Week 1 featured several rookies making big impacts. You had big names like Leonard Fournette hitting the ground running, and Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt lighting the world on fire. Included among those is Kenny Golladay, the Lions’ 3rd round pick, who had two touchdown catches including a beautiful diving effort on a long 45-yard bomb in the 4th quarter.
I missed on Golladay because I thought he would still be behind veteran Marvin Jones when the season began, but if week 1 is an indication, then Golladay is the other receiver to have in Detroit. Golladay had 7 targets (2nd to Golden Tate) while Jones was targeted just twice. Given his size, I expect Golladay to emerge as a red zone threat and be a viable top 40 WR on a weekly basis. Golladay is owned in only 37% of CBS leagues entering the week but that should change.
Here are the rest of the Fantasy Football Week 1 Waiver Wire recommendations. As always, I’ll be listing my recommendations based on all players owned in less than 70% of leagues, and mixing in a variety of ownership levels to account for differing league types.
Shallow and Average Leagues
Sam Bradford (52%) exploded against the Saints behind a brand new offensive line featuring five new starters, as well as a rookie running back in Dalvin Cook. While it’s hard to beat the matchup against the Saints, the week 1 performance showed that Bradford is a viable fantasy play this year and should be added.
Alex Smith (36%) stepped up to the challenge with rookie Patrick Mahomes pushing him, and with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and now the next great KC running back in Kareem Hunt, he has some weapons. He’s a viable starter on matchup, though the matchup against the Eagles should be tougher in week 2.
Deep Leagues and 2-QB Leagues
Deshone Kizer (19%) provides rushing value and should be solidly established as the Browns starter barring injury. The matchup against the Ravens is not ideal but he’s a good QB2 option if desperate.
Trevor Siemian (18%) also has the Denver job solidified and is a low-end QB2 start in week 2 against Dallas.
Shallow and Average Leagues:
Kerwynn Williams (11%) becomes Mr. Right Now in Arizona. One thing you need to have fantasy value is opportunity and Williams will get the first crack with David Johnson out for 2-3 months. We don’t know how he will be used relative to change-of-pace Andre Ellington and recently re-signed Chris Johnson, but the guess here is that he is the primary back and generally in the 20-25 range (so worth starting) at RB depending on matchup. He put up decent numbers at the end of 2014, before David Johnson arrived.
Tarik Cohen (30%) showcased versatility and explosiveness, and with the lack of wide receivers, he will be a flex option and valuable as both a 2nd RB and receiving threat in Chicago. He can be the next Darren Sproles and we’ve seen plenty of years where Sproles put up solid fantasy finishes.
Javorius Allen (3%) got 21 carries, but don’t expect that every week. Still, he should have value while Danny Woodhead is out the next 4-6 weeks, and worth a flex option. I’ve got him below Cohen because I think the role is not as certain to remain longterm.
Marlon Mack (41%) got 11 touches in his debut. Even though the game got out of hand, that’s notable because no other back not named Frank Gore had gotten to double digits at any point since Gore arrived in Indy. Gore’s 34 and Mack’s early involvement is a sign he can move into a bigger role as the season progresses (and as Luck returns to improve the offense). Not a starting option yet, but a stash for three to four weeks from now.
Alvin Kamara (43%) had a bigger role week 1 than Adrian Peterson, and is the likeliest candidate to emerge as a receiving back. If you think there’s a chance that Peterson falls even more out of favor, buy Kamara for the near future.
Chris Carson (22%): the Seattle running back situation is murky, but Carson looked the best in week 1. Don’t go overboard because you don’t know how this will shake out once Rawls gets healthy (if he ever does) but Carson is worth a flyer.
Shane Vereen (21%) is an available and cheap PPR play, and he was heavily targeted with OBJ out last week in the passing game.
Mike Tolbert (9%) got double digit carries against the Jets and is a good veteran handcuff option in Buffalo.
Jalen Richard (8%) is a matchup play this week in deep leagues, with the Raiders hosting the Jets as a big favorite. Tolbert got 13 touches last week while the Bills played with the lead, and I expect Oakland to run the ball in the 2nd half and keep Lynch from taking too big a load if they are up by multiple scores late.
All Leagues (because even some of the guys not widely owned should be):
Marqise Lee (19%) and Allen Hurns (17%) will be the Jacksonville starters with Allen Robinson out for the year. I don’t have a lot of faith in Bortles and this offense will be built around Fournette if things are going well, but worth an add for either because there’s not much else here (Fournette is not a receiving back, and the tight end position is not going to be high volume).
Cooper Kupp (37%) got off to a good start with the Rams and might be a matchup play some weeks, worth a speculative add.
Nelson Agholor (7%) had a big game as Alshon Jeffery drew attention, and was targeted 8 times in the opener. Worth an add.
Paul Richardson (7%) was the clear other wide receiver in Seattle, and actually had more targets than Doug Baldwin last week. The offense will play better and Richardson has WR3 upside for a very cheap price.
Kendall Wright (54%) is the last receiver standing in Chicago and should get 6 targets per week and be a borderline or emergency starting option.
Robby Anderson (34%) is going to get targets in the Jets’ woeful offense if you ever need a late starter.
Jesse James (13%) was a big part of the Steelers passing offense in week 1 and produced touchdowns. Pick him up.
Austin Hooper (61%) had only two targets but made two big plays and should be a bigger part of the offense as the season progresses.
Charles Clay (25%) was targeted 9 times by Tyrod Taylor in week 1 (no one else on the team more than 4 times) and becomes a tight end streaming option early in the year, while Taylor is learning the other receivers.
Jared Cook (54%) has often been fool’s gold, but got off to a good start with the Raiders and becomes a fall-back option at tight end.
Deep Leagues: Zach Miller (8%), like Cohen, will see more targets because of the dearth of options at wide receiver. He was productive last year until injured and should be an option again.
OVERALL RECOMMENDATIONS (with Auction Budget percentages)
- WR Kenny Golladay, DET (20-25%)
- RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI (25-30%)
- RB Tarik Cohen, CHI (20%)
- WR Allen Hurns (15-20%)
- WR Marqise Lee (15-20%)
- RB Javorius Allen, BAL (15%)
- WR Cooper Kupp, LAR (10%)
- QB Alex Smith, KC (5-10%)
- RB Marlon Mack, IND (5-10%)
- WR Nelson Agholor, PHI (5-10%)
- QB Sam Bradford, MIN (5%)
- TE Austin Hooper (5%)
- WR Paul Richardson, SEA (3%)
- TE Charles Clay (5%)
- TE Jesse James (5%)
- RB Chris Carson, SEA (3-5%)
- RB Alvin Kamara, NO (3-5%)
- WR Kendall Wright, CHI (3%)
Deep Leagues (<35% owned)
- RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI (20-25%)
- RB Tarik Cohen, CHI (15-20%)
- WR Allen Hurns (15%)
- WR Marqise Lee (15%)
- WR Cooper Kupp, LAR (10-15%)
- RB Javorius Allen, BAL (10-15%)
- WR Nelson Agholor, PHI (10%)
- TE Charles Clay (5%)
- TE Jesse James (5%)
- RB Chris Carson, SEA (5%)
- WR Paul Richardson, SEA (3%)
- TE Zach Miller, CHI (3%)
- QB DeShone Kizer (3%)
- WR Robby Anderson (3%)
- RB Shane Vereen (3%)