Last Updated: September 6th at 4:30pm ET
Week 1 isn’t an active one on the waiver wire, but our Waiver Wire Analyst Ryan Reynolds wanted to give Establish the Run subscribers an extensive overview of the options that are still available across many platforms. It’s at least possible some of these players are better than someone you’re currently carrying at the bottom of your roster. If there is a player you are considering on your waiver wire that is not on this list, feel free to hit him up on Twitter @ryanreynnj. He’d be happy to discuss your options with you.
WEEK 1 WAIVER WIRE
1. Jimmy Garoppolo
2. Matthew Stafford
3. Nick Foles
1. Justice Hill
2. Justin Jackson
3. Alexander Mattison
4. Ty Montgomery
5. Malcolm Brown
6. Dare Ogunbowale
7. Chase Edmonds
8. Mike Boone
1. Marquise Goodwin
2. Deebo Samuel
3. Rashard Higgins
4. Breshad Perriman
5. Adam Humphries
6. Cole Beasley
7. Albert Wilson
8. Trey Quinn
9. Hunter Renfrow
10. Miles Boykin
11. JJ Arcega-Whiteside
12. Mecole Hardman
13. D.J. Chark
14. Jalen Hurd
15. Jakobi Meyers
1. Jimmy Graham
2. Darren Waller
3. Chris Herndon
1. Matt Bryant
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers, 4% of FAAB Budget: My favorite aspect of preseason is that it creates opportunities to take advantage of overreactions. Garoppolo went 1 for 6 for no yards while throwing an interception in his 2019 preseason debut, and I don’t care. If this overreaction to six passes in an exhibition game resulted in Garoppolo landing on your waiver wire, pounce on it before Kyle Shanahan calls plays against Tampa Bay’s back-of-the-pack pass defense in week 1.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions, 1%: If you’re in need of a week 1 streamer, Stafford has a strong matchup against an injury-ravaged Cardinals secondary. A slow pace is a concern for Lions’ fantasy assets heading into the 2019 season, but new Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s fast-pace attack could easily lead to above-average play volume for the Lions in week 1. With Cardinals’ shutdown corner Patrick Peterson suspended and former Falcon Robert Alford on IR, Stafford and company are in position to help owners in need at quarterback for the opener.
Nick Foles, QB, Jaguars, 1%: Foles begins his Jaguars career at home against a Chiefs defense that yielded the second most passing yards in 2018. This contest has opening week’s second highest total of 52 ½ points, with the Jaguars coming in as 3 ½ point home underdogs. If you’re in need of a spot start at quarterback, Foles is well positioned to exceed expectations on opening day.
Justice Hill, RB, Ravens, 4% of FAAB Budget: The Ravens are going out of their way to acquire speed and athleticism at the skill positions. Hill is an 88.5% SPARQ score athlete and the most dynamic running back in the Ravens backfield. Hill will likely begin 2019 in a change-of pace-role alongside Mark Ingram, but Hill is the type of explosive player that can force a coaching staff to increase his usage. Hill has been among my favorite late-round targets for months. If Hill is available in your league, I recommend taking a shot on him.
Justin Jackson, RB, Chargers, 4%: Melvin Gordon’s holdout will continue into the season, with no end in sight. Running back Austin Ekeler saw 40 snaps with the Chargers first-team offense this preseason, with Jackson coming in behind him with 21. That a roughly 2-1 playing time ratio in favor of Ekeler. That complementary role has a chance to expand for Jackson the longer Gordon’s holdout lasts. In the lone contest that both Gordon and Ekeler missed in 2018, Jackson saw 19 total touches amassing 58 yards on 16 carries to go with 27 yards on 3 receptions at rival Kansas City. That’s not exactly a stellar box score for Jackson, but it does indicate what the size of his role could be in the absence of Gordon and Ekeler.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings, 1%: The Vikings have expressed their desire to establish the run throughout the offseason. Third-round running back Mattison is set to be the power complement behind explosive-starter Dalvin Cook. Mattison was drafted, in part, to fill the shoes of the Saints-bound Latavius Murray. Murray averaged 178 carries, 18.5 receptions, on 21.5 targets during his two seasons in Minnesota. If Mattison can earn most of that role, he has considerable value heading into 2019.
