Waiver Wire Stashes For Week 1
By Matt Barker
The waiver wire. A love/hate relationship, but a relationship nonetheless.
And that means we have to nurture it, give it attention, be thoughtful and in some cases – a lot of cases – read it’s mind. We won’t always get it right, but overall and most importantly, it’s the thought and effort that counts.
We have to be pro-active not reactive, to get the most out of it. And usually it works out a lot cheaper that way too, which is particularly helpful if we have a budget.
Sometimes multiple people will want the same person, but it’s up to us to fight for it and be one step ahead. Again, this can often be solved by throwing money at it.
Fortunately for us, we have historical data and matchup research that can help us identify what our next move should be, to allow us to get one step ahead. In relationships, that luxury is not available.
So let’s take a look at some stashes for week 1, to help us avoid blowing our budget:
James White, RB, Patriots: 47.3% Owned On ESPN
I’m really surprised to see James White not owned in more leagues after the news that Mac Jones would be taking over from Cam Newton.
Last season, coinciding with Tom Brady leaving the team, was White’s worst fantasy finish (42nd in PPR), lowest receiving yards total (375) and lowest receiving TD total (1) since his rookie season. But he still graded out as PFF’s 3rd best Receiving Back (84.2) ahead of Austin Ekeler, Chase Edmonds and De’Andre Swift.
In the two years prior, he finished as the 18th and 6th fantasy RB in PPR…!!!
Last season the Patriots’ passing offense was putrid – 12 TDs (T-32nd), 2,890 yards (30th), 440 attempts (31st). That projects to take a big leap up with Mac Jones under center and – I know, I know – Mac Jones is NOT Tom Brady, by any stretch of the imagination. But if in week 1 we see a return to a more pass centric offense and White is heavily involved as Mac Jones’ (aka Baby Bill) go to/check down prince, you could get a weekly flex option right out the gates.
For deep leagues – JJ Taylor, RB, Patriots – 0.9% owned
Nico Collins, WR, Texans: 4.6% Owned On ESPN
The 3rd round, 6”4, 218lbs rookie out of Michigan did not land in an ideal spot to win NFL games. And after opting out of 2020, it’s completely possible we need to give Collins more time to progress. However, he begins his pro career with a week 1 matchup vs the Jags D, who last season finished 31st in points allowed, 27th in passing yards allowed and surrendered 34 TDs (T-30th) through the air.
Collins’ competition for targets comprises of Brandin Cooks (who I would be shocked if he isn’t traded very soon), Anthony Miller, Chris Conley and now Danny Amendola. Miller and Amendola typically occupy the slot and Conley hasn’t shown us anything in the past to suggest he’s a lock for a starting gig out wide. So the opportunity is there for Collins to step straight into a sizable target share.
Yes, the quarterback play isn’t great in Tyrod Taylor, but I can see a week 1 scenario where Nico gets 6/7 targets and scores in garbage time. You might not be able use him next week (vs Broncos) but after that you get matchups with Cardinals, Bengals and Titans where he could be a flex option, should that workload continue.
For deep leagues – Quez Watkins, WR, Eagles, – 1.4% owned
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Saints: 5% Owned On ESPN
Praise be, Jameis Winston.
Is this FINALLY the year we see Smith breakout? Boasting a career line of 116/80/1,109/14, a passer rating of 135.4 when targeted, gunslinging, W-eating Jameis Winston at the helm and Michael Thomas out for multiple weeks, the stars are aligning. Yes, Marquez Callaway has stolen the limelight. And yes, Juwan Johnson has also emerged from nowhere as the next Marques Colston. But Callaway projects to play the majority out wide, while Smith occupies the slot role (55% of snaps in the slot in 2020).
From a week 1 waiver stash we’re looking for someone who can pop in week 1 and show some promise for a future workload. The Saints play the Packers, who were an above average passing defense last year (7th in yards allowed, T-9th TDs allowed) in what projects to be a high scoring game, playing from behind. I think we could see a deep shot or two for Tre’Quan, plus some volume to give us optimism going forward.
For deep leagues – Quintez Cephus, WR, Lions – 0.6% owned
A Packers fan with a soft spot for Washngton, Matt will likely revert to WFT when Aaron Rodgers departs. Based in London, Matt has followed the NFL for 9 years and become an extremely keen fantasy player/data lover. Find him on Twitter @mattjbarks.