Luckily, there are quality players still to be had, even if you’re low in the waiver order. Here are this week’s best bets for future production.
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
We highlighted Crowder as a late-round receiver for your fantasy football draft and again as someone to consider when the Antonio Brown hullabaloo was at its peak. Not many heeded those words; Crowder is still available in about half of fantasy leagues.
That should change significantly after the slot receiver caught 14 of 17 targets for 99 yards in a loss to the Buffalo Bills, giving Crowder the most targets in Week 1 heading into Monday Night Football. His two yards per route run was also the third-highest total among slot receivers in Week 1, behind only Danny Amendola and Larry Fitzgerald.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Quarterback Lamar Jackson had a record-setting day on Sunday and Brown was the biggest beneficiary. The rookie caught four of five targets for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a 47-yard touchdown run on a slant pattern in the first quarter. He would add an 83-yard touchdown catch about four minutes later.
“That is why we picked him,” Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun. “The ability to make big plays is huge.”
Next up for Brown and the Ravens is the Arizona Cardinals, a team that allowed 361 passing yards and three touchdowns to the Detroit Lions. Almost a third of those passing yards against Arizona (114) were on throws of 20 or more yards down field.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Coach Sean McVay made it clear Todd Gurley is the team’s lead back — Gurley led the team in rushing (14 carries for 97 yards), touches (15) and snaps (53 out of 76) in a win over the Carolina Panthers — but there is clearly a place for Brown to be fantasy relevant. Brown played 21 snaps on Sunday, producing 48 yards and two touchdowns.
Plus, Brown got two of the team’s three carries inside the 5-yard line (third-round rookie Darrell Henderson got the other one) leading to the two scores. Last year, Gurley handled 22 of the team’s 31 opportunities from within five yards of the goal line.
The biggest boost to Brown’s value might be the lack of work for Henderson, at least early in the season. Henderson played just two snaps all game, which seems to indicate Brown’s secure role as the No. 2 running back.
Rams running back
Todd Gurley II
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts
The Brissett era for Indianapolis started off with promise. The former backup competed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 190 yards, two touchdowns and a 120.7 passer rating. Brissett also slung the ball all over the field, connecting with eight different receivers, earning him the eighth highest quarterback grade of Week 1 (as of Monday morning) from the game charters at Pro Football Focus.
His next three opponents get progressively easier in terms of pass defense. The Tennessee Titans, the Colts’ next opponent, had the projected 12th best secondary heading into the 2019 season. After that the Colts face the Atlanta Falcons (16th) and Oakland Raiders (27th). Brissett also gets soft competition in Week 15 (New Orleans Saints, 15th best secondary) and Week 16 (Carolina Panthers, 26th), the two weeks typically reserved for fantasy league playoffs and championship games.
Darren Waller, TE, Oakland Raiders
Oakland’s quarterback, Derek Carr, loves passing to his tight ends. Last year, Jared Cook was Carr’s most-targeted receiver and in Week 1 of the 2019 season it was the 26-year-old Waller. The 6-foot-6 pass catcher earned a team-high eight targets, catching seven of them for 70 yards, including a 25-yard reception on the game’s opening drive.
Four of Waller’s targets on Monday night were over the middle and the other four were down the left sideline, illustrating the versatility Waller can bring to this offense.