2021 Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire Cheat Sheet

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Week one of the 2021 NFL season is in the books. You did your research, dotted your i’s, and crossed your t’s, yet you still managed to get everything wrong. Top five pick on Derrick Henry? More like BOTTOM FIVE IN THE STANDINGS! MVP Aaron Rodgers put up a stat line reminiscent of the NVP Mitchell Trubisky. And all you can think to yourself is that your fantasy roster is in shambles.

Fear not, my ferocious fantasy warriors, because I’m about to drop some hard truths on you.  You don’t win fantasy leagues at the draft, you win fantasy football leagues on the waiver wire.  This week, I’m going to provide you with the best options available.  If I don’t mention someone whom you think I should be talking about, just know there are many reasons why I overlooked them. Maybe they are rostered in most leagues. Maybe they are so bad I don’t even consider them.  Or, maybe it’s because your opinions cannot be trusted. After all, you are here. So let us examine your best week two waiver wire pickups for your championship run…

 Week Two Waiver Wire QBs
1. Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (35% rostered)

If you need quarterback help, then Jameis Winston is the king crab of your quarterback options. In week one against the Packers, Winston threw for 148 yards and 5 touchdowns. The reason you want Winston is that if you are grabbing a quarterback, you want someone who can put up a top-five performance on a weekly basis. Jameis proved in the past he can do this and he is probably in the best offensive system to help him succeed, while still minimizing his mistakes. Yes, there will be a few weeks where he throws for 6 picks (and pick-sixes) and destroys you, but there are going to be a lot more good weeks than bad.

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (39% rostered)

Tua Tagovailoa is my second-favorite waiver wire quarterback this week. This one is probably going against the grain of the fantasy community, but while Tua didn’t show on the statline with 202 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, he showed flashes against what will likely be one of the toughest defenses in football this season. More importantly, he has a rushing component to his game that will potentially give a huge competitive advantage in most games. Tua has the potential to be a high floor/high ceiling guy down the stretch.

3. The Rookies: Trey Lance/Justin Fields/Zach Wilson/Mac Jones, (37%/50%/17%/24% rostered)

If you are looking for a home run at quarterback, your best bet is going to be grabbing one of the rookies… Mainly Trey Lance or Justin Fields. One of these two is going to be this year’s Justin Herbert. They both saw playing time in their games, and when they played, you could see why they were drafted in the first round. Both had touchdowns in their debut and there are a lot of those in their future. As for Zach Wilson and Mac Jones, while their ceiling probably is not as high as the other two, they both showed potential. I would not grab Wilson or Jones, but I would definitely keep an eye on them. [Editor’s Note: Justin Fields outscored Andy Dalton, who played more than four snaps in the same game.]

4. The Rest: Sam Darnold/Jared Goff/Tyrod Taylor/Carson Wentz, (11%/10%/5%/11% rostered)

In the words of Herm Edwards, you play to win the game. (Hello?!) While technically Sam Darnold and Tyrod Taylor won their games, did it really feel like winning? The truth is, we know exactly what we get with these guys. Or more importantly, we know what we won’t get: a fantasy football championship.

Week Two Waiver Wire RBs
Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers (6% rostered)

The number one waiver wire addition in week two, regardless of position, has to be Elijah Mitchell. Raheem Mostert showed us he was still Raheem Mostert by getting hurt in the first quarter. From that moment, it became the Elijah Mitchell show.  Mitchell had 19 carries for 104 yards and 1 touchdown. He dominated the snap count in San Francisco, seeing 64% of snaps. Elijah also dominated the RB touches, with 19, compared to 5 for the rest of the 49ers’ running back corps. There is some risk here, as Kyle Shanahan is a fickle mistress when it comes to running backs. But the fact of the matter is you can’t worry about that. The 49ers are a potentially dominant offense and if Eli takes control of that backfield, he is a league winner. Put in your claims. Spend your FAAB. Roll the dice, because if he hits, he wins you your championship.

Mark Ingram, Houston Texans (46% rostered)

If you can’t get Mitchell, Mark Ingram might be a nice consolation prize. In a backfield with Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson, Mark Ingram proved to be the offensive workhorse, seeing 46% of the snaps, compared to for DJ and 26% for Lindsay. Ingram also saw 27 touches to their combined 16 touches. Those are very favorable usage stats. Unfortunately, there is also a lot to be leery about. While Ingram had 85 yards and 1 touchdown, he also did it against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that looks to be trying to repeat for the number one overall draft pick. Houston may have dominated in week one, but there are still a lot of concerns in that offense. Having said that, a reliable workhouse running back needs to be on a roster, so get you some Mark Ingram.

 Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (7% rostered)

After the top two waiver wire running backs for week two, Kenneth Gainwell is a very interesting speculative play. In week one, he had 43 all-purpose yards and 1 touchdown. More importantly, he was on the field for 35% of the team’s snaps. Even more importantly, half his touches were in the second quarter, which means he didn’t compile his numbers in garbage time. Gainwell is the clear number two in Philadelphia and seems to have a role in that offense. Having said all that, I would not burn a waiver position on him if you don’t have resetting waivers. I do think he could have long-term value, but I am more likely to take a wait-and-see approach with him.

