Each week I’ll list the best widely available free agents for fantasy football — I define “widely available” as being owned in around half of all ESPN or Yahoo leagues — and some guys who are probably better off in the free agent pool than collecting dust on your roster.
Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown if you have questions throughout the week.
Here are my best bets off the waiver wire for Week 2:
TE Dallas Goedert, Eagles (ESPN: 27%; Yahoo: 56%): An elite tight end is being masked here by the presence of Zach Ertz. The reality is he’s on the field as much as Ertz — 54 snaps to Ertz’s 58 — and receives as many targets. Since Week 11 last season: Ertz has 45 receptions (67 targets) for 407 yards and five touchdowns. Goedert has 45 receptions (64 targets) for 487 yards and three touchdowns.
RB Nyheim Hines, Colts (ESPN: 34%; Yahoo: 21%): It was likely Hines would have been utilized in the passing game going forward even if Marlon Mack hadn’t been injured — he had eight receptions on eight targets against the Jaguars. Now, there’s a chance we have another Austin Ekeler on our hands. Rookie Jonathan Taylor will receive the lion’s share of carries, but Hines is a premium flex option with RB2 upside in PPR.
QB Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (ESPN: 15%; Yahoo: 26%): Minshew had more touchdown passes (three) than incompletions (one) against the Colts. I expected him to take advantage of “garbage time” this season, but there’s a chance he could just be this good. Plus, he has a legit fantasy-friendly schedule the next five weeks: at Tennessee, Miami, at Cincinnati, at Houston and Detroit.
RB Joshua Kelley, Chargers (ESPN: 11%; Yahoo: 13%): Ekeler is the unquestioned featured back, but Kelley should receive double-digit carries (including valuable goal-line touches) going forward.
WR Russell Gage, Falcons (ESPN: 4%; Yahoo: 2%): Gage has at least five receptions in six of his last seven games, including double-digit targets three times over that span. Atlanta’s defense looks like it will necessitate the offense to throw a bunch this season. The third-year receiver looks like a breakout candidate and premium PPR addition.
BONUS: RB Benny Snell, Steelers (ESPN: 15%; Yahoo: 17%): Snell is capable of being the bell cow for Pittsburgh — he had 113 yards on 19 carries against the Giants — if James Conner can’t stay on the field. (Narrator: He can’t.)
BONUS: RB Malcolm Brown, Rams (ESPN: 8%; Yahoo: 28%): I still believe rookie Cam Akers will be the back you want in this offense, but Brown has to be rostered after 21 total touches, 110 total yards and two goal-line touchdowns against the Cowboys.
BONUS: TE Eric Ebron, Steelers (ESPN: 33%; Yahoo: 41%): He only had two targets against the Giants, but Ebron is a multi-touchdown game waiting to happen with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger back under center and has legit upside if you just lost Blake Jarwin for the season.
BONUS: WR Allen Lazard, Packers (ESPN: 25%; Yahoo: 43%): He’s a clear-cut No. 2 option with a target monster (Davante Adams) who will draw significant attention for the rest of the season and a MVP-caliber quarterback who has showcased (and verbalized) confidence in him.
BONUS: TE O.J. Howard, Buccaneers (ESPN: 5%; Yahoo: 17%): The post-hype candidate had twice as many targets as Rob Gronkowski (six to three) and a touchdown.
BONUS: D/ST Washington (ESPN: 2%; Yahoo: 4%): Talent was never the question here. This defense is loaded with it, but it’s also very young so it was on the coaching staff to bring it together without much of an off-season. Mission accomplished so far (See: Eight sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries against the Eagles). Deeper leagues should stash them in case this isn’t just a flash, otherwise, keep them on your streaming radar for future consideration.
RB Marlon Mack, Colts: Indianapolis placed Mack on injured reserve with a season-ending Achilles tear.
TE Blake Jarwin, Cowboys: Jarwin suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 against the Rams.
RB Justin Jackson, Chargers: Jackson only had two carries (for four yards) and was clearly behind the rookie, who had 12 carries and a goal-line score against the Bengals. Jackson has also been banged up with a hamstring issue, and now a quad injury suffered on Sunday.
RB Bryce Love, Washington: Love was inactive due to a coach’s decision against the Eagles. This places him fourth on the depth chart. He’ll have value at some point, especially in PPR, but you don’t need to stash him unless you’re in the deepest of leagues.
RB Matt Breida, Dolphins: Breida only had five carries (for 22 yards) and didn’t receive a single target. Most concerning: Myles Gaskin led Miami in carries (nine) and was tied for the team-high in receptions (four).
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