Week 1 of the NFL season brought plenty of exciting games and surprises. Justin Jefferson opened the season with a career-high 184 receiving yards and showed he could be unstoppable in this new Vikings offense. The afternoon cap showed the fantasy community that Saquon Barkley is officially back as he carved up the Titans’ front seven en route to a 164-yard output. The afternoon and evening gave us some great watches, like the overtime games in Cincinnati and Houston and the downpour in Chicago. Hopefully, Week 2 will provide as much entertainment as last weekend. In this article, I will try to pinpoint some of the best performances and pickups for the week to help you set your lineup.
Start of the Week: Jalen Hurts PHI
Jalen Hurts blazed out of the gates this season, as he put up an 18 fantasy point first half against the Lions. He finished with 24.72 points, despite not throwing a single touchdown pass. Next week, however, will be different as the Eagles will have to try to keep up with the Vikings’ high-flying offense. Hurts might not put up 90 rushing yards, but at least 300 passing yards and two touchdowns seem like locks. Add this to whatever he does on the ground, and it could be an elite performance.
HM: Russell Wilson DEN, Dak Prescott DAL
Waiver Priority: Carson Wentz WAS
Carson Wentz tore up the Jaguars’ secondary this week for 314 yards and four touchdowns. While Jacksonville does have one of the worst defenses in the league, fantasy owners need to take notice as he attempted 41 passes. If you had a quarterback like Matthew Stafford or Trey Lance this week and want some insurance, Wentz needs to be your first look. Matchups against the Lions, Eagles, and Cowboys in the next three weeks provide a valuable quarterback streamer.
HM: Marcus Mariota ATL, Jared Goff DET
Start of the Week: Antonio Gibson WAS
I’m staying with Washington here as Antonio Gibson needs to be in all lineups next week. Detroit gave up over two hundred rushing yards to Philadelphia, which included 96 on thirteen carries from Philadelphia RB1 Miles Sanders. Gibson gets the cupcake matchup next week and needs to be in all lineups. His owners need to enjoy this uptick in usage while they can because one fumble can take it all away.
HM: Darrell Henderson LAR, Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt vs NYJ
Waiver Priority: Khalil Herbert CHI
This spot is pretty dry this week, but Khalil Herbert seems to have a role in Luke Getsy’s offense rather than being a backup. Herbert was significantly more effective than his counterpart David Montgomery this week as he had 5.0 yards per carry, compared to Montgomery’s 1.5. If Herbert proves he can be more consistently effective, he will approach FLEX territory for the rest of the season.
HM: Dontrell Hilliard TEN, Brandon Bolden LV
Start of the Week: JuJu Smith-Schuster KC
JuJu Smith-Schuster had a solid debut for Kansas City as he led all of their wide receivers in targets and finished with 11.9 fantasy points. Next week he gets the Los Angeles Chargers, who just surrendered 141 receiving yards to Davante Adams. This game could be a shootout, and Patrick Mahomes will look for JuJu early and often this Thursday night. When it is all said and done, Smith-Schuster’s receiving line could look reminiscent of his Steelers days.
HM: Darnell Mooney CHI, CeeDee Lamb DAL
Waiver Priority: Donovan Peoples-Jones CLE
Any time you can pick up someone with 11 targets, you have to jump at the opportunity. While we only have a week for sample size and Jacoby Brissett leaving a lot to be desired, DPJ could be the top wide receiver in Cleveland. He likely will not get 11 targets, but if he has a good game against the Jets this week, I would elevate him into WR3 territory and use him as a trade piece.
HM: Curtis Samuel WAS, Zay Jones JAX
Start of the Week: TJ Hockenson DET
Year two of the Dan Camper era started this past week, and Detroit showed a lot of promise on the offensive side of the football. While it wasn’t enough to win, Jared Goff played well in the second half as he got many receivers involved. Among these was TJ Hockenson, who had four receptions on seven targets. Detroit gets another easy matchup in Washington this week. A soft middle of the defense could open up more targets for Hockenson. A top-three finish is not out of the cards as Goff could look to TJ Hockenson to get some early offense going.
HM: Pat Freiermuth PIT, Dalton Schultz DAL
Waiver Priority: Hayden Hurst CIN
A couple of analysts were high on Hayden Hurst as a deep sleeper this year, and Week 1 confirmed their beliefs. Tee Higgins left the game with a concussion, which allowed Hurst to be more involved. Burrow threw Hayden Hurst’s way eight times, and he turned that into five receptions for 38 yards. It was not that fantastic of a fantasy output, but there is some real optimism with the number of targets he can get in Cincinnati’s system.