Tony Jones, Jr., New Orleans Saints (19% rostered)

Tony Jones, Jr. is one of the more interesting waiver wire guys in week two. I could probably just copy and paste the write-up for Gainwell. They both had a 35% snap count, but they also were used consistently throughout the game.  The only difference between the two is Jones only had 51 all-purpose yards without a touchdown. The thing that makes Tony Jones Jr. is that New Orleans has a history of having multiple running backs be relevant in fantasy football. While I probably don’t put in a claim for him, I am definitely picking him up once he clears waivers.

Week Two Waiver Wire WRs
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (9% rostered)

Christian Kirk is an interesting waiver wire option. If you had him last year, you loved him for about four games. The rest of the time, it was not a fun ride. On the surface, he seems like a no-brainer option at wide receiver, with 5 catches for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Cardinals also opened week one and made a strong case for finishing the year as the number one offense in football. You want as many shares as you can with that. However, Christian Kirk is still the third receiving option on the Cardinals. AJ Green outsnapped him 80% to 57%.  Green also had 6 targets to Kirk’s 5. Of course, unless you are in a PPWO (Points Per Werther’s Original) league, A.J. Green just isn’t relevant in fantasy football. It stands to reason that Christian Kirk will see increased usage as the season goes on. However, I think it is equally likely that AJ Green loses snaps to rookie Rondale Moore, who is probably the best player of the three. A case can be made for putting in a claim for Christian Kirk or for passing on him. Push comes to shove, I think if Christian Kirk was gonna blow up, he probably would have done so already. So I let someone else claim him and cry about it later when I’m oh so horribly wrong.

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (32% rostered)

I would argue that Sterling Shepard’s performance shows more signs of sustained success than Christian Kirk’s. 9 targets for 7 catches, 113 yards, and 1 touchdown shows more involvement in the offense. As does being on the field for 95% of the Giants’ offensive snaps. Unfortunately, history also shows us that Shepard staying on the field is probably not a good bet. In five years, he’s only played a 16 game season twice. The other three seasons, he has played in 75% or fewer of the team games. When you factor in that Sterling Shepard’s success is dependant on the success of Daniel Jones, Shepard is a hard pass for me.

 Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles (40% rostered)

While I am low on Christian Kirk and Sterling Shepard, Jalen Reagor is a receiver that I am very interested in.  2020 first-round draft pick going into his second year, he has the potential to blow up this year. I love betting on second-year wide receivers. In week one, Reagor had 6 catches for 49 yards and 1 touchdown. More importantly, Reagor was second on the team in targets and was only out-snapped by DeVonta Smith. Reagor has the draft pedigree and a clear path to opportunity. The only thing standing in his way is Jalen Hurts’ ability to throw the football. If week one is any indication, this might not be a major issue (but it probably will be.)

Week Two Waiver Wire TEs
Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints (6% rostered)

The number one tight end on most waiver wire articles this week is Juwan Johnson, which is absolutely absurd. If all you want to do is look at the stat line and make your waiver claims that way, have fun on your path to mediocrity. Any cursory study of Juwan Johnson’s week one performance would show you that his production just isn’t sustainable. Johnson’s 3 catches for 21 yards and 2 touchdowns make him the TE5 in week one. He pulled these numbers while being the 29th most targeted tight end. The reason he was only the 29th most targeted tight end was because he was only on the field for 19% of the Saints offensive snaps. Juwan Johnson is fools gold.

Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints (8% rostered)

If you really need to look at a tight end from the New Orleans Saints, can I interest you in one slightly bruised Adam Trautman? Before his preseason injury, Trautman was a favorite tight end sleeper in the fantasy football community. While his week one performance of 3 catches for 18 yards leaves something to be desired, don’t let those numbers fool you. Trautman was on the field for 82% of the Saints snaps, compared to Johnson’s 19%. This means that Trautman is four times more likely to score touchdowns going forward. Trautman also out-targeted Johnson 6 to 3. Once Trautman gets fully healthy, he has the potential to be a game-breaker. Having said that, he is still a tight end who had a bad week, so you can wait to claim him.

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (8% rostered)

Since you probably expect me to recommend at least one tight end, let’s talk Cole Kmet. In week one, Kmet had 5 catches for 42 yards.  While Kmet did not finish the week as a TE1, all that really means is that he didn’t score a touchdown. In week one, he was 8th in targets and 9th in receptions at the position. If I was looking for a tight end with season-long potential to break out, Kmet would be my guy. He is a second-year player the Bears invested a lot of draft capital in. Kmet is playing a Bengals team in week two that gave up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Kmet has enough going for him that I’m even willing to overlook that he plays for the Bears. If I were a guy who would put in a waiver wire claim on a tight end, Kmet would be my guy this week. Of course, I am not that guy because all tight ends are trash!

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