Week 1 Fantasy Football Projections: Top Streaming Options for Notable Injuries

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Keelan Cole #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars catches a pass before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

It's an unfortunate part of the game, but it's important to prepare for player injuries. Fantasy football owners will have several Week 1 streaming options to replace injured starters. 

Half of the suggested players could have decent roles for the duration of the regular season while others will only provide a short-term fix to a roster void. Pay close attention to options at running back. Two pickups may have season-long value. 

There's one particular player who should be owned in all leagues, and there's also a familiar face who could become a factor at tight end.

Let's take a look at the top streaming options in place of starters who went down with an injury during the offseason.



QB Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (5 percent owned)

Ron Schwane/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles will start quarterback Nick Foles in the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons Thursday.

Carson Wentz, who's recovering from a torn ACL and LCL, isn't quite ready to reclaim his spot under center.

Foles won't have wide receiver Alshon Jeffery available in the passing game. He's on the mend following offseason shoulder surgery, per ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.

Nonetheless, Foles proved he could fill a short-term starting role and produce with the offensive assets around him last season. He threw for 971 yards, six touchdowns and one interception through three postseason contests en route to a Super Bowl victory in February. 


Running Backs

RB Alfred Morris, San Francisco 49ers (72 percent owned) 

AJ Mast/Associated Press

Running back Jerick McKinnon suffered a torn ACL Saturday during practice, putting an end to his 2018 campaign.

NBCS Bay Area reporter Matt Maiocco projects running back Alfred Morris as the featured ball-carrier going into Week 1.

Morris logged 19 carries for 89 yards in two preseason appearances. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 14 appearances, which included five starts, with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. San Francisco's offensive line isn't as good, but the 29-year-old will have opportunities to produce on early downs.


RB Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts (30 percent owned)

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 09:  Running back Jordan Wilkins #30 of the Indianapolis Colts rushes against linebacker Jake Pugh #52 of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 9, 2018 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

It's not a foregone conclusion running back Marlon Mack opens the season in the backfield, per George Bremer of the Herald Bulletin. He suffered a hamstring injury in the first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Fellow ball-carrier Christine Michael went through concussion protocol following the final exhibition game with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Rookie fifth-rounder Jordan Wilkins logged 27 carries for 75 rushing yards during the preseason, and he may take the field as the healthiest running back in the backfield in Week 1.

Someone has to handle the load for the ground attack. At 6'1", 216 pounds, the Mississippi product looks more able to cope with the majority of the carries than fourth-rounder Nyheim Hines, who's listed at 5'9", 198 pounds.


Wide Receivers

WR Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars (51 percent owned)

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14:  Keelan Cole #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates a first down reception during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsyl
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee suffered knee ligament damage in Week 3 of the preseason against the Falcons, which ended his 2018 season. The team's three wide receiver sets should feature Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief.

The Jaguars acquired Moncrief on a one-year deal during the offseason. Cole and Westbrook are familiar components in the passing attack from last season. The former led the team in receiving yards (748) and should assume a bigger role for the season with Lee sidelined for the year.

Cole should be owned in all leagues at this point. 


WR Mike Wallace, Philadelphia Eagles (9 percent owned)

As mentioned above, the Eagles won't have Jeffery on the field. The front office acquired Mike Wallace during the offseason, and he could provide an immediate impact in the fantasy realm.

Wallace compiled 52 catches for 748 yards and four touchdowns during the 2017 campaign with the Baltimore Ravens.

He'll likely step into the No. 2 wide receiver role opposite Nelson Agholor against the Falcons. The 32-year-old pass-catcher can still stretch a defense. He averaged 14.4 yards per catch last season.


Tight Ends

TE Antonio Gates, Los Angeles Chargers (9 percent owned)

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 31:  Antonio Gates #85 of the Los Angeles Chargers is seen running onto the field prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at StubHub Center on December 31, 2017 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers placed tight end Hunter Henry on the physically unable to perform list, which keeps the door open for his return this season after suffering a torn ACL during organized team activities in May.

In the meantime, the Chargers signed tight end Antonio Gates on Sunday—a familiar face for quarterback Philip Rivers. He's also the franchise leader in receptions (927), receiving yards (11,508) and touchdowns (114).

In a limited role, Gates caught 30 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns last season. At 38 years old, the veteran tight end won't yield high-end production every week. However, he's worth a shot in Week 1 against a Kansas City Chiefs secondary that ranked 25th in passing yards allowed in 2017.

The unit also has a question mark at safety next to Eric Berry.


TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (0 percent owned) 

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Tight end Hayden Hurst underwent a procedure to address a stress fracture in his foot, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

He's expected to miss time during the regular season, which clears the pathway for one of the Baltimore Ravens tight ends to see targets in the passing attack. Strangely, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams and Mark Andrews are all owned in zero percent of leagues.

In 2017, the Ravens used 12 personnel, which features two tight ends, two wide receivers and a running back, more than any other team at 34 percent, per Sharp Football Stats. The front office drafted two tight ends in April, it's clear offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg likes to use big-body targets in the aerial attack.

The Ravens selected Andrews in the third round of this year's draft, which may suggest the team's confidence in his ability to produce sooner rather than later. The Oklahoma product comes into the league as one of the better receiving tight ends, accumulating 112 catches for 1,765 yards and 22 touchdowns at Oklahoma.

Tight ends Boyle and Williams haven't provided much in the passing game over the last four years. Quarterback Joe Flacco could target Andrews, his newest asset at tight end, as a big-body target (6'5", 256 lbs) in the red zone. 


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