chargers game in Week Two was far more competitive than the Texans game. It is entirely possible that Darwin is now the second RB in Kansas City and we know how valuable that role is.
This is a deep league target only, but Cox shone in his first NFL start. It is not clear how long Jack Doyle will be out injured but Cox might be the higher ceiling player for this Colts offense anyway. Cox was a college basketball player who has been on the Colts roster as a developmental tight end for the last three seasons. In his first start, he played 67% of the Colts offensive snaps and was targeted six times and recorded 111 yards. I expect he will go for around 40-100 FAAB dollars in FFPC high stakes leagues and if you need a TE for Week Three, he is a legit add.
Jamycal Hasty/Jeff Wilson Jr.
With both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman out injured for at least a few weeks with lower body injuries, all of the attention is on Jerick McKinnon but I am not sure that the team views McKinnon as a “starter”. Similarly to how last season when Coleman got injured, Brieda was the third down back and Wilson was the goalline back, there are real scenarios that play out where Hasty fills in the Mostert role, Wilson fills in the Coleman role and McKinnon stays in his third down role.
Hasty is the most interesting athlete outside of McKinnon in this backfield as he ran a 4.55 40 yard dash at 205 pounds and caught 79 passes in four seasons at Baylor in college. I am making $1 bids on Hasty and Jeff Wilson in every league that I play in. I suggest you do the same.
Look Ahead Defense Bids (5% of FAAB or less): Dallas Cowboys (The ‘Boys get the Cleveland Browns at home in Week Four), Houston Texans (The Texans get the best matchup of the year with the Vikings at home in Week Four)