Welcome back to another trek to the highest peak. If you followed me last year, you’ll know that I am going to be your guide through this fantasy season. The first checkpoint in 2020 feels like the 50th as we have all already weathered a storm much more dangerous than fantasy football. However, we’re here now and ready to work.
Take a sip of your morning coffee, brewed extra strong for the journey ahead. Week 1 is behind us and now there is much work to be done. I will group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. You’ll also be able to tell who is more valuable by the free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) suggestion, assuming a $100 budget. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 33% of ESPN leagues. DISCLAIMER – at press time Tennessee and Denver had not kicked off yet.
QB – These suggestions are based on single QB leagues as all are rostered in a superflex format
Philip Rivers ($1) – Rivers performed in line with how he did in 2019 throwing for a lot of empty yards and some interceptions. I love the volume in a competitive game, where he threw it 46 times en route to 363 yards. Unfortunately he still only had 1 touchdown and threw 2 picks. At this point he’s a low end starter but for fantasy I’d take the erratic volume over the way Tom Brady’s efficient, game management style.
Gardner Minshew ($1) – There’s not doubt this was a strong showing and he had 3 scores but 20 attempts is a razor thin margin for fantasy relevance. He did chip in a little on the ground and the Jags should need more passing in most contests. He’s another low end streamer in certain matchups.
Mitch Trubisky ($1) – Like Rivers, I’d rather Trubisky’s style of play with a little extra on the ground than what Brady is doing. He’s definitely not a preferred option, but in games where the Bears will need to keep up he can still have spike weeks for those desperate.
RB – We have one potential huge situation in Pittsburgh but otherwise a bunch of RB2/FLEX type adds
Benny Snell ($5-35) – As I write this James Conner is nursing an ankle injury but was wholly ineffective before going out. Enter Benny Snell, who had a [rocket ship emoji] of a training camp and now looks stellar in relief. This is a tricky situation for fantasy managers as we may not know the extent of Conner’s injury by waiver run but refresh those browsers all day tomorrow. If you’re in a league with Tuesday morning waivers, throw some FAAB at Snell and hope to sneak him on to your team before Conner’s update. Pittsburgh will feature one bellcow and if Conner is out they clearly want it to be Snell.
Nyheim Hines ($12) – The big news is that with Marlon Mack’s season ending injury, Jonathan Taylor may become a league winner sooner than we thought. But also of note is that Hines was showing off even before Mack went down. He had 15 touches in all with a whopping 8 receptions and 2 scores. His role may be game script dependent, but unless the Colts are comfortably leading it appears he will be part of most weeks. Extra bump in PPR formats.
Malcolm Brown ($12) – Brown did this last year, scoring 2 twice in week 1 and making everyone think he would take over a feature role for the Rams. However, Todd Gurley wound up scoring 12 touchdowns and Brown only matched his 11 week 1 carries one other week during the season. This year is different as the Rams don’t have a financial commitment to anyone else in the backfield, and Brown looked adequate enough turning 18 carried into 79 yards and 2 scores. He also showed in the passing game turning 4 targets into 3-31. Akers got plenty of (less effective) looks as well and I still believe he will overtake Brown. At this time though, I would view Brown as a low end RB2 for the next few weeks at least.
Adrian Peterson ($10) – Simply incredible. AP walked on to the Lions and stole all the carries from Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift and frankly looked good en route to 115 total yards including 3 receptions. Swift is the future, but Peterson will be able to bridge RB needy teams in the short term.
Joshua Kelley ($10) – Clearly the second back in a Chargers offense that wants to run the ball. A lot. As a team they ran it 39 times while trailing most of the game. The former FCS running back Kelley looked like he belonged in the NFL, going for a 12-60-1 line. His score showed a nice blend of agility and power. As long as Ekeler is healthy, Kelley will be a FLEX play only but he’s absolutely worth adding.
Frank Gore ($5-7) and La’Mical Perine ($1) – Le’Veon Bell left with a hamstring injury and was quickly ruled doubtful to return. Neither of these players nor the Jets’ offense as a whole inspire me to write much about them. If you’re needing to full a RB spot in week 2, take a half swing on Gore. Perine is more interesting due to youth and receiving upside, so in deep leagues add him at the minimum.
