Can you feel that excitement? That’s the energy surrounding the first week of the NFL Fantasy Football season, friends. With the first week of football, comes Week 1 Waiver Wire Rankings 2019, of course. For the first time this season, TFA Godfather Kevin Steele (@FantasyWrath13) and Senior Writer Jen Smith (@TheOnlyJenSmith) pair up to remind you, YOUR SEASON IS JUST BEGINNING.
Think you’re all set post-draft? Nope. The inevitable and unpredictable happens. Championships are made by your weekly decisions and working the wire when necessary. We plan to help you navigate this process successfully in 2019, week in and week out. For those just tuning in for our #WaiverWireFire, we aim to create a waiver wire article different than the typical.
Most times, fantasy owners find “top 5” or top overall waiver wire adds quite easily. The same names usually appear, making it seem like there are very few options for you. However, we provide a unique, in-depth ranking of the waiver adds for each position. This also includes breakdowns of particular players we want to highlight from our rankings to emphasize their importance or the reasons for their ranking.
Our rankings provide information for owners in deeper leagues and especially for those that are future minded. For example, we start to discuss a top waiver candidate and raise them up the rankings with enough time for a the smart owner to beat out their colleagues. We want you to be one week ahead of everyone else, using our rankings/codings to identify potential streaming targets and stashes for upcoming weeks.
Below is as big of a list as you will find for players to target on waivers. The goal is to illuminate players that fantasy owners can pick up outside of the most obvious targets. We don’t all play in small leagues, so upping the ante and shedding light on players who would otherwise be ignored is optimal. Only players available in 60% of leagues or less appear in our waiver wire rankings. If it’s close, we note the percentage and most likely include them for a reason of emphasis. We included a color code below to help you get all you can from our rankings. The colors highlight what type of waiver add priority each player possesses. Without further ado, here are the Week 1 Waiver Wire Rankings 2019.
Also be sure to jump into our free slack channel to have all of of your redraft questions answered by our entire team
Week 1 Waiver Wire Rankings
Green = Top Waiver Option (prioritize)
Red = Players to who are currently out/injured but returning, could represent an edge
Gold = Streaming Target (value for at least one week due to matchup, etc.)
Blue = Bench Stash (Potential Value if you have a bench spot available)
Purple = Deep League Stash (could develop value with key injuries or opportunity. Pick up and hold for now)
- Jimmy Garoppolo @ TB
- Matthew Stafford @ARI
- Josh Allen @NYJ
- Nick Foles vs KC
- Sam Darnold vs BUF
- Jacoby Brissett @ LAC
- Andy Dalton @ SEA
- Joe Flacco @OAK
- Derek Carr vs DEN
- Marcus Mariota @ CLE
Oh, Jimmy. Now you see the power of the preseason. It means nothing, but then it means everything. So, there you sit on the waivers, unproven. Some people that saw Jimmy Garoppolo looking horrible in preseason Week 2, didn’t tune in for Week 3. Jimmy went 1/6 for zero yards and threw one (almost two) INTs in Week 2, but Week 3 went much better. Jimmy G threw for 188 yards, a TD, and zero INTs on 20 throws. I think many just aren’t sure what to expect from Garoppolo and this offense, so they looked elsewhere at QB and hopped off the rusty 2018 hype train.
But, what do we know? We know it’s Kyle Shanahan. And that that’s historically good for QBs. Matt Ryan, fantasy MVP in 2016, played under Kyle Shanahan that year. Also, we know Jimmy is a talented quarterback. Unproven as a starting QB, but talented and capable. Now, add in that San Fran plays Tampa Bay in Week 1. Down to give him a chance now?
ESPN’s Mike Clay recently projected the Bucs defense to give up the MOST points this season (421). Jimmy G has George Kittle, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis (hopefully, though dinged up), Matt Breida, and Tevin Coleman (reunited with Shanahan) at his disposal. Two of the weaknesses in the Tampa Bay defense are due to injuries DL Vita Vea and DL Jason Pierre-Paul. The Bucs placed JPP on injured reserve/NFI designation, so he won’t be returning for quite some time. Vea might be available, but that remains to be seen. All that said, fantasy owners should definitely get to see the 49ers offense at work and how it all comes together. The Bucs defense is vulnerable and Coach Shanahan knows how to help Jimmy G run this young offense successfully.
