Week 1 of the NLF regular season didn’t disappoint, starting with a shootout in Tampa Bay headlined by Tom Brady and Dak Prescott, and ending with an exclamation point in a shocking turn of events in Las Vegas that somehow ended up with a Raiders’ win. As is usually the case, though, Week 1 also featured significant injuries that will shift the Fantasy landscape right away. Let’s take a first look at how these situations will affect Week 2.
Raheem Mostert – OUT (knee injury; expected to miss ~8 weeks)
– Mostert is having to deal with yet another significant injury for the second consecutive season. The running back position was a bit of a revolving door in both real life and Fantasy for this 49ers offense last season, and that possibility exists once again with Mostert out of the picture. Enter rookie Elijah Mitchell, who played 64% of the snaps in Week 1. He made the most out his opportunities, logging a 19-103-1 rushing line. Mitchell didn’t factor into the 49ers’ passing game. In fact, JaMycal Hasty was the only running back to log a single target. Still, Mitchell is priced at $5,000 on DK and $5,800 on FD – both price tags below the average cost of a roster spot. There’s some obvious value here. With that said, can Hasty or even Trey Sermon, who was a surprise inactive in Week 1, make this an ugly split rather than Mitchell receiving the majority of the opportunities? I think the answer is yes and it will come down to performance. The 49ers drafted Sermon 88th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft – he’s going to have a role at some point though it seems like Shanahan had a clear pecking order (Moster-Mitchell-Hasty-Sermon) coming out of camp, and Mostert was the odd man out. Look for him to be active as soon this week. Mitchell was awesome in Week 1, he’s high on the pecking order in a Kyle Shanahan-led offense and his price tags are well within reason. There’s reason to believe ownership could get out of control here.
Jerry Jeudy – OUT (high-ankle sprain; expected to miss ~4-6 weeks)
– Jeudy only played 47% of snaps in Week 1, but he made the most out of those (6-72-0) before getting injured. Jeudy going down offers opportunity for multiple pass catchers right away, which includes Tim Patrick. Patrick was only targeted 4 times in Week 1 but he played 70%(!) of snaps and turned his targets into a 4-39-1 receiving line. Patrick broke out in 2020, generating a 51-742-6 receiving line with 79 targets. He’s going to get plenty of playing time next to Courtland Sutton, who played 80% of snaps in Week 1 after coming back from an ACL tear in 2020. IF Sutton can return to his 2019 form, he’ll have plenty of value in DFS without Jeudy around. Perhaps a Week 2 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who just allowed 37 points to the Houston Texans and allowed Tyrod Taylor to throw for nearly 300 yards, is just what Sutton needs to get right. Noah Fant was a question mark to play in Week 1 but ended up playing and looked healthy. He led Denver with 8 targets and a 77% snap share. With Sutton’s form a question mark, there’s a real path for Fant to lead the Broncos in targets with Judy out of the picture and that’s not even necessary for him to be a strong value at his current price tags (the $4,200 price tag on DK was a bit shocking). KJ Hamler (former 2020 second round pick) is another wide receiver that’s going to see more playing time with Jeudy sidelined.
Michael Gallup – OUT (calf; will miss a minimum of three weeks)
– Dak Prescott threw the ball 58 times against Tampa Bay in Week 1. Gallup was targeted 8 times and would very likely have been targeted more if he didn’t leave due to injury in the middle of the second half. Prescott isn’t going to throw nearly 60 times every game but he will in favorable game scripts. The Chargers are hosting the Cowboys in Week 2 and are favored by 3 points. The game has a slate high over/under of 55 points. If the Chargers defense can stay healthy with Derwin James back in the fold, they’re going to be very good. But that can’t be a reason to stay away from the Cowboys this week (though all three of Prescott-Cooper-Lamb could and likely will have ownership that exceed their optimal% given how accessible their price tags are on DK; Prescott is the fifth highest priced QB on DK). Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are going to receive all the volume they can handle but look for Cedrick Wilson to get involved in 3 wide receiver sets. Wilson played plenty once Gallup departed in Week 1 and ended up with a 41% snap share. Even Ezekiel Elliott could bounce back right away. It was clear that the Cowboys didn’t want to run right into the Buccaneers’ challenging front seven, which was a big key for them to hang around in that game. Ultimately, Elliott’s Fantasy line was very disappointing, but he logged an 84% snap share. Elliott is going to be plenty relevant even if Tony Pollard is a thing on third downs.
– Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE) was inactive in Week 1. Beckham missed the entire preseason, which wasn’t entirely unexpected after he suffered an ACL tear in 2020. He was a limited participant in practice leading up to Week 1 and it looks like the Browns are playing it safe here. They could do so again as they play the Houston Texans in Week 2 but that’s pure speculation on my part.
– Ryan Fitzpatrick (WFT) is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a hip injury that he sustained during Week 1. Head coach Ron Rivera mentioned that the team isn’t looking to sign a quarterback, so they’ll roll with Taylor Heinicke as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, with Kyle Allen playing a backup quarterback role. Fitzpatrick has never been a great quarterback, but he’s had some great stretches. The same can’t be said of Heinicke though he hasn’t received many opportunities. Going from Fitzpatrick to Heinicke is a downgrade but it’s likely not a major one.
– Josh Jacobs (LV) was visibly limping and in pain despite scoring multiple rushing touchdowns on Monday Night Football. Kenyan Drake was a fixture of the Raiders’ passing game in Week 1 but he will have a much bigger role on the ground if Jacobs needs some rest in a quick turnaround week.
– Rashaad Penny (SEA) hurt his calf in Week 1. Chris Carson is the primary beneficiary here while tertiary options like Travis Homer, Alex Collins and DeeJay Dallas play backup roles.