Peyton Barber ($1-3) – I am not endorsing adding Barber and his 1.7 yards per carry. I see no upside and think Gibson will take over eventually. But for now, if you’re desperate, Barber got good enough volume to be considered as a reserve on your roster. I wouldn’t chase the 2 TDs though.
Myles Gaskin ($1-3) – A 4 year starter for the Huskies, his college production is outstanding with 5,788 total yards and 62 scores but had an ugly combine and went undrafted. For this contest, he put up a modest 9-40 rushing line but caught 4 balls for 26 additional yards. He led the backfield in touches and was the only RB to get a target. Jordan Howard left Sunday’s contest for a period of time but was wholly ineffective when on the field. Should Gaskin continue to carve out a dual threat role, he will be worth a look in fantasy leagues. If you have an open bench spot, add him before any hype builds.
Jerick McKinnon ($1-3) – He did score a touchdown, so perhaps a stronger bid is needed in some leagues. However I wouldn’t go overboard. Mostert looked great and McKinnon was almost exclusively a receiver, registering only 3 carries. The 5 targets is nice and he did parlay those into a 3-20-1 line. At this point he’s emergency bench depth but you can never have too many pass catching running backs, especially in PPR.
WR – Nothing league winning in my opinion, but some quality depth adds
Russell Gage ($5-7) – This performance was likely game flow dependent but still 12 targets for 9-114 cannot be ignored. I think there will be more games with similar scripts with this team. The Falcons have been airing it out for years and will continue to do so. Gage offers a quality bench player who can jump into your starting lineup in pinch. Additionally should something happen to either of the top 2 receivers, he’s a smash add.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($3) – After a lot of off-season buzz from quarterback Aaron Rodgers himself, MVS made good on his 6 targets for 4-96-1. He can be a legitimate field stretcher while Adams goes berserk everywhere else. His skill set is desperately needed on the Packers and I see this as something he can really build on. At one point, the WR2 in Green Bay was a viable fantasy option. Perhaps it can be again.
Parris Campbell ($3) – It was nice to see Campbell get out there and command a healthy 8 targets. The final tally was a modest 6-71 line, which won’t blow anyone away. I think Campbell will have similar games like this but TY Hilton is still he WR1 and there are a bunch of mouths to feed in the short and intermediate areas. He’s a quality priority bench piece but I don’t think he’s going to have a huge ceiling.
Scotty Miller ($1-2) – Miller finally made good on so much Twitter scout buzz since he was drafted in 2019. With Mike Evans ailing he was second on the Bucs with 6 targets and converted that into 5-73. His fantasy relevance is likely tied to Evans’ health. In fact, you can probably add Miller after your waiver run.
TE – This is a good week to shuffle up your tight end with some upside if you didn’t draft a secure option
Dallas Goedert ($5-7) – With the receiving corps still in flux, Goedert forced his way into a team leading 9 targets and finished with 8-101-1. This kind of volume for a tight end is pure gold and even if he settles in at around 6 targets per game, that’ll play. It’s rare but Philly has one of the most likely situations to support 2 tight ends.
Logan Thomas ($3-5) – By gawd that’s Darren Waller music! Like Waller a year ago, this uber athletic journeyman found himself on a team starved for play makers and saw a beautiful 8 targets in week 1. He converted 4 into catches and finished with 73 yards and a score. This team has only one sure option in the passing game and Thomas may be next in line. As far as the bar for tight ends go, he’s met it as far as I’m concerned and there’s more meat left on that bone.
O.J. Howard ($3) – Is Howard Brady’s new Gronk? Let’s not get carried away, but this was a promising debut after a completely demoralizing 2019 season. If you are unhappy with your tight end, give Howard a shot. His 6 targets will suffice and he’ll be looked at in the red zone given Brady’s history.
Jordan Reed ($1-3) – With the news late Monday that all-everything George Kittle has an ankle injury, Reed becomes next man up for the 49ers. We know he’s got star potential when healthy, and right now he’s healthy. With every other pass catcher injured on San Francisco, I’d be happy to fire up Reed in week 2 if necessary.
Stragglers – This is the group we’re going to have to leave behind in order to make it to the top
Kerryon Johnson – Just got outplayed by a 35 year old and got vultured by the future of the franchise. I think its over.
Christian Kirk – Picked up where he left off in 2019, only this time with fewer targets.