Waiver Favors: 2019 Week 1 Fantasy Football Pickups

By Ha Kung Wong  Week 1 Fantasy Football Pickups

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

As I do every year over the last 7 years, I’m back to help with some waiver wire adds via my weekly Waiver Favors article!  I’m assuming if you’re a returning reader, you won your fantasy football championship last year, so congratulations!

But it’s a new year, so I’ll make a couple suggestions after Week 1 of the 2019 fantasy football season.  You’re welcome.  Again.

As usual, all pickups are available in at least 50% of Yahoo standard fantasy football leagues (with some minor exceptions) as of Sunday evening.

Gardner Minshew II

Gardner Minshew – USA Today Sports

QB – Jacksonville Jaguars – 0% Owned

Poor Nick Foles.  He finally got his chance as the full-time starter (as opposed to Carson Wentz stand-in) and in his very first game, he brakes his clavicle and will now be out for the foreseeable future.  In stepped Gardner Minshew II completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  So it’s really too early to tell whether this will continue, but Minshew did manage to carry Washington State to it’s first ever 11-win season, and led the FBS in completions (468), attempts (662), and passing yards per game (367.6). He wasn’t a hugely hyped rookie, but the Jaguars selected Minshew in the sixth round of the 2019 draft at No. 178 overall, and his college stats and what we saw in his first game does give some hope if you’re looking to catch lightening in a bottle in 14-team leagues or deeper, or most two QB leagues as a bench stash.

Case Keenum

Case Keenum

QB – Washington Redskins – 3% Owned

Don’t go nuts here picking up QBs, particularly when there’s not a ton of upside, nut if you’re hurtin’ for a backup QB, it’s hard to ignore Case Keenum, who completed 30 of 45 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles.  Almost all of that was in the first half, but he showed a decent connection with Vernon Davis and rookie Terry McLaurin (who I’ll talk about below).  He may not be consistent, but you could do worse in 14-team leagues or deeper, or most two QB leagues as a backup for the bye weeks.

Ronald Jones II

RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 28% Owned

Ronald Jones II

The Buccaneers don’t look like that great offense we were partially expecting, but at least second year Ronald Jones finally shined at running back managing to rush 13 times for 75 yards, also adding a reception for 18 receiving yards against the 49ers.  He outperformed his competition in Peyton Barber, so if you’re really hard up for a running back, feel free to give Jones a look in 12-team or deeper standard leagues as he’s likely to get the first crack in the backfield at least in the near future.

John Brown

John Brown – USA Today

WR – Buffalo Bills – 49% Owned

I was big on free agent pickup John Brown before the season began and he proved me right with catching 7 of 10 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Jets.  Clearly Josh Allen was excited as I was in the preseason, as he targeted Brown on 27 percent of his passing attempts. He’s Allen’s top option for now and could be part of an exciting young offense if the Bills finally unleash Devin Singletary.  He’s viable in all 10-team leagues or deeper.

Marquise Brown

Marquise Brown – AP Photo

WR – Baltimore Ravens – 31% Owned

Welcome to Hollywood!  I thought he was going to be exciting as a rookie, but had no idea he’d be 4 of 5 targets for 147 yards and two touchdowns good.  Sure, he was playing the lowly Dolphins, but even half of that is pretty darn good, particularly because he sat most of the 4th quarter.  Plus, it sure looks like Lamar Jackson has taken a huge step forward in his sophomore season.  He’s definitely worth a look as an upside WR3/4/Flex pickup in 10-team and deeper leagues.

John Ross III

John Ross III

WR – Cincinnati Bengals – 8% Owned

John Ross was all the rage two years ago after his record setting 4.22 40-yard dash, and after he was drafted 9th overall by the Bengals, but then went on to completely underwhelm over two seasons.  Well, it looks like it’s a whole new season as Ross snagged 7 of 12 targets for 158 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks.  With A.J. Green out, most fantasy pundits thought that Tyler Boyd would get the biggest boost, but Ross definitely stole the show.  The drops are still there, but this is a huge step forward for the 3rd year man, particularly with A.J. Green still out for at least several more weeks, so Ross is worth grabbing as a WR3/4/Flex in 10-team and deeper leagues.

