Fantasy Football Week 1: Finding replacement options for Andrew Luck, Julian Edelman and possibly Ezekiel Elliott on the waiver wire

There's a good chance many of you had your Fantasy drafts prior to the third preseason game. There's also a good chance many of your leagues haven't started the waivers process yet.

With that in mind, you could be stuck with injured guys on your roster like Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith, who are all lost for the season with knee injuries. You also might want to get rid of players you drafted with late-round picks that seemed to have upside, but who came out of the preseason as losers: Guys like Joe Williams, Jonathan Williams or Josh Doctson.

And then there's Andrew Luck, who will miss Week 1 with a shoulder injury, so a replacement is needed. We also could need help to replace some suspended guys (Ezekiel Elliott, Doug Martin and Willie Snead) if you didn't prepare well on Draft Day.

That's where the waiver wire comes into play. It's never too soon to re-tool your lineup when players that can help you are sitting out there, and we talk about guys owned on CBS Sports in 70 percent of leagues or less in this space every week. 

We should know Elliott's fate by Tuesday night, both long-term and for Week 1 against the Giants, but if you missed on Darren McFadden there are running backs available who could start for you this week. The same goes for receivers to replace Snead, who was already a borderline starter coming into the season before the suspension.

We had a feeling Luck would miss Week 1, but he got good news by avoiding the PUP list to start the season. Still, not having him to start the year against the Rams is tough, and hopefully you followed our advice to pair Luck with Carson Palmer, who has a great schedule early in the season.

Palmer, however, doesn't qualify for this list since he's owned in 86 percent of leagues, but you should check to see if he's available in a shallower league anyway. He has Detroit in Week 1, Indianapolis in Week 2, Dallas in Week 3 and San Francisco in Week 4, and he should help you until Luck is back -- hopefully before Week 4.

As for other Luck replacement options -- and some good tight end, kicker and DST streamers for Week 1 -- check below. The season is here, and it's time to start winning, so make sure your team is loaded with the best possible players, whether you drafted them or not.

Tyrod Taylor Buffalo Bills QB
We hope Tyrod Taylor is OK since he's dealing with a concussion heading into Week 1. If he plays then he's a tremendous replacement option for Luck, and he would also be better than Philip Rivers (at DEN) and Dak Prescott (vs. NYG) for Week 1. The Jets defense should be terrible -- especially after trading Sheldon Richardson -- and Taylor had 297 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception and 25 rushing yards in his lone meeting with New York last year. Jordan Matthews (chest) is also banged up for the Bills, which isn't ideal, but that won't matter for Taylor in this matchup, since the Jets defense likely won't offer much resistance.
Joe Flacco Baltimore Ravens QB
Joe Flacco missed the entire preseason with a back injury, but he returned to practice Saturday and is fine for Week 1. We hope he had enough time to develop a strong rapport with new weapons Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead, but that might not matter much since the Bengals will be at less than full strength in their own right, missing key defenders in Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict due to suspension. Flacco is a good emergency option as a Luck replacement and a solid starter in two-quarterback leagues this week.
Jay Cutler Miami Dolphins QB
I don't love Jay Cutler for Week 1 against Tampa Bay, and we have to keep an eye on when (and where) this game will be played due to the threat of Hurricane Irma hitting South Florida. After this week, however, we could see Cutler be useful as a Luck replacement option or as a starter in two-quarterback leagues. The Dolphins next six games aren't daunting matchups (at LAC, vs. NYJ, vs. NO in London, vs. TEN, at ATL and vs. NYJ), and Cutler could end up performing as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback over that span with the weapons available to him in Miami.

Other quarterbacks to consider: Sam Bradford (37 percent ownership) and Jared Goff 13 percent)

Running backs
Jacquizz Rodgers Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB
I'm surprised Jacquizz Rodgers isn't owned in more leagues given his role and matchups to start the season. With Martin out for the first three games, the Buccaneers are going to lean on Rodgers, and he should do well in Week 1 at Miami and Week 2 against Chicago at least. Week 3 at Minnesota could be tough, but Rodgers had good Fantasy production when he got an increased workload in 2016. Rodgers had three games with at least 19 carries last year, and he scored at least 12 Fantasy points in a standard league in all three. He's also a great replacement option if Elliott remains suspended to start the year as well.
Rex Burkhead New England Patriots RB
I drafted Rex Burkhead in several leagues, and I plan to stash him for a couple of weeks to see what happens with the New England backfield. I suggest you do the same, and it might not be a bad idea to pick him up where available. Our expectation is Mike Gillislee and James White have the most Fantasy value for the Patriots, but Burkhead and Dion Lewis can also play a role. This is Bill Belichick we're talking about. And if Burkhead's role is more prominent than expected in Week 1 against Kansas City, at least you were ahead of the crowd by adding him now.
Wendell Smallwood Philadelphia Eagles RB
I was surprised to see the Eagles keep LeGarrette Blount, but he made the final roster -- and now we have a potential mess. Darren Sproles has his role, but he's not expected to lead Philadelphia in carries. I'm stashing Wendell Smallwood wherever possible because he played well in the preseason, and Blount could be spent at 30 and coming off a season with more than 300 touches. Smallwood could play big dividends down the road in all leagues, even if he isn't likely to have much value right now. 
Matt Breida San Francisco 49ers RB
The 49ers are rolling with Matt Breida as the No. 2 running back behind Carlos Hyde, and he should be owned in the majority of leagues for several reasons. New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan got great production out of two backs last year as the offensive coordinator in Atlanta with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and the same thing could happen with the 49ers. Hyde also has missed 12 games over the past two seasons due to injury, so Breida could get an increased role if Hyde got hurt. Breida, like many young backups, is a lottery ticket, and this one is as cheap as they come.
DeAndre Washington Oakland Raiders RB
DeAndre Washington is entering the season as the No. 2 running back in Oakland, and he's playing behind a guy in Marshawn Lynch who is 31 and didn't play in 2016. Should Lynch get hurt, Washington would likely split time with Jalen Richard, but Washington is the backup running back in Oakland to own now. He could be a potential lottery ticket this year as well. 
Chris Carson Seattle Seahawks RB
Another lottery ticket, I would love to see the Seahawks give Chris Carson a full workload because he might be their best running back this year. Thomas Rawls will open as the starter, and Eddie Lacy will get his carries as well, with C.J. Prosise a factor in the passing game. But I'm going to stash Carson wherever I have an open roster spot, because having patience with him could pay off down the road.

