2020 NFL Fantasy Football Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups

NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football waiver wire and injury help is here!

RUNNING BACKS (RB): James Robinson, Nyheim Hines, Chris Thompson, Justin Jackson

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR): Steven Sims Jr, Breshad Perriman, N’Keal Harry, Bisi Johnson, Anthony Miller

TIGHT ENDS (TE): Jonnu Smith, Chris Herndon, Kyle Rudolph, Jack Doyle

QUARTERBACKS (QB): Jared Goff, Tyrod Taylor, Mitch Trubisky

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST): Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers
RUNNING BACK (RB)

James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (currently owned in 15.4% of all ESPN leagues): 
With Devine Ozigbo now I’m injured reserve, James Robinson is now the clear, undisputed starter until Armstead is cleared of Covid.  The 5’9”, 219lb rookie out of Illinois State amassed over 4400 yards and over 40 touchdowns just on the ground during his time as a Redbird.  He’s a stout, well-built runner who can catch it, run between the tackles, bounce it outside, get the edge, & turn upfield quick.  He’s not that elusive but his jump cuts make him difficult to tackle and he’s a well balanced runner who’s tough to bring down.  The only gripe about him is he played in the FCS, but he’s arguably the best running back at his level of competition.  He might be the best overall fit for Jay Gruden’s offense and could grab the job from starter Ryquell Armstead by the time he’s back from injury.  He’s worth a flier especially in deep leagues and he has tons of upside.

Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts (currently owned in 35.3% of all ESPN leagues):
This is a reminder to fantasy managers that Phillip Rivers loves throwing to his backs.  In case anyone forgot, Danny Woodhead logged just 336 yards and 3 scores on the ground in 2015, but he also caught 80 passes for 755 yards and 6 touchdowns that same season.  Last year, Austin Ekeler caught 92 passes for 993 yards and 8 touchdowns, making him a PPR monster and putting him near elite WR territory in terms of receptions.  While Mack and Taylor will handle the ground work, but Hines is firmly entrenched as the pass catching change of pace back. The Colts could be playing catch up in most games which means Hines could be heavily targeted if the Colts need to move the ball downfield in a hurry.  There’s upside here and Hines should be rostered, especially in deep PPR leagues.

Chris Thompson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (currently owned in 42.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Speaking of Thompson, he’ll have a role as a change of pace and receiving back for the Jaguars.  Jay Gruden is the new OC in town so it’s no surprise that he brought in the former Washington running back with him.  The Jaguars have spent the last couple of seasons dismantling their defense, which means they’ll struggle to stop opposing offenses and they’ll be playing catch up quite a bit.  Thompson is a PPR maven and could have an expanded role given the lack of pass catchers in Jacksonville.  He’s worth adding as long as he can stay healthy, but that’s a big if.  He’s averaged roughly 10 games a season for the last 3 seasons and played a full season just once in his career.  Nevertheless, he’s worth adding because the upside is there on opportunity alone. 

Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 28.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Jackson recently dealt with a tow injury but it looks like he’s good to go for a tasty week 1 road matchup against the Bengals.  Jackson occasionally spelled Ekeler last season before Melvin Gordon joined the team.  Jackson was an efficient ball carrier and could produce if he was given the opportunity.  Even with Rivers under center, the Chargers proved they could produce two fantasy-relevant running backs, especially in PPR leagues.  The Chargers could lean on the run even more this year thanks to potentially questionable quarterback play.  Either way, Jackson is one of the most important insurance policies this season since an injury to Ekeler significantly raises Jackson’s ceiling.  Jackson is a good flier in deep in PPR leagues.

WIDE RECEIVER (WR)

Steven Sims Jr, WR, Washington Football Team (currently owned in 12.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Sims flew under the radar in a lot of fantasy drafts this year and is currently available in 90% of all ESPN leagues.  He came on strong at the end of the year though, posting 16 catches for 190 yards and 4 touchdowns in the last 3 games of the season.  It’s not like these were meaningless games either.  The Cowboys and Eagles were 2 of Sims’ last 3 opponents, and both teams were neck and neck for the NFC East title until the end of the season.  Sims climbed the depth chart, bumping Trey Quinn from the slot receiver position.  Washington doesn’t have many receiving options, which means the ones they do have will be targeted often.  Sims is an upside play that should be rostered in all dynasty leagues, and his volume of targets should give him plenty of upside.  He’s worth adding in deep leagues.

