Prior to every Sunday, we spend countless hours in our head debating who to insert into our starting lineup. “Well, player A has the better matchup, so I’ll play him.” *Hours later* “But Player B was better last week, so maybe I should play him instead.” Whatever the case may be, building your lineup throughout the year only gets harder once you start to tinker on the waiver-wire. For all us established fantasy football players, we’re aware that a season can be made or broken through acquiring players on the coveted wire.
In what always seems to be an unpredictable week 1, you may find yourself needing an upgrade at a specific position, naturally you look towards some free agent finds to help boost your lineup. While it’s not particularly a hot waiver week based on the names below, there are some solid guys out there who provide upside and can make a difference in your lineup.
*Percent owned based on ESPN
RB Terrance West (Baltimore Ravens – 43.4% owned)
After Javorius Allen was a healthy scratch in the opening week, it was clear (if not already) Terrance West will be the spell back to Justin Forsett. Although, the two nearly split carries in half during Baltimore’s week 1 win against Buffalo.
While West turned in an underwhelming 32 yards on 12 carries, you have to remember he was up against a stout Bills’ front 7. The Ravens will continue to feed West the rock, and it gets much easier in week 2 against a porous Cleveland front – a FLEX option if you’re desperate as he’s a likely candidate to reach paydirt this week.
WR Terrelle Pryor (Cleveland Browns – 22.7% owned)
I was a bit hesitant to buy into the hype surrounding Terrelle Pryor throughout the offseason, although I did take a flyer on him in the last round of my 16 team league. Pryor did, however, look pretty impressive in the opening week of what is supposed to be a breakout year. He caught 3 passes on 7 targets for 68 yards which included an impressive 44 yard catch downfield over a defender.
While his role may see a change due to the QB change in Cleveland, he is now equipped with a more competent passer in Josh McCown. With his combination of athleticism and size, it looks like Pryor has finally found his calling in the NFL. I wouldn’t take a chance on him in your lineup just yet, but the upside is there, he just needs to prove consistency.
WR Tajae Sharpe (Tennessee Titans – 41.7% owned)
Hopefully for you, you were one of those guys to buy into the Tajae Sharpe hype throughout the preseason. The 5th round pick out of UMASS has made a quick adjustment to the NFL, as he’s already listed as the #2 WR on the Tennessee depth chart entering the 2016 season.
It didn’t take long for Sharpe to make an impact as a rookie. In the opening week he led the team with 7 catches and 76 receiving yards on double-digit targets. He faces a great matchup in week 2 against a Detroit secondary who just got hosed against Indianapolis in week 1. Sharpe is a must own if you are high enough on the waiver priority list.
WR Tyrell Williams (San Diego Chargers – 0.9% owned)
With Keenan Allen now out for the year, someone is bound to get more of a role in San Diego’s WR corps. While Dontrelle Inman may look like the more reliable add, I’ll go out on a limb here (like many others) and say Tyrell Williams is the guy to add in waivers.
Following Allen’s departure, Williams was 2nd on the team to only Travis Benjamin with 4 targets. He finished the opening week with 2 catches for 71 yards. At 6’4” with great athleticism, he’s a likely breakout candidate this year in an expanded role. Not worth a start just yet, but a viable bench stash as the upside is there.
TE Dwayne Allen (Indianapolis Colts – 37.8% owned)
One of my top sleepers at TE for 2016, it’s mind-boggling that Dwayne Allen is owned in less than 40% of ESPN leagues. With Coby Fleener gone to New Orleans, Allen’s role in Indy’s offense will be expanded throughout the 2016 season.
After hauling in 4 catches for 53 yards and a score in the opening week, Allen will be a consistent contributor this season and can serve as a viable TE1 in your lineup. He’s a double-digit TE candidate and will continue to be Andrew Luck’s security blanket, especially in the redzone.
TE Eric Ebron (Detroit Lions – 46.2% owned)
Like Dwayne Allen, it’s very surprising to me to see Eric Ebron owned in less than 50% of ESPN fantasy leagues. The Lions will be up there among the league leaders in pass attempts in 2016 as they rely on Matthew Stafford to produce. Eric Ebron is a prime breakout candidate, making him a must own with TE1 potential.
While injuries have hobbled Ebron a bit throughout his early career, he remains a viable fantasy option if healthy. If he can put together his natural talent in his 3rd season on a consistent basis and remain healthy, you have yourself a TE worthy of cracking your starting lineup on a weekly basis. He hauled in 46 yards and a TD while catching all 5 of his targets in week 1.