Welcome to the 2023 Waiver Wire Articles! My goal with these articles is to paint a picture of how the waiver process looks week in and week out to gauge the market and make the most profitable choices possible. I will list the players I want for each of the main four positions and how much FAAB I would spend on those players. Only some leagues are cut and dry the same so this is just a template. If you have questions in chat, please ask. Every suggestion will be pulled from either the Yahoo or ESPN rostership, and everyone in these articles will be less than 50% rostered on at least one of those sites.
Free Agency and Waivers must be used as an extension of your bench and are integral to winning a championship. This is a long season, and consistency is key. You can’t miss a single week, and you need to be smart on how you approach the process. Week 1 waivers are unique given that everyone has drafted, and most players are available without having to file a claim. I will approach this through the sub 50% rostership and players I think could play a solid role or be stashed for the future. Your starting lineup should have been constructed during the draft, but there are a few spots we need to fill for some, such as Cooper Kupp or Travis Kelce. Let’s go!!!
Jared Goff (Detroit Lions) – 0%
Goff has a premium matchup in Week 1 in Kansas City as the Chiefs will be without starting Defensive Tackle Chris Jones. The Lions’ offensive line will have its way, creating a ton of space on the ground while neutralizing almost all pressure on Goff. This is when Goff shines, and this team will have a lot of sustained scoring drives on Thursday Night. Throw him into your lineup if you went the streaming route at QB this year. It is also worth noting that Goff has a great Week 2 matchup at home against the Seattle Seahawks so this will be a 2-3 week gig for Goff, who I expect to start hot this year.
Sam Howell (Washington Commanders) – 0%
The Washington Commanders are favored by seven at home against the worst team in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals. The Commanders should have their way with the Cardinals, and Howell will offer a nice solid floor this week with a great matchup.
Brock Purdy (San Francisco 49ers) – 0%
Looking forward to Week 2, Purdy faces the LA Rams in LA. I’ve been on this train all off-season that the Rams’ defense is absolute garbage and will create these massive point games. I expect Purdy to look bad in Week 1 and make mistakes so he’ll likely be available this time next week without the need to throw a claim on him but if you’re in the luxury of looking ahead, stash Purdy for Week 2.
Jaylen Warren (Pittsburgh Steelers) – 0%
Warren is somehow less than 50% rostered on both Yahoo and ESPN. He is the receiving back in Pittsburgh and will have a top 12 outlook if something happens to Najee Harris. Throw him on the end of your bench.
Tank Bigsby (Jacksonville Jaguars) – 0%
Same boat as Jaylen Warren above. As the season progresses, Bigsby is slated to have both the receiving and goal line roles. Stash him and by the time Bye weeks roll around you’ll have a solid FLEX with RB1 upside if Etienne misses time.
Keaontay Ingram (Arizona Cardinals) – 0%
If you’ve been in chat this last month, you’ll know I’ve been pounding the desk to get at least one of Ingram or Tucker on the end of your bench. Ingram is on a sinking ship of a team that is stripping down the entire roster and rebuilding it. It isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when Ingram takes over the RB1 duties from Conner. Conner is a fragile back, so an injury may happen organically and just prolonged so they can see what they have in Ingram. I think Ingram is a solid prospect with good size and burst while also being able to catch the football. If Conner goes down early, you’ll be happy you have Ingram on your bench.
Sean Tucker (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – 0%
Tucker is a player I don’t think needs an injury to excel in this offense. This offense fits Tucker better than it fits White. I expect White to open the season as the “RB1” in Tampa, but that’ll adjust quickly once Tucker demonstrates his rushing abilities and steals almost all of the 1st and 2nd down work. Lead that into the goal line work and then a target or two a game, and we are cooking with fire.
Zack Moss (Indianapolis Colts) – 0%
I’m not saying any of the Colts backs should be targeted. Shane Steichan flat-out said this is a committee, and they’ll ride the hot hand. However, in the same breath, he said that Moss was their starter once he’s healthy, and they’re expecting him back soon from his broken arm. If I have one bullet, I want to use it on Moss. I have ended up with one share of each of Deon Jackson, Evan Hull, and Zack Moss just to have them on the end of my bench but if I was only in one competitive 12-team league, Moss is who I am taking a stab at. It is likely all 3 are inconsistent and just eat into each other’s workload weekly (see 2022 Philadelphia Eagles).
Top RB Handcuffs
Here are the RB handcuffs I would roster, in order, excluding the players above.
