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Week 1 Fantasy Football Recap: Studs, duds, injury report and best waiver wire targets

Recapping everything you need to know from Week 1 of the Fantasy Football season.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Oakland Raiders Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Week 1 of the 2020 Fantasy Football season is in the books and it was as wild as usual. We recap all the fantasy action here, including this week’s studs and duds, the injury report and the players you should target off this week’s waiver wire. Let’s go:

Note: All fantasy points and percentages are from ESPN.com.

Quarterbacks

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Stud: Aaron Rodgers (364 yards, 4 TDs, 30.76 fantasy points)

Rodgers entered this year much lower on draft boards, but finds himself as the top-rated fantasy quarterback after Week 1. After tossing just three 300-yard games under head coach Matt LaFleur last year, Rodgers threw for 364 against the Vikings defense. His day could have been even bigger if it wasn’t for a drop by Marquez Valdes-Scantling to erase an easy 61-yard touchdown. Rodgers looked like prime Rodgers, spreading the ball around and drawing Minnesota offside several times. He should be right back at the top of the leaderboard next week as the Packers take on the Detroit Lions, who spent the weekend getting lit up by Mitch Trubisky.

Dud: Dak Prescott (266 yards, 1 TD, 17.64 fantasy points)

In a game that could have been a shootout, Dak did not get off to his best start. With his wide receivers getting hype all offseason, his only touchdown was a check down to Ezekiel Elliot. Prescott was under pressure all night and took three sacks, largely affecting his performance. While losing in the fourth quarter, Prescott recorded a majority of his yards. Dak should be a candidate to bounce back next week in a potential shootout with the Falcons.

Injury Report: None

Waiver Wire: Gardner Minshew (192 total yards, 3 TDs, 20.82 fantasy points)

Rostered: 14.9 percent

The quarterback waiver wire won’t be too busy this week, but its smart to always monitor what’s available. Minshew threw just 20 passes in Sunday’s victory over Indianapolis, completing 19 of them for 173 yards and three scores. Minshew spread the ball around to 10 different receivers and added another 19 yards on the ground. Going forward, the second year signal caller could be a fantasy option as the Jaguars face the Titans, Dolphins, Bengals Texans, and Lions.

Running Backs

Stud: Josh Jacobs (139 total yards, 3 TDs, 35.9 fantasy points)

Jacobs ran all over Carolina, recording 25 carries for 93 yards while adding another four receptions for 46 yards. The most consistent part of the Raiders’ offense had a strong workload as a true bell cow back, scoring from one, six and seven yards out. His six targets and four receptions were encouraging, as Jacobs did not record four catches in any game last season.

Duds: Joe Mixon (71 total yards, 6.1 fantasy points)

After inking a brand new $48 million extension, Mixon couldn’t get much going against the Chargers strong front on Sunday. With not much room to work, Mixon mustered just 69 yards on 19 carries. Mixon recorded just one catch for two yards while losing snaps to Gio Bernard in passing situations. Hopefully a Week 2 bounce back is in the cards for Mixon as he travels to Cleveland, who gave up two rushing TDs to Ravens rookie J.K. Dobbins in their opener.

Austin Ekeler (87 total yards, 9.7 fantasy points)

Ekeler ran for 84 yards on 19 carries and looked just as good as he did last year, but there’s concern here. He lost short yardage work to rookie Joshua Kelley, who stole a goal-line touchdown, and only saw one target in the passing game. After catching 92 passes last year, his one catch for three yards was his lowest output since Week 17 of 2018. If Tyrod Taylor continues to ignore the check down, Ekeler could be in for a disappointing season.

Injury Report: Marlon Mack, Le’Veon Bell, James Connor

An unfortunate situation for Mack who was diagnosed with a torn Achilles in the first half of the Colts opener. The non-contact injury occurred when Mack was attempting to turn up field following a reception.

Bell appeared to injure his hamstring on a reception in the first half. After trying to play through it he was eventually removed for good in the third quarter. He ran the ball just six times for 14 yards in what looked to be a rotation with Frank Gore.

