We are now just days away from the 2022 NFL season beginning, but plenty of fantasy leagues were drafted weeks or even months ago. For those, the fantasy football waiver wire: week 1 can be helpful for updating their rosters ahead of kick-off.
All season, I’ll be presenting the top free agents to target each week with a FAAB budget recommendation. Of course, with no games played, it is difficult to have reliable FAAB bids this early. That means to proceed with extreme caution until we see how roles are more defined.
Here are some unheralded or low-rostered players to consider adding to your roster ahead of Week 1.
FAAB denotes Free Agent Acquisition Budget
Mike Davis (RB) Baltimore Ravens (5% FAAB) – Baltimore’s backfield remains banged up. As of now, we don’t know what kind of role J.K. Dobbins can play in Week 1. That makes Davis a dark horse to lead the team in carries. Not only in Week 1, but until Dobbins proves he is healthy. The Ravens also open this season against a New York Jets defense that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season. View Davis as a potential RB3 until we see otherwise. Kenyan Drake is another interesting name to watch in the season opener.
Alec Pierce (WR) Indianapolis Colts (5% FAAB) – The latest reports out of Indianapolis indicate that second-round rookie WR Alec Pierce will be the team’s No. 2 target. Pierce (6-2, 221) has the size to be a red-zone beast and opens the season with an exploitable matchup against Houston’s vulnerable secondary. This is a good week to get all your Colts into your fantasy lineups. And Pierce is readily available on most waiver wires.
Wan’Dale Robinson (WR) New York Giants (4% FAAB) – Only the Vikings allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers last season than the Titans. Right now, Robinson might be the only healthy receiver the Giants have. Kadarious Toney missed a ton of time this summer and Kenny Golladay looks awful after a disastrous first season in New York. Robinson had a phenomenal camp and is locked into the team’s slot role. He could easily lead the team in targets in Week 1 and should be added in all formats.
Jakobi Meyers (WR) New England Patriots (4% FAAB) – It’s pretty rare to see a team’s No. 1 wideout be available on most waiver wires. New England’s offense looked messy this summer but Meyers remains the favorite to lead the club in receptions. Meyers had 17 targets against the Dolphins last season. Plus, the Patriots have gone over in nine of their last 10 Sunday games per Rotoworld. I like Meyers as a low-end WR3 this week. If New England’s offense turns around, Meyers could have another top-30 season.
Isaiah Likely (TE) Baltimore Ravens (4% FAAB) – There isn’t a ton of depth at tight end, which means a lot of fantasy football managers are taking a streaming approach. Likely was one of the most impressive preseason players. He caught all 12 of his targets for 144 yards and a touchdown. Now, The Athletic thinks Likely could be third in Baltimore’s target pecking order after Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews. Running a lot of ’12’ sets would make a lot of sense for the run-first Ravens. Baltimore has little WR depth after Bateman. Likely could develop into a solid weekly option, which makes him worth a decent bid ahead of Week 1.
Rex Burkhead (RB) Houston Texans (3% FAAB) – It appears Burkhead will be Houston’s main change-of-pace and receiving back. The veteran is also a decent short-yardage option who can spell Dameon Pierce on early downs. Burkhead averaged 7.5 fantasy points per game last season and should top that with an increased role in the passing game. He offers weekly flex/RB3 value in deeper PPR leagues.
Damien Williams (RB) Atlanta Falcons (3% FAAB) – Earlier this offseason, Billy Muzio and I talked up Williams on the FullTime Fantasy Podcast. The hype cooled off considerably but a recent report suggests Williams will factor in often. That remains to be seen, but Williams can easily be added with a speculative, cheap bid.
Matt Ryan (QB) Indianapolis Colts (2% FAAB) – I’ve been way higher on Matt Ryan in my 2022 fantasy football rankings than the consensus. As luck would have it, Ryan gets to face a rebuilding Houston Texans squad in Week 1. The Texans allowed the tenth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season. Indy’s implied total of 27 in this game is the fourth highest for the slate. If you have concerns about your Week 1 starter, Ryan is a fine streaming option.
Marvin Jones (WR) Jacksonville Jaguars (2% FAAB) – Jones was the WR33 last season and is being completely overlooked. Granted, the Jags spent big money on Christian Kirk, but Jacksonville’s offense should be substantially better in 2022. Jones was one of my favorite late-round options and should surpass 100 targets once again.
Baker Mayfield (QB) Carolina Panthers (2% FAAB) – If you’re a fan of the ‘revenge game’ narrative, here’s your play. Mayfield has that fiery disposition that is just the type to ball out against his former employers after he was unceremoniously dumped this offseason. I wouldn’t sit your normal starter, but if you drafted early and Mayfield is still on waivers in a Superflex format, he’s certainly worth a healthy bid.
Ameer Abdullah (RB) Las Vegas Raiders (2% FAAB) – Everyone assumes the Raiders are going to emphasize multiple running backs but nobody wants Josh Jacobs. That’s actually very telling. Abdullah is the favorite to play on third downs and could mix in on short yardage. Both he and Zamir White (2% FAAB) should be players to monitor in Week 1.
DeeJay Dallas (RB) Seattle Seahawks (1% FAAB) – Seattle is projected to have a lousy offense but they’ll have plenty of positive game scripts for the passing game. Dallas led the NFL in rushing this preseason and appears to be the club’s third-down back. While Ken Walker is sidelined, Dallas could see a handful of targets each week. View him as a depth add in leagues with larger rosters.
Jeff Wilson (RB) San Francisco 49ers (1% FAAB) – All indications are that Wilson will open the season as San Francisco’s RB2. The 49ers like to use multiple backs, so Wilson could get 8-10 touches right away. He’s a good short-yardage runner with reliable hands. Elijah Mitchell managers might want to consider adding Wilson as the handcuff.
Michael Gallup (WR) Dallas Cowboys (1% FAAB) – It’s doubtful that Gallup plays this week, but he makes an appealing proactive bid. The Cowboys chose not to put Gallup on the PUP list, which means they are optimistic he will return in September. He may get off to a slow start, but a fully healthy Gallup offers weekly WR3 value. He’s a very good ‘stash and cash‘ option to get ahead of if you have a free roster spot.
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