Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 2: Advice for Top Targets, Including Josh Palmer & Jeff Wilson
Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeff Wilson.
No matter how deep your league is, Week 1 offered plenty of injuries or potential breakout performances to make sure your waiver wire has intriguing names on it.
Sean Koerner: Wilson is a medium priority addition, but if you are desperate at RB, you should upgrade him simply because it looks like Elijah Mitchell will be out for about weeks.
Wilson will inherit much of Mitchell’s role, which is why he opens Week 2 as my RB25. However, that’s mainly due to a plus matchup against the Seahawks. He will typically be in the RB25-30 range and his upside is limited because both Trey Lance/Deebo Samuel are used heavily in the run game.
Kyle Shanahan loves Wilson, so that could lower the chances we see any Shanahanigans that result in Jordan Mason or Tyrion Davis-Price leapfrogging Wilson. As always with the 49ers, anything can happen with this backfield.
Samantha Previte: Wilson was unremarkable in the 49ers' loss to the Bears as he saw nine carries for 22 yards and caught both of his targets for eight yards. His RB52 finish won't turn heads, but he may see a larger role with Elijah Mitchell expected to miss two months — especially with rookie Tyrion Davis-Price being a Week 1 healthy scratch.
Versatile receiver Deebo Samuel had eight carries for 52 yards and a touchdown in the effort and could be San Francisco's best rusher until Mitchell returns. That said, Wilson is established enough to warrant a waiver claim in spite of not capitalizing in Week 1.
Chris Raybon: Medium priority add for a RB-needy team.
Based on what happened in Week 1, it is clear that Wilson entered the season well ahead of the RBs behind him on the depth chart. Rookie third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price was a healthy scratch, and rookie UDFA Jordan Mason was active but didn’t play a snap even after Mitchell went down.
Mitchell will be out for two months, but the reason I’m only calling Wilson a medium priority is because projecting a Shanahan backfield more than one week ahead is an exercise in futility. Wilson also has durability concerns of his own, as he’s never played more than 12 games in a season. And then there’s the fact that Deebo Samuel is essentially the co-starter at RB; he handled eight carries in Week 1.
Wilson’s most productive game may well come next week, when the 49ers are 9-point home favorites against the Seahawks on short rest.
Sean Koerner: Palmer will become a low-end WR3 if Keenan Allen can’t suit up this week.
If you are desperate for a short-term solution at WR, Palmer is your guy. He offers long-term upside as the clear WR3 for the Chargers (finally) after Jalen Guyton only played four snaps in Week 1. DeAndre Carter came in after the Keenan Allen injury, so it looks like he will only get significant playing time if one of the 3 starters ever misses time.
Gerald Everett would jump up to TE7 in my Week 2 rankings if Keenan Allen and Donald Parham are out this week. If you are looking for the player offering the most value due to the Keenan Allen injury, it might be Everett.
Chris Raybon: Palmer is a low-priority bench stash.
Palmer’s usage spiked to 74% routes run in Week 1, but he continued to struggle to draw targets, finishing with just three, which equates to a lowly 12% target rate per route. This was an issue for Palmer last season, when he was targeted on only 15% of his routes. It was also disconcerting to see presumed WR5 DeAndre Carter get inserted for the injured Keenan Allen and go 3/64/1 on 14 routes.
I would add Palmer not because Allen is hurt, but because his numbers have the potential to spike as a starter in this offense. Until we see something in the way of consistent production out of him, though, he can’t be trusted.
Sean Koerner: Dotson’s price might be a bit too high following a 3/40/2 debut. However, he won’t get to face the Jaguars every week and it’s unlikely Carson Wentz will throw for 300-plus yards and four TDs every week.
You wouldn’t necessarily be adding Dotson to start in your lineup right away, but he does carry high-end WR3 upside if either Terry McLaurin or Curtis Samuel ever missed time.
Chris Raybon: Dotson is a medium-priority speculative add.
I wouldn’t start Dotson as a WR3 quite yet, but after Week 1, he’s real close. Dotson’s underlying usage metrics (89% routes run, 16.2 aDOT) were excellent, but you would like to see him be targeted on more than 12.5% of his routes. Once we begin to see that number rise, it will be time to insert him into starting lineups.
Sean Koerner: Let someone else in your league bid on him.
While it’s encouraging to see Duvernary operate as the Ravens’ No. 2 wide receiver, the two-touchdown game was pretty fluky considering he scored two TDs on 53 receptions in his first two seasons. He will likely be the No. 3 or 4 target most weeks on a run-heavy team and he opens the week as my WR75.
Samantha Previte: Duvernay was a popular rookie sleeper two years ago who ultimately did not live up to the hype. He was mainly utilized as a return specialist in 2021 and earned Pro Bowl honors as a result.
Duvernay dominated in his Year 3 debut on a relatively small target share (13.8%). He reeled in all four of his targets for 54 yards and two touchdowns and finished as the WR9. He trailed Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman in targets and tied with Demarcus Robinson in the effort. Duvernay could easily solidify his role as the WR2 in Baltimore's offense and No. 3 option behind Andrews and Bateman, which makes a strong case to add him as a bench stash.
He won't get to face the Jets every week, however. Until we see more consistent looks from quarterback Lamar Jackson, he is more of a boom-or-bust, deeper league flex play.
Chris Raybon: Leave him on the wire.
Duvernay only ran a route on 53% of Lamar Jackson’s dropbacks, consistent with his 55% rate last season. On 592 career routes, He is averaging just 0.89 yards per route run with four TDs, so Week 1 is highly likely to prove an outlier.
While Duvernay may earn a few more snaps with his breakout performance in Week 1, this is a low-volume passing offense that runs through Mark Andrews and then Rashod Bateman.
Sean Koerner: Burkhead is operating as the clear lead back for the Texans after owning a 50% rushing share and a 63% route participation in Week 1. However, you have to imagine it’ll only be a matter of time until preseason darling Pierce takes back his rightful throne to be the lead back.
Burkhead opens up Week 2 as my RB32 in his current workhorse role, so he is a pass for me – unless you can grab him for dirt cheap and need a RB3/Flex in the meantime. The smart thing to do right now would be to float a trade offer to whoever has Pierce in your league. This might be the lowest his stock will ever get.
Samantha Previte: Preseason phenom Dameon Pierce drew a lot of attention in the weeks leading up to fantasy drafts, with many heralding him as a potential top-24 play right out of the gate. The rookie was mostly unremarkable in his debut and was both out-touched and out-snapped by 32-year-old Rex Burkhead in the Texans' 20-20 tie.
Pierce tallied 11 carries for 33 yards and caught his lone target for six yards while Burkhead rushed 14 times for 40 yards and caught five of eight targets for 30 yards (good enough for a RB26 finish). Personally, I was concerned the Pierce hype was getting out of control and the early season expectations were too high for a rookie — especially in a below-average offense.
I believe Pierce can develop into a workhorse back (although that was not his role at Florida), but it may take some time. In the interim, Burkhead will likely cannibalize some of Pierce's value and be involved in the passing game — enough to make him fantasy relevant as a low-end RB3/flex option.
Chris Raybon: Burkhead is a medium-priority add.
In Week 1, Burkhead outnsapped rookie Dameon Pierce 50-20, including a 26-5 edge in pass routes. Pierce’s role will undoubtedly grow as the year progresses, but it’s clear the coaching staff trusts Burkhead.
For RBs, volume matters first and foremost, so Burkhead will be a FLEX play for as long as he’s getting the majority of the snaps in Houston’s backfield.