Early Week 2 Waiver Wire Pickups: Kenneth Gainwell, Tutu Atwell, Puka Nacua Are Priority Adds

As we head into the second week of the NFL season, who are the top Week 2 waiver wire pickups and targets for 2023 fantasy football managers?

The 2023 fantasy football season is now firmly underway. The NFL landscape is always shifting, and fantasy managers should always be looking to improve their rosters. Let’s take a look at the top Week 2 waiver wire targets and pickups that fantasy managers should consider adding to their rosters.

*As always, all players are rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues.

Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 2 | Quarterbacks

There aren’t many quarterbacks worth adding ahead of Week 2, but Brock Purdy and Jordan Love might be worth a look.

Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers (55% Rostered)

There aren’t many options to add at quarterback. Brock Purdy stands out because he’s just…solid. He’ll give you about 200 passing yards and two touchdowns. There’s not much in the way of upside, but Purdy won’t fail you.

The 49ers play a weak Rams defense in Week 2. You shouldn’t necessarily need Purdy, but if you do, he’s in play.

FAAB Recommendation: 0-1%

Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers (31% Rostered)

The Packers looked just fine offensively against the Bears this week. They scored 38 points. Jordan Love accounted for three touchdowns, hitting Romeo Doubs twice and Aaron Jones once.

If Jones’ hamstring tweak keeps him out, cancel this — because Jones is the offense. But as long as he can go, Love is a legitimate Week 2 startable option against an unimposing Falcons defense. Hopefully, Christian Watson can return, too.

FAAB Recommendation: 0-1%

Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 2 | Running Backs

There are a couple of priority adds at the running back position off the waiver wire. Kenneth Gainwell and Kyren Williams are among them.

Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (46% Rostered)

Kenneth Gainwell is not available in your league. I know. But evidently, he’s out there in more than half of leagues. If he is available in your league, he is the first hammer drop waiver add.

Gainwell started for the Eagles and dominated touches. It turns out those reports of Gainwell being the RB1 were accurate.

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Rashaad Penny was a healthy inactive; D’Andre Swift barely saw the field.

Meanwhile, Gainwell carried the ball 14 times while seeing four targets. He wasn’t particularly efficient, only totaling 74 yards. He also didn’t score. But if he did, he would’ve been an RB1. Gainwell is the lead back on one of the league’s best offenses. Add him.

FAAB Recommendation: 30-40%

Gus Edwards (4% Rostered), and Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens (2% Rostered)

It has been the most unfortunate start possible to J.K. Dobbins’ career. Finally healthy entering this year, Dobbins’ 2023 season ended as quickly as it began due to an Achilles tear.

Following Dobbins’ exit, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards split the work, with Hill punching in two short touchdowns. They each handled exactly eight carries, but the bus was a bit more effective with his, managing 32 yards to Hill’s nine.

At this point, fantasy managers need to put in waiver claims on both Ravens backs. Given the Ravens’ history with the running back position, there’s a real possibility they sign Kareem Hunt or Leonard Fournette. But until that happens, it will be the Edwards-Hill show.

FAAB Recommendation: 8-12% for each

Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers (4% Rostered)

Austin Ekeler looked fantastic in Week 1. But Joshua Kelley still managed to earn 16 carries. He didn’t catch a pass, but he did punch in a touchdown. There’s potential standalone RB3 value here, plus RB2 upside if Ekeler were to get hurt.

FAAB Recommendation: 3-5%

Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams (3% Rostered)

It was not the Cam Akers show for the Rams. He split the backfield with Kyren Williams, and it was Williams who was the primary goal line back, punching in two short touchdowns.

Williams needs to be rostered based on his Week 1 role. However, temper expectations because he only turned 15 carries into 52 yards, and didn’t catch either of his targets. If he doesn’t score, he’s not going to be useful. But you should pick him up.

FAAB Recommendation: 4-6%

Sean Tucker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4% Rostered)

Sean Tucker didn’t do anything in Week 1 to warrant attention. This is more about some early confirmation on my offseason analysis — Rachaad White is not an NFL-caliber starting running back.

In a game the Bucs won against a less-than-stellar Vikings defense, White managed a whopping 39 yards on 17 carries. He was also a nonfactor in the passing game, catching two balls for 10 yards.

It is only a matter of time before White starts ceding to work to…literally anyone else. The Bucs may end up signing a veteran. But if they don’t, Tucker could very well be the next man up.

FAAB Recommendation: 1-2%

Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 2 | Wide Receivers

After a big NFL debut, rookie Puka Nacua is a priority add, among some other Week 1 surprises.

Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams (4% Rostered)

Holy Puka Nacua. In the absence of Cooper Kupp, the Rams needed someone to step up. I did not expect Nacua to literally play the Kupp role.

The fifth-round rookie commanded a whopping 15 targets, tied with Tyreek Hill for the most in the league as of Sunday. He caught 10 of them for 119 yards. That can’t be ignored.

This absolutely could be a fluke. Nacua could catch three passes for 25 yards, and we could be lamenting forcing him into lineups. I would not start Nacua yet. But he absolutely needs to be added in every league.

FAAB Recommendation: 10-12%

Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints (15% Rostered)

In a game where Michael Thomas caught five passes for 61 yards and Chris Olave caught eight passes for 112 yards, it is impressive that Rashid Shaheed also caught five balls for 89 yards and a touchdown.

