RB Elijah Mitchell – You simply never know how Kyle Shanahan is going to re-work this backfield in any given week, but let’s try and analyze the situation a bit further. Trey Sermon was inactive. Why? Because he doesn’t play special teams, but the other RBs do? Maybe. He missed curfew? Maybe. Mitchell beat him out and is currently the better RB in Shanahan’s eyes? Maybe.
The fact is, we don’t know. However, is there a possibility that Mitchell keeps a firm hold on the 1a in this backfield? Yes. There was a clear gap between Mitchell and Jamycal Hasty – we kind of do know that much. Mitchell was the first back to get a tough after Raheem Mostert went down. Hasty had one touch in that first half.
Will Trey Sermon come in and take enough from Mitchell to make him not worth spending on him? Maybe. Notice all the maybe’s here. I personally like Mitchell more, he’s way more athletic than Sermon, and he has the ridiculous speed that Sermon does not. My opinion, however, doesn’t matter.
I’ll be looking to add Mitchell simply for the chance that he’s THE guy in this backfield. If you paid attention to some of my content in the off-season, you would know that Mitchell fits the profile of a bell cow/workhorse in the NFL. I’ll be chasing the upside here for the hope that Mitchell is the guy for 8 weeks or even the rest of the season if Mostert doesn’t get back, and I’ll be going in with the understanding that Sermon can easily come in and make this a complicated backfield.
You’ll likely need to spend 30% or more to get him in home leagues, and 50% or more in more competitive leagues. I personally wouldn’t spend more than 30%, and hope that he falls in my lap. I understand that I likely won’t be able to get him in a lot of leagues with only 30% of FAAB.
Update: Raheem Mostert will now be out for the year after opting for season-ending surgery. I’d be a bit more bullish on grabbing Mitchell off of waivers.
Latavius Murray – He has been picked up in most leagues, but still available in about a third of Yahoo leagues. If he’s available, he takes preference over everyone, and even has an argument to be picked up over Elijah Mitchell. He can easily be the 1a in a few weeks in a run-heavy scheme with a solid defense. He was out-snapped by Ty’son Williams 35-21, but he was only signed this past week. The targets to RBs on Monday from Lamar Jackson was a nice thing to see as well. (FAAB: 20%)
James White – With the change at QB, we expected a role increase for James White, and it happened. He got targeted more often because the Patriots are simply throwing more often. He caught 6 of 7 targets this week in a neutral game script, so if the Patriots are losing by a bunch at some point, White can see double digit target weeks. He’s a PPR flex play going forward. (FAAB: 10%)
Tony Pollard – Available in 50% of Yahoo leagues. This man needs to be rostered a) in case of a Zeke injury and b) if he starts to show some standalone usage. He’s the best handcuff in the league.
Kenneth Gainwell – Gainwell is the passing down back for the Eagles, and he’s currently the clear 1b to Miles Sanders, without any involvement from Boston Scott. He can potentially be used as a standalone PPR asset, but it’ll take a little more work before I’m willing to put him in my lineup. If anything were to happen to Sanders, Gainwell would see a massive increase in work. He had a 35% snap share in Week 1, but out-snapped Sanders 13-1 in the 2-minute drill. (FAAB: 5%)
Tony Jones – Jones is the new Alvin Kamara handcuff. He seems like he’d be a three-down guy if Kamara were to ever miss time. He’s a bench stash if you can afford it.
Larry Rountree – Justin Jackson? Nope. Joshua Kelley? Nope. Larry Rountree was the guy to complement Austin Ekeler. He had 8 carries against a tough Washington defense, but if anything were to happen to Ekeler, Rountree would see a massive spike in usage. He’s a bench stash if you can afford it.
Mark Ingram – I get that Ingram had 26 carries, but the Texans were up all game. How often is that going to happen? Only against the Jaguars. He has the Browns, Panthers, Bills, Patriots, Colts, Cardinals, Rams upcoming. That doesn’t look like positive game scripts to me. I expect David Johnson to be on the field a lot more in those games while they’re trailing. I’d personally leave him on the wire unless you’re desperate for a RB in 12 or 14-team leagues.
