Tue Sep 12 8:31am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Williams is worth grabbing
Unfortunately, we have already seen a few major injuries. This will cause the waiver wire to be quite busy to find replacements. Plus, you always have the players that come out of nowhere in Week 1 that went undrafted. The big question is will those players continue to produce or be one-week wonders. It is a tough juggling act when it comes to those guys. You can’t ignore them, but you also can’t overpay for some of them. The big thing is to look at playing time. If these guys have a path to playing time, then good things can continue to happen. Just keep that in mind after one week of action.
QUARTERBACKS (owned %)
Mac Jones, Patriots (22.7%). The new Patriots offense sure looked a lot better than last year, including Jones. He scored three touchdowns and finished with 28.3 fantasy points against a good Eagles defense. It was a great first start and encouraging for his fantasy value the rest of the way. He could end up being a good spot play for fantasy teams.
Jordan Love, Packers (57.9%). Love looked great in his debut as the Packers new starting, franchise quarterback. He scored 25.5 fantasy points, throwing three touchdown passes. He sure looked the part of a true NFL quarterback. This might be the last week you can get him on waivers.
C.J. Stroud, Texans (30.2%). Stroud had a tough road matchup to open his career, but didn’t seem phased at all. He was 28-of-44 for 242 yards and ran for 20 yards. He didn’t score a touchdown but also didn’t throw an interception. He is only going to get better as the season progresses and he gets more favorable matchups.
RUNNING BACKS (owned %)
Gus Edwards, Ravens (40.4%). The injury to JK Dobbins opens the door for a new starter in Baltimore. Edwards should get first shot. He was the best back last week after Dobbins went down, rushing eight times for 32 yards. It might be a timeshare but of the backs to own right now, Edwards probably has the best shot to start.
Justice Hill, Ravens (2.0%). Hill also got work when Dobbins got hurt but didn’t do much with it besides finding the end zone. He ran eight times for just nine yards but scored two touchdowns. Hill will get his chances going forward as well but will need to play better to earn a bigger role in this offense.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers (41.5%). Kelley got plenty of work as the Chargers No. 2 back last week. He was used more than your typical backup, running 16 times for 91 yards and a touchdown. Kelley could get consistent work in the offense this year, making him more than a handcuff for Ekeler owners.
Tyler Allgeier, Falcons (76.1%). It was not sure how much Allgeier would be used with Bijan Robinson around. Well, Allgeier actually had the most carries and got the goal-line work. He ran 15 times for 75 yards and two scores. He is going to be used plenty this year in a run-heavy offense - even with Robinson around.
Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles (75%). Gainwell absolutely dominated the work at running back for the Eagles in Week 1. He got nearly all the work with Rashaad Penny inactive and De’Andre Swift barely seeing the field. At this point, it seems Gainwell is the clear lead back in this offense. He should be owned in all formats.
Kyren Williams, Rams (27.7%). Cam Akers started and led the Rams in carries, but was not effective. Williams was the best back and played well with his work. He scored two touchdowns and finished with 17.4 fantasy points. It would not surprise if Williams takes over as the starter at some point this season for the Rams.
WIDE RECEIVERS (owned %)
Puka Nacua, Rams (7.1%). The absence of Cooper Kupp opened the door for Nacua in Week 1 and he more than took advantage. He was the leading receiver with 15 targets. He had 10 receptions for 119 yards. Nacua has real value right now in this Rams offense. He could rack up the weekly targets.
Tutu Atwell, Rams (1.7%). Atwell hit the 100-yard mark in Week 1, catching six passes for 119 yards on eight targets. He got chances to make some big plays and took advantage. Atwell is going to be a big part of the Rams offense as long as Kupp is out of the lineup.
Rashid Shaheed, Saints (18.5%). Shaheed got some late-round love by fantasy owners and showed why in the opener. He had 20 fantasy points, having five receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also ran twice for 11 yards. It was an impressive showing for Shaheed, who looks to be getting plenty of weekly work for the Saints.
Kendrick Bourne, Patriots (2.3%). Bourne was the surprise leading receiver for the Patriots, getting a lot more looks than JuJu Smith-Schuster. Bourne had six receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets. Bourne has a real opportunity for playing time and targets in this new Patriots. This opener probably wasn’t a fluke.
Robert Woods, Texans (8.5%). Woods has been quiet in recent seasons but a move to Houston could be a good one for his career. He is starting and got plenty of work Week 1. He caught six passes for 57 yards on 10 targets. With the Texans possibly playing from behind a lot, Woods could post some good games this season because of the volume.
Allen Robinson, Steelers (10.6%). Robinson could be getting a bigger role in the Steelers offense if Diontae Johnson has to miss any time because of his hamstring injury. Robinson had five receptions for 64 yards on eight targets to open his season. He would have some short-term fantasy value if given a chance to start.
