Chances are, around 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, you felt like you knew nothing about fantasy football. Now, you feel like you know everything. Let’s face it, we’re all closer to the former than the latter, but either way, the season stops for no one. Most fantasy owners, even those who won their matchups, are undoubtedly frustrated with at least a few players on their team, but our top Week 2 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds can help you scratch that itchy trigger finger and point you in the right direction. As usual, the opening week’s waivers period is shaped by injuries (Raheem Mostert, Jerry Jeudy) and surprise breakouts (Elijah Mitchell, Mark Ingram, Christian Kirk, Juwan Johnson, Jameis Winston). Ingram, Winston, and Kirk are no stranger to fantasy rosters, but few expected them to shine the way they did right away.
Our full free agent list is loaded with more names. After all, anyone who had a TD (Nelson Agholor, Jalen Reagor, Albert Okwuegbunam, Gabriel Davis, Phillip Lindsay, Tim Patrick, Sterling Shepard) or had a bunch of touches/targets in Week 1 is on fantasy radars. Chances are, it’s just a random good game (looking at you, Zach Pascal), but you never know when it’s the start of a trend that will last throughout most of the season. It’s understandable if you don’t want to cut any of your late-round draft sleepers yet, even if they did nothing, but someone is gonna snatch up some of these players, so if you don’t get ’em now, you might miss your window. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing (they could be back on the waiver wire by Week 3), but if you have a roster spot to play with (guy you could put on the IR, flier you don’t really care about), don’t let it go to waste. And if you’re already in the streaming game, we have QBs, TEs, and D/STs for Week 2, which can be found at the end of this list.
Depending on your RB situation, Mitchell and Ingram could be worth top waiver claims. Ingram probably won’t last the entire season, but he can provide plenty of short-term value. Mitchell would be a better top option if Mostert is expected to miss multiple weeks, but even then, Trey Sermon could be activated and steal a lot of carries. (Update: Mostert is expected to miss around eight weeks, giving Mitchell even more upside going forward.) Other than those two, there aren’t any obvious guys worthy of top claims.
It’s a blessing and a curse to have a top waiver claim this early in the season. It’s easy to wait for a “sure thing” (like when a starting RB tears an ACL and his handcuff is a clear long-term starter), but sometimes you wait up waiting until Week 7 and watch all sorts of valuable players scooped up while you settle for free agent scraps every week. The one good thing about using a top claim early is it probably won’t be long until you’re back toward the top again, so if you have a good feeling about Mitchell or you really need a back who gets guaranteed touches like Ingram, don’t be afraid to stake your claim.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 2
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers. Raheem Mostert (knee) didn’t last a half, and for some reason still unknown to us, Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch. That left Mitchell as San Francisco’s primary back in a highly favorable matchup in Detroit. He delivered with 104 yards and a TD on 19 carries. He handled every RB carry after Mostert went out except for a JaMychal Hasty three-yard TD run. It’s unclear if Mostert or Sermon will play next week, but Mitchell has still proven he’s worth adding. Clearly the 49ers coaching staff likes him, and he has the kind of explosive all-around ability to shine in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Pending news on San Francisco’s other backs throughout the week, Mitchell is a legit flex next week in Philadelphia. (Update: Mostert is expected to miss around eight weeks, giving Mitchell even more upside going forward.)
Mark Ingram, RB, Texans. We knew we didn’t know much when it came to the Texans RBs, and after one week, we still can’t definitely say who’s going to be the best back over the course of the season. However, Ingram was clearly “the guy” after one week, leading the team in carries (26) and rushing yards (85) by wide margin. All three key RBs scored (David Johnson on a reception, Phillip Lindsay on a five-yard run), so, again, we can’t say Ingram will last long in the lead back role, but after a successful Week 1, we don’t see things changing next week against the Browns. We wouldn’t necessarily start him next week in Cleveland (not every opponent will be as friendly as the Jags, after all), but he’s obviously worth having.
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals. Kirk has been a popular fantasy sleeper in the past, but after the additions of A.J. Green and Rondale Moore, Kirk was almost a complete afterthought in drafts this year. Well, he made fantasy owners pay, catching all five targets thrown his way for 70 yards and two scores. He’ll have big days like this in Arizona’s high-powered offense, but not all matchups will be as favorable as this one in Tennessee. Next week’s in Minnesota is solid, though, so Kirk will be on the WR3 bubble.
Jameis Winston, QB, Saints. Winston looked strong running Sean Payton’s offense and will be a viable starter in most matchups moving forward. While he passed for fewer than 200 yards, he was ultra-efficient and finished the day with five touchdowns. We can expect his yardage to pick up when the Saints aren’t blowing people out, and we like Winston’s chances next week in Carolina. Whether you’re streaming or stashing, Winston is worth owning.
Juwan Johnson, TE, Saints. Fantasy owners are always looking for breakout TEs, and there’s usually at least one who emerges every year. After catching two TDs against the Packers in Week 1, Johnson, a converted WR, has that breakout vibe to him. To be fair, Johnson had just three catches (three targets) and 27 yards while teammate Adam Trautman had six targets, but even if Johnson is just the primary TE in the red zone, that will give him value. If you were one of the last people in your league to grab a TE and you’re planning to play the streaming game, Johnson is worth adding now.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including additional RB and RB breakouts and potential streamers, check out our full Week 2 list.