Early Week 1 waiver wire pickups: Mike Davis, K.J. Osborn, and Jalen Tolbert could open the season strong

As we head into the first week of the season, who are the top Week 1 waiver wire pickups and targets for the 2022 fantasy football season?

The 2022 fantasy football season starts this week! While most teams are probably content with their drafted players, there are free agents out there that can help your teams. Let’s take a look at the top Week 1 waiver wire targets and pickups that fantasy managers should consider adding to their rosters.

Top waiver wire pickups in Week 1 | Running backs

There are no quarterbacks worth adding off the waiver wire. Fantasy managers can just roll with whomever they drafted. Thus, we’re jumping right into the running backs that can help fantasy managers immediately in Week 1.

J.D. McKissic, Washington Commanders (33% rostered)

The Commanders’ backfield was shaping up to be a mess entering Week 1. In the preseason, Brian Robinson operated as the primary rusher while Antonio Gibson was the guy in there on passing downs. Of course, J.D. McKissic was out due to a minor injury. Nevertheless, there was a possibility Gibson could’ve actually eaten into McKissic’s role.

Unfortunately, Robinson is out for at least the first month as he recovers from what were thankfully non-life threatening gunshot wounds. This leaves Washington’s backfield in the exact same spot it was in last season.

The Commanders get the Jaguars in Week 1. While that shapes up to be more of a Gibson game, it’s possible the team just uses McKissic more because Gibson has fallen out of favor. Fantasy managers can consider adding McKissic if they need a Week 1 spot starter.

Mike Davis, Baltimore Ravens (27% rostered)

This one is more for deeper leagues, but Mike Davis is back in our lives once again. J.K. Dobbins may not even be active for Week 1. Even if he is, his role is expected to be severely limited. The Ravens’ recent signing of Kenyan Drake does not bode well for Dobbins’ status.

Last season, We saw Devonta Freeman post weekly RB2 numbers for a stretch. If he can do that in the year 2021, so can Davis for whatever brief time period he occupies the lead-back role. Drake is no lock to play in Week 1, either. So it may just be Davis and Justice Hill. That’s going to be heavy on Davis and make him a solid Week 1 spot starter.

Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans (3% rostered)

I’ll make this one short and sweet. Rex Burkhead is locked into the passing-down role in Houston. Dameon Pierce will be the lead runner and goal-line back, but Burkhead is going to matter.

The Texans aren’t exactly projected to win many games, so we could see much more of Burkhead in the second half in comeback mode than he’s getting credit for. We’ve seen him produce before, and he put up 28.9 PPR fantasy points as recently as Week 16 of last season. You may scoff at Burkhead now, but at some point, injuries are going to make Burkhead a worthwhile asset. Get out ahead and grab him now off the waiver wire.

Top waiver wire pickups in Week 1 | Wide receivers

Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys (22% rostered)

Michael Gallup is not playing in Week 1, and although he was not placed on the PUP list, he’s not expected to return in September. James Washington is also out with a broken foot, leaving Jalen Tolbert as the clear WR2 opposite CeeDee Lamb.

Dak Prescott can support two fantasy-relevant wide receivers. It’s possible Tolbert is behind Lamb, Dalton Schultz, and Tony Pollard in targets. However, the upside is he’s second, and that’s a gamble worth taking. Tolbert should be rostered in more leagues and is a great player to target ahead of Week 1 on the waiver wire.

K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings (11%)

Last season, K.J. Osborn averaged 9.3 ppg. That was in a Mike Zimmer offense where he was the WR3 for most of the season. Osborn posted seven games of at least 14 fantasy points. More importantly, he averaged 13.8 ppg in his four games played without Adam Thielen (including the Week 13 game where Thielen exited early).

This season, the Vikings are expected to be more pass-heavy and use more 11 personnel under Kevin O’Connell. Osborn is still the team’s WR3 and should have more standalone value. He still possesses the same WR2 upside he displayed last season when elevated to the No. 2 role. Osborn needs to be on more rosters.

Top waiver wire pickups in Week 1 | Tight ends

Most fantasy teams shouldn’t need to pick up a tight end ahead of Week 1. In the event you have someone like Darren Waller or Zach Ertz and he ends up not playing, Austin Hooper could be a solid fill-in.

Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans (37% rostered)

This one is just a play on available targets. The Titans are rolling out Robert Woods and maybe Treylon Burks — it could be Nick Westbrook-Ikhine — as their top two receivers in Week 1.

There’s a legitimate chance Austin Hooper is second in targets early in the season. Take a shot on Hooper as a floor-based “won’t get you zero” type tight end if you need a Week 1 spot starter.

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