Another week, another waiver wire. If you’re wondering how league-changing these moves can be, see Puka Nacua. Last week’s top add rewarded fortunate managers with more than 30 fantasy points in Week 2. I can’t promise you another Nacua this week, but I’ll do my best. Spoiler alert: My best rhymes with Byren Billiams.
As always, these are the most intriguing players who are rostered in less than 60 percent of NFL.com leagues. And yes, I have incorporated mustache wordplay. (If you got it, flaunt it!)
If you have questions, my DMs are open: @MattOkada on Twitter … or X … or whatever it is.
- The First Read: Five burning questions off Week 2; plus, risers/sliders & Week 3's most intriguing game
- 2023 NFL season, Week 2: What We Learned from Sunday's games
- 2023 NFL season, Week 2: What We Learned from Eagles' win over Vikings on Thursday night
Listen, I’m not saying Love is Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers … yet. What I am saying is that he’s scored 20-plus fantasy points in each of the first two games of this new era in Green Bay. He’s thrown three touchdown passes in both games, and all without Christian Watson on the field due to a hamstring injury. The TDs are likely to regress a bit, but the rushing production also has room to swing up and compensate. He might just be a top-12 fantasy QB this season.
“But wait … Stafford fell short of 15 fantasy points for a second straight game — why would I pick him up?” A fair question, hypothetical reader. Watch the tape. Stafford has looked exceptional so far this season. He hasn’t compiled 641 passing yards by accident. The only problem is that he’s come up short in the touchdown column (only one through two games). Ever heard of Cooper Kupp? Yeah, the Rams’ touchdown savant will be back. And then Puka Nacua, the league-leader in receptions, should be Stafford’s second target. I’m willing to roll Stafford out even before Kupp’s return, if needed, but he’s now a shockingly good bet for a QB1 season once his WR1 does return.
Sometimes there’s a massive gap between NFL success and fantasy success. Stroud might be 2023’s best example of that reality at the quarterback position. The rookie has thrown 91 passes through two games. The only rookies to ever throw more through their first two contests were Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow. With that kind of volume, Stroud is startable in good matchups, such as his 31-20 loss to the Colts on Sunday, when he scored 21.46 fantasy points. There’s also potential in Week 3 against the Jaguars, who’ve allowed 20-plus fantasy points to both Anthony Richardson and Patrick Mahomes so far this season.
GUYS TO ‘STACHE: Don’t look now, but Baker Mayfield has been kind of good through two weeks of his tenure in Tampa Bay. He’s playing clean, effective football and has Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at his disposal. He’s more of a two-QB league or flex fill-in option than a bona fide QB1, at least for now. And don’t look now, but Russell Wilson has also been kind of good through two weeks. In fact, he’s averaging more than 20 fantasy points per game and is — brace yourselves — a top-five fantasy quarterback so far this season. Also, facing the Dolphins and Bears over the next two weeks sounds pretty fun.
Last week, Williams made this column on the merits of a surprising performance in his season opener, highlighted by a pair of rushing scores. Sadly, only a small percentage of you added the second-year back in advance of Week 2 … when he tallied 28 fantasy points in a 30-23 loss to the 49ers while logging 96 percent of Rams RB snaps — with Cam Akers a healthy scratch and apparent trade candidate. I’ll give it to you straight: I don’t see Akers playing another snap for the Rams this season. That makes Williams not only the top waiver target of the week, but it might also elevate him to a rest-of-season RB1. No lie. This offense is cooking without Cooper Kupp. When the star receiver returns, L.A.’s attack might be in consideration for one of the best in the league. I’ll take the apparent bell-cow back in that offense without hesitation. If you play in a league with FAAB, be prepared to bid the majority of your remaining budget.
There’s still a chance Jonathan Taylor returns from the physically unable to perform list and takes his job back in Indy. A chance. The alternative (Taylor is traded, as he requested, or remains sidelined longer than expected) could mean big things for Moss, who staked a strong claim on the starting job during Indy’s Week 2 victory in Houston. And by “strong claim,” I mean he played every single RB snap for the Colts’ offense. Zero for Deon Jackson. Zero for Jake Funk. As for the production, we should take Moss’s 107 total yards on 22 touches with a Houston-sized grain of salt — the Texans defense is #NotGood. Still, the usage is extremely encouraging. Until Taylor returns, Moss is now an every-week consideration for a starting spot in lineups.
