Free-agent recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated. FAAB $ amounts are based on $100 budgets.
1-week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash
Teddy Bridgewater, Saints
Drew Brees’ thumb injury requires surgery, and the quarterback may miss around six weeks. I will be quite clear about this recommendation: It’s lukewarm, because Bridgewater just isn’t very good. However, any time you have a mildly decent quarterback in a Sean Payton offense with playmakers, like Michael Thomas, Jared Cook and Alvin Kamara, good things are possible. The Saints travel to the Seattle Seahawks to face a defense that is mostly awful vs. quarterbacks. Inexperienced QB Mason Rudolph went for a pair of TDs off of the bench for Pittsburgh, a week after the ‘Hawks gave up a 400-yard day to Andy Dalton.
watch list/grab & Stash
Mason Rudolph, Steelers
The season-ending injury to Ben Roethlisberger means Rudolph enters the conversation of being worth owning as a backup. He played pretty well off of the bench, and with a week of first-team reps, the second-year quarterback could be an interesting play against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3. In most casual leagues, Rudolph is best left on the wire and observed. Gamers in highly competitive affairs, or leagues with the ability to start more than one QB, should take a shot on him for bench material.
Priority Free Agent
Raheem Mostert, 49ers
An update from last week: The duo of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert will shoulder the load in the Bay Area as we saw vs. Cincinnati while Tevin Coleman nurses a high-ankle sprain. San Fran’s zone-blocking scheme and gifted offensive line make average talent look better. The loss of left tackle Joe Staley is of concern, though. Cincy was the league’s worst run defense in 2018, so there is reason enough to be slightly skeptical. Breida is extremely efficient, and Mostert does a little bit of everything (83 rush, 68 receive, 1 TD). Unfortunately, RB Jeff Wilson Jr. was called up late in the week from the practice squad and scored a pair of short TDs. The system is notorious for spreading the ball around the backfield, but Mostert is absolutely worth adding in all formats. Wilson (97% available) is a speculative add based on the two scores, but situational players generally are difficult to count on in fantasy.
Frank Gore, Bills
Will he get 21 touches a game? No. Will Gore see 21 touches over the next two weeks? Flip a coin. Devin Singletary is the future, and if Buffalo had interest in the desires of fantasy owners, they’d make him the present, as well. A week after putting forth a four-carry, 70-yard rushing effort, Singletary once again showed his explosiveness with a 6-57-1 line but suffered a strained hamstring that has him day-to-day. Gore will continue to see touches. The frustrating part is just how many per week and when. The matchup was favorable in Week 2, and next week vs. Cincinnati couldn’t be more appealing. Then it gets tougher with the incoming world champs and a trip to Nashville. Own him, but don’t feel obligated to play Gore after Week 3. It also will give us another week to see how the carry split may shake out.
Priority Free Agent
Terry McLaurin, Redskins
Consecutive weeks with five grabs and a touchdown score, McLaurin’s NFL career is off to a fine start. We recommended him in this space last week, and it’s worth reminding owners to take a look. With 16 targets and 10 grabs in two games, Washington appears to have found itself a bona fide WR1 after the failed Josh Doctson experiment. McLaurin is a must-own player.
Mecole Hardman, Chiefs
Like with McLaurin, this is a reminder to check your wire for him in case he was overlooked after last week’s recommendation. There’s a low probability Hardman is on the wire in competitive formats, but his overall ownership suggests it is worth a look. If you missed out, use this is a friendly reminder that it is always better to be ahead of the waiver curve and stash a guy when possible.
Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs
Every time a receiver posts a line of six grabs for 172 yards and a pair of scores, even against the Raiders, someone in your league will add him. It doesn’t matter if Robinson even comes close to replicating that performance … as long as Tyreek Hill is out of action, the opportunity is what you’re paying for in this situation. We’ve seen flashes from Robinson before, and ignoring him would be detrimental to your fantasy roster. KC plays Baltimore, Detroit, Indy and Houston in the next month that KC may be without Hill.
Deebo Samuel, 49ers
The rookie has an attacking style of play and scored his first pro TD in Week 2 on a seven-target day. Samuel caught five of those looks for 87 yards and chipped in two carries for seven more. The offense looked the part, which is encouraging after an up-and-down preseason with a dismal Week 1 from Jimmy Garoppolo. Samuel belongs in Week 3 lineups against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a defense that is stronger against the run than the pass and has been abused by its first two opponents in 2019. Week 4 brings a bye, then matchups with Cleveland, the LA Rams, Washington and Carolina.
D.J. Chark, Jaguars
Rookie Gardner Minshew has shown a blossoming connection with the second-year receiver. Chark’s athleticism has shown all over the field so far, including on a 69-yard bomb last week. We’ve seen versatility from him, as well, with a 7-55-1 line on nine targets in Week 2, showing he’s not just a home run waiting to happen. Minshew isn’t afraid to throw, and the coaching staff isn’t against him doing it.
grab & stash
Preston Williams, Dolphins
A week after the undrafted rookie scored his first NFL touchdown, he was the lone bright spot of the Miami passing game against the Pats. The Colorado Stater landed four of six targets for 63 yards and earned a boost into “ownable” territory in fantasy. PPR owners only.
