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Fantasy Football: Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 2

fantasy football, jameis winston, jared cook, christian kirk, elijah mitchell

The best time of year is finally upon us – the time of worrying about how our fantasy football rosters are going to underwhelm and disappoint on a weekly basis. But fear not, going through your waiver wires can be the saving grace for putting up a bad week.

All of the below players are rostered on 50 percent or fewer of ESPN’s fantasy football team rosters, providing you with an inside track to winning the waiver wire to open the fantasy slate. Getting out ahead of your fellow fantasy football league mates can be the difference between squeaking into the playoffs and missing them altogether.

10. Mark Ingram, RB

Houston Texans
11.0% Rostered

Could it be a one-week fluke? Absolutely. Are there any players (besides Brandin Cooks) worthy of devoting serious assets into? Not a chance. But Mark Ingram could eventually join that category if his play continues as it did from Sunday.

Yes, going up against the Jacksonville Jaguars in an early Toilet Bowl entry surely can and should scare you away from any revelations for Ingram, but seeing him command the majority of backfield touches over Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson can provide you with some hope for a bench flier.

26 carries for 85 yards and a TD is a healthy number for Ingram to have received, and while the Texans are going to be a dumpster fire on a weekly basis, grabbing Ingram now before he potentially is established into a 15+ touch per week role is a smart move for your bench.

9. Sterling Shepard, WR

New York Giants
25.3% Rostered

Having only heard about Kenny Golladay and rookie Kadarius Toney this offseason, many people forgot about Sterling Shepard in the Giants’ offense – except for Daniel Jones.

Even in a loss, Jones targeted Shepard nine times, connecting on seven for 113 yards and the lone passing score for NYG – that established relationship was able to produce a quality outing for a player likely on your wire. While understanding the pecking order for the Giants, keep an eye on Shepard and grab him for an end-of-bench depth piece.

Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, Bears

8. Justin Fields, QB

Chicago Bears
48.9% Rostered

The only reason Justin Fields earns a nod on this list over Trey Lance is that the 49ers starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, played decently well, opposed to Andy Dalton, who apparently still deserves to start in the NFL.

Fields entered the game for only five snaps, yet his efficiency (2/2 for 10 yards and a three-yard rushing TD) certainly should inch the conversation along of who really should be starting. The writing looks to be on the wall for the Bears to transition to Fields, and another mediocre performance by Dalton certainly can expedite that timeline – get out ahead of the rush now.

Targetting a rookie QB on your league’s waiver wire can be a tough roster spot to tie up, but Fields is on the cusp of taking over – just hold out for a few weeks if you can.

7. Gabriel Davis, WR

Buffalo Bills
12.2% Rostered

As a member of the stout offense of the Buffalo Bills, target share is not necessarily baked into the plan for Gabriel Davis – but instead, he just finds a way to command those targets, even with Emmanuel Sanders now in town.

Davis led the Bills with an aDOT (average depth of target) last season at 15.2 yards, and he was able to continue that strong start this year, converting five targets into two receptions and a score. While that limited share certainly can scare teams away on the wire, Davis established himself as a red zone threat last year already, so Josh Allen trusts him – and you should too.

6. Juwan Johnson, TE

New Orleans Saints
1.3% Rostered

How do you replace a target share the size of Michael Thomas? By rolling out mid-tier receiving options and hope one sticks. Well, that one that ended up sticking was WR-turned-TE Juwan Johnson, who hauled in two touchdowns on three passes from Jameis Winston.

Teaming up with Adam Trautman from the tight end position, Johnson showed a relationship with Winston not many were aware of, and with his sub-2 percent roster rate, he should be a grab for you to get a high-upside TE option that looks like a lottery ticket now, but should develop for your fantasy team as the season progresses.

5. Tim Patrick, WR

Denver Broncos
0.6% Rostered

Injuries suck in football, especially when they happen to players that are destined to break out like Jerry Jeudy was going to this year for the Denver Broncos – but injuries also open up doors for other players to step into, which is where Tim Patrick comes into play.

Having the lowest roster percentage on this entire list, Patrick is in line to receive an uptick in targets in the DEN offense, sliding in behind Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant, and alongside KJ Hamler. Having hauled in four receptions for 39 yards and a score on Sunday points to him being a step ahead of Hamler in this race, showing who could bring value to a team that has a target hole to fill right now.

Saints, Jameis Winston, Packers, Aaron Rodgers

4. Jameis Winston, QB

New Orleans Saints
26.1% Rostered

Having produced one of the oddest stat lines in a long time (148 passing yards, 5 TDs), Winston produced a strong day for any fantasy football teams that decided to start him.

Showing poise and an improved understanding of the game, Winston was turnover-free on Sunday, even using his legs on multiple occasions to pick up valuable yardage. As long as Taysom Hill is there, certain red zone opportunities will be taken from Winston, but his Week 1 performance certainly helps clear up the muck that is the QB free agent market in your leagues.

3. Christian Kirk, WR

Arizona Cardinals
3.6% Rostered

The Arizona Cardinals boast one of the league’s highest-flying offenses, and their multiple-WR sets dictate the pace of the game from early on – and having a player like Christian Kirk fill the role alongside DeAndre Hopkins will only help make Kyler Murray that much more efficient.

Kirk scored twice on 70 yards and five receptions, producing one of the better games of his young career at this point – while he will need to establish consistency in this offense, Kirk could play a big role off your bench if injuries pop up this year.

2. Tony Jones Jr., RB

New Orleans Saints
14.7% Rostered

Latavius Murray was always an option for the New Orleans Saints to roll out behind Alvin Kamara, and Tony Jones Jr. is no different – except that he has more burst and likely will be a better option for the Saints.

Needing to fully work his way into filling Murray’s vacated role (12 total touches, 53 yards), Jones profiles as more than just a handcuff for Alvin Kamara’s team to have – Jones’ standalone value is very volatile at this point, but he looks to have the skills to eventually fit into that role and become a solid option down the road.

49ers, Raheem Mostert, Elijah Mitchell, Trey Sermon

1. Elijah Mitchell, RB

San Francisco 49ers
1.9% Rostered

Week 1 of every NFL season seems to take down a select few players, opening up opportunities for others. As was discussed previously with Jeudy and Patrick, the next man up must do just that and rise to the occasion of taking over a starting capacity’s worth of touches.

Elijah Mitchell did just that.

Taking the reins after a surprising healthy scratch of fellow rookie Trey Sermon, Mitchell carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards and a TD against a bad Lions defense, helping fend off a furious late-game comeback and frustrate fantasy football teams everywhere.

As Raheem Mostert is projected to miss the next eight weeks with a knee injury, Mitchell slides into the lead-back role for a run-heavy offense that likely will include Sermon in their gameplan. Provided Mitchell does not cough up the football, he should be the top option here and the top option to go after on your league’s waiver wire.

Hunting the waiver wire should be an integral part of how you run your fantasy football teams, and this year, with the added seventeenth game, it is going to be even more important to have depth on your bench.