Does this look familiar? If you read last week’s column, it should. Let’s start with the good news: Edwards scored 12.2 fantasy points on the back of a goal-line touchdown against the Bengals in the first quarter, and he averaged an impressive 6.2 yards per carry. The bad news? Justice Hill slightly out-snapped Edwards, 38-32, in a game the Ravens mostly led. I still prefer Edwards, especially since his Week 2 efficiency is indicative of legitimately elite numbers over the course of his career. I think he continues to earn more snaps and solidifies the RB1 role in Baltimore. If he does, that’ll solidify an RB2 role in fantasy. (Oh, and Hill can still be ‘stached in deeper leagues, just in case.)
It never feels great seeing Breida’s name in the waiver column because it likely means Saquon Barkley is hurt. Indeed, the Giants’ star running back suffered an ankle injury in Sunday’s 31-28 comeback win over Arizona. Breida will be a less-than-inspiring RB3/flex option for any games that Barkley misses, but the volume will be there. If you’re the Barkley manager in your league, scoop up his backup with all haste.
GUYS TO ‘STACHE: Sometimes, the oldies really are the goodies. Last week’s Guys to ‘Stache were Roschon Johnson and Tyjae Spears. This week? Tyjae Spears and Roschon Johnson. See what I did there? In Tennessee, Spears looks like something between old Browns Kareem Hunt (a backup RB with weekly intrigue) and old Alexander Mattison (the best handcuff in fantasy). He has been involved, efficient and visually impressive through two weeks. If anything happens to Derrick Henry, Spears would have RB1 upside. Meanwhile, up in Chicago, Johnson increased his snap percentage from 37 in Week 1 to 43 in Week 2, and had six touches to Khalil Herbert’s seven. It might be tough for anyone besides DJ Moore to have value in this sputtering offense, but if Johnson takes the job, he’ll be worth owning in deeper leagues.
Collins and Robert Woods (2% rostered) made last week’s column, but saw little in the way of rostership bumps heading into Week 2. I expect that will change after Collins racked up 27.6 fantasy points against the Colts and Woods hit double-digit points for a second consecutive week. However, to further muddy the waters, rookie and preseason stud Tank Dell (3% rostered) broke out for seven catches, 72 yards and a TD on a team-high 10 targets Sunday. Woods and Dell are more fringe pickups — especially until we find out which is the true No. 2 on this team — but I think Collins is one of the must-adds of the week. Through Sunday, only three players have more air yards than Collins’ 279 this season: Tyreek Hill, Kendrick Bourne (say what?) and Tee Higgins. The next few names after Collins? Puka Nacua, Mike Evans and Justin Jefferson. I think you see where this is going. Collins is the (talented) top target for what may be the highest-volume passing offense in the NFL. He should be rostered in every league.
Through two weeks, Reynolds has 35.6 fantasy points. He is averaging 73 yards and a touchdown per game. There’s nearly no question that he’s the No. 2 to Amon-Ra St. Brown in the Lions’ prolific air attack, and it seems Jared Goff has more or less solidified himself as a legitimate franchise QB in Detroit — and more importantly, a fount of fantasy goodness. Reynolds will have down weeks, but I think he’s low-key become Discount Gabe Davis. And by discount, I don’t mean “less valuable” — I just mean you can get him on waivers in 98 percent of leagues. Go do it.
If you’re reading this before Monday Night Football, we have yet to see what Moore can do with Amari Cooper battling a groin injury. But barring an absolute bust versus the Steelers, Moore is near the top of my targets for Week 3 — especially if Cooper’s injury causes lingering issues. Moore might be the most dynamic piece of the Cleveland offense, and Kevin Stefanski seems willing to use him as such. He’s one of the few wide receivers you’ll see in this column who has true WR1 fantasy upside if things fall his way.
Last week, I highlighted Romeo Doubs in this section of the column. Dontayvion Wicks led the team in yards on Sunday in a 25-24 loss to Atlanta, and Christian Watson has yet to return. So why Reed? Well, the two touchdowns in Week 2 certainly don’t hurt. But more importantly, Reed led the team in targets (eight), drawing a look from Jordan Love on 47 percent of his routes. He was the 50th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for a reason and might be the most explosive player on Green Bay’s offense. If Love keeps playing like he has, at least a couple of these Packers wideouts are likely to be valuable for fantasy the rest of the season. If you have a bench spot open, Reed is the type of player worth using it on.
