By Chris Zolli (@thezman2010)
Welcome to Week 2 everyone. After one week of the NFL season, fantasy owners will want to retool their lineups after seeing if their draft strategies worked or not. While we are only a week into the season, there is still some tinkering to do.
After injuries to Allen Robinson, Danny Woodhead, and, most importantly, David Johnson, fantasy owners will need to check the waiver wire to find their replacements. Let’s look around the league at who is worth a bid going into Week 2. Each price recommendation will be based on a $100 FAAB budget.
FAAB Waiver Wire Bids – Running Backs
Tarik Cohen (CHI, RB) – $12-15
14% owned in Yahoo
Tarik Cohen may not be the starter in Chicago, but he did have 28 touches for the Bears on Sunday and looks like he can be a force for the future in Chicago. Kevin White is out, making Mike Glennon turn to Jordan Howard and Cohen as the key parts of the offense in Chicago. He’s unlikely to rack up big rushing totals, but seeing six-to-eigh targets per game is reasonable if Benny Cunningham is leapfrogged as the backup in Chicago.
Kerwynn Williams (ARI, RB) – $10-12
8% owned in Yahoo
Kerwynn Williams is likely to play the short-yardage role in a committee with Andre Ellington (0% owned) next week against a rather soft Colts defense with David Johnson out. Week 3 holds Dallas for the Cards, but Week 4 brings another favorable matchup against the 49ers. No one could ever replace Johnson, but Williams looks to be one most standard leaguers would want for his chances at cracking the goal line. Ellington makes for a decent PPR add, but part of his love was due to Arizona’s sudden turning of the tables against Detroit.
Javorius Allen (BAL, RB) – FAAB Bid: $8-10
8% owned in Yahoo
In what seems to be a yearly event, Danny Woodhead was carted off with an injury and now Javorius Allen looks poised to capitalize on more playing time in Baltimore. Allen got a team-high 21 carries in Baltimore’s 20-0 win over the Bengals on Sunday, totaling 71 yards and breaking off a 17 yard rush as well. He did not find the end zone like his running mate Terrance West (who had a team-high 80 yards), but a backup running back involved in 22 of the teams 58 offensive plays (he had a target in the passing game too) is a very good sign. Allen had only nine attempts for 34 yards last season, and has a career 3.7 yards per carry, but his 514 yards in 2015 show that he can make an impact.
The biggest thing in evaluating Allen is looking at how the Ravens’ offense will look in 2017. The team ran the ball 42 times in Week 1, compared to 17 passes, and if Baltimore continues to be a team focused on the running game, Allen will get plenty of work. Starting running back Terrance West has never handled more than his 193 carries last season and if Allen gets 12-15 carries per game, he will be a nice fantasy addition.
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FAAB Waiver Wire Bids – Wide Receivers
Kenny Golladay (DET, WR) – FAAB Bid: $10-15
19% owned in Yahoo
Those of you who lost Robinson are likely throwing the bank at Golladay after seeing him catch four of his seven targets for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Golladay should have carved out a nice market share moving forward in a pass-happy offense and, while this could rule out an Eric Ebron renaissance, most of you should be able to enjoy it. The talent is real, and now the opportunity looks to be there. He does have to face the Giants and Vikings’ secondaries in Weeks 2 and 4, respectively, but you’re making this add.
Nelson Agholor (PHI, WR) – FAAB Bid: $7-12
14% owned in Yahoo
The bulk of Agholor’s 86 yards and his one touchdown came on a crazy 58-yard throw from Carson Wentz. Alshon Jeffery is still the No. 1 receiver and Torrey Smith is going to rotate in, but Agholor had a piece of the No. 2 duties and was the slot man in three-wide sets for Philly. This provides opportunity for a guy with a bounty of raw talent who has been held back by inconsistencies but could certainly hit a stride in his third season. It’s possible that next week’s matchup against Kansas City sees Jeffery similarly shadowed by Marcus Peters and Week 3’s game with the Giants yields a Janoris Jenkins blanket, so Agholor has a good shot at building some momentum early for fantasy owners.
Cooper Kupp (LAR, WR) – FAAB Bid: $4-7
27% owned in Yahoo
Jared Goff and the Rams looked particularly good in their Opening Day rout of the Colts (46-9) and their breakout receiver was Cooper Kupp. The 24-year-old rookie was targeted six times by Goff (tied for the team lead with Todd Gurley) and had a team-high 76 yards and a touchdown in the victory. The Rams did spread the ball out, eight players were targeted, but Kupp stood out as the top option for Goff, who completed 21 of his 29 passes. A lot of the value of Kupp comes from if Goff continues to develop and a matchup at home against the Redskins, who allowed 307 yards to Carson Wentz, is a nice one. Nelson Agholor caught six passes for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Skins in Week 1 and Kupp could see similar production.
