Welcome to the Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire pickups, where we give you the players to start immediately, stash at the end of your bench, or stream for a week or two.
Let’s look back at Week 1 and dissect the prospects for the Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire.
Week 2 Bye Weeks: None
Note: Roster % based on Yahoo leagues and should hover around 55% or less
WEEK 2 WAIVER WIRE PICKUPS
- Puka Nacua, WR Los Angeles Rams (5% rostered)
- Kyren Williams, RB Los Angeles Rams (5%)
- Kenneth Gainwell, RB Philadelphia Eagles (46%)
- Gus Edwards, RB Baltimore Ravens (20%)
- Justice Hill, RB Baltimore Ravens (3%)
- Kendrick Bourne, WR New England Patriots (2%)
- Brock Purdy, QB San Francisco 49ers (55%)
What an NFL debut for Rams rookie Puka Nacua. The BYU product looked like a Cooper Kupp replica, hauling in 10 catches for 119 yards on 15(!) targets. It was an absurd target share, and Nacua was on the field for nearly every offensive snap and dropback. With Kupp shelved for at least another three weeks, Nacua’s reign is just getting started as Matthew Stafford’s new favorite target.
Another Rams player headlines the top of the waiver wire. Kyren Williams put all talks of #CamAkersSZN directly to bed with his Week 1 showing. Williams out-snapped Akers 53 to 28 and punched two touchdowns in at the goal line. Williams also ran 29 routes compared to Akers’ four, so the receiving ceiling also backs Williams here. There’s a potential changing of the guard in LA’s backfield.
For all the hoopla and confusion over the Eagles backfield during this preseason, it turns out the answer was, surprisingly, Kenneth Gainwell all along. Gainwell led the team with 41 offensive snaps, out-touching prized offseason acquisition D’Andre Swift, who had 19. Gainwell handled 14 of the 16 RB carries while catching a few dump offs. He’ll still lose goal line carries to Hurts, but Gainwell seems to have been given the lead back role in a high scoring offense. They even healthy-scratched Rashaad Penny, which shows how much faith they have in Gainwell.
The devastating injury to JK Dobbins is a big blow to the Ravens offense and the fantasy community. Now, it looks like both Gus Edwards and Justice Hill will step in to fill the void. Hill out-snapped Edwards 19 to 15 and ran in two touchdowns on the day as the goal line option. Edwards seems like the early down back while Hill could be the third down and goal line guy. The near-identical usage numbers doesn’t put one back significantly in front of the other, but Hill was getting most of the first-team reps in preseason, for what it’s worth.
We knew Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne had a good connection with Mac Jones, But damn, he took it to new heights this week. The departure of Jakobi Meyers in the offseason and injuries to DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton put Bourne on track to have a big role early on. He delivered with team-highs in receptions, yards, touchdowns, and targets. He played nearly every snap and ran a route on almost all dropbacks. It was an elite day usage and stat-wise.
Brock Purdy had himself a first half, getting out to a large lead before the team put the brakes on and coasted to the finish. With nearly 200 yards and 2 scores before halftime, Purdy was dicing the Steelers defense thanks to all the surrounding talent the 49ers offense boasts. His final numbers would have likely been stellar had they kept the foot on the gas for four quarters.
- Tyler Allgeier, RB Atlanta Falcons (56% rostered)
- Joshua Kelley, RB Los Angeles Chargers (4%)
- Nico Collins, WR Houston Texans (55%)
- Robert Woods, WR Houston Texans (4%)
- Hayden Hurst, TE Carolina Panthers (11%)
- Tyjae Spears, RB Tennessee Titans (15%)
- Roschon Johnson, RB Chicago Bears (15%)
- Jordan Love, QB Green Bay Packers (31%)
- Rashee Rice, WR Kansas City Chiefs (36%)
- Zay Jones, WR Jacksonville Jaguars (30%)
- Kareem Hunt, RB Free Agent (11%)
- Hunter Henry, TE New England Patriots (16%)
- Allen Robinson, WR Pittsburgh Steelers (2%)
- Rashid Shaheed, WR New Orleans Saints (16%)
- Logan Thomas, TE Washington Commanders (2%)
Tyler Allgeier out-snapped rookie phenom Bijan Robinson while vulturing two touchdowns on the day. Arthur Smith continues to destroy fantasy teams by deploying Allgeier on the regular. Not only is he an elite handcuff, but he’s also a prototypical ‘handcuff with benefits’ type back coming off a 1,000-yard season.
