Week 1 offers plenty of opportunity for those looking for depth and potential starting power in their lineups. We review rookies and waiver wire additions.
Week 1 - Rookie Affirmations
Kareem Hunt - KC (RB) - 17 ATT, 148 YDS, 1 TD - 5 REC, 98 YDS
If you were paying attention in the preseason, you had a chance to capitalize on the gem that is Kareem Hunt. Even before Spencer Ware went down, high praises could be heard echoing the corners of Kansas City. Although the Chiefs have begun to air it out a little more lately with the emergence of Tyreek Hill, they still heavily remain the run and screen team of the Jamaal Charles days. I expected Hunt to be good, and better than what he was being valued in drafts, but his jaw-dropping performance against the Patriots far exceeded my expectations. While it's unlikely we see a repeat of that magnitude this week, Hunt's on deck for all the work he can handle.
Leonard Fournette - JAX (RB) - 26 ATT, 100 YDS, 1 TD - 3 REC, 24 YDS
Looking powerful and healthy in his NFL debut, Leonard Fournette amassed 100 yards with 26 carries and a TD on the ground. Congratulations if you drafted him. Personally, I was skeptical as I high as he was being taken with that nagging ankle injury and the uncertainty of the Jaguars as a whole. If they play like they did Sunday, Fournette will likely finish the season as a top 5 RB, but then again, it's the Jaguars.
Dalvin Cook - MIN (RB) - 22 ATT, 127 YDS - 3 REC, 10 YDS
As expected, Cook got the ball early and often in his NFL debut against the Saints, who had partial success bottling him up early on, but eventually he was able to break off a few huge gains and never let his foot off the gas. While I don't think he will have as much success as Fournette and Hunt this year, I still think he's in line to finish in the as a Top 10 RB.
Kenny Golladay - DET (WR) - 4 REC, 69 YDS, 2 TDS
Golladay did nearly all of his damage in the 4th Quarter, however his clutch TDs showed us what we already knew: Kenny Golladay is going to be hard to handle. If by some miracle he's still available in 10-12 man leagues, go get him.
Cooper Kupp - LAR (WR) - 4 REC, 76 YDS, 1 TD
If you watched the Rams Sunday you may be asking yourself, "Who is Cooper Kupp?" Attending Eastern Washington University, Kupp led college football in all major receiving categories with 6,464 YDS, 428 REC, and 73 TD. And those numbers weren’t just best while he was playing college ball… They’re best all time. One of the more intriguing pickups of the week.
Week 1 - Waiver Wire Pickups
Tarik Cohen - CHI (RB) - 5 ATT, 66 YDS - 8 REC, 47 YDS, TD
Welp. It happened. I knew I should have avoided the Bears backfield in drafts, but I managed to take Jordan Howard in one of my leagues. Of course it's the league with the highest buy-in, and in comes Tarik Cohen, turning heads faster than last year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. It's clear that he is going to remain involved, making the the Chicago RB situation tricky from a fantasy perspective. If Jordan Howard goes down, obviously Cohen is elevated to premiere status, but even if that doesn't happen right away, Cohen still makes for a great flex play given his success in Game 1.
Alex Smith - KC (QB) - 368 YDS, 4 TD
With continued production from Tyreek Hill and the emergence of Kareem Hunt, Alex Smith may finally be poised for some fantasy success. If you were paying attention last year when Tyreek Hill arrived, you noticed a less conservative Smith, who was willing to take more shots down the field. Let's see how Mr. Play-it-safe handles his matchup with Philadelphia's strong pass rush, before we start labeling him a true gunslinger.
Austin Hooper - ATL (TE) - 2 REC, 128 YDS, TD
In his first game in his 2nd year, Hooper dominated the TE snaps, and offensive snaps overall (47), playing 1 less than Julio Jones (48). His success was largely derived from an 88-yard TD, but he's got potential for big play ability all year. He's an intriguing option at TE, perhaps a better route for Eric Ebron owners. I wouldn't drop Ebron just yet, but I personally picked up Hooper in leagues that I have Ebron.
Kerwynn Williams - ARI (RB) - 5 ATT, 10 YDS, TD - 1 REC, 2 YDS
David Johnson's injury is going to lead to Kerwynn becoming one of the hottest pickups this week, but don't be so sure that he will be replicating what you were expecting from Johnson. If anything, this only makes this more of a likely committee situation, but Kerwynn has posted a 5.6 YPC average in his limited capacity with the Cardinals.
Marlon Mack - IND (RB) - 10 ATT, 24 YDS, 1 YDS - 1 REC, 21 YDS
The stats don't tell too much, but the eye test does. Mack looks like the fresh, energized back that is finally ready to overtake Frank Gore. Of course, we've been saying Frank Gore is done for what seems like a decade. I honestly like Mack better than Kerwynn Williams, although I feel like Kerwynn will have more success early on and fade later, with Mack's role increasing and developing as the season goes along.
Nelson Agholor - PHI (WR) - 6 REC, 86 YDS, TD
Speaking of eye tests... Agholor looked like a player on a mission Sunday, playing with high energy and focus. I realize Alshon is there now, but it was Agholor who was getting the attention of Carson Wentz on Sunday. If Carson Wentz continues to impress, Agholor could be primed for a breakout season in Philadelphia.
Javorious Allen - BAL (RB) - 21 ATT, 71 YDS
It's difficult to think Allen will continue to get 20+ touches, considering the Ravens rushed a total of 42 times and Terrence West still got his with 19 carries, 80 YDS and 1 TD. Nonetheless, he's worth a stash and may offer value in a streaming matchup situation.
Charles Clay - BUF (TE) - 4 REC, 53 YDS, TD
Every year we keep saying Charles Clay offers real value as the least-sexy TE that could crack Top-10 production. This year is no different. Sunday he proved he's the same old Charles Clay in an offense where a receiver has yet to emerge as a true #1.
Allen Hurns - JAX (WR) - 3 REC, 42 YDS
With Allen Robinson going down for the season, Allen Hurns becomes the obvious candidate to take over as the #1 WR in Jacksonville. In 2015, Hurns did have 1000+ YDS with 10 TDS, so his ability is there. His production might be game-flow dependent, but he offers solid value in deeper leagues looking for answers at the WR position.
Kendall Wright - CHI (WR) - 3 REC, 34 YDS
Chicago can't catch a break this year with injuries at WR. With Meredith and White now out for the season, Wright becomes the default #1 WR here for now. Those who are familiar with Wright from his days with the Titans, know that he can produce moderate numbers when heavily targeted, and offers even more value in PPR formats. He may be removed from his most productive years, but perhaps this is a situation where he can recapture some of that lightning.
Cooper Kupp - LAR (WR) - 4 REC, 76 YDS, TD - SEE ABOVE IN ROOKIE AFFIRMATIONS
Kenny Golladay - DET (WR) - 4 REC, 69 YDS, 2 TD - SEE ABOVE IN ROOKIE AFFIRMATIONS
Week 1 - Start/Sit COMING THURSDAY. Check back or tweet us @ESPNRadioNOLA for any Fantasy questions you may have.
- Nick Stassi, Twitter Fingers and ESPN New Orleans Fantasy Expert
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