Tyjae Spears (Tennessee Titans)
Ty Chandler (Minnesota Vikings)
Jaleel McLaughlin (Denver Broncos) – Sproles 2.0
Salvon Ahmed (Miami Dolphins)
Deuce Vaughn (Dallas Cowboys)
Kendre Miller (New Orleans Saints)
Deon Jackson/Evan Hull (Indianapolis Colts)
Kareem Hunt (Free Agent)
Jerome Ford (Cleveland Browns)
Rashod Bateman (Baltimore Ravens) – 0%
Bateman being under 20% is a travesty. He is buried on ESPN rankings, and honestly there is no excuse not to target him in every draft. Lamar Jackson has been on record saying, “thats WR1” regarding Bateman. He is free; take a shot on the potential alpha WR in this new and improved Ravens offense.
Van Jefferson (LA Rams) – 0%
Get Van on your rosters. The Rams defense will be very bad this year, and this is a fantastic, free way to leverage any Kupp injury. If there are serious issues with Kupp, Van is the WR1 in LA and on a fast track to a 1K season. Even if Kupp is fine, you have a stud WR for the first month of the season and then a Robert Woods-type production profile after that, which is a WR2/3. Get him on your rosters!!
KJ Osborn (Minnesota Vikings) – 0%
Osborn is “officially” the WR2 in Minnesota on their depth chart ahead of Jordan Addison. The Vikings did this same nonsense with Justin Jefferson a few years ago, but it is worth noting that Osborn isn’t a slouch. I don’t think he is the WR2 or Addison is a superior talent, but Osborn holds his own. Cousins will get him the rock, and he is coming off of a 90-target year in which he saw nine games last year with 5+ targets and even two double-digit target games. This Vikings defense is worse than it was last year so expect more insane pass volume again this year.
Marvin Mims (Denver Broncos) – 0%
Mims is a talented rookie with an elite prospect profile as he broke out at a premium young age and had the statistical output to back up his draft status. We still don’t know when Jerry Jeudy is returning but as I’ve stated before, Sean Payton went up and traded for Mims. He wanted Mims and he is going to use him. It may happen as soon as Week 1 given the injuries to this WR group.
Note: TE will be a big deal all year long finding the premium streamers, and none more so than as early as Thursday night, with Travis Kelce unlikely to play. Don’t panic, there are plenty of players to fill in while we wait for him to return.
Gerald Everett (LA Chargers) – 0%
Everett was ranked as my TE10 this year and I’ve steadily stayed ahead of the market. Kellen Moore utilizes talent and I expect Everett to be a staple in the weekly game plan seeing about 4-5 targets a game and consistent red-zone work.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys) – 0%
Dak loves his TEs and I expect Ferguson to slide right into the Dalton Shultz role that Shultz left vacated when he went to Houston. There is no reason at all that Schultz should be rostered in 82.5% of ESPN leagues while Ferguson is only rostered in 5.3%. It should be flipped, and I want Ferguson over Schultz every time,
Tyler Higbee (LA Rams) – 0%
Higbee is a solid fill-in for Kelce this week and one of the few TEs with a ceiling of 10+ targets. The Seahawks were ripped by inline TEs last year, giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to the position. The Seahawks should be able to score on the Rams so we will see 35+ pass attempts from Matthew Stafford. If the game goes off the rails, it will be a lot of quick passes to Higbee to keep the chains moving.
Sam LaPorta (Detroit Lions) – 0%
This is a player for Week 2. I would NOT start him against the Chiefs on Thursday night. The Chiefs are elite against the TE and gave up the fewest fantasy points to inline TEs in 2022. However, in Week 2, LaPorta gets the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks gave up the 3rd most fantasy points to inline TEs in 2022, including an insane 8/179/2 explosion from then Detroit Lions TE TJ Hockenson in Week 4 last year. Get ahead of the market before everyone starts talking about the 48-45 Seahawks/Lions game from 2022 and LaPorta costs a premium on waivers.
Atlanta Falcons – 0%
The Carolina Panthers are starting rookie QB Bryce Young behind a poor Offensive Line on the road against a divisional opponent with little to no help skill position-wise.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 0%
Same process as above. The Jags defense is horrible this year, but they are facing a RAW rookie QB in Anthony Richardson. A big knock on Richardson is his accuracy. The Jags could luck into some very off-the-mark throws, resulting in turnovers and a higher chance at a pick-six. Don’t expect them to sack Richardson much, though.
Green Bay Packers – 0%
You are looking for sacks and turnovers here. Fields is notorious for holding on to the ball for too long with average at best, pocket awareness. He eats a lot of sacks and when you have a solid pass rush closing in on you all game, mistakes happen more frequently.