Written By: Daniel Rebain
Football is SO back! That also means this is the first week everyone can sit on the coach on a Sunday and watch seven hours of commercial-free NFL Football with Scott Hanson as they follow a make-believe team they call their own for the next 16 weeks.
With Week 1 coming and going players will need to re-assess their rosters with some key guys picking up injuries, others getting roles we didn’t expect and even some sleepers making the most of opportunities this opening weekend. Here are the players at each position that you should be looking to prioritize this week heading into waivers.
*NOTE: Availability numbers are via ESPN Fantasy*
Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts, 24.9% Available
If AR is available in your league and you don’t have Hurts, Allen, or Mahomes, you must be racing to pick him up on the waiver wire. Richardson is only available in ~25% of leagues, but this rookie quarterback has the potential to be a league winner for you this season.
In the first game of his NFL career, AR threw for 223 yards and a score while also showing his massively high ceiling on the ground with 10 rushes for 4o yards and another score against division rival Jacksonville Jaguars for 20.92 PTS. It could have been an even bigger day if Richardson scored again on the ground late in the game but left the game due to knee sores after a hit diving for the goal line. Finishing as the quarterback 6 on the week, Richardson shows his potential to be a top 5 QB the rest of the season and is a must-pickup if available.
ANTHONY RICHARDSON TAKES IT HIMSELF.
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2023
Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers, 84.5% Available
When Aaron Rodgers left Green Bay this offseason it looked like the QB spot for the Packers would not have any relevancy in fantasy football. In his first two seasons with the Packers, Jordan Love was not impressive when he saw game action. In his lone start with the organization in 2021 against the Cheifs, Love did not look the part, throwing for 190 yards on 34 attempts, one touchdown, and an interception with a QB rating of just 33.1.
Fast forward to 2023, Rodgers has left town and now after one standout week against the Bears, everyone seems to have shifted their opinions on Jordan Love. Heading into Chicago with all the pressure now on his shoulders, Love went 15 for 27, 245 yards, and three touchdown passes. On top of that, his QB rating came in at 73.3, which was sixth best in the NFL during the opening weekend.
Love. Romeo. @Packers first TD is a love story 💚
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2023
I am not saying Jordan Love is the next coming of Aaron Rodgers or Brett Farve for the Packers, but if Love continues to put up performances like this, 23 PTS (QB3), he will start to be a must in lineups over guys like Kirk Cousins, Geno Smith and Daniel Jones going forward.
For the second year running under Arthur Smith, the Falcons are going to run the ball and run the ball some more. Yes, we all know that the Atlanta Falcons drafted Bijan Robinson with the 8th overall pick in this past year’s draft, but the Falcons were already the best running attack in football last season and that had to do in part because of Tyler Allgeier.
In Week 1, Atlanta rushed the ball 26 times, and Allegeir had 15 of them for 75 yards and two scores. Allegeir’s efforts added up to 24.4 PTS, good for RB4 in Week 1 . Going forward as Bijan gets more comfortable in the system he will start to take more opportunities for Allgeier, but for now, this is an almost 50-50 backfield and Tyler Allgeier is a worthy low-end RB2, high-end RB3 until further notice.
• 10 carries, 56 yards
• 6 catches, 27 yards, 1 TD
• 15 carries, 75 yards, 2 TDs
• 3 catches, 19 yards
— ً. (@InBijanWeTrust) September 11, 2023
Joshua Kelly, LA Chargers, 88.6% Available
In the highest-scoring matchup of the week between the Dolphins and Chargers we saw an interesting development in the RB room of the Chargers. Despite Austin Ekeler putting up his normal production on the day, 164 total yards and 1 TD, backup Joshua Kelly was heavily involved in the offense with 16 carries for 91 yards and a score.
To make things even more interesting, Ekeler came out of the week with an ankle injury and is a doubt for the upcoming week against Tennessee. But if you look at where all the carries came in the game, Kelly was involved throughout the game so his production this past week was not relative to Ekeler’s injury.
