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Ranking the 8 best players to consider on your Week 1 waiver wire

Not happy with some of your fantasy football draft-day decisions? Here are the players for you to keep your eye on off the Week 1 waiver wire.

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Connor Strachan during the first half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 8, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Fantasy football seasons are officially underway, and as all experienced fantasy players would say: successfully playing the waiver wire can make or break a fantasy season. As we approach Week 1, disappointing preseason performances, surprising risers, shocking retirements, and season-ending injuries make the initial waiver wire incredibly important. Without further adieu, here are the Top 8 waiver wire adds for Week 1 (all are available in more than 40% of ESPN fantasy leagues):

[Editors note: this article was revised after initial publishing to reflect the news of Ezekiel Elliott’s new contract with the Dallas Cowboys.]

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  1. Golden Tate (WR - NYG) — He opens the season with a four-game suspension, but once he clears that, he joins Evan Engram as one of the few quality pass-catching options for Eli Manning and/or Daniel Jones.
  2. Carlos Hyde (RB - HOU)Lamar Miller is done for the season, and Duke Johnson has been primarily a pass-catching back. Hyde’s chances of having an impact role increase considerably in Houston.
  3. Darwin Thompson (RB - KC) — Thompson was going to have to compete with Carlos Hyde for an opportunity behind Damien Williams. Hyde’s departure makes Thompson a valuable handcuff, and a potential change of pace option.
  4. Jameis Winston (QB - TB) - The shocking retirement of Andrew Luck stunned the football world and left many fantasy owners reeling. If you need a quarterback, look no further than Jameis Winston, who with a new offensive coordinator and elite weapons around him, could be an elite fantasy quarterback in 2019.
  5. Mark Andrews (TE - BAL) — Andrews is arguably the best pass catching option for quarterback Lamar Jackson. That speaks in part to the dearth of options at wide receiver, but also to his abilities. He was a favorite of Jackson’s once the rookie entered the lineup last season, and we can expect that to continue in 2019.
  6. John Brown (WR - BUF) - John Brown’s situation in Buffalo is definitely going under the radar. He’s got high-end speed and a young quarterback with a cannon of an arm. If the Buffalo offensive line can afford Allen enough time for Brown to blow past opposing secondaries, then Brown could be a consistent home run hitter.
  7. Jimmy Garoppolo (QB - SF) — After sky-high expectations for 2018, a torn ACL a year ago has tempered expectations. That adds value for a quarterback playing in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. There are questions about Garoppolo’s pass catchers, but Shanahan’s game-planning abilities bode well for Jimmy G.
  8. Tony Pollard (RB - DAL)Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout appears to be over, but we’ve seen evidence before of a star running back missing part of camp and starting the season off slow (look at Le’Veon Bell in 2017). If you’re looking for a Week 1 spot start, Pollard could be a low-cost option if Zeke isn’t quite up to NFL speed against the Giants.