Fantasy Football: Be Cautious With This Week's Top Waiver Pickups - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Fantasy Football: Be Cautious With This Week's Top Waiver Pickups

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    Fantasy Football: Be Cautious With This Week's Top Waiver Pickups
    CSNPhilly.com
    Fantasy football: Be cautious with this week's top waiver pickups

    The person who has the top waiver priority in your fantasy football league will likely be using it this week on Kerwynn Williams.

    Let them.

    Williams is the hot name on the waiver wire after the long-term injury to Cardinals running back David Johnson. Johnson is expected to miss 3 to 4 months, opening up tons of carries in Arizona's backfield.

    But there is literally no comparison between Johnson and Williams. Johnson is an elite running back with vision, patience, speed, amazing hands and a knack for converting at the goal line. It's not like Williams is going to come in and be this 150-total-yards-per-game player. He might not even get the bulk of carries.

    Keep in mind that Andre Ellington is still in that Cardinals backfield, and he actually outsnapped Williams in Week 1. The Cards have also brought back veteran RB Chris Johnson, who has experience in that offense.

    In terms of running backs, I'd go for Chris Thompson or Shane Vereen well before I'd go for a Cardinals back, especially in PPR leagues. Thompson and Vereen are both available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

    Thompson had four catches for 52 yards and a TD in the opener and has a consistent role in Washington's offense.

    Vereen didn't have a carry for the Giants but caught 9 passes for 52 yards. In a Giants offense with a skittish Eli Manning, there could be plenty of similar games in his future.

    Here's a quick overview of the popular waiver wire players this week and whether you should go all-in on one of them.

    Ravens D/ST
    To me, the top pickup of the week is not a skill player, it's the Ravens' defense. Somehow, Baltimore's defense is available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

    After pitching a shutout of the Bengals in Week 1, the Ravens get the Browns at home in Week 2. 

    Home-field advantage might not mean a ton in today's NFL, but it has meant a lot for the Ravens' defense in recent years. Last season, Baltimore allowed an average of 14.8 points at home. (That includes the 26 points the Eagles hung on them in Week 15.)

    The last time the Ravens hosted the Browns, they won 28-7, forced three turnovers and had four sacks. That translates to right around 15 fantasy points.

    But it's not just the Ravens' Week 2 matchup that makes them, in my mind, the most impactful pickup this week. In Week 3, they face the turnover-prone Jaguars, who just lost their top wide receiver, Allen Robinson, to an ACL tear. 

    It's that, looking ahead, there might not be a single better defense to have in the fantasy playoffs. In Week 15, semifinal week, the Ravens play the Browns again. In Week 16, they get the Colts, who at that point might have shut Andrew Luck down for the season given how much of a trainwreck they could be by midseason.

    Look, if you have massive holes on your roster, maybe a skill player makes more sense for you this week. But if your choices are picking up Cooper Kupp or Williams just to keep them on the bench, why not pick up a starter? The Ravens' defense is a starter in fantasyland.

    WR Cooper Kupp (Rams)
    There's a lot to like about Kupp, especially in PPR leagues. He caught 4 of 5 targets for 76 yards and a TD in his NFL debut after a preseason full of hype.

    But be cautious with guys like this. If you have a Pierre Garcon, a Golden Tate, a Randall Cobb, even a Cole Beasley ... are you really going to confidently start Kupp ahead of them most weeks? If the answer is no, then he's not worth $30 out of your $100 free-agent purse. 

    Kupp is definitely a player worth picking up in leagues that start three wide receivers in addition to a flex. But if you're in a 2-WR league, it's just hard to imagine there being too many weeks where he's a clearly better option than what you have on the bench or what is readily available in free agency.

    RB Tarik Cohen (Bears)
    Cohen turned heads in Week 1 with 113 total yards, eight receptions and a receiving TD. His exciting game will make him an exciting pickup for some owners this week.

    Just keep in mind that despite his impressive debut, Cohen received just 42 percent of the Bears' snaps. Jordan Howard was on the field for 57 percent. Howard has not been supplanted.

    The more important point, though, is that the Bears' next six games are against good to very good teams - at Bucs, vs. Steelers, at Packers, vs. Vikings, at Ravens, vs. Panthers. They figure to face larger deficits in those games than they did in the Week 1 nailbiter with Atlanta, and unless Cohen becomes a Mark Ingram-like checkdown machine, his presence might not be as important the next month and a half.

    WR Nelson Agholor (Eagles)
    Same points with Agholor as with Kupp. My big thing with fantasy pickups is: Will you ever confidently start this player? Remember Kevin Ogletree several years ago after his explosive Week 1?

    To me, Agholor is not even worth wasting your spot in the waiver order. Not unless he does this two or three weeks in a row.

    WR Kenny Golladay (Lions)
    This is a wide receiver worth using an early claim on. Golladay was a preseason darling who turned in two TDs in Week 1 and appears to already have a rapport with Matthew Stafford. 

    Golladay was the clear No. 3 wide receiver for Detroit in terms of snaps, behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. But at the very least, he's shown he can be an impact player even if he's third in the pecking order. He could be this year's Jamison Crowder.