DJ Chark Jr.

DJ Chark Jr.

WR – Jacksonville Jaguars – 2% Owned

Another previously hyped rookie DJ Chark finally managed to live up the billing in his second year snagging all four targets for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs, which is just 28 fewer yards than he had his ENTIRE rookie season. He was equally good with Minshew as he was with Foles, so there’s potential for this continue as Minshew looked at Chark pretty often when he took the field.  Consider him a flyer in 14-team leagues or deeper.

Terry McLaurin

Terry McLaurin – Getty Images

WR – Washington Redskins – 3% Owned

Terry McLaurin’s 4.35 40-yard dash isn’t Ross’ 4.22, but it’s still darn fast.  And he flashed that in his rookie debut catching 5 of 7 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles.  He tied for the team lead in wide receiver targets and could have had more yards if Keenum was a little more accurate.  With Josh Doctson gone, it was interesting to see who would step up.  McLaurin is that guy, so go grab him in all 14-team leagues or deeper.

DK Metcalf

DK Metcalf – Getty Images

WR – Seattle Seahawks – 37% Owned

Another hyped rookie makes the list!  We were wondering if DK Metcalf would be healthy enough to play Week 1, and play he did, catching 4 of 6 targets for 89 yards against the Bengals.  Metcalf ended up being one of only two wide receivers Russell Wilson targeted and he definitely made the best of it.  Consistency may be an issue, but Lockett has never been a real WR1, so the upside with Metcalf is huge.  Go ahead and stash him in all 12-team leagues or deeper.

Mecole Hardman

Mecole Hardman – Getty Images

WR – Kansas City Chiefs – 15% Owned

So this rookie definitely did not light it up, but Mecole Hardman his arrow may be pointing up with Tyreek Hill out for multiple weeks with a collarbone injury.  Hardman was a five-star athlete coming out of high school who started at University of Georgia playing cornerback before switching to receiver as a sophomore in 2017, and made plays in 2018 as a receiver (34 receptions for 532 yards and 7 touchdowns receiving adding 36 rush yards) and on special teams, getting second-team All-SEC notice for his returns (16 punt returns for 321 yards and a touchdown; 14 kickoff returns for 353 yards).  He doesn’t have as much experience running routes, but he has game-breaking speed (4.33 40-yard dash) and can really take the top of defenses.  He’s worth a flyer as an upside stash in 14-team leagues or deeper, particularly operating in a Patrick Mahomes offense.

UPDATE for Sunday and Monday Night Football

Carlos Hyde

RB – Houston Texans – 32% Owned

After getting cut by the Chiefs, Carlos Hyde couldn’t ask for a better landing spot than the Lamar Miller-less Texans.  He fit in nicely in week 1, rushing 10 times for 83 yards against the Saints.  Duke Johnson is also there, but mostly on passing downs and only out-touched Hyde 13 to 11.  Who knows how this ultimately shakes out, but if you’re hard up for a RB this early and not in a PPR league, you don’t have a bunch of options, so Hyde is worth a look as a backup in 12-team standard leagues or deeper.

  • And he doesn’t qualify as a waiver wire pickup because he’s already owned in 63% of leagues after the Antonio Brown fiasco, but if he’s available, Tyrell Williams looked solid on Monday night against the Broncos grabbing 6 of 7 targets of 105 yards and a TD, so go get him in all leagues!
  • Also, this didn’t happen on Sunday or Monday night, but Derrius Guice is now dealing with a meniscus injury that will have him sidelined for several weeks, so Adrian Peterson (38% Owned) is also a decent grab for RB needy teams in 12-team and deeper leagues.

Check back every week for more Waiver Favors!

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