Top Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 2

By Chip Bayless (click Howie for more Chip)




1) Kyren Williams

Owned in just 10% of ESPN leagues, Kyren Williams runs with the power and vision that Rams coaches wish Cam Akers ran with, and easily outperformed Cam “the teacher’s pet” Akers in terms of efficiency and basically every statistic except for carries.

Despite being out-carried by “starter” Cam Akers 22-15, Williams ran for 52 yards and looked decisive and relentless while Akers ran for a putrid 29 yards, averaging 1.3 yards per carry (YPC), and salvaged his fantasy day with one walk-in TD from the one yard line.

Williams on the other hand averaged 3.5 YPC and scored twice, one of which included impressive tenacity to fight forwards through multiple defenders near the goal-line.

Kyren Williams was also on the field for 65% of Rams snaps while Akers was only on the field for 35% (per Fantasy Pros).

It’s worth noting over a third of Akers’ rushing yards came on a single 12-yard rush as well.

The Rams’ official depth chart lists Akers first, but the Rams have been known to ride the hot hand in the past and after this week’s film review one has to figure if there is a “hot hand” at the moment, it will be Williams.

Additionally, the Rams’ offense should support both Akers and Williams regardless for the first four weeks of the season while Kupp is on IR, as the Rams made it apparent they are determined to run the ball more without their top receiver early on.

While it was just Week 1, Williams did rank 11th among all RBs in rush yards over expected (RYOE, per Next Gen Stats), while Akers ranked last among all eligible RBs.

Williams also ranked 5th in ROE%, trailing Mixon, Ekeler, Chubb, and CMC (also per Next Gen Stats). He was also one of only four Week 1 RBs to score two rushing TDs.

Kyren Williams also notched a majority of the red zone work as he received 63% of the Rams’ red zone rushes (per Pro Football Reference).

Despite the potential upside, fantasy managers shouldn’t deploy Williams as anything other than a risky FLEX play or desperate RB2 in Week 2 considering what the 49ers did to the Steelers on Sunday.



2) Puka Nacua

Puka Nacua’s sudden fantasy relevance was about as expected as the United States actually finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but here we are after Week 1.

With Cooper Kupp on IR, many wondered who would step up for the Rams or if they would even have a remotely competent offense.

Enter Puka Nacua, who led the Rams in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. He also accounted for just over a third of all the Rams Air Yards (per Next Gen Stats).

As we know, Stafford loves throwing to white/light-skinned receivers like Trump supporters love pseudoscience and late-stage capitalism, so Nacua should have significant value going forward and is likely the best and safest Week 2 start on this list.

Among Week 1 WRs, Nacua ranked:

  • 2nd receptions & targets to just Tyreek Hill
  • 4th in receiving yards
  • 7th in YAC and YAC per reception (per
  • Tied for 3rd in catches resulting in 1st downs
  • 8th in scrimmage yards per touch (per Pro Football Focus)

Nacua runs routes like Kupp, and his agility and ability to set defenders with stutter steps and smart angles is just flat out fun to watch for any football fan.

He’s getting plenty of opportunities as well, as he ranked 17th among all WRs in total snaps and was on the field for 78% of the Rams’ snaps (per Fantasy Pros).

Can he keep it up in Week 2? The Rams passing attack will certainly provide the opportunities, and Nacua will do his best Kupp impression again against the stout 49ers defense.

That’s one final factor working in Nacua’s favor this weekend by the way: even if the Rams get blown out, that just means they’ll have to keep throwing and giving Nacua his opportunities to try and claw back in the contest.



3) Justice Hill

While there are a few receivers who will put up more PPG than Hill, he cracks the list at #3 simply because of the dearth of talent that is the current RB fantasy free agent market, and because the Ravens run the ball as much as any team in the NFL and J.K. Dobbins just tore his achilleas.

Whether you have RB depth or not essentially depends on if you should spend a waiver claim on Hill this week. If you were dumb enough to have someone like McKinnon be your best bench RB after draft day – like myself – then you should absolutely spend a claim on Hill this week.


Hill received eight carries like the rest of the Ravens’

RBs, and while he only recorded nine yards compared to Gus Edwards’ 32, Hill ran for two scores while Edwards ran for none.

Hill was also among only four backs to rush for two TDs in Week 1, and he accounted for 67% of all the Ravens’ red zone rushes (per Pro Football Reference).

The Ravens official website lists Gus Edwards as the second RB and Hill as the third, but both received the same number of carries, Hill was on the field for 30% of snaps while Edwards only cracked 23% (per Fantasy Pros) and the Ravens rushing attack can definitely support two running backs from a fantasy perspective – especially if you need an RB3 or RB4.



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