Hurricane Irma’s hatred for all things Florida throws an early monkey wrench in the fantasy works this year. The Bucs and the Dolphins are taking the week off, and there is always room for a little regret with the roster you drafted. Don’t fret, though. Take a look at a few of my favorite desperation waiver adds for week 1.
(all ownership numbers courtesy of Yahoo.com)
Sam Bradford – Ownership: 22%
Bradford and the Minnesota Vikings are going to surprise a lot of people on offense this year. Dalvin Cook will do enough to establish a running game opposing defenses will have to respect. The receiver combo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen takes a step forward, and Sam Bradford ends up with a little more time in the pocket to set up deep throws. This week, against an Arizona Cardinals side which has no problems putting up points, we’re in for a surprising shootout.
Brian Hoyer – Ownership: 13%
Hoyer put up 300+ yards in every game he started and finished last year for the Bears… THE BEARS. One of Hoyer’s crowning achievements before his amazing (if not injury shortened) 2016, was his herculean effort to make DeAndre Hopkins the leading receiver in the NFL.
Hoyer is back under Kyle Shanahan, and I expect the San Francisco 49’ers to come out swinging against a Carolina Panthers team that, while talented, can really phone it in sometimes. Expect a big game out of Hoyer at home this week.
Giovani Bernard – Ownership: 18%
The Bengals have a tough matchup against a Baltimore Ravens side with a very stout defense. Despite my love of Joe Mixon, Bernard is an easy recommendation here. We’ve seen Gio produce while sharing time in the backfield already. If the Bengals O-line doesn’t hit the ground running in week 1, Dalton will have to relieve the pass rush pressure with the screen game and running back dump offs. Bernard’s ceiling isn’t the highest, but he’s a solid bet to hand in a decent performance for you this week.
Chris Thompson – Ownership: 15%
Thompson is very similar to Bernard in that we know he’s going to be sharing the work with a bigger back who isn’t a great receiver. Washington overhauled their receiving corps, letting Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson go to free agency. While I’m a believer in Terrell Pryor, Kirk Cousins may lean on who he’s familiar with as his new wide receiver adjusts to the new offense. The beneficiaries of that familiarity will be Jordan Reed and Thompson. We can count on Thompson getting at least 5 targets, and he has the potential to have a big, big day.
Paul Richardson – Ownership: 11%
Richardson should line up opposite Doug Baldwin as the Seahawks #2 receiver according to RotoWorld. In a potential shootout game against the Green Bay Packers, Russel Wilson and his cadre of receivers could all be in for big fantasy performances. Richardson has teased us with a few solid performances while battling injuries, but he’s expected to be a full go. Jermain Kearse is a New York Jet now, so the opportunity is Richardson’s for the taking. If you’re in a tough spot, take a chance on the Seahawk.
Cooper Kupp – Ownership: 24%
There is no shortage of buzz surrounding rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp. He’s already established himself as at least the 3rd receiver for the Los Angeles Rams, and Jared Goff looked Kupp’s way early and often in the preseason. The Rams have a shot at really embarrassing the Colts this Sunday, and Kupp could pretty easily end up leading the Rams in catches. This isn’t just a pickup for this week. Ole Cooper may end up having a rare, Jarvis Landry-esque debut season.
Jared Cook – Ownership: 20%
Cook has teased us for years, flashing brilliance, then disappearing. This week, the waiver wire is pretty thin on tight end options. With the Raiders expected to score a heap of points, throwing in Cooks to replace Cameron Brate or Julius Thomas is your best desperation start.
Defense / Special Teams
Los Angeles Chargers – Ownership: 8%
I can’t believe the Chargers ownership is this low. The Chargers caught every bad break imaginable last year, and their 5-11 record is the only thing I can think might be scaring people off early. Once Joey Bosa got on the field, the Bolts defense was legit. This year we’ll get to see Bosa and Melvin Ingram terrorize offensive lines for a full season, and they start with a Denver Broncos team with a shaky (to be kind) offensive line. Get the Chargers. Start the Chargers.