Leading up to week one of the fantasy season, you might stare at your lineup and then wonder why. What’s the point? Well, the point is, some of those players are going to become stars. Guessing which ones will be could be the difference between winning your league and not, so is holding onto a backup QB or a known third or fourth bench option worth not taking the chance?
When the dust settles, and people have reached for their kicker, defense, and backup tight ends and quarterbacks too early, there are likely to be a few gems in the unknown or unstable commodities that are left. Picking up waiver wire picks before the season starts will ensure you don’t have to fight for them after an early-season explosion and give you the shot at a true difference maker, all for a low, low cost.
Undrafted Fantasy Sleepers on the Waiver Wire
With most leagues having completed their draft at this point, we’re in the build-up to the season and the excitement is palpable with football fans. It can be easy to sit and stare at your lineup who are stuck in limbo at the end of your bench, but remembering that fantasy football is truly a guessing game can help.
If you do want to make some changes, dropping the low-ceiling, decent floor guys that are known commodities for higher-upside, lower floor guys is a low-risk proposition to do so. The end of your bench is usually situational players, and you’re simply betting on someone to be able to fill in just as well or to eclipse that role.
Michael Gallup – Cowboys’ WR
On “America’s Team” since he got drafted, Gallup has produced every year, but he’s been inconsistent due to injury and being behind anywhere from 2-4 other receivers in his time there. While this year isn’t starting any better for Gallup, with a torn ACL late last season, the team clearly sees him as a big-play option with Amari Cooper leaving and the contract Gallup received this offseason.
With Cooper gone, Gallup could see a return to and maybe even eclipse his production from 2019, when Dallas had a more evenly spread offense. Currently going in the 17th round, or undrafted in some leagues, Gallup will have WR2 upside and solid flex appeal when he returns.
Justin Fields – Bears’ QB
The Heisman winner just a couple of years ago, the Bears made sure we forgot about that quickly, considering their lackluster play last year. However, the Bears have a new coaching staff, and while there are mixed reviews on the hire, we can at least assume that Fields and the offense will be in better hands than under the Matt Nagy regime. The new coaching staff has its own advanced systems for quantifying play that’s ahead of the curve, while Nagy seemed years behind.
Fields will start the season, unlike last year, and you can expect him to be operating in a more open offense. This will give Fields a better chance of running, and throwing the ball. While he could be a non-starter all season, the upside provided by improved rushing and passing could make him an every-week starter.
Robbie Anderson – Panthers’ WR
A trendy sleeper pick once before, Anderson has seen his projection rocket and then plummet again over the last few seasons. However, Anderson has only had one competent QB in his career, and it was in 2019 with Teddy Bridgewater throwing to him. With Baker being at a comparable level, but with higher boom potential, at the quarterback position, you can bet on Anderson to bounce back and produce at least flex-worthy options. Going in the 17th round on average currently and often undrafted, Anderson is worth picking up anytime after round 11. Given the very low public perception, there should be no reason to reach higher.
Isaiah Mackenzie – Bills’ WR
Currently averaging out as the 169.9th pick, Mackenzie is going undrafted in most leagues, and just a quick look at his numbers makes it plain to see why. He only had one significant game last season and the Bills brought in Jamison Crowder this season. With Cole Beasley gone, the Bills will look to these two to fill in the role, as Mackenzie did notably in one game against the Patriots last year. While Crowder is a more established veteran and a good add for the Bills, he’s exactly the type of player who’s worth dumping for someone with upside.
The narrative around Mackenzie is also dismissing the fact that no other receiver in Buffalo is established in their offense aside from Stefon Diggs. If Mackenzie is closer to a number two and Gabriel Davis than he is to a number three and Jamison Crowder, then he could carry consistent starter status given that the bills have such a high-powered offense.
Odell Beckham – Free Agent
Football fans all know the story of Beckham. After a prolific first couple of years in the league, the wide receiver has suffered plenty of injuries and made plenty of noise in the media that wasn’t exactly music to his team’s ears. Mostly, it has resulted in a star slowly tailing off. Currently, a free agent, it’s obvious why Odell hasn’t been drafted, despite play at the end of last season that was top-25 for receivers in seven games with the Rams. That success continued into the playoffs as well. While Beckham has yet to be picked up, you can be sure that a playoff contender will come calling at some point. With a good QB and environment, expect him to be solid in the WR2 and flex conversation when that happens.
Claim the First Waiver Wire Prize of the Season
Once the season starts, savvy players will be all over the waiver wire and all over the guys who emerge in the first few weeks of the season. Getting those who you have a hunch about before that happens is key to setting your team before the wire dries up around midseason. Consider these undrafted players and their high upside as an option before riding with someone who’s just ok for the rest of the season.
Click here to read the article: Fantasy Football Week One Waiver Adds and Draft Sleepers.