David Johnson – He’s the passing down back for the Texans, and they played in one of the most unlikely game scripts for them in Week 1. That isn’t going to happen going forward, so I’d expect Johnson to be the most valuable back in that offense. He’s a PPR add who will likely have standalone value more often than not.
Cordarrelle Patterson – He was extremely efficient behind Mike Davis, and it’s possible his role grows as the season moves along. He’s a prospective add who you might end up dropping after next week, but he did look pretty good in Week 1. He has WR in addition to RB status on several fantasy platforms.
Carlos Hyde – Hyde was the lead back for the Jaguars ahead of James Robinson in Week 1. Robinson was the primary pass-catching RB, while Hyde was the primary rusher. The Jaguars won’t be in many positive game scripts as long as Urban Meyer is coaching them, so Hyde is fine being left on the wire. He’s a very deep add, but Meyer will not hesitate to use him in an every down role if Robinson were to get hurt at some point.
Christian Kirk – Kirk wasn’t extremely consistent last season, but he was also playing on the outside opposite DeAndre Hopkins. This year, he’s the primarily slot receiver… which is a much better thing for him; that’s his natural position. I was interesting in whoever was going to play this role, and it’s Kirk. He looked obviously, and so did Rondale Moore, but Kirk had a 72% route participation compared to Moore’s 44%. Kirk is on a great offense, Kyler Murray is looking to explode, and he’s been one of Murray’s favorite targets on big plays. (FAAB: 15%)
Sterling Shepard – Shepard has a good track record with Daniel Jones. He’s simply been his favorite target since they’ve been together, with Shepard averaging a solid 8 targets since Shepard got back from IR last season. Now, the reason why there’s some hesitancy here is because Kenny Golladay will likely get more than 6 targets like he did in Week 1, Evan Engram is also likely coming back on Thursday night against Washington, and Saquon Barkley will get some more targets going his way once he’s fully back. Shepard can still perform, but his target share will likely come down a bit. (FAAB: 5%)
Zach Pascal – Pascal was the Colts’ primary slot WR over Parris Campbell in Week 1, as sad as that is for me to say as a Parris Campbell truther. Pascal can’t be ignored. He ran only 2 less routes than Michael Pittman, and was well above Campbell in that category; Campbell was rotating with Michael Strachan a bit. Pascal led the WRs in targets and production, and this confirms what I’ve been hearing this offseason about the plans the team has for him this season. There will be weeks ahead where Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines don’t combine for almost 40% of the team’s target share. (FAAB 5%)
Tim Patrick – Patrick had a 75% route participation compared to KJ Hamler’s 56%, so Patrick is the pickup between the two. With Jerry Jeudy’s injury, Patrick will likely pick up the slack and run a lot of the routes in the areas Jeudy was running them. Keep in mind that Courtland Sutton will likely come into his own and demand a larger target share than he did in Week 1 while being shadowed by James Bradberry. (FAAB: 5%)
Jakobi Meyers – Meyers is still unrostered in 40% of Yahoo leagues, so check if he’s available in yours. He led the Patriots in targets, and is the primarily slot receiver. He ran a large percentage of routes from the slot in Week 1, so he’ll get the best matchups all year long between him and Nelson Agholor. He’s a fine flex play this week against the Jets. (FAAB: 5%)
Van Jefferson – Jefferson ran a route on 92% of Stafford’s throws, and played on 65% of overall snaps… that’s higher than any game last year, and D-Jax coming in is actually taking away from Robert Woods, believe it or not. D-Jax ran 10 routes on Stafford’s 26 attempts, and Robert Woods ran a route on 73% of Stafford’s routes, whereas he would normally have almost 100% of route participation. Jefferson on the up in this offense, and all of this is pointing to continued fantasy upside. (FAAB: 5%)
Will Fuller – I noticed that Fuller is available in about a third of leagues, so please check if he’s there. If he is, I am rostering him over any other WR here. He fulfilled the end of his suspension in Week 1, and will be back in Week 2.(FAAB 15%)
Marquise Brown – Brown is also someone who isn’t rostered in more than a third of leagues on Yahoo. He deserves a roster spot, and will have a much better year in 2021, in a year where they don’t have JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards. (FAAB 15%)
