Prior to the Wire: Week 2

The “Prior to the Wire” series is designed to project the following week’s waiver wire targets before the current week of games have been played. Injuries are impossible to predict so it focuses on developing situations and potential emerging talents. It is designed in hopes that readers can beat other owners to add/stash these players. Not all targets listed here will be immediate stashes. Some listed will be targets/situations to simply keep an eye on over the given weekend's games. The emphasis is on spotting positive trends in player's value and unclear situations which value could emerge. 


Running Backs

Andre Ellington


Once upon a time he held a third-round ADP and was destined for fantasy superstardom but injuries, committees and eventually David Johnson put an end to that. It’s hard to think Chris Johnson will come off the street and disrupt his No. 2 spot on the depth chart. He’s a better pass-catcher and open field runner than Kerwynn Williams. Lack of goal line touches may hurt his value but he could wind up being sneaky value in PPR.

Devontae Booker


Last season by Week 7, the fantasy community was demanding for him to start over C.J. Anderson and when he inevitably did (due to injury) he did virtually nothing with the role; averaging 3.5 ypc on 174 attempts. That said, he is a near perfect fit for the Broncos scheme; a blend of power, quickness, size and pass-catching ability. He avoided the I.R., returned to practice this week and Vance Joseph stated that they are unsure what the backfield distribution will be with his return because they have “four backs that (they) feel really good about. So, we can do a better job of spreading the carries out moving forward.” He’s worth a flier in deep leagues and a stash for Anderson owners.

Marlon Mack

10-24-1 and a 21-yard reception that should have been a touchdown but was ruled down at the one-yard line, in Week 1. Part of backfield that saw an almost even three-way split in snap count but is clearly the team’s future at the position.

D’Onta Foreman


Foreman offers the size and drive-finishing ability that Lamar Miller doesn’t have. Bill O’Brien committed to getting him more involved in Week 2.

Alfred Morris

Darren McFadden was a healthy inactive in Week 1, somewhat solidifying that Morris is the backup to Ezekiel Elliott. With Elliot’s legal situation not yet resolved, there is an outlying possibility that the former three time 1000-yard rusher could find himself as lead back behind the best offensive line in football.

Watch List

  1. Cardinals’ split: Williams, Ellington and Johnson.
  2. Bears split: Howard vs. Cohen.
  3. Javorius Allen’s usage.
  4. Duke Johnson’s alignment (primarily in the slot not the backfield in Week 1).
  5. Todd Gurley: 40 yards on 19 carries verse the Colts is concerning.
  6. Jay Ajayi: Reported knee soreness yet hasn’t played a game.
  7. Saints’ split: Peterson should be odd man out.
  8. Charles Sims: PPR sleeper.


Wide Receivers

Mike Williams


He’ll likely appear on this list until he returns in Week 4 or Week 5 because he is that great a talent. From a physical standpoint he is like a Madden create-a-player; the prototypical and ideal receiver frame. Tyrell Williams has shown flashes but M.Williams has the ability to supplant him on the depth chart if his route running improves and he finds a rhythm with Phillip Rivers. The path to his first start is eerily similar to that of Odell Beckham Jr. Williams was cleared to begin practicing today. 

J.J. Nelson

Nelson was the only Cardinals’ receiver to find the end zone in the first week. Nelson finished Week 1 with 5-43-1 on 6 targets, despite only playing 30 of 75 offensive snaps. John Brown has yet to practice this week with a quad injury and has an on-going battle with the sickle-cell trait. Nelson has top-end speed and is a legitimate deep threat if he sees an increased workload. Nelson has 8 touchdowns in his last 10 games. If he works in place of Brown, he has similar upside and is under 10% owned.

Josh Gordon


Gordon is set to leave his rehab treatment center on Sept. 21st and is still under contract with the Browns. He requires reinstatement from the NFL but he is only 26 years old and was the most dominate receiver in the 2013 season.

Brice Butler

The preseason Hall of Famer, is still stuck behind Terrance Williams on the depth chart but showcased his skillset with a nice 30-yard grab in Week 1, while Williams was sidelined. Williams returned to the game and promptly reclaimed his role but the fantasy world has been shouting about Butler’s upside for years and hope springs eternal.

Watch List

  1. If John Brown is inactive: Jaron Brown vs. J.J. Nelson usage.
  2. Jets’ target share: Anderson vs. Kearse.
  3. Redskins’ usage if Reed is inactive: Doctson vs. Grant.
  4. Is Bennie Fowler a thing?
  5. Seahawks target share: Richardson vs. Lockett
  6. Kenny Golladay red zone usage.
  7. Breshad Perriman
  8. Is Brandon Marshall washed? 


Defense/Special Teams

Dolphins DST

See how they fair in their first game but the Dolphins get the Jets in Week 3, and with the Browns and Colts playing each other, as of now they clearly look like the best streaming option.

Packers DST

They could get their doors blown off but the Falcons this week but they held the Seahawks in-check in Week 1 and have the Bengals coming to Lambeau in Week 3.