Ahhhhhh. We're back. Football is here. Life is good. Buckle up, because although it's a long season, it's fast moving. Before you know it, the leaves will change colors, the temperature will drop -- and you'll need some help for your fantasy football roster.
Truth be told, that help may be needed right now. We often say among the ESPN Fantasy staffers that the draft is where you build your initial roster, emphasizing "initial." Trades are prevalent in fantasy, so too is the waiver wire. Sometimes, it's a player whose seasonlong production wins you a championship (think Alvin Kamara last season), sometimes it's a player that finishes strong after a quiet start because of a trade or injury to a player ahead of him on the depth chart (the Kenyan Drake model).
No matter what approach you take, active roster management via the waiver wire is essential. And we're here to help. Every. Single. Week.
A few notes:
Players on this list must be available in over 50 percent of leagues on ESPN.com. We still encourage you to keep your eyes out for players who bring value that might be available, but they won't be highlighted on this if they are -- say -- available in only 30 percent of leagues.
Players will appear on this list for multiple weeks. If there's still value in a player from one week to the next and he's still available in over 50 percent of leagues, look for a repeat appearance. Sometimes it takes some time for people to fully understand a player's value.
Not all waiver claims are created equal. This list will -- speaking generally -- be chronicled by most valuable add to players with less value, but that depends upon what you might need. Also, not every waiver claim is a player that you project to have on your roster for an extended period of time. It could be a one- or two-week stopgap. It could be a player you roster all season. Use the waiver wire in different ways.
So here we go, it's the Week 2 ESPN Fantasy waiver wire column.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (7.9 percent): What we don't know (as of the time of this writing), is whether or not Leonard Fournette will miss time because of a hamstring injury that took him out of Week 1, but we do know that Yeldon is the best bet to fill in as the starter if Fournette sits. Yeldon rushed 14 times for 51 yards and added a receiving score in relief of Fournette. Should Yeldon start this week, he'd have top-25 running back value.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Cleveland Browns (36.0 percent): If you're still looking for a Carson Wentz fill-in (he could be out for Week 2) or not yet settled in on a quarterback, Taylor should be on your radar. Consider this: he played rather poorly in Week 1, completing 15-of-40 passes for 197 yards, but his rushing floor is simply too good to ignore. With 77 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 1, Taylor reminded us that he has a lot of ways to pick up fantasy points, whether it looks pretty or not.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers (41.7 percent): Jones will sit one more game due to a suspension, but while he won't be on the field until Week 3, it's much less likely that you'll be able to find him on the waiver wire next week when he's set to return to action. Jones was Green Bay's most explosive runner in 2017, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and scoring four times on 81 rushes. Add him now as he has top-30 running back upside upon return.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41.9 percent): The perpetually speedy Jackson found the end zone twice in Week 1 with nearly 150 yards on five catches. However, he also departed the game with an injury (concussion/shoulder). He's been a bit of an up-and-down player in recent years, but the upside is too good to ignore.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers (37.0 percent): Kittle profiled as a potential breakout candidate coming into the season, as the athletic tight end made a notable mark late in 2017 as a rookie. He picked up five catches for 90 yards -- and left a massive big play on the field with a dropped touchdown -- in Week 1 and should be a prominent part of this passing game going forward.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Seattle Seahawks (5.7 percent): Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after Week 1 that Doug Baldwin had a sprained MCL (on the other knee than the one which limited him this preseason), meaning the Seahawks may have to lean on other pass catchers for some time. Marshall -- in his Seahawks debut -- found the end zone and had three total catches for 46 yards. He and Tyler Lockett (available in close to 47 percent of leagues) project as the top two receivers if Baldwin is forced to miss any games.
Antonio Gates, TE, Los Angeles Chargers (26.4 percent): It was a slow start for Gates, who had just two catches in Week 1, but with injuries to Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen, tight end could become a position of need on the waiver wire this week. You know he's good in the red zone.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, New England Patriots (4.4 percent): Upon the news that Julian Edelman would miss four games due to suspension, we immediately wondered who might step up in the Patriots receiving corps. Dorsett, a 2015 first-round pick, looked sharp in Week 1, piling up seven catches, 66 yards and a touchdown. For at least three more weeks, he figures to play a significant number of snaps for the Patriots offense, and while an unfavorable matchup against Jacksonville in Week 2 looms, he's a worthwhile add.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos (1.9 percent): We were all excited about a Broncos rookie running back, as Royce Freeman rushed 15 times for 71 yards in his NFL debut. That rushing output was matched by Lindsay, a fellow rookie who has been one of the feel-good stories of the summer as a Denver-born runner who played college ball at Colorado. He added a receiving touchdown in Week 1 and appears to be in line for a steady role in this offense.
