What a fabulous week of NFL action to kickoff the season. After a tumultuous offseason that put the 2020 regular season in doubt, just seeing any NFL football was a welcome sight. But we got more than that. The quality of the games were high and the excitement of fantasy football season officially starting was even higher. Hopefully you started the new year 1-0.
Regardless, here are several players you should consider adding off the waiver wire this week. All players mentioned below are available in more than 50% of leagues. Players rostered in more than half of leagues do not qualify for this list.
Gardner Minshew (QB - JAX) | Available in 75% of leagues
Minshew Mania Part II did not disappoint. His three-touchdown, 20-plus-fantasy-point performance against the Colts led his team to victory as eight-point underdogs against the Colts. While he’s never going to be a QB1 for fantasy purposes, he can be a solid fill-in and has a few favorable matchups heading his way. He plays the Titans next week, followed by Miami, Cincinnati, Houston, Detroit, and the Falcons again. He’ll be a very popular pick-up during bye weeks, so you might want to get ahead of the rest of the fantasy world.
Mitchell Trubisky (QB - CHI) | Available in 97% of leagues
It’s a bit early in the season to worry too much about QB waivers, but this is a solid Week 2 fill-in if needed. After struggling through most of the game against the Lions, Trubisky exploded in the fourth quarter. He completed 8-of-10 passes for 89 yards and three touchdowns to lead his team to a come-from-behind victory on Sunday. Trubiksy gets a home game against the Giants on a short week for his opponent in Week 2. He’ll be going up against a defense that allowed the fifth-most passing yards last season and had the third-fewest amount of opposing offensive drives ending in a turnover. If you’re in a bind for whatever reason, Trubisky can bail you out.
Nyheim Hines (RB - IND) | Available in 81% of leagues
The presumed No. 1 pickup of the week, Hines will assume a much bigger role in the Colts offense with Marlon Mack out with a long-term injury. While rookie Jonathan Taylor figures to be the lead back sooner rather than later, Hines was the most productive Colts back in Week 1 and scored more fantasy points than any running back not named Josh Jacobs. He caught all eight of his targets and scored on the ground and through the air. The Week 2 matchup with Minnesota at home is nothing to shy away from.
Benny Snell (RB - PIT) | Available in 85% of leagues
It did not take long for James Conner's first injury of the season to pop up. Conner left Monday's game early and it was the Snell show from that point forward. Snell finished with 19 carries for 113 yards and is among the top adds for Week 2, whether you're a Conner owner or not. Snell ran strong and was effective against the Giants, and will be a low-end RB2 next week at home against the Broncos if Conner misses the game. Even if he doesn't, it's unlikely this'll be the last time Conner is banged up this season. Get Snell on your roster.
Adrian Peterson (RB - DET) | Available in 55% of leagues
As I said in my 20 thoughts column on Sunday, Peterson apparently wasn’t lying when he said the Lions’ coaching staff was asking him to do a lot of things right out of the gate in Week 1. He led all Lions running backs in rushing attempts, catches (tied), and fantasy points. He’s going to continue to get work until D’Andre Swift wrestles the job away from him. He plays a Packers defense that ranked in the bottom 10 against the run last season and allowed 134 rushing yards to the Vikings in Week 1.
Joshua Kelley (RB - LAC) | Available in 88% of leagues
It appears we may have gotten our answer in the Kelley vs Justin Jackson debate. Kelley out-carried Jackson 12-to-2 and looked pretty darn physical on a few runs. He averaged five yards per carry and got into the end zone. Kelley probably isn’t a player you’ll consider starting until bye weeks get here—who knows how much they’ll be able to run the ball against the Chiefs in Week 2 when Kansas City scores 20-plus points in the first half—but the Chargers have proven over the last few years that there is work to be had in the backfield alongside Austin Ekeler. Kelley isn’t Melvin Gordon, but he will play a key role this season.
