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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays, and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 1 - Sam Howell, Gerald Everett, Gus Edwards, Jalin Hyatt and more!

Gerald Everett - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

It’s back! The long wait is over and fantasy football is here. 

Every week I will be writing about the top pivot options to help replace any injured or bye week players. In Week 1 hopefully, your lineup is mostly set but if you need a backup option, I got you. 

This week we do not have any signal callers we have to worry about injury-wise, but there are big names at the other positions that are sidelined. I’ll provide alternatives for each!

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:


Quarterback Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options in case you don’t like your QB matchup…

Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Brock Purdy is a strong pivot option. Last year he averaged over 18 fantasy PPG as the starter, which was top 10 at the position. He threw 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his six starts. It can be tough to figure out who the top Niners target will be each week, but you get all of the pass catchers' production baked into Purdy. Regardless of what you think about Purdy the QB, there is no denying the fantasy upside he brings as the leader of one of the best offenses in football. Purdy is a pivot option if you do not like the matchup for your QB1. 

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Sam Howell is a sleeper this week and season. In his final year at UNC, he ran for over 800 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his lone start last year he ran for 35 yards and a touchdown. Rushing ability is a cheat code for QBs and Howell certainly qualifies. Additionally, he will be in a passing attack led by Eric Bienemy and get to throw to Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson which could help elevate him. He brings breakout upside as a QB2. 


Running Back Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options to replace Jonathan Taylor… 

Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins

Raheem Mostert is not on any waiver wires anymore, but there are plenty of teams where he was drafted as a bench running back but could be started this week. Last year the Chargers allowed the second-most rushing yards to running backs. Plus, this game has the making of a track meet, which means more scoring opportunities. Mostert still possesses the high-end speed to break a long run in this one. He is a strong RB2 start this week. 

Deon Jackson and Evan Hull, Indianapolis Colts

Deon Jackson and Evan Hull will man the Colts backfield this week with Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss both sidelined. Deon Jackson is the starter and in the preseason we saw him playing two out of every three drives. Due to that, he would be the top option. However, the Colts have indicated they will ride the hot hand and Hull showed more juice in the preseason. The Colts are still expected to try and run the ball a ton and running the option with Anthony Richardson only boosts their upside. Both are in play as pivot options if you are diving deeper into this one. 

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

Gus Edwards gets the best possible matchup a running back could get this week against the Texans. Last year Houston allowed the most yards, touchdowns, and fantasy points to running backs. They struggled on both outside and inside runs. Plus, this is a game where the Ravens could be playing with a lead and opting to just grind out the clock down the stretch. J.K. Dobbins will be the lead back, but the Ravens tend to use two backs. Edwards is a sneaky option in this game. 

De'Von Achane, Miami Dolphins

UPDATE: Achane was officially ruled out on Sunday morning.

If you missed out on Mostert, you could use De’Von Achane as your pivot option. Achane dealt with a shoulder injury in the preseason but he is healthy and good to go for Week 1. His exact role and usage remain up in the air, but Achane brings big-time explosiveness. He has the capability of putting up a big stat line even on limited touches, especially if this game is as high-scoring as anticipated. He is far from a must-start, but if you are diving deeper, he brings as much upside as anyone. 


Wide Receiver Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options in case Cooper Kupp, Christian Watson, Jerry Jeudy, Odell Beckham Jr. don’t play… 

Elijah Moore, Cleveland Browns

Elijah Moore should operate as the top slot option for Deshaun Watson and the Browns. He also could earn snaps in two receiver sets as there has been a lot of chatter out of Browns camp on his versatility. He showed promise in his rookie season before struggling to find his way with the Jets last year. He still brings upside and could reach a new level if Watson can return to form. Moore’s availability on the waiver wire depends on the size of your league, but for many, he was drafted as a reserve option. He would be a solid pivot to elevate from your bench if you are dealing with a receiver injury.

Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants

Jalin Hyatt brings two things the Giants desperately lack: speed and downfield ability on the outside. He already has a role with the starting offense if the preseason is any indication. I also trust Brian Daboll to put him in a position to succeed. We saw that in the preseason when he lined up off the line and won downfield. That is exactly how he was used in Tennessee where he established himself as one of the best deep threats in college football. He is certainly a little boom-or-bust, but few pivot receivers bring more upside. 

Jonathan Mingo, Carolina Panthers

Jonathan Mingo may be the WR1 by default in Charlotte. Both D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen are banged up and questionable for Week 1. That would leave Mingo and Hayden Hurst as the top targets for Bryce Young. Mingo is a big receiver who can operate out wide or in the slot and is best with the ball in his hands after the catch. He’s the type of receiver who can generate touches. He is in play if the other receivers sit. 

Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Chargers

Puka Nacua could potentially get an ample opportunity with Cooper Kupp out in Week 1. Nacua was the only player in college football last year with five-plus receiving and rushing touchdowns. He likely will operate out the slot and I keep thinking he could be the poor man’s Robert Woods for this offense. Many will pivot to Van Jefferson and he is certainly in play, but Nacua is a very sneaky option. 

Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers

Jayden Reed could see a boost in volume in his first NFL game. Christian Watson has missed practice and while Romeo Doubs returned to the practice field, he has also been dealing with an injury. Reed could immediately find himself as a top-two target for Jordan Love. He is not someone you want to start but he is certainly in play for those looking on the waiver wire in deep leagues.


Tight End Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options to replace Travis Kelce

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

Gerald Everett would be a top pivot option if he is on your bench or waiver wire. You may have heard, but a lot of points are to be expected in this game. That leads to more scoring opportunities and Everett is a big-bodied target that can be utilized in the red zone. This Chargers offense could reach new heights with new OC Kellen Moore and that raises the fantasy ceiling of everyone catching passes from Justin Herbert. Everett is definitely in play in this matchup. 

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

Juwan Johnson scored seven touchdowns from Week 7 of last season, which was the fifth most in the NFL in that span. He became a more consistent part of the Saints passing attack as the season progressed last year and then he was rewarded with a contract this offseason. Add in that the Titans allowed the third most fantasy PPG and yards to tight ends last year and you see why he is in play as a pivot option. 

Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals

Hayden Hurst is a more bottomless option. You can file this one under “Someone has to catch the ball, right?” Both D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen are dealing with injuries and could be sidelined in Week 1. That would leave Hurst and Mingo as the top targets for number one pick Bryce Young. Hurst can serve as the safety blanket for the rookie. Volume has him in play as a pivot option. 

Deeper TE options: Hunter Henry, Tyler Conklin, Luke Musgrave, Logan Thomas, Jake Ferguson 


Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.

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