After being one of the most consistent QB fantasy performers over the last seven seasons, Matthew Stafford dropped to #20 fantasy QB on the year in 2018. Before last season, Stafford finished in the top 10 fantasy QBs six out of the last seven seasons (7th season = #15). So, what happened? Well, Stafford played injured for the majority of the 2018 and lost his security blanket Golden Tate midseason. Things just never got back on track. Stafford finished with 8 less TDs and around 800 less passing yards compared to 2017.
Many say Stafford is declining and also the team is moving more toward a run-first offense. Both of these would impact his fantasy value, of course. But, to go from a top 10 fantasy QB consistently to being called “done” and going undrafted after one injury-riddled, difficult season? I’m not there yet. Let me put it this way: if you are going to give Stafford a shot to prove it to you, let it be in Week 1 versus a depleted Arizona defense.
The Cardinals are without star DB Patrick Peterson for six games while he serves a suspension (violating PED policy). They placed cornerback Robert Alford (fractured tibia) on injured reserve and don’t expect a return before eight weeks. So, this could be easy pickins’ for Stafford. The pass defense looks to be just as bad as the rush defense (ranked 30/32 by PFF), so Detroit should have their way in Week 1 and they’ll challenge the Cards offense to keep up.
Despite finishing as the #8, #2, #6, #5, #20, and #1 fantasy QB Weeks 12-17 of the 2018 season, Josh Allen is currently 34% owned in Yahoo leagues. His rushing upside gives him an edge that only a handful of NFL QBs possess. Allen had two 100+ rushing yard games and almost had two more (one 99 yards, one 95 yards). Much like Lamar Jackson earlier this summer, Josh Allen’s fantasy value isn’t being talked about much though he ended 2018 hotter than anyone.
If you take a shot at Allen, you may be snagging your season-long streamable QB for pennies (or free). Hopefully, that means you stocked up on other skill positions during your draft while you waited on QB. The Bills face the less-than-intimidating Jets secondary in Week 1. I’m waiting to see that Josh Allen – John Brown connection for a long TD. Aren’t you? The Bills get the benefit of a softer schedule (Dolphins twice, Jets twice, Titans, Redskins, Bengals). So, you’ll get a solid assessment of Allen’s fantasy value pretty quick and have every opportunity to see his ceiling (or drop him lie a bad habit if I’m wrong).
Nick Foles represents a streaming option this week due to likely game script and KC’s mediocre defense. The Jags will be throwing to keep up with the Chiefs and most likely be down most of the game. Foles developed great chemistry this off-season with WR1 Dede Westbrook and proved capable in the past of getting owners 15-20 fantasy points. I don’t love his floor or this offense overall. But dump offs to Leonard Fournette and quick passes to playmaker Westbrook might be enough for fantasy owners to skate by with Foles (especially in superflex leagues). Foles is a low-key GPP stack with Westie in DFS, then pay up at other spots. I wouldn’t call you crazy for adding Fournette as a super stack with his expected volume and zero amount of vultures.
Sam Darnold is a solid stash, but his early schedule isn’t doing him any favors. He faces a solid pass defense and Profootballfocus’s #15 run defense in Week 1’s Buffalo Bills. Then, they face Cleveland, Philly, New England, Dallas, New England, and Jacksonville. That’s a little rough. But, the sledding gets better in the second half of the season. Jets draw Miami twice, as well as Washington, NY Giants, Oakland, Buffalo, and Cincinnati. Come November, Darnold could save you with weeks of potential streaming deep into fantasy football season.
