Welcome to the exciting world of fantasy football, where success hinges not only on your draft-day choices but also on your savvy ability to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the waiver wire. As Week 1 of the NFL season is now in the rearview mirror, Week 2 presents a golden opportunity to gain an edge over your competition by identifying those hidden gems that can elevate your team to championship heights. In this article, we'll highlight some promising players who could make a significant impact this season. The waiver wire isn't just for filling gaps created by injuries; it's a treasure trove of potential. Keep a close eye on players who may have slipped through the cracks during your draft. As the season progresses, unforeseen circumstances can lead to increased opportunities for overlooked talent. Whether it's a breakout rookie, a late-blooming veteran, or a player stepping into a new role, the waiver wire offers a chance to snatch up potential fantasy stars before the rest of your league catches on. Your ability to adapt and stay ahead of the curve will be a game-changer in your fantasy football journey. With that, here are some Week 2 waiver wire pickups to consider:
QB - Brock Purdy - San Francisco 49ers
Most likely San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy is already on a roster in your league, but if he isn’t and you are in need of a quarterback, Purdy is a great pickup (or even trade acquisition if you can make it happen). Purdy completed 19 passes on 29 attempts for 220 yards and two touchdowns while having a quarterback rating of 111.3. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, he’s also the first quarterback in NFL history to have a passing rating of 95-or-higher in each of his first six regular season starts. This is all in his first game back from elbow surgery. I think it’s safe to say that Purdy has proven himself to be more than a capable starter in the NFL, and as long as he’s leading the 49er's offense, should continue to be very good. An excellent acquisition in any league if you can make it happen.
QB - Zach Wilson - New York Jets
With New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers out, Zach Wilson steps in as the immediate replacement. The former first-round pick had an average night (14-21, 140 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception) against the Buffalo Bills in their Week 1 overtime Monday Night win, but has many weapons at his disposal. Even though the Jets may lean more on the run game with Rodgers out, Wilson should have ample opportunities to start and post solid stats. He’s worth a waiver wire pick up and bench stash.
RB - Justice Hill/Keaton Mitchell - Baltimore Ravens
With starter JK Dobbins tearing his Achilles in Week 1 (a brutal injury), chances are his career might be over. With that said, Dobbins' injury opens the door for other running backs to step up. It’s very possible the Ravens sign another back or elevate Melvin Gordon from the practice squad in the next few days. It’s also obvious that at the moment Gus Edwards is the starter. However, Hill rushed for two touchdowns and showed excellent capability, and Keaton Mitchell is the rookie dark horse of the group. Both of these players provide excellent insurance if you are the Edwards owner. Either would also be next in line for additional carries should Edwards go down. Of the two, Mitchell is most likely the best long-term solution, but Hill has already proven to be a capable player in his own right.
RB - Kyren Williams - L.A. Rams
If there’s one thing we fantasy managers should’ve known, it’s that Rams coach Sean McVay isn’t afraid to continue using running backs by committee. No sooner did we anticipate Cam Akers being the starter, but Kyren Williams then got 15 carries. Williams ended up with 52 yards (3.3 yards per carry) along with two touchdowns. Until we have more clarity on the Rams situation, Williams may be the backfield runner to own. Again, worth a pickup and stash.
WR - Puca Nacua - L.A. Rams
Where did this come from? Just when we thought the rookie fifth-round pick was low on the depth chart and not going to get much play time, Nacua completely turns that script on it's head and ends up with 10 receptions on 15 (yes 15!) targets for 119 yards. Even when Cooper Kupp returns, this is a situation to monitor, as Nacua put up historically great Week 1 numbers. Puca should easily be able to continue producing even as the number two upon Kupp’s return. Worth a pick up and stash.
WR - Tutu Atwell - L.A. Rams
While Nacua was having his historic day, Atwell had a solid game in his own right. Six receptions on eight targets for 119 yards shows his talent and skill, as his speed allowed him to create separation and catches. He operated as the Rams big play threat, and was the second most targeted player on the team. With that said, once Kupp returns his role might diminish, but in the meantime he’s easily worth an add and stash.
TE - Hayden Hurst - Carolina Panthers
With rookie quarterback Bryce Young at the helm, many assumed young wide receiver Jonathan Mingo would be the go-to receiver in this offense, but it ended up being Hurst who led the team in targets (seven), and receptions (five). Hurst also added in one touchdown, and looked every bit the part of a check-down option for Young. If you’re in need at the tight end position, one can do much worse than Hurst. Add and stash, as he may even be worth starting in the right matchup.
K - Matt Prater -Arizona Cardinals
Matt Prater has a booming leg, and even as the Cardinal offense didn’t do much, Prater was able to nail 3 field goals (including a 54-yarder) and add in an extra point. With the Arizona offense projected to struggle for the foreseeable future, Prater will most likely continue to see a lot of opportunities and should be able to make the most of them. If you’re in need of a kicker, Prater should be a solid option moving forward.
DEF - Arizona Cardinals
Six sacks, three turnovers, one touchdown. The Arizona Cardinals defense came to play in the team's 20-16 loss to the Washington Commanders on Sunday. Those are excellent numbers against any NFL team, and seven of the Commander's final 11 drives were four plays or less. Led by linebacker Zaven Collins, the Cardinal defense was able to bottle up the Commanders to the tune of just 92 total rushing yards while only giving up nine to Washington running back Antonio Gibson. As the Arizona offense projects to struggle without Kyler Murray, the defense is capable of keeping the team in close games. If they continue like this, they could be a solid fantasy unit moving forward. They are worth a flier and already are looking like a solid bye week defensive replacement with the upside for more.
Remember, the key to successful waiver wire pickups is staying ahead of the curve and identifying players with the potential for increased roles or production. Don't hesitate to make strategic roster moves to give your fantasy team an edge in Week 2 and beyond. Good luck!