Each week of the NFL season, we will identify fantasy football waiver wire pickups specifically for those of you looking for streaming options in deeper formats (including IDP leagues). These are players available in a majority of ESPN Fantasy leagues (or close) who have enticing matchups in the week ahead that make them worthy of consideration for your lineup.
While you might notice some overlap with Field Yates’ pickup column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is that the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week’s matchup and not the players’ values for the remainder of the season.
Do you need replacement options for injured players? Or are you merely dealing with depth issues? A roundtable of fantasy analysts will identify some choice names to consider each week.
Here are some of our favorites for Week 2:
If the Vikings can keep Chandler Jones away from Cousins for a few dropbacks, it’s likely he returns real value from the pocket against an exploitable duo of corners in what lines up as a high-scoring game in the desert. The total for this game sits at 51 early in the week, affording the Vikings with an implied point total of around 24 points. With the Cardinals rolling on offense to start the season, Minnesota might have to turn to the passing game to keep up, as they did last week and for much of last season. -Jim McCormick
Ty’Son Williams looked really good on Monday. Even if we assume Williams takes on the majority of receiving routes going forward, the original Gus Edwards role that demands early-down bruising still suits Murray quite well. The Chiefs were gashed by the Browns on the ground at times, setting up this Ravens backfield with some real potential. -J.M.
We’re talking deeper leagues and daily fantasy bargains here. With 12 touches and 4.5 yards per carry in the opener, Jones should be treated similarly to how Latavius Murray was treated as Alvin Kamara’s high-upside backup in recent years. -Mike Triplett, NFL Nation Saints reporter
This is a confluence of good things for Patrick (albeit at the expense of Jerry Jeudy). With Jeudy injured, Patrick should see a lot more work and have a much larger role in Denver’s offense. Combine that with playing Jacksonville (and the Jaguars got shredded by Houston, of all teams) and Teddy Bridgewater looking capable and Patrick is a worthy add. He also has some proven production, with 51 catches, 742 yards and six touchdowns a season ago. As long as Jeudy is out, he’s a player worth looking at, following his 4-39-1 line against the Giants in Week 1. -Michael Rothstein, NFL Nation Falcons reporter
In Week 1, Agholor led the Patriots in receiving yards (72), catching five of seven targets, including a red zone throw that went for a touchdown. With rookie Mac Jones at quarterback, the Patriots will use the play-action game to open the middle-of-the-field windows for Agholor, and he can be schemed on vertical throws. Given the volume here, plus Jones’ ability to read it out from the pocket, I like Agholor as WR3 in deeper PPR formats versus the Jets’ defense in Week 2. -Matt Bowen, ESPN NFL writer and analyst
Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints (1.8% rostered; at Panthers)
Johnson played only 12 total snaps despite catching two touchdowns and a fourth-and-7 conversion. But as ESPN’s Saints reporter, I can validate that neither of these two breakout performances was a fluke. We saw both Johnson and Jones flashing consistently in the same fashion throughout training camp practices and preseason games. Johnson is more of a swing-for-the-fences play each week because of his big-play ability. -Triplett
Defense/special teams (D/ST)
New York Giants (8.6% rostered; at Washington Football Team)
Last week admittedly wasn’t a very good showing for this defense, but I still trust the talented personnel on this group to produce some big plays against a potentially limited Washington passing game on a short week. -J.M.
Individual defensive players (IDP)
Montez Sweat, Washington Football Team (19.7% rostered; vs. Giants)
One of my favorite breakout players this season, Sweat is the rare defensive end capable against the run and in pressuring passers. With multiple splash plays last week against the Bolts, Sweat now faces a mistake-prone Giants line. -J.M.
On the field for 74% of the team’s defensive snaps in a breakout two-sack showing playing across from Leonard Floyd on the Rams’ elite front, Hollins is in a good spot to help fantasy managers. The plan was supposedly for Hollins to play roughly half the snaps in a rotation, but he was simply too effective to pull off the field. This matchup against a Colts team that leaked lots of pressure to the Seahawks could be rewarding if Hollins holds up this snap rate. -J.M.
Last season saw Walker leave the field often in a frustrating rotation, but now he’s an every-down force fresh from a huge line against the 49ers. With this Detroit defense likely to be on the field a lot in Lambeau, Walker can compile another solid tackle tally. -J.M.