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I'm still riding the curtails of the opening day of Sunday football, even when I lost a game by 0.1 points. I am excited it's back and hope all of you are too. But, for some us, it may be hard to smile when we saw an abundance of injuries plague Week 1. But the goal of this article is to do the heavy lifting and free up your time from sifting through countless injuries and irrelevant tertiary players. For most of you, waiver acquisitions are Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings, so you have limited time to make an educated, beneficial waiver wire decision. This article seeks to help you with said decision.

There are a lot of names here today, so I hope you're ready. Let's get into our Injuries and Opportunities after Week 1. 

New Orleans Saints

Injury

Michael Thomas (Q – Ankle)

Opportunity

Emmanuel Sanders (WR2)

Tre’Quan Smith (WR3)

Michael Thomas was very quiet in his Week 1 matchup, a matchup that was supposed to be a walk in the park for the former reception and yardage king. He was unfortunately kept at bay, but maybe more unfortunate was that when this game was nearly finished, Thomas got caught in a pile up and suffered a high-ankle injury. He will most likely be good to go next week against another great matchup in the Raiders. If for some reason he suffers a setback, Emmanuel Sanders will be in line for some heavy usage and poses some major upside. He was heavily involved last week and I think that would continue even with Thomas on the field. But I want talk about Tre’Quan Smith. He was receiving a lot of buzz from camp and if either Thomas or Sanders were to miss a game in the future, Smith would be a nice flex play. But with both of them on the field, Smith falls into the what-the-heck-flex category. Either way, expect Thomas on the field against Las Vegas.

Update: Thomas will not play against the Raiders and may be out for three weeks. Thomas will try to avoid IR and return to action sooner rather than later, a situation to monitor. 

Detroit Lions

Injury

Kenny Golladay (Q – Hamstring)

Opportunity

Marvin Jones (WR2)

T.J. Hockenson (TE2)

Kenny Golladay missed last week’s game against the Bears after suffering a hamstring injury a few weeks ago. Now, he looks to return against Green Bay. I like the prospects of Golladay playing, but if he misses another game then Marvin Jones is the true beneficiary of his absence. Jones underperformed last week, so why am I putting him here? Because the Green Bay offense is not comparable to Chicago and the Lions defense is… terrible. The ball will need to be thrown and Jones will see most of those targets, especially in the endzone. Jones has high touchdown upside and would be a stable WR2. Amendola also gets a boost in PPR formats as he should catch at least 5 passes, and that’s his floor. He won’t break any huge plays or see any deep balls, but if Golladay were to miss next week, Amendola would be as safe as it gets in your flex. I can’t do this without mentioning Hockenson. He had a good game, but I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket, not yet at least. But add a few extra targets, and maybe more of a featured role around the endzone, you could justify streaming him as your tight end. Still, Hockenson is a TE2 and if you have other tight end options, I would stray from the 2nd year tight end.

 

New York Jets

Injury

Le’Veon Bell (Q – Hamstring)

Opportunity

Frank Gore (RB3)

Josh Adams (RB3)

For those of you who read my 5 Starts & 5 Sits article last week, you may have made the ‘bold’ move to remove Bell from your lineups. Well congrats if you had the inner strength to bench him. Bell was very unproductive before he left last week's game with a hamstring injury. Gase came out and said it may be ‘a couple weeks’. If Bell somehow plays, he’s best situated on your bench. This injury opens the door for whatever Frank Gore is (because it’s not a human being at this point.) I could talk about how amazing it is that Gore is still playing but honestly, on this offense, I don’t care who you put back there. I am staying far away. Gore and backfield mate, Josh Adams, are no more than a RB3 who will be lucky to fall into the endzone. A risk I am not taking.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Injury

George Kittle (Q – Knee)

Deebo Samuel (O – Foot)

Brandon Aiyuk (Q – Hamstring)

Opportunity

Kendrick Bourne (WR3)

Raheem Mostert (RB2)

Jerick McKinnon (RB3)

The 49ers are currently banged up and there is little to desire on this offense whose names aren’t George Kittle or Raheem Mostert. I believe Kittle will be playing next week against the Jets since he returned to action on Sunday after suffering a knee injury. But Samuel is on IR and Aiyuk is still dealing with a hamstring injury, instilling zero confidence even if he does play. The true beneficiaries of this injury riddled offense are Raheem Mostert, who should see an uptick in passing opportunities with his usual split carry role, but also Jerick McKinnon, a pass catching specialist who should see plenty of passing work. We saw it last week when he garnered three of his five targets for 20 yards and a score. He also added 24 yards on the ground. Those aren’t numbers to be too excited about, but coach Kyle Shanahan will be forced to use him, so McKinnon gets a bump in PPR formats. I would still be hesitant to use him this week. I don’t like the timeshare and his upside is capped.

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Denver Broncos

Injury

Courtland Sutton (Q – Shoulder)

Phillip Lindsay (Q – Foot)

Opportunity

Jerry Jeudy (WR3)

Noah Fant (TE1)

Melvin Gordon (RB2)

Lindsay never came out of the locker room after halftime as he suffered a foot injury and was soon deemed out for the remainder of the game. It looks like he has turf toe and may end up a game time decision. If he misses time, Melvin Gordon becomes a very strong, viable option. Gordon was efficient in the second half, managing most of the rushing and passing down work from the backfield. Gordon is a strong RB2 with weekly RB1 upside if Lindsay misses time, I’m not too worried about Freeman stealing much work.