Ted Ginn Jr., WR, New Orleans Saints (16.8 percent): Drew Brees will one day be the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and sizzled in Week 1 with over 400 yards against Tampa Bay. By proxy, anyone near Brees is on the radar, including the ever-speedy Ginn who has home run potential on any play. He scored in Week 1 and had five catches for 68 yards after finishing just shy of 800 yards in 2017. He figures to continue to hold off Cameron Meredith, at least for now, as the No. 2 wideout in New Orleans.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34.4 percent): Godwin found the end zone for the Buccaneers in Week 1, although his value may be tied in part to the health of DeSean Jackson. The Bucs won't light it up offensively every week like they did in Week 1, but Godwin would be in line for second receiver duties if D-Jax is forced to miss any time.
Ryan Grant, WR, Indianapolis Colts (9.9 percent): If you believe at all in the impact of game flow, the Colts have a chance to be extremely pass-happy this year because of a lack of defensive talent that will force shootouts. That happened in Week 1, with Grant benefiting from 53 passing attempts from Andrew Luck, nine of which went to Grant, as he managed 59 yards on eight catches. Look for him to stay busy in a second wideout role for Indy opposite of T.Y. Hilton.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers (9.2 percent): It's always a good thing when you have Aaron Rodgers throwing you the football, as we saw in Week 1 when Allison posted five catches for 69 yards and a score. He's a deeper league add whose value is boosted should Rodgers be on the field in Week 2 (as of this writing, it seems likely but is unclear).
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts (38.9 percent): We'll get to his backfield counterpunch in a bit, but Wilkins was the focal point of the Colts running game, handling 14 of 22 team rushing attempts. And while those amounted to just 40 rushing yards, Wilkins looks like the best candidate for early down work in Indianapolis. It may be that this backfield does not yield a weekly top-25 option, but I'm intrigued by Wilkins as a stash add who could handle 200-plus carries this season.
John Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (21.6 percent): A strong preseason for "Smokey" Brown led into a Week 1 touchdown, as he scored on one of his three catches. While fellow Ravens newcomer Willie Snead IV also found the end zone, we'll give the edge to Brown as the Ravens wideout to pick up for the bigger play upside. He's averaged 14.5 yards per catch in his career.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts (7.0 percent): And the other side of the coin in the Colts backfield is Hines, who saw nine targets in Week 1, bringing in seven catches for 33 yards. We mentioned in respect to Grant that the Colts figure to be a pass-heavy team this year, with Hines as the back with the most passing game upside. An intriguing add in a deeper league.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (10.9 percent): While spending time at Chargers training camp this summer, one thing I heard quite a bit was the desire to get Ekeler on the field even more on offense (not in place of Melvin Gordon, but even alongside of Gordon) and he was busy in Week 1, with 10 touches, including five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. A worthwhile deeper league add.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (8.0 percent): With Marqise Lee out for the season due to a knee injury, someone is going to have to assume a top receiver workload in Jacksonville. Westbrook, who posted at least six targets in six of seven games last year, opened the season with five catches for 51 yard and figures to be the highest-ranked Jaguars receiver entering Week 2.
Quincy Enunwa, WR, New York Jets (9.2 percent): The impact of Enunwa's return (he missed 2017 due to a neck injury) was overlooked in the Jets' offense, as he started 2018 much like he played in 2016, by piling up catches. He finished Week 1 with a team-high six catches on 10 targets and a touchdown, looking like a preferred pass catcher for promising rookie Sam Darnold.
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders (27.8 percent): We've seen notable performances from Cook in the past, as the exceptional athlete has had his bright NFL moments. I'm not quite ready to say he'll be an every-week starter, but after a nine-catch, 180 yard outing in Week 1, he's a smart pickup to fill the void for a tight end-needy manager who may have rostered Delanie Walker or Greg Olsen (uncertain for Week 2).