Did you fall asleep during the final few rounds of your fantasy football draft? Not a fan of your late-round picks?
If so, don’t sweat it. The beauty (and frustration) about Week 1 is everyone has a clean slate, and there’s a very good chance that a player who wasn’t drafted in your league will end up performing better than a player who was.
Once the dust has settled and your roster is set, a trip to the waiver wire can reveal a treasure trove of overlooked yet talented players whose favorable Week 1 matchups could lead to fantasy success. If you have a hole in your lineup caused by injury concerns — we’re looking at you, Wes Welker — or a draft oversight, the waiver wire is the perfect place to fill your need.
Here are five players available in most fantasy leagues who you should take a look at as the countdown to kickoff begins.
1. Kenny Britt, WR, St. Louis Rams
News of Sam Bradford’s torn ACL turned many fantasy owners off from Rams skill players not named Zac Stacy. Yet Britt probably is the most consistent receiver on the team, and the Rams open with a Minnesota Vikings squad that allowed the second-most points to wide receivers last season in Yahoo! standard scoring leagues. If you need a WR3, take a chance on Britt.
2. Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
We know, it was just a preseason game. But Carr’s 11-for-13, three-touchdown performance against the Seattle Seahawks should not be ignored. Carr officially has been named the team’s Week 1 starter and is available in virtually all fantasy leagues. He also has a favorable matchup in the New York Jets, who are stingy against the run but can be beaten through the air.
3. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
Ingram often is overlooked in New Orleans’ crowded offense, but he easily was the most impressive Saints running back this preseason, posting 156 yards and one touchdown on just 22 carries. The Atlanta Falcons’ defense is nothing to write home about, and the Saints’ coaching staff might ride the hot hand, giving Ingram a chance to put up big numbers.
4. Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
If Britt isn’t available in your league, it’s worth giving Lee a look. He was a bit inconsistent in preseason, but he had a ton of targets and figures to be an every-down receiver alongside Cecil Shorts. The matchup couldn’t be better, as Jacksonville opens with a Philadelphia Eagles team that allowed the most passing yards in the NFL last season.
5. Houston Texans defense
If you’re one of the few intrepid fantasy owners who didn’t draft a defense hoping you could pick one off waivers, it’s your lucky day. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney take an NFL field for the first time together against the Washington Redskins, who coughed up the ball 33 times and allowed 43 sacks in 2013.