The first week of NFL action leads to key waiver wire pickups that can bolster your fantasy roster. Breakout performances and injuries open up opportunities for fantasy relevance. This week’s top waiver wire targets feature high-upside running backs and wide receivers that need to be added in all leagues.
The biggest priority pickup after Week 1 has to be Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua. After Cooper Kupp’s injury, Nacua dominated targets with a massive 39% target share, hauling in 10 catches for 119 yards on 15 targets.
Since 1980, only 6 wide receivers have had more receiving yards in their NFL debut. Nacua operated both outside and in the slot, with QB Matthew Stafford focusing on him as the first read.
Two passes were slightly off target showing this connection can improve. Nacua could have had even more catches given a few missed connections. With Cooper Kupp likely out until at least Week 5, Nacua needs to be added in all leagues. He has league winning upside if he maintains this high-volume role. Plan to spend 20-25% of your FAAB budget to acquire him. The risk is worth the potential reward.
Eagles RB Kenneth Gainwell is another high priority pickup after dominating snaps with a 62% snap share in Week 1. He had 14 carries and saw 4 targets, and clearly operating as the lead back.
Gainwell was undrafted in many leagues, but can now be considered the committee chairman in a high-powered Eagles offense. He brings stand alone value as a pass catcher, with league winning upside if anything happens to Miles Sanders. Bid 15% of your budget to acquire Gainwell. He is startable in the flex as soon as Week 2.
With news that JK Dobbins likely tore his Achilles, both Gus Edwards and Justice Hill become waiver wire targets in Baltimore. Edwards saw 15 snaps and Hill saw 19 snaps, splitting work relatively evenly.
Both backs scored rushing touchdowns showing goal line upside. Do not break the bank on either player, with bids around 3-5% of budget recommended. The Ravens also added veteran like Melvin Gordon as well, so avoid overspending. Edwards has slightly more standalone value, but both players have contingency upside if there are more injuries. Take a flier on Edwards or Hill, but do not overspend.
Second year RB Tyler Allgeier dominated goal line work for the Falcons with 2 short TD runs. He operates as the RB2 behind Bijan Robinson in this run-heavy offense under coach Arthur Smith, but he had more carries week 1 and looked way more explosive than Bijan.
Allgeier has flex appeal standalone, but also has league winning upside if anything happens to Robinson. He is worth 5-7% of your budget. Be willing to be a bit more aggressive if you need RB help.
Rams second year RB Kyren Williams did not see high volume in Week 1, but he was clearly outperforming Cam Akers in the stat sheet. Williams had 52 yard and 2 TDs in the game vs Akers 29 yards and 1 TD.
With the Rams dominating, Akers saw more garbage time work but Williams is the preferred backup. He is worth stashing if you have the roster space.
Joshua Kelley saw 16 carries for 91 yards and a TD in Week 1, playing 47% of snaps. He also ran 17 routes to Austin Ekeler’s 24, showing he will be involved on passing downs.
Ekeler also came out of the game with an ankle injury, if Ekeler is out next game, Kelley has league winning upside in this high-powered offense. Use 5-7% of your budget to acquire him.
Packers second year WR Romeo Doubs steps into the WR2 role with 5 targets, 4 catches, and two TDs in Week 1. The Packers only passed 45% of the time but that could increase if Aaron Jones misses time. Christian Watson eventually will be the alpha receiver, but Doubs has weekly flex value for now. Add him if you need WR help but do not overspend on any Packers receivers.
Keep an eye on Saints second year WR Rasheed Shaheed who had an impressive game 1 with 5 catches, 89 yards and a TD. He showed explosiveness after the catch. He could benefit from heavy coverage on Chris Olave and Michael Thomas in upcoming weeks. Shaheed is talented and profiles as the WR3 in this offense. Add him now where available.
The key is to manage your bids and not overspend on any one player. Be aggressive for breakout candidates like Puka Nacua, Kenneth Gainwell and Tyler Allgeier.
But you can round out your roster with upside plays like Joshua Kelley, Romeo Doubs and Rasheed Shaheed without breaking the bank if you stay disciplined. Use these pickups to build depth and upside on your roster for later in the season.