2021 Season: Week 2 Waiver Wire (PPR)

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Herms (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Editor

If you read this column last year, welcome back! If not, the goal of diving into the waiver pool on The Lateral is to give you options to consider beyond the obvious names you should be looking at. Yes, those players will be mentioned, but we would be doing our readers a disservice by stopping there. Each week, we nominate a group of quality candidates at each position and give you our reasoning behind why you may want to look beyond the shallow guys. 

Should you want a further explanation for these picks, check out this week's waiver wire episode of The Lateral Show, but with that said, let's go ahead and dive in!

Diving Into Week 2 Waivers


The Pool: Jared Goff (Detroit Lions), Tyrod Taylor (Houston Texans), Taylor Heinicke (Washington Football Team), Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)

Herms' Pick: Tyrod Taylor (Houston Texans) [4% ESPN/4% Yahoo]

Look, there's nothing sexy about Tyrod Taylor as your QB in fantasy but there is nothing particularly bad about it either. Go ahead and take a peek back at his career as the starter in Buffalo to refresh your memory: Tyrod Taylor is safe. Taylor does not make a ton of mistakes and he has a safe floor with his rushing ability. Somehow along the way in the preseason evaluation process, these things got lost in the shuffle, but the man knows what to do. 21-31 passing with 291 yards and 2 TDs ain't nothin' and don't forget about this play around the 2:23 mark. Yeah, I get it, he balled out against Jacksonville, but don't forget the track record. All you superflex/2 QB league managers out there probably don't have the option to add Taylor, but regardless of format make sure you add him wherever available. With the next four matchups against Cleveland, Carolina, Buffalo, and New England, it won't be easy but again: Tyrod Taylor is safe. #TyrodTheStreamingGod

McLateral's Pick: Taylor Heinicke (Washington Football Team) [0.2% ESPN/1% Yahoo]

Jared Goff finished as the QB3 in Week 1, but he has the San Francisco 49ers to thank for that as much as anyone. The 49ers nearly had a historic collapse in Detroit on Sunday, which allowed Goff to boost his fantasy numbers. Similarly, I want to stay away from Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who unfortunately does not get to play the Jacksonville Jaguars again until Week 15. That leaves Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and newly promoted Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Cousins is the better quarterback and was top-12 at the position going into Monday night. However, Cousins gets the Arizona Cardinals defense in Week 2, who absolutely wrecked the Tennessee Titans and their borderline-elite quarterback Ryan Tannehill. So give me Heinicke going up against a New York Giants defense that Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater handled easily this past Sunday.

The Obvious Add: Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints) [26.1% ESPN/44% Yahoo]

Running Back (PPR)

The Pool: Mark Ingram II (Houston Texans), Kenneth Gainwell (Philadelphia Eagles), JaMycal Hasty (San Francisco 49ers)
Herms' Pick: JaMycal Hasty (San Francisco 49ers) [0.4% ESPN/1% Yahoo]

This one is simple:
  1. Invest in the Kyle Shanahan backfield
  2. Go with the cheapest asset
I have written ad nauseam about JaMycal Hasty on this site before and if you haven't seen my thoughts on him before, use the handy search bar up top. In addition to my long-held belief that Hasty is a legit player, you likely cannot add rookie RB Elijah Mitchell in all likelihood without blowing a significant portion of your FAAB budget or having anything besides the #1 waiver priority in more conventional systems. Am I advocating adding Hasty as a top priority over the aforementioned rookie if you're willing to drop the load? No, Mitchell is definitely the guy you want first, but given the unpredictable nature of a Kyle Shanahan RBBC, the cost-effective move is to acquire the loose piece and let things play out.

One last note, Kenneth Gainwell was my RB42 in my draft rankings. You should've already been rostering him as a flex option! Get with the program!

McLateral's Pick: Kenneth Gainwell (Philadelphia Eagles) [3.5% ESPN/9%Yahoo]

You cannot make me recommend Mark Ingram II. Yes, he had 26 carries. Hooray. He also averaged 3.3 yards per carry against the worst defense he will face all season. That means once the Houston Texans have to deal with a negative game script, his value will crater. Especially given his current one target per game average. As much as I love JaMycal Hasty, the two total touches are a non-starter. San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell is not going anywhere, and their teammate, running back Trey Sermon, will theoretically show up at some point this season. Hasty will be very good at making the most of his touches, but the touches are too limited. Kenneth Gainwell on the other hand is getting used in all areas of the offense. Nine rushing attempts, including one inside the 10-yard line that turned into a touchdown, plus three targets makes him a well-balanced part of the Eagles offense. Add in the handcuff potential in case of an injury to teammate running back Miles Sanders, and Gainwell has a lot of value to fantasy football managers.

