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Injuries, cuts, trades and suspensions happen between the day you draft your Fantasy Football team and the day the season starts. Don’t be ashamed to be hunting the Fantasy Football waiver wire before Week 1 even begins.

There’s already been a litany of football injuries thanks to preseason play, but it’s early and the waiver wire offers you some choices that could hold some upside.

All season long, So Called Fantasy Experts will bring you a weekly update on the wire to help you capitalize on match-ups. Our source for ownership percentages is ESPN, and we’ll only look at players who are owned in 30 percent of leagues or less.

Since it’s only Week 1, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends steal the show as the QB position has pretty much remained constant.

Take a look at these offensive threats off the Fantasy Football waiver wire in Week 1.


Week 1 Waiver Wire Targets


Running Back

Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers (15 percent owned)

Jonathan Stewart owner’s should consider Stewart’s backup, Artis-Payne, as a handcuff. Stewart’s long history of leg injuries do not forecast a healthy 2015 campaign. With Cam Newton at the reins and Kelvin Benjamin out for the year, rookie Artis-Payne could turn into a passing-down threat, if not a starter to replace an injured Stewart.

Roy Helu, Oakland Raiders (23 percent owned)

Likely to be the Raiders passing-down back, Helu takes on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. The Bengals defense allowed only two touchdowns in their three preseason wins. Helu’s value, because of his passing-down use, will depend on Derek Carr and the Raiders offensive line’s ability to execute the short-passing game.


Wide Receiver

Rueben Randle, New York Giants (28 percent owned)

Randle is locked into the three-wide receiver sets, possibly as the top WR2 for the team. With so many receiving threats for Eli Manning—Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Shane Vereen and Larry Donnell—expect the Giants to mix it up with regularity.

“I’d say close to unstoppable. Just the type of players we have on this side of the ball, if we can protect Eli, give us time to get open downfield, there’s not really a coverage you can put out there to stop us.” – Randle told the New York Daily News.

Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (27 percent owned)

In Week 1, Jones has a favorable match-up against the Raiders. He should slide into the top WR2 role for the Bengals. Although he missed 2014 because of a fractured foot, his 2013 campaign (51 receptions, 712 yards, 10 touchdowns) illustrate Andy Dalton’s propensity to look to Jones even with A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard filling out the offense.

Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers (28 percent owned)

For the first four games, while Chargers TE Antonio Gates serves his four game suspension, Johnson should be a decent play. Like Lockett, Johnson’s Week 1 value diminishes because of the solid Detroit Lions’secondary the Chargers face. In deep PPR leagues, Johnson should be of value for the first few weeks.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (18 percent owned)

Lockett’s big-play potential makes him a threat, but his match-up against the St. Louis Rams defense hurts his Fantasy Football waiver wire value in Week 1. Lockett’s 4.4 second 40-yard dash shined in the preseason when Lockett completed a 103-yard kickoff return and a 67-yard punt return for touchdowns. This preseason, he caught six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Grab Lockett now as he’s a good play against weak secondaries. He’s also capable of embarrassing special team units like this:

Tight End

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (28 percent owned)

With the starting TE job secured, Reed is worth the waiver add in Week 1. If you punted the tight end position in your draft, now is the time to pick up Reed and hope he performs at his peak and not his valley, but in that offense, do not expect the world. To start the season, the Redskins face a tough Miami Dolphins defense.

Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (18 percent owned)

Another TE to lock down the starting role, Clay is like Reed in that he carries great upside, but an all-too-low floor. Playing the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, Clay gets a reasonable match-up. If you’re looking for tight end depth, you could do worse than Clay and Reed.

Whether you’re looking for depth or replacing an injured or suspended player, don’t feel silly for turning to the Fantasy Football waiver wire in Week 1. The nature of football inevitably forces us to make these adjustments, and yes, even before the season commences. For more help, look at the So Called Fantasy Expert’s Fantasy Football players rising in ownership.

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