Steve Miller | September 10th, 2019
Week one of the 2019 NFL season is in the books, and it was a wild one as usual. From the defensive struggle in the 100 year opener to Tom Brady and the Patriots dominating on Sunday night, the NFL came back to our living rooms with a vengeance.
Whether your fantasy team didn’t perform how you expected – you’re not alone – or absolutely crushed it in week one, now is the time to scrounge the waiver wire for the next breakout star.
In this article, we’ll look at some top performers from week one who are roughly 50% owned or less in Yahoo leagues. We’ll also take a peek at a few guys who aren’t worth your roster spot, (even if just for now).
We’ll close with a few studs on the buy-low list and a few guys worth exploring their current trade value. In general, this weekly column will focus on redraft leagues primarily, but takeaways can definitely be applied to your other leagues. We will mostly look at players that can help your team throughout the season, rather than simply the streamers. So, without further adieu, let’s take a look:
Players To Add
Injuries pave the way for undrafted and low-owned players to jump into “flex-worthy” category, and that’s the case with Derrius Guice’s running mates. Peterson was a healthy scratch against the Eagles, but don’t count the veteran out for the season. “All Day” is going to eat up the touches meant from Guice, and this will include goalline carries. During your bye-weeks, Peterson will hold flex value. Similarly, Thompson will hold value during negative game scripts for the Redskins, and if you haven’t seen their projected win total, I’ll let you know right now that it’s going to be a lot of games. Thompson is also a much better PPR threat than Peterson, as he saw 10 targets in the week one loss. His double-digit touch floor is worth the roster spot.
Malcolm Brown (13%)
The Rams backed up the contract Brown received this off-season with a workload to match. Brown’s 11 carries led to a pair of touchdowns from inside the five-yard-line, and he is officially the back-up to own for now for the Rams. Darrell Henderson may hold more hype value as the but he only had one touch this game. I believe Brown is the back-up to own and will have flex appeal in all 12-team formats thanks to his apparent role in the prolific Rams offense.
Carlos Hyde (32%)
In a podcast episode that fellow Scorecrow writer Mike Fanelli (@MikeSports22) and I were guests on, I talked about Hyde’s upside as a late-round draft pick. This was when he was still on the Chiefs, but I pointed out that he was just one season removed from a top 10 PPR finish. While he has bounced through four teams since that season, Hyde still has the overall talent to succeed in the NFL. In a plodding offensive scheme like the Texans’, Hyde’s pounding running style and likely goal line touches gives his weekly flex value. The Texans didn’t have a snap inside the 10-yard line in week one but that will change. He tallied 83 yards, on 8.3 YPC against a tough Saints front seven. He’s not only a flex consideration, but he will be an excellent bye week fill-in.
Giovani Bernard (14%)
Not only did Bernard get paid this off-season, but the supposed workhorse in the offense (Joe Mixon) went down with an ankle injury. While Mixon’s timetable is still unknown, Bernard is the starter. He’s in line for a big workload in week two against the 49ers. This would put him in the flex category, and even when Mixon returns, his touch total is still likely in the low double digits.
DeSean Jackson (66%)
Jackson is over 50% owned in Yahoo leagues, and while that doesn’t make our cut, he’s worth mentioning in week one. Jackson hauled in eight catches on his 10 targets, totaling 154 yards and two scores. To me, he doesn’t appear to have lost a step. In the high-flying Eagles offense, Jackson will single-handedly win your team a few weeks, though he’s perennially been boom or bust, so be wary. He’s best deployed as a flex in teams with high floor starters and leagues with deeper starting rosters. He’s also a great asset for your postseason run when you’re likely going up against other stacked teams.
