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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays, and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 2 - Baker Mayfield, Roschon Johnson, Rashid Shaheed, more

Roschon Johnson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

We wait all summer long for football and my advice in Week 1 is always to just enjoy it. Be grateful that it's back. Watch your favorite team play, and check on fantasy scores. Do not let a fantasy disappointment ruin the first football Sunday of the year. 

It's kind of like the honeymoon phase. Sure, you may be overlooking some stuff that would normally annoy you. But you are just so happy to have that person (or in this instance, football) back in your life that you overlook it. But that time is over! 

Whether you are 1-0 or 0-1, it doesn’t matter. Now, the goal has become what it has been since the summer. Winning the weekly battles, making the playoffs, and taking home a championship. This article will help you replace those missing from your lineup each week and get that starting squad as strong as possible. 

Featured Promo: Get any full-season NFL and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Team Sync platform, Premium articles, Matchup Rating projections, 15 lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, Research Stations, Lineup Optimizers and much more! Go Premium, Win More!


Quarterback Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options to replace Aaron Rodgers or in case you don’t like your QB's matchup…

Brock Purdy was a top-10 QB in Week 1, scoring just under 17 fantasy points as he threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 20 yards. Whatever you think of Purdy the real-life QB doesn’t matter. He gets the benefit of playing on one of the best offenses (with loaded weapons) in a system he feels comfortable in. That is enough to make him a fantasy starter. 

Mac Jones put up numbers against a stout Eagles defense. He threw for 316 yards, three touchdowns, ran for 15 yards, and finished with 24 fantasy points and the QB2 on the week. This week, he gets the Dolphins in what could easily be another game where they are chasing points late and Jones has to throw. He is in play this week as a streaming option. 

Baker Mayfield threw for 173 yards, two touchdowns, and ran for 11 on his way to a 16-point fantasy day. This week, he faces the Bears, who just allowed 245 yards, three scores, and 23 fantasy points to Jordan Love. They specifically struggle against stopping receivers and Baker has two great ones to throw to. You are never going to feel great about starting Mayfield, but the matchup this week has him in play as a deeper streamer. 


Running Back Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options for Kenneth Gainwell, Austin Ekeler, Raheem Mostert… 

Gus Edwards and Justice Hill were popular waiver wire pickups this week and they are in play if you need an injury replacement. If you have two running backs that you feel comfortable with, I would get away. But not everyone has those options. Last week, we saw Justice Hill play 17 snaps (29 percent) and Gus Edwards 13 (22 percent). Hill scored two touchdowns but turned eight carries into nine yards. Edwards turned his eight carries into 32 yards and scored a two-point conversion. I prefer Edwards of the two as he is a similar back to J.K. Dobbins in many ways, just slightly less expressive. Both are options to replace Dobbins or another injured back in your lineup. 

Joshua Kelley would be a strong start if Austin Ekeler sat, even in a tough matchup against the Titans' run defense. Last week, Kelley played 34 snaps (45 percent) to go along with 16 carries -- the same number as Ekeler. He turned them into 91 yards and a touchdown. If he continues to see volume like that, he will have standalone value. But if Ekeler sits, he not only would see an uptick in ground work, but likely in pass game volume as well. 

Roschon Johnson played 37 percent of the snaps, which led the Bears backfield last week. He carried the ball five times but was targeted seven -- no running back was targeted more in Week 1. And Johnson looked the part, lowering his shoulder and running through a defender. He was strong on a per-touch basis in college and forced a lot of missed tackles. But he was playing behind Bijan Robinson, which kept his name under the radar a bit. A three-headed committee could be frustrating for fantasy, but Johnson is an upside play this week against the Bucs. 

Salvon Ahmed is a sleeper as Raheem Mostert was added to the injury report this week with a knee issue. Fantasy managers may be tempted to plug rookie De'Von Achane, who looks like his shoulder injury is fully behind him. But he was a healthy scratch last week and Ahmed was splitting work with Mostert. If he is out this week, we would likely see a split between both Ahmed and Achane. Ahmed is likely the safer bet for volume, while Achane is the home run hitter in this backfield.


