Working the waiver wire is hard. There, I said it. No, I don’t mean writing this. I’m talking about the actual act of going into your waiver wire and combing through endless names in search of ones to add to your fantasy football roster.
If you started 2-0, you’re hopefully just fleshing out the back end of your bench, making sure you’re prepared for anything and everything. If you’re 0-2, it’s a much different feeling. You don’t want to let desperation creep in. This list is much more measured than last week, honing in on players that can contribute for you this week and beyond, combining high variance plays for one-week fliers and safer options for those that need a stable floor.
Terry McLaurin (41.0% owned)
Marquise Brown may have received all the waiver wire hype after Week 1, but it was fellow rookie Terry McLaurin that had statistics that most supported a return to fantasy football usability in Week 2. McLaurin did not squander that opportunity, and because of that, we can unequivocally say that he does not belong out on the waiver wire. Garnering a 5/62/1 slash line on nine targets, there is nothing but more work ahead of the impressive rookie out of Ohio State. He also plays for a team that cannot stop the pass, which bodes well for his fantasy outlook given the Washington Redskins need to put up points to stay in games.
While not quite an inviting matchup, the Chicago Bears did give up 17 receptions to Denver Broncos wide receivers last week. With an extra day to prepare, it would behoove head coach Jay Gruden to try and figure out how to keep his rising star involved. Deep routes may not work as well with Eddie Jackson patrolling the back end so there isn’t quite as high a ceiling as there would typically be, but the volume will undoubtedly be there in a game that could get out of hand quickly for Washington.
DJ Chark (22.2% owned)
Going from Nick Foles to Gardner Minshew did not adversely affect second-year man DJ Chark. It seems Minshew has found a favorite target in the former LSU Tiger. Those who saw last week’s waiver wire article would have noticed Chark’s name despite the QB situation; this is because the proverbial switch seems to have been flipped from year one to year two. Chark is now displaying at the pro-level, some of the talents that were only visible at the Senior Bowl, due to LSU’s offensive style.
Chark is showing his 4.34 speed on the field with fluidity and more physicality than he was credited for as a prospect. Catching seven of nine targets for 55 yards and his second touchdown on the year will certainly keep Minshew looking for Chark in the open field, and put him squarely on the radar of fantasy football players. Chark’s wheels will allow him to keep getting a half step on his man on vertical routes. Whether he’s strong enough to crack your starting rotation depends on your team structure, but Chark deserves to be rostered in all 12 team leagues and is approaching that same status in 10 teamers as well.
Randall Cobb (18.3% owned)
One of the few elder statesmen on this list, Randall Cobb didn’t quite follow up with his explosive Dallas Cowboys premier with a big Week 2. However, he remained involved, actually out touching his Week 1 performance. With injuries sustained by starter Michael Gallup, the missing workload will be spread to Cobb and Devin Smith, a former second-round pick by the New York Jets, currently reviving his career in Dallas.
Smith is primarily a field stretcher, and while Dak Prescott has been better pushing the ball downfield this year, I believe having more of a specialist lining up outside will open things up underneath for Cobb. What’s more is that Cobb looks more like his earlier days in Green Bay than his later ones, displaying lateral shiftiness and toughness at the catch point. Cobb’s two rushing attempts show us that offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is looking to open up the playbook and that Cobb will be a part of that.
Raheem Mostert (11.0% owned)
Both out touching and outscoring Matt Breida was not assumed by most, and we honestly cannot say whether that trend will continue. What we do know is that while Tevin Coleman is out, Raheem Mostert will not be strictly a backup. Kyle Shanahan was never going to employ just one running back. Sure, the long TD reception won’t happen every week, but 16 touches is a repeatable number. It looks like we’re finally getting closer to the dynamic offense we were promised when Shanahan took over the San Francisco 49ers. Mostert is most certainly a beneficiary.
Having just acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick, it is clear that the weakness in the Pittsburgh Steelers is their run defense. Now without Ben Roethlisberger, their offense won’t be able to put up the volume of points it once did, meaning opposing teams won’t have to abandon the run game in order to catch up. Just like last week, I expect Mostert to remain a large part of the ground game and contribute receiving points as well. He finds himself firmly in the flex conversation.
Deebo Samuel (12.8% owned)
After hearing from his head coach about how he may have had too high a snap count in Week 1, Deebo Samuel went out in Week 2 and put on a show on 27 snaps. Short area quickness may have been Samuel’s biggest strength coming into the pros, and it was successfully displayed on the quick breakout route for his goal-line TD. Working nearly a 3:1 ratio favoring lining up outside, Samuel will primarily be lining up against Joe Haden and Steven Nelson, both of whom Samuel has the tools to beat.
Samuel has the raw talent to be a weekly contributor, and that is why he ends up on the list of waiver wire adds for Week 3. Call it nothing more than a hunch after seeing him produce in a similar fashion to his college tape, but a snap count in the high 30s, low 40s may end up being the sweet spot while he refines the nuances of the position. Add that with the potential for increased chemistry and timing with Jimmy Garoppolo and getting Samuel a few weeks ahead of the breakout could save you from hoping you have priority or necessary FAAB when the time finally comes.
Jaylen Samuels (25.5% owned)
James Conner is dealing with an injury to his knee and while it currently stands that it will not affect his availability for Sunday, adding Jaylen Samuels off of the waiver wire is something every Conner owner and fantasy football player should be doing. We have already seen what Samuels can do with a full workload, and while it would be a break from history, we’re all going to hear about how he could be involved more this week. It’s a drum I will never stop beating, but a Mike Tomlin led Steelers team once gave 20+ touches to Fitzgerald Toussaint…in a playoff game. There will only be a primary back, and with Conner’s current ailment, should he miss any time, Samuels will be the high volume choice in Pittsburgh.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside (1.4% owned)
With Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson both nursing injuries that could potentially keep them out of the Philadelphia Eagles Week 3 contest, it is rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside that would see the most significant bump in playing time. After being forced into action, JJAW logged 93% of offensive snaps, primarily out wide where he can take advantage of his 6’3 225 lb. frame.
His defensive counterparts on the Detroit Lions are Darius Slay (6’0 190lbs) and Rashaan Melvin (6’2 195lbs). Working against those two could mean increased red zone and goalline opportunities for Arcega-Whiteside and thus, a higher ceiling for fantasy football. It’s more of a hail mary play off the waiver wire than I am typically comfortable with, but a good showing on Sunday could have the rookie work his way into more time on the field for Carson Wentz and the Eagles.
Andrew Jordan is an editor/writer for the Pro Football Network covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter @The_ATJ.