Ty Montgomery, RB, Jets, 1%: Le’Veon Bell did not play football last year. Before that, Bell had only played 14 or more games twice out of the previous five seasons. All signs point toward Montgomery serving as Bell’s primary backup. Jets reporter Rich Cimini recently suggested that Montgomery can “share the load” with Bell as the latter shakes off his rust. Montgomery has shown that he can be productive during his time in Green Bay, particularly as a pass catcher. If you’re looking to take the under on Bell’s workload this season, Montgomery is a strong investment.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams, 0%: Brown’s value in 2019 is generated by the uncertainty surrounding Todd Gurley’s knee. We’ve heard everything ranging from how Gurley can no longer handle a massive workload, to how he has looked healthy all summer. While we are forced to consider these speculative little tidbits when projecting the Rams offense this season, the truth is that we won’t know how the Rams intend to deploy Gurley until the season starts. What we do know is that the win-now Rams used an early third-round pick on Darrell Henderson, they matched the Lions offer to retain Malcolm Brown, and they let C.J. Anderson walk despite Anderson’s ability to successfully replace Gurley’s rushing production multiple times down the stretch. My film-based take is Anderson is in Detroit and Brown is back in Los Angeles because the Rams were able to freely deploy Brown in the passing game, while they were not with Anderson. Brown remains a low-cost insurance option for Gurley owners and a cheap investment for Gurley doubters.
Dare Ogunbowale, RB, Buccaneers, 0%: Running back Ogunbowale essentially split first-team snaps with Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones during the Buccaneers third preseason game. New head coach Bruce Arians has complimented Ogunbowale’s toughness, pass-blocking ability, and route running heading into opening day. Arians is an aggressive, pass-heavy play caller whose pocket passers tend to throw a high volume of targets to running backs. Ogunbowale’s potential to seize a significant role as a pass catcher in this offense makes him very intriguing and worth a stash in deeper leagues.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals, 0%: Second year running back Edmonds is the primary reserve behind D.J. Johnson in Kliff Kingsbury’s fast-pace offense. During the Cardinals disastrous 2018, Edmonds had 80 total touches without Johnson missing any games. With the play volume on the rise in what should be a significantly better Arizona offense, Edmonds’ usage behind Johnson could easily increase. Should Johnson miss any time, Edmonds immediately becomes a fantasy commodity.
Michael Boone, RB, Vikings, 0%: Second year running back Boone has been a highlight machine in preseason. Dalvin Cook is the unquestioned starter at running back in Minnesota and rookie grinder Alexander Mattison is slated as the primary backup. Given Cook’s injury history and that Mattison is unproven, Boone could rise into a prominent role with the Vikings in a hurry. Boone is a name to monitor in leagues with shorter benches and already worth a flyer in deeper leagues.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers, 2% of FAAB Budget: The argument for Goodwin begins with him and Dante Pettis being on the field for all of Jimmy Garoppolo’s snaps during the second preseason game, while both also started the third. Goodwin brings elite speed and explosiveness to the table, representing America as an Olympic long jumper in 2012 while posting 4.27 speed during the 2013 combine. Goodwin also has the most rapport with Garoppolo, catching 29 passes on 43 targets over the final five games of 2017, the last time both players were healthy at the same time. During that five-game stretch in 2017, Garoppolo would often look Goodwin’s way while he was extending plays, a subtle indicator of a quarterback’s confidence in a pass catcher. The argument against Goodwin is built on the heavy draft capital the 49ers have expended on WRs over the past two drafts, Goodwin’s injury riddled 2018, and that the cheaper Kendrick Bourne or Richie James serve as direct competition for Goodwin’s role. Despite the uncertainty, Goodwin and/ or Deebo Samuel have been consistent late round targets of mine this entire summer. If Goodwin is on your waiver wire, he has the potential to be a high-ceiling asset in the 49ers offense that starts with an excellent opening day matchup against a vulnerable Buccaneers secondary.
Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers, 2%: There is considerable opportunity in the unresolved 49ers wide receiver corps, which is why 36th overall pick Samuel needs to be on your radar. Samuel is a run after the catch asset with a versatile skill set. While at South Carolina, Samuel had 4 kickoff return touchdowns while averaging 14.7 yards per reception during his final two years as a Gamecock. Samuel did not see the field with Jimmy Garoppolo during the 49ers second preseason game, but he was in the mix with the first-team offense during the third preseason game. Even though Deebo is not a lock for significant playing time early this season, he is a good low-cost, high-ceiling bet in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Rashard Higgins, WR, Browns, 2%: Players slated for significant playing time, in a high-performing offense, that have a realistic path to increased usage are exactly what we’re looking for on the waiver wire when available. Higgins checks all those boxes. Higgins is a well-rounded and efficient pass catcher, currently entrenched as the third wide receiver in what is likely to be a prolific Browns offense. After the football world was finally blessed with the firing of Hue Jackson, Higgins saw an uptick in playing time for the final 8 games in Freddie Kitchen’s offense. Higgins was on the field for 49.9% of the Browns offensive snaps under Kitchens, with a swell to 67% over the final two contests of 2018. Given the foundation for Higgins’ usage under Kitchens and quarterback Baker Mayfield’s chemistry with the wide receiver, consider adding Higgins if he went undrafted in your league. Additionally, I like Higgins’ opening day matchup versus Tennessee. Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler is vulnerable to stop-and-go routes. The presence of Odell Beckham will likely lead to the vulnerable Butler drawing Higgins throughout the contest. One stop-and-go on Butler, without safety help, can make Higgins a profitable week 1 play.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Buccaneers, 1%: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard are set to be the primary beneficiaries of the vacated 1,507 yards, 106 catches, and 32% target share collectively left by the departed DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries in Tampa. But there is also opportunity for former first-rounder Perriman, who started to show some promise down the stretch for the Browns last year. Perriman’s 2.54 yards per route run in 2018 tied T.Y. Hilton and Tyreek Hill in that statistic. Bruce Arians loves shot plays and he found great use for perimeter speedsters John Brown and J.J. Nelson during his tenure in Arizona. This bodes well for Perriman, whose 96.1% SPARQ score and blazing sub 4.3 speed are right in line with what Arians looks for in an outside receiver. Perriman is among my favorite adds in formats with deep benches, especially in half-point PPR and standard-scoring formats.
Adam Humphries, WR, Titans, 1%: The Patriots were interested in Humphries, yet he elected to sign with the Titans. Why? After seeing Humphries usage during the Titans first preseason game, I’m betting that the size of his role in the offense was a significant factor in his decision to sign with Tennessee. Humphries begins his Titans career with a better-than-you-might-think week 1 matchup at Cleveland, where the Titans are projected to be behind and the Browns appear vulnerable in the slot. Further, Adam Humphries has had multiple high-volume games while in Tampa against the Carolina Panthers, who have used the same system former Panthers and new Browns’ defensive coordinator Steve Wilks deploys. I’m not projecting Humphries as a big ceiling option, but his 2018 stat line of 76 catches for 816 yards and 5 scores is more realistically obtainable in Tennessee than his present ADP reflects.
Cole Beasley, WR, Bills, 1%: Listen, I don’t exactly feel good about this either. Bust just like Adam Humphries in Tennessee,Beasley is in position to average four or five catches a game out of the slot in Buffalo this season. Beasley caught 65 passes in Dallas last year and has labeled his new opportunity with the Bills as a role he can “do more” in. Beasley’s preseason usage with Josh Allen was very encouraging and it backed up Beasley’s enthusiasm for his role with his new team. Beasley is a high floor PPR asset you can get for free in most leagues.
Albert Wilson, WR, Dolphins, 1%: Wilson has missed most of camp with a hip injury, but he’s trending towards suiting up for the opener. Wilson missed 9 games in 2018, making his season stat line underwhelming at first glance. When projecting Wilson’s 2018 over a full 16 games, his numbers round to 59 catches for 894 yards and 9 touchdowns while posting a very high 3.03 yards per route run. Wilson did that in a low-pace offense whose head coach was fired. Since we are still waiting on DeVante Parker’s breakout season and that Kenny Stills’ was shipped to Houston, Wilson is a strong bet to lead Miami in targets behind high usage in the slot.
Trey Quinn, WR, Redskins, 0%: 2018’s Mr. Irrelevant Quinn is a sneaky interesting consideration heading into 2019. After transferring from LSU to SMU, Quinn showed that he can put up big numbers when given the opportunity, compiling 114 catches for 1,236 yards and 13 TDs during his sole season as a Mustang. During his rookie season in Washington, Quinn only saw significant snaps in two mid-season games, where he caught a total of 9 passes on 10 targets for 75 yards and a Thanksgiving Day TD. Despite Quinn battling a minor thumb injury this preseason, he is still being propped as the man in the slot that can legitimately lead the Redskins in targets and catches this year.
