Fantasy Football Week 1 Waiver Wire: 49ers backs, James Conner your top targets
Jamey Eisenberg gives you some players to target off waivers heading into Week 1, as well as some players to look for with late-round picks if you are still going to draft.
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This is always one of my favorite columns to write because it covers all aspects of what we're dealing with in the early part of Week 1.
Normally, this is the spot you'll be reading about your waiver claims each week, and we dive deep to cover as many leagues as possible. If you've already drafted, here are some players you should consider claiming now.
But if you haven't drafted yet, these are players to consider with late-round picks. And these guys could be difference-makers for your team this season.
To provide some clarity, we only talk about players owned on CBS Sports leagues in 65 percent or lower. This should help owners in shallow leagues with 10 teams or less, but we also talk about options for leagues with 12 teams or more.
The more guys we cover, the more options you have to consider. And you should know that playing the waiver wire is the key to winning Fantasy leagues.
While the draft is important, your team will likely look dramatically different by the end of the season. But if you can dominate the waiver wire and stay one step ahead of your league, you'll be in good shape as the season goes on.
One thing to note for this week: quarterbacks, kickers and DSTs are more for streaming options based on Week 1 matchups.
- Dalton looked good in the preseason, especially the third game against the Bills when he completed 11-of-16 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Now, while you might say that Buffalo is an easy opponent, but that's what Dalton has in Week 1 at the Colts. Behind a revamped offensive line and with healthy weapons in Tyler Eifert and John Ross joining A.J. Green, Dalton is a great replacement for Carson Wentz this week. I also like Dalton better than Jimmy Garoppolo (at MIN) and Patrick Mahomes (at LAC).
- Taylor doesn't have the easiest matchup against the Steelers, but he is at home and should have his full arsenal on the field with Josh Gordon expected to play. And Taylor could be useful if the Browns are chasing points, so he's a great streaming option for Week 1.
- Flacco gets to face the aforementioned Bills this week, and he also played well this preseason. He has a new receiving corps with Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead, and he should have the chance for a strong performance at home in Week 1. Flacco is a good sleeper in two-quarterback leagues.
- Winston is worth adding now if you have an unsettled quarterback situation since he should have the chance to play well once his three-game suspension is over. Don't wait too long to stash Winston because he could be a No. 1 quarterback during the 13 games he's eligible to play.
Priority list: Matt Breida (61 percent ownership), Alfred Morris (44 percent), James Conner (45 percent), Jordan Wilkins (49 percent), Corey Clement (65 percent), Austin Ekeler (59 percent), Aaron Jones (57 percent), Ty Montgomery (62 percent), Jeremy Hill (10 percent), Mike Gillislee (6 percent), Boston Scott (10 percent)
- The No. 1 priority for every league should be the 49ers backfield with Jerick McKinnon (ACL) out for the season. That means drafting Breida and Morris, in that order, and also adding both off waivers. They are worth at least 20 percent of your FAAB budget as well.
- I like Breida better than Morris because of his expected role in the passing game. Both should share touches, especially early in the season with Breida coming off a preseason shoulder injury, and Morris has history with coach Kyle Shanahan going back to their days in Washington. We'll see how it shakes out, but Breida and Morris could be difference makers in many Fantasy leagues this season.
- Conner is only in this spot if Le'Veon Bell doesn't report to the Steelers by Wednesday for the start of practice leading into Week 1. He's worth drafting with a late-round pick no matter what, but his spot on this priority list is tied to Bell. Spend 10 percent of your FAAB budget on Conner as of now.
- Wilkins is one of my favorite sleepers this season, and he could end up starting in Week 1 against the Bengals with Marlon Mack (hamstring) banged up. I expect Mack and Wilkins to split touches this season, and Wilkins should be drafted with a late-round pick in all formats. He's also worth at least 15 percent of your FAAB budget.
- Clement (Eagles) and Ekeler (Chargers) are backup running backs who could end up as lottery tickets this season. Clement will play in tandem with Jay Ajayi, and the Eagles will use multiple running backs, which is something that has been common under coach Doug Pederson. Clement is a good handcuff for Ajayi and is worth at least 10 percent of your FAAB budget.
- Ekeler is a better option in PPR leagues than non-PPR formats, and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers told my colleague Pete Prisco that Ekeler could be used in a role similar to former Chargers running back Danny Woodhead. Ekeler is also worth at least 10 percent of your FAAB budget, and he should be drafted as a handcuff to Melvin Gordon.
- I've said it all throughout the preseason that you should draft Jamaal Williams in the Round 5 range, but then you should pair him with either Green Bay backup in Jones or Montgomery. Jones is more of the priority since he's the handcuff for Williams, but Montgomery will be the third-down back for the Packers and has more upside in PPR. Both are worth about 10 percent of your FAAB budget.
- The Patriots are going with Hill behind Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel and James White, but Hill could play a prominent role early in the season with Michel coming back from a preseason knee injury. And Burkhead also has a slight tear in his knee. Should either miss significant time, Hill could be a star. He's worth five percent of your FAAB budget.
- With Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games of the season, the Saints were expected to use Jonathan Williams as his replacement. Then Williams was released, leaving Scott as the next man up. But on Sunday, the Saints signed Gillislee, who was just cut by New England.
- You get all of that? I'm taking a flier on Gillslee over Scott since Gillislee profiles more as a bigger back like Ingram. Neither is worth starting in Week 1 at Tampa Bay given the uncertainty, but you can spend 1 percent of your FAAB budget on either guy to see what develops.
