Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season almost is over, and fantasy football owners already are dealing with injury scares.
Top fantasy producers such as T.Y. Hilton, Dez Bryant, Derek Carr and others picked up some kind of injury Sunday, forcing owners to search the waiver wire for the best replacements.
Here’s a recap of the best waiver-wire pickups to target ahead of Week 2.
Quarterback: Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Smith rarely will throw for more than 300 yards, but he’s accurate, efficient and doesn’t turn the ball over as often as a lot of other starting quarterbacks.
He gave an excellent performance Sunday afternoon against a very good Houston Texans defense. Smith threw for 243 yards with three touchdowns. He also was credited with nine carries for 15 yards.
Smith has a few top-tier targets in the passing game as well. Travis Kelce, who caught two touchdowns, is one of the best tight ends in the league. Offseason acquisition and veteran receiver Jeremy Maclin also had an impressive debut with five receptions for 52 yards. And, of course, Jamaal Charles is an elite pass-catching running back. He caught five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown versus the Texans.
Smith is a worth a pickup in all fantasy leagues, especially ones that start two quarterbacks each week.
Other quarterbacks to watch: Marcus Mariota, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Running Back: Chris Ivory, New York Jets
Ivory led a Jets rushing attack that dominated the Cleveland Browns for 154 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry on Sunday. Ivory himself totaled 94 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
New York has a good offensive line and is playing without injured starting quarterback Geno Smith, so it’s likely the Jets will rely on the running game throughout the first half of the campaign.
Ivory is a solid RB2 option for fantasy owners, despite not making an extra impact in PPR leagues. (He has just 24 receptions in 56 career NFL games.)
Other running backs to watch: Danny Woodhead, DeAngelo Williams, Ronnie Hillman, David Johnson
Wide Receiver: Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Williams is going to be one of Tony Romo’s top targets with No. 1 wide receiver Dez Bryant breaking his foot in Sunday night’s comeback win over the New York Giants. Bryant is expected to be out four to six weeks.
Williams caught five passes for 60 yards on eight targets versus the Giants. The three passes he didn’t catch were drops. He didn’t find the end zone, but he’s shown an ability to score consistently in his career, including eight touchdowns on 37 receptions last season.
Williams could average as many as 10 targets with Bryant sidelined, so he’s definitely worth starting on your fantasy team, particularly in PPR leagues.
Other wide receivers to watch: Cole Beasley, John Brown, James Jones, Stevie Johnson, Donte Moncrief
Tight End: Darren Fells, Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals starting tight end Jermaine Gresham missed the entire preseason and was questionable for Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. He ended up being active but only tallied one reception for four yards.
The majority of the tight end production was provided by Fells, who caught four passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Fantasy owners should carefully monitor Gresham’s injury, because he’ll likely take a lot of snaps if healthy. That said, Fells’ performance Sunday could earn him more snaps as the season unfolds. If that’s the case, he’s certainly worth an add in deep leagues of 12 to 16 teams.
Other tight ends to watch: Tyler Eifert, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Scott Chandler
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images