Leonard Fournette landed with the Bucs after his release, here seen standing with Chris Thompson who will look to earn a bigger role with Fournette's departure

NBC Sports Washington

The NFL season kicks off on Thursday as we'll see Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans square off with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes.

Even though there hasn't been a snap yet in the 2020 season, you already are feeling defeated. The reason? You aren't feeling your fantasy team and have been obsessing over the mistakes you made at your draft. While it may seem like your only options are to make a trade or sit in front of your computer refreshing the NFL injury list waiting for a waiver wire target to pick up, I'm happy to tell you there's another way.

Whether you had an early draft and things have changed, as in the case of Leonard Fournette, or injuries are making you question a player's status, as with David Montgomery, there are plenty of options on waiver wires that can help ease the pain of bad draft decisions. Here we'll take a look at a few players that are largely available in most leagues and why you should consider picking them up now before the season begins.


Check out our first episode of The Catch, a podcast that will cover fantasy sports, betting, and more. In the series premier, we hosted our inaugural fantasy football episode where we went over draft strategy, some sleeper and bust candidates, along with some of our favorite players at each position. You can go back and listen to it on Spotify, and let us know what you think on our social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram.

Darrel Williams - Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs (25% rostered*)

There are things in life that we all just consider to be certainties: death, taxes, and Andy Reid running backs posting good fantasy numbers. Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy proved that last season in prominent roles in the Chiefs offense. Darrel Williams, however, showed the ability to perform when given the chance in 2019, piling up 4 total touchdowns in very limited work.

Fast forward to the start of the 2020 season, and the Chiefs appear ready to enter week 1 with Darrel Williams as the primary backup to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, as Damien Williams has opted out and the projected backup, DeAndre Washington, was released over the weekend. Edwards-Helaire will undoubtedly get the opportunity to run away with the starting job, but if the rookie struggles in the passing game or as a blocker, it would open up snaps for Williams to begin making a case to take over as the team's starter as those are aspects of his game that have been praised by Reid in the past. Considering the upside here, it's almost criminal that Williams can be picked up in 75% of leagues right now.

Bryan Edwards - Wide Receiver, Las Vegas Raiders (18% rostered*)

Bryan Edwards of the Las Vegas Raiders Bryan Edwards working on ball security in training campJohn Locher/AP

There is certainly a lot more hype surrounding the Raiders' first round selection, Henry Ruggs III, but third round pick, Bryan Edwards, may be more readily able to adjust to the NFL game and find his fit into the Raiders offense.

2019 saw tight end Darren Waller, breakout with Derek Carr under center, and Edwards brings a very similar skill set to Las Vegas. Both Ruggs and Edwards have been named week 1 starters as Tyrell Williams has been ruled out for the season. That means there will be no lack of opportunity for the rookies to prove their worth early and often. Ruggs is a home run hitter that will stretch defenses and open up some space for Josh Jacobs to run through, but it's Edwards that stands to pose the biggest threat for targets.

Jon Gruden will continue to use an old school approach on offense, which bodes well for Edwards as he projects to be a possession receiver that will work over the middle and in the red zone. If you aren't happy with your receiving group after your fantasy draft, then you could do a lot worse than taking a chance on Edwards.

Chris Thompson - Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars (40% rostered*)

No other group in the league has seen a stranger timeline than the Jaguars' running backs in the past week. Following the release of pro bowler, Leonard Fournette, their presumptive starter-in-waiting Ryquell Armstead was placed on the COVIDd-19 Reserve List on Saturday which marks his second time on the list this offseason. Coach Doug Marrone was quoted as saying, "I can't put a real timetable on it but he'll be out for a while," which leaves the team without a clear starter going into week 1.

While the expectation is to use a rotation amongst Devine Ozigbo, James Robinson, and Chris Thompson in the third down back role, it's hard for me to believe that Thompson won't outshine the competition and earn more work in early downs. He's the only guy on the roster at this point with any type of significant experience, and considering the organization spoke with Devonta Freeman over the weekend but were unable to agree to any terms, it tells me that they are wanting to have a veteran player at the position. Since Thompson is still the senior ranking member of that group I would anticipate that he will take over primary responsibilities early on into 2020.


Greg Olsen - Tight End, Seatte Seahawks (29% rostered*)

While Olsen is entering 2020 at 35 years old and coming off 3 consecutive seasons (where we saw him unable to play in all 16 games), the upside of being in Seattle with Russell Wilson far outweighs those negatives. Olsen has never been an elite option at the tight end position, but he will be the unquestioned starter for Seattle to start the season and is unlikely to cede his role to Will Dissly once he works his way back from injury.

But speaking of Dissly, it's worth mentioning that before his season ending injury he was pacing the team with 4 touchdowns in 6 games in 2019. Jacob Hollister filled in for Dissly for the remainder of 2019 and managed 41 receptions and 3 touchdowns in his stead. Olsen is still an effective blocker and has always possessed excellent route running ability and an ability to come down with tough catches.

Wilson will be the most accurate passer that Olsen will have worked with in his career and a significant upgrade over working with Kyle Allen most of 2019 in Carolina. Olsen will not likely finish as a top 5 TE this year, but he could be top 10. So considering you can find him on waivers in over 70% of leagues, if you were planning on steaming the position, pick up Olsen instead and plug him into your lineup on a weekly basis.

*Percentages taken from Yahoo on 9/8/2020

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

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In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

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Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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