It’s football season! I’m sure all of your fantasy predictions came true, just like mine did. For everyone else, though, here are some names they should be targeting on the waiver wire as bench stashes, injury replacements, or simply players that are under-rostered in your league.
Percentages are based on Yahoo! leagues.
Elijah Mitchell (8%); JaMycal Hasty (1%), San Francisco
That was fast. Raheem Mostert only made it four snaps before going down with a knee injury, and he’s going to be out for at least 8 weeks. I hate it for him as a player, but it’s hard to say we didn’t see this as a very real possibility. After all, there’s a reason Trey Sermon was more than 90% rostered in most fantasy formats. (insert Mike Tyson “Everyone has a plan…” joke)
Speaking of Sermon, the Reverend Kyle Shanahan shocked the fantasy world when everyone’s preseason sleeper was a healthy scratch on Sunday morning. But remember: this is the coach who wouldn’t even divulge which finger Trey Lance chipped a few weeks ago, so we can’t necessarily trust news coming out of San Fran.
Shanahan says that Mitchell/Hasty simply beat out Trey Sermon in training camp/preseason
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) September 12, 2021
Ok?! Considering this news seems to be coming out of nowhere, fantasy Twitter seems to think there’s more to the story (read: Don’t drop Trey Sermon yet.) Despite all this, San Francisco is still a top 5 rushing attack, and it’s hard to argue against rostering rookie Elijah Mitchell, a 6th-rounder out of Lousiana, who commanded a 64% snap share and an impressive stat line: 19 attempts, 104 yards, and a touchdown in Week 1. Mitchell will be one of the most added players in all formats this week, so he could command upwards of $35 of your FAB. Just remember two things: It’s only Week 2, and prepare yourself to get burned by this backfield situation. For those reasons, JaMycal Hasty is also worth a speculative add for deeper leagues and/or benches.
FAB: Mitchell – 25%; Hasty – 5%
UPDATE 9/14: Raheem Mostert announced he will undergo season-ending surgery.
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia (8%)
In Philly, Kenneth Gainwell is the backup, a role that was supposed to be occupied by Boston Scott. The Eagles continue to show no interest in giving Miles Sanders a 3-down role, so there’s definitely a path to fantasy relevance here. Now, most matchups won’t be as easy as my beloved Atlanta Falcons, but Gainwell could have standalone value in positive matchups as the season progresses. I’m not saying you start him in Week 2 against a much stiffer test against San Francisco, but make sure he’s on your roster.
Tony Jones Jr., New Orleans (23%)
The backfield (and the whole field, probably) belongs to Alvin Kamara. However, Tony Jones Jr. is showing why New Orleans was willing to part ways with Latavius Murray. Jones is an excellent backup for Kamara and could have standalone flex value in certain matchups.
🙅♂️🙅♂️ 🙅♂️Don’t overreact to:
Mark Ingram II, Houston (20%)
Well, looky here. The Texans have more wins than Green Bay and New England…combined. Mark Ingram II rushed 26 times for 85 yards and a touchdown, and David Johnson added a receiving score. However, the snap counts (Ingram–35; Johnson– 22; Phillip Lindsay–20; Rex Burkhead–10) for the running backs scream timeshare, and I don’t expect Houston to have many game scripts like they had in Week 1 against Jacksonville.
Stashes/Zero Dollar Bids: Larry Rountree, LAC (1%), Alex Collins, SEA (1%), Cordarelle Patterson, ATL (3%)
Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina (21%)
The stat line (6 targets, 3 receptions, 26 yards) won’t blow you away, but second-round pick Terrace Marshall Jr. saw more targets than veteran Robby Anderson and seemed to be an important part of Carolina’s passing attack. It’s more of an add-him-now-play-him-later scenario, and there were no negative signs in his debut. He has been a favorite sleeper pick, but he’s still rostered too low in leagues.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (39%)
The Giants aren’t the most inspiring offense, but Sterling Shepard rewarded the faith managers put in him. Simply, he’s a major part of the Giants offense. Shepard was Daniel Jones‘ favorite target in Week 1, going for 113 yards and a score with 7 receptions. Daniel Jones may limit his ceiling, but Shepard is a solid WR3 and worth a spot in starting lineups who need solid WR help.
