Make no mistake, there will be waiver-wire opportunities throughout the season. But Week 1 — certainly this year — provides big-time potential to add talent (and fantasy production) to your team.
First, those who lost Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker will be likely seeking a tight end replacement, as might other teams with underwhelming options at the position.
Their respective replacements, Jonnu Smith (Tennessee) and Ian Thomas (Carolina), are inexperienced but offer high upside. They each play for a team that heavily features the tight end position, and that is likely to continue. These are examples of talent meeting opportunity.
▪ Phillip Lindsay (Denver) is your running back pickup of the week, and a strong start. Lindsay topped 100 yards in a surprise split of the Broncos’ rushing workload with starter Royce Freeman. Lindsay will no doubt continue to be a fixture in the Broncos’ offense.
▪ Brandon Marshall (Seattle) led the Seahawks in targets last week and looks to be the main receiver to replace Doug Baldwin at least for the next several weeks. Marshall also had a touchdown and could have some “revenge-game” upside against his former team Chicago.
▪ Quincy Enunwa (N.Y. Jets) looks like the top receiving option for rookie quarterback Sam Darnold after 10 targets in Week 1. No one else on the Jets had more than three.
▪ Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) plays big at home, and this week he and the Steelers make their 2018 home debut against a Kansas City defense that allowed 418 passing yards in Week 1.
▪ Coming off a three-touchdown game, Case Keenum (Denver) has a plus matchup at home against a soft Raiders defense that played on Monday night.
▪ Christian McCaffrey (Carolina) played 85 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps last week, and that heavy workload should extend this week as he receives a continued focus in the passing game, especially with Olsen out.
▪ It’s hard to know how long Adrian Peterson (Washington) will be able to handle huge workloads at his age (33,) but this is a prime matchup as Indianapolis just allowed 149 total yards to Joe Mixon.
▪ Even as the No. 2 running back, Austin Ekeler ( LA Chargers) has solid fantasy value. Ekeler totaled 116 total yards and a score last week, and he should get plenty of workload as the Chargers get up on the Bills this week.
▪ Ryan Grant (Washington) has some “revenge-game” value returning to Washington after four seasons, and he had eight catches in his first game as a Colt.
▪ Chris Godwin (Tampa) should be in store for an increased workload if DeSean Jackson (concussion) is unable to go. Including last season, Godwin has quietly averaged 55 yards per game over his past nine games.
▪ Between splitting carries with Frank Gore and going against a stout run defense (the Jets ranked seventh lowest in yards per carry allowed last year and rank No. 1 in 2018 after Week 1), Kenyan Drake (Miami) is a sit ‘em candidate this week for teams with viable options.
▪ Devonta Freeman (Atlanta) will need to be monitored with a knee injury, and he’s not in the most attractive of matchups. In eight career games against the Panthers, Freeman averages 42 rushing yards.
▪ Jamaal Williams (Green Bay) had a disappointing game last week with 47 total yards, and things don’t look to improve much this week against the Vikings defense.
▪ Chris Hogan (New England) greatly disappointed with a one-catch game in Week 1. Better days are ahead, but not likely this week against defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the elite Jacksonville defense.
▪ Off a one-catch dud, Amari Cooper (Oakland) will need to deliver to move up the rankings, and at Denver doesn’t sound like the week for that to happen. Bench Cooper this week.