Week 2 Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups: The RB with League-Winning Potential to Target

Week 2 Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups: The RB with League-Winning Potential to Target article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Malcolm Brown

  • Our fantasy football experts identify the top nine waiver wire pickups for Week 2.
  • See which running backs and wide receivers to target, including Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown.

Marquise Brown sure lived up to his nickname in his regular-season NFL debut.

Hollywood’s first two career catches went for 47- and 83-yard touchdowns in the Ravens’ 59-10 blowout of the Dolphins on Sunday, establishing himself as an early waiver wire target.

But who else should be on your radar coming out of Week 1?

Matthew Freedman and Mike Randle outline their favorite waiver wire pickups for Week 2, featuring five wide receivers and four running backs with high (and potentially league-winning) upside.

Let’s get to it!

Note: Our experts have limited their recommendations to players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. All data as of Monday.

Week 2 Waiver Wire Pickups

Running Backs

Malcolm Brown, Rams

Ownership: 11%

This should go without saying, but Brown is a high priority this week. Since 2017, starter Todd Gurley has led the league with 36 carries inside the five-yard line, but in Week 1, Brown was used as the goal-line back, converting two of his 11 carries into short-yardage touchdowns.

Even though Gurley still looks explosive, earning 101 yards on 14 carries and one reception in the season opener, Brown has clearly forced his way into a committee.

Brown has standalone value already and will be a league-winner if Gurley misses time to injury. Matthew Freedman

Giovani Bernard, Bengals

Ownership: 13%

When Bernard recently agreed to a two-year, $10.3 million extension, it was a signal from management that his backfield role is secure. While he rushed for only 21 yards and caught two receptions for 42 yards, he received the majority of the snaps when Joe Mixon left the game with an ankle injury.

Mixon’s status is unknown, but the Bengals clearly trust Bernard, who has averaged 19.4 fantasy points when Mixon has not played over the past two seasons.

Even if Mixon returns, Bernard’s role moving forward is worth a PPR flex play, especially with A.J. Green (ankle) still sidelined. Mike Randle

Ronald Jones II, Buccaneers

Ownership: 28%

Jones was abysmal in his rookie campaign, putting up just 77 yards on 23 carries and nine targets as he played behind veteran grinder Peyton Barber. But in Week 1, Jones emerged as the lead back, turning his 13 carries and one targets into 93 yards.

He’s still likely to share work with Barber and pass-catching back Dare Ogunbowale, but if the Bucs can play to their offensive potential and Jones can keep his place in the backfield, Jones could be a viable fantasy RB2. — Freedman

C.J. Anderson, Lions

Ownership: 14%

I’m not enamored with Anderson, but he had 11 carries in Week 1 to Kerryon Johnson’s 16, and Anderson has a real shot to get goal-line work because of his size advantage over Johnson (225 pounds vs. 211).

Anderson has marginal standalone value now and handcuff upside. — Freedman

Wide Receivers

A.J. Brown, Titans

Ownership: 3%

Brown was widely considered one of the top offensive playmakers in the draft. However, fantasy owners soured on him when he became another receiving option in the run-first Titans offense.

However, if Sunday was any indication, Brown could be a viable WR3 option in the Titans efficient passing attack.

AJ Brown
USA Today Sports. Pictured: A.J. Brown

Tennessee scored a huge 43-13 win at Cleveland. Marcus Mariota and Brown connected on 3-of-4 targets for 100 yards, including a nifty 51-yard connection.

Brown is an 88th-percentile SPARQ-x score athlete who runs a 4.49 40-Yard Dash at 226 pounds. Even better? Last year’s leading receiver, Corey Davis, finished with zero catches on just three targets. — Randle

Terry McLaurin, Redskins

Ownership: 3%

Fantasy owners avoided the ambiguous Washington offense, waiting for a pass-catcher to emerge. After Sunday’s close 32-27 loss at Philadelphia, it’s clear the receiver to own is rookie McLaurin.

The Ohio State-product finished with five catches on seven targets for 125 yards and a 69-yard touchdown catch. This Washington offense might not be exciting, but the lead wide receiver on any team is fantasy viable.

With 4.35 40-yard dash speed and a 76th-percentile Catch Radius (per PlayerProfiler), McLaurin is a strong waiver wire target for Week 2. — Randle

DeVante Parker, Dolphins

Ownership: 14%

The Dolphins are already in full-on tank mode, and they’re likely to underwhelm throughout the season, but with Kenny Stills traded to Houston and Albert Wilson (calf) dealing with an injury, Parker is a prime candidate to lead the Dolphins in targets each game.

In Week 1, he had team-high marks with seven targets, three receptions and 75 yards receiving. — Freedman

John Ross III, Bengals

Ownership: 14%

Ross is an intriguing player.

In 2017, he was the ninth overall draft pick, but he finished his rookie year with -0.8 fantasy points, managing to fumble his only touch: A 12-yard carry. He was catch-less on two targets.

Last year he improved (sort of): He had seven touchdowns on just 58 targets, but he also caught just 36.2% of his targets and had a subterranean 0.57 yards per route (per Pro Football Focus). He displayed big-play ability and the capacity to break open for targets near the goal line, but he was also incredibly inconsistent, dropping easy passes and running lackadaisical routes.

John Ross
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: John Ross

But in Week 1, with Green out of action, Ross balled out with a team-high 12 targets, seven receptions, 158 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Slot receiver Tyler Boyd is likely to be the more reliable player on a weekly basis, but Ross owns a playmaking skill set that Boyd could only dream of.

He’s still something of a flyer as a potential fantasy starter — who knows if his target volume will stick? — but he should absolutely be rostered in every league. — Freedman

Marquise Brown, Ravens

Ownership: 31%

Brown had only four receptions in Week 1, but he was still second on the team with five targets, and he displayed elite big-play ability with 147 yards and two touchdowns.

He’s still a rookie receiver in a run-first offense, but every week he’s likely to get a couple of scoring opportunities on downfield targets. — Freedman

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