Chargers RB Joshua Kelley played nearly even snaps with Austin Ekeler in the team’s shootout with Miami. Kelley looked great running the ball as he totaled 16 rushes, which matched Ekeler. Another great handcuff option, Kelley should stay a part of this offensive plan. Plus, Ekeler is dealing with a slight ankle injury that is making him questionable for Week 2.
The Houston Texans are a bit limited offensively, but that didn’t stop Nico Collins and Robert Woods from getting solid usage numbers. Both had double-digit targets, which is nothing to ignore. This team will likely trail often, shifting the offensive focus through the air and into CJ Stroud’s hands.
Veteran tight end Hayden Hurst appears to be Bryce Young’s favorite target. Hurst led the team in all receiving categories, posting a 5-41-1 line on seven targets. He provides a nice security blanket for the rookie.
The shocker of the day came when Tyjae Spears out-snapped Derrick Henry. While Henry out-carried him 15 to three, Spears took every third down snap and ran a route on half of the dropbacks. Spears is another solid ‘handcuff with benefits’ behind an elite back.
The Bears backfield situation was heavily monitored over the preseason, and Roschon Johnson seems to be crashing the party early. All three backs played 20-plus snaps, which is gross fantasy-wise, but Johnson tied for the team lead in targets and has the inside track on passing work and third downs. I’d imagine D’Onta Foreman begins to fade away from this offense.
What an intro for Jordan Love, as he threw for 245 yards and three scores without his top receiver. Sure, the Bears’ defense isn’t very good, but Love looked solid and up to the task as a QB1 for the Packers. Once Christian Watson returns, Love and the offense should take a step forward.
We detailed the Chiefs receiver struggles early in the week, but the one bright spot of that group was Rashee Rice. Rice was targeted five times on only 12 routes run and caught a touchdown. If Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore don’t get their acts together, it might be Rice’s time to shine.
Jags receiver Zay Jones seems to have beaten out Christian Kirk for the WR2 role, as he outperformed and was featured in two receiver sets. Kirk was lined up inside while Jones worked the outside opposite Calvin Ridley. This offense will put up points, and Jones will be a prominent benefactor.
Free agent RB Kareem Hunt is still hanging out at his house after taking a few visits over the off-season. However, he may be strapping his cleats up after the JK Dobbins injury. John Harbaugh can’t feel great about the current RB room, and Hunt feels like the perfect fit in this offense. With limited tread on his tires, Hunt could be a legitimate third-down back alongside Lamar Jackson. If the Ravens don’t give him a call, he will likely have a few more options as the season rolls along.
A new captain for the Patriots, Hunter Henry played the second most snaps for New England behind Bourne and is also one of the guys Mac Jones has serious chemistry with from the past two years. He saw great usage numbers and scored a touchdown in the red zone. Henry will be a focal point and a consistent part of the Patriots offense.
With Diontae Johnson going down with a hamstring injury, Allen Robinson is one to benefit from increased opportunity. He led the team in snaps and targets on the day, so it appears he’s still got something left in the tank.
While still clearly behind Chris Olave and Slant Boy, Rashid Shaheed continues to produce in limited usage dating back to last season. He seems to be in line with tight end Juwan Johnson for the third receiving option and seemingly has a nose for the end zone.
Back from the grave, Logan Thomas tied for Washington’s team lead in targets, while Sam Howell couldn’t muster up much offensively. He’s limited as a quarterback, and Thomas could provide a nice safety valve while dominating snaps and routes at the tight end position.
- Romeo Doubs, WR Green Bay Packers (31% rostered)
- Tutu Atwell, WR Los Angeles Rams (3% rostered)
- Mac Jones, QB New England Patriots (8% rostered)
- New York Giants D/ST (8% rostered)
- Cleveland Browns D/ST (11% rostered)
With Christian Watson sidelined, Romeo Doubs stepped up with two touchdowns while being limited with the same injury. Should Watson miss another week, Doubs would be a great receiver fill-in for lineups as the Packers’ leading receiver target.
Much attention was put to Nacua, but don’t forget about Tutu Atwell. The third-year receiver had similar usage as his teammate and caught six balls for 119 yards. He will also likely have a significant fantasy presence while Kupp is sidelined.
The Patriots were forced into a pass-heavy script playing from behind, leading Mac Jones to throw the ball 54 times for 316 yards and three scores. It should be another high-scoring affair against the Dolphins, who just went through a barnburner against the Chargers.
The New York Giants D/ST will face Joshua Dobbs and the Cardinals, whose offense couldn’t get anything working and only scored off a defensive fumble recovery.
After holding Joe Burrow and the Bengals to under 100 passing yards and 3 points, the Cleveland Browns D/ST face a Steelers team that struggled mightily offensively and lost their top receiver to a hamstring injury.