Week one of the NFL season is in the books which means fantasy football is in full swing. With deep formats, it is entirely possible that your situation is less than ideal following week one. In leagues that have extra roster spots, more than 12 teams or a combination of both, impact players can be hard to come by. A WR 2 in a deep league might not even be on a roster in say, a ten man league. In those leagues, free agents are a dime a dozen. That is not the case in deeper formats.
Of course, injuries are an all too common occurrence in the NFL. Opening weekend saw serious injuries to Jeremy Hill, Delanie Walker, and Greg Olson among others. Long story short, if you want to have success in deeper formats you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel. The following players are exactly that. Everyone on this list is available in more than 60% of ESPN fantasy leagues headed into week two.
Not everyone is worth a look, but deeper formats will force you to roll the dice. Here are potential bargain pick-ups headed into week two.
Sam Darnold, NYJ (available in 90.2% of leagues)
After throwing a pick six on his first NFL pass, Darnold and the Jets bounced back in a big way to thump Detroit 48-17. Opening pass aside, it was an impressive debut for the third overall pick who completed 76% of his passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
While Darnold’s debut was certainly encouraging, it is still too early to consider starting him. The USC product has incredibly high upside but there needs to be a bigger sample size to really get a read on Darnold’s fantasy value. That said, Darnold is certainly worth keeping an eye on and isn’t a bad QB2 in deeper or keeper formats.
Keep an eye on his performance this week against Miami to get a better read.
Nick Foles, PHI (available in 87.9% of leagues)
Coming off a very lackluster performance in week one where he threw for just 117 yards and an interception, Foles is worth a look in week two. The Eagles will square off against a Buccaneers defense that allowed 432 yards through the air in week one. Of course, this was against Drew Brees and the Saints, but last year’s numbers weren’t any better. The Bucs were also one of the worst defenses against the pass last season. With most of their off-season upgrades geared towards their front seven, the Bucs’ pass defense will be quite poor again in 2018/19.
So despite an abysmal week one fantasy showing for Foles, he might be worth an emergency start. Even with Alshon Jeffery on the shelf, the Eagles have plenty of offensive weapons – especially if Mike Wallace can return to form.
Beyond week two, his future fantasy value remains to be seen with Carson Wentz set to return from an ACL injury at some point in the near future. There is, however, a possibility that Wentz could be out longer. With that in mind, be sure to keep tabs on last year’s Super Bowl MVP but don’t expect anything near that level of production.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay (available in 79.4% of leagues)
Fitzpatrick was an enormous surprise in his first action of the new campaign. Throwing for 417 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against New Orleans, Fitzpatrick was week one’s most productive quarterback.
Of course, Fitzpatrick has had flashes of excellence in the past only to regress back to being an average quarterback. On top of that, Fitzpatrick is currently only the interim starter as Jameis Winston serves his suspension. It remains to be seen whether or not Fitz will continue to play when Winston is eligible to play.
Long term outlook aside, it is tough to write off a performance as fantastic as Fitzpatrick’s completely. If the Harvard man can put together another above average performance against Philadelphia, he should be on a roster. For the time being, he’s nothing more than a QB 2 at best in deeper or two QB formats.
Austin Ekeler, LAC (available in 70.9% of leagues)
Ekeler – a former undrafted free agent now in his second professional season – was excellent in week 1. He rushed for 39 yards on five attempts in addition to bringing in all five of his targets for 87 yards and a touchdown.
While it is unrealistic to expect this level of production every week, Ekeler should be rostered in all PPR formats – deep or not. Melvin Gordon will still continue to see the majority of attempts and targets, but Ekeler will get his healthy share as well and is an excellent handcuff. There is no way Ekeler shouldn’t be on a roster in deeper formats or otherwise.
T.J. Yeldon, JAX (available in 61.3% of leagues)
Yeldon got extended touches in week one due to an injury to star running-back Leonard Fournette. With Fournette’s status uncertain for week two, Yeldon is potentially worth starting.
Before Fournette’s injury, the consensus was that Yeldon would be used primarily as a pass catching back. For that reason, he was a steal before week one – available in over 90% of leagues. While Yeldon has yet to ever live up to the hype he had coming out of Alabama, he is still a serviceable NFL back. With options at running back slim, Yeldon is worth a stash no matter what happens with Fournette.
Jalen Richard, OAK (available in 98.1% of leagues)
The Raiders struggled to get much going in the way of passing offense in week one, but Jalen Richard still managed to haul in nine passes for 55 yards. He also ran for 24 on five attempts.
There isn’t a whole lot to love about this performance from Richard but there also isn’t much to hate either. It is doubtful he will catch as many passes again considering a good chunk of them came on a late first half drive in which Carr repeatedly went to him underneath. That said, nine catches isn’t something to sneeze at in PPR formats. Richard is certainly worth monitoring but whether or not he is worth a roster spot remains to be seen.
Jordan Wilkins, IND (available in 64.2% of leagues)
Wilkins saw the most rushing attempts for Indianapolis this weekend with 14. However, the rookie managed just 2.9 yards per attempt in a performance that saw him finish with 40 yards on the ground.
With Marlon Mack potentially set to return to action in week two, Wilkins’ role will remain to be seen. In the short-term, however, Wilkins is worth a bench slot.
