If opening week left a mark on your fantasy rosters, you’re certainly not alone. Even if you had somehow escaped the scourge of injuries plaguing the league’s top tight ends by Sunday, bad news probably would have reached your team at some point. It was a tough weekend.
But as coaches always say, the games keep coming. We need to patch our teams together and move on. Every Monday during the NFL season, we’ll bring you a collection of top-rated fantasy pickups, each available and eligible for use in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Wide receivers and tight ends
Fifteen targets generally make a player an automatic fantasy pickup, regardless of game circumstances. But 15 goals for a fifth-round rookie in his NFL debut?
So, That just never happens – at least not before Nacua’s arrival. He was incredible in his debut, leading the Rams in targets, receptions (10) and receiving yards (119). He was primarily a close range threat…
…although he also managed to get to the depths (see below).
Nacua was consistently praised by the right people in camp – above all Sean McVay And Matthew Stafford – and it seems that these were not just empty words. He didn’t produce stunning college-level season results for BYU, but He was over-productive in terms of yards per route.
This is one of those rare scenarios where a prospect gets a lot of hype in the preseason and then still manages to exceed everyone’s expectations. Go get him.
Suggested bid on a budget of $100: $18
Shaheed is a burner who broke off a lot of flashy plays as a rookie, averaging 17.4 yards per catch. He opened his sophomore season with a 5-reception, 89-yard attempt, scoring an all-too-easy touchdown:
His talent was evident last year and it seems like he’s ready to build on an impressive first professional season. If you can make room for a high-variance boom/bust receiver who clearly has a top few weeks ahead of him, Shaheed deserves a claim.
Henry outshot Mike Gesicki 63 to 33 on Sunday and outscored his teammate six to three. The roles of these two players weren’t really in doubt at the start of the opening game, but the Philly game offered confirmation. Henry is the man to go to if you really want a Patriots tight end on your roster. He finished with the exact stat line he has given us since entering the league: 5-56-1. He’s a trusted weapon for New England near the goal line and that won’t change anytime soon.
Other priority reception options on the cable
Romeo Doubs: He overcame a hamstring injury and made two home visits against the Bears.
Tutu Atwell: The speedy third-year receiver was another part of the Kupp backup plan for LA, producing six catches for 119 yards on eight looks.
Zay Jones: He gave us the catch of the week and remains an important figure in an explosive passing offense that scored seven goals on Sunday.
Rashee rice: He caught a TD pass after coverage failed on the opening play, and as you may recall, KC’s primary receivers didn’t exactly stand out on opening night.
Allen Robinson: If Diontae Johnson misses time his thigh injuryRobinson will clearly benefit from this.
Hayden Hurst: Five catches and a touchdown make him an extremely attractive option at a position that suddenly looks like a minefield.
At no point on Sunday afternoon was Love remotely harassed by Chicago’s defense. He operated under no threat and his receivers were easily exposed. We’ll learn more about Love as he faces skilled, game-ready opponents later on, but the results from week one were certainly promising. (Sorry, but that’s what you get when a Bears fan writes the pickups column.) Love averaged 9.1 yards per attempt, threw three touchdown passes (two to Romeo Doubs) and had in Generally having his way with an overwhelmed, undertrained D. Green Bay travels to Atlanta in Week 2 and at some point Christian Watson will return from his hamstring problem.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams (29%)
If you’re new to the fantasy world and aren’t familiar with old Stafford, you’ll see that he used to look something like this:
Stafford stood out on Sunday, like a much younger and fully operational version of himself. In Seattle, he passed for 334 yards, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt, despite missing offensive center Cooper Kupp. It was masterful.
Remember when people were discussing how difficult it was for a very old guy like Stafford to relate to younger teammates, with their constant screen time and TikToking and whatnot? Well, it seems like he’s developed a pretty good relationship with Nacua and Tutu Atwell; Those two totaled just 16 receptions and 238 yards. Stafford has had a refreshingly healthy, productive offseason and the early results are promising. You probably won’t want to mess with him next week when he goes up against a monstrous Niners defense, but he’s cleared to play in later matches.
