Hey, this is new!
Effective as of, well, right now, I'll be penning our weekly ESPN Fantasy waiver wire adds column. This is your home for all the names you need to know who have springboarded onto the fantasy radar and with what level of urgency you need to act in order to acquire them.
Here's the deal: I'll lead the column with a section of players who qualify as the top pickups for the week, for those in leagues of up to 12 teams, and I'll follow that with deeper-league adds that pique my interest. Some of the players in the deeper-league section could be worthy of consideration in leagues as small as 12 teams, depending on the roster structure, but are certainly viable in leagues larger than 12 teams. The players in each section will be listed in the order I would prioritize them in making waiver claims or in using your free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB).
Stevie Johnson, WR, San Diego Chargers (owned in 29.7 percent of ESPN leagues): In theory, a top-two wide receiver in a passing offense led by an excellent quarterback should almost always have value. Johnson, who wound up in San Diego after a nondescript stay in San Francisco, reminded us why he has been a 1,000-yard receiver in this league before. He totaled six catches, 82 yards and a touchdown against Detroit in Week 1. He's not only a player who should be added in all leagues, he'll be a top-30 or so wide receiver for Week 2.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots (17.3 percent): The door was wide-open for someone to take on a Shane Vereen-type role (a pass-catching back) in New England this season, and with LeGarrette Blount out due to suspension, Lewis shined in the team's Week 1 win. He had 19 total touches for 120 yards, including 15 rushes for 59 yards. Lewis won't be a primary goal-line option with Blount back (Brandon Bolden got some of those duties in Week 1), but he's in line for a significant role in a high-octane offense.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts (31.0 percent): There was a point this offseason when it seemed as though Moncrief -- a very good talent -- would be buried on the Colts' depth chart behind three other wideouts. Things have changed quickly, as T.Y. Hilton suffered a knee bruise that could cost him some time and, frankly, Andre Johnson has me a bit worried after looking nonexplosive in his Indy debut. Moncrief registered 11 targets against Buffalo in Week 1 and is the presumptive starter opposite of Johnson until Hilton returns.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys (44.6 percent): Williams has big-time talent and with Dez Bryant out 4-8 weeks with a broken foot, Williams looks ready to step into the lead wideout role for Dallas. Will he be Bryant-esque? No, of course not. But the No. 1 wide receiver in an offense with an excellent quarterback is fantasy-relevant. Williams saw eight targets in Week 1; he should be guaranteed a similar workload for as long as Bryant is out.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers (30.7%): For a player who was cut by both the Raiders and Giants (two teams that could use the wide receiver help), Jones looked pretty good on Sunday in his return to the Packers. He had four catches, two of which were touchdowns, and had another end zone trip called back because of penalty. He's unquestionably at his best in Green Bay, and even if he remains the third passing option behind Randall Cobb and Davante Adams (who led the team with eight targets), Jones has fantasy value. He's one injury to either player away from being a top-25 wide receiver.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals (48.0 percent): Since the start of last season, Palmer has started seven games, throwing for 1,933 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. He got off to a blistering start in Week 1, sailing north of 300 passing yards and throwing three more touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald looked refreshed, John Brown is a budding star and tight end Darren Fells picked up where he left off from the preseason (four catches, 82 yards, one TD). Palmer can be an every-week starter.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos (46.7 percent): Hillman saw an identical number of carries (12) to C.J. Anderson in the Broncos' Week 1 win, something that already had fantasy owners intrigued. The offense really struggled in Week 1, but owning a running back who has more value than strictly a handcuff in an offense that we know still has a high ceiling is worth it. Add Hillman.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans (35.7 percent): What an historic debut for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. He tied the NFL record for most touchdown passes by a rookie in his NFL debut with four. Meanwhile, he had just three incompletions. Everyone -- present company included -- suspected that Mariota's chances for fantasy stardom would be tied to rushing yards. Well, he had just two carries for 6 yards Sunday. It didn't matter. He won't face nearly as poor of a defense as Tampa Bay's each week and the hand injury to tight end Delanie Walker bears monitoring, but Mariota hasn't even scraped the surface of his potential. We often think of bench stashes as running backs or receivers (positions at which you play multiple players each game), but it's OK to use Week 1 as a launching point in investing in Mariota stock.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati, Bengals (43.0 percent): Eifert's talent is unquestioned -- there's a reason he was a first-round pick back in 2013 -- but now healthy, he showed exactly what the Bengals hoped for when they selected him. He can win in the middle of the field with his size, length and soft hands. He had nine catches, 104 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets against the Raiders.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills (12.1 percent): I came this close to throwing Taylor in the first section, but I gave Mariota the edge among the upside quarterbacks to stash for now. Make no mistake, Taylor was sensational in Week 1 and is a starter in two-quarterback leagues.
Chris Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals (11.2 percent): With Andre Ellington banged up in Week 1, Johnson, who was signed late in training camp, is primed to be a starting back, at least based on how coach Bruce Arians forecasted his role Sunday (tabbing him as the "lead dog" if Ellington misses time). I'm not particularly optimistic that Johnson has a ton of upside (he managed 37 yards on 10 carries in Week 1), but the role is good enough to add him, even if you want to wait a week and let him prove he deserves a spot in your lineup as early as Week 3.
David Johnson , RB, Arizona Cardinals (37.1 percent): He played just five offensive snaps in his debut, but his lone touch was a 55-yard receiving touchdown. If you're adding a Cardinals back who you don't need right away, he's the guy.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks (19.9 percent): Lockett has quickly displayed his tantalizing combination of speed and quickness, as he has four touchdowns of 50 yards or more, including the preseason. He caught all four passes thrown his way in Week 1, but for just 34 yards. He's a bench player for now with upside.
Brandon Coleman, WR, New Orleans Saints (16.8 percent): After being tabbed as the MVP of Saints training camp, Coleman logged four catches and a Week 1 touchdown. He has a Marques Colston-like build and may already be close to leapfrogging Colston as the second-most critical wide receiver on the Saints roster. I like this guy.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington (32.0 percent): He saw north of one-third of the throws from Kirk Cousins in Week 1. He has always been a gifted run-after-catch player, but health has limited him in the past. He can be started at tight end for as long as he's healthy.
Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo Bills (44.8 percent): Remember this guy? The former Vikings star had five catches on as many targets in Week 1, including a deep score. He's an intriguing deeper-league add, because he's still an exceptional athlete.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24.1 percent): For fantasy purposes, it's no matter whether you score in garbage time or crunch time. ASJ feasted late in Week 1, finishing with two touchdown. He's a viable tight end option.
Karlos Williams, RB, Buffalo Bills (7.1 percent): Two primary takeaways from Week 1 regarding Williams: He's the handcuff to LeSean McCoy in a run-heavy offense and he's a talented dude. His 26-yard touchdown run was one of the best of the weekend. He should be on the radar of all McCoy owners.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers (6.7 percent): For three more weeks -- after which Antonio Gates returns -- Green will be the starting tight end in a capable passing offense. He found the end zone in Week 1.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets (1.3 percent): Looking for a back to stash in deeper leagues? Powell makes sense. He's a no-glamour back, but he saw 14 touches in a ground-based offense Sunday. Chris Ivory starred Sunday, but Powell is next up on the depth chart.
Rashad Greene, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (0.2 percent): The fifth-round rookie out of Florida State saw 13 targets in Week 1. His final production was pedestrian (seven catches, 28 yards, TD), but he's a deep, deep-league stash.