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We have yet to unwrap the precious gift that is Week 1 of the NFL season so hopefully, your fantasy squad is intact and you’re starting off with a clean slate. If you were lucky enough to have drafted an amazing roster full of active and start-worthy players and don’t “need” to use streamers yet, feel free to take a moment to pat yourself on the back. In the event you drafted some would-be starters who are already dinged up, out indefinitely due to contract negotiations, or are risky plays due to an undefined role, fear not— I’ve got you covered with a few Week 1 RB/WR/TE streamers to potentially plug into your lineup.
Justin Jackson (RB, Los Angeles Chargers) – ESPN: 32%, Yahoo: 35%
Although Austin Ekeler is expected to be the Chargers’ primary running back while Melvin Gordon works out a new contract or gets traded, I see Jackson as more than just a complementary piece in this backfield. Of the two, Jackson’s skill set seems to lend itself to being the guy in short-yardage and goal-line situations, even if we didn’t see that in a small sample when they both played without Gordon last year. The Chargers’ Week 1 contest at home against the Colts is projected to see them in a positive game script which is where I think Jackson will excel over the better pass-catcher in Ekeler. Even if you feel comfortable with your fantasy squad’s current RB situation, you can never have enough upside RBs that play for good offenses. If things break right for Jackson this year he could offer immense value as someone you can scoop up for free this week.
Dion Lewis (RB, Tennessee Titans) – ESPN: 46%, Yahoo: 47%
I’m not going to pretend that I’m into the Titans offense or Lewis’ fantasy potential in general but the guy catches passes and I expect his team to be playing catch-up when they travel to Cleveland in Week 1. It’s so easy to have a short memory in fantasy sports and I think it would be a mistake to let 2018’s inefficient 3.3 yards per carry overcloud the fact that he was second in the NFL in 2017 (5.0 ypc) behind only Alvin Kamara. Even though Derrick Henry will be the main beneficiary of what looks to be one of the league’s premier offensive line units, it’s not like they will all go sit on the bench when Lewis comes in to give Henry a break or when the Titans want to pass. Lewis may not ever replicate his stellar 2017 season but if you can let that go and value him as more of a FLEX-worthy PPR type I think he’s going to be a solid option for fantasy owners in a pinch at RB.
DeVante Parker (WR, Miami Dolphins) – ESPN: 9%, Yahoo: 14%
Parker has not lived up to the expectations many set for him as the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft but his talent didn’t just disappear into thin air. He is still just 26 and has shown flashes of being a quality NFL receiver in the past but injuries and mediocre quarterback play have all but silenced the buzz he generated out of college. I won’t say new Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t mediocre in some aspects. However, you know he’s going to
recklessly fearlessly sling it around and the offensive line isn’t expected to allow the ‘fins to have much of a rushing attack. Parker was not exactly buddy-buddy with former coach Adam Gase and no longer has Kenny Stills around to take away targets so I can viably see this new situation yielding results if his health allows him to stay on the field. I don’t love that the Dolphins have the Ravens to start the season (7th vs WRs in 2018) but I believe it’s worth getting in on the ground floor with Parker as this post-hype sleeper seems to have the best setup of his career heading into 2019.
Buffalo Bills Trio— John Brown (ESPN: 33%, Yahoo: 49%), Cole Beasley (ESPN: 21%, Yahoo: 6%), Zay Jones (ESPN: 3%, Yahoo: 8%)
I realize it’s not exactly bold to recommend three receivers from the same offense and say “Well, one of them should help you out!”. I more so wanted to point out how available these three starters are if you need help at WR. Nobody is going to confuse the Bills for an offensive juggernaut but I think all three offer their own unique skill set depending on what you’re looking for. Cole Beasley may have the safest but most unexciting weekly floor of the group in PPR leagues in his high-target slot role. John Brown is a bit more boom-or-bust with what I feel is both the lowest floor and highest ceiling since his production tends to come in chunks. The bottom line is that Josh Allen loves to throw the deep ball and Brown has seen his targeted air yards increase each of the last three seasons (14.8, 15.7, 16.3) despite the carousel of QBs he’s been paired up with. Zay Jones returns as the Bills’ leading receiver from 2018 and will look to join the long list of NFL receivers who have experienced breakout campaigns in year three.
Jordan Reed (TE, Washington Redskins) – ESPN: 54%, Yahoo: 50%)
If you’ve played fantasy football for any length of time you know that Reed is one of the most productive tight ends when he plays, with the caveat that he’s probably not going to be healthy for the whole season. Although I would love to see what type of numbers he’s capable of putting up over a full healthy season, it’s just not likely, and his sub-50% ownership shows just that. The Redskins aren’t expected to be a high-flying offense this year and Reed’s Week 1 opponent Eagles were one of the stingiest defenses against tight ends in 2018 (4th) but unless you have one of the top six drafted TEs, you have to start Reed as he should be the focal point of a Washington passing game that’s currently devoid of reliable options.
Jack Doyle (TE, Indianapolis Colts) – ESPN: 36%, Yahoo: 33%
Andrew Luck’s retirement has opened the door for quick, convenient speculation that all Colts players must now be faded because they don’t have one of the best quarterbacks in the league at the helm anymore. No, Jacoby Brissett is not Luck, but he doesn’t need to be if you’re looking to plug Doyle into your lineup this week. Two seasons ago, when Brissett took on an impromptu role as the Colts QB1 for the year, he turned Doyle into the team’s second-leading receiver with 80 catches/ 690 yards/ 4 TDs on 107 targets. Doyle probably won’t see anywhere near 107 targets again due to all the new toys that have been added to the Indy offense but the track record shows that Brissett trusts him and targets him when it’s time to move the chains (converted 23% of team’s first downs in 2017). You could do a lot worse than the fringe TE1 floor Doyle is capable of providing throughout this season.
Thanks for reading and good luck to all in Week 1!