Waiver Favors: 2017 Week 1 Fantasy Football Pickups

By Ha Kung Wong  Fantasy Football Pickups

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

As I do every year over the last 5 years, I’m back to help with some waiver wire adds via my weekly Waiver Favors article!  I’m assuming if you’re a returning reader, you won your fantasy football championship last year, so congratulations!

But it’s a new year, so I’ll make a couple suggestions after Week 1 of the 2017 fantasy football season.  You’re welcome.  Again.

As usual, all pickups are available in at least 50% of Yahoo standard fantasy football leagues (with some minor exceptions) as of Sunday evening.

Alex Smith

QB – Kansas City Chiefs – 22% Owned

Well, we all didn’t expect that Alex Smith would outgun Tom Brady, but that’s exactly what he did.  Smith completed 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards and 4 TDs, a ridiculous performance that included 75 and 78 yard touchdowns to Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, respectively.  To put that in perspective, according to ESPN Stats & Information, before this game against the Patriots, Smith only had 2 75+ yard TDs in his entire career from 2005 to 2016.  Clearly, you can’t count on 300+ yards and multiple TDs each week, but it appears that all the talk of Smith being more aggressive downfield is for real, and it’s clear that Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt are for real, so 225+ yards and 1-2 TDs a week appears to be possible, which is plenty good as a QB2 in 12-team and deeper leagues and in all 2 QB leagues.

Deshaun Watson

QB – Houston Texans – 11% Owned

After Tom Savage stunk the place up, Deshaun Watson got the start in the second half against the Jaguars.  In half a game, he completed 12 of 23 passes for 102 yards, 16 rush yards, 1 TD, and an INT against a solid Jaguars defense.  But the number don’t tell the entire story, as although he started out strong on his first possession with a TD drive, he basically floundered from that point on, also taking 4 sacks.  But he’s an upside starter in the NFL that has some nice weapons around him, like Deandre Hopkins.  Which means that he’s worth a stash in 14-team or deeper leagues, and all 2 QB leagues.

Jared Goff

QB – Los Angeles Rams – 6% Owned

Jared Goff was the top overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, but up until now, he hasn’t looked like it.  But an ailing Colts defense, and a Scott Tolzien led Colts offense that gave up a pick 6 and an early lead to the Rams, appeared to be the cure.  Goff his first win of his career behind complete 21 of 29 passes for 306 yards and a TD.  He showed a good connection with newcomers Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp, plus Todd Gurley seemed invigorated on the ground.  No reason to get carried away, but he’s worth a look in 14-team or deeper leagues, and all 2 QB leagues.

Tarik Cohen

RB – Chicago Bears – 10% Owned

The Bad News Bears suffered even more bad news this week, as Kevin White appears to have broken his clavicle during the game against the Super Bowl choking Falcons.  And although you’d think that Kendall Wright might benefit from more targets, it was actually Tarik Cohen that benefited the most.  Cohen rushed 5 times for 66 yards and caught 8 of a whopping 12 targets for 47 yards and a TD, leading all Bears in targets.  I’m not saying that he’s going to supplant Jordan Howard, but he’s certainly going to have a role going forward, which makes him worth stashing as your RB4 in 12-team or deeper leagues.

Kerwynn Williams

RB – Arizona Cardinals – 4% Owned

So, as of now, it just looks like David Johnson has a wrist sprain.  But either way, he may be looking at missing time.  And if he misses time, then Andre Ellington will get some run, but so will Kerwynn Williams, as he did this week when he rushed 5 times for 10 yards and a TD, adding one reception for 2 yards.  It’s not a sure fire pickup, but I like taking the upside over the known quantity.  So feel free to pick him up if you’re a David Johnson owner, or looking for an upside stash in 14-team leagues or deeper.

Nelson Agholor

WR – Philadelphia Eagles – 12% Owned

The Eagles managed to finish with a bang taking care of the Redskins, but the most interesting development was the target share.  It turned out that Nelson Agholor led all WRs in targets catching 6 of 8 for 86 yards and 1 TD.  Sure, Alshon Jeffery was being shadowed by Josh Norman, but Agholor did rotate relatively evenly with Torrey Smith in two-wide sets and played in all three-wide sets giving him plenty of opportunities. I’m not confident that this will continue, but it’s worth taking a look in 14-team and deeper leagues to see how it sorts out next week.

Cooper Kupp

WR – Los Angeles Rams – 25% Owned

Yes, they were playing the pathetic Indianapolis Colts defense, but Kupp was Jared Goff’s favorite target underneath all preseason long before the groin injury, and he continued to be a popular target catching 4 of 6 targets for 76 yards and 1 TD this weekend.  The most important part of this is the target share, as he got 21% of Goff’s looks, the most among all Rams WRs and tied for the team lead with Todd Gurley.  He might not be consistent, but he’s certainly worth a stash as a WR4/5 in 12-team leagues and deeper.

Kenny Golladay

WR – Detroit Lions – 17% Owned

Sure, he’s at best just the 3rd option in Detroit behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, and Patrick Peterson appeared to shadow Jones, but Golladay managed to make a difference when it counted.  Golladay managed to catch 4 of 7 targets for 69 yards and 2 TDS, mostly in the 4th quarter, against the Cardinals.  T.J. Jones will still be a threat for looks, but as long as Matthew Stafford continues to sling the ball behind a subpar run game, Golladay’s role will continue to improve.  Worth a stash in 14-team and deeper leagues.

Jesse James

TE – Pittsburgh Steelers – 6% Owned

Good TEs are tough to come by nowadays with the top 3, Grankowski, Kelce and Olsen, all flamed out in Week 1.  But do you know who didn’t flame out?  The awesomely-named Jesse James, who managed to grab 6 of 8 targets for 41 yards and two TDs against the Browns.  Sure, James isn’t known for TDs, and 2 in a game is unheard of, but the 8 targets is encouraging.  Maybe newly acquired Vance McDonald gets some looks down the line, but right now, James is worth a stash as your TE2 in 14-team leagues or deeper.

Charles Clay

TE – Buffalo Bills – 10% Owned

So the Bills are unlikely to be going anywhere this year, but they still need player makers.  Right now, one of those play makers appear to be TE Charles Clay, who grabbed 4 of 9 targets for 53 yards and a TD.  As the season continues, perhaps Jordan Matthews becomes more involved, but garnering about a third of the target share is pretty darn good.  As between James and Clay, I’d prefer Clay, but still not as more than a TE2 stash in 14-team leagues or deeper.

Check back every week for more Waiver Favors! 

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