Week 1 uncovered a lot of talent you’ll want on your Fantasy team.
Breakdown: Washington Defeats Eagles, 27-17
In Fantasy football, running backs take up an inordinate amount of the attention, so it’s only fitting that the top early waiver-wire targets coming out of Sunday’s action are running backs. That’s just how this works — opportunity is king at the position, and especially this season, we knew we didn’t have any clarity on how the opportunity would shake out in a bunch of backfields.
Now, we know. At least, we think we know. We think we know in at least some of those situations; I know, it’s confusing. Look, running back is never an easy position to figure out, but we got some clarity on Jacksonville, Washington, Detroit and Indianapolis’ backfields, plus the emergence of potential must-add players out of Los Angeles.
The top option for Week 2 should probably be Malcolm Brown, who the Fantasy community largely overlooked in our excitement over Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that the back with the most experience got the first shot at the role, but what was surprising was how well Brown did with that opportunity, rushing for 79 yards on 18 carries and adding three catches for 31 yards. Plus two touchdowns. It was a great game from Brown, who figures to remain the primary option moving forward. He’ll have to hold serve to keep that role, but if Sunday was any indication, there’s some breathing room here.
The other five backs worth targeting out of those backfields should be ranked in this order of priority:
“Who will be the No. 2 RB for the Chargers?” was one of those questions we were hoping to get an answer to early in the season, and I may have received an emphatic answer Sunday. Justin Jackson got the first two carries after Austin Ekeler opened the game, but it was Joshua Kelley almost exclusively after that. Kelley rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries and got a goal-line score, with Ekeler ending up with 19 carries for 84 yards, and notably, only one target. Neither Kelley nor Jackson was involved in the receiving game, with the mobile Tyrod Taylor looking to take off in situations where Phillip Rivers would’ve dumped it off in the past. Hopefully, the Chargers get the backs more involved in the passing game moving forward, but Kelley getting a dozen carries in his first career game is a great sign — we’ll see if Jackson’s quad injury keeps him out moving forward, too. If Kelley is out there in your league, he’s probably the top priority on waivers heading into Week 2.
There actually wasn’t that much of a question about how Jacksonville would split up work after Devine Ozigbo went down, but we still weren’t exactly sure Robinson, an undrafted free agent, would dominate work or be effective. It wasn’t a dominant showing, but Robinson was good enough, racking up 62 yards on 16 carries and adding one catch on one target for 28 yards. Not overwhelming stuff, but Chris Thompson only had two targets, and Robinson was the only running back to even receive a carry Sunday. Robinson may not face many positive game scripts, but you can’t overlook a possible workhorse back. He’ll be in the low-end RB2 discussion next week against the Titans.
Hines isn’t going to become an every-down back, and if Sunday’s game (27.3 Fantasy points) is his best game of the season, that won’t surprise anyone. However, Indianapolis’ backfield likely went from a three-way split to a two-way, with Marlon Mack feared to have suffered a torn Achilles. Jonathan Taylor should get the majority of the carries — and got six targets of his own Sunday — but Hines is going to be an active participant moving forward. Phillip Rivers threw 17 passes to running backs Sunday, and with Hines now splitting work with only Taylor, a 75-plus reception season isn’t out of the question. He can be an RB2 in PPR formats.
OK, look, the last two here are a lot less interesting than the first three, but Barber probably needs to be rostered in your league. He got 17 of 29 carries for Washington, including several inside the 10-yard line en route to his two-touchdown game. Sure, he only rushed for 29 yards on those 17 carries and didn’t have a target, but if he’s the primary rushing downs back for Washington, he’ll belong in the flex conversation. At least until Antonio Gibson (nine carries, only two targets) is ready for a bigger role or Bryce Love is ready to play at all.
Yup. Again. Peterson was by far the most effective back for the Lions on Sunday, with Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift combining for 22 yards on 10 carries. Swift still looks like the back to have here, but Peterson is going to have a role until and unless Swift and Johnson can prove they deserve otherwise. He’ll never be much more than an RB3, but Peterson should be worth having around as an insurance option.
Here are the other players you should be trying to add heading into Week 2.
Early Waiver Targets
Early Waiver Wire Targets
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