Each week, we identify six players to target on waiver wires, plus a lightly owned D/ST. These fantasy assets are all available in a majority of Yahoo leagues. Add as needed.
Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions, 34% owned
We expected an epic opening week shootout from Detroit and Indianapolis, and both teams delivered. Defense was barely a rumor, as the Lions and Colts combined for 898 total net yards and 74 points. Detroit’s backfield combo of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick accounted for 228 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry against an unimpressive run defense. (C.J. Anderson gets the Colts next week, in case you were wondering.) Riddick isn’t guaranteed to deliver another multi-TD game this season, of course, but he does have a series of appealing matchups ahead. The Lions’ early-season schedule is squeezably soft. Assuming Riddick continues to see a dozen-or-so touches each week as he did in the opener, he’ll remain an appealing fantasy option in any format.
FAAB bid: $15
Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons, 42%
Last year, Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman was the top-scoring player at his position, in all fantasy formats. This year, he’s stuck in a backfield committee — and it’s not even clear that he heads the committee.
Tevin Coleman outproduced Freeman in Sunday’s season-opening loss to Tampa, finishing with 117 scrimmage yards to Devonta’s 40. Coleman delivered the highlight play, making a nifty adjustment on a misfired throw before bolting down the sideline for a 47-yard gain. The snaps were almost dead-even for Coleman and Freeman (32 to 36), as were the touches (13 to 15). There’s really no spinning this mess as anything other than a classic RBBC arrangement. And if you expected Freeman to own the passing down work, thus retaining his PPR edge, it appears that assumption was wrong as well. Coleman caught five passes on six targets on Sunday, accounting for 95 yards.
The Falcons have a challenging matchup on deck at Oakland, then a much friendlier date at New Orleans in Week 3. Coleman and Freeman will each rank as flexes while both backs are healthy. Tevin has better long speed, a point emphasized by Atlanta’s coaches in the offseason. Based on his usage in the season-opener, it’s clear that Coleman needs to be owned in all but the shallowest leagues.
FAAB bid: $16
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles, 4%
Opening week was just brutal for upper-tier receivers, with Keenan Allen suffering a season-ending ACL injury and both Demaryius Thomas (hip) and Sammy Watkins (foot) dealing with issues of as-yet-unknown severity. Not good. If you’re looking for receivers on the wire this week, you won’t be alone. Be prepared to place multiple bids.
Last week, we recommended various elements of Houston’s passing game in advance of the team’s matchup with Chicago (and it worked out well); this week, we’re following the same fantasy script. Nelson Agholor and the Eagles travel to face that sketchy Bears secondary in Week 2. Agholor caught four balls for 57 yards on five targets on Sunday, with a 35-yard touchdown reception included. Philadelphia’s rookie QB Carson Wentz definitely passed the eye test (and the statistical test) in his first start. Zach Ertz is dealing with a rib injury at the moment, so he’s not a lock to play. If Ertz sits, his 6-8 weekly targets will need to find a new home. Agholor is a former first-rounder, a legit talent who’s basically playing every snap for Philly. Give him a look.
FAAB bid: $7
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts, 39%
Dorsett is a burner with sub-4.3 speed and tremendous big-play ability — here’s an example — and he’s tied to a video game offense. It’s a little strange that he’s so widely available, even if he’s not the top receiving option for the Colts. Dorsett hauled in four passes for 94 yards in Sunday’s air war with Detroit. Next week’s matchup is a little rough (at Denver), but the three games that follow are plenty appealing (San Diego, at Jacksonville, Chicago). He should already be owned in leagues with 12 or more teams. It’s worth noting that Andrew Luck spread the targets around in the opener, as five different players saw at least six looks.
FAAB bid: $7
Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers, 2%
No single receiver in San Diego is going to produce at the level that Allen was likely to reach this season. His loss is devastating. Here’s hoping Allen makes it back at full strength for the opener in 2017. For the remainder of the current season, we have to expect players like Danny Woodhead, Travis Benjamin and Antonio Gates to see an uptick in usage, with second-year UDFA Tyrell Williams taking on a larger role as well. Williams caught two passes for 71 yards in the Chargers’ season-opening collapse, and he delivered a quality preseason, too (7-83). At 6-foot-4, it’s easy to imagine him functioning in a Malcom Floyd-style role. He can pluck it over coverage. Realistically, Williams probably shouldn’t be your top-priority receiver add, but his name belongs on the list.
FAAB bid: $4
Virgil Green, TE, Denver Broncos, 27%
Green generated plenty of low-level buzz in the preseason, catching 10 passes for 97 yards and one spike. He then caught four balls on five targets in Denver’s Thursday night win, and he would have had an easy touchdown pass at the goal-line if quarterback Trevor Siemian had better touch. The Broncos are hosting Indianapolis on Sunday, so the matchup ahead is terrific. Green is a good bet to see 5-7 targets each week, with plenty of inside-the-10 chances along the way. Don’t be surprised if he finds the end-zone in Week 2. The quarterback situation in Denver is less than ideal, but Green’s role is secure.
FAAB bid: $2
Baltimore Ravens, 6%
Baltimore’s defense just held Buffalo to only seven points and 160 total net yards, so this group can play. This week, the Ravens face an opponent that produced only 10 points in opening week and just lost its starting quarterback. Cleveland placed Robert Griffin III on injured reserve due to a fracture in his left shoulder, so Josh McCown will take over for the Browns. It would be a stretch to say that going from Griffin to McCown is a major downgrade, but unplanned turnover at the game’s most important position is rarely a good thing. Over the past two seasons, McCown has thrown 18 picks and fumbled nine times in 19 games, while absorbing 59 sacks. Expect a top-10 fantasy week from Baltimore’s D.
FAAB bid: $2
Additional names to consider: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets (42%); Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (7%); Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland (2%); Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns (16%); Brandon LaFell, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (5%)