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Raiders: Now that Antonio Brown’s short and bizarre Raiders career has officially come-to-a-close, Renfrow’s opportunity in the Raiders’ offense is on the rise. Renfrow saw 73% of his 30 snaps out of the slot this preseason, which is where he primarily operated during his four-years at Clemson. Renfrow was never the primary option at Clemson, but he did have some big games against NFL caliber talent. During Renfrow’s freshman and sophomore campaigns with Deshaun Watson under center, Renfrow lit up Alabama in back-to-back National Championship games, combining for 17 catches, for 180 yards, with 4 touchdowns. Of particular interest, Renfrow shredded Alabama’s Swiss Army Knife and Dolphins first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick out of the slot. Renfrow ran behind Ryan Grant this preseason, casting some doubt as to how big his role will be early this year. However, with the Raiders win total set at 6 before Brown’s release, Jon Gruden may be interested to see what he has in Renfrow sooner than later.
Miles Boykin, WR, Ravens, 0%: Boykin is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound wide receiver out of Notre Dame with a staggering 99.9% SPARQ score. Elite athletic testing does not always lead to a successful NFL career, but the Ravens made it very clear this offseason that they want speed and athleticism at the skill positions. With first-round pick Hollywood Brown missing most of training camp due to injury, Boykins has an opportunity to jump an otherwise middling Ravens wide receiver group for significant playing time sooner than originally expected.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Eagles, 0%: The Eagles have put together a litany of quality pass catching options on offense, making the size of rookie wide receiver Arcega-Whiteside’s role for 2019 uncertain. Arcega-Whiteside is a contested catch style of player, that exhibited a unique box-out style on fades while at Stanford. After posting a big time 8 catch, 104 yards with a score stat line in the Eagles third preseason game, it’s increasingly possible that Arcega-Whiteside’s role increases sooner than later. Fellow wide receiver DeSean Jackson plans to play with a broken ring finger, but that injury is one to monitor for Arcega-Whiteside owners and enthusiasts.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs, 0%: Just like the Ravens, the Chiefs are an organization actively acquiring speed and athleticism at the skill positions. When Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are active, speedster Hardman’s role is likely to be too short on volume to make him a usable season-long fantasy asset. However, keep in mind that Watkins has only played 16 games once in his 5-year-career while missing a total of 18 contests over that span, including 6 last year due to a foot injury. Given Watkins’ injury history and Hill’s off-field troubles, Hardman is already worth a stash in deeper leagues.
D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars, 0%: Expect Dede Westbrook, who saw 7 targets from Nick Foles in the Jaguars third preseason game, to be the team’s primary receiver with high slot usage. However, keep an eye on lid-lifter Chark to emerge as more of a factor this year. Apart from muscle mass, Chark is very similar to Seattle rookie D.K. Metcalf while going six-plus rounds after him. For owners in deep leagues, especially those that are high on Metcalf, Chark is worth a roster spot heading into an appealing opening day matchup versus the Chiefs.
Jalen Hurd, WR, 49ers, 0%: 49ers rookie wide receiver Hurd was a five-star running back recruit that headed the Tennessee Volunteer backfield for three seasons. Hurd finished his collegiate career as a wide receiver for Baylor in 2018, after the Tennessee staff declined Hurd’s request to change positions after a concussion. Hurd enters the NFL as a unique 6-foot-5, 226-pound wide receiver with a running back’s run after the catch ability. Hurd’s power after the catch, in particular, is eye popping. Hurd’s back injury may prohibit him from taking advantage of Trent Taylor’s absence in the slot heading into opening day. Even if Hurd can’t suit up for the opener, Hurd has a fascinating, multipurpose skillset that I’m willing to bet on in deeper leagues.
Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots, 0%: North Carolina State rookie Meyers impressed through the first two preseason games, leading the Patriots in catches and yards in both contests. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound Meyers is a contested catch type of receiver, which pairs well with 42-year-old Tom Brady. With Julian Edelman and the returning Josh Gordon locked in as starters, Meyers will be competing with veterans Phillip Dorsett and Demaryius Thomas for a significant role in the offense. With first-round receiver N’Keal Harry on IR, Meyers is worth a roster spot in very deep leagues, but more of a wait-and-see prospect for everyone else.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers, 2% of FAAB Budget: If you’re interested in acquiring a share of Aaron Rodgers’ passing offense, Graham is available in 53% of Yahoo leagues right now. Graham had a disappointing 2018, especially on the touchdown catches where he only had 2. Even though Graham was plagued by drops last season, Rodgers’ still confidently targeted Graham in contested-catch situations throughout 2018. If you need a tight end, there is a path for Graham to improve upon his first year in Green Bay, particularly on the touchdown front.
