Preemptive Strike: Week 1

Now that Week 1 of the fantasy football season is upon us, it is time for us to start thinking ahead so that we may be one step ahead of our opponents. Nothing beats the feeling of when you are able to pick up a fantasy player before anyone else does in your league in wake of breaking news happening or when you wake up Wednesday morning and see you won the waiver wire run and were able to pick up the player of the week. With that said comes the  Preemptive Strike, which is where I will try and give you some players to add to your roster’s prior to this week’s games, that way you will be ahead of your league mates and don’t have to wonder if you will be able to pick up the hot player of the week because he will already be on your roster. I will focus on players that are under 50% rostered in most leagues which will give you a chance to grab a player or two. Let’s see what gems we can find for Week 1.


Jameis Winston, QB -  Saints 43% Rostered

After a long camp battle with Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston prevailed as the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Winston has built fantastic chemistry with Marquez Callaway and the duo should be paying huge dividends this year. We all know that Winston is a gunslinger so he will be throwing the ball early and often. If you need some quarterback depth the former Seminole may be the way to go. He is a must-add in 12-team leagues.

Sam Darnold, QB - Panthers 14% Rostered

This time last year Sam Darnold was nowhere near being an option in most fantasy leagues. He was with the Jets and Adam Gase’s wandering eyes. Quarterback whisperer my ass. Well, now that Darnold is with the Panthers he has the opportunity to make some fantasy managers turn their heads. The former first-rounder walks into a profitable situation as he has weapons galore at his disposal. In single quarterback leagues, Darnold is surely to be on the waiver wire but he is an excellent quarterback to have for depth purposes and is a must-own in 12-team leagues and two-quarterback leagues.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB - Broncos 11% Rostered

Speaking of walking into an excellent situation, that’s where we find Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgwater proved last season in Carolina, that when given the opportunity he can be useful. Now that he earned the starting job in Denver, Bridgewater will be able to unlock the games of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Noah Fant in the passing game. Like Darnold, Bridgewater is one to add in deeper leagues now while you can for free. 

Teddy Bridgewater is motivated for a big year.

Running Backs

Latavius Murray, RB - Ravens 56% Rostered

How one week can change for Latavius Murray. Last week he was released by the Saints and now he just signed with the Baltimore Ravens. Due to the demolition of the Ravens’ backfield, which caused them to lose their top three running backs, the need to sign Murray was very apparent. The only thing that is standing in the way of Murray being the legit starter with RB2 potential is Ty’son Williams, Le’Veon Bell, and Devonta Freeman. Bell and Freeman just signed with the Ravens’ practice squad. Therefore, add Murray now before it is too late.

Latavius Murray has a chance to make a big impact with the Ravens.

Tevin Coleman, RB - Jets 31% Rostered

With all the hype surrounding Michael Carter who is currently listed third or fourth in the depth chart, it is Tevin Coleman who stands on top of the depth chart as the RB1 for the Jets. It appears his knowledge of the offense and running style suits the Jets best and he is basically free right now in 69% of leagues. If you have the roster space try to squeeze him in there before next week’s waiver wire rush. 

Tony Jones Jr., RB - Saints 18% Rostered

Mr. Tony Jones Jr. is one of the reasons that made Latavius Murray expendable last week and now he sits as the RB2 for the Saints. The second-year running back is only an Alvin Kamara injury away from getting a significant increase in touches for the Saints. In 12-team leagues, Jones Jr. should be added as a nice stash for now if you have the roster space.

Justin Jackson, RB - Chargers 12% Rostered

Austin Ekeler’s backup is another running back that may see an increase in touches sooner rather than later. Ekeler has already missed some time from practice due to a slight hamstring injury. Therefore, Justin Jackson may be getting additional touches to keep Ekeler fresh. Ekeler missed six games last season due to a hamstring injury, so Ekeler is no stranger to missing time due to this type of injury. Jackson should be added in 12-team leagues.

Ty Johnson, RB - Jets 11% Rostered

If it were not for Tevin Coleman’s familiarity with the offense, it may have been Ty Johnson listed as the Jets starter. Either way, Johnson proved that he can produce in this offense during the pre-season and he will be involved in the offense. In 12-team leagues, Johnson is another name to consider.

It's Ty Johnson time!

Alexander Mattison, RB - Vikings 39% Rostered

If Dalvin Cook gets injured, Alexander Mattison is a lottery ticket waiting to cashed in. He should be rostered in all leagues.

Chubba Hubbard, RB - Panthers 20 % Rostered

Chubba Hubbard is Cristian McCaffrey's insurance policy. He should be rostered in 12-team leagues.

Salvon Ahmed, RB - Dolphins 2% Rostered

For deeper leagues that are 14-team or larger or dynasty leagues here’s a name to add. The Dolphins really like Salvon Ahmed and last year proved he can make plays when given the chance. If Ahmed is swimming around in the waiver wire pool in your dynasty league, snatch him up since there has been word out of Dolphins camp that they might implement a committee in the 305.

Larry Rountree III, RB - Chargers - 1% Rostered

Another name to add for dynasty leaguers is Larry Rountree III. Rountree may be behind Justin Jackson on the depth chart for now on the Chargers but given the opportunity, I believe that he would leap-frog Jackson into a more prominent role should Ekeler go down with an injury.

Chris Evans, RB - Bengals 1% Rostered

Here’s another 1% rostered player to add in dynasty leagues. During the pre-season, Chris Evans showed some flashes in the receiving game and could be useful in PPR leagues, especially if Joe Mixon were to go down with an injury. Mixon has not been a pillar of great health and with Gio Bernard no longer in the picture, Evans is a player to target if you have the roster space on your dynasty leagues.