TIGHT ENDS (owned %)
Hunter Henry, Patriots (28.0%). Henry was a big part of the Patriots offense in Week 1. He caught five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown on six targets. The Patriots love to use the tight end, so don’t discount Henry this year. He has a high weekly season.
Luke Musgrave, Packers (40.2%). Musgrave looked solid in his NFL debut, catching three passes for 50 yards on four targets. He should continue to have a weekly role in this offense as their top pass-catching tight end.
Hayden Hurst, Panthers (16.4%). We think Hurst was overlook come draft day and his first week showed that. He had five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. His yardage totals might not be off the charts every week but he should get the volume as a safety net for Bryce Young.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) is expected to practice on Wednesday. The former rushing champion began the 2023 season on the PUP list after an offseason full of drama, including a public dispute with team owner Jim Irsay and a trade request. However, it appears Taylor is going to return and play for the Colts. If he is activated off the PUP list for the game against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4, he'll face a tough matchup with a defense that has not allowed a running back to surpass 67 rushing yards through four weeks. He also could be eased back into action and begin the season on a snap limit. Ultimately, some fantasy managers will still want to roll the dice on him, as running back production is often scarce in fantasy football.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Cam Jurgens (foot) is being considered week to week after leaving the Week 4 game against the Washington Commanders early with a foot injury. The second-year guard is the only new starter on the team's offensive line from last year's NFC Championship run. In his absence, 27-year-old Sua Opeta will fill in at right guard. This development shouldn't affect Jalen Hurts, D'Andre Swift, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith too much, but it could weaken the overall offensive line just a bit.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder struggled mightily in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The second-year Cincinnati product completed 19 of his 31 passing attempts for 191 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Atlanta scored just one touchdown and lost the game 23-7. Many have speculated that Taylor Heinicke could be given the keys to the offense after Ridder's early-season struggles, but head coach Arthur Smith said Ridder will remain the starter heading into Week 5. The Falcons host the Houston Texans in Week 5, so hopefully, Ridder can bounce back. Heinicke might be worth stashing in two-QB and superflex leagues. He could eventually be named the starter if Ridder can't turn things around.
Dynasty | Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week after expressing displeasure in regards to his role in the offense. Dynasty Analysis: After showing a ton of promise in his first two years with the Steelers, the wheels have fallen off the proverbial cart. Claypool was traded at last year's deadline but was only able to muster 14 catches for 140 scoreless yards in seven games with the Bears last year. Through three games this season, he has four catches for 51 yards and a score. This relationship seems fractured beyond repair as Head Coach Matt Eberflus is basically keeping him home instead of even being around the team. Expect a trade or release in the coming days. Claypool's ranking of WR81 has nowhere to go but up at this point.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) is still in concussion protocol after missing Sunday's Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He has now been in the protocol for a week. Head coach Josh McDaniels said the veteran signal-caller is still the team's starting quarterback when he returns from the injury. Rookie Aidan O'Connell threw for 238 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss, but he did score a rushing touchdown on a QB sneak. Garoppolo's eventual return to the lineup should help Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers get back on track.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert had his best game of the young season in the 38-3 shellacking of the New England Patriots on Sunday in Week 4. Tolbert hauled in all four of his targets for 53 yards, which was third on the team in this one behind tight end Jake Ferguson and receiver Michael Gallup. Both the catches and receiving yards were career-highs for the 24-year-old Tolbert, and he also made a big special-teams tackle early in the game. Fantasy managers can continue to ignore Tolbert, even in deeper formats, as he's currently behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Gallup on the receiver depth chart in Dallas.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus told ESPN1000 in Chicago that wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week as they prepare for their Week 5 matchup against the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football. The Bears made some changes to their offense heading into the Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the biggest of which was making the struggling Claypool a healthy scratch. A report on Sunday also surfaced that the Bears are seeking to trade the 25-year-old wideout to a team that is in need of receiver depth. In the first three weeks this year, Claypool has just four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. His fantasy value has hit rock bottom at this point, but a change of scenery could do him some good.
It wasn't much, but Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught a season-high four passes on four targets for 27 receiving yards in the team's 38-3 blowout win over the New England Patriots in Week 4 on Sunday in Dallas. Cooks returned in Week 3 from a knee injury after missing one game and he has six receptions for 44 yards on 11 targets the last two weeks. The Cowboys really haven't had to throw the ball all that much early on this year, which has hurt Cooks in his first year with the team. That won't remain the a case all year, but the 30-year-old veteran wideout probably isn't going to have a very dynamic role in this offense unless CeeDee Lamb or Michael Gallup miss time with an injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) is getting his injured hamstring scanned on Monday. It's not just a tweak, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. We'll have to wait to see what the tests show on his hamstring, but at this point, he seems pretty questionable to play in Week 5 against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. Before leaving Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans, the 24-year-old had three catches on four targets for just seven yards. If you've been rolling with Freiermuth as your TE1, you'd be wise to start making backup plans for Week 5 now. If he's unable to play against Baltimore, Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward would both be in line for bigger pass-catching roles for the Steelers.