Connor was busy on the Steelers first three drive, recording all six of his carries and hauling in two of his three targets. After coming off the field in the second quarter, he never saw action again. It was reported originally as an ankle injury, as Connor was often shown staying loose on the sideline, but head coach Mike Tomlin would only say his back was being “evaluated”. Injuries have been the only thing to plague Connor’s career and it didn’t take long to affect his 2020 campaign. It will be a situation to monitor going forward.

Waiver Wire: Malcolm Brown (110 total yards, 2 TD’s, 26.0 fantasy points)

Rostered: 7.9 percent

After releasing Todd Gurey, head coach Sean McVay gave Brown the start even though he was committed to a three-back committee. Brown took the opportunity and ran with it, rushing 18 times for 79 yards and adding three receptions for 31 yards. Brown averaged 4.4 yards per carry while neither of the other Rams’ backs could run for more than 3.0 yards per carry. Brown’s 21 touches also outnumbered rookie Cam Akers’ 15 and Darrell Henderson’s three. Most importantly, Brown got the goal line work, plunging in touchdowns from one and two-yards out. Brown is the back to own going forward in LA.

Nyheim Hines (73 total yards, 2 TDs, 27.3 fantasy points)

Rostered: 34.2 percent

As Marlon Mack went out down with the Achilles injury, Hines quickly saw more work alongside rookie Jonathan Taylor. Hines saw two red zone touches on the opening drive which lead to his 12-yard score, and was used similarly in the second quarter as Phillip Rivers hit him for a two-yard touchdown pass. Hines totaled 20 snaps to Taylor’s 21, rushing for 28 yards on seven attempts and adding eight catches for 45 yards. Rivers targeted Indy’s running backs 44 percent (!) of the time, which should lead to steady production for Hines and Taylor going forward.

Benny Snell (113 yards, 11.3 fantasy points)

Rostered: 14.6 percent

With James Connor going out with an ankle injury, Snell handled bell cow duties for the Steelers Monday Night. Snell received 19-of-20 carries after Connor went down, carving up the Giants defense for a career-high 113 yards. He failed to catch his one target in the passing game and was lucky to not lose a fumble in the fourth quarter, but ran with force all night long. There’s no word on Connor’s status, but Snell needs to be rostered going into Week 2.

Wide Receivers

NFL: SEP 03 Buccaneers Training Camp Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stud: Davante Adams (14 catches, 156 yards, 2 TDs, 41.6 fantasy points)

With Aaron Rodgers lighting up the field, obviously, his No. 1 target would see his fair share of work. Adams saw a grand total of 17 targets (38.6 percent) against Minnesota’s hopeless secondary, catching 14 for 156 yards and two scores. His scores were from 24-yards out and one-yard, while a third touchdown was knocked out of his hands at the goal line. Adams is an elite fantasy option every week as Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 receiver.

Dud: Michael Thomas (3 catches, 17 yards, 4.7 fantasy points)

New Orleans had quite the conservative approach on Sunday and it greatly impacted Thomas. After not seeing less than seven targets in a game last season, Thomas saw just five passes his way, catching three for 17 yards. The day got even worse when his lower leg got rolled up near the end of the game. More on that below.

Injury Report: Michael Thomas, DeVante Parker

Thomas, who got his ankle rolled up on in garbage time, was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain on Monday. After a disappointing game, he was able to limp off the field after the injury occurred. He should fall on New Orleans’ injury report, but with a game on Monday he has an extra day of rest. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero mentioned it’s something Thomas “believes he can pay through.” If Thomas does miss time, fantasy owners should look into Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith as handcuff options.

Parker was limited leading up to Sunday’s matchup with a hamstring injury, which eventually ended his day early in the third quarter. It’s not the best sign that a soft-tissue injury is still lingering like this. Miami will remain cautious with their wideout, while Preston Williams’ will see an increased workload if Parker misses time.

Waiver Wire: Russel Gage (9 catches, 114 yards, 20.4 fantasy points)

Rostered: 3.8 percent

Gage picked up where he left off last season. After averaging eight targets per game from Week 12 to 17 last year, he hauled in nine of his 12 targets on Sunday for 114 yards. He only has one career touchdown, but being the No. 3 option in the Atlanta offense has proven to come with value, especially in PPR leagues. Gage could be in line for another heavy workload next week in what should be a high scoring game against the Cowboys.

