A waiver wire column? The season hasn’t even started yet. How can you already have a waiver wire column? Well, unless you take your draft day all the way down to the wire, you’ve already got your fantasy team(s). In that case, things have already changed between draft day and the time that you’re reading this, and that means players who weren’t drafted a week or two ago may be attractive now.
With that in mind, let’s get to the Week 1 waiver wire. As always, all players have ownership rates of 40% or worse on at least two out of three of Yahoo, CBS and ESPN.
Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers
Look, none of us knows what’s going to happen in Green Bay’s backfield. Aaron Jones is suspended for two games. Montgomery is dealing with a foot injury. Jamaal Williams is the starter, but he was the least impressive of the three last year. There is going to be plenty of roster turnover between now and Week 2, let alone October 1 or November 1. You might as well take a shot on a guy who has plausible upside in what’s sure to be one of the best offenses in the league. Montgomery’s ability as a receiver makes him particularly intriguing in an offense led by Aaron Rodgers. There’s essentially zero risk in adding him right now and seeing how the first few weeks shake out in the Packers’ backfield.
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Colts
Marlon Mack is still dealing with a hamstring injury that plagued him all summer. If he sits out the team’s Week 1 game against the Bengals, chances are Wilkins will get the start. A fifth-round pick out of Mississippi, Wilkins significantly outperformed fellow rookie Nyheim Hines in the preseason. While Hines fumbled his way through the summer, literally and figuratively, Wilkins impressed coaches to the point that he got the start in the final preseason game of the year. In most cases, that wouldn’t exactly be a vote of confidence. Considering the circumstances in Indianapolis, though, it’s reasonable to look at that as a tryout for Week 1. Beyond that, Mack is no sure thing after a decent rookie year, and Hines is still trying to work his way back into the coaching staff’s good graces. There’s a reasonable chance that Wilkins holds onto this starting gig for the foreseeable future, making him a great add in advance of Week 1.
James Conner, RB, Steelers
The Le’Veon Bell Holdout Experience is more uncomfortable this time around for his fantasy owners, with Bell still absent from practice less than a week before the Steelers’ Week 1 game with the Browns. Until Bell reports and is ready for a full workload, Conner is going to have plenty of fantasy value. That value may prove to be short-lived, but all we’re looking for at this stage of the season on the fringes of our roster is to have a few lottery tickets that could cash. Conner certainly first that bill with Bell testing the limits of his holdout.
Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers
After the summer Godwin had, it’s a little surprising he wasn’t drafted in more leagues. The second-year receiver may not start alongside Mike Evans, but he’s going to have a significant role in Tampa Bay’s offense. DeSean Jackson remains a dangerous deep threat, but he’s not exactly a receiver who commands a large target share. Even if O.J. Howard’s role increases this year, there are going to be enough targets to go around to support Godwin as a fantasy-relevant receiver. He was impressive in limited duty last year, catching 34 of 56 targets for 525 yards, and was one of the most talked-about players in Buccaneers’ camp this summer. There’s enough working in his favor to make him a worthy add in all but the shallowest leagues this week.
Cameron Meredith, WR, Saints
Meredith finally got some extended run in the preseason, catching two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ preseason finale. While a veteran playing in a game typically reserved for the final players on the roster would generally be a red flag, Meredith is still working his way back from an ACL tear that robbed him of the 2017 season. He may have been playing against a handful of players who aren’t even on rosters any longer, but the fact that he played well and looked healthy are both huge for him going into the season. It’s never a bad idea to get a piece of an offense tied to Drew Brees, and Meredith is one of the few ways you can still invest heading into Week 1.
Anthony Miller, WR, Bears
Miller, a second-round pick out of Memphis, was one of the big stories during a particularly optimistic summer in Chicago. Miller is expected to start alongside Allen Robinson in the Bears’ new-look offense, and is one of the favorites to lead the team in targets, given his skill set. He was one of the best receivers in the country the last two years, totaling 191 catches, 2,896 yards and 32 touchdowns in his final two seasons in college, and the fact that the Bears surrendered picks to move up to get him should tell you exactly how they feel about him. He needs to be owned in all competitive leagues.
John Brown, WR, Ravens
Brown was one of the brightest leaguewide surprises this summer, going from under-the-radar high-potential offseason signing to a significant role in Baltimore’s offense. When the Ravens’ offense takes the field for the first time in Week 1 against the Bills, Brown should be out there along with fellow newcomer Michael Crabtree. Brown has been beset by injury the last two years, but he was great in his last fully healthy season, catching 65 passes for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015. Brown remains a lethal deep threat—certainly the best one on Baltimore’s roster—and if there’s one thing Joe Flacco can do reliably well, it’s throw the deep ball. Brown could easily be a regular fantasy starter this season.