After Week 1, something happens in every single league in the history of fantasy football: the waiver wire catches on fire. Week 1 will provide a plethora of players totally ignored on draft day that will score or produce enough points to warrant everyone's attention. Then, each team owner will attack the wire, leaving little scraps for the those who won their first matchup or in FAAB leagues simply outbid by virtuous spenders. However, deciphering the waiver wire for potential breakout players before Week 1 is essentially free. To gain an edge on the waiver wire rush, drop injured players or late round flier picks for most - if not all - of these players, who will provide free value as week 1 results pour in. Ownership percentages are from NFL.com
1) Jacquizz Rodgers, RB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Owned in .3% of leagues
Rodgers looks to take over the pass-catching role Charles Sims will leave behind after suffering a season-ending injury. While Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones will handle the 1-2 down work leaving all passing and third down situations for Rodgers. The Bucs will open the season without franchise quarterback Jameis Winston, currently serves a suspension until Week 4. However, against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers, it will be hard to sustain a lead. Rodgers will benefit from the immense opportunity for passing and third down work on a team who will most likely be trailing in the fourth.
2) Javorius Allen, RB
Baltimore Ravens - Owned in 2.3% of leagues
Allen finds himself in a similar scenario to Rodgers in the sense he will be on a team which will struggle to put up points. The Ravens will face the Bills, Bengals, and Broncos to start the season, all sporting middle of the pack defenses or lower. However, as long as Flacco mans the helm, the Ravens will struggle to pull away from opponents on the scoreboard. In 2017, Allen hauled in 46 receptions and added 153 carries. He will not only handle all the passing down work, but he also has the ability to run between the tackles on a team that will be in running back productive game scripts and garbage time scenarios.
3) Jordan Wilkins, RB
Indianapolis Colts - Owned in 1% of leagues
Wilkins appears to be the front runner at running back for the Colts while Marlon Mack deals with injuries that may cause him to miss the season opener. With Robert Turbin serving a suspension, Wilkins will be splitting work with veteran Christine Michael. Now, I’m not saying he’s sustainable for a season-long endeavor due mainly to the horrendous Colts offensive line. However he’s a receiving back, and with the failures of Nyheim Hines, he looks to command that passing down role while swapping with Michael on 1-2 downs. The Colts will look to develop Wilkins before Turbin comes back to assume the main duties. Use Wilkins as trade bait primarily if he gets hot.
4) Quincy Enunwa, WR
New York Jets - Owned in .7% of leagues
Enunwa suffered a disastrous neck injury which cost him his 2017 campaign. Prior to that, in 2016 he accrued 58 receptions, 857 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Now that he is back to full health, he looks to recover his role. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold looks to take over as the franchise for the Jets and looks to be an upgrade from Enunwa ’s last quarterback. He does have competition in stand out wide receiver Robby Anderson. Anderson’s talent is undeniable, which should force opposing teams to put their best defensive back on Anderson. The Jets are a team who will struggle out of the gate facing the Lions, but then face a softer schedule in the Dolphins and the Browns. Enunwa is a player who will be valuable throughout and he’s still under the radar.
5) Allen Hurns, WR
Dallas Cowboys - Owned in 20.5% of leagues
Hurns signed a two year deal with the Cowboys with the hopes he could help recover the missing production which left with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. the Cowboys will need Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup to fill the legendary shoes left behind. Terrance Williams will forever have a role the team, but Williams is not a productive receiver. He is praised for his blocking skill and will guide the younger receivers, but the Cowboys will look to Hurns to start the season as Dak Prescott’s main receiver as Gallup eases into professional life. Hurns has shown the talent to be productive at a high level, tallying 10 touchdowns in 2016. With a productive quarterback and high-level opportunity to start the season, Hurns has a huge chance to be the waiver wire darling of Week 1. He’s free right now.
6) Chad Williams, WR
Arizona Cardinals - Owned in .1% of leagues
Williams was listed as the Cardinals number two receiver in the regular season depth chart, released before the season sets to kick off on Thursday. Williams has earned his way up the depth chart and outperformed the other wide receivers including rookie Christian Kirk. While the Cardinals will look to utilize David Johnson as much as they can in the passing game and Larry Fitzgerald will always secure his target share, the coaches expressed their desire to use Williams more down the stretch of the 2017 season. The coaching regime may have changed, but Wiliams has now impressed two coaching staffs. Williams has the number two role to begin the season and will make the most of a pass-happy offense.
7) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE
Jacksonville Jaguars - Owned in 6.5% of leagues
Seferian-Jenkins will join his third roster in his short, troubled NFL career. This time, however, he joins a winner, a team which utilized the tight end in 2017 more than in seasons past despite fielding the low caliber Mercedes Lewis. This offseason they signed an athletic pass catcher to the tight end position in Seferian-Jenkins. During the preseason, the team lost number one receiver Marqise Lee for the year. The Jaguars are desperate for receiving playmakers after losing both Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson to free agency. The collective group of wide receivers in the Jaguars locker room are underwhelming to say the least and the offense will look to Seferian-Jenkins to take pressure and coverage of the emerging wide receivers. I recommend him to a team which rosters questionable tight ends or high injury risk players, bench space permitting.
8) Vernon Davis, TE
Washington Redskins - Owned in 3.7% of leagues
The Redskins will field a tandem of tight ends in Jordan Reed and Davis. Davis will serve as a backup to Jordan Reed, though opportunity knocks as Reed has struggled to stay healthy his entire career. Davis in fact, came in last year and saw rosterable production, totaling 43 receptions for 648 yards with 3 touchdowns. These numbers are starting tight end numbers on average teams. Davis will have the opportunity to reunite with old quarterback Alex Smith where they were successful in the forgotten year of 2009 where he posted a monstrous 78-965-13.