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The draft in a fantasy football league is extremely important. If you don't know what you're doing, you can screw yourself before the season even starts. However, even more important is the way that you update and maintain your team from week to week. When starting players get injured or early round draft picks aren't performing up to snuff, you better be able to find players on the waiver wire that can remedy your problems. These players, who are underowned in most ESPN leagues, can give you some protection and depth to your roster. 

1. Cadillac Williams
RB, St. Louis Rams
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 7.5%

The Rams were riddled with injuries this week, and Williams is the one who will greatly benefit if Steven Jackson’s quad injury is serious. Williams carried the ball 19 times for 91 yards and caught six passes for 49 yards after Jackson went down. Go get him now before your friends do!


2. Darren Sproles
RB, New Orleans Saints
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 58.2%

Alongside Marques Colston and Devery Henderson, Sproles saw the most targets from Drew Brees at 9. He made the most of his chances and proved extremely valuable for Points Per Reception (PPR) leagues with 7 catches for 75 yards. He also added a 72-yard punt return for a TD. Although he probably won’t get a ton of handoffs with Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram in town, Sproles should definitely be owned.


3. Devery Henderson
WR, New Orleans Saints
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 6.6%

The good news: Colston is out four weeks with a broken collarbone and Lance Moore is still battling his injuries. The great news: Henderson caught for more than 100 yards in the opening week and Drew Brees targeted him nine times. Henderson’s teammate’s misfortunes are his gold right now.

4. Brandon Gibson
WR, St. Louis Rams
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 1.5%

The Rams’ receiving corps has been a roller coaster ride already and we are just coming to the end of Week 1. Earlier in the preseason, they released Donnie Avery, Mark Clayton is unavailable on the PUP list until Week 7 and now Danny Amendola suffered a dislocated elbow and will be out for 10-12 weeks. Gibson was listed as the No. 1 receiver to start with and will be relied upon even more so with the latest loss.

5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
QB, Buffalo Bills
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 26.7%

Through Sunday, Fitzpatrick had the highest QB rating in Week 1 with four TDs and no INTs against a solid Chiefs defense at Arrowhead Stadium. Fitzpatrick is a great backup and can even be started against some weak defenses.

6. Deji Karim
RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 8.3%

A Rashad Jennings injury in the preseason locked Karim in as the Jaguars’ backup. Week 1 proved that the coaches have faith in him as he was given 14 carries in the first game of his sophomore season. If he’s going to see that many touches already, there’s no reason to wait until Maurice Jones-Drew goes down to pick him up.

7. Ben Tate
RB, Houston Texans
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 39.8%

With Derrick Ward and Arian Foster both down with injuries, Tate was able to shine with 116 yards on 24 carries against the demoralized Colts. The thing is, from here on out, his value greatly depends on whether his teammates will be healthy. If Ward and Foster are both out again next week, he is a must-start.

8. Cam Newton
QB, Carolina Panthers
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 25.3%

Newton had the most surprising individual performance in the NFL’s opening week. The 22-year-old broke Peyton Manning’s rookie record with a whopping 422 yards and scored three total TDs. If nothing else, pick him up and put him on your bench so he can’t hurt you on somebody else’s team. Too bad the Panthers still couldn’t win.

9. Jacoby Jones
WR, Houston Texans
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 5.9%

Jones was targeted three times and caught all three for 49 yards. He also returned a punt for a TD. With fellow receiver Kevin Walter missing time with an injured shoulder and Matt Schaub gunning the ball, Jones should see an uptick in looks.

10. Rex Grossman
QB, Washington Redskins
Owned in ESPN Leagues: 3.5%

I know, I know, I said that Grossman should not be started under any circumstances, but there is no reason not to keep him safely on your bench as a backup. Grossman continued his fumble woes, but other than that, he put up a solid 305 yards and 2 TDs.