The first NFL Sunday of the year is like Christmas morning to most diehard fantasy football fans. Waking up early, turning on pregame coverage, as you sit looking to tinker with your lineups.
For many, that excitement can turn to panic in just seconds. For instance, many owners watched the consensus No. 1 pick this year, David Johnson, go down for a good majority of the season. You also get a first look of what the regular season team snap counts and playing time will look like, eliminating your love for a late round sleeper almost immediately. If you’re one of these owners who had a key injury or laid an egg week one, you are probably panicking about your season. Channeling Aaron Rodgers, I’ll tell you to “R-E-L-A-X,” because I have you covered with all your standard and deep league waiver wire adds. That can help you pull away from the pack.
Jarvious (Buck) Allen, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens:
In the Ravens game this past Sunday against the Bengals, they lost stud third down running back Danny Woodhead for six to eight weeks due to a devastating hamstring injury. While Buck could never possibly fill the gaping hole in the offense’s grit, he will be the featured receiving down back, a role he thrived in during the 2015 season, catching 45 passes. Allen began to steal his workload on the ground as well. I could very well see this happening again this year, considering Terrance West’s leash cannot be very long in part to a dreadful preseason. Although the blow out may have played a role in the split, Allen actually had more carries and snaps than West. He becomes a must own in deeper leagues, not only for his potential to take West’s job, but he can also contribute immediately in PPR leagues. Make sure to keep an eye on next week’s Allen-West split moving forward.
Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Rams:
Cooper Kupp was among this year’s standouts in the preseason, appearing to have chemistry with QB Jared Goff immediately. The third round pick out of Eastern Washington reeks of grit and sticky fingers, along with exceptional route running from the slot. Although, Robert Woods’s pricy contract has made the Rams skeptical to list Kupp higher than him on the depth chart. Kupp is clearly forcing their hand, leading the rams in receiving and also hauling in a touchdown week one. Kupp was in on the same percentage of snaps as the No. 1 receiver Sammy Watkins. Kupp is an obvious add in every size PPR league and even in deeper standard scoring leagues.
Tarik Cohen, Running Back, Chicago Bears:
During drafts, Tarik Cohen was getting some love as the Jordan Howard handcuff. For example, if Howard were to miss time, Cohen would be a clear top 20 running back in fantasy and a PPR monster. He rushed the ball on five carries for 66 yards along with eight catches for 47 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. This simply proved he has PPR fantasy value regardless of the health of Howard. They also lost receiver Kevin White for the season on Sunday from a receiving group that is very thin already. They will have to turn to their running backs for offensive production. Cohen should be added in standard sized PPR leagues.
Kenny Golladay, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions:
Golladay, similar to Kupp, was a member of the breakout preseason stars. While many were looking to pump the breaks on them, they went out week one and balled out. The 6’4”, 220 pound wideout is an athletic freak running a 4.50 second 40 yard dash. He is the greatest red zone threat on an offense that will be scoring a lot of points this season. Even if he is stuck behind Marvin Jones on the depth chart at No. 3, it’s a role Anquan Boldin had a very solid year as in 2016. In a similar scenario, he had eight touchdowns. Although nobody in the country has stronger hands than Boldin, Golladay brings a size mismatch on cornerbacks Boldin could not offer. Golladay is a good add for deeper leagues and a borderline standard size add.
Mike Tolbert, Fullback, Buffalo Bills:
The Buffalo Bills very quietly led the NFL in rushing last season with 2630 yards. While they do have one of the elite rushers in the league Lesean McCoy, he only accounted for 1,267 of those yards. They also had 29 rushing touchdowns, only 13 came from McCoy. Before the start of the regular the season, the Bills cut backup running back Jonathan Williams, with reports out of Buffalo that Tolbert would serve as the backup. The human bowling ball, at 5’9” 250 pounds, has great hands out of the backfield and is very shifty for his size. He was used alot in week one with 12 carries and picked up a touchdown. The Bills appear that they will be a very run heavy team again in 2017. Especially while Tyrod Taylor adjusts to his new receiving core. Tolbert’s nose for the goal line and exceptional pad level gives him value in deeper leagues, regardless of McCoy’s health.
Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, Running Backs, Arizona Cardinals:
Many owners lost the first overall pick of their drafts this Sunday when David Johnson went down with a wrist injury that will keep him out until late December. Kerwynn Williams took over as the primary runner for the remainder of the game.Tuesday night the Cardinals signed Chris Johnson, who was cut in the preseason in favor of Williams. But that could be a cause of many factors, such as versatility and ability to play special teams. My guess would be that Williams will get first crack as the head of this committee, but lose it rather quickly to CJ2K. Another member of this committee is also interesting, Andre Ellington.
Ellington is a great pass catcher from out of the backfield, but his size restricts him from many between the tackle rushes. But if they continue to not be able to run without Johnson, they will be forced to spread out their offense and pass frequently. On those plays Ellington will most likely be on the field, regardless if Johnson or Williams is taking the between the tackles runs. Johnson and Ellington should both be added, Johnson more for standard scoring, and Ellington for PPR.