New England Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas hauled in two of three targets for 45 yards against the Cowboys in Week 4. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Douglas seemed to impress the Patriots' coaching staff throughout training camp and the first four weeks of the regular season, with the exception of his Week 2 fumble. The Patriots have a somewhat deep but not very top-heavy receiving corps, creating the possibility for Douglas to earn more targets if he keeps playing well. Dynasty managers would be wise to stash the Liberty product.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne hauled in two of three targets for 36 yards in Week 4 versus the Cowboys. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. This was the Bourne's worst game of the season in terms of both statistics and fantasy production. The 28-year-old had a big Week 1, playing 91 percent of snaps and scoring two touchdowns, but has come back down to earth since then. Notably, he has yet to log more than 56 percent of snaps in a single game since the opener. He has lost playing time to DeVante Parker and Demario Douglas and isn't an appealing fantasy option for the time being.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro pass-rusher Myles Garrett (ankle) rolled his ankle in the Week 4 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and was seen in a walking boot after the game, but it doesn't seem to be a major injury. The Browns are heading into their bye in Week 5, and Garrett assured reporters on Sunday that he's not going to miss any time with his ankle injury. It's great timing for the 27-year-old, the Browns defense and fantasy managers that have Garrett rostered in IDP leagues, as he should be back and ready to rock in Week 6 at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Garrett is one of the best pass-rushers in football and has nine tackles (eight solo) and 5.5 sacks through the first four weeks of the 2023 season.
Dynasty | Embattled Jets quarterback Zach Wilson completed 28-of-39 passes for 245 yards and two interceptions in the Jets close loss on SNF to the Chiefs. Dynasty Analysis: The Jets decided to stop playing it safe with Wilson and just let him loose in prime time. The results were shocking as he made difficult throws throughout the night and genuinely looked like a player who should have been taken in the top five of an NFL Draft. This is a small sample size and Wilson still made a critical mistake on a late fumble but the talk of Trevor Siemian taking over will be extinguished for now. Wilson is still off the dynasty radar but he at least has a pulse.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (finger) suffered a fractured finger on his left, non-throwing hand in the Week 4 win over the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, according to sources. Herbert's finger also suffered a gruesome nail injury, but he somehow finished the game and with the team's bye coming in Week 5, Herbert shouldn't miss any time. Once he returned to the game after having a split put on his fractured finger, he didn't take any snaps under center, except for a fourth-down sneak late in the game. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said he doesn't see this being a major issue for Herbert moving forward. The 25-year-old saved his fantasy day on Sunday with two rushing touchdowns, but he should remain a strong QB1 option coming off the bye for a Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Oct. 16.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Cowboys on Sunday evening. He also hauled in two of three targets for an additional 10 yards through the air. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Stevenson's relative struggles were the product of an ugly game that saw Mac Jones get benched in the second half. With that said, the Patriots face the Saints next week, which could be a bit more favorable. Stevenson should be treated as a low-end fantasy RB2.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens caught just three of his seven targets for 25 yards in the team's 30-6 blowout loss to the Houston Texans. Still, outside of running backs, the second-year pro led the team in receiving yards. The entire Pittsburgh offense sputtered against a beatable Houston defense. They also lost quarterback Kenny Pickett (knee) and tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) to injuries. It appears as though Mitch Trubisky could get the start against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. The passing game can't get much worse, so Pickens will still be viewed as a flex option next week.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren received 14 opportunities out of the backfield in the team's 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The second-year pro turned eight carries and six catches into 55 total yards. Warren and Najee Harris nearly split the touches 50/50. The starter ran the ball 14 times and caught one pass on two targets. Both backs saw 49% of the snaps in the blowout loss. Warren and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. An already struggling offense could have a new quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, who is likely to start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).
New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed just six times for 16 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. He added six receiving yards on two catches. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Elliott was reportedly expected to handle the workload of an RB1 on Sunday, but that certainly did not happen. Not only did he and the offense struggle, but he was out-touched by Rhamondre Stevenson, 16 to eight. Elliott should not be started in fantasy football, and he can be dropped in leagues with 10 or fewer teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris cobbled together a fantasy-relevant performance for the Steelers in their 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The third-year pro ran the ball 14 times for 71 yards and caught one pass for 32 yards. His 100-yard performance was his first of the young season, despite his lowest snap percentage of the campaign. Backup running back Jaylen Warren received 14 touches in the game. The Steelers scored just six points on the afternoon as the offense continued to sputter. Harris and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, where quarterback Mitch Trubisky may start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry remained the team's most involved pass-catcher on Sunday, hauling in four of five targets for 51 yards. The Patriots lost to the Cowboys by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Henry has 17 catches, 176 yards, and two touchdowns so far, ranking as the overall TE6 in PPR leagues. As much as the Patriots' offense has endured sporadic struggles, Henry has remained a relatively constant force and should be started in most fantasy leagues going forward. The Patriots face the Saints in Week 5.