Wide Receiver Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options in case Christian Watson, Jerry Jeudy, Diontae Johnson, and Brandin Cooks don’t play… 

Nico Collins and Robert Woods dominated volume for the Texans last week. Collins is the preferred option of the two. He saw 11 targets, catching six of them for 80 yards, including a 26-yarder. Collins is a big receiver who has downfield ability and is likely the Texans' best option in the red zone. Woods was the reliable veteran target for rookie C.J. Stroud, catching six of 10 targets for 57 yards. That sort of volume is too big to completely ignore. Collins is in play as a WR3 this week, while Woods is a fallback flex option. Both are strong replacements if you are in need this week. 

Tutu Atwell is going under the radar a bit as everyone (myself included) raves about Puka Nacua. But Atwell finished with the same number of yards as Nacua in Week 1 (119). The duo was splitting routes out of the slot and that is exactly why Atwell is in play as an injury replacement this week. The 49ers are amazing on defense but their one weakness is against slot receivers. Since last season, they have allowed the second-most yards to receivers lined up in the slot. Atwell should get some opportunities there this week, especially if the Rams are trailing and having to throw more than last week. He is a sneaky start option this week. 

Kendrick Bourne was a popular name off the waiver wire but now fantasy managers are wondering if they can plug him in their starting lineup. Bourne finished with a team-high 11 targets, catching six of them for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He is not going to do this every week, but he could remain the top target for Mac Jones. JuJu Smith-Schuster is quickly falling out of favor there and DeVante Parker is banged up. Bourne is a sneaky start this week in a game where the Pats are likely chasing points against the Dolphins. 

Rashid Shaheed was the Saints' second-leading receiver in Week 1. He caught five of his six targets for 89 yards and a touchdown. If you read any of my stuff here in the preseason, you know he was a big late-round target of mine. Last year, every time he touched the ball, good things happened. That was the case again in Week 1. When Derek Carr said he needs to throw his way again, you can see Jameis Winston’s eyes light up. Shaheed is the QB's best friend and he should only earn more work. He brings a ton of upside each week. 

Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin III are in play as injury replacements because of the Diontae Johnson injury. Last week, Robinson played 89 percent of the snaps with eight targets, five catches, and 64 yards -- all of which led the Steelers. Austin played 56 percent of the snaps with six catches for 37 yards on six targets. Robinson largely operated out of the slot (74 percent), while Austin ran 85 percent of his routes out wide. I have a slight lean towards Robinson, but both are deeper pivot options for those in need. 


Tight End Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options in case Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Greg Dulcich don’t play…

Sam LaPorta needs to be rostered and started in more places. I understand people were scared off of starting a rookie tight end in Week 1, but LaPorta played 81 percent of the snaps and was targeted on 23 percent of his routes. He caught every ball that went his way and finished as the eighth-best tight end in Week 1. He should only earn more work moving forward. He is a strong plug-and-play option. 

Hunter Henry dropped 16.6 fantasy points in Week 1, finishing as the top-scoring fantasy tight end. He caught five of his six targets for 56 yards and a touchdown. He remains a strong start this week against a Dolphins team that has allowed the second-most touchdowns (11) and eighth-most yards (996) to the position since last season. With the Pats searching for pass catchers to step up, Henry could see a bump in volume, especially if they are playing from behind. 

Luke Musgrave caught three of his four targets for 50 yards, the second-most yards on the Packers in Week 1. It may not sound like a whole lot, but eight fantasy points were enough for him to be the TE13 on the week. He is not a must-start by any stretch. If Christian Watson is out again, there is volume up for grabs in Green Bay. Musgrave is a replacement option that brings upside and could blossom into a weekly starter moving forward. 

Jake Ferguson did not have a great fantasy output in Week 1, but the volume is what we care about. He led the Cowboys with seven targets in a game where Dak Prescott only threw 24 times. That is a huge volume and now with Brandin Cooks banged up, he could potentially see even more. There is a chance that Ferguson will become the second target for this offense moving forward. He could see a bump this week if the Jets' strong secondary takes away the Cowboys' receivers. He is a strong plug-and-play option off the waiver wire. 

Zach Ertz is all about volume. Last week, Ertz saw 10 targets, catching six of them for 21 yards. That was a third of the passes that the Cardinals threw in Week 1. I know it may sound gross to start an aging tight end on arguably the league's worst offense. But there are not many tight ends who will see that sort of volume and that means something in this game we play. Ertz is a fallback option if you are searching for an injury replacement this week.

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.

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