Fantasy Football: 5 Last-Minute Pickups That Could Get You a Win in Week 1
You just had a stellar fantasy draft, but didn’t account for injuries, holdouts or matchups in Week 1. Don’t worry, here are five players still available in most leagues that could get you the points you need to start the season off right.
Drafting Maurice Jones-Drew is a good pickup, but not for the first few weeks. He will be a third-down back for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 and potentially in the weeks following.
A lack of participation in contact practices for Adrian Peterson puts a big question mark on his fantasy numbers. Marshawn Lynch is also questionable with his back spasms.
Running backs aren’t the only position hurting in the early going, though. Bills WR Stevie Johnson sat out practice on Thursday with a groin injury. He should still be good to go for Sunday, but reports that late in the week could scare fantasy owners.
If you need a last-minute pickup to salvage your week, here are five picks that have favorable matchups and are probably still available on the waiver wire.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills take on the New York Jets in Week 1. They have an early contest on Sunday in case you have are a league that allows up-to-the-minute changes.
Maybe you’ve lost confidence in Peyton Manning’s debut against the Steelers and need another option at QB. Fitz is your guy.
In his last game against the Jets, he threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 34 yards.
The Jets’ struggles on offense mean the Bills will get a ton of opportunities to put points on the board.
If Stevie Johnson is healthy, Fitzpatrick will have his top target ready to go.
The Bills also improved their defense this offseason by adding Mario Williams. That addition should help Buffalo get a bunch of offensive snaps, especially this week against the Jets.
Yahoo! leagues have him owned in just 43 percent of leagues. He’s a good fill-in option who may be enough to get you a win.
Ronnie Brown, RB, San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews broke his collarbone and is recovering faster than expected. Unfortunately for him, he probably won’t get the green light for the Chargers’ Week 1 matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
In his place is Ronnie Brown.
Brown has been a reliable option as a featured back in his seven-year career. He has another crack at it with Mathews out.
In 2006-07, Brown rushed for over 1,000 yards while in Miami. In 2010-11, he had 200 carries for just 734 yards in the debacle that was the Dolphins.
A reliable pass-catcher, Brown could be a great addition to a PPR league for Week 1.
In his last game against Oakland, he had 24 rushes for 85 yards. He may even find the end zone with the screen pass the Chargers love.
Brown is owned in 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Davone Bess/Devin Hester, WR
Both Davone Bess and Devin Hester are owned by less than 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
They both have value, but in separate leagues.
Bess is a value in a PPR league, especially with rookie QB Ryan Tannehill in Miami.
You have to assume the Dolphins won’t let Tannehill throw the ball deep. That should get Bess a significant amount of targets whenever the team isn’t handing off to Reggie Bush.
Be cautious of the matchup against Houston, but he could be a solid PPR pickup in an emergency case.
Devin Hester is the big-play guy in Chicago.
QB Jay Cutler loves to show off his arm strength, and Hester has the speed to run that ball down. He isn’t a good guy for PPR leagues, but he has a favorable matchup against a rebuilding Indianapolis Colts team.
With Brandon Marshall as Cutler's primary target, Hester’s looks will be limited.
He is still one of the most dynamic playmakers in the game. His special teams numbers could also help in customized scoring leagues.
Minnesota/New Orleans, DEF
Two defenses have intriguing matchups this weekend.
Minnesota plays against Jacksonville, who will be basically without Maurice Jones-Drew. And New Orleans faces a rookie QB in Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins.
Expectations are high for Griffin, but the New Orleans defense has a great weapon in its offense. It’s hard to get scored on when you constantly have the football.
Drew Brees and company have one of the most methodical offenses in the league. The game is in New Orleans. With the offseason the Saints had, they have eyes on a strong statement game on both sides of the ball.
Minnesota matches up against Jacksonville with a lot of offensive questions.
Can Blaine Gabbert improve his accuracy? Who will catch his passes? How will Rashad Jennings be in his start over Jones-Drew?
Also at home, Minnesota wants to forget last season as quickly as possible. If Adrian Peterson can go, the Vikings may have the ball for longer than people expect.
Both defenses are owned by just 11 percent of Yahoo! owners.
Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans
The top receiver for the Texans last season was Owen Daniels. He is back and healthy this year. Also healthy is QB Matt Schaub.
It was reported that star RB Arian Foster left practice early Thursday with a sore knee. Even if that’s the case, backup RB Ben Tate is a capable rusher.
Houston loves the ground game, which will limit the looks to the big receivers, Daniels and Andre Johnson.
In the last matchup against the Dolphins, Daniels had three catches for 25 yards. More important to fantasy owners, he found the end zone with one of those catches.
The seventh-year TE isn’t a PPR pickup, but he could get you that extra touchdown to get the win.
He’s owned in just under 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so check the wire quickly if you need an emergency TE.