The expansion of the NFL schedule to include a Thursday night game every week makes it necessary for Fantasy Football team owners to start thinking about the waiver wire earlier. Most leagues used to schedule their FAAB bids and claims later in the week, usually Thursday or Friday, but now it has to happen Wednesday or Thursday morning at the latest. So, even though there will still be another game to play on Monday nights, the Monday edition of The Xpert Eye is going to introduce you to the players that will be prominent on the waiver wire for the coming week’s games.
There were a fair number of injuries during Week 2, which led to new opportunities for several players to step forward. There were also a number of poor performances that could lead to playing time for some new faces in the games ahead. We’ll cover them all here and let you know which of them are your best roster investments going forward.
Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Vikings) – Matt Cassel was simply brutal against the Patriots on Sunday. He tossed four interceptions, was sacked six times and completed just 52.7 percent of his passes. Granted, the Patriots defense played an awesome game and the Vikings’ offensive line simply couldn’t contain the pass rush, and the absence of Adrian Peterson was definitely a factor. However, Coach Mike Zimmer has to be at least thinking about getting Bridgewater in there at some point. Bridgewater is worth grabbing off the waiver wire and stashing in deeper and two-QB leagues; he can’t be any worse than Cassel.
Kirk Cousins (QB, Redskins) – Robert Griffin III dislocated his ankle, though, imaging studies have ruled out a fracture, so he’ll be sidelined for the time being but might return before the season is over. However, Cousins is a better pocket passer than Griffin right now and there was speculation during the preseason that he would win the starting job. Cousins will be the starter going forward and he will have value in two-QB leagues and might be a viable Top-15 QB. You won’t find that kind of potential on your waiver wire anywhere else.
Matt Asiata (RB, Vikings) – The hot waiver wire add of the weekend is suddenly almost worthless with the announcement that Adrian Peterson will rejoin the team and play Week 3 against the Saints. Asiata played a pretty good game against the Patriots, scoring a touchdown and gaining 84 yards between his rushing and pass catches. Since both the Vikings and the NFL will let due process play out in Peterson’s child abuse case, Asiata is no more than a depth stash/injury replacement going forward. However, you can be sure the Vikings will involve him in the offense a bit more often now, so they don’t get caught off guard, unprepared to replace their star RB.
Knile Davis (RB, Chiefs) – Jamaal Charles was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain after leaving Sunday’s game with the injury. A high ankle sprain typically involves multiple structures in the ankle with more severe pain and longer lasting symptoms. Severity can vary but the injury can linger for months. The bottom line here is that Charles could be sidelined for more than a week or two, but we just won’t know unless the Chiefs choose to share that information. Davis gains 79 yards on 22 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 26 yards. Essentially, he’s very similar to Charles minus the big play ability. So, Charles owners should hang onto him and if he’s on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues, he’s worth adding from the waiver wire as a potential RB2/Flex play.
Bobby Rainey (RB, Buccaneers) – Doug Martin was a surprise late scratch due to a knee injury and Rainey filled in admirably as the featured back. In fact, Rainey could end up doing a Wally Pipp on Martin, who hasn’t looked good at all. Rainey is averaging 6.0 YPC so far and he’s been targeted five times in the passing game. That makes him valuable in all formats and a RB that should be rostered in all leagues.
Jeremy Hill (RB, Bengals) – There is no question now that the Bengals are going with a two back system and Hill is going to be that second back behind Giovani Bernard. He’s averaging just less than five yards per carry so far and it looks like he could get 15 touches per game. That makes him a solid RB3 or Flex play in 12-team leagues.
James Jones (WR, Raiders) – Jones was targeted 14 times on Sunday and made nine catches for 112 yards and a pair of TDs. He’s among the Top 10 WRs at this point, something that many Fantasy owners may find surprising. The point here is, if Jones somehow is available on your waiver wire, he has to be owned and should be started, especially when the matchup is right. He won’t finish ranked this high but he will put up serviceable numbers, especially in PPR leagues.
Eddie Royal (WR, Chargers) – Royal was targeted ten times on Sunday, which is the most targets he’s seen in a single game ever. He’s never going to see that many targets again unless somebody gets hurt, in which case he’ll be worth adding. For now, his value is limited to deep leagues and best ball formats. But he’s not a bad choice for a bye week replacement; he’s a WR5 with occasional WR3 upside.
Mohamed Sanu (WR, Bengals) – Sanu is the beneficiary of all the injuries currently plaguing the Bengals WR corps. Now that A.J. Green is sidelined for the next 3-5 weeks, you can expect Sanu to continue getting steady targets from Andy Dalton. He should be added by all Green owners and should provide decent yardage and reception numbers along with the occasional TD.
Niles Paul (WR, Redskins) – Paul is a wide receiver but he’s getting Jordan Reed’s targets. With Kirk Cousins under center for the foreseeable future, you can bet that Paul is going to continue to see plenty of targets. Cousins and Paul have worked together on the second team for a long time (relatively speaking) and have a good rapport. Of course, all bets are off once Reed returns but Paul will be worth the ride until then.
Mychal Rivera (TE, Raiders) – Rivera is sitting atop the depth chart at TE for the Raiders and QB Derek Carr has given him a dozen targets over the first two games. He too should put up steady though unspectacular catch totals each week but don’t be surprised if he eventually sees some action in the red zone. He’s a solid deep league TE.
Larry Donnell (TE, Giants) – Donnell has 17 targets already, just two games into the season, so it’s apparent that Eli Manning trusts him to catch the ball. He’s never going to be a sexy pick or produce a huge game, but he will provide those in PPR leagues with steady numbers, and there is something to be said about that from your tight end.