With that being said, Kelly is a must-pickup and is an ELITE handcuff option in fantasy. IF Ekeler is out, fire up Kelly as a top-15 option for week 2 against the Titans.
Puka Nacua, WR, LA Rams, 97.2% Available
Coming into Week 1 most people would have never heard of rookie WR Puka Nacua, but following the Rams’ 30-13 victory in Seattle, people do now. The 5th-round pick filling in for the injured Cooper Kupp put up a similar production as Cooper Kupp would have if he was on the field. Nacua had 10 catches on FIFTEEN targets, for 119 yards and showed an instant connection between him and QB Matthew Stafford.
— Raskobe (@_KMrzg) September 11, 2023
Puka, or Cooper Kupp Jr., is set to be the #1 waiver priority add this week, and for good reason. Kupp is set to be out for a minimum of three more weeks, but even then, will Kupp be 100%? Let’s just say Kupp does return and is set to go for the rest of the season, you can still start Puka as a low-end WR2 in an offense that will be trailing most games and Stafford has been able to have multiple fantasy options on one team. Puka Nacua is a NO BRAINER add.
Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars, 70.1% Available
This next waiver wire pickup is a sneaky one unless you’ve been watching Jaguars games this preseason and week one. Not only did Zay Jones reel in five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, but Jones also played in the two WR sets for the Jaguars alongside Calvin Ridley, not Christian Kirk.
Jones actually played 89% (62) of snaps compared to 60% (42) of Kirk, that’s a huge difference. A deeper dive on the stats and you’ll see Jones ran 32 routes run compared to 24 by Kirk. Zay Jones is clearly the #2 option in this offense that will score a ton of points this season.
Oh my, Zay Jones, WHAT A SNAG for the Jags touchdown! 💪
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/dqp0TKYrdD
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 10, 2023
Dealing with a hamstring injury this preseason along with the loss of Aaron Rodgers this offseason, it looked like it could be a bumpy road for second-year WR Romeo Doubs. Instead, Doubs had a day in Week 1 against the Bears. While only getting 48% of snaps, remember Doubs had an injury, Doubs was able to catch four balls on five targets, two of which were for touchdowns.
You might say, “Well Christian Watson was also out and he’s the team’s #1 receiver”, and you would be correct. The good thing for Doubs is that he will still be in two receiver sets once Watson returns and until then Doubs is building chemistry with Jordan Love as this new Packers passing game evolves.
- Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots, 97.5% Available
- Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints, 97.9% Available
- Rachee Rice, Kansas City Cheifs, 90.6% Available
- Tutu Atwell, LA Rams, 94.1% Available
Hunter Henry, New England Patriots, 95.8% Available
The #1 TE from week one was not Travis Kelece (injured), Mark Andrews (injured), T.J. Hockenson, or Darren Waller. No, it was Hunter Henry. I know, I know, Henry isn’t the sexy name you want on your roster, but now that Jonnu Smith is no longer in New England, Henry is set to be fantasy-relevant once again.
In Week 1, Henry commanded six targets in the rain, bringing in five of them for 56 yards and a score. It so happened that Mac Jones did throw 54 times as the Patriots were attempting to mount a comeback. The Pats do have the toughest schedule in the NFL this season so there is reason to think Mac could attempt between 40-50 passes in a majority of games this season. Either way, not many people have TE “set” in their lineup, Henry isn’t a bad option if you don’t have one of those elite guys.
Jones to Henry and the Pats are on the board!
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2023
- Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers, 95.1% Available
- Sam Laporta, Detroit Lions, 65.7% Available
- Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers, 91.5% Available
Defensive Streamers for Week 2
- Cleveland Browns, opponent Pittsburgh Steelers, 40.1% Available
- Indianapolis Colts, opponent Houston Texans, 99% Available
- Denver Broncos, opponent Washington Commanders, 92.3% Available
*Featured image courtesy of Dan Powers/USA TODAY Sports*