1-Week Plug & Play
Nelson Agholor, Eagles
Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin) left the Week 2 meeting on Sunday Night Football, thrusting Agholor into the spotlight. We saw this with his touchdown grab Sunday night after taking a lickin’ on a target in the end zone earlier in the night. And he dropped what appeared to be a sure TD. Agholor plays primarily out of the slot and will have a larger role if the Eagles are thin into the upcoming weekend. Of course, if the injuries are long-term in nature, Agholor has sustainability. Don’t be afraid to spend up a few bucks.
1-week plug & play/Grab & Stash
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders
He was included here two weeks ago and didn’t see much work in the opener. The Raiders rookie was targeted eight times, landing four for 30, from the slot in Week 2. That kind of attention from Derek Carr is encouraging. Ahead is the Minnesota Vikings, which seems like a daunting matchup on the surface, but injuries to Mike Hughes and Mackensie Alexander have the Vikes thin in expanded coverage. Renfrow could be a sneaky PPR play for diligent and desperate gamers alike.
Trey Quinn, Redskins
Thirteen targets in two games is worth noting, even if it’s at the bottom of the barrel. The Redskins will be forced to pass to move the ball against the Bears next Monday, and the Chicago defense will be plenty content giving up a bunch of dump-offs to a slot receiver. Quinn could rack up some points in PPR.
Damiere Byrd, Cardinals
There is something to be said for running four- and five-wide every snap … guys like Byrd get 14 looks in two games. To his credit, we’ve see flashes in preseason play from him during his Carolina days, and desperate PPR gamers may want to pay him some attention on the cheap. Carolina, Seattle and Cincinnati are ahead, respectively, so he could continue to enjoy mild success coming up.
Grab & Stash
Will Dissly, Seahawks
A 2018 rookie, Dissly had shown glimpses of his potential prior to being lost for the season. He’s back and healthy, as illustrated by a pair of touchdowns against the Steelers. The Seahawks face the New Orleans Saints next, and while Dissly isn’t an advisable play vs. one of the league’s better units at stopping his position, he could be worth stashing in deeper formats. Byes begin in Week 4, when the ‘Hawks travel to Arizona (great matchup), followed by the Rams in Week 5 (good matchup).
Priority Free Agent
Joey Slye, Panthers
The rookie returns to the waiver recommendations after being called a one-week play last week, which also included the advice to stick with him if he had a strong game. Well, he did, and you should. Look to the wire in the event someone in your league didn’t add him prior to his four-FG game last week, which is probable since there were no bye weeks and kickers seldom require an injury replacement. He has the power to hit from any reasonable distance, and Slye belongs on all rosters while Carolina remains a shell of an NFL-caliber offense.
Zane Gonzalez, Cardinals
Another name returning from last week, Gonzalez is 7-for-7 from distance, nailing his lone extra point of 2019 in Week 1. The offense clearly can move the ball up and down the field, but scoring touchdowns has proven elusive. Until this offense gets into the end zone with more frequency, Gonzalez should remain active from three-point range.
1-Week Plug & Play/Priority addition
Eddy Pineiro, Bears
The Chicago offense is a hot mess so far in 2019. After struggling mightily to find a trustworthy kicker, the Florida product has made all four of his kicks thus far. Pineiro has ample leg as evidenced by his 53-yard game-winning boot vs. Denver — under considerable pressure, no less. Granted, the kick was in the thin air of the Mile High City, but most gamers probably would prefer to sacrifice a smidge of distance for stable accuracy. Chicago plays Washington this upcoming week, and if the Bears cannot consistently turn it around on offense, Pineiro could be a fine choice much of the year. Consider this a one-week audition for the possible long haul.
Matt Gay, Buccaneers
The Tampa offense looked ever so slightly better in Week 2 against Carolina, suggesting the Bucs might be turning the corner. The big-legged rookie has the distance to boom it, and the offense has provided him an average of two field-goal and as many extra-point tries per contest so far. He has made three of his four three-pointers. The New York Giants are next, and their defense vs. this offense profiles for a busy day kicking the rock.
1-Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash
In what has been a recurring theme with some of the early-season waiver recommendations, Tennessee has tallied eight sacks and five takeaways in two games so far. While Week 2 may have been underwhelming vs. the Colts, look forward to matchups with the Jaguars and Falcons in the next two weeks.
1-Week Plug & Play
Miami has scored 10 points in two games, and there’s no end in sight to their top-down struggles. In what probably will amount to being a weekly inclusion, the opponent of the Dolphins is a must-start at this point — regardless of what their own merits. Dallas gets DE Robert Quinn back from a suspension, and the secondary has the talent to ball hawk in this one.
Purely a desperation play, the Cards face Carolina in Week 3, and Cam Newton isn’t right It’s in Arizona, and the thought here is Arizona’s pass rush should be able to get to Newton enough to matter. He has been sacked three times in each of the first two games, turning it over thrice along the way. Arizona’s pass rushers Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs could force Newton into more mistakes, because the trademark mobility just hasn’t been there from No. 1.