Fantasy football is back and with Week 1 comes plenty of injuries that owners need to worry about. The waiver wire is the perfect place to find replacements for those that went down in Week 1.
Some of the injuries were pretty clear-cut that the player is going to miss a lot of time (Delanie Walker, Greg Olsen). Others are not as clear (Leonard Fournette, Marcus Mariota, Aaron Rodgers). Either way, fantasy owners should be prepared in case their starter is not ready to go in Week 2.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns (13 percent owned)
The top quarterback to add would be Taylor. In the rain, Taylor only threw for 197 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But he still put up decent production in fantasy because of his legs. He ran for 77 yards and a touchdown. It was hard to gauge his performance because of the terrible weather, but he looked serviceable and he faces the Saints in Week 2. New Orleans just allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 417 yards and four touchdowns.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets (10 percent owned)
While the Jets dismantled the Detroit Lions on all fronts, Darnold was able to put up a serviceable performance even after his first attempt in the NFL went for a pick-six. He finished the game with 198 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. As the Jets kept piling on the points both through their running game and their defense, Darnold didn’t have to do much. It’s hard to judge his overall performance in a game where the Jets won 48-17, but he should be kept in mind as an option to add off the waiver wire for the season, not just as an injury fill-in.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 percent owned)
It is certainly possible Fitzpatrick had his best game of the season in Week 1. Against a struggling New Orleans defense, he threw for more than 400 yards and four TDs. He added 36 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well. Fitzpatrick will likely only be filling in while Jameis Winston is suspended, but he is a worthy option for those who might not have a quarterback over the next couple of weeks.
Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (36 percent owned and 5 percent owned)
Neither running back is a must-add until the timeshare is figured out. Hines is more of the pass-catching back. He had nine targets that he turned into seven receptions for 33 yards. He added 19 yards on five carries. Meanwhile, Wilkins only had three targets. He caught all three for 21 yards. However, he ran for 40 yards on 14 carries. Hines should be considered in PPR formats and Wilkins in standard. But don't forget about Marlon Mack, who should figure into the mix when he gets healthy.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (17 percent owned)
Ekeler likely will not have a repeat performance unless Melvin Gordon was to miss time. However, he has shown that he is a pass-catching option in the Chargers' offense. He caught all five of his targets in Week 1 for 87 yards and a touchdown. He isn’t a must-add, but he should be considered in PPR formats. Even though Gordon looked great, owners should add Ekeler as a handcuff as well.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (15 percent owned)
If Leonard Fournette misses any time because of his hamstring injury, Yeldon (right) becomes the starter for Jacksonville. Yeldon’s value is only in Fournette’s absence, so monitor the injury reports. Yeldon didn’t have a great performance against the Giants, posting just 51 rushing yards on 14 carries (3.6 ypc) and adding three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. But Fournette owners should absolutely add Yeldon to be safe.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos (5 percent owned)
On draft day, many fantasy owners were high on Royce Freeman. However, in Week 1, Lindsay stepped up and had the same number of carries as Freeman. Lindsay had 71 yards on 15 carries and added two receptions for 31 yards. He played ahead of Devontae Booker, and while Freeman may still be No. 1 on the depth chart, this appears to be a running back by committee. This brings down Freeman’s value, but Lindsay should be owned in most formats.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30 percent owned)
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 419 yards, so the ball seemed to go to everyone (well, except Cameron Brate). Godwin had three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Godwin makes the waiver wire column because he would be the next man up if DeSean Jackson has to miss time after suffering a concussion against the Saints. Obviously Mike Evans is the No. 1, but the No. 2 spot is up in the air.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Seattle Seahawks (8 percent owned)
Tyler Lockett is 51 percent owned, otherwise he would make this column as well. Doug Baldwin injured his MCL in Week 1. While it is not clear how much time he will miss, it will likely be at least a couple of weeks. Marshall stepped up after Baldwin went out in Week 1, catching three of six targets for 46 yards and a touchdown. It’s going to be tough to trust him, but while Baldwin is out, Marshall is a viable WR3 option. If available, Lockett should be added first.
Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys (8 percent owned)
For fantasy owners in PPR formats, Beasley should be considered. He led the Cowboys with eight targets, which he converted into seven receptions for 73 yards. The Cowboys are still trying to figure out their offense, and while they are doing so, Dak Prescott needs someone to dump the ball off to. That someone is Beasley. He’s not going to have monster games, but in PPR formats, he can get owners double-digit points on a regular basis.
Quincy Enunwa, WR, New York Jets (7 percent owned)
On Monday night, Enunwa led the team with 10 targets. He had six receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. While it seemed like Robby Anderson was going to be the leading receiver, Sam Darnold kept looking for Enunwa, especially on third down. The Jets' offense looked, dare we say, good, against the Lions. Enunwa has the ability to be a WR3 with upside for the rest of the season.
Ryan Grant, WR, Indianapolis Colts, (3 percent owned)
In PPR leagues, Grant is worth looking at. The Colts threw the ball 53 times, so there were plenty of receptions to go around. Grant had nine targets, and he caught eight of those for 59 yards. Grant will play behind T.Y. Hilton, but in terms of a possession receiver in short-yardage situations, he looks to be Luck’s go-to option. He’s likely a WR4 in standard leagues, with additional upside in PPR formats.
Will Dissly, TE, Seattle Seahawks (3 percent owned)
Dissly is a rookie, and while it is possible that Week 1 will end up being his best game of the season, he also can’t be ignored on a week where two TE1s (Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker) went down. Dissly had five targets (second on the team, tied with two of the running backs). He took those targets and turned them into 105 yards and a touchdown. One of those receptions was a 66-yard play, which did inflate his numbers. The Seahawks aren’t known to use their tight ends, but those who have a need at the position could do worse.
Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers (1 percent owned)
Even though he’s a rookie, Thomas is likely the next man up for Carolina. While it hasn’t been confirmed that Greg Olsen will miss time, it certainly seems likely. Remember, Olsen missed nine games last season because of a broken foot, which caused him problems even after he returned. Olsen owners should be prepared for a lengthy (if not season-long) absence. Thomas hasn’t shown what he can do in the NFL yet, but he will likely be available on waivers and should get some opportunities.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans (1 percent owned)
Delanie Walker is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a broken ankle. The next tight end on the depth chart is Smith. A third-round pick last year, Smith finished with 18 catches (30 targets) for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Now he has an opportunity to step up in Walker's absence, as Marcus Mariota has already shown an affinity for throwing to his tight ends. At minimum, Smith is a viable replacement for those who lost Walker.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Chicago Bears (49 percent owned)
The Bears' defense was not highly regarded heading into the season – until they added Kahlil Mack. In Week 1 against Aaron Rodgers (for most of the game), Mack and company recorded four sacks, a fumble recovery and a pick-six. (There should have been a second interception, but Kyle Fuller dropped it.) The Bears head home for a Monday night game against the Seahawks. It’s not an easy matchup, but Seattle's offensive line issues are well-documented and it certainly seems that this a DST trending up.