Zach Pascal, Indianapolis (1%)
With Carson Wentz joining the Colts and getting injured during the preseason, it was hard to predict how the receiving options would work themselves out. T.Y. Hilton heading to the IR complicates things further, but it also removes one variable from the equation. Parris Campbell‘s return from injury doesn’t seem like it’s going to matter much, so that leaves Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal, with Pascal narrowly out-targeting fantasy darling Pittman. I’m not recommending you start Pascal based on one week, but there’s a chance he becomes Wentz’s favorite receiver. With a two-touchdown performance, you may have to pay up a little more to get him on your roster.
Tim Patrick, Denver (2%)
All Tim Patrick does is overachieve. He did it in 2020 when it was supposed to be Jerry Jeudy and K.J. “Hamler-time.” Now, with Jeudy out with a high ankle sprain, he’s going to see more even more work. With Courtland Sutton seemingly not at 100%, expect Tim Patrick to be the WR1 in Denver. He is a must-add, especially in smash spots in the next two weeks in Jacksonville and home against the Jets.
Rondale Moore, Arizona (27%)
Like Terrace Marshall Jr, Rondale Moore is criminally under-rostered. Rookie debuts don’t always show in the box score, but four receptions for 68 yards is more than respectable. Moore was mostly involved in four-wide sets, but let’s remember that we’re talking about Air Raid Arizona. With more time on the field, Moore should play himself into a more prominent role with more opportunities. While your league mates might chase Captain Kirk’s Week 1 stat line on the wire, you know better. Go with the talent.
🙅♂️ 🙅♂️ 🙅♂️Don’t overreact to:
Christian Kirk, Arizona (13%)
If you think the Kirk-aissance is here, you won’t be alone. 70 yards and 2 scores in a Kyler Murray-led offense is going to turn heads. But I’m going to go with the history here, as Captain Kirk has never shown he’s a legitimate WR3. Kirk’s wide receiver fantasy finishes the last three years, per Fantasy Data: WR50, WR40, WR58.
Stashes/Zero Dollar Bids: K.J. Osborn, MIN (0%), Emmanuel Sanders, BUF (21%), Jalen Reagor, PHI (21%), Dyami Brown, WAS (2%)
Tyler Conklin, Minnesota (5%)
The Vikings traded for Chris Herndon when Irv Smith Jr. got injured, but that seems to be insurance more than anything. Conklin is the starting tight end in Minnesota and should be more involved in the offense moving forward.
Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (26%)
He’s still got it. All the Donald Parham Jr. truthers (myself included) were silenced in Week 1. While the snap counts were similar, Cook dominated the targets and is still the clear receiving option at tight end for Justin Herbert. At this position and in this offense, that’s worth having on your roster.
Juwan Johnson (10%); Adam Trautman (11%), New Orleans
Juwan Johnson got the touchdowns, but Adam Trautman got the snaps and twice as many targets. It’s hard to know how the tight end position will play out with Jameis Winston under center, but I prefer Trautman for the season. And he’ll be cheaper. Note: Juwan Johnson is eligible as both a wide receiver and tight end in Yahoo!, but that should not factor into your decision.
Note: I don’t recommend spending FAB on quarterbacks, outside of the deepest leagues and Superflex. If you’re in either of those formats, make sure these quarterbacks are rostered:
Jared Goff, Detroit
When the game script is right, Jared Goff can put up points. And the most talented players around him (T.J. Hockenson, D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams) all happen to be perfect check-down options. If the Packers’ offense gets back on track in Week 2, we could see another opportunity for Goff and the Lions to be great for fantasy rosters, if not for Detroit fans.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans
There’s always a chance Jameis throws for 5 interceptions next week instead of touchdowns, but you can’t deny that the opportunity for massive fantasy output is there. I don’t expect a lot of resistance next week in Carolina, so fire up Winston with confidence in Week 2.
Teddy Bridgewater, Denver
Denver takes on hapless Jacksonville next week. The Teddy Bear is in play as a streaming option.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington (Superflex only)
With Ryan Fitzpatrick dislocating his hip, Taylor Heinicke is in as the starter. Keep an eye on the news of Washington signing another QB (Cam Newton?), but pick up Heinicke for now in Superflex.
Photo by Dan Anderson/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire