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‘Twas the Night Before Week 1: 7 Waiver Wire Targets

"Wendell Smallwood, Chris Maragos." Keith Allison. No changes made.

Preseason is over, and it’s time for the real fun to begin.

Week 1 of the regular season starts tomorrow, and I’m pumped! And while it seems like it took forever to get here, I still don’t feel like I’m quite ready. It’s like a Christmas Eve where there’s no snow and it doesn’t feel like it should Christmas the next day. Do you know what I mean?

In other words: I’m not in the right fantasy football mindset yet.

In fact, it’s really weird writing this article right now about waiver wire stashes, because I haven’t had to talk about that for a long time! So, forgive me if I sound rusty. It’s because I am.

With that admission out of the way, let’s talk about the waiver wire. Waivers are always a volatile experience, because you don’t know who your opponents are going to go for. However, championships can be won on the waiver wire. Last year, Jay Ajayi and Jordan Howard were both free agents and available to pick up on waivers. Same goes for Tyreek Hill, Terrelle Pryor, Sr., Davante Adams, and Spencer Ware (depending on your league size).

Who will the league winners be this year? No one knows.

However, here are some Week 1 waiver wire players to target (and possibly scoop up if you have the bench space).

Paul Richardson, WR – Seattle Seahawks

With Jermaine Kearse gone and Tyler Lockett still fighting an injury, look for Paul Richardson to get more targets. I don’t think he’ll post huge numbers, but he’s got WR2 potential in an offense that’s on the rebound now that Russell Wilson is finally healthy. Richardson exploded towards the end last season, with 213 yards and two touchdowns over the last four games. The Seahawks play the Packers this week, which means he has an opportunity for a big game.

Ted Ginn, Jr., WR – New Orleans Saints

Depending on your league size, Ted Ginn, Jr. may or may not be available. With Willie Snead was suspended the first three games of the season, I expect Ginn to make an immediate impact on a team that loves to throw the football. He may not have the best hands, but his playmaking and deep threat abilities make for an intriguing start. I’m inclined to stash him and see how he does.

Zay Jones, WR – Buffalo Bills

Say hello to the new WR1 in Buffalo. Zay Jones has been flying under the radar, probably because he’s on the dumpster fire that is the Bills, but he has potential to produce decent fantasy points right away. Tyrod Taylor has to throw to somebody, and Jones is the best bet.

Matt Breida, RB – San Francisco 49ers

With Tim Hightower gone, Matt Breida is officially the backup to Carlos Hyde. Hyde is almost guaranteed to not make it through the whole season (that injury history, though) and Breida stands the most to gain. He’s looked really good in preseason, and is a great stash for anyone that lacks RB depth.

Wendell Smallwood, RB – Philadelphia Eagles

One of the most intriguing and confusing things so far this year has been the Eagles backfield. Who will get the most carries: Blount, Sproles, or Smallwood? It appears as though Sproles will get the start, with Smallwood and Blount rotating in and out. However, Sproles is ancient and Blount hasn’t looked impressive in the Eagles offensive scheme. He’s dealing with a hamstring issue right now, but before that he split carries with Blount on the first-team offense. Smallwood is definitely worth a stash, and could end up being the starter when the dust settles.

Rex Burkhead, RB – New England Patriots

Speaking of intriguing and confusing backfields, let’s talk about the Patriots. It’s impossible to predict what Bill Belichick’s game plan will be, but it seems like he’s going to have an immediate role some way or another. It may end up that he gets the goal-line work, and he’s worthy of a stash to see how it all shakes out.

Jeremy Hill, RB – Cincinnati Bengals

Everyone’s been hyping up Joe Mixon, but they seem to forget about Jeremy Hill. He’s the clear starter on the depth chart, and is in line for the majority of the carries and the goal-line work for now. People are sleeping on him because of Mixon, but Hill is starting as the starter, and can be plugged in right away for anyone RB needy.

The waiver wire can be a vicious place where dreams are destroyed, but if you stash some of these potential sleepers, you can be ahead of the game. These players may not be league winners like Ajayi or Howard, but they might be valuable enough to help you win week-to-week. Right now, that’s all you need to do.

It’s fun writing about the regular season again. It feels like getting ready to open your Christmas presents, except the presents are football games and I’m an adult.

For more Week 1 advice, check out our weekly podcast and videos!

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