It was glorious getting to watch an entire day of football after months of anticipation. But when the dust settled, you were left either with a win or loss in fantasy. Either way, the biggest piece of advice is to not overreact to one week. Yeah, its great to start off with a win, but it is still just one week in the longest fantasy season ever. The task at hand is still improving your team, which you can do by attacking the waiver wire. Every week this article will look at the top pickups plus give you deeper league options, some streamers and even players you can drop!
The top pickup of the week is Elijah Mitchell. Raheem Mostert exited the game early and is dealing with a knee injury, while perceived backup Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch in Week 1. Mitchell ended up playing 64 percent of the snaps and seeing 19 carries, going off for 104 yards and a touchdown. He is clearly ahead of JaMycal Hasty (29 percent snaps, one carry) and Sermon, meaning he should be the lead back in a Kyle Shanahan run game. That alone should make him an RB2, but he has more upside than that as we saw. Turning backup RBs into useful fantasy pieces is what Shanahan does best. The Niners do face the Eagles, Packers and Seahawks the next three weeks, which may scare some, but if Mitchell is the starter he should be usable as an RB2 or flex.
Check to See if Available: Ty’Son Williams, Jamaal Williams, Mike Williams
Players You Can Drop: Zack Moss, Tevin Coleman, J.D. McKissic, Mike Gesicki
Do Not Drop: Brandon Aiyuk , Trey Sermon, James Robinson, Courtland Sutton
Saints QB Jameis Winston: Winston easily had the weirdest stat line from Week 1. He finished with just 148 passing yards, but had five touchdowns along with 37 rushing yards. That was good for 29.62 fantasy points — enough to make him a top-five QB in Week 1, against a tough Packers defense. Winston has a strong arm and got to show it off in the opener but even more important was he took care of the ball. Plus, the 37 rushing yards is huge. If he is running more now, his value only increases. He is the top waiver wire QB add this week, and has the upside to be a QB1 in Sean Payton’s offense. Winston will be startable next week against the Panthers.
Panthers QB Sam Darnold: Darnold got his revenge against his old team, defeating the Jets in Week 1. He also came through for those who streamed him in the opener, going for 279 yards, a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown, good for 19.06 fantasy points. Darnold has four legitimate playmakers in the passing game, and they should elevate both his weekly floor and ceiling. He is a solid QB2 with upside who can be streamed in good matchups. Next week is not one of those as they play the Saints, but after that he gets the Texans and Cowboys.
Jets QB Zach Wilson: Wilson went for 258 yards and two touchdowns with an interception — good for 18.32 fantasy points in his NFL debut. Wilson settled down as the game went on and ended up throwing both TD passes in the second half. He got to show off his arm talent at times, but the Jets offensive line did him no favors. He is not a QB to start weekly, but more one for two-QB formats or deep leagues. He can be a bench stash, but do not start him against the Patriots next week.
Stash Those Rookies! Justin Fields and Trey Lance were both used on offense despite the fact that neither started in Week 1. Fields only played 7 percent of snaps, but he completed both his pass attempts for 10 yards and added in a 3-yard rushing touchdown. The Bears offense lacked firepower, but that’ll change with Fields, who is both explosive with his legs and with his arm. It’s only a matter of time before he fully takes over. Lance played 7 percent of the snaps, completing his only pass attempt for a 5-yard touchdown. He added in three carries for two yards. Its nice to see him get his feet wet, but he has top-10 fantasy QB upside if he becomes the full-time starter. It might take longer for Lance as he has a better starter ahead of him, but he is worth stashing.
Deeper Options: Tyrod Taylor scored 23.64 fantasy points behind a 291-yard, two touchdown day. He also added 40 rushing yards in vintage Taylor fashion. It was against the Jaguars, but Taylor can always give points with his legs. He is not a QB1 by any stretch, but he will always be overlooked in fantasy as long as he is the starter. Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip injury — and will be placed on IR — which paved the way for Taylor Heinicke, who threw for 122 yards and a touchdown, adding 17 yards with his legs. Heinicke has a little Fitzpatrick in him as he is not afraid to air the ball out and can add some value with his legs. Jared Goff was a forgotten fantasy man in Detroit but had a big first week against the 49ers defense. He threw for 338 yards and three scores with one interception and 14 rushing yards. He can be useful in two QB formats.
