The first NFL game of the year is out of the way, which naturally should have us hitting up the waiver wire for a name or two as we prepare for the second week of fantasy football action. But wait, we still have 15 more games to go and so many more unknowns to pop up and gain our respect. Yeah, our own David Ziccardi will refresh the waiver wire watch early next week.
For now, I wanted to dive into what’s out there in over 51% of waiver wire leagues and point out the fantasy options that either absolutely need to be owned going forward or could be viable plays in at least week one. Let’s take a look:
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears (Available in 54% of fantasy football leagues)
I’ll admit I don’t love Cutler against Green Bay, as he always sucks against them and turns the ball over. Long-term, however, he still has the talent and weapons to be a pretty decent fantasy quarterback. At least too good that he’s available in over 50% of leagues.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (74%)
Dalton is going to be a matchup guy. Whenever he faces bad or average teams, you’ll want to give him a chance. A top-5 fantasy passer as recently as 2013, he should have a little more ownership and is a great week one play.
Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns (55%)
We’re not sure what to think of Duke just yet, but we know three things: he was damn good in college, Isaiah Crowell isn’t that good and the Browns want to run the ball. He’s a stash add, but a very lucrative one that could pay off big time down the road.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (63%)
D-Will only has one more week as the guy in Pittsburgh, but you should pick him up for that week if you have any issues at running back. He rushed for 127 yards on Thursday night and looked absolutely fantastic doing it.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots (85%)
As it turns out, Lewis wasn’t just a preseason wonder who might have a role. He’s a pretty good running back who absolutely does have a role. He looked spry and quite versatile en route to 120 total yards. LeGarrette Blount returns from suspension next week, sure, but in the name of Shane Vereen, Lewis is going to hold onto some value. I can understand him not being owned in 75% of leagues but just 15%? Nah.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins (61%)
Another rookie stash add with insane upside. Parker is in a very crowded Miami passing game, but it’s also a very good one. He’ll eventually pass up the likes of Rishard Matthews, Greg Jennings and Kenny Stills. He needs to be on your fantasy roster when he does.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (87%)
Other guys like Dorial Green-Beckham, Michael Crabtree, James Jones and Brandon Coleman catch the eye and are readily available, too, but this availability for Hurns is too rich. He’s a solid talent and the #2 guy in Jax. I like him to do a little something in week one, even with a tough matchup, and for the year he’s got some really nice upside.
Ben Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints (92%)
Tight end is a total crap shoot, so why not add the guy Drew Brees said is the Saints’ top tight end? Coby Fleener, Eric Ebron and Richard Rodgers are all worth picking up, too.
Nick Folk, K, New York Jets (61%)
Another crap shoot position, but Folk is pretty decent and I think Gang Green will be good enough to get in FG position a lot. He’s a solid add if you aren’t sure about your current kicker or forget to draft one.
New York Jets DEF/ST (60%)
This is my favorite defense for week one, as they’re facing the Cleveland Browns. Seriously, go get them. The Broncos, Lions, Browns and Bengals are all worthwhile adds to play the streaming game with, too, and they’re all available in well over 50% of fantasy leagues.