Breshad Perriman, WR, New York Jets (currently owned in 47% of all ESPN leagues):
Perriman is available in just over half of all ESPN leagues.  The veteran journeyman struggles with injuries early and often during his career, but he’d show the occasional flash.  That flash became more consistent last year when he logged 25 catches for 506 yards and 4 touchdowns in the final 5 games of the season.  Those stats are good for an average of 101 yards per game and 20 yards per reception.  The speedster will look to fill the shoes of Robby Anderson, who left for Carolina in free agency.  Although Crowder and Herndon wi be the primary pass catchers, Darnold will occasionally need to launch it to keep defenses honest.  Perriman is a boom or bust player who will get his share of targets thanks to the Jets’ lack of receiving options.  Volume upside is there, especially if Crowder or Herndon get hurt.  Buyer beware, rookie Denzel Mims is the better wideout of the two.  The emergence of Denzel Mims could cap Perriman’s production.

N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots (currently owned in 49.4% of all ESPN leagues):
N’Keal Harry struggled in training camp last year. The Antonio Brown debacle didn’t help either.  Finally, injuries limited him to just 7 games during his rookie campaign.  Word out of Patriots training camp is Harry has done much better this year.  For those who need a reminder, Harry is a 6’4”, 225lb physical wideout who absolutely dominated defensive backs during his time at Arizona State.  Opposing defenses could zero in on Edelman and White as pass catchers which could leave Harry one on one in coverage, a battle which he usually wins.  It’s anyone’s guess how Cam will do, but the Patriots need all the help they can get, which means the opportunity is there.  The sophomore wideout just needs to seize it. 

Bisi Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings: (currently owned in 0.6% of all ESPN leagues):
Last season it was Bisi Johnson who emerged as a number 3 behind Thielen and Diggs.  This year, at a very short training camp, there are rumblings that Bisi is the one who’s Cousins’ number two.  Bisi is currently listed at number 2 on the depth chart and will work out of the slot.  While Justin Jefferson is an athletic, capable receiver, the rookie has struggled.  Bisi Johnson is an upside play who knows the offense and already has a rapport with quarterback Kirk Cousins.  The Vikings’ 7th round pick in the 2019 draft caught 31 passes for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns.  

Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears (currently owned in 38.6% of all ESPN leagues):
Miller looked like he finally got his season back on track after getting off to a slow start last season.  During weeks 11 through 15 last year, he caught 33 passes for 431 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he flashed the potential that drew Antonio Brown comparisons.  Miller has struggled with shoulder injuries through his first two seasons as a Chicago Bear and he was the victim of poor quarterback play.  However, the signs out of training camp have the arrow pointing up for the young wideout.  He logged just two scores last season which means he’s worth more in PPR leagues, but he’s certainly worth keeping an eye on in all formats.

TIGHT END (TE)

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans (currently owned in 22.3% of all ESPN leagues):
With Delanie Walker out of the picture, the Titans’ young pass catcher finally has his shot at lead tight end.  AJ Brown might have had a minor injury late in camp.  Rookie running back Darrynton Evans was supposed to be the Titans pass catching change of pace back, but missed an entire week of practice.  He struggled with fumbles even when he was on the practice field.  All of the questions surrounding Tennessee’s pass catchers mean Smith could have a substantial amount of targets because someone needs to catch the ball.  These question marks put him squarely in the flex conversation and as a fringe TE1.  He’ll look to make an immediate impact this week against a Broncos team that struggled against tight ends last year.

Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets (currently owned in 42.3% of all ESPN leagues): 
Herndon was one of the more popular sleeper candidates going into this season.  He caught 39 passes for 502 yards and four scores and had a great rookie campaign.  Then he was suspended for the first 4 games of last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and he was basically sidelined for the rest of the season because of a hamstring injury.  Herndon survived another injury scare during training camp this season, but ultimately recovered.  The signing of Perriman and the recovery of rookie Denzel Mims lower Herndon’s ceiling, but Gase loves featuring tight ends in his offenses.  Herndon should get plenty of work given his familiarity with Darnold, and he’s worth flex consideration.  

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (currently owned in 8.6% of all ESPN leagues): Few people remember that Texans TE Owen Daniels has some of his best years when Gary Kubiak called the plays, even when Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins were on the team.  Rudolph posted 24 catches for 229 yards and 6 touchdowns during the 6 games when Adam Thielen was hurt last season.  Kubiak is calling the plays again and Rudolph could revive his role as a red zone target.  He’s touchdown-dependent which makes a bit of a boom or bust play, but he could be one of Cousins’ best pass catching options given their rapport and the questions at the Vikings’ 2nd wideout spot.

Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (currently owned in 39% of all ESPN leagues):
Trey Burton is out for at least a few weeks with an injury.  It’s no surprise that Phillip Rivers loved throwing to tight ends like Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, when they were healthy. Eric Ebron is now a Steeler and the Colts have a lot of question marks surrounding their pass catchers.  All of these combine to raise Doyle’s floor as he looks to return to 2017 form. 

QUARTERBACK (QB)

Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams (currently owned in 42.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Rams Head Coach Sean McVey’s offense builds off of play action.  When the Rams’ offensive line suffered multiple injuries and Todd Gurley looked average, that whole philosophy went away because the run game struggled.  It’s the start of a new season.  The Rams offensive line looks fresh and their running attack will eventually feature rookie Cam Akers who has very similar measurables of another Florida State running back naked Dalvin Cook.  Although Goff didn’t necessarily fall off last year, he did struggle through a slump that cost many managers their season.  While his passing yards basically remained the same, he threw 10 less touchdowns in 2019 than in 2018.  His passer rating also dropped from 101 in 2018 to 86 a year later.  The thing is Goff is still Goff, and he still throws to one of the better wide receiver tandems in the league in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.  Tyler Higbee also emerged as a receiving threat as McVey moved away from three wide receiver sets.  Goff is an upside play that’s worth rostering.  He’s available in over half of all ESPN leagues and should be rostered as a bounce back candidate with plenty of upside this year.  

STREAMING OPTIONS

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 3.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Tyrod Taylor was once a starting quarterback in the NFL.  The list of weapons around him includes Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler.  The Bengals still have a lot of questions surrounding their defense.  Although this is Tyrod’s first season in the Chargers’ system with new pieces surrounding him, this might be the perfect game for him to get up and running at game speed.  He’s a fine streaming option this week.

Mitch Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears (currently owned in 2.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Under normal circumstances, Mitch would be a viable starting quarterback in 2QB leagues only.  However, this week’s matchup against the Lions is one that he excels at.  He’s averaged 295 passing yards per game in the last 4 games he started against the Lions, and he’s thrown 3 touchdowns in 3 of those games.  Nagy has praised him during camp and it finally looks like his offensive weapons are all up to speed.  The Lions lost Darius Slay in free agency which should help Mitch’s passing stats.  He should have another good outing this week as the Bears travel to Detroit to kick off their season.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST)

STREAMING OPTIONS:

Philadelphia Eagles (currently owned in 47.1% of all ESPN leagues):
It looks like Washington’s offensive woes are set to continue this year.  Quarterback Dwayne Haskins eventually started to figure things out and connected with McLaurin and Sims, but there are still a lot of question marks at multiple offensive and defensive positions.  Meanwhile, the Eagles added Darius Slay in free agency to address the secondary and they still have a formidable pass rush up front, making this unit a good streaming option this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 38.8% of all ESPN leagues):
The Chargers lost Derwin James for the start of the season, but this secondary is deep.  They’ll travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals and rookie QB Joe Burrow.  Lack of a training camp coupled with injuries constantly plaguing the Bengals offensive playmakers mean Burrow may not have had time to get on the same page as his receiving options.  Fantasy owners can stream the Chargers defense for these reasons.

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