John Ross (11%)
While I feel like I’ve fallen into this trap before, perhaps we should allow for an off-season of improvement to not be clouded by past failures. Ross was targeted 12 times (check out all 12 of them here) and he hauled in seven of them for a pair of scores and 158 yards. While his upside will be capped when A.J. Green comes back from injury, his improved game over last season is promising for his season-long outlook. Plus, if you’re a wide receiver needy team, he gets San Francisco next week
John Brown (50%)
Brown’s deep targets are worth your time. With Josh Allen’s big arm throwing the rock around, Brown might finally have found a quarterback that CAN throw it far enough. His 10 targets turned into seven catches, 123 yards, and a touchdown. He also totaled 133 air yards meaning his room for big plays will be there. Get him if you can.
Two young rookies who performed well in their preseason debuts, McLaurin and Brown are best suited for teams looking for depth, not immediate starters. Scary Terry earned five catches on seven targets for 125 yards. He also scored his first ever touchdown, earning him a 20+ point performance in most formats. His 4.35 speed is bound to keep him on the field, and the Redskins will be trailing often, as mentioned above. Brown looked like a man out there, a bowling ball after the catch. While he only tallied four catches, he averaged 25 yards per reception and topped the 100 yard mark in his debut. While he may not have immediate value, he’s a tremendous talent and I think he’s going to be a late season star.
Darren Waller (43%)
All the preseason hype has been confirmed. Waller led the Raiders with eight targets, catching seven of them for a 70 yards. While Tyrell Williams caught Derek Carr‘s only touchdown of the night, Waller was Carr’s go to guy. Waller looks like a mismatch and he’s clearly got Carr’s attention. Go get this kid.
None of these guys is under 50%, but maybe your league decided to let them go undrafted. Whatever the case, each of them is worth a roster spot. All three tight ends posted 18+ PPR fantasy points, including at least one score in week one. Walker, Andrews, and Hockenson all totaled 60+ yards on six, eight and nine targets respectively. Hockenson was the big yard earner, racking up 130 in his NFL debut. Again, if they are sitting out on the wire, go and get them. Tight end is a tough position to manage throughout the year, so whenever you can have a pair of good options, you’ll be happy about it.
Players To Tread Lightly On
Marquise Brown (32%)
A very popular candidate, Brown is the first of two “tread lightly” players on my list. While his numbers (five targets, four catches, 147 yards, two touchdowns) are gaudy, they come on a very minimal snap count. Perhaps performance will earn playing time, but while he works back from the injury, his upside is limited. Yes, I’m saying that immediately after a 30 point PPR performance. This came against the awful Dolphins defense, and again, on just five targets, though also on only eight routes run. That’s a pretty nice target per route percentage. That said, until his snap count increases, this usage rate is simply too high to be counted on. Be wary of starting him until he tops 50% of the plays.
Phillip Dorsett (4%)
In the #SFB9, a 1,200 team league for charity, I was forced into starting Dorsett thanks to Antonio Brown‘s antics, and I was not sad about it. Dorsett isn’t worth your time, as he’s about to become the fourth receiver on the team behind Brown, Josh Gordon, and Julian Edelman. His four targets were all caught, for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Don’t go chasing this performance.
Darwin Thompson – Just one touch, and LeSean McCoy looked good. Unless you’re in a keeper/dynasty format, Thompson is currently a tough to hold guy. If you’re already pretty loaded, holding the potentially valuable rookie is still your call, but I’m letting him go in favor of most of the guys above.
Anthony Miller – It really looks like Miller has lost his slot role to a running back. Only logging 15 of 71 snaps, Miller was not in Nagy’s game plan. Is this injury related? If not, he’s cuttable.
Dante Pettis – Similarly, Pettis is in the boat of “where’s my playing time?” He saw just two snaps, and I wouldn’t be giving him two more seconds before letting him go. That said, if you drafted him, you’re a truther, right?
By no means every good player out there, but that’s a good place to get you started. If you gleaned anything of value – I ask you again to consider donating to FantasyCares.net. All proceeds go towards the purchase of toys for children around the country. Let’s take this game we all love and move it forward, one gift at a time!
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