Other running backs to consider: James Conner (32 percent ownership), D'Onta Foreman (31 percent), Charcandrick West (22 percent), Tarik Cohen (21 percent) and Mike Tolbert (0 percent)

Wide receivers
John Brown Arizona Cardinals WR
John Brown, like Rodgers, needs to be owned in more leagues, because he could be a starter for your Fantasy team as early as Week 1. If he's healthy -- and he looked good in his preseason debut against Atlanta with two catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns -- he could be a No. 2 Fantasy receiver this year. His quad appears to be OK, and if he can manage his sickle-cell issues then he should be set for a bounce-back campaign.
Ted Ginn New Orleans Saints WR
Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman should get a boost in targets and hopefully production to start the season with Snead out for the first three games. Ginn was already a sleeper coming into the season since he will get to play with the best quarterback of his career in Drew Brees, and he had 98 catches for 1,491 yards and 14 touchdowns over the past two seasons with the Panthers. He's definitely worth stashing on your roster.
Zay Jones Buffalo Bills WR
Zay Jones could be the Bills No. 1 receiver in Week 1 and the rest of the year, as Matthews (65 percent ownership) is still dealing with a chest injury prior to the season opener against the Jets. We'll see how Taylor is doing this week, but Jones could be a nice sleeper in his first NFL game if Matthews is out.
Robby Anderson New York Jets WR
I know it's the Jets, and no one wants to trust anyone from this roster. But someone has to catch the ball, and Robby Anderson should see a hefty amount of targets this week and for the season. As a rookie in 2016, Anderson closed the season playing well, with 90 receiving yards or a touchdown in three of his final five games. He's worth a flier if you lost someone like Edelman or Meredith, especially in Week 1 against Buffalo.
Kevin White Chicago Bears WR
Speaking of Meredith, the Bears need someone to catch passes this season, and Kevin White and Kendall Wright (31 percent ownership) are going to see plenty of targets. White has the higher ceiling, and hopefully his third year in the NFL leads to his breakout campaign. And Wright is a sneaky sleeper to add since he averaged 72 catches, 807 yards and four touchdowns in the first three years of his career with the Titans. Wright is the better option in PPR.
Rishard Matthews Tennessee Titans WR
I expect Rishard Matthews to be the No. 3 receiver for the Titans this year in Fantasy and reality, behind both Corey Davis and Eric Decker. But in Week 1, I like Matthews best. Davis (hamstring) and Decker (ankle) are expected to play against the Raiders, but they both could be rusty after injuries, with Davis on a potential snap count in his NFL debut. Matthews also has the best rapport with Marcus Mariota since he's the only veteran receiver still on the team from last year, and this is a favorable matchup against the Raiders.

Other wide receivers to consider: Taylor Gabriel (59 percent ownership), Danny Amendola (32 percent), Kenny Golladay (32 percent), Devin Funchess (17 percent) and Mike Williams (13 percent)

Tight ends
Cameron Brate Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE
O.J. Howard was added to the roster this offseason with a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but Cameron Brate should still be the better Fantasy tight end this year for the Buccaneers. And his Week 1 matchup against the Dolphins is enticing, which makes Brate a streaming option to start the season. Last year, Brate closed the year with a touchdown in six of his final nine games. We expect him to pick up where last year ended against Miami.
Charles Clay Buffalo Bills TE
The Bills need help in their passing game, especially if Matthews is out or limited in Week 1 against the Jets. And Charles Clay has a great matchup against New York. The Jets were one of five teams last season to allow at least 10 touchdowns to tight ends, and their defense should be worse this year. Clay is a good streaming option to target in the season opener.
Evan Engram New York Giants TE
Evan Engram is another good Week 1 streaming option given his matchup with the Cowboys, especially with Odell Beckham (ankle) banged up. Brandon Marshall (shoulder) is also less than 100 percent, although he's expected to play. Dallas allowed the third-most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends last year, and the Cowboys defense got worse this season. This is a good week to trust Engram if needed, and he should be the No. 1 rookie tight end in 2017.

Other tight ends to consider: Austin Hooper (55 percent ownership), Vance McDonald (11 percent), Zach Miller (11 percent), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3 percent), Tyler Higbee (2 percent) and George Kittle (1 percent)

Kicker streamers

DST streamers

  • Rams (vs. IND) - 36 percent ownership
  • Bills (vs. NYJ) - 29 percent
  • Falcons (at CHI) - 29 percent
  • Buccaneers (at MIA) - 48 percent
Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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