Courtland Sutton is dealing with a shoulder injury which left him out of Monday’s contest. He almost played last week, so I expect him to play this week with more recovery time. You could tell that offense was missing their WR1, so if he plays, he is in your lineups. But, if he misses more time, Jeudy and Fant will be legit options. We saw Jeudy get eight targets, EIGHT! He would be worthy of your flex even against the Steelers. But Fant gets the bigger uptick in work, especially in the redzone. I am a fan of Fant and this offense fits him like a glove. The matchup doesn’t scare me when you know Fant will get the target share, not to mention, he has one of the highest yards per reception at the tight end position. They will find ways to get him the ball. Still, I would expect Sutton to play.

 

Miami Dolphins

Injury

DeVante Parker (Q – Hamstring)

Opportunity

Preston Williams (WR3)

Mike Gesicki (TE1)

Don’t expect Parker to practice this much this week, as he will most likely end up a game time decision. I don’t have confidence he will play but even if he does, he’ll have to matchup with the Bills’ Tre’Davious White. Preston Williams will be the next man up, but all the targets in the world wouldn’t excite me to play him. Tough matchup with shaky quarterback play? You can count me out. Now, Gesicki is still a low-end TE1 with Fitzpatrick behind center, but with no Parker, Gesicki should see the majority of targets on this offense. I don’t know if his yardage would be there, but I think he can catch at least five passes. So, he should still have a nice floor in PPR formats.

 

Houston Texans

Injury

Duke Johnson (Q – Ankle)

Opportunity

David Johnson (RB1)

D. Johnson left Thursday's game with an ankle injury. If you are either a Duke or David Johnson owner, the site of that leaves you in a gut-wrenching limbo. But the better, more valuable D. Johnson prevailed and even showed flashes of 2016 David Johnson. I expect Duke Johnson to miss some time, but if he doesn’t, it won’t change the prospects of David Johnson who has major RB1 upside especially now the passing work in the backfield should be exclusively for him. Even in a tough matchup against the Ravens defense, David Johnson’s floor is a moderate RB2.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Injury

Marlon Mack (O – Achilles)

Opportunity

Johnathan Taylor (RB1)

Nyheim Hines (RB2)

I feel terrible for Mack. He's a good running back who has been battling injury basically his entire pro football career, however this one hurts not only because it's season ending, but because his contract ends after this season and he will enter a tough market. However, we must move forward and the Colts were thinking the same when they drafted Taylor. Fantasy players who drafted Taylor didn't have to wait long to see him in the starting role. Taylor is a fringe RB1, high-end RB2 behind the best offensive line in all of football. Not to mention he's a great runner. With Rivers in town, you can expect him to not only see majority of the rushing attempts, but he should see a few passes each game - as we saw last week when he caught six passes for 67 yards. However, that brings us to Hines, who had an incredible game and made the most of his touches. He had seven rush attempts for 28 yards and a touchdown and tacked on eight catches for 45 yards and another touchdown. Hines is a solid RB2, especially in full PPR leagues. Neither Hines or Taylor will limit each other’s upside as they both benefit from the offensive line and typical quarterback play from Old Man Rivers. Start em both every week.

Cleveland Browns

Injury

David Njoku (Q – Knee)

Opportunity

Austin Hooper (TE1)

David Njoku left Sunday’s game early with a knee injury and has been placed on IR. Njoku did catch a touchdown in this game and was involved a fair amount. However, with this injury, the door opens even wider for Hooper. I haven’t been very high on the prospects of Hooper this year, but I like him a little more now and he should see a few extra targets that would otherwise go to Njoku. Hooper remains a fringe TE1.

 

Los Angeles Rams

Injury

Gerald Everett (Q – Back)

Opportunity

Tyler Higbee (TE1)

Everett was banged up after Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys. Whether Everett is on the field or not, this only solidifies Higbee’s role in this offense. I am even higher on the prospects of Higbee. Keep Higbee in lineups.

 

Dallas Cowboys

Injury

Blake Jarwin (O – Knee)

Opportunity

Dalton Schultz (TE2)

Blake Bell (TE3)

Well, this sucks. I was on the train heading to Jarwin breakout town when a torn ACL derailed the train and left all of us aboard heart broken. Jarwin flashed last year in his role behind Witten and the Cowboys paid him handsomely to become an integral part of this exciting offense in 2020. 25 snaps into their first game Jarwin suffered a non-contact injury and will be out for the remainder of the 2020 season. Dalton Schultz saw four targets after Jarwin’s departure, and he look horrendous. Jake Bell is the primary blocker and should be left on waivers. I don’t want any Dallas tight end at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys look for some outside help.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Injury

James Conner (Q – Ankle)

Opportunity

Benny Snell (RB2)

Jaylen Samuels (RB3)

James Conner is a frequent flier on this article and sadly, he ends up here again after Week 1. My issue with Conner is not his talent, but there are too many games like this where he leaves fantasy coaches weeping. We don’t know the severity of this injury as of now, but even if Conner is good to go, I wouldn’t be scared to play Snell in my flex after he ran for over 100 yards in Conner’s absence. If Snell is on waivers, he should be picked up now.

 

Chris Hexter is a former Towson University Tiger who majored in Communications while minoring in Mass Communication Studies. Chris is a fantasy football writer and public relations and marketing professional for manufacturing and IT companies. Besides beating his friends in his home league, Chris enjoys shanking balls in golf, gaming, and spending time with his loving girlfriend. You can find him on twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisHexter?s=09

Questions, comments, suggestions and basically any communication on this piece are welcome. Follow me on twitter @ChrisHexter and I'd be happy to answer any fantasy football question you may have.