Thomason: Top Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 1

By Jack Thomason–

(CBS) Here we go! Another year of fantasy football is set to unfold, and I’m sure you’re as excited as I am.

We all know injuries are going to strike and hot waiver additions will carry teams through the championship week. So we might as well start thinking about some players who should be on our radar already here in Week 1. These aren’t players I’d run out and grab by dropping quality players you drafted, but if you’re weak at a position or you drafted Andrew Luck, some of these players may be helpful.

Here are my top 10 waiver adds for 10- and 12-member leagues:

1. Kendall Wright, (WR, Chicago Bears) – Mike Glennon has to throw to someone, right? After Cameron Meredith’s injury, it’s easy to peg Kevin White as the go-to receiver in the Bears offense, but he hasn’t looked good this preseason, and Wright is a former first-round pick himself. Glennon seemed to show a connection with Wright, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch a lot of passes, especially if White can’t regain his speed and explosion.

2. Carson Palmer, (QB, Arizona Cardinals) – For those who drafted Luck or have Philip Rivers, Palmer is a great option at quarterback during the early part of the season. He looked great in his dress rehearsal during the preseason, and the Cardinals have a great opening schedule for the passing game. They’ll tee off on the Lions in the opener and then proceed to see the porous secondaries of the Colts, Cowboys, 49ers and Eagles.

3. Cooper Kupp, (WR, Los Angeles Rams) – Kupp quickly became a favorite target of quarterback Jared Goff in the preseason, tallying eight receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown over two games while consistently getting open. He may end up providing WR3 value, especially in point-per-reception leagues if he continues to see the targets he did during the preseason.

4. Chris Carson, (RB, Seattle Seahawks)  – Carson has been the most impressive running back all preseason for the Seahawks. His name has been coming up since OTAs in June. He was listed as co-backup along with Eddie Lacy. And starter Thomas Rawls isn’t fully healthy. I’m one who’s buying into where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and we know the Seahawks aren’t afraid to play the underdogs over the big names or highly paid players.  Just think back to 2012 when some third-round rookie named Russell Wilson beat out the highly paid free-agent addition named Matt Flynn for the starting quarterback gig.

5. Coby Fleener (TE, New Orleans Saints) – With receiver Willie Snead serving a suspension for the first three games, the buzz is about Fleener seeing an expanded role in the Saints offense. One year removed from being tagged the top tight end to explode, Fleener has fallen far from graces and can be had for nil. If you missed on a decent tight end or took the late-round draft approach, he’s worth looking in to, especially over the first three weeks.

6. Paul Richardson, (WR, Seattle Seahawks)  – Richardson was good last year for the Seahawks, making spectacular catches and stepping up his game in the playoffs. The Seahawks have since traded receiver Jermaine Kearse and named Richardson their starter. There aren’t many options behind receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham, and the running back situation is murky at the moment. On top of that, Wilson is set for a major bounce-back year after dealing with multiple injuries.

7. Vance McDonald, (TE, Pittsburgh Steelers) – The Steelers weren’t happy with what they had at tight end, so they went out and traded for McDonald, a good athlete whom the Steelers can use to create mismatches and stretch the seam. This is something they’ve wanted badly and tried to accomplish with Ladarius Green last year, but he wasn’t healthy long enough. When he was, he was heavily targeted and provided some big games at a tough fantasy position. So keep an eye out on McDonald as he gets acclimated to his new surroundings.

8. Cole Beasley, (WR, Dallas Cowboys) – Beasley is underrated but also more of a point-per-reception league add. He’s coming off of a 75-catch season, a year in which the Cowboys spent most of the time playing with a lead. Given the Ezekiel Elliott suspension (we’ll see how it all pans out with him playing Week 1 now) and the likelihood of facing many more negative game scripts, Beasley should have every opportunity to post similar numbers, if not higher. That’s WR3-type production at no cost if he wasn’t drafted.

9. Kenny Golladay, (WR, Detroit Lions) – Anquan Boldin is no longer on the Lions after scoring eight touchdowns last year. The Lions could very well begin to target Eric Ebron more in the red zone, but that would be an offensive philosophy shift as they haven’t targeted their tight ends much there in the past. That leaves the 6-foot-4, 213-pound Golladay to fill his spot as the main red-zone weapon and a player who could push to make more of an impact as he profiles as the prototypical X receiver in this offense.

10. Matt Breida, (RB, San Francisco 49ers) – Breida is the clear No. 2 running back behind Carlos Hyde, and we know Hyde has had trouble staying healthy in the past. Breida is a talented back who could make some noise in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. It only take’s one injury for Breida to be a relevant RB2/3 due to the volume he’d see.

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and co-host of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and 670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter@jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.

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