- Justin Jackson
- Dion Lewis
- Dare Ogunbowale
- Chase Edmonds
- Alexander Mattison
- Ty Montgomery
- Gio Bernard
- Jalen Richard
- Justice Hill
- Nyheim Hines
- Damien Harris
- T.J. Yeldon
- C.J. Anderson
- Malcolm Brown
- Ito Smith
- Ryquell Armstead
- Dontrell Hillard
- Gus Edwards
- Raheem Mostert
- DeAndre Washington
With everything going on with Melvin Gordon right now, it’s rather surprising to see Justin Jackson owned in only 32% of Yahoo leagues. Gordon is currently sitting out due to a contract dispute. He has two options as of now. He can sit out until Week 12 and come back for the final six games of the season. Or, the Chargers can trade him (which the team has already granted him permission). The latter seems the more likely solution at this point.
Regardless, Justin Jackson figures to split work with Austin Ekeler for the foreseeable future. Which makes him one of the top players to add before the season starts. In case you may have forgotten, the former 7th-round pick received opportunities last season due to an injury to Gordon. Over weeks 13-16, Jackson was RB19 and had double-digit fantasy points in three of four weeks.
It’s really crazy how quickly things can change over the course of a season. This time last year it was Dion Lewis szn. Now, he’s going undrafted. Dion Lewis isn’t a must-add but he certainly holds some flex appeal as a player who is matchup dependent. He finished 2018 with 67 targets which was 14th in the league and ranked 36th in fantasy points per game (10.0). While Lewis may not be the sexy name he once was in 2018, he still holds enough fantasy appeal for teams that need RB depth.
I may not have been the first to hype Dare Ogunbowale, but I was certainly early to the party. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the worst backfields in all of football. With Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones failing to move the needle, it very well could be Dare Ogunbowale who takes over as the lead back on one of the best passing offenses in the league. OG isn’t a player who will wow you with his athletic traits. He tested poorly running a 4.65 forty and shows average at best burst and agility. However, he does have the size (5’11 213) to be an every-down runner and his 11.9% target share in college fell within the 85th percentile.
His ability to be the teams primary pass-catching back is what will allow him to have a lucrative role in this offense. Neither Ronald Jones or Peyton Barber offer much in that department, which is where Ogunbowale comes in. The Bucs recently released Andre Ellington who was thought to fill that void. That was until Ogunbowale had a stellar training camp and preseason. As for the rest of 2019, as long the Bucs stand pat in the running department, he has the upside to be a weekly flex option and has the size to be an every-down back as the season goes on. Which makes him an easy stash in all 12 team leagues.
Chase Edmonds and Alexander Mattison are pure handcuffs and might be a little too early to be wasting valuable roster spots on your bench, however, they are right up there with Jaylen Samuels and Darwin Thompson as elite handcuff options. If the Cardinals play volume comes to fruition, Edmonds could easily have stand-alone value. As for Mattison, as much as I love Dalvin Cook this season, he has had trouble staying healthy which is why Mattison is so intriguing. That’s especially true for fantasy teams with more than five bench spots.
If you’re looking for some help in PPR leagues, receiving backs like Gio Bernard, Ty Montgomery, and Jalen Richard will all have roles in their respective offenses. Gio has shown in the past that he can put up RB1 numbers if given the opportunity.
CJ Anderson is a better standard league fit as he doesn’t offer a ton upside as a pass-catcher. Anderson isn’t a sexy name, however, in the right circumstance, he could provide RB2 numbers if anything happened to Kerryon Johnson.
- DeSean Jackson vs WAS (64% owned on Yahoo)
- Anthony Miller vs GB
- John Brown @NYJ
- Geronimo Allison @ CHI
- Marquise Goodwin @TB
- Jamison Crowder vs BUF
- Albert Wilson vs BAL
- Courtland Sutton @ OAK
- James Washington @ NE
- DK Metcalf vs CIN
- Tyrell Williams vs DEN
- Keke Coutee @ NO
- Cole Beasley @NYJ
- Trey Quinn @PHI
- Deebo Samuel @TB
- Adam Humphries @ CLE
First, I’m glad that DeSean Jackson is at least 60%+ owned; however, more need to add him this week. Philly kicks off the season versus a Washington Redskins squad that should struggle to move the ball. The Eagles are two-score favorites at home and face Case Keenum. DJax broke his finger which temporarily threatened his Week 1 status, but reports are positive that he will be ready to go. In yet another “revenge” game, Jackson is definitely risky but has the upside you want from a guy on the wire. Wentz is finally healthy and has all his weapons. I think this is a great streaming/DFS game for the Eagles and if DJax stays healthy in 2019, he could really pay off…for zero (or minimal) cost.
