After an abbreviated preseason with no games and irregular training routines, many expected to see a slew of injuries in the first week of action. Instead, it was Week 2 that inflicted devastating news to several NFL players and franchises, particularly running backs. In the fantasy world, the impact will be felt drastically for those who roster Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, or Raheem Mostert. News of Courtland Sutton tearing up his knee too just pours salt (with a hint of lime) on the wound.
Keep in mind that some of these options may not seem appealing at first glance, but think about last week's list that included Gardner Minshew, Joshua Kelley, Russell Gage, and Dalton Schultz among others. It's better to be ahead of the game than wait a week too late.
This season, waiver-wire options at each position will be listed in order of priority so you can plan accordingly based on your league's availability. Players listed here will be under approximately 40% rostered across Yahoo leagues. For a deeper look at each position, check out our separate weekly waiver wire columns at QB, RB, WR, and TE.Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, rankings, projections, 15 lineup tools and daily Premium DFS research/tools including our Lineup Optimizer, Research Station and so much more! Sign Up Now!
Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options
Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars - 32% rostered
That makes back-to-back games with three touchdown passes to start the year. In Week 3, Minshew faces a Dolphins unit that just gave up over 400 passing yards to Josh Allen. This seems like the type of matchup where you might even consider streaming Minshew over your regular QB. Deshaun Watson is on the road against the Steelers and Jared Goff faces Buffalo on the road, so Minshew could be a better alternative.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers - 2% rostered
So the Herbert era begins. There was no indication the rookie would make his debut in Week 2 but a chest injury to Tyrod Taylor unexpectedly kept him from playing. Herbert got to face the defending champs and nearly led his team to a win before falling in overtime. His final numbers were impressive: 311 passing yards, one TD, one INT. He also chipped in 18 rushing yards and a touchdown. He made some impressive plays but also looked like a rookie when he threw a red-zone interception into triple coverage and then miscommunicated on a handoff inside the five-yard line later. All told, it was a great start and makes him an intriguing backup QB in fantasy leagues, especially with Carolina on deck.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears - 7% rostered
I realize most fantasy managers will never accept Trubisky as an option at any time, regardless of how he performs. For those interested in his actual performance and stat-based arguments for players, he's thrown five TD in two games. He may not be worth adding or starting in single-QB leagues most weeks but getting to face Atlanta is just too good to ignore. The Falcons have given up 300+ passing yards in consecutive games to start the season and might just have the worst secondary in the league. Trubisky isn't Dak or Russ but he could easily match what he did against Detroit.
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts - 27% rostered
Only the plus matchup at home with the Jets keeps Rivers on the streaming radar. Rivers has been uneven in his first two contests as a Colt, throwing just one touchdown pass in each. He piled up yardage Week 1 and did little in Week 2, both a result of game script. While the Colts shouldn't need to pass much to earn a victory, the Jets are a funnel defense and should give up enough to make Rivers a consideration in two-QB or very deep leagues.
Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers - 1% rostered
It's not as if the San Fran passing game was a hot commodity to begin with, seeing as how they were missing their top two targets, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. A backup QB taking over would normally be a sign to stay away completely but this is a unique situation. Mullens started half the 2018 season and put up a couple of big games along with some mediocre ones. If Raheem Mostert is out, the team could lean on its passing game more in Week 3 where they face the stumbling Giants. Don't get cute in single-QB leagues by adding him unnecessarily - Minshew and Herbert both have more upside.
Others to consider: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (4% rostered)
Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options
Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers - 39% rostered
I'm not sure what people are waiting for at this point. While many fantasy managers ran out to add Benny Snell Jr., who ran the ball three times this week, Kelley has only been added in one-third of leagues. He is splitting time almost evenly with Austin Ekeler and led the way with 23 rush attempts in Week 2. The difference in the passing game isn't even that great - Kelley saw three targets to Ekeler's four and fell six yards shy of his yardage total in the air (55-49). Kelley has a guaranteed role on an offense that has new legs with rookie Justin Herbert under center. There's no reason he belongs on waivers anywhere.
Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers - 22% rostered
Even with all the injuries San Francisco has suffered on offense, McKinnon touched the ball just three times in Week 2. That's all he needed for a good fantasy day, as one of those carries went for 55 yards and another was a 16-yard touchdown. Raheem Mostert looked to be in line for a huge day after his 80-yard TD early but he left with a knee injury. It's too early to speculate but word is that is is a mild MCL sprain. If that's the case, he won't miss a ton of time but a couple of weeks on the shelf would require a replacement. While McKinnon can't be considered a must-add, he's shown that he has a role in this offense and can be a boom flex play regardless of matchup. Even if Mostert just misses Week 3 versus the Giants, the Jet is a strong streaming candidate against a weak defense.
Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers - 1% rostered
The injury to McCaffrey has been revealed as a high-ankle sprain that will cost him 4-6 weeks. That means Davis has immediate flex value, even if another free agent is added. He had some solid games in Seattle back in 2017-2018 before disappointing in Chicago last year. Davis can be effective in multiple ways, which he already showed by plodding for a one-yard touchdown and catching eight passes for 74 yards on Sunday despite limited usage. Davis won't come close to replacing McCaffrey's value but he is worth an add for all who already have McCaffrey and could bring streaming value to others as well.
Devonta Freeman, Free Agent - 10% rostered
Reportedly, Freeman has been looking for the right opportunity to sign with a team where the situation will allow him a bigger role.
I just spoke to RB Devonta Freeman. He told me as of right now, he prefers to wait at least one more week to evaluate his options, because for him it's more important to have the opportunity to compete within his position group.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 15, 2020
He may have just found it in the Big Apple. It's reported that he is already set to workout for the Giants. Saquon Barkley's devastating injury that appears to be an ACL tear would leave a huge hole in the backfield. A vet like Freeman makes all the sense in the world here. He disappointed last year with 3.6 yards per carry but he was coming off an injury himself and remained a major part of the passing game with 59 receptions. He's 28 years old, which is far from done in the NFL, even for a running back.
Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams - 30% rostered
One of the better performers under half-rostered in fantasy was Henderson, who ran 12 times for 81 yards and a TD while adding 40 yards through the air. This seems like the type of game we were waiting for, but don't blow your FAB on Henderson just yet. He got so much run because Cam Akers left early in the game with a rib injury. Malcolm Brown apparently injured a finger too, while game script favored the Rams being able to run the ball in the second half. If you are looking to replace Barkley or Mostert, Henderson is a consideration, but don't expect him to suddenly become a workhorse.
Dion Lewis, New York Giants - 1% rostered
As the backup to Barkley, Lewis stepped in to carry the load once the franchise back departed the game. Lewis found the end zone on a short run but only managed 20 rushing yards on 10 carries. He did chip in four receptions for 36 yards. If the G-Men sign a player like Freeman, Lewis' value doesn't rise and he remains irrelevant in fantasy. If the team decides to stay the course or Barkley's injury doesn't turn out to be season-ending after all, Lewis could be a bench stash.
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins - 14% rostered
It appears Gaskin will retain a role as the "lead" running back in Miami, at least for now. He tied with Matt Breida for the team lead in rush attempts with seven and gained nine more yards on those attempts. He also caught six passes, which was one more than DeVante Parker, and has 10 catches in two games. The upside is limited since Jordan Howard is getting all the goal-line work and Breida is joining the mix but Gaskin could deliver a few points for full PPR-league owners in Thursday's tilt with the Jags. Generally speaking, you're best avoiding this entire backfield if possible though.
Frank Gore, New York Jets - 14% rostered
You know what you're getting with Gore at this point in his career and on this anemic offense. He delivered as expected with 63 yards on 21 carries and no score. It was a tough matchup with the 49ers Defense, so maybe he can fare better against one of his former teams in Indianapolis next week. He can only be considered in non-PPR leagues.
Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons - 21% rostered
If you thought last week's outburst was an outlier, think again. Gage was heavily involved and saw more targets (nine) than any Falcon other than Calvin Ridley (10). Gage now has 15 receptions for 160 yards in two games. Julio Jones was obviously limited by the hamstring injury that appeared on the injury report this week, which worked in Gage's favor as well. Regardless, Gage should be scooped up in all PPR leagues because this year's Atlanta squad will be in a lot of shootouts based on the strength of their passing game and horrible, horrible pass defense.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs - 36% rostered
The second-year receiver was dropped in many leagues after a Week 1 dud where Sammy Watkins went off. The tables are turning, however, as Watkins left with a concussion and Hardman now looks to take on a bigger role in the coming week. His involvement already kicked up in the second half of Sunday's win, even if his final numbers (two catches, 30 yards, one two-point conversion) don't indicate so. Hardman might see more action this coming week and is too talented to overlook.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers - 36% rostered
MVS was a pickup consideration last week after a nice Week 1 with 96 yards and a touchdown. Now that Davante Adams has a hamstring injury that held him out for the end of the game, Valdes-Scantling becomes more interesting. We know the Packers have no depth at receiver, so he might see his already-decent target rate jump up to make him more than simply a deep threat.
Golden Tate, New York Giants - 36% rostered
As soon as the Giants looked to have their full complement of skill players back, they lost their franchise RB and then Sterling Shepard exited with a toe injury. It's too early to tell whether Shepard will miss time, but it appears Tate's preseason sleeper status as an undervalued receiver is about to be put to the test.
Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars - 3% rostered
Apparently Cole has a secure role in this offense as long as Dede Westbrook is out. How long that lasts, who can say? Cole tied with Chris Conley for the team lead with seven targets and led the team with six receptions in Week 2. The Jags are spreading the ball around to multiple receivers and Westbrook could eat into Cole's snaps soon enough, so it's hard to trust Cole on a weekly basis going forward. Given the short week and the matchup with Miami, Cole might still be a factor.
K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos - 1% rostered
Denver had already lost starting QB Drew Lock for the foreseeable future with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder that could cost him 2-6 weeks. The news got far worse when it was revealed Monday morning that stud third-year wideout Courtland Sutton tore his ACL. The dynamic duo of Sutton and Jerry Jeudy now becomes Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. The 5'9" speedster was meant to be a field stretcher freed up by the bigger receivers underneath. Instead, he may see a lot more action across the field. He missed Week 1 but in Week 2 tied fellow rookie Jeudy with seven targets. It would be more palatable if Jeff Driskel weren't behind center but Hamler is worth a look in 14+ team leagues.
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts - 15% rostered
Two of the Colts' main targets went down in Week 2, with Jack Doyle ruled out pre-game and Parris Campbell going down in the first quarter. It sounds like Campbell avoided the worst, as an NFL Network report claims he did not tear his ACL. Still, being carted off with a knee injury isn't promising for a quick return. Pittman saw his snap count and targets jump from his debut, catching four passes for 37 yards. If Philip Rivers decides to utilize his size in the red zone, Pittman could become a weapon. Although a matchup with the Jets in Week 3 is tempting, it's too soon to view Pittman as more than a stash.
You don't want a piece of the Jets offense unless you are in desperation mode. If that's the case after two games, then it'll take more than a waiver wire add to turn things around. That said, Berrios and Hogan each caught six of eight targets in Week 2 with Jamison Crowder sitting out and Breshad Perriman injuring his ankle mid-game.
Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles - 35% rostered
Even if the Eagles' passing offense isn't clicking, their rookie WR is trending up. Reagor caught four passes in Week 2 for 41 yards, finishing as their second-leading wide receiver. He's a player to monitor in deep leagues but the Eagles have a tough upcoming schedule after Cincy so there's no need to rush out and add him just yet.
Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots - 2% rostered
In Week 1, Byrd was on the field non-stop but didn't register a catch. In Week 2, Byrd caught six of nine targets for 72 yards. The WR3 in New England's offense didn't sound like a promising role during the offseason but Cam Newton looks like Superman once again, so Byrd has some appeal in PPR leagues as long as he retains that role.
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears - 2% rostered
Many are hoping fifth-round pick Mooney gets more involved in the offense as a third receiver ahead of Javon Wims. He's caught three passes in each of the first two games but for minimal yardage. If Anthony Miller can get blanked in a plus matchup then there's little chance Mooney will be on the fantasy radar real soon without an injury or that highly-rumored trade of Allen Robinson that probably won't happen. Unless Mooney is now moving up the depth chart and we just didn't see it coming...
