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Week 1 was a wild ride. It started with a devastating season-ending Achilles tear to J.K. Dobbins, and ended with…a *likely* season-ending Achilles injury to Aaron Rodgers. On top of that, we had multiple surprise starting RBs (looking at you, Kenneth Gainwell and Kyren Williams), while fifth-round BYU rookie Puka Nacua did his best Cooper Kupp impression. I sifted through all of the injuries, usage, and efficiency data to help you best navigate the early-season waiver wire. Let’s dive in.

As a reminder, here are explanations for each section of the article. Read the descriptions below to determine whether “Home-League Waiver Targets” or “Deeper-League Targets” is more relevant for your particular league:

  • Home-League Waiver Targets: This section focuses on the typical “home league” with friends, family members, and co-workers. These leagues typically include starting lineups of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2-3 WRs, 1 TE, 1-2 FLEX, 1 K, 1 D/ST, and 5-7 BENCH spots. I will use ESPN & Yahoo rostership percentages to gauge which players are available in a typical league. To qualify as a waiver target, the player must be rostered in <50% of leagues on either Yahoo or ESPN.
  • Deeper-League Targets: This section will be focused on deeper leagues, which typically have additional starting lineup slots and deeper benches compared to the typical home league. Drafters who play in tournament contests on FFPC, NFFC, or similar should find this section helpful. To qualify as a deeper-league target, the player must be rostered in <50% of leagues on FFPC Main Event leagues.

For each list, I will rank the players in order based on how I would prioritize adding them to your teams. I will also include a “drop list” of commonly rostered players that I would be comfortable parting ways with in order to add these targets to your team.


Top 10 Home-League Waiver Targets


Kenneth Gainwell

Rostership: 22% ESPN, 46% Yahoo

Flashy offseason acquisitions D’Andre Swift (one carry, one reception) and Rashaad Penny (healthy inactive) distracted fantasy managers from Kenneth Gainwell, whose Week 1 role was much larger than anticipated. Gainwell handled 62% of the offensive snaps to go along with 88% of the RB carries and 57% of the RB targets. This role, if it holds, puts Gainwell firmly in the RB2 mix. While I anticipate Swift and Penny will eventually have chances to carve out bigger roles in this offense, it is currently Gainwell’s backfield to lose. Given his Week 1 role, talent profile, and situation on the high-powered Eagles offense, Gainwell is my No. 1-ranked waiver addition of the week.


Kyren Williams

Rostership: 10% ESPN, 5% Yahoo

In retrospect, fantasy managers should have been paying closer attention this preseason when Kyren Williams was rested alongside the Rams’ starters, indicating he would have a Week 1 role. Williams parlayed his strong preseason into a starting RB role for the Rams, surpassing Cam Akers in snaps (65% vs. 35%), routes run (74% vs. 10%), and targets (2 vs. 0). Akers did take the lead in carries, handling 22 vs. 15 for Kyren, but only did so late in the fourth quarter as the Rams were salting the game away. Kyren was also far more efficient than Akers as a rusher, going 15 for 52 on the ground while Akers struggled (22 carries for 29 yards). Going forward, I expect this to be close to a 55:45 committee in favor of Kyren, with the former Notre Dame star handling a higher share of passing-down work while Akers plays more in base. If Stafford can keep the Rams’ offense afloat, Kyren has the potential to be one of the best waiver additions of the year. In terms of RBs, Kyren, Gainwell, and Tyler Allgeier are in a tier of their own as the best waiver additions of the week.


Tyler Allgeier

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