Thank the lord and savior Jamaal Charles that the pre-season is, finally, behind us. Even though you’ve just drafted your team, I know you can see that weak spot. That one position where you’re thinking, should I play this guy on the waiver wire instead? Yes! Probably…
Here are my favorite pickups at each position. These guys are owned in less than 30% of Yahoo leagues. Let’s get you off to that 1-0 start.
Any other burning start/sit or waiver add questions, hit up the comments section or reach out to me on Twitter @NFLClark!
QB: Brock Osweiler [Hou] – Chicago @ Houston (-6) 44+/-
If you’re not loving matchups like Phillip Rivers at Kansas City or Ryan Tannehill at Seattle, Osweiler is owned in 28% of Yahoo leagues. I understand the hesitation to bet on Brock if you’re looking at his stats from last year. His 2015 10-6 touchdown to interception ratio is not exactly awe-inspiring. But, it’s a new year, a new team, and a new, more aggressive, coach with a penchant for making shinola outta shut-yo-mouth.
Join rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller with new addition Lamar Miller, add a dash of DeAndre Hopkins, mix in a killer offensive pace (the Texans led the league in offensive plays run last year) and the Texans could score in bunches.
To pour some gas on that potential offensive explosion, the Bears are coming in to Week 1 already beat up. Chicago’s secondary is suffering the most with Safety Deon Bush, and Cornerbacks Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller all limited in practice on Wednesday. This all adds up to great potential for Brock this week.
RB: Rob Kelley [Was] – Pittsburgh (-3) @ Washington 50+/-
It may be a little too early to pick up pre-season darling Rob Kelley. Or, this is the last chance you’ll have to claim Young Rob before he blows up and replaces Matt Jones as the lead-dog in the Washington backfield.
Kelley isn’t what you’d call ‘an athletic freak’. He wasn’t just overlooked as a draft prospect; he was barely in play in his Senior year at Tulane. There is a great write-up on Rotoviz.com, I’ll recommend reading that article [click this] instead of me blathering on about his backstory here.
What I will mention is that Rob Kelley (8% owned) looks a whole lot like Alfred Morris in that Redskins uniform. He’s not incredibly fast, he’s not really quick, but he is a big dude that appears to have good ‘running back instincts’ or vision or ‘football IQ’. Whatever you want to call it, he run ball good.
A back that hits the right hole and gets a few yards more than what’s blocked could end up making quite a living down in DC. Oh, and Matt Jones has a shoulder and a fumbling problem.
If you haven’t noticed the trend yet, these are all guys that had unexpectedly productive pre-seasons. Pryor has all the athleticism you could dream of if you were building a prototype wide receiver. We saw Robert Griffin III hook up with Pryor on a couple of deep balls in the preseason, and I doubt the Browns are going to be playing with a lead very much in this contest (or this season).
The worry with this play is that the Eagles, at least on defense, are good. The Browns are on the road, and who knows what Cleveland will look like when an opposing D is playing for a real win. I’m pushing for upside here, hoping that Pryor can get loose for that deep touchdown.
If you wanted a safer play with a higher floor, you may consider Pierre Garcon instead. I prefer to go for the gusto, though.
TE: Jesse James [Pit] – Pittsburgh (-3) @ Washington 50 +/-
This waiver add fits nicely in to the ‘there isn’t anyone else there’ narrative. James fits in to the ‘freak athlete with opportunity’ storyline as well. And that about wraps it up.
No? A little more? Alright. Heath Miller retired, the Vegas over/under is 50 (one of the highest of the week), and the other receivers in Pittsburgh are not exactly giants. With any streamer tight end, you’re hoping for a touchdown. There should be plenty of TDs in this game, and if DeAngelo Williams doesn’t take all the goal to go touches, James is a good bet to sneak in to the end zone.
Kicker: Matt Prater [Det] – Detroit @ Indianapolis (-3.5) 51+/-
He’s 16% owned and kicks for a team expected to score a lot of points.
DST: Titans – Minnesota (-2.5) @ Tennessee 41+/-
The Titans are 3% owned and will face the Teddy Bridgewater-less (or Sam Bradford-ified) Minnesota Vikings. I expect this game to be a run-game enthusiasts soggy dream as the Vikes try to hide Sam Bradford and the Titans hand the ball off 40 times as they’ve said they want to do all offseason. We have a real chance to see a good old fashioned 3-10 outcome here.
If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. Good luck out there in week 1.