Howell had a day-long carnival ride against Arizona, including a pick, multiple sacks and a fumble that turned into a game-winning touchdown for the defense. But he did that too…
…which was pretty sweet. Howell later ran for a 6-yard go-ahead score, saving his dream day (and your Survivor entry for 2023):
Essentially, Howell gave us the complete young dual-threat QB experience. Washington has a wealth of talent at the skill points and an offensive coordinator with impeccable credentials. If you find yourself questioning your draft day quarterback choices, take a long look at Howell.
Additional QB pickups
Derek Carr: He managed 300 yards rushing on the way to Carolina and his receiving corps is excellent.
Baker Mayfield: He’s the guy next week against Chicago, and his receivers are top quality.
It all turns out Early August talk of Gainwell as Philadelphia’s definitive No. 1 RB was actually pretty accurate. He dominated snaps in the opening game (62%), finished the game with 74 scrimmage yards, caught all four of his targets and outscored all other Eagles defenders 18-for-4. D’Andre Swift had only a cameo role and gained three yards; Rashaad Penny was a healthy scratch.
There’s really no conclusion other than this: Philly’s backfield currently belongs to Gainwell. He is the entire committee. If you’re interested in getting the main man back in a big-league offense, you’ve come to the right place. Gainwell caught 56 balls for a 4.4 YPC average in his first two NFL seasons, and he also managed 40 touches in three playoff games last year. He came into the league from the running back factory in Memphis after a college season with 2,069 yards and 51 catches and is therefore eligible to play in all situations and on every down. He has a clear waiver priority this week ahead of Thursday’s game with the Vikings.
We have great news for those of you who enjoyed burning all of your FAB resources on various Rams running backs last season:
Williams broke the plane twice on Sunday in Seattle, splitting runs with Cam Akers and passing him 52 to 29 yards. He also dominated snap share, especially while the game was closely contested.
Williams, of course, was one of the many Rams RBs we incorrectly pursued last season, but — just maybe — the situation could be different this year. He was moderately hyped the summer before his rookie season, but was injured on the first special teams snap of his first game. Williams was very productive as a sophomore at Notre Dame, topping 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, but somehow failed at the combine (4.65 speed). However, the lack of elite sprint speed didn’t exactly hurt him on Sunday. After his success in the season-opening win (and a brutally inefficient performance from Akers), there’s really no way to turn back his stakes.
Deon Jackson had a disastrous game for Indianapolis on Sunday, with two fumbles and just 28 scrimmage yards on 18 touches. Rookie Evan Hull left with a knee injury and was unable to take advantage of Jackson’s many problems. Next week, we can expect Moss to play an integral role when the Colts travel to Houston. Despite missing much of camp with a broken arm, Moss returned to practice before the opener and appeared close to action against Jacksonville. He was an extremely efficient runner last season (4.9) and finished the year averaging 83.5 rushing YPG over the final four weeks. It’s hard to believe he won’t serve as Indy’s leading man when he’s ready – at least until the Jonathan Taylor fiasco is resolved.
Other recommended RBs
Gus Edwards And Justice Hill: This pair split the backcourt duties following JK Dobbins’ unfortunate season-ending injury, but there’s a good chance another defender may be added soon.
Sean Tucker: He is the direct replacement for Rachaad White, who just converted 17 carries into 39 yards.
Joshua Kelley: He entered Sunday as a full committee member and scored 16 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown against Miami.
Tyjae Spears: I can’t say we expected a 54% snap share, but it happened on Sunday; If Derrick Henry misses a game this season, Spears will be the headliner in the pickups feature.
Roshon Johnson: Don’t bother investing in Chicago’s offense, but it’s worth noting that the rookie caught six balls on seven goals in addition to destroying the plane for a late, meaningless hit.
Myles Garrett and friends held the Bengals to just three points and 142 total yards in one of the most impressive team performances of the week. Next week, this group gets a lower difficulty matchup against Kenny Pickett and the Steelers, so stream as needed.