Wide Receivers

Elijah Moore, WR - Jets 42 % Rostered

If Elijah Moore is available in your league please stop reading this and go pick him up now. The hype surrounding him earlier in camp, subsided when he suffered a quadricep injury in training camp. If it were not for that his ADP would have been through the roof. This allowed him to not be drafted in some leagues and if he was drafted he was able to be selected for a bargain. Add him now if you can.

Terrace Marshall Jr., WR - Panthers 20% Rostered

Another rookie that’s been tearing it up in training camp and preseason is Terrace Marshall Jr. Although he has two very good receivers ahead of him, Marshall illustrated during the preseason that he can stretch the field by bringing in catches of 60, 34, and 24 yards. Although he may be the third or fourth receiving option on his own team, Marshall does deserve a spot on 12-team leagues rosters. 

Could Terrace Marshall Jr. be in store for a big year?

Tyrell Williams, WR - Lions 36% Rostered

I know he’s a Lions player, but Tyrell Williams is Jared Goff’s number one receiver and the Lions are going to be bad this year and will be playing from behind all year long. If Williams is still available in your 12-team league you should add him. 

Rondale Moore, WR - Cardinals 27% Rostered

Another wide receiver to add in deeper leagues is Rondale Moore. The rookie is stepping into a great situation with the Cardinals’ high-octane offense. Moore will be contending with A.J. Green for being the WR2 for the Cardinals behind DeAndre Hopkins. If either Hopkins or Green gets injured, Moore’s value will skyrocket through the roof.

Randall Cobb, WR - Packers 15% Rostered

All that needs to be mentioned about Randall Cobb is that when Aaron Rodgers requests for the Packers to bring the veteran back home to Green Bay, that means Cobb will be targeted plenty by Rodgers. Cobb should be added in 12-team PPR leagues.

Sammy Watkins, WR - Ravens 9% Rostered

Oh lord here we go again. Sammy Watkins is coming into the season as the WR1 for the Ravens. He has always had great potential but his career has mainly been derailed due to injuries. When rookie Rashod Bateman ended up on the injury reserved list due to a core-muscle injury that required surgery, Watkins’s potential target share will surely get a big boost. Grabbing Watkins now guarantees that you lock up one of Lamar Jackson’s top wide receiving options now before one of your league mates does. The wide receiver should be owned in 12-team leagues. 

Dyami Brown, WR - Redskins 2% Rostered

Now that Curtis Samuel has landed on injured reserve due to a groin injury, the table is set for rookie Dyami Brown to make a splash early on in the season. With Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas garnering most of the opposing defense's attention it should free up Brown to make plays with old gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Dyami Brown is a big play waiting to happen.

Josh Palmer, WR - Chargers 2% Rostered

For deep leaguers and dynasty managers, make sure to take a look at the waiver wire prior to this week's match-up to see if Josh Palmer is available. He is sure to have a difficult match-up this week against a tough Washington Football Team (WFT) Defense but he could make a play or two for the Chargers. WFT’s defense will be focusing on Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and Mike Williams allowing Palmer to get loose. If you have extra space on the roster and want to stash a flyer on your squad Palmer is your man. 

Tight End

Cole Kmet, TE - Bears 34% Rostered

Even though Jimmy Graham is still on the Bears’ roster, Cole Kmet proved at the end of last season that he would be the tight end to target in this offense. Over his last six games, Kmet averaged 5.6 targets a game from Mitch Trubisky. This year the tight end should be receiving better quality passes from the upgrade in quarterback playmaking Kmet is a must-add in 12-team leagues.

Can Cole Kmet have a breakout season?

Zach Ertz, TE - Eagles 37% Rostered

One tight end that I was shocked to see still under 50% rostered is Zac Ertz. I know that Dallas Goedert is the starter but once the Eagles decided to keep the former All-Pro tight end on their roster and one has to imagine that Ertz will continue to be involved in the offense. I believe that both tight ends will produce TE2 numbers all year long and if Goedert were to get hurt that would open the door for Ertz to return to TE1 glory. Add Ertz now to secure a rock-solid tight end for depth purposes if needed.

Pat Freiermuth, TE - Steelers 9% Rostered

For deeper leagues especially dynasty Pat Freiermuth is a must-own tight end. The Steelers’ rookie is poised to make plays in the RedZone if given the opportunity. Just look what Freiermuth did in the final preseason game when he caught three targets for 19 yards and two touchdowns. Even Ben Roethlisberger has high expectations for the rookie this season. Add him now before it is too late. 

Dan Arnold, TE - Panthers 5% Rostered

For tight end premium leagues a name to consider adding to your roster is big RedZone target Dan Arnold. Sam Darnold should be looking Arnold’s way inside the 20.

Tyler Conklin, TE - Vikings 4% Rostered 

One of the tight ends that I was really high on this offseason was Irv Smith. Unfortunately, Smith underwent meniscus surgery and he is done for the year. In the aftermath of this injury, Tyler Conklin is a fine option for tight end needy teams. Conklin missed some time during training camp due to a strained hamstring, but with Smith out he should get the majority of the snaps for the Vikings. Grab Conklin in super deep leagues and tight end premium leagues. 

Tyler Kroft, TE - Jets 1% Rostered

A super deep league tight end available in 99% of leagues is Tyler Kroft. The Jets finally gave up on Chris Herndon and traded him to the Vikings right before the season, making Kroft the unquestioned TE1 for the Jets. Pick up Kroft in 14-team leagues because reports out of camp are that the tight end is one of Zack Wilson’s favorite targets.

Let me know your thoughts on the article or if you have any fantasy questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @smooth1074.


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