The Obvious Adds: Elijah Mitchell (San Francisco 49ers) [1.9% ESPN/10% Yahoo], Tony Jones Jr. (New Orleans Saints) [14.7% ESPN/23% Yahoo]

Wide Receiver (PPR)

The Pool: Sterling Shepard (New York Giants), Christian Kirk (Arizona Cardinals), Zach Pascal (Indianapolis Colts), Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles), Van Jefferson (Los Angeles Rams)

Herms' Pick: Christian Kirk (Arizona Cardinals) [3.6% ESPN/14% Yahoo] WR A.J. Green (2-6 rec. 25 yds. receiving, 0 TDs) is no longer good and has not been for a while. If you were looking for the Cardinals WR2 who can potentially serve to benefit from easier coverage opposite WR DeAndre Hopkins, it may in fact be Kirk. 5-5 rec. with 70 yds. receiving and 2 TDs is nothing to scoff at. Go ahead and look back at Christian Kirk's 2020 game logs via FantasyData and remind yourself of the impact he has been able to have in the past. Rookie WR Rondale Moore is also worth a look in this offense, but Kirk is the guy I'd be adding here.

McLateral's Pick: Sterling Shepard (New York Giants) [25.3% ESPN/39% Yahoo]

Honestly, Sterling Shepard should be an obvious add. The only reason he is not is that (like everyone on this list) he is part of a crowded wide receiver group, and likely not his team's top receiver. WR Kenny Golladay will likely become quarterback Daniel Jones' top option at some point soon. In the meantime, expect Shepard to continue to be a safety blanket for Jones. Shepard was the PPR WR21 in fantasy football last year once he came back from injury in Week 7. Maybe it should not be a surprise that he is picking up where he left off.

The Obvious Adds: Nelson Agholor (New England Patriots) [29.8% ESPN/33% Yahoo], Tim Patrick (Denver Broncos) [0.6% ESPN/2% Yahoo]

Tight End (PPR)

The Pool: Juwan Johnson (New Orleans Saints), Cole Kmet (Chicago Bears), James O'Shaughnessy (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Herms' Pick: Juwan Johnson (New Orleans Saints) [1.3% ESPN/11% Yahoo]

Despite being out-targeted by teammate TE Adam Trautman (6 targets), 3-3 rec. 21 yds. and 2 TDs is a damn good stat line for the recently converted WR! I'll take the potential impact red zone presence in a murky passing offense sans WR Michael Thomas as a decent stab here, but go ahead and take a look at what my buddy has to say below if you're looking for a less volatile option:

McLateral's Pick: Cole Kmet (Chicago Bears) [21.8% ESPN/34% Yahoo]

Cole Kmet was my pick last week for a tight end to pick up for Week 2. While he fell short of top-12 fantasy football tight end production in PPR formats, there were a lot of positive signs in Week 1. Primarily, the targets were really encouraging. Kmet had seven targets against the Los Angeles Rams, which was tied for the eighth-most targets amongst all tight ends. It was also reassuring to see that teammate tight end Jimmy Graham was an afterthought for the Bears, with just two targets. Trust the targets, and take advantage of Kmet's deflated value. He gets the Cincinnati Bengals defense in Week 2.

The Obvious Add: Jared Cook (Los Angeles Chargers) [22.6% ESPN/26% Yahoo], Gerald Everett (Seattle Seahawks) [10.5% ESPN/66% Yahoo]

Defense/Special Teams

The Pool: Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers

Herms' Pick: New Orleans Saints DST [26.7% ESPN/32% Yahoo]

RB Christian McCaffrey should get his next week against this Saints defense, but I'm on the side of believing that QB Sam Darnold will struggle against the stout secondary New Orleans brings to the table. I'm all aboard on this streamer coming off the heels of shutting down QB Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. McLateral's Pick: Arizona Cardinals DST [5.2% ESPN/7% Yahoo]

With as good as Chandler Jones looked on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, the matchup against the Minnesota Vikings feels too good to pass up. The Cincinnati Bengals looked (relatively) competent against Minnesota in Week 1, and sacked Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins three times. If Arizona can attack Cousins the way they attacked Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the fantasy football managers who picked up the Cardinals' defense will rejoice.

The Obvious Add: None

The Pool: Joey Slye (Houston Texans), Dustin Hopkins (Washington Football Team), Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers), Evan McPherson (Cincinnati Bengals)

Herms's Pick: Joey Slye (Houston Texans)

Questionable offense = stalling out in field goal range often = good production for a fantasy kicker. Simple as that.
McLateral's Pick: Evan McPherson (Cincinnati Bengals) [4.2% ESPN/3% Yahoo]

The Cincinnati Bengals were the only team to draft a kicker in the 2021 NFL Draft, and so far it looks like a great pick. McPherson actually sealed the overtime win for the Bengals in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings and already has a 53-yard field goal under his belt. He should be a great pick against the Bears that gave Los Angeles Rams kicker Matt Gay plenty of opportunity.

Houston Texans kicker Joey Slye is good but was already cut once this season and Cleveland could be a tough matchup for the Texans. Chris Boswell was my boom pick last week and that paid off, but Week 2 against Las Vegas may be a more low-scoring affair. Dustin Hopkins does have an inexperienced quarterback, which could mean field goal opportunities if the Washington Football team stalls in the red zone. But it could also mean they get stopped much further up the field, and Hopkins struggles with 50+ yard field goals.

The Obvious Add: None

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