The first week of fantasy football has come and gone, and now it’s time to improve your team with waiver wire additions and trades. As much as everyone hopes they had the perfect draft, there are always opportunities to improve your team.
The players to add for this week are a combination of players who will see more playing time from injury, should have been drafted and had a promising Week 1. The players to cut are some of the surprise inactives of the week as well as players who just didn’t see the expected amount of playing time.
Plenty of experienced fantasy managers won’t overreact to Week 1, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying to find those managers who are willing to make trades because of a particularly good or bad first game. The five players to buy low or sell high are all players who had Week 1’s that are unlikely to continue going forward.
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FIVE PLAYERS TO ADD
1. WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
The Giants receiver quietly put up one of the biggest receiving lines of the week. He was one of the most undervalued players in fantasy drafts this season, and he’s already paying off for those who believed in him.
There are few receivers with higher floors after being targeted at least 83 times in each of his first five NFL seasons, which includes an 11-game streak with at least five targets. His PFF grades have improved every season. There was optimism his ceiling could be higher, and so far, the reasons for optimism have worked out.
He’s graded better over his career in the slot than out wide and played 65.1% of his snaps in the slot against the Broncos. He wasn’t playing there as much the last few seasons with Golden Tate on the roster. He’s also expected to score more touchdowns out of the slot. His touchdown against Denver came lined up out wide, but there should be more touchdowns to come. Touchdowns are what held him back from being a fantasy starter in past seasons, but this year already looks to be different.
We were surprised to find out Mitchell would be the primary backup in Week 1 when rookie Trey Sermon was inactive because the 49ers didn’t view him as a top-three back on the team. Mitchell jumped up to the top of the depth chart once Raheem Mostert left after four snaps with a knee injury and didn’t return. He is expected to miss about eight weeks, making the sixth-round rookie the top back in the 49ers backfield. Mitchell had a great game against the Lions defense, seeing 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. His raw numbers looked good, but it’s worth noting the offensive line played well. It’s reasonable to expect most backs would have also played well given the situation and opportunity.
Mitchell definitely has some big short-term value, but his time as the starter might not last long. Sermon (and Brandon Aiyuk) seems to be on the coaches' bad side, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising for Sermon to get back in the mix sooner rather than later. JaMycal Hasty received a lot of the pass game work, and Jeff Wilson Jr. could also be returning in about a month.
Because Mostert is expected to come back this season, and there are three other running backs who could reasonably take over before then, it’s not worth using a lot of FAB to get Mitchell.
3. RB Carlos Hyde, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars made it pretty clear they would be a passing team in the preseason, which remained true in Week 1. They didn’t give much indication of how they would use their running backs, but it appears Robinson is their receiving back and Hyde is their rushing back.
Robinson received both offensive snaps near the goal line, but they were both pass plays. The big question will be who gets to run it in when Jacksonville tries to run in a score. If the answer is Hyde, then he could have some flex value. The Jaguars offense will get better in general, which should lead to more touchdown opportunities by at least one of these backs. It’s better to pick up Hyde now, as he will be much harder to add if we find out he is the goalline back.