Jared Cook started off his 10th year in the league with a bang. Long seen as a guy full of potential, the now 31-year-old tight end may have found his niche in Jon Gruden’s offense. Cook was the clear star of the show and favored target for Derek Carr. He racked up 12 targets, 9 catches, and 180 receiving yards, while Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson combined for 4 catches and 32 yards.
Cook is owned in roughly half (52%) of all CBS fantasy leagues. He led all tight ends in percentage of Week 1 team targets at 30%, just ahead of George Kittle and the three consensus best tight ends in the league in Ertz Gronkowski and Kelce. Week 1 saw some rough games from expected big names at the position with Delanie Walker fracturing an ankle, Greg Olsen injuring his foot again, and others like Jimmy Graham not being big factors. I anticipate Cook will be the hottest pickup of week 1 because of all those factors, and projects as a top 6 tight end going forward.
Here are the remaining waiver wire options (numbers in parentheses here are ownership rates):
T.J. Yeldon (24%) has the highest immediate upside for just this week as we await news on whether Leonard Fournette will play. Even if Fournette plays, he’s a flex option this week, and he moves into mid-RB2 range if Fournette is out. Of course, Fournette won’t be out long if he does sit this week so bid accordingly, based on your immediate need for a starter.
Philip Lindsay (3%) was the surprise of Week 1 with the Broncos, evenly splitting time with fellow rookie Royce Freeman and relegating Devontae Booker. This could be a murky situation but Lindsay is worth rostering if you have some dead weight lying around.
Javorius Allen (16%) is another guy I would look at. Alex Collins was not impressive in Week 1 and both Allen and Kenneth Dixon got substantial reps and both scored. But Dixon is probably out again with a knee injury, and Allen may be more valuable than Collins in PPR formats going forward and is a possible flex play.
Jalen Richard (3%) should be added in PPR leagues. He was heavily involved in the passing game for Oakland and came in for Lynch in most passing situations. You know Gruden will utilize the back in his offense and Richard was the clear choice there.
Austin Ekeler (63%) should be rostered after Week 1. Yes, Melvin Gordon was still the primary back, but Ekeler showed enough as both a runner and receiver where he is a viable PPR flex option and would be a top tier start if Gordon missed a game.
Geronimo Allison (39%) was a big part of the passing game for Green Bay, getting 8 targets in their comeback and scoring a fantastic touchdown. He’s definitely worth an upside roster spot at this point.
Kenny Golladay (57%) had a big opening day last year as a rookie but then disappeared. I have a feeling this time around will be different. He was targeted 12 times (more than Marvin Jones) as Detroit played from behind, and the tight end position was a non-factor with Eric Ebron gone. Expect Golladay to be a usable flex wide receiver going forward.
Quincy Enunwa (32%) was easily Sam Darnold’s favorite target in Week 1, and in a game where the Jets only threw 21 passes, Enunwa was targeted on 10 of them. This is a team without a productive receiving tight end and Enunwa could serve as Sam Darnold’s security blanket all year. Add him.
Chris Godwin (31%) didn’t have the big day statistically that DeSean Jackson did, but he was still on the field a lot. If Jackson is out with a concussion, Godwin is a major sleeper play this week.
We don’t know how long Doug Baldwin is out, and Brandon Marshall (10%) ended up leading the Seahawks in targets in Week 1. On a team short on proven weapons he is going to get an opportunity to show he still has something left. He’s a WR3 option in Week 2 against one of his former teams in Chicago.
Ryan Grant (9%) had 8 catches in his first game with Andrew Luck as the Colts passed it 53 times. He’ll be a flex PPR option.
If you don’t want to spend on Jared Cook but need a tight end, Jonnu Smith (0%) is a good deep sleeper pick. Titans tight ends were targeted on 32% of the passes in Week 1 when you add up Delanie Walker and his replacements. Smith was a 3rd round pick a year ago playing behind Walker, and if he gets just half the targets of Walker he’s still usable. The upside is there to be better. Besides Corey Davis, Smith may be option #2 in the passing game this year.
Ricky Seals-Jones (30%) is another tight end who gets enough targets to roster. He was second behind Fitzgerald and should be a borderline fantasy starter going forward.
Will Dissly (1%) will be the big name for his 100 yards and a touchdown against Denver. I’d rank him behind the others going forward but he has an opportunity to still be a fantasy factor in the Seahawks’ offense.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (3%) vs PHI lit it up in Week 1. The matchup looks tougher in Week 2 but he’s still a starting option in a pinch. (If you have Rodgers, adding Fitzpatrick as a possible starting option for this week may be the play). After a performance like last week, Fitzpatrick could also keep Winston on the bench for longer than his suspension.
QB Tyrod Taylor (25%) at NO is your matchup play in deeper leagues. Taylor doesn’t provide the passing upside to be a QB1 but his running against the Saints makes him a viable option in a pinch.
If you really need a starter in deep leagues, QB Blake Bortles (34%) against the Patriots is my recommendation among remaining guys.
My top likely free agent kicker picks are Dustin Hopkins (12%) vs IND, Caleb Sturgis (18%) at BUF, and Brandon McManus (25%) vs OAK.
The Chicago Bears (60%) vs SEA are still not universally owned but should be. They’ll have better days than facing Aaron Rodgers. Matchup plays? New York Jets (5%) vs MIA and San Francisco 49ers (8%) vs DET.
I went through some Free Agent Acquisition Budget thoughts before the season, and you’ll want to read that if you use that format. I don’t see any slam dunk pickups this week, but several value guys at wide receiver are worth a shot. Here are my recommendations:
- TE Jared Cook (20%) — if you really need a starting TE going forward and are in a shallow enough league where he is there
- RB T.J. Yeldon (10%) — maybe higher if you are the Fournette owner or need a starter while Ingram is out suspended, or Bell is out
- WR Geronimo Allison (10%)
- WR Kenny Golladay (10%)
- WR Quincy Enunwa (10%)
- WR Chris Godwin (5-10%)
- WR Brandon Marshall (5-10%)
- TE Jonnu Smith (3-5%)
- Philip Lindsay (3-5%)
- RB Javorius Allen (3-5%)
- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (3-5%)
- TE Ricky Seals-Jones (minimum)
- RB Jalen Richard (minimum)
- WR Ryan Grant (minimum)
- TE Will Dissly (minimum)