GUYS TO ‘STACHE: The Chargers defense is making just about anyone look impressive, so I don’t know that Treylon Burks is a must-add by any means, but last year’s 18th overall pick showed why he garnered that draft capital with a 70-yard catch-and-run in Week 2. If Ryan Tannehill and the Titans get him more involved, he has a lot of unrealized potential. Marvin Mims Jr. only earned two targets and only played 14 snaps on Sunday, but he caught both of those targets for 113 yards and a touchdown. He’s kind of good, Coach Payton. Use him. To the rest of you, ‘stache him in deeper leagues. As if to spite all the haters, Kadarius Toney caught all five of his targets in Week 2 and looked like his classically untacklable self on a few of those catches. It’s still a bit of a pipe dream, but Toney has insane upside if he can develop into a proper WR1 in Kansas City. Last week, it was Kendrick Bourne for New England (a.k.a., Mr. Air Yards 2023) — this week, it was DeVante Parker going for six catches and 57 yards on eight targets on Sunday Night Football. I don’t mind ‘staching either guy until we see whether this depth chart is clarified in the coming weeks.
Henry is available in nearly half of NFL.com fantasy leagues heading into Week 3. That number figures to settle somewhere around 0.0 percent after waivers run this week. He scored (again) in prime time on Sunday and is one of a very small handful of tight ends with more than 100 receiving yards this season. In fact, a tight end putting up 50-plus yards and a TD in a game has only occurred three times thus far: Henry in Week 1, T.J. Hockenson in Week 2 … and Henry again against the Dolphins. Until further notice, Henry is unironically a top-five fantasy tight end. I would take Travis Kelce and Hockenson over him without question, and I’d probably take Mark Andrews with some question. That’s about it. You think I’m joking. I’m not. He’s in the Evan Engram-Darren Waller tier at this point. All we can do is shrug, click “Add” and hope he stays hot.
What is this, 2018?! Well, no — if it were 2018, Ertz wouldn’t be available on the waiver wire. Instead, the Cardinals tight end is unrostered in more than 80 percent of NFL.com leagues. And yet — like he did in 2018 — Ertz currently leads all tight ends in targets this season (18). No one outside of Marquise Brown has shown any promise as a go-to receiving option in Arizona, leaving the 32-year-old Ertz to pick up a hefty workload. And in today’s tight end landscape, we can’t ask for much more than a hefty workload. Ertz should be added — and probably started.
Thomas suffered a significant helmet-to-helmet hit from Broncos safety Kareem Jackson on Sunday, forcing the Commanders tight end out of the eventual 35-33 victory and likely into the concussion protocol this week. That said, Thomas somehow completed the catch on that play for a 4-yard touchdown. He also led Washington with eight targets in Week 1. Here’s hoping Thomas is cleared and healthy heading into Week 3. If so, he’s worth a long look at a position with very little to be optimistic about.
GUYS TO ‘STACHE: This is a stretch, but Jake Ferguson had a touchdown in Week 2. The Cowboys like to have a useful tight end, and the offense will be in the red zone quite often. That’s all I’ve got. Good luck to us all with this position.
Jacksonville’s defense has been rather impressive through two weeks — holding Kansas City to 17 points in a loss Sunday and logging three takeaways in each of its two games so far. But more importantly, in Week 3, the Jaguars draw the Texans and rookie QB C.J. Stroud, who have surrendered 10 fantasy points per game to D/STs so far this season. Remember earlier when I said Stroud was having some fantasy success, but not NFL success? Yeah, that’s good news for the Jacksonville crew. The Jags are a must-start next week, and they get the Falcons in Week 4.
After a negative fantasy showing in Week 1, the Seahawks managed a pair of sacks, three takeaways and a touchdown in a 37-31 shootout win over the Lions on Sunday. Next Sunday, rookie QB Bryce Young and the Panthers offer all of that D/ST “upside” without the threat of 31 points scored. Pete Carroll’s crew has some talent — and Carolina’s offense does not. You could do worse for a streaming option this week.
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