Stay on top of the competition by hitting your fantasy football league’s waiver wire. Targets and breakout players updated weekly.
2017 hot waiver wire pickups
Alex Smith, QB/KC: Always seen as a game manager, Smith likely began the 2017 season on the bottom of only a handful of fantasy football rosters. But he finished 8th in passing yards and 9th in touchdown passes, and threw just five interceptions on the entire season.
Jared Goff, QB/LAR: The Rams were not expected to be a juggernaut, thus Goff likely went undrafted in most redraft fantasy leagues. But Goff finished as one of the biggest components of the highest-scoring offense in the NFL last season. He was Top 10 in passing yards and Top 5 in touchdown passes.
Case Keenum, QB/MIN: Keenum started the season as the backup in Minnesota, thus he shouldn’t have been drafted in any fantasy football drafts. But an injury to Sam Bradford led to a productive fantasy season and netted Keenum a contract in Denver this offseason.
Deshaun Watson, QB/HOU: The rookie earned the starting job after a flop by veteran Tom Savage and when he took the reigns of the offense, he lit the fantasy world on fire. He was playing like an MVP candidate before tearing his ACL.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB/SF: He began the season on New England’s roster as the backup and heir to Tom Brady’s throne, but the Patriots felt good enough in Brady’s longevity and shipped Jimmy G to the Niners, where he started five games and threw for 1,560 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Kareem Hunt, RB/KC: There were two types of redraft leagues last season; let’s call them pre-Ware and post-Ware. When Chiefs RB Spencer Ware tore his MCL and PCL in the preseason, that shifted the rookie Hunt’s stock immediately. Hunt went from the third string to anointed starter in an instant. Thus, if you were in the pre-Ware redraft leagues, there’s a chance Hunt was on your league’s waiver wire to start the 2017 season, and the rest is history.
Alvin Kamara, RB/NO: Unless you drafted Kamara in keeper leagues, it’s not likely the Saints rookie started the season on many fantasy football rosters. He was behind veterans Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson on the New Orleans depth chart. But AP got shipped to Arizona and Ingram shared duties with the explosive Kamara, which caused the latter to be picked up off the waiver wire quickly.
Jerick McKinnon, RB/MIN: Rookie Dalvin Cook looked to be headed toward a big campaign before tearing his ACL. The Vikings offense and its running game continued to chug along fine, however. McKinnon finished with 991 all-purpose yards and 5 touchdowns and earned a gig in San Francisco in the offseason.
Dion Lewis, RB/NE: Drafting Patriots not named Brady or Gronkowski is always a risky proposition. So, there’s a good chance Lewis was not on a lot of fantasy rosters to start the 2017 campaign. But Lewis tallied 1,110 all-purpose yards, finished 14th in rushing, and scored 9 touchdowns.
Alex Collins, RB/BAL: No one was sure what was going on in Baltimore’s backfield last year as Kenneth Dixon, Terrance West and Danny Woodhead were hot commodities in the preseason. But Collins wound up securing 12 starts, picked up 1,160 total yards and six touchdowns and became a waiver wire pickup.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR/PIT: The Steelers were loaded with fantasy football weapons, thus the rookie Smith-Schuster likely got passed over in a lot of fantasy drafts. But after surpassing Eli Rogers and getting more action than Martavis Bryant, the JuJu was working on the waiver wire.
Robert Woods, WR/LAR: What? Who? Woods was hardly selected in 2017 fantasy drafts, I guarantee it. Nobody could iron out the Rams’ WR depth chart, plus no one expected the Rams to be the highest-scoring offense in the NFL. But Woods became a serviceable fantasy fill-in, tallying 56 receptions for 781 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Will Fuller, WR/HOU: Fuller trailed off toward the end of the 2017 season, but prior to Deshaun Watson’s demise, Fuller scored 7 touchdowns in four weeks and was flying off the waiver wire.
Devin Funchess, WR/CAR: Funchess finished 8th in touchdown receptions last year and became the de facto No. 1 receiver in Carolina when Kelvin Benjamin was traded to the Bills.
Robby Anderson, WR/NYJ: Anderson grew to become a moderately successful fantasy football option as Josh McCown’s go-to guy in New York. As his rapport with McCown grew, he quickly found his way onto fantasy football rosters via the waiver wire.
Evan Engram, TE/NYG: Depending on the roster size in your fantasy football leagues, Engram either went undrafted or was selected as someone’s No. 2 tight end in the back half of drafts. With a rash of injuries spreading throughout the receivers room in New York, the rookie Engram became one of the top tight ends in the league and was quickly scooped up.
Tyler Kroft, TE/CIN: Tyler Eifert went down with an injury — yup, again — and Kroft stepped in and began putting up fantasy points, earning himself a spot on many rosters. He finished sixth in touchdown receptions among tight ends in 2017.
Vernon Davis, TE/WAS: NFL backup tight ends aren’t usually selected in fantasy football drafts, thus Davis began the season on the waiver wire in many leagues. When Jordan Reed went down with an injury — as he tends to do — Davis became a hot target.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE/NYJ: Seferian-Jenkins was a promising young player in Tampa Bay but couldn’t stay out of trouble. Landing with the Jets certainly didn’t help his apparent fantasy value, until he started being targeted by Josh McCown, tallying at least 4 receptions in 7 of 13 games.
Zach Miller, TE/CHI: The Bears’ wide receiver depth was so putrid last season that the tight end became one of the top targets on the team, especially after rookie Mitch Trubisky took over the offense. Miller’s time as a fantasy option was short, but he was a hot commodity for a brief stint.