With an opening week full of overreactions, surprises and disappointments in the books, fantasy owners will be looking forward to running to the waiver wires for the first time this season.
Top pickups this week, pending their availability in your league, are Jacksonville Jaguars running back TJ Yeldon and Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler.
After leaving last week’s game with a hamstring injury in the first half, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is optimistic to return this week, however, it appears that will Yeldon gets the majority of the carries in their AFC championship rematch with the New England Patriots.
Ekeler could be very effective in PPR leagues this upcoming week, as he and backfield mate, Melvin Gordon are both coming off strong fantasy performances in week one. Los Angeles will take on the Buffalo Bills who surrendered 41 points to the Baltimore Ravens. Expect Ekeler to have another big performance this week after totaling five receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown a week ago.
Must-starts this week at running back include James Conner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Connor pleased fantasy owners a week ago after rushing for 135 yards on 31 carries and a pair of touchdowns–while adding to his value in PPR leagues by hauling in five receptions for 57 yards, proving that he is a viable option in Le’Veon Bell’s absence. Pittsburgh will take on a Chargers defensive unit that gave up 38 points in their week one loss to Kansas City.
The New York Jets surprised everybody in their primetime, Monday Night opening week beat down of the Detroit Lions in which their offense erupted for 48 points–large in part to the work of the newly acquired Isaiah Crowell who average 10.2 yards per carry (10 carries/102 yards) while adding two scores. New York will look to have the same success in the ground attack in their first AFC East action of the season against the Miami Dolphins who struggled to contain the Tennessee Titan run game in week one.
Washington Redskins running back, Adrian Peterson turned back the clock on Sunday rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown as he received the bulk of the carries in their week one victory. Peterson also added two receptions for 70 yards through the air, making him a solid RB2 or flex option going forward. Washington takes on the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday who were victims of the Cincinnati Bengals ground game lead by Joe Mixon.
A solid flex option this week could be Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman. With Devonta Freeman ruled out for the next two to three weeks, Coleman could see a bigger workload moving forward. Regardless of Freeman’s status, Coleman is always a solid start and is coming off a touchdown performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football.
Top defenses to look at this week are the Philadelphia, Denver and New England. Philadelphia remains a must-start as they take on the Buccaneers who will likely be brought back down to earth after an offensive explosion against the Saints. The Eagles limited a powerful offense in the Falcons on opening night to just 12 points.
As for the Denver Broncos defense led by Von Miller, they will be taking on the Oakland Raiders who struggled against the Los Angeles Rams in week one. The Raiders turned the ball over three times last week and were shut out in the second half finishing the game with just 13 points. Denver, on the other hand, forced three turnovers on defense along with six sacks against the Seahawks en route to their first victory of the season.
New England will take on the Jaguars in week two, with Fournette’s availability unknown at this point, I would not expect Jacksonville to have their typical production as an offensive unit. Despite their week one win over the New York Giants, Jacksonville’s offense produced just 20 points and ranked 25th in the league with 305 total yards of offense.