Fourteen of 16 Week 1 matchups have wrapped up. There was a lot to learn and take away from this initial set of games. What was learned this week should be used to make changes to rosters, and most teams will scramble to their respective waiver wires. It’s not too early to get ahead of other managers and identify your early Week 2 Waiver Wire targets.
Each of these players either shined in Week 1 or had a change to their situation that improved their immediate or future fantasy outlook. All of them should be considered as an addition to rosters.
GUS EDWARDS (17% ROSTERED) AND JUSTICE HILL (1%), RB BALTIMORE RAVENS
It’s Week 1, and JK Dobbins is already out for the year with an Achilles injury. This is incredibly disappointing as Dobbins has been unable to stay on the field throughout his young career.
With Dobbins on the shelf, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill become the top options at RB for the Ravens. Following the injury to Dobbins, Edwards and Hill saw an equal number of touches, each getting eight carries. Hill had the better fantasy performance on Sunday, capitalizing on high-value touches by finding the end zone twice to bolster his fantasy output.
Although Hill found pay dirt on Sunday, Edwards is likely the best option to add to rosters. Edwards has long been considered the RB2 in this offense. In the three years that Hill and Edwards have been on the team, Edwards has consistently finished with significantly more touches. In Week 1, Edwards was more efficient than Hill, turning eight carries into 32 yards, while Hill picked up nine yards with his eight carries.
This backfield will likely be an ugly timeshare. It will be difficult to tell if either RB can contribute to lineups weekly. However, this will be a quality offense, and Edwards could emerge as the primary back, making him worth a pick-up. Or, will John Harbaugh throw a curveball by signing either Kareem Hunt or Leonard Fournette off the street?
PUKA NACUA (3%) AND TUTU ATWELL (2%), WR LOS ANGELES RAMS
Following Cooper Kupp’s move to the IR, most (including myself) assumed that Van Jefferson would assume the WR1 role. This assumption could not have been worse. Rookie Puka Nacua and third-year receiver Tutu Atwell stole the show in Week 1. Nacua had 15 (yes, FIFTEEN) targets, 10 receptions, and 119 yards. Atwell finished with eight targets, six receptions, and 119 yards. These performances lifted the Rams over the Seahawks in a 30-13 upset victory.
Until Kupp is healthy, both of these receivers are worth roster spots — as long as Matthew Stafford continues to look like the Stafford that we all saw in 2021. Although the defense looked good on Sunday, the Rams’ defense is not the best, and this will likely result in a high passing rate against quality teams like the Eagles and Bengals in the coming weeks.
Fifteen targets is something that cannot be ignored. For this reason, I believe Nacua should be the primary target for Week 2 waivers. Atwell and Jefferson are both worth roster spots, but the fact that Nacua had 15 targets in his first career game is special.
“Puka Nacua’s come in, and he’s as mature a rookie as I’ve ever been around,” McVay said after the game. “He is a physical, tough, strong player. He’s got a great way about himself.”
KYREN WILLIAMS (3%), RB LOS ANGELES RAMS
Another surprising performance from a Rams player, Kyren Williams, made the most of his opportunities in Week 1. After having just 35 carries last season, Williams had 15 carries on Sunday. These touches resulted in 52 yards and two trips to the endzone. Touchdowns held up Williams’ fantasy performance, but 15 carries is very interesting.
There has been buzz about the second-year back for the last few weeks, and some advocated for Williams being on fantasy rosters. Cough, cough…
RSJ’s Wolf has been advocating for Williams, but not even the biggest supporters expected 15 carries. His usage this week makes him a priority target on the waiver wire. Williams will split carries with Cam Akers and rely on touchdowns to have significant fantasy performances. Regardless, Williams has a meaningful role in this offense and is worth rostering as a top ‘handcuff with benefits’ option.
JOSHUA KELLEY (12%), RB LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Joshua Kelley is another RB who took on a larger role than expected in Week 1. Taking on exactly 50 percent of RB carries, Kelly rushed 16 times for 91 yards and a score.
Kelley should be rostered for multiple reasons. First, he is a premium handcuff to Austin Ekeler considering the high performance of the Los Angeles offense. Second, Week 1 has made it apparent that Kelley will be a factor even with Ekeler on the field.
Kelley was used as a complement to Ekeler throughout the game. He also got looks at the goal line, which is very promising for his fantasy outlook. The Kellen Moore era is here in Los Angeles and it appears that Joshua Kelley is a part of his vision, making him a key target for Week 2 waivers.
KENDRICK BOURNE (2%) WR NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
After a strong first season in New England, Kendrick Bourne spent last season in Matt Patricia’s dog house. But, with Patricia shipped out of town, Bourne shined in his 2023 debut against the Eagles. Bourne was Mac Jones’ No. 1 target, catching six of 11 targets for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He took advantage of the starting role with DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thorton, but it would make sense for Parker, Bourne, and JuJu Smith-Schuster to trot out together in three-receiver sets.
“I’m so impressed by [Kendrick] Bourne,” said Tony Romo during the game. “I think they got themselves a No. 1 receiver.”
After a few miscues that put the team in an early hole, the Patriots’ offense looked much better compared to last season’s debacle, and letting Bourne out of the dog house was a big reason for that improvement. Expect Bourne to capture a significant target share this season for a team that’s begging for a perimeter playmaker.