The fantasy football season is finally here. Preseason is over, most drafts are wrapped up, and rosters are just about finalized. Now we look ahead to the games that matter, and start playing the matchups. Welcome to Week 1.
For the most part, you’ll want to stick to your drafted lineup this early in the year. The season opener is not the time to get cute or try out weird experiments. With that said, you will want to keep a heavy eye on the waiver wire, which will come into play much earlier than you might expect.
We’re already seeing some major injury implications in Week 1 at the wide receiver position. Julian Edelman and Cameron Meredith suffered season-ending injuries in preseason, while Odell Beckham Jr. is still working his way back from a sprained ankle. This is a harsh reminder that fantasy owners should always be scouring the wire, even when they think their lineups are set.
Here are the best available options at wide receiver, owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (46 percent)
Davis missed the entire preseason and most of camp with a hamstring injury. That’s always concerning for a rookie receiver because it puts him well behind the developmental curve, and he didn’t get much time to work with Marcus Mariota. Davis will likely play just a bit role early on, but his obvious talent is inescapable and he should be a fantasy contributor as soon as he gets up to speed. He’s a valuable bench stash until then.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (44 percent)
Lockett didn’t play much in the preseason, but all signs point to him being fully back from last year’s broken leg. A boom-or-bust deep threat, Lockett’s fantasy ceiling has always been hard to pin down, but he figures to play a larger role this year with Jermaine Kearse shipped off to the New York Jets. The Seahawks’ offense is trending up with Russell Wilson fully healthy to start the year.
Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills (43 percent)
Someone has to catch the passes in Buffalo, right? Jordan Matthews is still on the shelf with a sternum, making Jones the No. 1 receiver almost by default right now. Another concern is the status of Tyrod Taylor, who is still in the concussion protocol. Nathan Peterman throwing to a fellow rookie is hardly inspiring in Week 1, but the Bills are playing the New York Jets, so Jones might be more useful than you’d expect. He’s worth watching in PPR leagues if he soaks up targets from the slot position.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (41 percent)
Right now, Beckham is expected to be ready for Week 1, but it’ll probably be touch-and-go all week. If he can’t go, then Shepard joins Brandon Marshall as one of the starting receivers. Shepard kinda overachieved as a rookie last year with eight touchdowns, and his fantasy ceiling falls with the additions of Marshall and tight end Evan Engram. Still, he’s on the WR3 radar if Beckham’ is out.
Kendall Wright, Chicago Bears (11 percent)
Meredith’s injury opens up target opportunities in a Bears receiving corps short on actual talent. Kevin Whits has been an injury-wrecked bust so far, while Markus Wheaton and Deonte Thompson are uninspiring options. Wright at least has a proven track record, peaking in 2013 with 94 catches and 1,079 yards. He’ll be catching balls from Mike Glennon or Mitchell Trubisky, which naturally lowers his fantasy ceiling. But if I had to pick one Bears receiver to replace Meredith as the new No. 1 guy, Wright would be my best best.