Staying in the same game for just a sec, Washington slot receiver Trey Quinn possesses sneaky stash potential as Keenum’s safety blanket. He could be called a streamer or a low owned GPP swing, but for redrafters, he’s a stash. This isn’t an offense that you want a lot of pieces of in the long term and you’re probably not desperate enough to need a WR streamer in Week 1. BUT, Case Keenum loves to throw to the slot. Washington’s top receiving threats: Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, and Terry McLaurin. Jordan Reed remains in the concussion protocol, which threatens his Week 1 availability. Keenum is going to have to throw to try to stay in this game versus a stingy Philly defense. In PPR leagues, a slot receiver peppered with targets on a team that will be trailing most weeks…isn’t a bad stash.
John Brown represents a late-round sleeper pick named by TFA recently, so it’s not surprising that fantasy owners might still be sleeping on him. He appeared to supplant Roster Foster as soon as he joined the Bills and represents the deep threat for Josh Allen’s arm. They added slot receiver Cole Beasley as a short to mid-range target for Allen, so I know his % of deep throws (first in average depth per throw) might go down some. However, Brown looks to see the most targets on a team that will need to throw. He’s a top add this week and should be rostered in Week 1 before the long bomb TD sends his price up. The Bills face the Giants and Bengals in Weeks 2-3, further padding Brown’s chances of early 2019 fantasy success.
Though the Bills won’t be easy, Jamison Crowder has the best route to targets manning the slot for the Jets. The four-game absence of talented TE Chris Herndon bumps Crowder’s early-season streaming value, particularly in PPR leagues. Sam Darnold needs targets across the middle, so guys like Crowder and new RB Le’Veon Bell present great options. Robby Anderson might get shadow coverage and is a little dinged up, only increasing Crowder’s opportunity. If Jamison is going to show he can carve out a role in this offense, these first few games is his time to do it.
Yes, I ranked a Miami player and I’m actually writing him up. Albert Wilson is, like, the only one left in MIA. Even before the Phins traded Kenny Stills, Wilson was my favorite late best ball target. He’ll see a healthy increase in snaps out of the slot this season and should be Fitzmagic’s #1 target. Danny Amendola and Kenny Stills left a whopping 147 targets (over 30% of the overall target share for 2018) up for grabs. Even if disappointment DeVante Parker gets 40 more targets this season, that still leaves 100 more for Bert (and he got 40 targets in 2018).
Up until an injury ended Wilson’s career in Week 7 of 2018, he snagged 26 receptions for 391 yards and 4 TDs. Remember his MONSTER game in Week 6 vs Chicago when he dropped 155 and 2TDs?! Man. He’s back from his hip injury and in line to be the WR1. On an offense that will be down. With gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Albert Wilson’s a quick, yards-after-the-catch threat, a great spot start, and could surprise you with his fantasy value on a tanking Miami team.
The guys at the end here are in situations where they could get increased opportunity due to injury/roster cuts. DK Metcalf (knee) is day to day and could start opposite Tyler Lockett vs a non-intimidating Cincinnati Bengals defense. David Moore (shoulder) is out for Week 1. The Seahawks just released Jaron Brown on Saturday and then resigned him, which is why Metcalf is coded as a stash and not a streamer this week. Seattle obviously resigned Brown due to not feeling confident in Metcalf and Moore’s health (at least in Week 1). So, look to see if the Seahawks keep him around and how involved he is this week.
Same goes for Deebo Samuel of the SF 49ers. Coach Shanahan’s comments regarding Dante Pettis’ inconsistent performance and his need to “earn” his role concerned many a fantasy owner. Now, add in a groin injury that might hamper his performance to start the season. Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back) are both out as well. That leaves veteran Marquise Goodwin (who is a definite streaming option at receiver this week), Deebo Samuel, and Kendrick Bourne as the healthy options for SF in Week 1. Samuel is a great example of a stash play in deeper leagues as we see how the Pettis situation unfolds and assess Goodwin’s consistency in the initial weeks of 2019. If you want to read more about Goodwin’s value, give this a read.
