Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Priority pickups to make after drafts and ahead of NFL Week 1

·Fantasy Analyst
·6-min read

Excellent work drafting this year's fantasy teams, everyone. Absolutely stellar team-building. Each of your lineups is basically a work of art, thoughtfully and lovingly crafted — an expression of the boldest and most audacious ideas at the leading edge of modern fantasy theory.

Well done, all of you.

Let's try not to focus on your automated draft grades just now, but instead appreciate the limitless potential of each of your fine fantasy squads. Truly remarkable roster construction. Every team is a gem, perfect in its own way.

But now I'm afraid it's time to blow 'em up. It's never too early to make various tweaks and enhancements, folks. Opening week is upon us, so you can't remain idle. Fantasy is a game that must be actively and aggressively played.

Each week throughout the NFL regular season, we're going to highlight the most intriguing fantasy options remaining un-rostered in a majority of Yahoo leagues. Here's your first batch of potential pickups, along with a streamable defense...

Jarvis Landry, WR, New Orleans Saints (40% rostered)

Landry has been little more than an afterthought during draft season, which seems unusual for a 29-year-old player who's been so consistently productive. He's delivered six seasons with 80-plus receptions and five with well over 900 yards. When healthy, he's always been a useful PPR contributor. However, we've treated Landry as if he's a distant third option in the Saints' receiving hierarchy, well behind Michael Thomas and Chris Olave. That might simply be a case of familiarity leading to collective indifference. Landry is a technician, a longtime security blanket receiver for a variety of sketchy quarterbacks.

New Orleans Saints receiver Jarvis Landry is being overlooked in fantasy drafts, so he's a great add before the season starts. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
New Orleans Saints receiver Jarvis Landry is being overlooked in fantasy drafts, so he's a great add before the season starts. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

If you're a believer in the Jameis Winston comeback story, then you should give Landry a long look. He's a terrific complementary piece for New Orleans. Don't be surprised if he challenged for a top-30 positional finish.

K.J. Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos (5%)

Hamler entered the league with 4.27 wheels and, as a rookie in 2020, his speed did not go unnoticed in game action:

He suffered an ACL tear last September, but he's now nearly a full year removed from the injury and he managed to return to the field for Denver in the preseason. For the first time in Hamler's pro career, he's working with a quarterback who can actually support multiple fantasy-relevant receivers. Tim Patrick is out of the mix for the Broncos this season (ACL), which should mean that more will be asked of Hamler. His opening week matchup is excellent (at Seattle), so he has a clear shot to make an early impact. Think of him as a high-variance receiver with flex potential.

Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers (32%)

If it seemed like he delivered a daily highlight during camp and preseason, well ... that's because he was, in fact, a living, breathing highlight:

Doubs drew steady praise from coaches, from reporters covering the team and, most importantly, from Aaron Rodgers himself. He was a 1,000-yard receiver in back-to-back seasons at Nevada, so it's not as if he doesn't have a respectable collegiate track record. Green Bay's receiving corps is an unsettled group, vying for a couple hundred vacated targets. Allen Lazard, the team's presumptive No. 1 receiver, is suddenly a question mark for the opener against Minnesota. Doubs deserves a spot on someone's roster as a flier in any league with 12 or more teams.

(Related: Christian Watson is just sitting out there on the wire in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues, which is kinda wild given his draft status and exceptional athletic traits. He's 6-foot-5 with leaping ability and 4.3 speed. Rodgers is pretty clearly a fan. He dealt with a knee malfunction during camp, so he may not be on the same timeline as other rookies, but he's a serious talent.)

Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake, RBs, Baltimore Ravens (26% and 9%)

At some point in the near future, I may disavow these recommendations and delete this paragraph. No one's trying to tell you that Davis and Drake are breakout candidates or players with rare ability. But they are, however, a pair of ambulatory professional running backs who could see significant touches in opening week against the Jets. Let's recall that Gus Edwards is on the PUP list and J.K. Dobbins isn't a lock for a full workload early in the season (nor is he guaranteed to play in Week 1). The Ravens are as run-committed as any team in the league, so Davis and Drake are both candidates to see double-digit carries in a friendly matchup. As Coach Harbaugh says, "We've been known to run the ball a little bit."

Zamir White, RB, Las Vegas Raiders (15%)

Here's a long-term hold for you, a first-year back who might just be the future featured runner for the Raiders. He demonstrated previously undocumented receiving ability during preseason play, which answered a significant open question.

Josh Jacobs is still atop the backfield depth chart for Vegas, but he isn't likely to be an every-snap, 300-touch player. White is gonna see the field. The buzz around him in camp was constant. Pretty much everyone covering the team has been telling us that White will eventually carve out a substantial role. His low roster percentage should honestly be a national fantasy scandal. White is a recommended stash.

Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9%)

Tom Brady saw only limited preseason action and Brate was on the field for most of it. He hauled in both of his targets in Tampa's preseason finale, then checked out with the GOAT. We shouldn't need to tell you that Brady has a pretty fair history of leaning on his tight ends near the goal-line. Brate certainly has a path to a 7-9 touchdown season (or more), which essentially guarantees a top-10 finish at TE.

Tennessee Titans, DEF (38%)

Here's a perfectly respectable defense playing at home in opening week, facing Daniel Jones. What else are you looking for? Jones has appeared in 38 career games for the Giants, throwing 29 picks and fumbling 36 times. If you're an irrationally optimistic Giants fan, streaming the Titans D seems like a great hedge. Tennessee is a 6-point favorite and a good bet to produce multiple takeaways.

And here's a bonus defense for you...

Cleveland Browns, DEF (20%)

This is simply an outrageous roster percentage. Cleveland's defense features game-wrecking individual talents and the team's early schedule is a gift: at Car, NYJ, Pit, at Atl. There's a very good chance this group will rank among the top-five fantasy Ds when the calendar flips to October. The Browns should have been drafted in any 10-team format. If this unit is available, consider the add.