We waited for what seemed an eternity for week 1 to arrive, and now suddenly its been and gone and we are on to week 2.
The first week of the season is always incredibly important for fantasy players. Questions about a players usage, goal line carries and target share all begin to be answered.
The first week of waivers is where you can really gain an edge on the rest of your league if you make the right moves. Guys like James Robinson and Justin Jefferson helped win championships after being picked up off the waiver early last season.
But for every James Robinson, there is a Benny Snell trying to trip you up. Here i will be going through my top 3 favourite waiver pick ups that’ll help you fill rosters spots left empty from week 1 disappointments and injuries.
Elijah Mitchell – San Francisco 49ers Running Back
I’d bought a first class ticket aboard the Raheem Mostert hype train last week, so i was excited to hear Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch, and then equally devastated when Mostert left the game early with a knee injury. As is the way with San Francisco running backs, when one goes down the next steps up. Enter 6th round draft pick Elijah Mitchell. The unknown rookie went on to play 64 percent of snaps, getting 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown.
With news that Mostert will now miss 8 weeks with a knee injury, the door is wide open for Mitchell to step up as the new Niners running back going forward. JaMycal Hasty is likely to be involved as well and we shouldn’t ignore Trey Sermon but the San Francisco coaches clearly have a lot of faith in Mitchell. Kyle Shanahan is a genius at getting the best out of his running backs and with elite weapons in the passing attack there should be plenty of opportunities for Mitchell to excel.
Next up for the Niners is a trip to Philadelphia against a tough run defence that just shut down the Falcons. But if Elijah Mitchell continues to get 15 to 20 touches he will be a solid RB2 for the remainder of Mostert’s injury and potentially beyond.
KJ Hamler – Denver Broncos Wide Receiver
Another player with a great chance to shine is KJ Hamler.
Jerry Jeudy was looking every bit the breakout star we hoped he would in week 1. So it was a huge blow to the Broncos when he went down with a high ankle sprain midway through.
The Broncos offence were still able to move the ball effectively despite Jeudy’s injury so i’m still optimistic they can be successful going forward. They will need someone to step up and take the WR2 spot behind Courtland Sutton though. Luckily for them they have both Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler. And whilst Patrick holds no surprises, Hamler offers a more explosive option.
He showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season but was plagued with inconsistency. A trait already showcased in week 1. Hamler caught 3 of 4 targets for 41 yards but dropped a relatively simple pass in the end zone that would have been a 50 yard touchdown.
I’m willing to take a risk on the upside and with a trip to Jacksonville up next, Hamler has a chance to contribute to your team straight away.
Kenneth Gainwell – Philadelphia Eagles Running Back
One of the more intriguing waiver pick ups this week is Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell.
Now a lot of good analysts will tell you; volume and goal line touches are the key to fantasy success when looking for a running back. And using that logic would point you to Mark Ingram having got 26 total touches and 3 inside the 5 yard line.
Whilst i agree with the logic and wouldn’t put you off aiming for Ingram this week, I am a sucker for an explosive player that’s fun to watch. Meet Kenneth Gainwell.
The 5th round pick out of Memphis looked sharp in pre season as a runner and receiver, but there were questions around who would back up Miles Sanders. Boston Scott was deemed the favourite but it was Gainwell that was trusted with the role straight away.
Gainwell played 35 percent of the offensive snaps whilst Scott only played on special teams.
Whilst on the field, Gainwell recorded nine rushes for 37 yards and a touchdown, also adding two receptions for 6 yards. The day was almost even better for the Memphis rookie as he had a 4 yard touchdown reception chalked off due to a penalty.
Gainwell’s usage so early in the season is encouraging and he has already shown he knows where the Endzone is. Given Miles Sanders inability to stay available throughout the season historically, I expect the Eagles to continue giving Gainwell plenty of work.
I see Gainwell as a similar prospect to D’Andre Swift who was able to finish as a RB2 last season as a rookie. Both capable as a runner and receiver behind a decent offensive line. I’m very excited to see what Gainwell can do over the rest of the season and if Sanders does miss any time, Gainwell could be a championship winner for your fantasy teams.
If you enjoyed this please drop us a follow on our Facebook page and enjoy some of our other in depth reviews of players and teams.