Malcolm Brown (RB - LAR) | Available in 75% of leagues
Brown capped off Week 1’s Sunday slate with a multi-touchdown performance against the Cowboys. He out-touched rookie Cam Akers 21-to-15 and finished with 110 total yards and two rushing touchdowns. Brown has been a sleeper favorite of mine all offseason. He’s the most proven and trusted back the Rams have—remember, the Rams matched an offer sheet from the Lions to keep Brown in Los Angeles back in 2019—and he’ll get a lot of work in goal-to-go situations. He’s absolutely a player you want on your bench moving forward, as he’ll be a flex play when given favorable matchups.
Russell Gage (WR - ATL) | Available in 99% of leagues
Gage got a whopping 12 targets on Sunday against the Seahawks, matching teammates Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. While Atlanta obviously won’t throw 54 times for 450 yards every week, Gage has proven he can be a trustworthy third option for Matt Ryan dating back to last season. In nine games post-Mohamed Sanu trade last season, Gage caught 45 passes for 402 yards and one touchdown on 66 targets. He ranked as the WR48 with an average of 10.3 fantasy points per game in PPR formats. Looking ahead, the Falcons should be able to take advantage of the Cowboys’ secondary in Week 2, as well.
Parris Campbell (WR - IND) | Available in 78% of leagues
Health has been a major issue with Campbell thus far, but he looked healthy in Week 1 and Philip Rivers looked his way often. He created a lot of separation in the slot and was targeted eight times and caught six for 71 yards—Campbell also had a nine-yard run. Facing a Vikings pass defense, at home, that was just carved up by Aaron Rodgers and Co.? Sign me up as a potential flex play.
Laviska Shenault (WR - JAX) | Available in 88% of leagues
I was just waiting to see how the Jaguars planned on using Shenault and if he could make it to Week 1 healthy. The rookie passed both of those tests and is worth a bench flier for Week 2 and beyond. He had five total touches and caught a touchdown, but the most encouraging thing was watching how they worked him into the offense as a receiver, rusher, and even at wildcat quarterback. Minshew looked darn good on Sunday and the Titans’ defense will be playing on a short week after allowing the ninth-most passing yards in the NFL last season.
Robby Anderson (WR - CAR) | Available in 70% of leagues
Anderson caught a 75-yard touchdown against the Raiders that was the catalyst for his big day, but he had five catches for 40 yards the rest of the game and was right up there with D.J. Moore (9) and Curtis Samuel (8) in targets with eight. If Teddy Bridgewater is going to trust Anderson that often, he’s always a play away from a monster fantasy day. The matchup with the Buccaneers isn’t as good as it seems on paper, but you’re not running from it, either. This is a longer-term play.
Logan Thomas (TE - WSH) | Available in 99% of leagues
Like quarterback, because it’s so early in the season (no bye weeks) and most leagues only play one tight end, there aren’t many players you need to run to the waiver wire for. But a name to keep an eye on is Thomas, who led all Washington players in targets (8) as the team’s new No. 1 tight end. He caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown and gets a glorious matchup against the Cardinals next week, the worst defense in the NFL against fantasy tight ends last season. Thomas should continue to get targets from Dwayne Haskins and looks like a potential solid fill-in given the right matchup.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Available in 76% of leagues
The Buccaneers had a brutal road matchup against the Saints in Week 1, but get a much more favorable opponent at home in Week 2. The Panthers put up a lot of points against the Raiders in Week 1, but I don’t expect them to have nearly the same amount of success on the road against a better defense. Remember, from Week 9 on last season they were a top-five fantasy DST and ranked No. 1 overall from Weeks 11-17. All the key contributors from the 2019 unit that finished No. 1 in the NFL against the run, No. 5 in turnovers, and No. 8 in sack rate are back in 2020. I’m expecting a major bounce-back effort this week.
Cleveland Browns | Available in 91% of leagues
The Browns get to take advantage of a terrible Bengals offensive line and a quarterback making his second career start… at home… on a short week. That’s a phenomenal situation to be in if you’re the Browns. Myles Garrett should feast in this matchup and if Cleveland can get a little healthier in the secondary, they can have a potentially matchup-winning performance.