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NFL Fantasy: Week 1 Waiver Wire

Maybe you bought into the Jerick McKinnon hype. Maybe you rolled the dice on LeSean McCoy’s suspension but didn’t realize he had a groin injury. Maybe Le’Veon Bell is holding out on you.

Or maybe you breezed through your draft because you know championships are won on the waiver wire. Here are some of the best waiver wire options to bolster your roster or pick up a streamer.

Quarterbacks: Keenum, Dalton, Tannehill

Did you really draft Carson Wentz and Jameis Winston? Or did you not draft anybody as part of a “streaming quarterbacks” strategy? That’s really the only way you could not have a quarterback.

Only four quarterbacks (Brady, Brees, Rodgers, and Wilson) are 100% owned in Week 1, so always check if your league is among the 0.2% where no one picked up Deshaun Watson. If not, you might consider these guys:

Vance Joseph came to his senses and named Royce Freeman Denver’s starting running back. That could keep the Seattle defense honest enough for Case Keenum (19% owned) to find Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, or Rookie of the Year candidate, Courtland Sutton. I expect a good debut from Keenum against the Seattle Shuffled defense.

Andy Dalton (7%) is always a good opening day bet. Against Indianapolis, he’s an even better bet. It helps that Tyler Eifert has not suffered his annual injury yet.

Miami’s starting offensive line did not allow a quarterback pressure in the preseason. That bodes well for Ryan Tannehill’s (15%) Comeback Player of the Year bid.

Wide Receivers: Lockett, Enunwa, Allison and more

Seattle’s Russell Wilson didn’t need an offensive line or a running game to throw for 3980 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. There is no reason to shy away from Seahawks offensive players this year. Find a spot for Tyler Lockett (38% owned), working opposite an injured Doug Baldwin as the WR-2 and premier deep threat for the top NFL Fantasy QB of 2017.

Two years ago, the Jets’ Quincy Enunwa (15%) broke into the league with 856 yards and a wide receiver rating on deep routes that was 50 points above the NFL average. While Enunwa sat on the injured reserve list last season, Robbie Anderson broke out. That seems to be distracting folks from realizing Enunwa is the best wide receiver on the Jets. His stock goes down a bit until Sam Darnold shows a willingness to throw beyond the linebackers, but Enunwa will still get his.

Geronimo Allison (10%) had his share of Aaron Rodgers deep targets threatened by the emergence of Jake Kumerow. But a late injury put Rodgers’ favorite preseason target on the IR, cementing Allison’s role. I predict he will finish the season with more yards and touchdowns than Randall Cobb.

Baltimore Ravens beat writers think John Brown (39%) might see more targets than the presumed number one receiver, Michael Crabtree. Similarly, Buccaneer watchers think Chris Godwin (25%) moved up in the pecking order in Tampa. Keelan Cole (39%) projects to be the top receiver in Jacksonville and goes against a suspect Giants’ secondary in Week 1.

Philip Dorsett is expected to play a bigger role in the absence of Julian Edelman, but Cordarelle Patterson (3%) had the better chemistry with Tom Brady in the preseason with 11 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown. While defenses fret over Chris Hogan and the Gronk, Patterson could steal some big plays.

Running Backs: Besides the obvious… Clement, Hill, Scott

Alfred Morris and James Conner are flying off the waiver wire on news of Jerick McKinnon’s injury and Le’Veon Bell’s continued holdout. Grab them if they are still there. Matt Breida and Indiana’s Jordan Wilkins (starting for Marlon Mack) are consolation prizes, although Wilkins has not done much to earn my trust, even against the Bengals.

For the more forward-thinking NFL fantasy owners, we offer scenarios where Corey Clement (4% owned), Jeremy Hill (12%), and Boston Scott (18%) warrant consideration.

Jay Ajayi says he will be ready to go Thursday but if he is not 100%, his load could be shared. Injuries to several wide receivers could also put Corey Clement and Darren Sproles on the field quite a bit. Long term, I called Ajayi the most over-rated runner in the league before last season and I stand by that again this year. Much is made of his 2016 overall yardage. Take away his three 200-yard efforts, and he averaged less than 65 yards per game. Clement could be poised for bigger things sooner than later.

Likewise, in New England, Rex Burkhead will play all season on a damaged knee and Sony Michel isn’t making much headway with his own knee issues. Jeremy Hill could become this season’s LeGarrette Blount for the Patriots, racking up touchdowns in the red zone to limit the wear-and-tear on the others.

Boston Scott presents an interesting option in New Orleans. It looks like he won the role to back up Alvin Kamara during Mark Ingram’s suspension. However, there is conjecture that he will play the full Ingram role with the thought that a good performance will allow the Saints to trade their veteran away. New Orleans drafted Scott to play that role next season when Ingram can leave as a free agent. Might as well let him start early.

Tight Ends: Seferian-Jenkins, Gesicki, and the old man

Los Angeles finally re-signed Antonio Gates (12% owned and climbing rapidly) this week. He might not be in top game shape for Week 1, but he is worth a stash if he hasn’t been picked up yet. Chargers tight ends have led the league in touchdowns the past couple of seasons.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (40%) is an unexciting tight end, but he has reportedly developed quite a connection with Blake Bortles. That connection might grow stronger with the season-ending injury to Marquise Lee. ASF could be PPR gold, and worth a play in standard leagues as Bortles’ biggest red zone target.

Mike Gesicki (30%) is not being threatened by any other tight ends on the Miami Dolphins roster. Ryan Tannehill could look for him in tight spots.

D/ST: Atlanta, Arizona, and Detroit

Atlanta and Arizona could end up being long-term roster holders. Atlanta was a top-ten defense in real life last season, lacking only turnovers to rack up NFL Fantasy points. Nick Foles didn’t look great in preseason and several key skill players will be limping and wincing in Week 1. Super Bowl hangover works for the Falcons’ defense this week.

Arizona set a record for forced preseason turnovers. Alex Smith is known for his ball security, but don’t be surprised to see a fumble or a tip-drill interception in Week 1 as the Washington offense gets on the field together for the first time in 2018.

Detroit faces a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold at home in a loud dome on a Monday Night. Darius Slay is salivating. Matt Patricia’s new defense is still taking shape, but they get off to a good start against the Jets.

Kicker: McManus, Janikowski

What? You forgot to draft a kicker? Or did you pick Dan Bailey? Two kickers I like who went largely undrafted are Brandon McManus and Sebastien Janikowski.

McManus has an upgraded quarterback that should put the offense into position for more field goals and extra points. The Broncos’ defense seems energized by the offensive improvements and will help field position, too.

Janikowski is coming off a season lost to injury. He shows no signed of rust or lingering damage. There is no reason to believe he will be any less than the steady kicker he has been for years in Oakland.

Remember to watch for updates and news that could affect every player’s NFL fantasy value. We’ll post everything you need to know on Small Teaser this season and provide Facebook and Twitter updates, too.