Week 1 Waiver Wire Targets

Welcome to Week 1 waivers! Today, we will look at some players on your waiver wire that you can scoop up and help you in Week 2 and beyond. Let’s get to it!

QB Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

Winston had a coming-out party against the Packers. Winston passed 20 times, completing 14 for 148 yards and five touchdowns. This resulted in an average of 7.4 yards per attempt. In the offseason much was made about Winston’s tendency to throw interceptions in Tampa Bay, but he answered those questions with ease. He was hyper-efficient and took to Sean Peyton’s coaching with flying colors. Next week, Winston and the New Orleans Saints will travel to Carolina to face the Panthers. Jameis appears to be a high-end QB2 in the future for SF teams. If he is available on your waiver wire because a lot of people wanted to take a wait-and-see attitude to him, make sure to scoop him up if your QB was injured or disappointed in Week 1. 

RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers had the shock of the weekend when Trey Sermon was revealed to be a healthy scratch just before kickoff. They decided to run with Raheem Mostert and Elijah Mitchell as the RBs, with JaMycal Hasty in reserve. Mostert’s subsequent injury early in the game forced Mitchell into action. Mitchell was able to rack up 104 running yards on 19 runs with a rushing touchdown in spot start duty. He took every carry available, though he wasn’t targeted in the passing game. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see if he is the next great out of nowhere Shanahan RB, or simply in the right place at the right time and will fade into a committee approach when Sermon is ready to play.

RB Mark Ingram, Houston Texans

Mark Ingram and the Houston Texans surprised the entire world this past weekend by beating the Jaguars 37-21. Before the game, there was a question about how the RB work would be divided up in the Texans’ three-headed committee.  Ingram ended up leading the Texans with 45 percent of the offensive snaps for the club. Ingram also dominated the carries, gaining 85 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. The other two running backs on the team only combined for 11 carries. After one week, though, Ingram is obviously the lead back in that backfield, and if he continues getting carries at the same clip he got in Week 1, he can be a solid RB option for your fantasy squad. 

RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles

Miles Sanders dominated the snaps in the Eagles’ backfield, but it’s apparent that Kenneth Gainwell is the next man up. Gainwell had nine carries against the Falcons, while Sanders had fifteen. Jalen Hurts chipped in with seven carries on his own. Gainwell was also credited with three targets, compared to Sanders’ five. The relegation of Boston Scott to the bench was something that we did not see coming after the work he did in the preseason. It seems that for now, this is a two-headed monster at RB for the Eagles. In his NFL debut, Gainwell had 43 total yards and a score. He made an early impression, and it’s clear he’ll play a role in this Eagles offense, which looked promising. The rash of RB injuries in fantasy should allow the room on your squad to pick up Gainwell, who could be a spot start at your flex if he continues seeing this amount of work, especially in the two-minute drill.

WR Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots

In Week 1, Nelson Agholor was tied for the team lead in routes run with Jakobi Meyers, and while Meyers had the most targets, Agholor had a team-high 72 receiving yards and the lone touchdown. Agholor did it on seven of his own targets, in a solid performance that cements him as a valuable piece of the NE passing attack. He’s New England’s deep threat, but he has also shown the ability to work the middle of the field and use his impressive athleticism to gobble up yards after the catch. There will be weeks when either of the tight ends or Meyers might be the number 1 guy, but Agholor has shown enough to be a WR4 on a contending fantasy team. 

WR Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

He is Alive! The rumors about Kirk’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.  Kirk has previously been a popular fantasy sleeper, but the arrival of Rondale Moore in the draft made managers nervous that Christian would be pushed aside in the offense. In response, Christian Kirk went a perfect five-for-five on his targets in Week 1, displaying a level of efficiency that has been his hallmark. Those five receptions accounted for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He ran 22 routes, which put him behind only DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green. It would not be a surprise for Kirk to resume his WR2 duties on the cardinals as Green is faded from the starting lineup due to his ineffectiveness, with Moore also leapfrogging to WR3.

WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants

Sterling Shepard was one of the few bright spots for the New York Giants’ offense during their 27-13 defeat to the Denver Broncos. Shepard had 9 targets, 7 receptions, 113 yards, to lead the team. While this is a terrible squad with a bad quarterback, the target-hog is always useful in an offense, especially in PPR. Shepard seems to have that role on lockdown and should be able to take advantage of the garbage time that the Giants will be finding themselves in more often than not this year. He was not even drafted in a lot of leagues, as Kenny Golladay and rookie Kadarius Toney took most of the headlines. If available, pick him up for a safe floor WR3 in PPR, who could have some breakout stat lines dotted around this season. 

TE Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

Fantasy owners are constantly on the lookout for breakout tight ends, and each year at least one emerges. Johnson, a converted wide receiver, had that breakout vibe after scoring two touchdowns against the Packers in Week 1. Johnson benefitted from the starting of QB Jamies Winston and should receive a starting-caliber target share in the weeks ahead. He used his awesome athleticism to become a huge red-zone target for a Saints team lacking in reliable options. If he can continue to build on his red-zone targets and get a regular chance at the starting spot, he is gonna be a league winner at TE.  Johnson is worth acquiring now if he somehow slipped through the cracks in your league.