Week 1 in the NFL is always a minefield of uncertainty and, sadly, injuries. There was a heavy dose of both at the start of the new season – with the San Francisco 49ers’ season-ending knee injury starting with running back Raheem Mostert the most impactful news of the week.
As a result, there is a clear no. 1 priority for fantasy football managers on this week’s waiver thread. And remember, the players you add at the start of the season have the biggest impact, so don’t be afraid to spend big.
Recommended bids based on a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) of $ 100 for the season.
RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers ($ 67): There is gold in that backfield! Raheem Mostert and rookie Trey Sermon were to share the workload at the start of the season, but Mostert only carried the ball twice before his injury … and Sermon was inactive.
However, another recruit – drafted three rounds nach Sermon – advanced to week 1. Mitchell won the number. 2 role after surpassing the sermon in preseason and he showed why, rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He will take over as a starter, with Sermon and JaMycal Hasty also in the mix for now. But make no mistake, Mitchell could have the long-term job on one of the top running teams in the NFL.
RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions ($ 32, if available): Williams was a surprise starter ahead of D’Andre Swift in Game 1, though the two ended up getting almost equal share of the workload. The former Green Bay Packer ran nine times for 54 yards and a touchdown, and he caught eight of nine targets for 56 extra yards. The use of the passing game cements its value.
RB Mark Ingram, Houston Texans ($ 20): The Texans entered the season with three capable running backs and no defined role. It only took a week to find out that Ingram will be their main running back. He had 26 carries for 85 yards and one touchdown against Jacksonville, while Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson had just 11 carries combined (although both also scored touchdowns against the Jags’ brutal defense). Ingram was arguably the most overlooked Texans in the draft, but now he expects to receive the most consistent hits.
WR Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers ($ 19): A fantastic lottery ticket in previous years due to his incredible physical abilities, Williams caught eight passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in Washington. It just might be the start of his long-awaited breakout season.
WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos ($ 11): Another major injury changed a team’s depth chart. Losing second-year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy for 6 to 8 weeks will increase the importance of Patrick and KJ Hamler (and an already registered Courtland Sutton). Patrick caught his four targets for 39 yards and a touchdown in Week 1.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles ($ 10): Miles Sanders is the clear starter in Philly, but the fifth-round pick earned Sanders’ back-up spot over Boston Scott. Gainwell carried the ball nine times for 37 yards and scored on an 8-yard run.
WR Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts ($ 10): New quarterback Carson Wentz targeted running backs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines the most on Sunday, but when he looked out, Pascal was his preferred option. Two of his four receptions of the day were touchdowns. This relationship is expected to continue even after TY Hilton returns.
WR Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals ($ 9): Who wouldn’t want to be part of an offense with Kyler Murray running the show? Kirk topped AJ Green and Rondale Moore – catching his five targets for 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He looks like an incompetent. 2 receiver behind DeAndre Hopkins.
WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants ($ 8): Kenny Golladay was a high-profile addition in the offseason, but Shepard was the Giants’ main receiver with seven catches for 113 yards and one scoring. It’s hard to predict who QB Daniel Jones will favor on a weekly basis, so don’t put too much stock in a week’s results.
QB Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints ($ 5): The famed Jameis wasn’t in the top 20 quarterbacks in the average draft position, but he threw five touchdowns against Green Bay on his first start for the Saints. Winston probably has a higher cap than your current backing quarterback.
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RB Carlos Hyde, Jacksonville Jaguars: The veteran was more effective than starter James Robinson, but not by much. Under new coach Urban Meyer and rookie QB Trevor Lawrence, the Jags still have a ways to go before they gain respectability. But Hyde should be of fantastic value in getting consistent touches.
TE Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears: Whether it’s Andy Dalton or Justin Fields under center, the Bears offense seems geared towards short passes. Kmet was targeted seven times in Game 1, catching five for 42 yards.
TE Juwan Johnson, Saints of New Orleans: Johnson might be the lucky break of the week with two touchdowns in three receptions, but keep an eye out for this converted wide receiver, especially while Michael Thomas is away.
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