Opportunity Analysis Week 1

The Opportunity Analysis – Names to Monitor Week 1

The Opportunity Analysis – Names to Monitor Week 1

Last season’s names to monitor article helped us identify undrafted players including Logan Thomas and Russell Gage. Now heading into 2021 we have a chance to find top waiver wire adds based on their low ownership and the number of opportunities they have heading into this season. This list will comprise of players who currently are below 40% ownership who could be on your waiver wire.

Team: Detroit Lions
Opportunity Analysis Rank: 1
New Available Targets: 309
Waiver Wire Add(s): Tyrell Williams and Amon-Ra St. Brown

T.J. Hockenson looks to be the clear #1 pass catcher heading into 2021, but with a league high 309 new available targets there are plenty of opportunities for a second pass catcher to emerge. The recent release of Breshad Perriman has cleared the path for both Tyrell Williams and Amon-Ra St. Brown to see plenty of playing time in Week 1. Both players have a compelling argument on why the #2 could be them heading into this season.

First, Tyrell Williams has two years of experience under new Lions Offensive Coordinator Anthony Lynn. In those seasons he produced back-to-back WR4 finishes on just 69 and 65 targets. The year prior to Lynn’s arrival Williams saw 119 targets and finished as a WR2. If Williams can approach 100 targets this season, he could be in line for a WR3 finish based on how he has produced on a per target basis.

Amon-Ra St. Brown seems to have earned the starting slot role in Detroit. This is a role that Keenan Allen dominated in each of the past four seasons under Lynn. Even more important than the scheme is Jared Goff’s tendency to hyper target the slot. Goff is the only player in the last four seasons to clear a 70% target rate to the slot each season. This means St. Brown could be a solid PPR asset over the middle in this offense in 2021.

Team: Carolina Panthers
Opportunity Analysis Rank: 5
New Available Targets: 199
Waiver Wire Add(s): Terrace Marshall Jr.

Terrace Marshall Jr. isn’t your typical rookie. Marshall played for Panther’s Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady in college giving him a unique leg up on the playbook in year one. This led to Marshall Jr. dominating the WR3 competition which led to the release of David Moore. Marshall Jr. will be playing the big slot role that saw both him and Justin Jefferson dominate in college at LSU. It is important to note Joe Brady spent two seasons with the Saints that utilized Michael Thomas in a similar role in New Orleans.

Heading into this season both D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson are unlikely to demand more targets than their combined 254 they had last season. This should allow Marshall Jr. to gobble up as many of the 199 new available targets that Christian McCaffrey leaves behind. Plus, at 6’2 205 Marshall Jr. immediately becomes the top Red Zone threat after securing 23 TDs over the past two years at LSU.

Team: New York Jets
Opportunity Analysis Rank: 10
New Available Targets: 158
Waiver Wire Add(s): Elijah Moore and Tyler Kroft

The post Adam Gase era in New York has begun. The new regime has brought in a new QB and pretty much all new skill position players outside of Jamison Crowder. Crowder is out for Week 1 as he was placed on the COVID list. This has opened the door for rookie Elijah Moore to seize a starting spot with a strong performance.

New Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur brings over the Kyle Shanahan scheme that has allowed two wide receivers to flourish together before. This includes Emmauel Sanders and Deebo Samuel in 2019, and Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo in their limited games together in 2020. Behind Corey Davis the targets should be up for grabs and if Moore can surpass either Crowder or Keelen Cole after a strong Week 1 performance, he could be on the Flex radar sooner rather than later.

Tyler Kroft is a deeper name to monitor as he beat out Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin for the top tight end spot. This offense has helped produced monster tight ends seasons including Chris Cooley, Owen Daniels, Fred Davis, Robert Tonyan, and (of course), George Kittle. Kroft does have a seven touchdown season under his belt so he could emerge as a go to guy in the Red Zone in 2021.

Team: Arizona Cardinals
Opportunity Analysis Rank: 9
New Available Targets: 159
Waiver Wire Add(s): Arizona Cardinals WR2

Our fingers are crossed that the Arizona WR2 to own will be Rondale Moore in 2021. Moore’s over 90th percentile 40-yard dash, burst score and agility score give him the athletic profile you want in a breakout. We can’t ignore that the first Arizona depth chart listed both A.J. Green and Christian Kirk ahead of him heading into Week 1 though. Now we should lean towards the idea that Moore’s talent will win out, but we can’t forget that Kirk was a second round pick himself, and A.J. Green just dominated the last decade as a perennial Pro-Bowler.

The good news for all three of these guys is that DeAndre Hopkins will most likely not demand more than his 160 targets from 2020. This should allow each of these wide receivers plenty of chances to capture as many of the 159 new available targets as they want heading into 2021. It will be a situation to monitor this week as Moore (26%), Kirk (12%), and Green (18%) are all widely available.

The Opportunity Analysis Potential Waiver Wire Grabs

Quick Slants

James White – As soon as the Patriots named Mac Jones the starter the Patriots new available targets jumped to 299. This influx of pass volume should help James White as his 16% target share from 2020 should get him closer to 90 targets based on the new drop-back projection.

CJ Uzomah – C.J. Uzomah saw 11 targets in the first two games of 2021 before going down with an injury. In those games he secured four receptions and at least 40 yards in both contests. The Bengals have 199 new available targets so even if Ja’Marr Chase steals 125 of them that leaves 74 for players like Uzomah and Joe Mixon to capture in 2021.

Saints Tight End – Adam Trautman sits atop the depth chart heading into Week 1, but a lot of noise is being made about converted WR Juwan Johnson. This situation should be monitored as Jameis Winston has featured his tight ends dating back to his days at Tampa Bay. This includes multiple TE1 seasons from Cameron Brate and a Top 5 PPG season from O.J. Howard.

Sterling Shepard – Kenny Golladay’s injury has opened the door for Sterling Shepard to re-emerge as the WR1 in this offense. Shepard in the games he played at least 50% of snaps last season averaged 7.8 targets and 10.2 PPG in .5 PPR. If the offense takes the next step in the second year under Jason Garrett then Shepard will be a Flex asset in 2021.

Anthony Firkser – People are making a big deal out of Geoff Swaim sitting a top of the depth chart, but Anthony Firkser’s role should still grow in 2021. In the two games where Jonnu Smith played less than 50% of the snaps in 2020, Firkser led the team in targets (16), receptions (13), and had 164 yards and a score.


XTB NFL Skill Positions Leaderboard Sources: expandtheboxscore.com, pro football focus, pro football reference, fantasy pros and fftoday