- Jimmy Graham
- Jordan Reed
- Tyler Eifert
- Darren Waller
- Noah Fant
- Chris Herndon
- Dallas Goedert
- Gerald Everett
- Will Dissly
- CJ Uzomah
- Ian Thomas
While most of the trendy late-round tight ends like Austin Hooper, Jordan Reed, and Mark Andrews aren’t options here, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Eifert both offer some upside. Tyler Eifert has always been a solid fantasy contributor when healthy. However, Eifert staying healthy has always been an issue. He’s only managed to play in 43 of the possible 96 games in his six seasons. The thing with picking up Eifert is we don’t care how many games he plays. If he gets hurt in a month, so be it. In the four games he played in 2018, he scored double-digit fantasy points in two of them and should be the top red-zone option for Andy Dalton until Green returns. Eifert is widely available and gets decent matchups the next four weeks against the @Seahawks, 49ers, @Buffalo, and @Pittsburgh. Three of the four matchups should lead to positive game scripts.
Jimmy Graham is certainly not the player he was in New Orleans. But, he’s got enough left in the tank to be an above-average red zone threat and is tethered to one of the best QBs in the league. Last season Graham finished as the TE12. While TE12 isn’t anything to get overly excited about, there is some room for optimism. Graham finished 6th among tight ends in targets (91), 9th in yards (636), 10th in air yards (359), and 30th in TDs (2). His numbers indicate he should have been a little better than the 8.2 fantasy points per game. With some positive touchdown regression, Graham could find himself much closer to the top 5 tight end he used to be. The best part is he’s still available in over 50% of Yahoo leagues.
During the month of August, my plan was to draft either Tyler Eifert or Jordan Reed and ride them until the wheels fell off. Both of them have been producers when healthy. The issue is neither of them has been able to stay healthy. Jordan Reed is the top target for the Redskins and should see 20% of the team targets. The problem for Reed currently is that he is in the concussion protocol due to a vicious hit in the teams final preseason game. As things stand he may not be ready for week 1. Once he is ready he should be an easy bet for TE1 numbers for as long as he is healthy.
If you’re looking for a player with as much athletic ability as he does upside then Darren Waller is your guy. The former wide receiver turned tight end boasts upper percentile speed and burst. The thing Waller has never received is the opportunity. He was drafted in 2015 in the 6th round by the Baltimore Ravens. Then, he served a suspension for drug-related violations for all of 2017 and landed with the Raiders last year.
Waller only played sparingly in the final three weeks of the season, but did show some of his athleticism. He hauled in a 44-yard reception against the Bengals. Heading into 2019, Waller has a golden opportunity to turn his career around. He has been impressive through training camp and is slated to be the starting TE opening day. In Week 1, the Raiders face a Broncos team that gave up the 13th most fantasy points to the position in 2018. Oh, and if that’s not juicy enough, he gets the Chiefs defense Week 2 that gave up the most fantasy points to the position.
Chris Herndon had a very impressive rookie campaign. He posted 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Had he not been slapped with a four-game suspension, we would likely be looking at Herndon as a strong TE1 candidate. With that being said, he certainly should be on fantasy gamers radars in a couple of weeks. His rapport with fellow second-year QB Sam Darnold has been well documented and should lead to plenty of fantasy goodness. While I would not add him now, I would certainly look to add him within a few weeks if you are looking for help at the position as he has TE1 upside.
Thank you for joining us for the first TFA #WaiverWireFire of the season. We hope our Week 1 Waiver Wire Rankings help you start the fantasy football season successfully. Check back weekly for our waiver rankings and follow Kevin at @FantasyWrath13 and Jen at @TheOnlyJenSmith ! The Fantasy Authority will have great DFS and redraft articles all season long, so check out our content! Don’t forget about our free slack community where you can interact with TFA writers and get advice and banter live!