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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 2

Tyler Boyd - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

After months of watching prospect tape, debating free agent signings and draft picks, and plenty of debates – the fantasy football season returned in grand fashion in Week 1! Whether you won or lost or even tied, you have to admit that it was awesome having football, particularly fantasy, back in our lives. 

Now it's time to take off those rose-colored glasses and get serious. A Week 1 loss is tolerable because of the joy of football being back, but from Week 2 on is go time. We play to win the games as the saying goes, but one thing that can prevent you from winning is having a star player miss a game and not having a backup plan. This article will prevent that from happening. 

Every week, I will go over the pivot options you have if one of your players is up in the air. It's never fun having to deal with a star player sitting out, but it's much easier to manage when you have a backup plan in place and are not scrambling around on Sunday wondering who to pick up and start. It's your one-stop shop to help set up your contingency plans! 

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Sneaky RB Pickups and Plays for Week 2

If Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris (foot) is ruled out before Sunday’s kickoff you can pick up and play…

Jaylen Warren, Pittsburgh Steelers (RB) vs NE

This would not be a one-to-one trade-off in volume or production for Warren, but it would get the immediate backup for the Steelers. Warren played 38 percent of the snaps in Week 1, seeing three carries for seven yards and one target. Those are very modest numbers, but he spent the majority of the game behind Harris in his first game as an NFL player. However, this is more about trusting Mike Tomlin and the Steelers' offense than it is Warren. 

Tomlin spoke up Warren a bit after the game and while we have yet to see Harris miss a game as an NFL player, we can go off of Tomlin’s historical trends as a head coach. Tomlin traditionally likes to feature one back in the offense and if Warren is the lead guy, it's safe to expect he could see around 15 touches, if not more. That would be enough to push him into flex territory. If Harris ends up sitting and you do not have an option you like more on your bench, you can grab Warren.

Additionally, you may have landed a better RB on the waiver wire or late in your drafts in Darrell Henderson Jr., Jeff Wilson Jr., or James Robinson. All three are backs that are suddenly seeing more work than anticipated and were found on waivers in some leagues just this week. If you have any of these three on your bench, they would be the pivot play over Warren. Additionally, they are pivot plays to consider over a banged-up Harris. 

He did return to practice, which is a good sign, but we will have to monitor the reports up until kickoff and if there is any talk about Harris being on a snap/touch count, or perhaps having to manage his foot throughout the game, then it would not be a bad idea to just pivot away from him altogether for one of these three backs. 

If Detroit’s D’Andre Swift (ankle) is ruled out before Sunday’s kickoff you can pick up and play… 

Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions (RB) vs WAS

Swift was electric in Week 1, but he has been missing practice due to an ankle injury. Williams already has a role in the offense and a potentially pesky one for Swift managers, as he led the entire NFL with four carries inside the 10-yard line in Week 1. He scored two touchdowns. If he is available, grab him just in case. If not, the RBs listed above like Henderson, Wilson, and Robinson would be other high-level pivot options. Deeper options include Kenyan Drake, Khalil Herbert, Isiah Pacheco, Kenneth Gainwell, Dontrell Hilliard, Tyrian Davis-Price, and Jordan Mason.

If Alvin Kamara (ribs) is ruled out before Sunday’s kickoff you can pick up and play… 

Mark Ingram II, New Orleans Saints (RB) vs TB

Ingram himself is dealing with a back injury, but he is in line to play. Kamara has missed practice, which puts him up in the air for Week 2. It's a smart idea to grab Ingram. Last year when Kamara missed time, Ingram would sit around 15 carries per game and would see more involvement in the passing game. At his age, he does not bring a high ceiling, especially in a tough matchup against Tampa Bay, but he should be reliable for a safe floor. The backs listed above are also in play as pivot options here. 


Sneaky WR Pickups and Plays for Week 2

If Tampa’s Chris Godwin (hamstring) is ruled out before Sunday’s kickoff you can pick up and play…

Julio Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WR) at NO

Chris Godwin seemed very unlikely to suit up at the start of the season, but he proved everyone wrong and started in Week 1. Perhaps he should have waited, as he ended up exiting the game with a hamstring injury and seems likely to miss the next couple of weeks. In his absence, Julio Jones should step up. Jones saw the second most targets and air yards on the Bucs while recording the seventh-fastest top speed among all ball carriers in Week 1. 

While Jones reminded the entire world that he is not washed yet, he could build on it even more in Week 2. Mike Evans, who is also banged up, should see a lot of Marshon Lattimore. If that is the case, it could lead to an uptick in volume for Jones. He is in play as a WR2 with Godwin sidelined, but Jones himself is dealing with a knee injury and has missed practice. 

If Jones is sidelined as he has missed practice with a knee injury, the next pivot would be Russell Gage. Gage played 42 percent of the snaps in Week 1, but is set to see an increase without Godwin and would get a big bump if Jones sat as well. 

If Cincinnati's Tee Higgins (concussion) is ruled out before Sunday’s kickoff you can pick up and play… 

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (WR) at DAL 

Boyd has long been a reliable fantasy option but is just falling further down the depth chart as the Bengals have arguably the best one-two punch in the NFL. If Higgins was to miss time, there would be a natural bump in volume for Boyd. With Higgins sidelined last week, Boyd saw seven targets and ended up scoring a touchdown while going for 13 PPR points. He is a strong pivot option. 

If Boyd was already picked up, you can still search the waiver wire for Curtis Samuel or Jahan Dotson. However, those were two of the most added players this week. If they are already rostered, search the waiver wire for Zay Jones or Robbie Anderson.

Jones was the second receiver for the Jaguars, seeing nine targets and 90 air yards. That is a role that should lead to reliable weekly volume as Doug Pederson always runs a pass-first attack and the Jags tend to trail often. Anderson led the Panthers with eight targets while going for 102 yards and a touchdown. Anderson is always a little boom-or-bust, but he has a high ceiling especially if he continues to see volume like last week. 

Sneaky TE Pickups and Plays for Week 2

If San Francisco's George Kittle (groin) is ruled out before Sunday’s kickoff you can pick up and play… 

Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos (TE) vs HOU

Okwuegbunam saw six targets, catching five of them for 33 yards. He looked impressive in doing so as well. That is a solid floor for a tight end, who always has the chance of scoring a touchdown as Russell Wilson has historically targeted his tight ends often in the red zone. Pick up Okwuegbunam and stream him if Kittle misses time – I am doing so in a league as well! 

Cole Kmet and Hayden Hurst are fallback options if Okwuegbunam is already rostered. Kmet struggled in Week 1, but he deserves a pass as that game was played in extremely rainy conditions. Hurst saw eight targets for five catches and 46 yards in Week 1 with Higgins sidelined. If Higgins sits in Week 2, Hurst becomes a strong streaming option. 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.

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