#Bears Week 2 WR snap rates:
Allen Robinson - 82%
Darnell Mooney - 60%
Javon Wims - 45%
Anthony Miller - 40% 👀
— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) September 21, 2020
Others to consider: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (20% rostered); Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (31% rostered); Laviska Shenault Jr. (17% rostered); Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders (13% rostered); James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (13% rostered); Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (12% rostered); Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (8% rostered); Quintez Cephus, Detroit Lions (2% rostered)
Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team - 32% rostered
Week 1 was no fluke. Thomas saw more targets than any player in Washington after Terry McLaurin. He only caught four of those nine looks but was targeted multiple times in the red zone including an end-zone pass that nearly turned into a score. Opportunity is everything and it appears Thomas has just that. He should be added and streamed in Week 3 against the Browns, who have been gashed by tight ends this year, including Drew Sample.
Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys - 2% rostered
I didn't give a glowing endorsement of Schultz last week but felt he was worth mentioning once Blake Jarwin went out. Maybe we should all have been more optimistic. Nine receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown are the type of numbers we expected from Michael Gallup but it was Schultz who suddenly became the apple of Dak Prescott's eye. Of course, the Cowboys won't play Atlanta each week and may not face that negative of a game script again for a while. Still, Schultz must have inspired confidence in his quarterback and he is part of a high-scoring offense. Consider him a top waiver add at the position if Logan Thomas isn't available.
Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals - 1% rostered
Roll your eyes all you want. With C.J. Uzomah tearing his Achilles and no depth at tight end, Sample will serve as a short-yardage safety blanket for Joe Burrow. He was targeted nine times on Thursday night after Uzomah had caught a touchdown pass already. The yardage totals won't be high but a few touchdowns could be in play. By no means is Sample a must-add or a weekly starter yet; he does bear monitoring and can serve as a TE2 for those looking for injury replacements.
Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers - 7% rostered
Those who pounced on Reed to replace George Kittle this week were wise to do so. He led the Niners with seven receptions and eight targets, scoring twice in the process. While the idea of vintage, healthy Jordan Reed sounds great, there are two big problems. 1) Kittle is probably coming back next week, so Reed's snap count will drop precipitously. 2) Jimmy Garoppolo injured his ankle, so it could be backup Nick Mullens behind center. Reed has proven to be a great insurance policy for Kittle but doesn't have standalone value otherwise.
Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts - 1% rostered
Finally, the Mo Alie-Cox breakout game that nobody asked for. With Jack Doyle out and Trey Burton yet to suit up this season, the third-string TE stepped up in a big way. The main catalyst for his huge day might have been slot receiver Parris Campbell getting injured in the first quarter. Alie-Cox might not ever see this level of production again, especially if Doyle returns soon, but we know Rivers like his tight ends. Oh, and they play the Jets in Week 3.
Jordan Akins, Houston Texans - 2% rostered
The Texans continue to use both Akins and Fells in a TE rotation but the loss of Kahale Warring for the season (single tear rolls down cheek) ensures a solid role in an offense with a top-flight signal caller. Akins has delivered 12 fantasy points each of the first two games and promises to be a solid, if unspectacular TE2 the rest of the way.
Others to consider: Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers (34% rostered); O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30% rostered); Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks (30% rostered); Darren Fells, Houston Texans (1% rostered); Dan Arnold, Arizona Cardinals (1% rostered)
Team Defense - Waiver Wire Options
Indianapolis Colts Defense - 40% rostered
They play the Jets next week, end of story. Actually, I should add that after a disappointing opener in which they forced zero turnovers, the Colts intercepted Kirk Cousins three times and have picked up seven sacks on the year. If your league weighs points against more heavily than turnovers, Indy should be your top streaming choice.
Los Angeles Chargers Defense - 30% rostered
The fantasy points weren't there in Week 2 but the fact that this unit limited the Chiefs to 23 points in OT and almost came away with a win is impressive enough. A Week 3 tilt with Carolina is good enough to consider after Teddy Bridgewater threw two INT today. If Christian McCaffrey were to miss this contest, their appeal grows even greater.
Washington Football Team Defense - 16% rostered
The offense is still a work in progress but the front line of the defense is legit. Washington has 11 sacks over the first two games along with four forced turnovers. Although Cleveland's offense looked better in Week 2, Baker Mayfield is usually good for a pick or two and the sack total should remain high.
Win Big With RotoBallerBe sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:
More Waiver Wire Pickups and Advice