Best Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups Week 2: Justice Hill, Kenneth Gainwell, Kyren Williams lead the way

Every year, Week 1 is full of surprises. Injuries, breakouts, disappointments — it never fails to tantalize and frustrate fantasy football owners. This year is no different, as we watched JK Dobbins succumb to a season-ending Achilles’ injury and RBs Tyler Allgeier, Kenneth Gainwell, and Kyren Williams (among others) step up in committee backfields. Along with Dobbins’ handcuffs, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards, these backs will be among the top Week 2 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds.

Don’t worry, we have more than just RBs on our full free agent list. We try not to overreact to TDs in Week 1, instead focusing more on targets, but let’s face it — touchdowns tend to stand out and move the needle. WRs like Rashid ShaheedZay Jones, Kendrick BournePuka Nacua, and Romeo Doubs made their presences felt out wide, and Hayden Hurst and Hunter Henry were the most impressive of all the veteran TEs who saw considerable looks (Zach ErtzLogan Thomas). Of course, there are a few more RBs, including Joshua KelleyTank BigsbyDeon Jackson, and Zack Moss, that deserve to be added in 12-team leagues. We also have our usual complement of potential Week 2 D/ST streamers that can be found at the end of the list. (Yes, it’s never too early to stream.)

We usually recommend being judicious with high waiver claims this early in the year, but with Gainwell dominating RB touches in Philly, Williams standing out in L.A., and Dobbins out for the season, it makes sense to go all-in for Gainwell, Hill, Edwards, and Williams. Allgeier, Kelley, Jackson/Moss, and most of the pass-catchers (with the possible exceptions of Nacua and Doubs) aren’t worth high claims at this point in the season, but they shouldn’t pass through waivers untouched either. (Update: Gainwell didn’t practice on Monday or Tuesday because of a rib injury, slightly dimming both his short-term and long-term appeal.)

MORE WEEK 2 PICKUPS: Full waivers list

It’s unlikely that you’ll want to make more than two pickups this week, no matter how frustrated you are with underperforming players on your bench. However, if you are looking to make a more substantial overhaul, don’t be afraid to put in multiple claims. You’re already moving to the back of the line with one claim, so you might as well keep the train moving. Conversely, if you have a lower waiver claim, you can move up quickly if you remain patient and wait for free agency. Some of the non-RBs mentioned below will clear waivers, so if you don’t need a back, it pays to remain patient.

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Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 2

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues are considered.

Justice Hill and Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens. JK Dobbins was dominating RB carries early for Baltimore, but a third-quarter Achilles’ tear ended his day — and his season — early. Hill came in and split carries with Edwards the rest of the way, finishing with eight carries for nine yards and two TDs. Edwards outrushed him (eight carries,32 yards) but didn’t get the goal-line carries. Hill and Edwards will continue to share touches, making both must-adds, but we’d make Hill the higher-priority pickup after seeing him get the short touchdowns. Consider both flexes next week against Cincinnati.

WEEK 2 STANDARD RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles. Gainwell dominated touches in Philadelphia’s backfield in Week 1, running 14 times and catching all four of his targets. He managed just 74 total yards, but considering Rashaad Penny was a healthy scratch and D’Andre Swift had one carry and two targets, there’s no reason to think anything will change in the immediate future. As long as Gainwell is starting for one of the best offenses in the NFL, he’s a must-start fantasy back, especially in PPR leagues. Consider him a low-end RB2/high-end flex next week against Minnesota. (Update: Gainwell didn’t practice on Monday or Tuesday because of a rib injury, slightly dimming both his short-term and long-term appeal.)

MORE WEEK 2 PICKUPS: Full waivers list

Kyren Williams, RB, Rams. Williams went carry-for-carry with Cam Akers early on and plunged in two TDs inside the 10-yard line. He finished with a team-high 52 yards on 15 carries, eventually giving way to Akers (22 carries, 29 yards, TD) to close out the game. There were no indications that this would be a committee situation, but based on the Week 1 usage, Williams is going to be a factor and needs to be picked up in 12-team leagues. Consider him a flex next week against the 49ers.

WEEK 2 PPR RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons. Allgeier is owned in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues, so he’s above our usual ownership threshold, but after his 18-touch, 93-yard, two-TD day, it’s clear he deserves to be owned in a lot more. As much as fantasy owners might want this to be Bijan Robinson’s backfield, (16 touches, 83 yards, TD in Week 1), Allgeier won’t just disappear. He’s a talented back who will be used liberally with Robinson to ensure the prized rookie doesn’t get overworked early. He’s not going to score a touchdown every week, thus limiting him to flex status, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he continued to see as many or more carries as Robinson as he did in Week 1 (15 to 10). Consider Allgeier a high-end flex next week against Green Bay. 

Romeo Doubs, WR, Packers. Doubs took advantage of Christian Watson’s absence, catching four-of-five targets for 26 yards and two TDs. Considering Watson didn’t even practice last week, it could be another week or two before we see him on the field. In the meantime, Doubs should continue to serve as Green Bay’s WR1, making him playable in all fantasy leagues. He has WR3 value next week against the Falcons. 

For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including more breakout RBs like Joshua Kelley and WRs like Puka Nacua, check out our full Week 2 list.

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