Rondale Moore – Moore is playing behind Christian Kirk, but there’s a possibility that he gets more playing time overall whether that’s at the expense of Kirk or even AJ Green. He looked good in preseason, and that continued into Week 1. He’s not quite usable just yet, but there’s an aura around him that exudes fantasy playmaker. I have a feeling it’ll happen at some point. (FAAB 3%)
Cole Beasley – Beasley had 13 targets in this game, and while he might not be consistent or have a large average depth of target, he’s still a valuable asset in PPR leagues, especially in a high passing volume offense. (FAAB: 5%)
Nelson Agholor – Agholor is the bigger play guy between him and Meyers, but I’d expect Meyers to be more consistent when it’s all said and done. Agholor is lining up on the outside on a large majority of his routes. (FAAB: 5%)
Terrace Marshall – With Robby Anderson only seeing 3 targets, Marshall has a chance of being third in the pecking order. Marshall saw 6 targets despite running 9 less routes than Anderson. Marshall ran 80% of his routes from the slot, and we know Sam Darnold loves targeting the inside. (FAAB: $1)
KJ Osborn – Don’t over look Osborn in deeper leagues. The Vikings actually moved to primary 11 personnel in Week 1, and my guess is that it’s because of the loss of Irv Smith. Osborn was the Vikings’ primary slot WR, and he out-performed Justin Jefferson on the same number of targets (9). Now, I’m not saying he’s Jefferson, but he’s someone to keep an eye on if the Vikings defense stays not so great, and if they continue to be more pass heavy. (FAAB: Try and get for free or $1)
Adam Trautman/Juwan Johnson – I put these two together for a reason… one being that they’re on the same team? Know that Trautman received a whopping 30% of Jameis’ targets, while Juwan was the one who was able to secure the 2 TDs. Johnson ran a total of 10 routes, while Trautman ran 18. With Jameis only throwing the ball 20 times, that’s some extremely high route participation by a tight end (Trautman). It’s a bit tricky, but I think my pickup would be Trautman here over Johnson to get the more stable guy moving forward. It’s possible Johnson’s routes go up next week, and we’ll be monitoring that.
Cole Kmet – He ran routes on 82% of Andy Dalton’s throws, so that makes him valuable on its own. He also produced, catching 5 of his 7 targets. Kmet can be usable going forward.
Jared Cook – Cook was the primary TE for the Chargers. 70% route participation isn’t bad, but he gets the upside of Justin Herbert’s talent. He’s a low-end pick up at the position this week, but can be usable moving forward.
James O’Shaughnessy – Dude ran 44 routes and received 9 targets from Trevor Lawrence. 86% route participation is extremely legit in terms of usage. He’s the best bet at getting targets next week among this entire group of waiver wire tight ends.
Dalton Schultz – Michael Gallup out, Dak Prescott has room for more receivers to target, why not pick up a guy on one of the best offenses in the NFL? Blake Jarwin is still running a ton of routes, but Schultz seems to be the current favorite between the two target-wise.
Jameis Winston – He can be a season-long asset for you. He was very efficient, is in a good offense, and has upside. Easy streaming option against Carolina this week.
Kirk Cousins – Kirk is available in some leagues, and he’s the preferred option over any of these QBs in what can be a shootout against Arizona.
Teddy Bridgewater – Jacksonville’s defense is terrible. Tyrod Taylor lit them up. Teddy can be fantasy relevant for a game, even without Jerry Jeudy.
Mac Jones – Jones threw for 3 TDs against a good Miami defense, so he should have an easier time against the Jets. He has a solid group of weapons, and he seems ready for the job.
Justin Fields – Solid stash. He’s going to start at some point, and when he does, he’ll be a Top-8 fantasy QB with Top-5 upside.
DEF Streaming options
Arizona vs Minnesota – Chandler Jones had 5 sacks in Week 1. Despite them going up against a solid Minnesota offense, Arizona is at home and the sacks can add up once again.
Cleveland – They have a good defense, and if they’re available after the Chiefs game, fire them up against Houston.
New Orleans – After doing their thing against Aaron Rodgers, they need get to go up against Sam Darnold. Solid streamer and potential keeper (NE, NYG, Wash).
Green Bay – They should bounce back against Detroit.