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Top five Week 1 waiver wire adds, pickups for fantasy football

We break down some of the top players to consider picking up on your Week 1 waiver wire.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills during overtime in an AFC Divisional playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.  Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season kicks off the 2022 season on Thursday when the Buffalo Bills face Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. This also marks the beginning of Week 1 of the 2022 fantasy football season. Whether you have wrapped up your draft or are drafting this week, roster finalization is a never-ending process.

The waiver wire system is thought of primarily starting in Week 2, but coming out of your drafts, there might be some talent worth grabbing. Here’s a look at our top five overall adds to consider as you place any Week 1 waiver wire claims.

Irv Smith: TE, Vikings (43.4%)

Next up
Week 1 vs. Packers
Week 2 at Eagles
Week 3 vs. Lions
Week 4 vs. Saints

The big scare most people had with him in drafts was his injury/injury history. Smith had surgery on his thumb at the beginning of camp and is expected to be ready in Week 1. He missed all of 2021, but showed growth from 2019 to 2020. With Tyler Conklin gone, Smith is now the primary tight end on the roster and Kirk Cousins likes throwing to tight ends. It is worth taking a shot on Smith as your backup tight end in fantasy. If he stays healthy, it will be a breakout season for him.

Julio Jones: WR, Buccaneers (40.9%)

Next up
Week 1 at Cowboys
Week 2 at Saints
Week 3 vs. Packers
Week 4 vs. Chiefs

It wouldn't be surprising at all if Jones comes out and has a monster week in his first game with the Buccaneers. As long as he can stay healthy, he should play a huge role on the Bucs offense. We know how much Brady loves his experienced receivers and he will get them the ball as much as possible. Godwin will be a little slow to get his regular touches as he's coming back from a torn ACL. If he’s on the waiver wire in your league, Jones will be a quality addition prior to Week 1.

Robbie Anderson: WR, Panthers (38.8%)

Next up
Week 1 vs. Browns
Week 2 at Giants
Week 3 vs. Saints
Week 4 vs. Cardinals

Throughout his career, Anderson has played with a number of bad quarterbacks. While Baker Mayfield isn't the best quarterback in the NFL, he's the best quarterback Anderson has ever played with. Mayfield will get him the ball and Anderson could have the best season of his career. I expect him to have a blowup week early on in the season and many people will be trying to pick him up. It would be smart to take a chance with one of your last roster spots.

Mecole Hardman: WR, Chiefs (37.8%)

Next up
Week 1 at Cardinals
Week 2 vs. Chargers
Week 3 at Colts
Week 4 at Buccaneers

Hardman has been a waiver player in fantasy football for most of his career, but this is the first year that he’s on a decent amount of fantasy rosters. With Tyreek Hill gone, Hardman’s targets will go up and he can make plays when they get him the ball. Although the Chiefs signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Hardman has the most experience in this offense and has played with Mahomes for three years already.

Hayden Hurst: TE, Bengals (18.1%)

Next up
Week 1 vs. Steelers
Week 2 at Cowboys
Week 3 at Jets
Week 4 vs. Dolphins

Hurst has had an up and down career. He was a first round draft pick by the Ravens in 2018 which is a good offense for tight ends. However, Mark Andrew, the third round pick, turned out to be the star in that offense. Hurst was eventually traded to the Falcons where it looked like he’d be their No. 1 tight end for a long time. He had a good first season there, but then they drafted Kyle Pitts which was just unlucky for him. Now in Cincinnati, with C.J. Uzomah gone, Hurst will be the main tight end and the Bengas will get him the ball a ton. He’s a quiet pickup who could have a big impact for Cincinnati.