2015 Fantasy Football – Waiver-Wire Targets

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Below, I’ll give you my thoughts on who to pick up off the waiver wire this week. I’ll only select players who have a 50 percent or less ownership, so there’s a chance a good player – even one with a higher ownership rate – is on your waiver wire. Be sure to do your due diligence as to who is available.


Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills (10%)
Taylor showed he can throw the ball as well as run it, and that is what you want in a fantasy quarterback who isn’t going to throw the ball 40 times a game. The good play from Percy Harvin was nice to see, while Vontae Davis shut down Sammy Watkins on the other side. If Harvin can stay healthy, that one-two punch should help Taylor, while his running ability should keep his duds from being too “duddy.”

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs (19%)
Alex Smith still hasn’t thrown a touchdown to a wide receiver in seven score and 10 years ago, but he did throw three touchdowns in the first half to Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles while also completing five passes to Jeremy Maclin for 52 yards, with one 39-yard catch called back because the NFL doesn’t like receptions. Smith isn’t going to put up huge numbers every game, but his top-3 weapons are all great in the passing game, and he also uses his legs enough to bolster his totals.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals (26%)
Dalton’s best receiver A.J. Green was a bit rusty against the Raiders as he dropped a touchdown, but tight end Tyler Eifert filled in with a big game. The Bengals have a nice core group on offense, and Dalton is the kind of quarterback who can put up good numbers when his supporting cast is healthy and good.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans (45%)
Don’t overreact to Mariota’s huge game, but don’t write it off either. He looked like a seasoned veteran for much of the game, but also didn’t have to persevere through much adversity as he completed 13-of-16 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns while sitting out the fourth quarter in a 42-14 blowout. For the most part, you drafted quarterbacks who should, on average, put up better numbers than Mariota, but if you drafted Peyton Manning, you should probably be a little worried, and Mariota has nice upside, especially if he starts running more.

Running Back:

Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans (46%)
Sankey showed well for fantasy in Week 1, scoring two touchdowns and accumulating 74 yards rushing on 12 carries and catching two passes for 12 yards. He did drop a pass and fumble (recovered by his team), so it wasn’t all roses, but Terrence West, who saw a lot of work due to the blowout, didn’t do anything to downgrade Sankey’s prospects going forward. Sankey’s worth a pick up in most leagues.

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots (16%)
Lewis won’t get as many carries with LeGarrette Blount back as he saw in Week 1, but if the game script calls for a pass-first attack, Lewis will be worthwhile, much like Shane Vereen last season, especially in PPR.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers (37%)
Williams is just a 1-week rental at this point, but he did just rush for 127 yards against the Patriots and gets a 49ers team that has lost much of its bite on defense, at home in Week 2.

Chris Johnson (9%) and David Johnson (20%), RBs, Cardinals
Bruce Arians says that Chris Johnson will be his lead back while Andre Ellington is out, but Ellington’s injury appears to be of the 2-3 week variety, and David Johnson showed on his one touch Sunday that he has some special ability. Chris Johnson is the safe pick up if you need some filler, but David Johnson is the PPR-upside play .

Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos (31%)
C.J. Anderson’s foot injury may not be a concern, but if it is, Hillman is in for a lot of work. If it’s not, Hillman is still in for some work and is the direct backup on a team that, even though they looked horrible against the Ravens, should turn things around, especially in the running game.

Wide Receiver:

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts (8%)
Moncrief played 57 of the Colts’ 77 snaps in Week 1 and saw 11 targets. Some of that was due to T.Y. Hilton being injured, but Moncrief was no doubt a big part of the game plan despite that fact. Hilton most likely won’t miss more than a week and could possibly be ready for Week 2, but we also saw a declining Andre Johnson look slow and old against the Bills. Moncrief should continue to see work and could start moving in on Johnson’s work as well. That also leaves some room for rookie Phillip Dorsett, but he’s a riskier add at this point as he saw just 17 snaps.

James Jones, WR, Packers (29%)
Will Jones put up numbers this season like he did in Week 1 against the Bears? No. Is his quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and did he see just as much time on the field as Davante Adams and Randall Cobb? Yes. That’s all you need to know to pick Jones up in all your leagues.

Brandon Coleman, WR, Saints (27%)
Coleman’s ability is fairly role-playerish, but he’s in a good offense with a great quarterback, and that will keep him in the fantasy conversation each week.

Cole Beasley, WR, Cowboys (7%)
With Dez Bryant out for 4-6 weeks, the Cowboys will need to rely heavily on Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and Mr. Beasley here. Beasley is the only one of those guys who’s readily available on waivers, and he’s worth a grab in PPR leagues.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, Seahawks (6%)
Picking up Seattle wide receivers is a perennial tradition that usually leads to disaster. Kearse led the team with 10 targets for eight receptions and 76 yards against the Rams in Week 1, but last season, he never topped nine targets in a game and only went over 76 yards once – a 78-yard game against the 49ers. Russell Wilson also had his most completions and attempts ever in Week 1, so the chances these numbers keep up are slim, but there’s also a chance we are going to see the Seahawks’ defense take a step back, which will call for more attempts from Wilson and Kearse going forward. I’m not going to pick him up just yet, but he’s worth keeping an eye on.

Tight End:

Ladarius Green, TE, Chargers (19%)
Green looked outstanding against the Lions and is a player who doesn’t need 10 targets to put up good numbers. Yes, Antonio Gates will be back in three weeks, but Green is talented enough to help you for that span. Then, you have to hope that Gates is finally too old to get off the line.

Eric Ebron, TE, Lions (8%)
Ebron will be inconsistent, but he looked good enough against the Chargers to warrant consideration as a backup tight end in deeper leagues.

Jared Cook, TE, Rams (6%)
Against the Seahawks, Cook had his most receiving yards since Week 1 of the 2013 season as he caught five of six targets for 85 yards. He led all non-running backs in targets and all Rams in receptions and receiving yards. The biggest problem going forward though is the return of Brian Quick, which should happen sooner than later.

Gavin Escobar, TE, Cowboys (1%)
Escobar should see a slight bump with Dez Bryant out, but with Jason Witten there, Escobar will have trouble getting enough playing time to be worth rostering.

Must Adds if They’re There:

Tyler Eifert: Hurry.

Stevie Johnson: Johnson looked good even while Keenan Allen caught 15 passes. That’s tough.

Danny Woodhead: The coaches trust Woodhead around the goal line more than Melvin Gordon, and it paid off with two touchdowns Week 1.

Pierre Garcon/Jordan Reed: DeSean Jackson is out 3-4 weeks with a hammy. Garcon and Reed are must pick-ups.

Terrance Williams: Williams is not good, but he’ll get a ton of targets with Bryant out.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Seferian-Jenkins won’t put up numbers like his 110 yards and two touchdowns from Week 1 consistently, especially when Mike Evans returns, but he’s got the ability to be a top-10 fantasy tight end. For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com’s Fantasy Football Rankings.

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2015 Fantasy Football Rankings:
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Chet Gresham's Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings - 9/4 (Chet)
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Chet Gresham's 2015 Fantasy Football Overall Cheat Sheet - 9/4 (Chet)

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2015 Fantasy Football News - 9/1 (Chet)
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2015 Fantasy Football Spreadsheets - 8/22 (Walt)
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Daily Fantasy Football: A Primer - 7/10 (Chet)
2015 Fantasy Football Value Profile: Jarvis Landry - 7/7 (Walt)
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2015 Fantasy Football: Overdrafted Players - 2/15 (Walt)
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