Colts RB Nyheim Hines: Hines led the Colts with eight targets in Week 1. He caught six of them for 48 yards and added in nine carries for 34 yards. He played 47 percent of the snaps. The change in QB to Carson Wentz clearly didn’t matter, and after the Colts paid Hines he is clearly still a big part of the offense. He may not lead them in targets every week, but he should see enough to remain in the flex picture, but we know his weekly upside is higher than that.
Eagles RB Kenneth Gainwell: Gainwell played 36 percent of the snaps and had nine carries for 37 yards and a touchdown along with two catches for six yards on three targets. He has clearly carved out a role in this offense and could steal time away from Miles Sanders particularly third downs and usage in the two-minute drill. You cannot start him just yet, but there is potential here. He could blossom into this offenses version of Nyheim Hines.
Texans RB Mark Ingram: I will fully admit that I thought Mark Ingram was washed after last season, but he showed in Week 1 that he still has some gas in the tank. He carried the ball 26 times for 85 yards and a touchdown, while also seeing a target in the passing game. He led the Texans running backs with 45 percent of the snaps. What you really like to see is that he had all three of the Texans’ carries inside the 5-yard line. There is the chance for this to go downhill quickly, but after the usage he saw in Week 1, he is worthy of taking a shot on for RB needy teams.
Bills RB Devin Singletary: Singletary ran 11 times for 72 yards and added in three catches for eight yards on five targets. He had added usage after Zack Moss was a surprise healthy scratch. After the game, head coach Sean McDermott said it was “just a numbers game.” That does not bode well for Moss, as the Bills used Matt Breida over him. Singletary picked up where he left off in preseason by showing added burst as a runner. A Bills running back hasn’t been fantasy reliable the past couple of seasons because there has been two sharing work and then having to fend off Josh Allen, who will always take some carries and touchdowns away. But Singletary is clearly the Bills’ lead back, and he could be work his way into the reliable flex range if this operates as more of a one RB offense.
Saints RB Tony Jones Jr.: The Saints have always featured a second running back alongside Alvin Kamara and Jones slid right into that role in Week 1. Jones played 33 percent of the snaps and saw 11 carries for 50 yards and caught his lone target for three yards. It was not a huge fantasy day, but the usage is what is most important. That second running back has always had some fantasy value and it would shoot up if Kamara was ever to miss time.
Deeper Options: JaMycal Hasty played 29 percent of the snaps for the 49ers and had just one carry, but it went for a touchdown. This is mostly because Mostert was injured and Sermon was a healthy scratch. Although, Hasty contributes on special teams, so that could be why he was active over Sermon. He is purely an option in deeper leagues.
Panthers WR Terrace Marshall Jr.: Marshall played 52 percent of the snaps, but still saw six targets, more than Robby Anderson (three). Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore are also there taking a good chunk of the targets away, so his weekly output could be inconsistent. Marshall was a highly touted prospect, and he was involved right away. He turned the six targets into three catches for 26 yards. He did not get to show off his best traits, which are his downfield ability as a deep threat and his ability to win contested catches. He will become a good red-zone target for this team. The usage in his first game, where the Panthers were playing from ahead all day, is enough to make him the top wide receiver target for me.
Cardinals WRs: The Cardinals offense exploded in Week 1, and that is something we could see often this season. In typical Cardinals fashion, they ran four wide receiver sets, having four different receivers see at least five targets. A.J. Green was used as the second receiver, playing 81 percent of the snaps with six targets. Christian Kirk was third, playing 55 percent of snaps with five targets. Rondale Moore played 30 percent of the snaps and also had five targets. It was Kirk, however, who had the most productive night of the three, putting up five catches for 70 yards and two scores. Moore had four catches for 68 yards, and Green tacked on two catches for 25 yards. The usage was the best for Green, but the other two showed more explosiveness. Kirk should be the top priority of the three. After that it depends on your preference. Green provides a safer weekly floor, while Moore is the upside play. I prefer taking the shot on Moore.
Broncos WRs Tim Patrick/KJ Hamler: Jerry Jeudy suffered a high ankle sprain and is a candidate for short-term IR. Someone will have to step up in his absence, and Patrick and Hamler are the best bets. Patrick played more in Week 1, seeing 70 percent of the snaps to Hamler’s 36 percent. Both saw four targets as Patrick caught all four for 39 yards and a TD, while Hamler had three catches for 41 yards. Hamler is the better field stretcher of the two, but Patrick is the more consistent option and should be used more in the red zone. Patrick is the preferred add here, but Hamler has some real boom-or-bust abilities for those in deeper formats.
Eagles WR Jalen Reagor: Reagor was the second wide out for the Eagles, playing 69 percent of the snaps to go along with six targets, both second only behind DeVonta Smith. Reagor caught all six of his balls for 49 yards and a touchdown. Reagor disappointed as a rookie, but he has blazing speed and can create a lot of separation on the outside. He should see a lot of 1-on-1s as defenses focus more on Smith, the tight ends and the running ability of Jalen Hurts. Speaking of Hurts, he averaged the second-most air yards per throw last year, showing he is not afraid to throw downfield, which fits Reagor’s abilities. He is not someone you need to pick up and start right away, but there is definitely upside here.
Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson: Michael Gallup will miss multiple weeks due to a calf strain, which should lead to more usage for Wilson. The Cowboys mixed CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Gallup around the field, but we could see the big remaining two used out wide more, with Wilson manning the slot. That is where he lined up for 66 percent of his snaps in Week 1. Wilson finished the week with three catches for 24 yards on three targets. He is not a waiver wire option who can blossom into a league winner, meaning he is more of a backend option, but he should have value in the immediate future.
Deeper Options: Zach Pascal saw five targets, with two of them coming in the end zone. He finished with four catches for 43 yards and two scored. He was the Colts most targeted receiver.
Seahawks TE Gerald Everett: Everett was only targeted two times, which isn’t great, but one led to a score and that is exactly what we wanted to see from the Seahawks’ new tight end. Last season Russell Wilson threw 27 percent of his red zone passes to tight ends, while that number is 25 percent in his career. Everett can clearly be a factor there, and Wilson will throw more than 23 times in most games — meaning the targets could increase. Everett split snaps with Will Dissly (both played 72 percent) and Dissly actually had three targets. He needs to separate himself more to provide TE1 value, but this was overall a good first week for Everett.
Saints TEs Juwan Johnson/Adam Trautman: Johnson only saw three targets in Week 1, but two of them were in the end zone and he turned them into touchdowns. He finished with three catches for 21 yards and two scores. At 6-foot-4, 231 pounds, he is a huge target who should be a factor in the red zone all season. That alone is enough to make him fantasy viable at the thinnest position in the game. While he is the top add here, do not overlook Trautman, who actually led the Saints with six targets. He only caught three of them for 18 yards, but the usage is what we like to see in Week 1. Trautman played 83 percent of the snaps, while Johnson played 18 percent.
Bears TE Cole Kmet: Kmet played 74 percent of the snaps to Jimmy Graham’s 20 percent. He also saw seven targets, tied for the second most on the Bears in Week 1. He finished with five catches for 42 yards. Graham’s usage in the red zone will always limit the upside of Kmet, but he does have breakout abilities. He is an upside flier to grab off the waiver wire this week.
Cowboys TEs Dalton Schultz/Blake Jarwin: With Michael Gallup sidelined for multiple weeks, that should lead to an uptick in volume for the tight ends in Dallas. Through one week, Schultz is the preferred add. He played 70 percent of the snaps and had six targets, catching all six for 45 yards. Jarwin played 56 percent of the snaps and had four targets, catching three for 20 yards. The Cowboys figure to be one of the best passing attacks in football. Since both tight ends get involved, Schultz is more of a high-end TE2, while Jarwin is more of a backup option. Still, if you are in need a TE this is a way to get some exposure to the Cowboys offense.
Jets TEs Tyler Kroft/Ryan Griffin: This is purely for deeper leagues, but both Jets tight ends were utilized in Week 1. Its worth noting that Jamison Crowder (Covid-19) was not active. But still, usage is what we seek early in the season. Kroft had the edge in snaps playing 63 percent to Griffin’s 50 percent. But it was Griffin who had the edge with six targets, to Kroft’s five. Kroft finished with three catches for 26 yards, while Griffin had three catches for 22 yards. It would be best if the Jets used just one, but we have to take what we get when it comes to tight ends. Kroft is the preferred option, but both are on the deep league radar.
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