2021 Season: A Week Too Early Waiver Wire: Week 1 Moves for Week 2

(Photo credit: Erik Drost)

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Editor

Look, anyone can make fantasy football waiver claims based on this week's matchups. But if you really want to be ahead of the curve, to take your fantasy football strategy to the next level, you need to be thinking about next week's fantasy football waiver wire moves this week. Beating your fantasy football league-mates by a week to the right player can provide a serious advantage, as long as you are willing to take a risk and roster players that may not help you with your current matchup.

Below, The Lateral will be taking a look at which player at each position you need to roster right now to help you get a unique advantage in your fantasy football matchups in Week 2How's that for, "A Sideways Look at Fantasy Football?"

Finally, credit to David Gonos of The Athletic for inspiring this idea. I highly recommend checking out his work (here is an example from last year).

A Week Too Early Waiver Wire: Week 1 Moves for Week 2

Bye Weeks: None

Last Weeks' Successes: N/A

Last Weeks' Failures: N/A

Quarterback

Key Matchup: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars

Who to add: Teddy Bridgewater (Denver Broncos)

Teddy Bridgewater starts for Denver Week 1, and barring disaster will start for Week 2. That means he gets to go up against the Jacksonville Jaguars' uninspiring defense. Bridgewater had multiple top-12 fantasy football performances last year. With the offensive talent available on the Denver Broncos, the only reason he cannot have a top-12 performance in Week 2 is if the Broncos' rushing attack eviscerates the Jaguars' defense.

Running Back (PPR)

Key Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Who to add: Giovani Bernard (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Giovani Bernard was brought in by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers presumably to be the new James White in Tom Brady's offense. If that is the case, a Week 2 matchup against a (likely) bad Atlanta Falcons defense could be a game where Bernard is fantasy-relevant. Tampa Bay is loaded on offense, so there may simply be too many mouths to feed. However, looking at James White's game logs showed he would often exploit these matchups. Plus, Atlanta was weaker against running back targets than rushing attempts last year, giving up over five yards per target.

If adding Bernard is not your cup of tea, add free-agent running back Latavius Murray, who is a lock to be signed by a team now that he has been cut by the New Orleans Saints. He could instantly take a role in whichever team signs him.

Wide Receiver (PPR)

Key Matchup: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans

Who to add: Donovan Peoples-Jones (Cleveland Browns)

The Houston Texans bled fantasy football points to wide receivers last year and given they only got worse, expect that trend to continue in 2021. As long as Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy, the expectation is that Jarvis Landry will be the Cleveland Browns WR2. But, what if Beckham Jr., who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in October 2020 is not ready and goes down in Week 1? What if Landry is no longer needed as a safety blanket by Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield? Finally, what if it does not matter, because Houston is so terrible that three wide receivers can produce fantasy-relevant numbers?

All these reasons are why taking a shot on Donovan Peoples-Jones now could be a massive win come Week 2. Peoples-Jones has notably impressed in camp and the preseason and worked out with Mayfield during the offseason per head coach Kevin Stefanski. Take notice now before it is too late.

Tight End (PPR)

Key Matchup: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals

Who to add: Cole Kmet (Chicago Bears)

I talked about Cole Kmet in our waiver wire article for Week 1, so I recommend reading that for an analysis of the player. But Kmet gets the Cincinnati Bengals defense this year, and if the Bengals have not improved, Kmet could feast against them. The Bengals were one of the best fantasy football matchups for tight ends last year, and Kmet should already be earning targets regardless.

Defense/Special Teams

Key Matchup: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Who to add: Green Bay Packers DST

The Detroit Lions may ultimately be better than some people expect once the 2021 NFL season ends, but they still are going to be bad. Expect them to definitely be bad in primetime at Green Bay against the Packers. Especially with quarterback Jared Goff under center for the Lions, who Packers cornerback, Jaire Alexander could turn into a punching bag for analysts the next morning. The Packers' defense was particularly good against limiting quarterbacks and wide receivers in terms of fantasy production last year. If they can shut down the run game and take an early lead, it could force Goff to throw often. This will equal fantasy points for a defense you can easily stream for this matchup.

Kicker

Key Matchup: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals

Who to add: Evan McPherson (Cincinnati Bengals)

Evan McPherson was the only kicker taken in the 2021 NFL draft. He also replaces Randy Bullock, who was top-three in fantasy with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow under center Weeks 1-3. Bullock then went down with an injury and was never the same, but McPherson should have no problem picking up where Bullock left off. Especially as the Bengals will still be a high-octane offense and a bad defense, providing McPherson with plenty of opportunities. Especially if the Chicago Bears defense frustrates Burrow and company in the red zone.

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