The first Sunday of the 2023 NFL season isn’t even here. Yet, fantasy managers are already having to navigate the injury waters. In the wake of injuries to DJ Chark and Adam Thielen, should fantasy football managers be grabbing rookie second-round WR Jonathan Mingo off the waiver wire?
Should Jonathan Mingo Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 1?
Mingo is currently rostered in just 17% of Yahoo leagues. While rookie WRs are popular picks in fantasy drafts, there are limits to how many fantasy managers can stash. Evidently, the guy set to open the season as Bryce Young’s WR3 on what projects to be one of the weaker offenses in the league was not one of them. I can’t say I blame any of you.
Of course, things change. Chark has been dealing with a hamstring strain for several weeks. He’s already been ruled out for Sunday’s divisional showdown against the Atlanta Falcons.
More recently, Thielen popped up in the injury report with an ankle issue. He was limited on Wednesday, didn’t practice Thursday, and was limited again Friday, earning a questionable tag.
Given Thielen’s status as a veteran, him missing or being limited at practices is far less concerning. Considering the fact Thielen participated at all on Friday, my inclination is to believe he is going to play.
With that said, Chark is out for sure. That sets Mingo up to start opposite Thielen in two-receiver sets. Furthermore, there’s the potential for Thielen to aggravate his ankle injury, leaving Mingo as the clear top target.
Regardless, Mingo enters his first NFL game with his biggest competition for targets a 33-year-old banged-up, washed Thielen, and the incredibly underwhelming (that’s the nicest way I can say not-an-NFL-caliber starting receiver) Terrace Marshall. Mingo sure looks like the most talented receiver on the Panthers’ roster. That’s probably the case even when Chark is healthy.
The matchup this week against the Falcons is a favorable one. However, outside of extremely deep leagues, I can’t imagine anyone looking to add Mingo this week is doing so because they intend to start him. He would purely be a speculative add, just to see how the Panthers divvy up targets in Week 1.
Mingo may have long-term WR2 upside, but he’s unlikely to be more than a WR3 as a rookie, at best. And even that is ambitious.
Rookie quarterbacks are very bad for the prospects of their wide receivers in fantasy. If Mingo does emerge into an every-week startable option, it’s more likely to occur in 2024.
If you have a roster spot to burn, by all means, take a shot on Mingo. For example, if you drafted a Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver, go ahead and drop him for Mingo. In fact, every wide receiver that played Thursday night not named Amon-Ra St. Brown doesn’t need to be on a fantasy roster. In Yahoo leagues (and most Sleeper leagues), you can drop bench players even after they’ve played.
Ultimately, Mingo is just a dart throw. But there’s at least a chance he catches a few balls and scores this weekend, which would make him a popular waiver wire add on Tuesday. If you have the spot, get out in front of the Week 2 waiver wire and take a shot on the speedy rookie.