2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 1: Top Pickups & Best Adds for Week 1

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Thanks for landing on our 2021 Week 1 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire! Some of these free-agent pickups can still be useful in fantasy football leagues.

However, if you’re looking for newer fantasy tips, go to our fantasy football waiver wire hub page.

For weeks that follow, check out our fantasy tips homepage.

Thinking about the fantasy football waiver wire in Week 1 can be a bit intimidating. Maybe you are feeling great about your drafted team and just want to roll with the guys you selected — or maybe you know you could use some help to get off on the right foot.

Either way, there are some gems for the taking on your waiver wire right now! With these fantasy football tips, I will help you decide who you should be targeting each week and just how much of your free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB) you should spend on each player.

We’ll add more names heading into the Week 1 opener Thursday between the defending-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys.

Note; Free-Agent Acquisition Budget dollar bid prices for Week 1 based on a season-long budget of $100. Adjust your percentage and scale accordingly for your league’s unique FAAB allotment and your remaining FAAB dollars.

(Roster % is based on Yahoo! Fantasy leagues information.)

2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 1

2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 1: Top Pickups

J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team (36% rostered)

J.D. McKissic finished as the RB24 in Half-PPR and the RB17 in PPR scoring. He is known for his involvement in the receiving game. In fact, he led all running backs in targets (110) and was second in receptions just behind Alvin Kamara with 80 receptions last year.

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McKissic also had the second-most receiving yards among running backs (589). Although we don’t want to base our roster decisions strictly on last year’s numbers, it is worth noting the improvements the Washington Football Team (WFT) have made in 2021. Their defense is one of the top defenses heading into this season and they have Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

I’m expecting the WFT to utilize their running game a lot more to control the time of possession. Fitzpatrick shouldn’t have to sling the ball all over the field if their defense is keeping the opponents scoring to a minimum. This could lead to more “safe" passes in dump-offs to Mckissic and Antonio Gibson.

  • J.D. McKissic Waiver Wire FAAB Bid: $6

Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills (44% rostered)

Cole Beasley has 100+ targets in each of his last two seasons as a Buffalo Bill. He has been a staple for Josh Allen and a productive fantasy asset since his time in Buffalo.

Everyone is too quick to move on to the new shiny toy. In this case, it’s Gabriel Davis, who has shown promise and is certainly trending in the right direction, but Beasley hasn’t shown any signs of decline in this offense.

Beasley finished last season as the WR27 in PPR and is currently being drafted as the WR64. That means you can get a wide receiver who is likely to see another 100+ targets in the 14th round! If you are lucky enough to find him on your waiver wire, get him and reap the benefits of his reception total in 2021.

  • Cole Beasley Waiver Wire FAAB Bid: $5
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers wide receiver, shown with QB Aaron Rodgers in 2017

Randall Cobb reunites with Aaron Rodgers, with the WR and QB shown here in 2017. Cobb should see plenty of targets in his return season with the Packers, making him a fantasy football waiver wire pickup for Week 1. (Image: USA TODAY)

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers (17% rostered)

Aaron Rodgers got his guy. Randall Cobb hasn’t been fantasy-relevant for a while, but that can all change in 2021.

The 31-year-old veteran is someone Aaron Rodgers already trusts and this Green Bay offense has been missing a consistent wide receiver to target outside of Davante Adams for a long time now.

There isn’t much to say about his recent performance (just 38 catches with the Texans last year), but I’m convinced his situation has dramatically improved for the 2021 season and it’s something you’ll want to get in on before Cobb lands on the top of many manager’s waiver bids.

Since it’s before we have witnessed any action, even if Cobb doesn’t pan out, you won’t have to spend much to take a shot on him. If you have a chance to get a key piece of an Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers offense, you take advantage of it.

  • Randall Cobb Waiver Wire FAAB Bid: $3

2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 1: Best Players To Stash

Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals (18% rostered)

Yes, it’s another rookie WR you should be stashing on your fantasy football benches. Rondale Moore is a name you probably haven’t thought of much, but he has an opportunity to be a big part of the Cardinals offense in 2021.

He has looked incredible this offseason and I would not be surprised to see the second-round pick develop into a go-to target for Kyler Murray. We are seeing a change in how quickly wide receivers are adjusting to the NFL level.

The fact that the rookie, Rondale Moore is already rostered in 17% of leagues should speak volumes to people’s expectations for this guy. When you pick up players to stash, you are doing so knowing it may take time for them to find their groove, but you will be the smartest person in your league for capturing them when they are practically free.

  • Rondale Moore Waiver Wire FAAB Bid: $4

Tutu Atwell, WR, Los Angeles Rams (1% rostered)

Tutu Atwell finds himself in what is expected to be, a high-volume passing offense. With Matthew Stafford taking over as quarterback for the Rams, the rookie could be a benefactor at wide receiver. Yes, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are getting all of the love to begin the season, but there will be plenty of volume for a third wide receiver to provide fantasy value in 2021.

Tutu Atwell led all wide receivers this preseason in targets (29) and receptions (18). If Atwell is able to gain the trust of Stafford and carve a role in this offense, you are going to wish you already had him on your roster before his price skyrockets. So get him for cheap while you can!

  • Tutu Atwell Waiver Wire FAAB Bid: $1

2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 1: One-Week Streamer Plays

A.J. Green, WR, Arizona Cardinals (18% rostered)

Another Cardinals wide receiver is making this waiver wire list. Rondale Moore is a guy I’m expecting to take a bit of time to develop in this offense, but you are going to want a piece of this receiver core in 2021. A.J. Green should be an early-season target for Kyler Murray.

Believe it or not, Green had 104 targets in his return season with the Bengals last year. He was only able to haul in 47 of those targets due to some awful quarterback play with Joe Burrow (knee) out.

Green will now have Kyler Murray throwing to him, and we will find out as early as Week 1 as to what type of role A.J. Green will have in the Cardinals offense. Arizona plays the Tennessee Titans, who ranked as the fourth-worst pass defense last year (4,439 passing yards allowed).

Green is someone you could stream in Week 1 and hold onto until his production falls off or until one of the young guys surpass him on the depth chart.

  • A.J. Green Waiver Wire FAAB Bid: $2

Stay tuned for more Fantasy Football Week 1 Waiver Wire updates before Thursday’s opening night in the NFL.


Nate Hamilton

Nate Hamilton is a regular contributor to the fantasy football industry. He has produced content for some of the top fantasy football sites including FantasyPros, The Fantasy Footballers, Fantasy Data, FantraxHQ, and currently The Game Day! He is a co-author of Amazon's #1 Best Selling "The Fantasy Football Black Book" with Joe Pisapia. Nate is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA).

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