What a start to the NFL season! Players and teams gave us glimpses of what the season may hold for them. There were under-performers and over-performers, who we will all evaluate on a futuristic scale. Many thought the Texans would not win a game all season and have already started 1-0. Meanwhile, the Steelers upset the Bills, and Atlanta got blown out by Philadelphia. Notable injuries in Week 1, thus far, include Jerry Jeudy (ankle), Raheem Mostert (knee), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip). It is time for all fantasy managers to try and capitalize on any breakout Week 1 performances by snagging the next “Fantasy Winner.” Check out our fantasy football rankings & projections to help guide you throughout the week with any decisions.
Taylor Heinicke – Washington Football Team
Average % Rostered: 0.2%, FAAB: 1%
You have to feel bad for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Very few people, if anyone, would ever argue that he isn’t an elite competitor with winning DNA. However, if you are a fantasy manager, you need to act quickly here. Taylor Heinicke is a very valuable QB2 in this offense. While the Chargers got the better of the Football Team in this one, Washington still very much has a chance to make the playoffs. Heinicke is likely best known for his gutsy play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Washington’s wild-card loss. He threw for 306 yards and a touchdown while almost taking down the eventual Super Bowl Champions. In the matchup today, against the Chargers, Heinicke had another strong performance, finishing 11-for-15 with 122 yards and one touchdown. Heinicke will have plenty of weapons on offense if Fitzpatrick is to miss significant time. Target him on waiver wires to be a low-to-mid-tier QB2 for your fantasy team, regardless of format.
Elijah Mitchell – San Francisco 49ers
Average % Rostered: 0.7%, FAAB: 6%
Mitchell saw an opportunity on Sunday and seized it. Raheem Mostert suffered a knee injury, said not to be a torn ACL early in the first quarter. Since Trey Sermon was a “healthy scratch,” Mitchell had his number called. He ended the game with 104 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. It was clear based on usage that Mitchell stood as a much-preferred option to head coach Kyle Shanahan and the Niners, as the next running back in line, JaMycal Hasty, only secured one rushing attempt. Almost instantly, Mitchell has found himself to be an extremely viable waiver-wire option in all formats. It’s clear that Trey Sermon is in the “dog house” with Shanahan and company, so take advantage of Mitchell’s availability in free agency while you can. If Mostert misses significant time, Mitchell will get a ton of touches in a typically run-heavy offense.
Mark Ingram II – Houston Texans
Average % Rostered: 13%, FAAB: 4%
Touches, touches, touches. Ingram carried the ball 26 times for a total of 85 yards and one touchdown. During passing plays, Philip Lindsay saw the majority of the work out of the backfield, though. The game script will probably determine the entirety of Ingram’s fantasy worth. The Texans will be down early and often against good teams, but they came out and clobbered the Jaguars, so perhaps they will be more competitive than many thought. Ingram has good value in non-PPR leagues as a low-end RB2 or flex option, while he remains a matchup flex play against struggling football teams in PPR leagues.
Cordarrelle Patterson – Atlanta Falcons
Average % Rostered: 2.6%, FAAB: 1%
Despite the Falcons ‘ offense struggling mightily, Patterson looked great in Week 1. He worked a bit out of the backfield and caught a couple of balls as well. Patterson ran seven times for 54 yards and caught two balls for 13 yards on two targets. While he did not put a ton of points on the board, his usage was promising. If Mike Davis is injured, Patterson will become an extremely viable PPR option in 12-man leagues. Right now, he remains little more than a free agent stash in the hopes that his usage will continue to increase.
Tim Patrick – Denver Broncos
Average % Rostered: 20%, FAAB: 5%
Unfortunately for the Denver Broncos, Jerry Jeudy suffered a high-ankle sprain in their Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants. Meanwhile, Courtland Sutton had a miserable first game, securing merely one reception for 14 yards. Still, the Broncos handled the Giants with ease by a score of 27-13. The offensive output of Week 1 suggests Sutton is not fully recovered from the serious injury he had last year. Now that Jeudy will probably miss 4-8 weeks, Patrick becomes a valuable asset. He has potential low-end WR2 upside. Today, he capitalized on his opportunity with four receptions totaling 39 yards and a touchdown. Patrick remains a great red zone threat as he stands 6-foot-4. His value is slightly higher in non-PPR leagues but still holds value in other formats since he will see increased volume.
Zach Pascal – Indianapolis Colts
Average % Rostered: 30%, FAAB: 5%
Well, many thought Michael Pittman Jr. would be the receiver to step up in the Colts’ offense during T.Y. Hilton’s absence. However, it seems Zach Pascal may be the new favorite target for Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. Pascal finished with four receptions on five targets for 43 yards and two touchdowns. If Pascal continues to build rapport with Wentz, he may still be the favorite target, even when Hilton returns.
Sterling Shepard – New York Giants
Average % Rostered: 24.8%, FAAB: 5%
The Giants had a tough Week 1 matchup against the Denver Broncos, who have arguably the best secondary in the NFL. While the Giants did struggle at times offensively, Shepard stood out. He had seven receptions on nine targets for 113 yards and a touchdown. Even if you are bearish on Daniel Jones and/or the Giants’ offense, Shepard getting nine targets against the most talented secondary in the NFL says a lot. And this proves that Jones trusts Shepard and will be looking for him every week. Anyone scared that there are “too many cooks in the kitchen” must realize that many of the Giants’ receivers are very injury-prone.
Cole Kmet – Chicago Bears
Average % Rostered: 22.1%, FAAB: 3%
Cole Kmet is the clear-cut No. 1 tight end in an offense that will probably utilize him with decent frequency. In Week 1, Kmet was targeted seven times, which is very promising for future usage. Kmet pulled down five of those seven targets for 42 yards. Kmet should be targeted in free agency, especially if you don’t feel solid about your tight end depth. Kmet has low-end TE1 upside, so make a strong push for him now. Solid tight ends are valuable, especially in 12-man leagues.
Jared Cook – Los Angeles Chargers
Average % Rostered: 22.6%, FAAB: 2%
The Chargers faced a tough Washington squad in Week 1. It was a low-scoring affair with a lot of back-and-forth. It was nice, however, to see Herbert target his tight-ends as much as he did. Cook received eight targets and was able to pull down five of them for 56 yards. Don’t break your budget on Cook, but his eight targets are promising, and hopefully, you can snag another viable tight-end option for cheap.