Scotty Miller (5 catches, 73 yards. 1 carry, 6 yards, 12.9 fantasy points)

Rostered: 3.7 percent

Surrounded by a ton of talent on the Buccaneers roster, Miller has slid under the radar. He was praised by Tom Brady throughout training camp and the two’s chemistry transferred over to the regular season. Miller’s 5-73 line fell only behind Chris Godwin, while his 37-yard reception was a team-high. We all know Brady likes guys he can trust and the speedy Miller appears to be that guy. He could be in line for another strong game next week vs Carolina.

Tight Ends

Stud: Dallas Goedert (8 receptions, 101 yards, 1 TD, 24.1 fantasy points)

In a game that did not go too well for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Goedert was a bright spot. Goedert, and Ertz, we’re carving up Washington’s safeties and linebackers all afternoon. Goedert drew two more targets than Ertz and should continue to be a strong fantasy option with the Eagles already banged up at wide receiver.

Dud: Rob Gronkowski (2 catches, 11 yards, 3.1 fantasy points)

It was not a good start for Rob Gronkowski’s Tampa career, who caught just two of three targets for 11 yards. Gronkowski out snapped O.J. Howard, but Howard outplayed No. 87. Gronk looked good in training camp but a crowded depth chart might result in a disappointing fantasy season.

Injury Report: Blake Jarwin, David Njoku, George Kittle

As Jarwin finally got TE1 duties to himself in Dallas, his season did not last long as he suffered a torn ACL during a non-contact injury in the first half. It’s disappointing as Jarwin had an “amazing camp” and was ready to “spread his wings,” according to Dallas’ executive vice president Stephen Jones. The 26-year old will now have to focus on getting ready for next year, while CeeDee Lamb’s stock should rise as he will be in line for a portion of Jarwin’s targets.

David Njoku got off to a hot start for Cleveland, catching three passes for 50 yards and a score. However, a knee injury forced him from the game early. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that Njoku suffered a sprained MCL and landed on the Injured Reserve. He’s expected to return in three to four weeks.

George Kittle had to visit the locker room in San Francisco’s 24-20 loss to Arizona. The tight end was in pain as his leg got rolled up trying to catch a pass above his head. Kittle was able to return to the game, but was not able to add to his four catch, 44-yard performance. While it looks like Kittle avoided an injury scare, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday that Kittle suffered a knee sprain. His status next week could be in doubt, so closely monitor his status throughout the week.

Waiver Wire: O.J. Howard (4 catches, 36 yards, 1 TD, 13.6 fantasy points)

Rostered: 4.9%

As I mentioned above, O.J. Howard was the best tight end on the field for the Buccaneers on Sunday. Howard hauled in four of six targets for 36 yards and a score. Howard doubled up fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski in targets while the four receptions were third on Tampa, behind Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller. Howard’s talent has never been questioned, but the fourth-year tight end has struggled to produce throughout his NFL career. Perhaps with Tom Brady now throwing the football in Tampa a break out year is in store for Howard.

Logan Thomas (4 catches, 37 yards, 1 TD, 13.7 fantasy points)

Rostered: 0.5 percent

The old quarterback turned tight end had an impressive Week 1 performance for the Washington Football Team. After being raved about by coaches throughout training camp, Thomas saw eight targets in Sunday’s win, hauling in four of them for 37 yards and a score. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end was avoiding Philly defenders all day, while his four receptions only trailed Terry McLaurin. Thomas played 74 percent of the snaps for Washington and is a strong candidate to have another big week against Arizona next weekend.

Patriots Player of the Week

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Cam Newton (230 total yards, 2 TDs, 25.7 fantasy points)

Newton did it all for the Patriots on Sunday and was the only one to have strong fantasy production. Running the ball 15 times, Newton looked healthy and was extremely successful running in short yardage situations. Both of his scores came on the ground, but his shoulder and velocity looked good on his 19 pass attempts. If the Patriots plan to keep using Newton like they did in Week 1, he will continue to be a QB1 and the most valuable Patriots fantasy option. Another successful game next week could be in the cards against a weaker Seahawks defensive line.

Questions about your fantasy team? Reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines