The season’s opening week ended with a wild game in Las Vegas, which is fitting given how big of a crapshoot fantasy football can be sometimes. Every roster decision is a gamble, and when you take a big risk, it can pay off handsomely or bust spectacularly. Josh Jacobs and Ty’Son Williams, two guys on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble this week, paid off for their owners on Monday night, but they weren’t the only players who came up big. Latavius Murray (hope you didn’t drop him) also got in the end zone, while Derek Carr, Sammy Watkins, and Bryan Edwards also posted nice numbers. Depending on how deep your league is, there’s a chance all could be among the top Week 2 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. While none will be as coveted as Elijah Mitchell, Mark Ingram, or maybe even Jameis Winston (among others), these are the types of free agents to target after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday mornings in Yahoo and ESPN leagues.
We have all types of players on our full free agent list, from potential one-week-wonder WRs (Zack Pascal, Sterling Shepard, Gabriel Davis, etc.) to handcuff RBs who are an injury away from big roles (Kenneth Gainwell, Tony Jones Jr., Phillip Lindsay, Larry Rountree III). We also have young QBs (Justin Fields, Trey Lance) who are on the verge of becoming hot commodities, plus a few intriguing TEs (Juwan Johnson, Dalton Schultz). If you’re already in the market for some streamers, we also have some Week 2-specific suggestions at QB, TE, and D/ST, which you can find at the end of the list. Our Week 2 kicker rankings can also help you find a new kicker if you’re the kind of weirdo who changes kickers in Week 2.
Mitchell and Ingram are worth top waiver claims, especially if you’re a little thin at RB. Both figure to be “lead backs” for the foreseeable future. Mitchell’s role is a little bit more of a question mark (it is the 49ers, after all), while Ingram’s productivity and health are legitimate worries. But, as we said in the intro, it’s all a gamble. You might hit it big for the rest of the reason with one of these guys, so why not place your bets? Even if you use the No. 1 waiver claim now, chances are you’ll be right back near the top within three weeks — and you can roll the dice all over again.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 2
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Latavius Murray, RB, Ravens. Ty’Son Williams got the start at RB and looked good early, finishing with 65 rushing yards and a score on just 10 carries while adding another 29 receiving yards on three catches. So, why are we mentioning Murray? Well, he actually wound up with one more carry than Williams and also scored a touchdown. He managed just 28 yards on the ground, but considering he had been with the team for less than a week, it’s a bit curious he led all backs in rushes. Unless Williams really runs away with the job in the next game or two, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Murray continue to eat into his touches. In the Ravens’ system, two backs can have fantasy value, so Murray is worth a pickup based on that alone if you’re in one of the 36 percent of Yahoo leagues where he’s available. (Check to make sure he wasn’t dropped and forgotten about after the Saints released him last week.) If he takes over as Baltimore’s primary back, which is very possible, his value will really take off. He could even be worth using as a flex next week against the Chiefs.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders. Is Carr a priority fantasy pickup? Not at all, especially with the Steelers on tap in Week 2 and the Dolphins after that in Week 3. But it’s worth remembering that he finished as the QB13 in fantasy leagues last year. After his 435-yard, two-TD performance against a solid Baltimore defense on Monday night, it’s entirely possible he dinks-and-dunks his way to another starting-caliber year. To be fair, Carr’s stats looked pretty pedestrian less night until the overtime, but he was solid last year, so why couldn’t he a legit bench option/matchup-based streamer in single-QB leagues again?
Bryan Edwards, WR, Raiders. Edwards had just one target and no catches until the final 37 seconds of regulation on Monday. From that point on, he caught four passes for 81 yards and came within a half-yard of scoring a walk-off touchdown. Ultimately, it’s tough to get too excited about that performance, but Edwards entered the season with some sleeper buzz and came up big when it mattered most for Vegas. Darren Waller is clearly the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver, but Edwards, Hunter Renfrow (6-70 on nine targets), and Henry Ruggs III (2-46 on five targets) are very much in a battle for the No. 2 job. Renfrow might be the guy to add in PPR leagues and Ruggs has more boom-or-bust upside, but Edwards can be a mix of both. For now, he’s probably no more than a watchlist guy, but if he produces against the Steelers in Week 2, he’ll be worth adding. — ML
Sammy Watkins, WR, Ravens. Watkins came up big in his debut with the Ravens on Monday, leading the team in targets (8) and yards (96). Obviously, Watkins isn’t worth a waiver pickup based on that line, but the targets make him at least somewhat interesting going forward. He should be in line for a decent amount next week against the Chiefs in what could be a shootout. It’s not a bad idea to stash him now in case he becomes a more coveted free agent heading into Week 3.
Tim Patrick, WR, Broncos. Jerry Jeudy figures to miss at least the next three or four games because of a high ankle sprain, which opens the door for Patrick or K.J. Hamler to step in and function as the WR2 opposite Courtland Sutton. In Week 1, Patrick caught all four of his targets for 39 yards and a score. Hamler caught three-of-four targets for 41 yards, but the lone misfire to him would have been a long TD had Hamler not dropped it in the end zone. Clearly, both have upside, but we like the 6-4, 212-pound Patrick to get more opportunities in the red zone and be a worthwhile WR3 candidate most weeks. With the Jaguars and Jets on tap the next weeks, Patrick could be in for a run of nice games.
For additional waiver/free agent suggestions, including top pickups Elijah Mitchell, Mark Ingram, Jameis Winston, Juwan Johnson, and more, check out our full Week 2 list .