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Odds are this is a one-time deal. Shaheed will likely be quite volatile from week to week. However, this was a low-scoring, slow-paced game against the Titans. If the Saints find themselves in more shootouts, Shaheed could be interesting.

FAAB Recommendation: 2-3%

Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars (30% Rostered)

Sometimes, preseason usage is irrelevant. But sometimes, it’s worth paying attention to. In the preseason, Zay Jones played in two-receiver sets ahead of Christian Kirk. We saw that same thing occur in Week 1. And for what it’s worth, Jones isn’t exactly bad. His touchdown grab was a thing of beauty.

Jones caught five of seven targets for 55 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. Trevor Lawrence looks every bit like a top-five quarterback. Calvin Ridley is the clear WR1, but I’m not so sure I wouldn’t rather have Jones than Kirk rest of season.

FAAB Recommendation: 3-5%

Robert Woods, Houston Texans (4% Rostered)

There is nothing flashy or exciting about Robert Woods. But 10 targets is 10 targets.

C.J. Stroud struggled against a tough Ravens defense, but in between, he looked like a competent NFL quarterback. And he was locked into old man Bob.

Woods caught six of 10 targets for 57 yards. The Texans are going to be trailing in most of their games. Woods lacks touchdown upside, but he could volume his way to WR3 numbers. Once bye weeks and injuries rear their ugly heads, a guy like Woods will suddenly look way more appealing.

FAAB Recommendation: 2-4%

Allen Robinson, Pittsburgh Steelers (2% Rostered)

I can’t believe I’m recommending Allen Robinson in the year 2023. Yet, here we are.

Sadly, Diontae Johnson suffered what looked like a pretty serious hamstring strain in the Steelers’ loss to the 49ers. He could be looking at a 4-6 week absence. That elevates George Pickens to the WR1 role and Robinson to the WR2 role.

ARob saw eight targets against the 49ers, catching five for 64 yards. If he’s doing that against the 49ers in a game where Kenny Pickett couldn’t have played worse, it’s possible there’s still enough juice left in the tank for Robinson to be a WR3.

FAAB Recommendation: 6-8%

Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots (1% Rostered)

DeVante Parker didn’t play. JuJu Smith-Schuster just has no juice left. That left journeyman Kendrick Bourne as the Patriots’ leading receiver. He caught six passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. But that’s not the reason he’s a worthwhile add. He saw 11 targets in what will be one of the toughest matchups for the Patriots all season.

FAAB Recommendation: 2-4%

Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs (37% Rostered)

Let me preface this by saying this is purely a speculative add. As of now, no Chiefs wide receiver needs to be on fantasy rosters. Not a single one is currently even remotely fantasy-viable.

This is taking a shot on the unknown. We know Marquez Valdes-Scantling is not fantasy-relevant. We know Skyy Moore is not an NFL-caliber wide receiver. We know Justin Watson is never going to earn a significant snap share. We don’t know anything about Rashee Rice.

Rice is a rookie. He’s an unknown. He’s the only Chiefs receiver who hasn’t already proven to not be capable. He only played 31% of the snaps on Thursday, but that could increase as the season goes on, especially if Patrick Mahomes gets fed up with Moore and Kadarius Toney. If you have a roster spot to churn, Rice isn’t the worst chance to take.

FAAB Recommendation: 1-2%

Tutu Atwell, Los Angeles Rams (3% Rostered)

I guess I have to include Tutu Atwell. He certainly humbled me a bit after I bet his receiving yards under. It doesn’t matter what it was. He caught six of eight targets for 119 yards. That can’t be ignored.

I don’t buy it. This was a favorable matchup against a soft pass defense. However, when a receiver goes over 100 yards, you pick him up. Surely there’s someone on your bench worse than him.

FAAB Recommendation: 2-4%

Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 2 | Tight Ends

The tight end position is not in a good spot this season. Hunter Henry and Hayden Hurst could be emergency options.

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (16% Rostered)

Unsurprisingly, Hunter Henry was the clear TE1 ahead of Mike Gesicki. He caught five of six targets for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Henry is probably a touchdown-dependent TE1, but so is every other non-Kelce TE. If you need a TE, you can certainly do worse.

FAAB Recommendation: 1-2%

Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers (10% Rostered)

As expected, the tight end position is a bit of a wasteland. That was exacerbated in Week 1 by the absences of Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews.

Hayden Hurst entered the 4:00 games as the highest-scoring TE on the week. He caught five of seven targets for 41 yards and a short touchdown. Now, to be fair, if Hurst didn’t score, that line wouldn’t be that exciting. But Bryce Young looked good enough, and the Panthers are severely lacking in the wide receiver department. You can certainly do worse.

FAAB Recommendation: 0-2%

Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals (5% Rostered)

It’s really impressive that Zach Ertz managed to turn six receptions into just 21 yards. Rostering and starting Cardinals players isn’t necessarily something you want to do. But the man saw 10 targets. That’s more than any TE entering the 4:00 games.

Ertz can’t really move anymore, but he’s still a reliable set of hands. If you need a warm body at the tight end position, Ertz is at least a safe bet for a bunch of targets.

FAAB Recommendation: 0-1%

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