We finally made it to Week 1 of the NFL season. The slate featured a bunch of great games that had fantasy players going crazy. Now that the chaos has subsided, it’s time to look at the waiver wire and improve our roster for total season domination.
For our on-going waiver wire exclusive* we will be breaking skill players down into 3 categories and then concluding by recommending some likely free-agent Defenses and Kickers:
Game Changers: Game changers are exactly what they sound like. Players that through injury or opportunity rise up and become real impact players immediately. They may not be the best or most well-known players, but they are in a position to impact fantasy scores on a weekly basis.
Depth with upside: Again, the name is fairly self-explanatory. These are players that are just waiting for that opportunity to excel. Often they possess a solid talent, and elite measurables, but they just have not had the opportunity to “break out” yet. This often includes handcuffs of underwhelming players or players that have started slow at deep positions, i.e. a QB or TE, that still have you believing in their talent.
Hail Mary’s: This section is easily going to be the highest turnover section of your roster. And in some cases, the players will literally change from day-to-day. They are often role players that flash, or deeper roster players that may have moved up due to injury, trade, or just plain old ineffectiveness.
*We will not frequently rehash previous players; to see who we recommended last week, click here.
An unfortunate and potentially serious injury to Keenan Allen (ACL) leaves a huge void in the San Diego Passing attack. Williams saw 5 targets compared to the 3 Inman would see. Look for Rivers to make at least one of the big bodied young guns fantasy relevant.
Alex Smith | Quarterback | Kansas City Chiefs
A Top-5 performance and a 21-point second half come from behind victory; Alex Smith had himself a day against a porous Chargers defense. He now faces Houston who suffered some defensive injuries* in Week 1.
*Brian Cushing is out for the rest of the season.
Dwayne Allen | Tight End | Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck back under center meant good things for Allen as he saw 6 targets against Detroit. Next up for Indianapolis is a visit to Denver. The Colts shaky offensive line play and the Denver pass rush mean Allen could see a ton of short to intermediate passes to help Luck avoid trouble.
Tevin Coleman | Running Back | Atlanta Falcons
Coleman out played Devonta Freeman in Week 1. Look for this to become more of a running back by committee (RBBC) moving forward. Any Freeman owner should have Coleman as a handcuff and Coleman has standalone value in a PPR format.
Mohamed Sanu | Wide Receiver | Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones is going to draw the attention of defenses, leaving Sanu open for long passes just like we saw against Tampa Bay. Sanu looks to fill the WR2 slot in Atlanta and had an impressive debut. If he Atlanta returns to the days of Roddy White and Julio Jones, Sanu could be a strong WR2.
Tajae Sharpe | Wide Receiver | Tennessee Titans
Sharpe led the Titans in targets and receptions. Marcus Mariota will develop a trust with Sharpe as the season continues. With good matchups ahead, Sharpe should be on the radar of any PPR owner.
Depth With Upside:
Joe Flacco | Quarterback | Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore might not be the sexiest team for fantasy, but they produce points. Flacco has a big arm and two deep threats in Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace. A Browns team coming off being exposed by a rookie QB is a good spot to build a struggling offenses’ confidence.
Shane Vereen | Running Back | New York Giants
Rashad Jennings saw the bulk of the load at RB for the Giants, but Vereen definitely has a role in the offense. A great pass catching option out of the back field gives him some PPR value; especially with the upcoming matchups ahead.
Carson Wentz | Quarter Back | Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz handled his first game well—granted it was against the Browns—throwing two touchdowns with no turnovers. Wentz is currently owned in 10.8% of ESPN leagues and has another great matchup in the coming week against Chicago.
Chris Hogan | Wide Receiver | New England Patriots
Hogan caught a touchdown against a very good Arizona defense. The Patriots return to New England in Week 2 to face Miami. Jimmy Garroppolo will be looking for Hogan in times where the pocket breaks down.
Victor Cruz | Wide Receiver | New York Giants
After a much anticipated wait, we finally got to see some salsa dancing in the end zone. Victor Cruz is back and looks to be on the same page as Eli Manning. This trend should continue as New York prepares for the Saints next week.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins | Tight End | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 1 was not good for all of the preseason Cameron Brate hype. ASJ hauled in his only target for a 30 yard touchdown using athleticism that the other Tampa Bay tight ends don’t have. Winston loves to throw to his tight end and if ASJ can stay on the field, he has big play potential.
Mike Wallace | Wide Receiver | Baltimore Ravens
Mike Wallace is not dead, he’s actually still fast. Wallace saw 6 targets including his 66-yard touchdown. A trip to Cleveland should be nothing to worry about for this big play threat.
Travaris Cadet | Running Back | New Orleans Saints
First thing is first, the Saints defense is not good. With a bad defense, New Orleans will be forced into offensive shootouts or simply playing catch-up. Travaris Cadet led the Saints running backs with 7 targets. He clearly has a role and could be a PPR value later in the year.
Jalen Richard | Running Back | Oakland Raiders
Jermaine Kearse | Wide Receiver | Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have been searching for a Wide Receiver that can consistently make tough grabs, unsuccessfully so far, but Kearse seems to have Wilson’s trust and after looking lethargic against Miami, the Rams may be in for a long afternoon next week.
In Week 1, Donnell hauled in a touchdown on his only target. This however was good enough to finish as a top-10 TE. Whether Donnell or Tye are on the field as the TE for the Giants, one of them will have starting fantasy value.
Defense and Special Teams:
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
The new look Philadelphia defense, led by Jim Swartz, looked great against Cleveland. The Eagles forced one interception and held the Browns offense under 300 total yards. Heading to Chicago to face an offense with a struggling offensive line Philly can put up another big week for fantasy.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
160 total yards of offense, that’s what Baltimore held Buffalo to. They roll into Cleveland—who will be starting Josh McCown—with momentum and look to keep the winning ways going.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Aside from A.J. Green absolutely embarrassing Darelle Revis the Jets defense looked as good as advertised. New York was in Andy Dalton’s face all day tallying 7 sacks. Buffalo struggled against a below average defense in Baltimore and the latest Sammy Watkins news is absolutely concerning.
Jason Myers Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers
The Jaguars offense is going to look to expose San Diego the way Kansas City did in the second half. Meyers went 3-3 on field goal attempts in week one and added two extra points.
Mike Nugent Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Nugent was 3-4 on field goal attempts against the Jets. Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh is a hate rivalry that has potential to turn into a defensive slug fest where points will be at a premium.
Cairo Santos Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Coming off of a huge comeback win against San Diego the Chiefs will look to continue their momentum heading in to Houston. The Texans defense is more stout than the Chargers making touchdowns more difficult to come by.