LeGarrette Blount, DET (available in 77.5% of leagues)
Blount’s fantasy value has always been in his ability to consistently get red zone touches. The veteran is one of the league’s better power backs but is entirely touchdown dependent in fantasy.
It doesn’t help that Blount didn’t do anything in Detroit’s week one loss. In fact, he actually lost three yards on four carries. That said, it was only one game and Blount is a known commodity. There are certainly better options to start but Blount isn’t a bad option to have off the bench if there aren’t many choices.
Phillip Dorsett, NE (available in 80% of leagues)
The surprising training camp release of Kenny Britt and retirement of Eric Decker left opportunities to be had in the New England receiving corps. At the top of that list was Phillip Dorsett, who made the most of his week one playing time. Dorsett hauled in seven receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown on the day.
While New England offenses are notorious for being unpredictable and other options exist for Tom Brady, the upside is too great for Dorsett to be left on the waiver wire. He will likely be boom or bust, especially once Julian Edelman returns from his suspension. Look for Dorsett to continue to get targets until Edelman is back and possibly beyond that as well.
Geronimo Allison, GB (available in 82.7% of leagues)
With Aaron Rodgers avoiding a major injury scare, Geronimo Allison should be on everyone’s fantasy radar. Allison hauled in five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown in Green Bay’s dramatic win over the Bears on Sunday night.
The third year man out of Illinois is too risky to start but is worth a bench slot in all formats. As the #3 receiver, it remains to be seen just how much of a contributor Allison will be going forward. An injury to Davante Adams or Randall Cobb could thrust him into the spotlight quickly, but for right now he remains the third option. It should also be noted that Allison saw 8 targets, tying him with Adams and just two fewer than Cobb. The fact that Adams was that involved is an encouraging sign. For the time being, he should definitely be on your bench but could develop into a legitimate starter.
Brandon Marshall, SEA (available in 85.9% of leagues)
Marshall was looking to carve out a red zone role with the Seahawks headed into this season and his week one performance certainly helped his cause. The veteran hauled in three passes for a touchdown and had two third down conversions. Marshall also caught a second ball in the end zone but the score was negated by an offensive pass interference call.
Brandon Marshall will likely be a touchdown dependent player this season but the potential for consistent red zone looks is there. With Doug Baldwin currently battling an injury, Marshall could be in line for more targets and routes than previously thought.
Willie Snead, BAL (available in 95.3% of leagues)
Snead had a productive Ravens debut which saw him catch four of his six targets for 49 yards and a touchdown. It was a difficult to analyze much about what the Ravens will be doing going forward considering the game was such a blowout. Snead was a notable disappointment with the Saints last season but a change of scenery could end up benifitting him.
For the time being, he might not be worth a roster spot but is without doubt worth keeping an eye on. Another solid performance in week two could make him worth it.
Cole Beasley, DAL (available in 86.3% of leagues)
There wasn’t much that could be considered encouraging about the Cowboys’ week one performance. That said, Cole Beasley managed to haul in seven of his eight targets while averaging 10.4 yards per catch.
Dallas brought in Allen Hurns via free agency and have high hopes for rookie Michael Gallup, but neither of those two had more than one catch in week one. It is entirely possible that the Dallas passing attack gets it together and that those two see a-lot more targets. In the short term, Beasley could serve as a reliable target who Dak Prescott has experience throwing to.
Like Snead, you can probably find better options than Beasley but he is worth monitoring for the time being.
Ryan Grant, IND (available in 86.1% of leagues)
Ryan Grant found himself on lots of preseason sleeper lists and showed why in week one. Grant caught eight of his nine targets but racked up just 59 yards.
While Grant doesn’t figure to be much of a big play receiver, he put up encouraging numbers in PPR formats. As Andrew Luck continues to settle in after a long injury layoff, Grant could become a valuable asset come mid-season.
Nick Boyle, BAL (available in 99.8% of leagues)
Boyle failed to put up solid fantasy numbers in week one with just three catches for 40 yards. However, Boyle was targeted six times and will be facing a Bengals defense that has had trouble with tight-ends over the years. It would be tough to say Boyle is worth starting in anything more than formats that start more than one tight-end but he is certainly worth monitoring going forward.
Will Dissly, SEA (available in 86% of leagues)
The rookie out of Washington gave Seahawks fans plenty of hope with a 100 yard debut that saw him targeted five times which he converted to three catches and a touchdown. Dissly did most of his damage on an impressive 66 yard catch and run that saw him break multiple tackles.
It will be important to see how Dissly does in week two in order to determine whether he is a viable option going forward or not. No matter what, his first taste of NFL action was solid and he is without doubt worth a bench slot. If he starts next week and sees a similar number of targets he could develop into a TE 1 later on.
Jonnu Smith, TEN (available in 97.3% of leagues)
The very unfortunate season-ending injury to Delanie Walker means that Smith will be in line for plenty of targets. With Marcus Mariota also battling injury, it is possible that Blaine Gabbert will be under center in week two. If that is indeed the case, look for Smith to serve as a safety valve who could prove useful in PPR formats.
It should also be noted that Titans’ tight-ends were targeted 12 times in week one with seven for Walker, three for Smith and two for Luke Stocker. Walker is one of the game’s better tight-ends, so it is perhaps unfair to speculate that Smith will receive the same number of targets as he would. Nonetheless, Smith should be on your radar.