The 2023 fantasy football draft season is wrapping up, and kick-off at Arrowhead Stadium is just days away. Even though your roster is already assembled, it’s not too early to start thinking about the waiver wire and potential roster moves before Week 1 is in the books.
The draft is where you build the foundation of your team. But, the waiver wire is where you create championship-contending teams. Some of these difference makers are just sitting out there, waiting for someone to snatch them up. Don’t be the lazy manager in your league. Stash some of these potential difference-makers at the end of your bench.
DE’VON ACHANE, RB MIAMI DOLPHINS
(YAHOO!: 49% ROSTERED ESPN: 25.3%, SLEEPER: 68%)
More of a target in ESPN leagues, Dolphins rookie De’Von Achane has found himself in a dramatically different situation in the last few days. Fellow running back Jeff Wilson Jr. was placed on IR last week. This makes Achane and Raheem Mostert the top options in the Miami backfield.
Achane fits perfectly with what the Dolphins want to do on offense: be faster than everyone. Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and now Achane. Boasting a ridiculous 4.32 40-yard dash, Achane truly has game-breaking speed.
We don’t know how Achane will fit into this offense but expect Mostert to be the “lead” back in Week 1. However, if Achane can produce some explosive plays, he could easily carve out a larger role, especially on third down, and provide value throughout the season.
MARVIN MIMS, WR DENVER BRONCOS
(YAHOO!: 36%, ESPN: 12.3%, SLEEPER: 36%)
This offseason has been nothing short of strange for the Broncos’ WR room. Following the losses of Tim Patrick (Achilles) and KJ Hamler (cut), rookie Marvin Mims has found himself in a starting role. WR1 Jerry Jeudy is also dealing with a hamstring injury and could miss a few weeks. This would place Mims as the WR2 in Denver, behind Courtland Sutton.
Throughout the offseason we have discussed the improvements that will be seen in Denver this year. New head coach Sean Payton has a history of creating productive offenses and quality fantasy options. If Mims begins the year as the consistent WR2, he will certainly reap the rewards of Payton’s offense.
Mims can be found on waivers in most leagues. If he’s there, go stash him until there’s more clarity on Jeudy’s injury. Adam Schefter stated on his podcast that Jeudy may miss up to eight weeks. This is highly speculative but if Jeudy misses six or more games, Mims will be a very valuable piece on rosters.
VAN JEFFERSON, WR LOS ANGELES RAMS
(YAHOO!: 19%, ESPN: 16.6%, SLEEPER: 37%)
Like Achane and Mims, Rams receiver Van Jefferson has a more significant role due to injury. Jefferson’s teammate Cooper Kupp has dealt with hamstring issues throughout the off-season and met with a specialist this week. It appears that Kupp will miss Week 1, at least.
While Jefferson will not be anywhere close to the target hog that Kupp is, he can certainly provide some flex-worthy performances in Kupp’s absence. Reports indicate that Jefferson and Stafford have developed a connection throughout the offseason, and he would be Stafford’s top option if Kupp can’t play.
Considering the “mystery” surrounding the severity of Kupp’s injury, grab Jefferson now before meaningful updates are provided. If Kupp misses multiple weeks, Jefferson could easily contribute to lineups.
Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua (2% on Yahoo!) is someone to keep tabs on in deeper leagues, as he made an early impression on Stafford and the coaching staff. The Rams’ depth chart is wide-open behind Kupp and Jefferson, and he could step into three-receiver sets right away.
KENNETH GAINWELL, RB PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
(YAHOO!: 50%, ESPN: 23.6%, SLEEPER: 35%)
Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell benefits from running behind the best offensive line in the NFL. Unfortunately, he has to deal with two other quality RBs competing for touches. The trio of Gainwell, Rashaad Penny, and D’Andre Swift is incredibly interesting yet infuriating for fantasy owners.
It has been assumed that Swift would play on passing downs, Penny and/or Swift would see most of the carries, and Gainwell would play a complementary role.
Surprisingly, there has been significant buzz in the last few weeks about Gainwell being the primary ball carrier. If Gainwell solidifies himself within this offense and gets consistent touches, he will be a steal off of your league’s waiver wire.
EVAN HULL, RB INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
(YAHOO!: 5%, ESPN: 14%, SLEEPER 14%)
Outside of Kupp, the Colts placing Jonathan Taylor on the PUP list has been the biggest news of the last week or so. This means that Taylor will be out until at least Week 5, opening the door for someone to emerge in Indianapolis.
He’s not quite a household name, but learn the name Evan Hull. The rookie out of Northwestern is easily the most intriguing option in this Indianapolis backfield. Like Achane, Hull is incredibly athletic and can make splash plays.
Regarding backfields like this (where we have almost no idea who will emerge), betting on the freak athlete is never a bad bet. Considering Hull can be found on the waiver wire in nearly every league, Hull is a great stash in deep leagues until we understand how this Colts’ backfield will function.
JAYDEN REED, GREEN BAY PACKERS
(YAHOO!: 8%, ESPN: 15.3%, SLEEPER: 17%)
Green Bay’s second-round selection from Michigan State, Jayden Reed, can be an immediate factor as a rookie. Primarily known for his elite route-running abilities, Reed was added to provide depth to this young WR core.
As previously mentioned, Reed may have a role from the jump. First, the Packers featured Reed all over the field throughout camp and preseason. Regularly seeing snaps from the slot and in three-receiver sets, Reed will certainly be involved in the Packers’ offense in some capacity.
Not to mention that there are no solidified roles within this Packers’ receiving room. Second-year receiver Christian Watson will have the WR1 locked down until something drastic happens. However, it is not beyond the realm of possibilities for Reed to surpass Romeo Doubs as the WR2.
JORDAN LOVE, GREEN BAY PACKERS
(YAHOO!: 30%, ESPN: 15.8%, SLEEPER: 41%)
After spending the last three seasons investing in young talent, the youth movement is finally here in Green Bay. Led by quarterback Jordan Love, the Packers look to move past the Aaron Rodgers era with young weapons.
If you did not lock down an elite quarterback in your draft, Jordan Love should be considered an end-of-bench stash. Love has an arsenal of new young talents like Reed, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Luke Musgrave.
There are plenty of question marks surrounding this offense. Thankfully, you can grab Love for next to nothing. Considering his dirt-cheap price, embrace the uncertainty in the Green Bay offense. Although Love only has 83 career pass attempts, he has been studying under Rodgers, preparing for his time as the starter. If you don’t have a surefire starter, consider adding Love to see how he handles his offense. The worst case is that the offense is in shambles, and you can drop him without issue, knowing you invested almost nothing.
INJURED RESERVE SLOT
If your league has an injured reserve slot, take advantage of it. There’s no reason not to stash someone there until they make their return. Some candidates for an IR slot stash include Jeff Wilson (25%), Jameson Williams (33%, SUSP), and Kyler Murray (24%). Some formats also let you stash players not on rosters designated with the ‘NA’ label, such as Kareem Hunt (15%) and Leonard Fournette (5%).
If these players are available in your leagues, simply drop your kicker or defense, add the player, move them to your IR slot, and pick up another kicker or defense.