Priority list: Chris Godwin (25 percent ownership), Michael Gallup (50 percent), Keelan Cole (52 percent), Kenny Golladay (54 percent), John Ross (22 percent), DJ Moore (46 percent), John Brown (38 percent), Anthony Miller (26 percent), Mike Williams (49 percent), Geronimo Allison (26 percent), Dede Westbrook (28 percent)
- None of these receivers will likely open the season as starters for your Fantasy team, but all have the potential to be viable options during the season, starting with Godwin. Tampa Bay views him as the No. 2 receiver behind Mike Evans -- ahead of DeSean Jackson -- and he's free on Draft Day since you can get him with a late-round pick. He's also worth 15 percent of your FAAB budget.
- As my colleague Dave Richard will tell you, Gallup has plenty of sleeper appeal as the likely No. 1 receiver for the Cowboys. Gallup has been a favorite of mine since the NFL Draft, and I have him in plenty of leagues. Like Godwin, draft him with a late-round pick, and he's worth 10 percent of your FAAB budget.
- The Jaguars have a big hole to fill with No. 1 receiver Marqise Lee (ACL) out for the season. I was drafting Cole prior to Lee going down, but Cole and Westbrook should now be the top options for Blake Bortles. Get Cole first, and he's worth 10 percent of your FAAB budget. Westbrook is only worth one percent.
- Golladay was a popular sleeper as a rookie last year, but he battled injuries and never posted consistent production. He should improve as a sophomore, and the Lions will lean on him quite a bit as the No. 3 receiver behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. Golladay might have the highest ceiling of anyone on this list, and he's a great late-round pick, as well as being worth 10 percent of your FAAB budget.
- I might be too high on Ross given his terrible rookie season, which was marred by injuries, but he's healthy now and should have the chance to contribute in a big way. He will be a boom-or-bust Fantasy option, but I like his matchup in Week 1 against the Colts, which will hopefully be the start of a standout campaign. Draft him late, and he's worth 5 percent of your FAAB budget.
- The two rookie receivers listed here in Moore (Carolina) and Miller (Chicago) should be significant contributors, but it might take some time for them to be reliable Fantasy options. They should definitely be drafted with late-round picks and are worth stashing. And each one is worth at least five percent of your FAAB budget.
- I'm hopeful Brown will stay healthy for the Ravens since he's battled the sickle-cell trait for the past couple of seasons. In 2015 with the Cardinals, Brown had 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns, and hopefully he can get back to that type of production. Coming off a solid preseason, Brown is worth a late-round flier, as well as 5 percent of your FAAB budget.
- Williams is going to be touchdown dependent, but like Ross, he's healthy this season after an injury-filled rookie campaign. The addition of Antonio Gates lowers the value for Williams, but he's still worth a late-round pick. And I'd spend one percent of your FAAB budget to add him if you have an open roster spot.
- Allison will be the No. 3 receiver for the Packers behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, but he could be a third-year breakout, even in that role. His ceiling could be capped because of Adams, Cobb and Jimmy Graham, but I still stash him in all leagues with a late-round pick. And if I have an open roster spot to play with, I'm adding Allison with 1 percent of my FAAB budget.
- It's risky to trust Eifert given his injury track record since he's played just 10 games over the past two seasons, but he appears healthy now and will hopefully play 13-plus games. The last time that happened, in 2015, Eifert had 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he's worth the risk with a late-round pick. He's also worth 10 percent of your FAAB budget.
- Kittle should be a favorite target for Jimmy Garoppolo, and he led the 49ers in red-zone targets last year with 16. He's coming off a shoulder injury in the preseason, and he could be touchdown dependent. But he has the potential to be a No. 1 Fantasy tight end all year, and he's worth a late-round pick. He's also worth 5 percent of your FAAB budget.
- Ebron and Jack Doyle should be able to co-exist, and in 2014, Andrew Luck got plenty of production from Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, who combined for 80 catches, 1,169 yards and 16 touchdowns on 142 targets. I like Doyle better, but Ebron is definitely worth a late-round pick, as well as five percent of your FAAB budget.
- Gates just re-signed with the Chargers on Sunday, and he should help replace the injured Hunter Henry (ACL). He's going to be touchdown dependent, and he's 38 now. But given his draft cost -- a late-round pick -- he's an easy player to target if you miss on an elite tight end. And he's worth 1 percent of your FAAB budget to see if he can still be productive at this point in his career.
- Seferian-Jenkins is another player who could benefit with Lee out, and he has a great Week 1 matchup against the Giants. If you like streaming tight ends, he's a good last-round pick. And if you need someone for Week 1, spend one percent of your FAAB budget on Seferian-Jenkins.
DST streamers for Week 1
Priority list: Falcons (30 percent ownership), Lions (29 percent), Packers (49 percent), Panthers (61 percent)
- The Falcons get to face a stripped-down Eagles offense, which is missing Carson Wentz (knee) and Alshon Jeffery (shoulder).
- The Lions are facing rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in his first NFL start on the road for Monday night.
- The Packers are a good play at home against second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
- And the Panthers get to face a Dallas offense on the road still trying to adjust to offensive line changes because of center Travis Frederick (illness) being out.
- Also, for draft purposes, look at the Bears DST (41 percent) now with the addition of pass rusher Khalil Mack.
K streamers for Week 1
All three kickers are in good situations for Week 1 -- Crosby vs. CHI, Gano vs. DAL and, and Vinateiri vs. CIN.
So what Fantasy Football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which wide receiver can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.
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