Kupp has PPR value because he is going to be the beneficiary of added coverage on new addition Sammy Watkins. With the top corner back tasked to covering Watkins, Kupp will face more one-man coverage and continue to see a good amount of targets. He may not be the safest of options with Goff yet to establish himself as a strong NFL starter, but Kupp’s Opening Day performance puts him on the fantasy radar.
FAAB Waiver Wire Bids – Tight Ends
Austin Hooper (ATL, TE) – FAAB Bid: $3-5
55% owned in Yahoo
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper started the 2017 season on a high note, catching both of his targets for 128 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. While his 88-yard touchdown catch made the highlight reel, he also had a 40-yard catch and is the only tight end option for a high-powered Atlanta offense. The issue for Hooper is that the Falcons have such a good offense, as Matt Ryan needs to delegate his targets to Julio Jones, Devonte Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and the other pieces of Atlanta’s offensive machine. Hooper was only targeted five times or more twice in his rookie season of 2016, but may find success as a decoy in the Atlanta attack.
Hooper looks like he can be a good low-end TE1 at a minimum, but there is reason to worry about his usage rate. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian knows Hooper from their time together in the Pac-12 (Sark with USC and Hooper with Stanford) and Hooper did have six touchdown catches in his junior season with the Cardinal, including one against Sarkisian’s Trojans. Tight end can be a crap shoot at times and Hooper is a safer bet as a waiver wire pickup at the position.
Jared Cook (OAK, TE) – FAAB Bid: $1-2
19% owned in Yahoo
Cook caught all five of his targets for 56 yards, which should be a reasonable expectation moving forward with the chance at a touchdown always looming. Oakland boasts several weapons on offense, meaning Cook should be able to run against either a linebacker who is slower than him or a safety who is no match for his size in an offense that can put up some serious points. The Raiders get to face the Jets next week, where Cook will look to find paydirt for the first time in his new uniform.
Also Consider: Jesse James (PIT, TE) – FAAB Bid: $1-2
FAAB Waiver Wire Bids – Quarterbacks
Alex Smith (QB, KC) – FAAB Bid: $5-7
23% owned in Yahoo
After Alex Smith had a massive game in New England against the Patroits in Week 1, we will really see what he’s about in Week 2 at home against a solid Philadelphia defense. The Eagles held Washington’s potent offense to 17 points in Week 1 and if Smith can continue to use his new toy Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill, he will be a solid backup QB. The bottom line is that this pulls his range of outcomes up a bit in serious streaming consideration, but do not get carried away.
Jay Cutler (QB, MIA) – FAAB Bid: $3-5
28% owned in Yahoo
We still have yet to see Cutler and the Dolphins take the field in 2017 thanks to Hurricane Irma, but Cutler could still be a fantasy stud. Even if next week’s opener doesn’t go so well, his next five weeks go like this: @NYJ, NO, TEN, @ATL, NYJ. Miami gets their Jets games out of the way rather early, which is convenient for QB streamers. Those NO and ATL games could also turn into shootouts that require lots of action on Cutler’s part. For all of the hype around DeVante Parker, it’s Cutler who controls it all. He’ll throw a few questionable picks, I’m sure, but could find himself in the top-12 more weeks than not.
Also Consider: Sam Bradford – $2-4
FAAB Waiver Wire Bids – Defense
Oakland Raider D/ST – FAAB Bid: $2-4
35% owned in Yahoo
The Raiders are playing the Jets. Josh McCown is the quarterback for the Jets. Continue to stream defenses that play the Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST – FAAB Bid: $1-3
10% owned in Yahoo
We did not get a chance to see the Bucs in Week 1, but they are still in a strong position in a home game against the Bears. Mike Glennon and the Bears put up a surprisingly good effort against the Falcons, but this should be seen as an outlier versus a new norm. The Buccaneers front seven led by Gerald McCoy is not going to give Jordan Howard and surprising standout Tarik Cohen much room to work, which will force Glennon to beat them. Betting on Mike Glennon, an ex-Buccaneer, is not a good bet.
Cincinnati Bengals D/ST – FAAB Bid: $1-3
24% owned in Yahoo
A poor defensive performance in Week 1 may have people go sour on the Bengals, but a Thursday matchup with the Texans could be the perfect opportunity. DeShaun Watson is still a very raw rookie, prone to inconsistency, and will get the start over Tom Savage. The Jaguars sacked Texans quarterbacks 10 times in Week 1, so there is a good chance for sacks as well. With Watson making his first NFL start, there is potential for two-to-three turnovers, which makes the Bengals a really nice streamer.
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