Working the waiver wire constitutes one of the best ways to ensure successful roster management during the course of the fantasy football season. With this in mind, here are three players that you should work hard to get on your rosters ahead of the next slate of games, as well as two you might want to keep your eyes on.
This advice is focused on a single quarterback, PPR format. The advice will also skew towards redraft leagues. All of the players featured were owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. The percentage of leagues in which they are available is in parentheses.
Phillip Dorsett (72.3%)
The New England Patriots offense has seen the back of many a wide receiver in recent years, for a multitude of reasons set out by Henry McKenna in his recent look at why catching passes from Tom Brady is not as easy as you may think. But one player who seems to have got the knack in 2018 is Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett has 12 receptions through two weeks of the season, with a 20.3 percent target share — the highest of all Patriots WRs. He is making the most of these receptions, as the image below shows.
The Patriots are still two weeks away from welcoming Julian Edelman back into the lineup. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, of course. But Dorsett is certainly performing well at present. Next up for the Patriots is a game against the Lions. Their leading cornerback, Darius Slay, left the Lions loss to the 49ers with a concussion. He may miss the Patriots game. This would be a ding to a secondary that is already looking overmatched in 2018. Given his current form, Dorsett could flirt with WR3/Flex production.
Paul Richardson (61.7%)
Color me stunned, but a running back has seen the most targets for a team quarterbacked by Alex Smith through the first two weeks of the season. No WR can dream of approaching the 21 targets Chris Thompson has seen. But Paul Richardson leads all Washington wideouts with eight receptions for 85 yards, while enjoying a 16.4 percent target share. Washington takes on the Packers in Week 3, a team that just allowed 23 receptions to Vikings WRs. The Packers gave up only 63 rushing yards to the Vikings, so Alex Smith may be forced to take to the sky and use his WRs while he is at it. Richardson’s average depth of target of 10.3 is comfortably the highest among Washington players with multiple targets this season.
Austin Ekeler (57.1%)
Among RBs, only Todd Gurley scored more fantasy points in Week 2 than Chargers back Melvin Gordon. However, through two games it is impossible to ignore the contribution of former UDFA Austin Ekeler.
With one game left in Week 2, Gordon sits at the overall RB2 spot. But Ekeler’s 36.4 points are good for 7th highest. After an early bye week — or as the schedule officially notes it, a game against the Bills — the Chargers face an imposing challenge against their city rival Rams in Week 3. The Rams have been tough to run against so far this season. But this has led to some opportunities in the receiving game. Notably, Jalen Richard caught nine balls for 55 yards against them in the season’s opening Monday Night Football contest. It would almost certainly take an injury to Gordon for Ekeler to assume a leading role. But he has shown that he can contribute just fine with Gordon alongside him.
Others to Consider
- Geronimo Allison – Allison has caught 11 of his 14 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown so far this season. He trails both Davante Adams and Randall Cobb in terms of target share. But only Adams among the Packers WRs has a greater share of the Packers’ air yards. Neither Adams nor Cobb can challenge Allison’s 11.3 average depth of target. He can be had in nearly three-quarters of all leagues.
- Tyler Boyd – Boyd was almost a forgotten man among fantasy owners this summer. Everyone hoped (and prayed, in some cases) for a second-year breakout from John Ross. Through two games, Boyd has clearly moved ahead of Ross for the number two role behind A.J. Green. Boyd has 31 percent of the Bengals air yards. His target share of 20 percent trails only the 24.3 percrnt of targets going to Green. Boyd is currently rostered in 1.1 percent of ESPN leagues. In basic terms, that means he’s free.