Darren Waller, TE, Raiders, 2%: Acquiring Waller is a no guts, no glory type of move. The Raiders let Jared Cook depart for New Orleans, despite his 68 catch, 896 yards receiving, and 6 scores campaign a season ago in Oakland. This has created a void at tight end for the Raiders, one that Jon Gruden seems to want Waller to fill. Waller has some eye-popping physical attributes as a 6-foot-6, 238-pound former wide receiver with 4.46 speed and a 37-inch vertical. Waller has had two drug suspensions and some injury issues that have limited his impact as a pro, making him a low floor/ high ceiling shot at the tight end position.
Chris Herndon, TE, Jets, 0%: Jets tight end Herndon begins 2019 with a four-game suspension, which might have pushed him onto your waiver wire. Herndon had a sneaky strong rookie campaign, posting 39 catches for 502 yards with 4 scores. With the Jets offense likely to improve in Sam Darnold’s second year, Herndon is poised to build on his rookie production once he returns from suspension in week 6. If you missed on one of the top eight or nine tight ends, pairing Herndon with a low-cost veteran like Jimmy Graham, Jordan Reed or Greg Olsen to carry you through the first five weeks is a solid strategy. In that event, grab Herndon now if you have a deep bench. If you don’t, look to target him during the Jets bye in week 4.
Matt Bryant, K, Falcons, 0% of FAAB Budget: If you need a kicker, the reasons behind taking a shot on the 44-year-old Bryant are simple. The Falcons are among the best offenses in football and they play 13 games indoors this season.
Broncos Defense at Raiders, 1% of FAAB Budget: A strong fantasy defense is built on sacks and turnovers. The Denver defense has an elite edge rush, a strong corner group, and an excellent defensive mind at the controls in new head coach Vic Fangio. Fangio defenses prioritize hunting for strips as well as anyone, making forced fumbles an area one can expect the Broncos to improve in. Denver begins the season in a strong matchup at the Raiders for the late Monday Night game. There, exploitable left tackle Kolten Miller will have to deal with either Von Miller or Bradley Chubb all night. The Raiders will also be without their two starting guards, setting up a potential smash spot for Denver’s pass rush. For week 2, the Broncos host Mitch Trubisky and the Bears in the Denver altitude. Between Fangio’s familiarity with his former team and Trubisky’s sometimes erratic play, the Broncos defense has a solid matchup in week 2 as well. Based on ADP, Denver has been my highest exposure defense this season, making them an early season target for streamers and those that keep a defense throughout the year.
Cowboys Defense vs Giants, 1%: The Cowboys open as 7-point home favorites against the rival Giants, whom they have dominated during their last two tilts in Big D. The Cowboys have combined for 9 sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception while only surrendering 16 total points against Eli Manning’s Giants in those two recent contests in Dallas. After the opener versus Big Blue, Dallas goes to Case Keenum’s Redskins in week 2 and then hosts the Dolphins in week 3. If you stream defenses, Dallas is a talented defense that begins the season with three excellent matchups.
Eagles Defense vs Redskins, 0%: The Eagles dominant front four opens the season as 8 ½ point home favorites against a Redskins offense that has turnover-prone Case Keenum under center and stud LT Trent Williams voluntarily sitting at home. Pass blocking liability Erek Flowers will either be seeing reps at guard against Fletcher Cox or as a fill-in for Williams at tackle, a potentially game derailing matchup for Philly in either instance. We should expect the rival Redskins to deploy a quick hitter passing attack and run reliant game plan in an attempt to negate the Eagles pass rush. That’s why this game’s true appeal lies with turnover prone Keenum, playing from behind late against this Eagles pass rush. The Eagles visit Atlanta on Sunday Night in week 2, so streamers should view the Eagles defense as more of a one-off option for week 1.
Ryan Reynolds has privately analyzed football for investing and betting purposes for nearly two decades. Ryan began forecasting by using sports cards as a method of investing in individual baseball and football players, a practice he still takes part in today. Ryan plays DFS, high-volume best ball, and season-long fantasy while directly betting on props, totals, and point spreads that meet his conditions. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2014.