Welcome back, folks. The weekly grind of fantasy football season is upon us. As in the past two years, I will list the best waiver wire pickups available and break down the toughest start 'em, sit 'em decisions every week of the year. It will not guarantee victory each week but it'll make your team better. Probably. I can't promise anything, really. Such is the nature of fantasy football.
Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams (Available in 97 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
You know how Matthew Stafford got tunnel vision to Cooper Kupp last year and basically only threw him the ball? It would appear Nacua, a fifth-round rookie, has taken his spot in that regard. Stafford targeted Nacua 15 (!!!) times and the wideout caught 10 of those for 113 yards. He didn't score any touchdowns, which is probably the biggest potential problem with his fantasy output going forward, but he clearly has Stafford's trust and Kupp isn't coming back for another three weeks at minimum. Grab this guy immediately and enjoy his hilariously large target share while you can.
Kendrick Bourne, WR, New England Patriots (Available in 97 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
Going into the year you were probably warned, by a fantasy expert or your own common sense, to stay the hell away from the New England Patriots offense (excluding Rhamondre Stevenson). It's been a hard-and-fast rule for fantasy football for a while and has paid dividends. But! This year's Patriots offense looks competent and, more relevantly, Bourne looks like he's out of the doghouse and back as a top Mac Jones target. He recorded six catches for 64 yards and two touchdowns but got targeted 11 times by Jones. It's still early to say whether New England will have a "good" offense, to be sure. Bourne is widely available, though, and isn't really competing with anybody for targets. Don't start him immediately but he's worth a look now if you have the roster spot to burn to see if the passing game in Foxborough will end up consistent enough to provide fantasy value.
Kyren Williams, RB, Los Angeles Rams (Available in 89 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
Another Ram! It is not good fantasy strategy to put all one's eggs into a singluar offensive basket, so if you have to choose, I'd pick up Nacua over Williams. But Williams has a lot of potential. He got most of the carries over Cam Akers against Seattle when the game was still close (a big upset) and converted red zone carries to a pair of touchdowns on the day. It is not likely the Rams blow out many other teams this year so Williams could see even more work going forward. I'd think twice about starting him against the 49ers next week, but knowing that the Rams haven't always been on the best terms with Akers, Williams could end up the bellcow for Los Angeles going forward.
Rashid Shaheed, WR, New Orleans Saints (Available in 98 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
Some of you may remember Shaheed from a weird ESPN glitch last year. He was nothing more than a gadget player on a bad offense back then. This year, he is slightly more than that! Shaheed got seven touches against the Titans on Sunday (five catches and two rushes) for 100 total yards and added a TD to round out a good day for fantasy. Due to the way the Saints use him, Shaheed's output will fluctuate pretty wildly as the weeks go on. But next week presents a favorable matchup against a Carolina defense that may be without top corner Jaycee Horn and gave up 24 points to a toothless Falcons offense in Week 1. A risky bet but one that could pay off big-time.
Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Available in 78 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
The Gus Bus is not as widely available as his counterparts on this list because many fantasy players banked on someone getting hurt in the Baltimore backfield and picked him up before the season started. Those players were right. JK Dobbins is done for the season again, this time with a torn Achilles, and the door is wide open for Edwards to finally produce consistent fantasy value. There is a risk he splits carries with Justice Hill to the point that it becomes a hindrance, but if you're looking to bet on one of those RBs, Edwards is your guy. He's averaged five yards per carry for his career and is more likely to pop against the Bengals next week.