Just about any lead running back on an NFL team has fantasy value. The Houston Texans were believed to be starting Dameon Pierce. Week 1 told a much different story. How much of a priority is Rex Burkhead for fantasy football managers to add off the waiver wire ahead of Week 2?
Rex Burkhead is the top Week 2 waiver wire pickup
Every lead running back should be on fantasy rosters. Apparently, Rex Burkhead is a lead running back.
The Texans named Dameon Pierce the starter after a stellar preseason. However, that was not the case in Week 1. Burkhead severely out-snapped Pierce and was clearly the more trusted option in the backfield.
In the modern NFL, even clear lead backs seldom see more than 60-65% of the snaps. Burkhead played 72% of the Texans’ offensive snaps, compared to just 28% for Pierce.
Burkhead totaled 19 touches and amassed 70 yards. Most encouraging is the fact that he saw eight targets and did so in a game where the Texans never faced a negative game script. There will be plenty of games where the Texans are down multiple scores in the second half, and Davis Mills just dumps it off repeatedly to Burkhead.
Burkhead was expected to be the primary passing down back, but he operated as the primary rusher as well, out-carrying Pierce 14-11. We live in a world where Rex Burkhead is a three-down back.
We’ve seen Rex Burkhead have RB2 value before
Last season, Burkhead had three weeks where he finished as an RB2 and one week where he finished as an RB1. Burkhead’s Week 1 target count was higher than any individual game last season.
It’s possible Pierce earns a larger role as the season progresses, but he’s still a fourth-round rookie running back. There’s no guarantee Pierce ever takes the job from Burkhead, especially if Burkhead continues to play reasonably well.
How aggressively should fantasy managers target Rex Burkhead off the Week 2 waiver wire?
Burkhead is rostered in just 13% of Yahoo leagues. That number is surprisingly low given the fact that he at least had the passing-down role locked up entering the season.
I still think Jeff Wilson is the priority add because he’s the lead back for the next month or so on a better offense. However, Burkhead is a not-too-distant second.
Burkhead scored 12 PPR fantasy points against the Colts. He did that without a touchdown. Burkhead could volume his way to 10-12 fantasy points weekly with legitimate RB1 upside whenever he falls into the end zone.
I’d recommend anywhere from a 10-20% FAAB bid on Burkhead. While he is likely to have season-long value, I can’t recommend really dropping the hammer on him because, despite his productivity, Burkhead is probably not going to be a league-winner.
Unfortunately, more players will get hurt. Other players will emerge. There will be spots to spend large amounts of FAAB on players that are clearly going to move the needle for your fantasy team.
Although players added early in the season are most valuable because they have the longest time to make an impact, Burkhead is not the guy to go all in on. Nevertheless, he is someone worth a bid from just about anyone with a player to drop.